By Gordon Anderson
MEMORY VERSE: “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.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
STUDY HELP: Great Controversy, 635–647.
INTRODUCTION: “Moses upon the mount of transfiguration was a witness to Christ’s victory over sin and death. He represented those who shall come forth from the grave at the resurrection of the just. Elijah, who had been translated to heaven without seeing death, represented those who will be living upon the earth at Christ’s second coming, and who will be ‘changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump’; when ‘this mortal must put on immortality,’ and ‘this corruptible must put on incorruption.’ 1 Corinthians 15:51–53. Jesus was clothed with the light of heaven, as He will appear when He shall come ‘the second time without sin unto salvation.’ For He will come ‘in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.’ Hebrews 9:28; Mark 8:38. The Savior’s promise to the disciples was now fulfilled. Upon the mount the future kingdom of glory was represented in miniature, Christ the King. . . .” Desire of Ages, 421.
“SINCE BY MAN CAME DEATH”
How did God make clear that death is the consequence of sin? Genesis 2:16, 17.
NOTE: “Satan deceives many with the plausible theory that God’s love for His people is so great that He will excuse sin in them; he represents that while the threatenings of God’s word are to serve a certain purpose in His moral government, they are never to be literally fulfilled. But in all His dealings with His creatures God has maintained the principles of righteousness by revealing sin in its true character—by demonstrating that its sure result is misery and death.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 522.
“Evil, sin, and death were not created by God; they are the result of disobedience, which riginated in Satan.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 503.
Why was that death sentence on Adam not immediately executed? Genesis 3:21.
NOTE: The death sentence was carried out that very day, but an innocent substitute was killed instead to provide a covering for man’s nakedness. Thus was brought home to the guilty pair the true consequence of sin and that their only hope lay in the sacrifice of Christ on their behalf. “After Adam and Eve had sinned, they were under bondage to the law. Because of their transgression they were sentenced to suffer death, the penalty of sin. But Christ, the propitiation for our sins, declared: ‘I will stand in Adam’s place. I will take upon myself the penalty of his sin. He shall have another trial. I will secure for him a probation. He shall have the privileges and the opportunities of a free man, and be allowed to exercise his God-given power of choice. I will postpone the day of his arraignment for trial.’” Atlantic Union Gleaner, August 19, 1903.
“BY MAN CAME ALSO THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD”
How certain can we be that Christ rose from the dead? 1 Corinthians 15:4, 8.
NOTE: When Frank Morrison set out to examine the life of Christ, he did so “with a very definite feeling that, if I may put it so, His history rested upon very insecure foundations.” While he had a deep respect and even reverent regard for the person of Christ, he had been taught to believe that “miracles do not happen.” He set out to study the last seven days of Christ’s life, simply because the accounts of those days “seemed remarkably free from the miraculous element which on scientific grounds I held suspect.” Carefully he examined all the alternatives to the resurrection, that Joseph of Arimathea removed the body, that the body was removed by order of Pontius Pilate, that the body was removed by the Jewish authorities to prevent possible generation of the tomb, that Jesus recovered in the tomb, that the women went to the wrong tomb, that no one went to the grave and the stories were fabricated later. One by one, he had to reject all these possibilities. He concluded: “There certainly is a deep and profoundly historical basis for that much disputed sentence in the Apostles’ Creed, ‘The third day he rose again from the dead.’” The result of his investigations was the book, Who Moved the Stone?
When Christ died, did He go to heaven? John 20:17.
NOTE: “Christ did not go to heaven directly after His death. It is claimed by some that when He died, although his body was laid in the grave, His spirit went to heaven. But after His resurrection He said to Mary, ‘Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God.’ If, after He bowed his head and died, He went directly to heaven, certainly He did ascend to his Father. Christ remained in the grave the allotted period of time, and then He took up His life again. In the hearing of the people He had said, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up,’ referring to His body. He came forth from the grave a conqueror, proclaiming, over the rent sepulchre of Joseph, ‘I am the resurrection, and the life.’” Review and Herald, April 26, 1898.
Did Christ Jesus do anything between His death on the cross and the Resurrection? 1 Peter 3:18, 20.
NOTE: Some have claimed that Christ spent the time between His crucifixion and His resurrection preaching the Gospel of salvation to those who died in Old Testament times. (Many of these same people also claim that Christ accompanied the repentant thief to Paradise at the same time.) The “He” in 1 Peter 3:19 is Christ. The “which” refers to the Spirit. (See verse 18.) Who were “the spirits in prison”? Nowhere does the Bible describe death as a prison. Galatians 3: 22, 23 describes sin as imprisonment. 1 Peter 3:20 explains that it was disobedience that imprisoned these people. These were people shut up in the prison house of sin with no power to save themselves. When did Christ preach to these people? 1Peter 3:20 explains that these were the ones alive during the 120 years while Noah was building the Ark. How did He preach to them? He preached to them through the Spirit. Verses 19, 20. Noah was the mouthpiece of the Spirit. See 2 Peter 2:5. What was the outcome of this preaching? Only a few, eight souls, were saved. Verse 20.
