In our previous subject (Resurrection-Old Testament) positive proof was given from various passages in the Old Testament that men die, sleep a perpetual sleep, and remain in the congregation of the dead. Does the New Testament teach universal resurrection? Most people would say "yes" and quote a passage like II Corinthians 5:10 which reads, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." The statement is positive, "We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ;" and to do that, those who have gone into the death state must be resurrected. If those who believe in universal resurrection and those who do not could agree on who is meant by the "all" in this passage of scripture the question would be simplified. In II Corinthians 1:1 we find that Paul wrote to the "Church of God which is at Corinth" so the "all" refers to the Church and not to everybody. In II Timothy 2:15, Paul admonishes Timothy: "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." If all people would rightly divide the word of truth, there would be no confusion in the religious world. Read Romans 14:10, "For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ" and verse 12 reads, "So then every one of us shall give an account of himself to God." Here as in Corinthians, Paul's message is addressed "To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints." (Romans1:7) So the all in Rome instead of meaning everybody refers to church members in Rome.
Christadelphians believe and teach a partial resurrection. "As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive." We find these words in I Corinthians 15:22. Is the "all" in Adam the same as the "all" in Christ? In II Corinthians 5:17 we read, "Therefore, if any man be in Christ he is a new creature." Will anyone take the position that all in Adam are new creatures? Paul in Romans 16:7 speaks of certain ones "who also were in Christ before me" (i.e., Paul). Those who think will see a difference in being in Adam and in being in Christ.
In the 15th chapter of I Corinthians we read of certain members in the church at Corinth who denied the resurrection. In verse 12 Paul uses this language, "Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?" In verses 1-5 of this chapter Paul says, "moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel-by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you-For I delivered unto you first of all (The Diaglott reads "Chief things") that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures." Now, note carefully Paul's teaching verses 13-21, "If there be no resurrection of the dead- Christ is not risen. Our preaching is vain- Also your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen sleep in Christ are perished." Paul said in effect, "Of course all in Adam will perish, but if there is no resurrection then they also in Christ will perish too." Paul's argument is too plain to be misunderstood. "Christ the first fruits-afterward they that are Christ's at His coming." What about those who are not Christ's? Will they get a resurrection also?
At the grave of Lazarus, Jesus said to Martha, "They brother shall rise again." (John 11:3). Note carefully Martha's reply, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." (Verse 24). Note carefully what Jesus said to her; "I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." (Verse 25). What if people die who are not believers in Jesus, will they live, i.e. get a resurrection? No, they perish. "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." (John 3:16). In Adam, people who die perish. In Christ, people who die get a resurrection, a rising again. This class includes the just and the unjust; all the "virgins", wise and foolish, all the church members who have believed and obeyed the one Gospel those who have sown to the spirit and those who have sown to the flesh; all appear before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of what they have done, whether it be good or bad. In Daniel 12:2 we read, "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt." Note carefully the statement "Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake." It does not say all of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, for we have cited many passages of scripture to show that all in Adam, all in the broad way that leads to destruction have perished. Believe it or not.
In Acts 4:1,2 we find Peter and John getting themselves into trouble. Why? Because they taught the people "and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead." My friends, that's exactly why the Christadelphians are sending this message to you. We are trying to teach the people and preaching resurrection only through Jesus. People without Christ, without hope, without God (Eph. 2:12) all in Adam, all in the broad way that leadeth to destruction, perish.
Those who believe in universal resurrection often quote the Savior's words in John 5:28, "Marvel not at this (this what? see verse 25) for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves (not their graves) shall hear his voice and shall come forth; they that have done good, (sown to the spirit) unto resurrection of life; and they that have done evil (sown to the flesh) unto the resurrection of damnation." If you will look up in any good analytical concordance the phrase, "all that are in the graves" you will find "memorial or marked graves." These marked or memorial graves contain those who heard and shall live in verse 25. In this verse those who were dead (in trespasses and sins as in Eph. 2:1) hear the gospel as preached by the sons of God and accept it and they will live or get a resurrection. they constitute the all in John 5:28, in marked memorial graves that will be resurrected, both good and bad, just and unjust, those who have sown to the spirit and those who have sown to the flesh. O the beautiful harmony of the scriptures!
In our last consideration and in these words, we have tried to show you that people who die, are dead and that the "dead know not anything." (Ecclesiastes 9:5). If there is no death as the poet says, if people really do not die, then all the writers in the Bible who refer to resurrection have wasted their time and energy, and Jesus the Savior of men, was mistaken when he said, "I am the resurrection and the life, he that believeth in me though he were dead, yet shall he live," John 11:25, and "because I live ye shall live also." (John 14:19).
After God raised Jesus from the dead, Acts 2:32, we hear him saying, "I am he that liveth and was dead; and, behold I am alive forevermore. I have the keys of hell and death." (Revelation 1:18). In Matthew 16:18, "The gates of hell (the grave) shall not prevail against it." (the church).
Before Paul's conversion, he was a zealous Pharisee, and like all other Pharisees believed in a resurrection of the dead both of the just and the unjust. After his conversion he continued to preach the doctrine of the resurrection of the just and the unjust. Then why did the Pharisees oppose Paul? Because he preached resurrection through Christ, a fact not acceptable to the Pharisees. In Phillipians 3:8-11, we have Paul's desire for resurrection and immortality forcibly expressed. He says, "I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith; that I may know him and the power of his resurrection" (the word resurrection here is from the Greek word anastasis and simply means a standing again.) (All in Christ will be made alive.) Now note carefully verse 11, Paul says, "if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead." The word resurrection here is exanastasis meaning out from those who get anastasis, or standing again. In other words, Paul is willing to do anything to get eternal life. In verse 13 Paul says, "This one thing I do, forgetting the things that are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press forward to the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Paul's example of zeal and stedfastness should inspire us to press forward that we may "be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, being made equal to the angels to die no more," (Luke 20:36,37). A true knowledge of the resurrection and a hope based thereon, will lift you above the cares and trials of this life. It will cause you to press forward toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, who for the joy set before him endured the cross and despised the shame, "and is now at the right hand of God, making intercessions for us." A most beautiful thought. In Christ, shall all be made alive. It was the living hope of Peter. It is the living hope of all who take the Bible as their guide. We read in I Corinthians 15:2, Paul said, "If after the manner of men, I have fought with the beasts at Ephesus, what advatageth it me if the dead rise not. Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die." But Paul's hope was the resurrection. He admonished the Church, "My beloved brethren be ye stedfast, and unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for your labor is not in vain in the Lord."
Does Man Possess an Immortal Soul?