Today a Facebook friend, Chris Palios, shared a chart comparing Matthew 24 and I Thessalonians 4-5. I’ve seen this comparison before, and his post was a good reminder that I’ve been meaning to post it here as well. As Chris said, the similarities between these two passages are fascinating.
While it’s still popular to view Matthew 24 as yet unfulfilled, there are plenty (and even more in church history) who recognize that Jesus was prophesying there concerning Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 AD and other events which would take place within His own generation. [A detailed study on the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21) can be seen at the top of this page.] However, among those who view Matthew 24 as fulfilled, some believe that I Thessalonians 4-5 speak of future events. Here is the well-known passage that speaks of the resurrection of believers, which others take as being about a “rapture”:
“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words” (I Thessalonians 4:15-18).
As I’ve promised Steve (who posted a 3-part series here as a guest last year), a deeper study on the resurrection of believers is still in the works. For now, though, here is a chart showing the strong similarities between Matthew 24 and I Thessalonians 4-5. The relationship is so close that I don’t believe it’s possible to view one passage as being fulfilled in the first century AD and the other as not yet fulfilled:
|Statements Regarding Jesus’ Coming||Reference in Matthew 24||Reference in I Thess. 4 or 5|
|1. Christ Himself returns||Matthew 24:30||I Thess. 4:16|
|2. From heaven||Matthew 24:30||I Thess. 4:16|
|3. With a shout||Matthew 24:30||I Thess. 4:16|
|4. Accompanied by angels||Matthew 24:31||I Thess. 4:16|
|5. With the trumpet of God||Matthew 24:31||I Thess. 4:16|
|6. In clouds||Matthew 24:30||I Thess. 4:17|
|7. Believers are gathered||Matthew 24:31||I Thess. 4:17|
|8. At an unknown time||Matthew 24:36||I Thess. 5:1-2|
|9. He will come as a thief||Matthew 24:43||I Thess. 5:2, 4|
|10. People unaware of coming judgment||Matthew 24:37-39||I Thess. 5:3|
|11. Judgment comes as travail upon an expectant mother||Matthew 24:8||I Thess. 5:3|
|12. Believers are to watch||Matthew 24:42||I Thess. 5:4|
|13. Warning against drunkenness||Matthew 24:49||I Thess. 5:7|
26 thoughts on “Comparing Matthew 24 and I Thessalonians 4-5”
I don’t believe that Matt. 24 and 1 Thess. 4 are about the same thing. Matt. 24:30 is a reference to Daniel 7:13-14 the Son of Man coming with the clouds to the Ancient of Days in heaven not to resurrect and rapture the the church. No where in Matt. 24 is there anything about the resurrection.
Paul in 1 Thess. reassures the church that those who have died will not miss out on the resurrection. 1 Cor. 15:25 gives us the timing of the resurrection. “For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.”
While Christ is reigning He puts down His enemies. He comes in judgement working all things together in His will. The sign of the Son of Man in heaven was His judgement on Jerusalem that His enemies saw as He promised. He warned the churches in the book of Rev. He was coming quickly to judge their works.
When Paul speaks of the Day of the Lord in 1 Thess. 5, that is a day of judgement and a sign of the Son of Man in heaven. What ever you think of any of these things the resurrection/rapture will not sneak in quietly like a thief no one will miss it.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hi. If Matthew 24 and I Thessalonians 4 are not about the same thing, what do you do then with all the parallels and identical language used in both passages? Is it a coincidence?
I agree that Matthew 24:30 is a reference to Jesus’ ascension as recorded in Daniel 7:13-14. Where Matthew 24 possibly speaks of a resurrection is in verse 31: “And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
Matthew 24 contains other parallels to a passage which speaks of the resurrection, Daniel 12:1-7.
