GENERAL RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD
Please read Luke 7:11-17.Our lesson today is a marvelous event that happened in the small city of Nain in Galilee. It is mentioned only because of a widow who lived there whose son died and Jesus raised him from the dead. Jesus and His apostles and a large number of disciplles met a funeral procession leaving the gate of Nain. Cities were surrounded by walls to proect them from their enemies. They were entered through gates placed at convenient distances from each other. In most cities it was not allowed to bury the dead within the walls. Anciently, no Jews were buried within the walls of the city excepte the king and distinguished people. Jesus and the disciples met the procession as they were coming out of the gate. His friends were carrying a young man on some kind of a conveyance to the cemetery. He was the only son of a poor widow who was weeping. Jesus had compassion on her and said to her, "Weep not." He touched the casket with His finger an the procession stopped. Then Jesus spoke to the dead man and said, "Young man, I say to you, "Arise." And he that was dead sat up and began to speak. Jesus helped get out of the casket and delivered him to his mother. This was a very unusual situation. Death, the enemy of mankind, meet Jesus on the way to the cemetery. Death met the living Lord, who only has immortality, face to face, and a battle between the two was fought. The battle was short ad decisive. No blows were struck,, for death had already done its utmost. With a finger the chariot of death is stopped and with a word He gave this young man's life back to Him and He delivered a son to his joyful mother.
To appreciate what a wonderful thing Jesus did on this occasion, let us not forget that this woman of Nain was a widow. She had already lost her husband. This widowed mother no doubt mourned her boy, not only because he was dead but because in him she had lost her eathly stay. She must have regarded him as the staff of her age on which she leaned, and the comfort of her loneliness. She was a widow. I question if anybody but a widow understands the full sorrow of being a widow. We may put ourselves by sympathy into the position of one who has lost her other self, the partner of her life, but the tenderest sympathy cannot fully realize the suffering of bereavement and the desolaion of love's loss. Still even though the sun of her life was gone, there was still a star shining in her life. She had a boy, a dear son who promised her great comfort. He would, no doubt, supply her necessities and cheer her loneliness, and in him her husband would live again, and his name would remain among the living in Israel.But, alas, that star is swallowed up too in the darkness death. Her son also died, and he is on his way to the cemetery
We learn something about the Bible from this occasion. The miracle at Nain is full of religious instruction. All the miracles in the Bible of people raised from the dead were parables. They all referred to that time of which Jesus spoke and said, "The hour will come when all that are in the grave will hear My voice and come forth..." The widow of Nain is a standing witness to the human race. We don't know her name, but she being dead yet speaks. The narrative before us records a fact, a literal fact. A young man was raised from the dead by Christ, who is the resurrection and the life. Thus, you see, our subject today naturally leads us would conduct us to the doctrine of the general resurrection of the dead, one of he divinely revealed doctrines of the Christian religion. What happened at Nain was a rehearsal upon a small scale of that which shall happen by and by when all who are in their graves will hear the voice of Christ and live. The Bible says at that same time, "the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." When the Lord comes in His glory, then before the gates of the holy and beautfiful city New Jerusalem, we shall see the miracle at the gates of Nain multiplied millions and millions of times.
