The Resurrection

Why is the resurrection important (or necessary)?  Apparently the people who wrote the New Testament think it is.  The word “resurrection” is mentioned 51 times in the New Testament: eight times in Matthew, five times in Mark, six times in Luke, five times in John, 10 times in Acts, two times in Romans, six times in First Corinthians, two times in Philippians, one time in Second Timothy, two times in Hebrews, two times in First Peter, and two times in Revelation.  Why is the word “resurrection” mentioned so many times in the New Testament?  The people who wrote the New Testament appear to be telling us that personal existence does not end at death.  They appear to be telling us that the resurrection is an important (or necessary) part of that existence.

How do we exist after death?  And how is the resurrection an important (or necessary) part of that existence?  Among the references to the resurrection in the New Testament is the Gospel of Luke’s account of Jesus being questioned by the Sadducees (see Luke 20:27-40).  Close to the end of this story, Jesus says this concerning the resurrection: “…in the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’  He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive” (verses 37 and 38).  Jesus’ reference to the story from the Book of Exodus concerning Moses and the burning bush shows us that the resurrection is important (or necessary) to the existence of the Old Testament Patriarchs mentioned in the story.  The implication is this: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are alive in heaven, even though they all died many hundreds of years before this story in Luke’s Gospel takes place.

Although the word “resurrection” is never used in the Old Testament, the allusion to it is still there.  For example, see the Book of Job.  At the beginning of this story, Job has seven sons, three daughters, seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys (1:2 and 3).  God then allows Satan to kill Job’s children and take away his livestock.  At the end of this story, God restores what was killed or taken way.  At the end of this story, Job now has fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys (42:12).  However, Job still has seven sons and three daughters (42:13).  The number of Job’s livestock has been doubled, but the number of Job’s children is still the same.  Why?  The implication is that Job’s original children (the one’s that God allowed Satan to kill) are alive in heaven.

So, why is the resurrection important (or necessary) to our existence after death?  The answer may be found in the beginning: at the beginning of time and at the beginning of the Bible.  At the beginning of the Book of Genesis, God creates “the heavens and the earth” and everything in it: light, “water under the expanse”, “water above it”, dry ground, vegetation, lights, “every living and moving thing with which the water teems”, “every winged bird”, livestock, “creatures that move along the ground”, wild animals, man and “every green plant for food” (1:1, 3, 7, 9, 11, 14, 21, 24, 26 and 30).  After God creates all of this, He “saw all that He had made, and it was very good” (1:31).  What about God’s creation of man is “very good”?  The Book of Genesis tells us that “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (2:7).  Man, both body and spirit, is apparently “very good” in the sight of God.  What if one of these, either body or spirit, is missing?  Is man, then, no longer “very good” in the sight of God?  And is this related to the resurrection?  The answer appears to be “yes.”

Why is the word “resurrection” mentioned so many times in the New Testament?  Perhaps the people who wrote the New Testament are telling us that the resurrection reunites our body and spirit and makes us “very good” in the sight of God.  As stated previously, the people who wrote the New Testament mention the word “resurrection” 51 times.  By so doing, they appear to be telling us that the resurrection is an important (or necessary) part of our existence after death.