“AS IN ADAM ALL DIE”
Why has death passed upon all men? Romans 5:12.
NOTE: “The wickedness that fills our world is the result of Adam’s refusal to take God’s word as supreme. He disobeyed, and fell under the temptation of the enemy. ‘Sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.’ God declared, ‘The soul that sinneth, it shall die.’ And, apart from the plan of redemption, human beings are doomed to death. ‘All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.’” Review and Herald, March 15, 1906.
Will a person die for his own sins or for Adam’s sin? Ezekiel 18:19, 20.
NOTE: “It is inevitable that children should suffer from the consequences of parental wrongdoing, but they are not punished for the parents’ guilt, except as they participate in their sins.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 306.
“EVEN SO IN CHRIST SHALL ALL BE MADE ALIVE”
What is the link between the resurrection of Christ and the Christian’s hope of resurrection? 1 Corinthians 15:12, 19.
NOTE: “At the very beginning of his first letter [Peter] the aged servant of God ascribed to his Lord a tribute of praise and thanksgiving. ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,’ he exclaimed, ‘which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Acts of the Apostles, 517.
See also Prophets and Kings, 445, 446.
How did Jesus Himself express the truth that all men will be raised from the dead? John 5:28, 29.
NOTE: “In consequence of Adam’s sin, death passed upon the whole human race. All alike go down into the grave. And through the provisions of the plan of salvation, all are to be brought forth from their graves. ‘There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust;’ ‘for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.’ Acts 24:15; 1 Corinthians 15:22. But a distinction is made between the two classes that are brought forth. ‘All that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.’ John 5:28, 29. They who have been ‘accounted worthy’ of the resurrection of life are ‘blessed and holy.’ ‘On such the second death hath no power.’ Revelation 20:6. But those who have not, through repentance and faith, secured pardon, must receive the penalty of transgression, ‘the wages of sin.’ They suffer punishment varying in duration and intensity, ‘according to their works,’ but finally ending in the second death. Since it is impossible for God, consistently with His justice and mercy, to save the sinner in his sins, He deprives him of the existence which his transgressions have forfeited and of which he has proved himself unworthy. Says an inspired writer: ‘Yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.’ And another declares: ‘They shall be as though they had not been.’ Psalm 37:10; Obadiah 16. Covered with infamy, they sink into hopeless, eternal oblivion.” Great Controversy, 544, 545.
“EVERY MAN IN HIS OWN ORDER”
Who was the first person to be raised from the dead? Romans 5:14. Compare Jude verse 9 and Matthew 17:1, 3.
NOTE: See Patriarchs and Prophets, 478.
What other resurrection has taken place also? Matthew 27:50, 53.
NOTE: “As Christ arose, He brought from the grave a multitude of captives. The earthquake at His death had rent open their graves, and when He arose, they came forth with Him. They were those who had been co-laborers with God, and who at the cost of their lives had borne testimony to the truth. Now they were to be witnesses for Him who had raised them from the dead. During His ministry, Jesus had raised the dead to life. He had raised the son of the widow of Nain, and the ruler’s daughter and Lazarus. But these were not clothed with immortality. After they were raised, they were still subject to death. But those who came forth from the grave at Christ’s resurrection were raised to everlasting life. They ascended with Him as trophies of His victory over death and the grave. These, said Christ, are no longer the captives of Satan; I have redeemed them. I have brought them from the grave as the first fruits of My power, to be with Me where I am, nevermore to see death or experience sorrow. These went into the city, and appeared unto many, declaring, Christ has risen from the dead, and we be risen with Him. Thus was immortalized the sacred truth of the resurrection. The risen saints bore witness to the truth of the words, ‘Thy dead men shall live, together with My dead body shall they arise.’ Their resurrection was an illustration of the fulfillment of the prophecy, ‘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.’ Isaiah 26:19.” Desire of Ages, 786.
“THEY THAT ARE CHRIST’S AT HIS COMING”
How did Job express his confidence in the resurrection? Job 19:25, 27.
When will the dead in Christ be raised? 1 Corinthians 15:23, 52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
NOTE: “Nowhere in the Sacred Scriptures is found the statement that the righteous go to their reward or the wicked to their punishment at death. The patriarchs and prophets have left no such assurance. Christ and His apostles have given no hint of it. The Bible clearly teaches that the dead do not go immediately to heaven. They are represented as sleeping until the resurrection. 1 Thessalonians 4:14; Job 14:10–12. In the very day when the silver cord is loosed and the golden bowl broken (Ecclesiastes 12:6), man’s thoughts perish. They that go down to the grave are in silence. They know no more of anything that is done under the sun. Job 14:21. Blessed rest for the weary righteous! Time, be it long or short, is but a moment to them. They sleep; they are awakened by the trump of God to a glorious immortality. ‘For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible. . . . So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.’ 1 Corinthians 15:52–54. As they are called forth from their deep slumber, they begin to think just where they ceased. The last sensation was the pang of death; the last thought, that they were falling beneath the power of the grave. When they arise from the tomb, their first glad thought will be echoed in the triumphal shout: ‘O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’ Verse 55.” Great Controversy, 549, 550.