You might think I am talking about the resurrection with this title, but you would be mistaken. Ok…so I might mention the resurrection, but in my opinion this section of scripture is not talking about the resurrection, at least not totally, but is talking about something else. Let's have a look at what it says.
Who are The Dead?
Look first at this scripture and you will see that there are two types of “dead” that the Lord is speaking about. In verse 25 he says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” Then we see that he also says in verse 28-29, “Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.”
Taking the second scripture first, there is no doubt he is talking about the final judgement and the resurrection of the dead. In this scripture he talks about an hour that is coming, that is, future tense. The Lord tells us that at the end time appointed for the judgement of all mankind, every person will be raised from the dead. The good will be raised to go into life eternal, but the evil will go into judgement for their sins.
But then when we look at the first of the verses above, verse 25, he says, “…an hour is coming, and is now here…” which is not future tense but present tense for it is now here. This is significant because he is saying that the time had arrived at that time, and in fact the time is still here now. But the time for what?
Continuing in verse 25 he says, “…the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” Now he is not talking about the resurrection in this statement but something different. He is speaking about those who are alive, but are dead. That is, he is talking about the unbelievers in this world. And he has used this description elsewhere for those who are of this world. In Matthew 8:21-22 he says, “Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.” So he is calling the people of the world who do NOT follow him, the dead. They are dead because they have not come to know the life that is in God and the life that Jesus offers.
There are also churches who he calls “dead” too. We see this in Revelation 3:1 he says, “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: 'The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “'I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” This church was considered to be something alive by men. Men considered that they were the epitome of religion for this church had the reputation of being alive, but they were dead in the Lord's eyes.
What does he counsel this “dead” church to do? Wake up, repent and strengthen themselves in the truth. Then they will find the way to life because without a change they wil remain dead.
How will their life be restored?
So how will they come to life and how will the dead in this world live? They will live and come to life when they come to Jesus and hear the words of life that he has to offer. What we must understand is that this life we have now is not the “real” life. We are given something like 70-80 or so years now for the purpose of making a decision to follow Jesus or not. Those who do choose Jesus have the promise of eternal life and that is the “real” life because it will be without sin, fear, sickness or death and will be with both Jesus and the Father. What could be better?
The restoration of life comes through the knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the gospel of salvation that saves us from sin and death. And when we listen to the Lord and the gospel of salvation, we achieve the resurrection of the dead as well and go into eternal life.
This promise of life still exists today. The word that the Lord spoke in this scripture was as much for us today as those who heard it in his time. As we listen to His word and grow in the faith we too have the opportunity of life eternal. The resurrection to eternal life awaits those who seek it through Jesus Christ, which he established in the New Covenant when he died for us.
We must likewise ensure that we find the way of life. Like the church in the Rev 3:1 scripture above, we too need to learn to be awake and to learn the truth and by this method find the life that is in Christ Jesus. The promise of eternal life and being brought back from death to life in Christ still exists today for those who seek. So let us encourage each other and all we can snatch from the jaws of death that they too may take advantage of this wonderful offer in the Lord.
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng www.sxc.hu/ taken by Robert Linder)
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