What About Us?
In the previous installment of Terry Cropper’s excellent article, he began answering the question What About Us? | What About Now? that is posed by those investigating Covenant Eschatology. In fact, this is one of the most commonly asked questions of all! Be sure to read Terry Cropper- Part #1, of what will be a three part presentation.
At the close of part 1 of What About Us? Terry began to discuss the resurrection. We pick up that discussion here:
Jesus identifies himself as the resurrection John 11:25: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Basically what Christ is saying is that resurrection is not something he does resurrection is who he is. The resurrection was a onetime event in which the Old Testament saints were brought out of Hades and finally overcame death to be with the Lord. Christ was their hope of glory.
The New Testament saints who were physically alive from Pentecost until AD 70 who believed in Christ were given eternal life. John 5:24: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, (but has passed from death into life).” Notice in this verse Jesus uses a present tense. The present tense is a grammatical tense whose principal function is to locate a situation or event in present time.
Jesus is addressing two difference groups of people here. Those who would die and have life (v. 25): “Old covenant saints.” And those who would never die (v. 26) – New Covenant saints. Christ doesn’t mention two different types of resurrections, one for the body, and one for the spirit, so why would we assume the Bible teaches two different types of resurrections?
The traditional view that is held by most of the modern church is this: When a believer dies, their body goes into the grave and their spirit goes to heaven to be with the Lord. Then at the end of time when the Lord returns, bodies will come out of their graves and will be put back together, and changes to physically resurrected bodies like Christ’s. That is basically what the modern church teaches about the resurrection, but this is not what the Bible teaches? Did you know the Bible never mentions “the end of time”? The Bible talks about the last day of the Old Covenant or the end of the age. (1 Corinthians 10:11) Jesus came during the last days or age of the Old Covenant the Jewish age. (Hebrews 9:26).
DKP– Be sure to get a copy of my book, We Shall Meet Him In The Air, the Wedding of the King of kings, for a fuller discussion of the Death of Adam– to be overcome at Christ’s parousia, and the nature of the resurrection. This book will transform your understanding of this critical issue and help answer the question What About Us?!
If the early Christians had believed that the resurrection would involve the physical bodies coming out of the graves, as is taught today, Hymenaius and Philitus could never have convinced anyone that the resurrection had already happened. The Apostle Paul tells us about two characters called Hymenaeus and Philetus who tried to do just that. These two men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and thus they “upset the faith of some”. (2 Timothy 2:17-18) A similar passage is found in (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2).
Hymenaeus and Philetus were saying that God had consummated all his promise to Israel about the resurrection, under the old Mosaic, covenant age, thus “trampling the blood of Christ under foot and calling it an unholy thing.”
What About Us – What About “Them?”
What Hymenaeus and Philetus were doing was nullifying all the important prophecies about Christ by saying the resurrection already happen WITH OUT Christ. They were saying that God had fulfilled the hope of the Israel’s resurrection without Christ under the old covenant system. This lie overthrew the faith of some.
Therefore, Paul had to write to correct the problem. Paul condemned Hymenaeus and Philetus for teaching the false doctrine that the ‘resurrection is past already’ consequently causing to ‘overthrow the faith of some’. That he does in 2 Thessalonians 2:4-12 by telling of events which had to transpire before Jesus come. The brethren were concerned that their loved ones who died prior to Jesus’ return would miss out on the accompanying blessing. Paul reassures them no such thing would happen.
Paul did not challenge Hymenaeus and Philetus about their concept as to the nature of the resurrection, he did however refute their ‘timing’ because it was not a past event. Now please ask yourself the following question. If the resurrection is as you and I have always been traditionally taught by the modern gentile Church that the resurrection is a time when physical bodies come out of graves and Jesus bodily, visibly descend on a cloud with the audible sound of a trumpet, how in the world could the saints be convinced as they obviously were that the resurrection had already happened? If the nature of the resurrection was physical would believers not have noticed this manifestation? All they had to do was look around the graveyards to see nothing had changed! Yet not one saint conceived of the idea to go down to the grave yards and see that the graves were not opened. Remember this premature announcement ‘overthrow the faith of some’.
There is not one single word by Paul about any mistaken views as to the nature of the resurrection or Parousia of the Lord. The only way these saints could have convinced the resurrection had already occurred was to hold the concept of Old testament scripture which denies bodies flying out of graves. Ecclesiastes 12:7 (NKJV) Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it. Genesis 2:7 teaches, “The Lord God formed a man from the dust of … the ground
Why did not Paul simply take Hymenaeus and Philetus aside and correct their error? Because Paul had already dealt with Hymenaeus according to his first Epistle to Timothy. 1 Timothy 1:19-20 (NKJV) “having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.”
So Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers (Romans 15:8) (The Jewish patriarchs such as Abraham Isaac and Jacob) What promises? The resurrection of the dead. (Daniel 12:2-3; Acts 26:6-8). In Terry’s next article on What About Us? he will continue to address the subject of the resurrection and What About Us?