The Bible declares that there will be a general resurreciion of the dead at the second coming of Christ, and these two events are linked togeter in the scriptures.It is utterly impossible for the unassisted reason of man to discoveer that there will be a general resurrection of the dead, but God who knows all things has clearly revealed it in he Holy scriptures. The Christian arguments in favor of this great evemt must be derived from the Bible, which is an infallible source. Many things are asserted in he scriptures which cannot be explained because they far exceed human capacity. Perhaps the mst vivid picture of this great event is set forth in Revelation 20: 12,13. "And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and the books were opened. And another book was opened which is the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their works by the things that were written the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, Hades and death delivered up the dead who were in them."One of the most authoritative evidences for the resurrection is related by the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 15. The leading subject in that chapter is the resurrection, and it carries the thoughtthat the coming of Christ will occur at the end of the world and for the purpose of raising the dead and bestowing the final reward. He first affirms the fact that Christ arose from the dead and presented indisputable evidence to prove the fact. He then connected with that fact the general resurrection of the dead. He then affirmed the fact that these two events must stand or fall together. He then rebuked theCorinthians with these words, "If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. He was an incarnate Deity, both human and Divine. After this, he speaks of the source and extent of death and of the resurrection. "But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by mn came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first-fruts, afterwards they that are Christ's at His coming. Then comes the end when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God even the Father; when He shall have down all rule and all authority and all power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." Unquote. This passage in I Cor. 15 that proves the resurrection Christ is also undeniable proof of a geneal resirrection of the dead. Let me read to you I Ior. 15: 12,13: "Now if Christ preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say He has not been raised from the dead? How do some among say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resirrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found as false wotmesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ." When Christ comes and the human race from their graves, Pau said, "Then comes the end." It means the work of Chrisr's kingdom is done. The mission of the gospel to humanity is accomplished and the harvest is past. The end mentioned is the end of the mediatorial reign of Christ on earth, the end of the Christian age, the end of the world. It is when the church will be delivered up to God the Father, when Christ shall change our vile bodies that it may be fashioned like His glorious body, according to the woking whereby He is able to subdue all things unt Himself.
Finally, in view of all this evidence God, Christ, and the apostles of Christ have presented to mankind, what does the world say about these sound declarations from heaven?. God has revealed these marvelous fact to the human race. The principal objection the world makes against the general resurreection may be reduced to two objections. Some think it is unnecessary and others think it is absolutely impossible to bring millions of decayed bodies back to life. Those who deem a resurrection unnecessary contend that depaarted spirits now live in a disembodied state and they could be rewarded or punished in that state. In reply we make the following observations. Man and woman in their original state were compound beings. The body was of dust, the soul and spirit were of God. The separation of these parts is the efect of transgression and sin. A separate state of man with a soul and spirit but without a body must be a very imperfect state for m an and woman. Through the medium of the body, God will both punish the wicked and reward the righteous
Furthermore. the idea that the resurrection is unneccessary disagrees with the teacings of the Bible and when God appeared to Abaham and commanded him to leave his family, city and country and go to a land that Jehovah would show him, he obeyed God not knowing where he was live. He ended up in the land of Canaan, a land of may races and coutries who worshiped imaginary gods and their idols, but he found no city in whih he wanted to live. In fact he lived in tents all of his life. A part of the promise God made to Abraham was that He would show him a city whose builder and maker was God. in. His homeland was in the city of Ur, and lived among a race of people in the country of Chaldea in the Southern part of the Euphrates Vallley which today is known as Iraq. Iraq is really a very famous country, and it was the cradle of the human race. After the flood of Noah, the human race first settled in the Euphrates Valley, and that is where the human race started all over again. Furthermore two of the four rivers that ran through the Garden of Eden are located in Iraq, the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. There cam be mp doubt that the Garden of Eden was in Iraq, probably in the most Southen part of that country. Since Abraham never found a city whose builder and Makr was God, he co 4
concluded that since God did not show him that city durng his earhly life he believed he would surely live in that city in the world to come, and he was right. The body of Abraham has been in the grave some 4,000 years, all this time without a body. This fact in itself proves there will be a general resurrection of the dead. In order for God to fulfill the promise He made to Abraham during his lifeime. Abraham will have to rise from the dead to live in that city of heaven whose builder and maker is God. And what is true of Abraham is true of all of God's people in Christ. The general resurrection of the dead is absolutely essential, for God's people must have new glorified bodies to live in heaven. The apostle Paul describes resurrrecton body of God's people under four heads. It will be glorious without DEFECT, DEFORMITY OR DISHONOR. It will be INCORRUPTIBLE, no moree subject to decay, dissolution, or death.. It will be STRONG to enjoy and do God's will. And it will be SPIRITUAL BODY, a body suited to live an eternal heavenly exostemce, like the angelic beings of heaven.