Daniel 12 speaks of an incomparable time of trouble (distress, tribulation) for Daniel’s people (verse 1). Jesus said that the time of tribulation He predicted would be unlike anything before or after it (Matthew 24:21). Daniel spoke of Jewish believers being delivered at that time. Jesus warned the people of Judea to flee when Jerusalem would be surrounded by armies (Matthew 24:15-20, Luke 21:20-23), and His followers did exactly this in 67 AD and were kept safe in Pella (modern Jordan). Daniel said that this time of trouble would last for 3.5 years (“a time, times, and half a time”), and Rome fought against Israel for 3.5 years (February 67 AD – August 70 AD) before Jerusalem was destroyed. This was the shattering of “the power of the holy people” (Daniel 12:7). And Daniel was told that a resurrection would take place at this time.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Great questions! I don’t have THE DEFINITIVE ANSWER. Does similar language always mean the same thing? Matt. 24 I believe was fulfilled because Jesus said it would all be fulfilled in that generation. The trumpet sound and the gathering together in Matt. 24:31 would be as apparent as the “sign of the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory”. Jesus is the first resurrection all who are in Him have part in the first resurrection.
I believe that Paul in 1 Thess.4 uses the same language as Jesus in Matt.24, ” gathering at the sound of the trumpet” to refer to what will be the ultimate realization of what we have in Christ, that is redeemed body, soul & spirit. He really could not talk about our being raised with Christ Col. 3:1 and not tell about what we will some day be part of. Paul knew about the coming tribulation that was about to come against the Jews and that the Christians would be tested but they would be vindicated.
Did those who sleep in the dust rise in 70 AD? You tell me. I was not there and I am not aware of any accounts accept that intriguing comment from Matthew in his gospel 27:52,53. no parallel account. I think it would be odd for Paul not to mention it if it was a fulfillment of Daniel 12. And if that happened in 70 AD why was Paul and the other Christians who had died by then not be resurrected? And Daniel also says some who were not written in the Book of Life were raised to everlasting contempt. I think people would have noticed the empty graves. I think that the Saints who were raised in Matt. 27:52,53 were not raised like Jesus but like Lazarus but I really don’t know.
I know that Jesus is raised and seated at the right hand of God and will continue to reign until all His enemies are put under his feet and that the last enemy is death. 1 Cor. 15. Jesus used the term resurrection at the raising of Lazarus. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” His resurrection guaranteed it. Lazarus was resurrected by Jesus at that time but the term did not mean the same as Jesus was resurrected. So I think the same terms or phrases in the bible can refer to different realities.
LikeLiked by 1 person
May I pose a simple solution to this “rapture” question? The identity of the members of this group who are “alive and remain” is not speaking of the entire first-century church of believers Paul was writing to, nor is it referring to a future-to-us, pre-trib dispensational rapture of the church. Rather, these are the resurrected saints of Matthew 27:52-53 who had been bodily raised along with Christ as the “firstfruits” (the First Resurrection). They never died again (not physically possible for a resurrected person), and lingered (remained) on this earth, living as resurrected saints among those of the early church as laborers in the harvest. They were a major part of an answer to the prayer Jesus told his disciples to pray. They were to ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into that harvest, since the fields were already white. God did that very thing when Jesus led this multitude of captives with Him at his resurrection, and gave them as gifts to men.
Paul states in Romans 8:23 that these “firstfruits of the Spirit” were still among them, patiently awaiting the final redemption of their resurrected bodies into heaven and Jesus’ presence. “We ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit…” is NOT talking about the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, etc.) – it’s referring to this first resurrected group which was bodily raised by the power of the Spirit, just as Christ was. They were part of “the precious fruit of the earth” that the husbandman, God, waited for.
There was a 2nd, much larger bodily resurrection in 70 AD for the House of Israel, with a physically-returning Christ taking these alive and remaining Matthew 27 saints of the 1st resurrection along with Him at the same time. This is the fulfillment of the I Thess. 4:15-17 text. Every resurrected eye saw Him coming in the clouds in 70 AD, from both of these groups. We now await a 3rd, (even larger yet) bodily resurrection event for ourselves, according to the types laid out in scripture for the three required Old Covenant harvest feast celebrations.
