Monday, August 20, 2012

Resurrection and Resuscitation


Recently I heard someone refer to Elijah's miracle of raising the Widow of Zarepath's son as "ressurection."  This preacher said  that he thought that this might be the first case of resurrection in the Bible.  But this was not resurrection.  It cannot be.  While it is not stated, this boy must have later died of old age.  This boy may be the first "resuscitation" or the first one raised from the dead in the Bible.  But that is not resurrection.  

Resurrection only happens after we have died and raised to life as imperishable (1 Cor 15:42).  Jesus was the "first fruits" of resurrection (Rom 15:20).  He was the first to actually experience resurrection. He died and was raised imperishable.  Up until now in terms of life on Earth, he is the only one to be resurrected.   But after we die we are all resurrected (Matt 22:32). While the timing of this in the Bible is difficult to understand, it speaks of a first resurrection of righteous before the millennium and the rest after the millennium.   Those of the first resurrection although judged, are saved from sin through faith. (Rev 20:6) Those resurrected after the millennium are judged for what they did on Earth.  (Rev 20:12).  Both live eternally because of resurrection.

This boy, although brought back to life, died.  This was the case for boy raised by Elisha.  This is the case for  the son of the Widow of Nain , the daughter of Jairus, and for Lazarus, all raised by Jesus.  And this is the case, for Dorcas raised by Peter and  Eutychus raised by Paul.  All of these people died again.  But this is not resurrection, rather they were resuscitated or brought back to life.  In French we have the words "ressusciter" and "r├ęsurrection."  This is a cause of confusion for many French-speakers because "ressuciter" can refer to the "r├ęsurrection."   But  is also can mean "resuscitated" which is simply coming back to life.  But this is not resurrection.  Resurrection involves being "sown perishable and raised imperishable."

So this boy in who Elijah raised was "resuscitated" or brought back to life, like Lazarus.  But he later died.  Both will be resurrected after their final death to be judged and live forever.   Where they spend eternity is dependent on the judgement and whether they are in the Lamb's book of life (Rev 21:27).  

There is a difference and so it is important to understand the difference between what happens when people are raised from the dead through resuscitation and raised from the dead through resurrection.

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