Principles of the Resurrection – Daniel 12:1-3

 
One of the major problems that readers have when it comes to prophesy is trying to determine specificity. One prophesy is meant to be understood exactly as it is written, while others – not so much. In looking at prophesies about Antiochus Epiphanes, there have been details which cannot be denied. But then we move on to the future Antichrist, and we wonder about some of those prophetic details. “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.” Is this reference to chariots and horsemen, to be understood exactly or is this figurative?

And so it is even within our text tonight. Verse 1 begins with “and at that time” which is dealing with an exact point of time. This is speaking about Tribulational protection. During the Tribulation, there will be a great many of God’s elect who will be delivered from the disasters of that period. But then in verse 2 it is much more difficult to be specific. It’s not that what is said is not true, but there are details which are left unsaid. And as a result, it is a problem to point to specific dates – but is that really important? There will definitely be a resurrection – when both God’s saints and Satan’s dupes will be raised from death. We aren’t looking for a date necessarily, but a general timetable might be helpful. Is this talking about the middle of the Tribulation or at the end? Could someone who chose to do so, could say that it will take place at the end of the Millennium? Even though the first part of the verse may be semi-specific, the last part doesn’t necessarily have to be.

But why isn’t the angel more specific? I believe it’s because there may never be a resurrection where the wicked and the righteous are resurrected at exactly the same time. The angel appears to be lumping together several resurrections and making a general statement about them. I Thessalonians 4 speaks about the resurrection only of the saints. “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

Revelation 20 is another major scripture which speaks about a resurrection. “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Who is it that is resurrected in Revelation 20? The saints of God are described as being around the Lord’s throne, but the rest of the dead lived not again until after the millennium – until the thousand years were finished. And then at the final judgment – death and hell deliver up the dead which were in them for their judgment. Throughout the Bible there are plenty of individual resurrections, but there are only three major, group resurrections. There will be a resurrection of God’s saints at the beginning of the Tribulation. There will be a resurrection of the Tribulation saints at the beginning of the Millennium. And there will be resurrection of the wicked after the Millennium. But in Daniel 12:2 we seem to have a lumping together of all three. So what is it that we are supposed to learn from this?

There will, without a doubt, be resurrections – which will include everyone.
Every honest heart pleads for this. It is inconceivable that if there is a righteous God, that life will completely end in our physical deaths. Should the terribly wicked die a peaceful death, or even a painless and swift death and then nothing? Not if there is a God in Heaven. What about the loving faithful mother, who spends her life for her children, but she is wracked with disease and pain, or abuse and ill treatment? Will there be no recompense and correction? Paul put into words the thoughts of every honest heart and mind – “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” There will be a resurrection from the dead – logic demands it. But logic is not always correct.

More important than logic is the fact that the Bible declares it. Obviously, there are a lot of books which declare a lot of different things. But this Bible is no ordinary book, and it has been proven to be absolutely true and trustworthy. We are not following cunningly devised fables when we repeat Biblical statements. “For the prophecy (of our resurrection) came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” There has yet to be a single statement from the Word of God which has been proven false.

And the Bible teaches that there will be a resurrection of the dead – small and great; saint and sinner. Sometimes there are open declarations, and in other places there are only implications. Job 19 – “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” Psalm 16 – “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” Psalm 17:15 – “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” Psalm 49:15 – “God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.” Isaiah 26:19 – “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” Hosea 13:14 – “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.”

In the New Testament we find the same declarations. Acts 24:14-15 – “But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” Romans 8 – “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” I Corinthians 16 – “And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.” II Corinthians 4 – “We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.”

Besides scriptures like these we have the descriptions and accounts of people whom the Lord has already raised from the grave. And we have no doubt that he can raise us, because He has already raised others. There are Jairus’ daughter, Lazarus, the son of the widow of Nain, and quite a few in the Old Testament.

On top of these there are the words of the Lord Jesus Himself. John 5 – “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” John 6 – “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” Jesus said unto Martha “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” Further proof of resurrections of everyone else is the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Himself. There is more reason to believe in a future resurrection than there is to believe the sun will rise tomorrow.

Furthermore, as some of the scriptures which we have just read indicate, there will be no one left behind. There is the Lamb’s Book of Life in which all of the Lord’s elect are named. And there will be other books opened before the Great White Throne where the deeds and names of the wicked will be revealed.

Remember that one primary purpose of these resurrections will be to render justice or grace.
Some will arise to “shame and everlasting contempt.” So very, very often today, we see justice delayed and delayed. The Psalms, Job, Lamentations and other books cry out at the earthly prosperity of the wicked. But that will be made right after the resurrection. Some will rise to shame before their peers. And we all will be peers – equals – in that day. None of the usual things, which mark the differences between men today, will mean anything in the resurrection. The only distinction between us will be our relationship to sin and to the grace of the Lord. Millions of people will find that resurrection day a shame – because their hypocrisy will be exposed. And the awfulness of sin will finally strike us all. Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most wicked of us all? By the way, Christians will be ashamed along with the wicked.

These unwashed, shameful creatures will be raised to contempt. We all shall reap what we sow. They that have lived in contempt of Christ and of the things of God, will face the charge of contempt. God will say in effect, “I despise you and your sinful stench.” The Lord will not condemn the lost with tears in His holy eyes, and with an achy-breaking heart. And the Christian will only be able to shake his head as he beholds this.

On the other hand, “many that sleep in the dust shall rise to everlasting life.” The resurrection will mean the reunion of the living soul and previously sleeping body. Why will some be raised to receive this eternal life? “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” John 5 – “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” Eternal life is not a reward to be earned, but a gift to be given.

And, what is this life eternal? First, it is a continued existence but in a new sphere – a new place but with the same soul. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Does this mean that we’ll loaf around Heaven all day? Living things grow, breathe, act, react and do. We may not be doing the same things that we are doing today, but we will be worshiping and serving our Saviour. We shall awake – we shall be awake unlike we’ve never been awake before.

Are you ready for the resurrection? You are not ready if you are living in rebellion, pride and sin. Repent before God and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.