Hi Patricia. I can’t say I agree concerning a corporate resurrection in both 70 AD and our future. It took me a minute, but I see what you’re saying when you tie Paul’s “alive and remain” remark to Matthew 27:52-53. That sure is an interesting story, the one in Matthew about people walking out of the graves.
Which passages do you believe speak about a future corporate resurrection? Thanks.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Very interesting comment. I see where you could come to that conclusion. Matt. 27:52.53 clearly states that the bodies of saints were raised from the grave after Jesus’ resurrection. This has always puzzled me. I thought it was it was people who had died recently who had come back to life like Lazarus. But then died again physically like Lazarus.
I don’t think that the term “first resurrection” applies here. The first resurrection is Christ’s we all take part in the first resurrection if we are in Christ. Col. 3:1. So we all have been spiritually raised and since Christ was raised bodily we all will be raised bodily. Paul says that Christ is the first-fruits 1 Cor. 15:20. So those who were raised after Christ’s resurrection Matt. 27:52,53 would be included in the “first resurrection” along with all believers from the first century to today.
So what was Paul talking about in 1 Thess. 4? It seems to me that Paul was giving them “bullet point” reminders of things he had discussed with them at length when he was with them. He talks about sexuality and living responsibly then he in verse 13 he assures them that those who have died would not miss out on the resurrection when He returns.
I have to assume that Paul knew what he was talking about in 2 Thess. 2. The coming of Christ and the gathering together in Him was something that they, the Thessalonians, would see.. Verse 5 ” Do you not remember that when I was with you I told you these things?”
We know that Paul and the Thessalonian church were not resurrected bodily in the first century so what ever Paul meant by “gathering together” was achieved spiritually. My humble opinion is that Nero’s death and the destruction of Jerusalem was vindication of the church and form then on the church would continue to gather and grow as was prophesied by Daniel 2:35. The stone made without hands that hit the feet of the image and grew into a mountain that filled the earth.
1 Cor. 15:25,26 gives the timing of the bodily resurrection, it will be after ALL His enemies are under His feet. Death is the last enemy. Christ is reigning now, death is still around. I trust He is continuing to put His enemies under His feet.
Did Lazarus really die again?
Traditionally from early childhood, I too was taught that Lazarus and all others raised from the dead in scripture simply died again later – that somehow their resurrection was different in a way from the real-deal resurrection. There are just a few problems with that idea, though. There are absolutely NO verses to prove it. I know the Pharisees would have loved to see Lazarus dead again, but simply because they were wishing for it and formulating plans for it to happen is not proof that such a thing was a possibility (John 12:10). As I used to tell my kids when they wanted something that wasn’t in the family budget – “Wantin’ ain’t gettin’ “. If that isn’t a Southern maxim, it ought to be.
On the other side of this question, we do have multiple references in scripture that limit the death of our physical body to one occurrence only. I believe we’re all familiar with Hebrews 9:27, 28a, “And as it is appointed unto men ONCE to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many;” It’s a God promise that excludes double jeopardy when it involves physical death. Unless you want to say that Jesus can die more than one time.
We also have the well-known debate question posed by the Sadducees to Jesus concerning the woman married to the seven brothers (Luke 20:35-36). “But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world (age) and the resurrection from AMONG the dead neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither CAN they die anymore, for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” Two things to pull out from this – #1) If this is describing a group resurrection event, then there are some dead that aren’t raised at the same time, or it wouldn’t say “from AMONG the dead” in the Interlinear version. By the way, that would mesh perfectly with a 3-bodily-resurrections paradigm, as I tried to present it in the comment posted on Mar. 11th.
#2) Jesus stresses the impossibility of someone dying twice with the phrase, “Neither CAN they die anymore.” In this aspect, they share an eternal characteristic with the angels.
Another point: “For if we are planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.” (Romans 6:5) Even allowing that this passage also makes a correlation of spiritual resurrection truths with physical resurrection truths, it still operates as proof that our resurrection body (A) is equal to Jesus’ resurrection body (B). So if it is impossible for Jesus to die again (C), then it would also be impossible for us to die physically more than once. If A = B = C, then A = C, yes? This same Romans 6:9-10 passage says without doubt that, after being raised, Jesus “dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.” It repeats this fact in Acts 13:34, “And as concerning that He raised Him up from among the dead (there’s that word “among” again), now NO MORE to return to corruption, He said on this wise, ‘I will give you the sure mercies of David’ .” We can’t get around the fact that (A) is equal to (C).
I think I know why many are so reluctant to admit that Lazarus and cases similar to his never died again. They think that by admitting this, they have contradicted the verses claiming that Jesus is called the First Begotten from the dead: (Romans 8:29 – “…the firstborn among many brethren”, Rev. 1:5 – “Jesus Christ…the first begotten from the dead…”, Hebrews 1:5 – “…Thou art my Son, this day (ascension day) have I begotten thee…” and v. 6 – “And when he bringeth again the firstbegotten into the world…”) The problem is that the wrong definition is imposed on the term “Firstbegotten”. There were plenty of individual cases of bodily resurrections occurring before Christ’s in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. But Jesus was absolutely the first to pass through the death process and STAND IN GOD’S PRESENCE in a resurrected human form (Psalm 2:7, Acts 13:33, Daniel 7:13-14, Hebrews 1:5). Not even Enoch could say that. This is the ultimate eventual inheritance we will receive – an everlasting fellowship IN GOD’S PRESENCE in a human form composed of an incorruptible soul, body, and spirit. Anything less than all of these inclusions is an incomplete process, and grants a partial victory to death. The 70 AD bodily resurrection was “better” (Hebrews 11:35, 40) than the 33 AD group resurrection of Christ and the Matthew 27:52-53 saints (as well as any single, individual case before that, such as the one for Lazarus). It was better because it included the final escort into the Father’s very presence. Angelic valet service, which was going to be provided for those of 70 AD who were “ABOUT TO INHERIT SALVATION” (Hebrews 1:14)in the completed sense of it. This 70 AD bodily resurrection was the one referred to by Paul, on trial before Felix, when he told him in Acts 24:15 that “there is about to be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.” Hello, Daniel 12:1-2 and the resurrection of Daniel’s people.
Before you dismiss the view that no resurrected person dies again, consider this also: the eternal security for our soul’s salvation is linked to the eternal security of our resurrected body. The one is a mirror of the other in Romans 6. Once a soul is alive unto God in salvation , it has been adopted into the family of God and NEVER forfeits that standing. In the same way, once a person’s dead body has been raised to life again, it NEVER relinquishes that changed form. It becomes incorruptible flesh and bones like those of Jesus (Luke 24:39), but not flesh and blood, since the life of the flesh, (in its corruptible state), is in the blood. Once that transition is made, there is no going back – guaranteed by “the sure mercies of David” (Acts 13:34), which is “an everlasting covenant” (Isaiah 55:3).
Thank you for being gracious enough not to summarily slap a label of rank heresy on this viewpoint at first reading. I appreciate that about your site – it’s a very fair-minded, balanced presentation.
To answer your question regarding scripture proof of a future corporate resurrection – apologies in advance for this somewhat lengthy, convoluted explanation. We have one example in Revelation 10:4 of prophecy unfulfilled to that generation, and that is whatever the 7 thunders revealed only to John when they uttered their voices. The content of their revelation was sealed to John’s 70 AD audience, in the same way Daniel’s vision was sealed to his time, to be opened at a later date. It appears to be the lone, self-imposed exception in the book of Revelation that prevents us from saying that everything in that book, bar none, was fulfilled by 70 AD’s end. Something was prophetically intended for human history after 70 AD. Since there are no details given in Rev. 10:4 to fill in this prophetic blank, you look elsewhere in scripture for them. That “elsewhere” is….
#1) Hosea 6:3 “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter (spring) and former (fall) rain unto the earth.” Pair this verse with its companion verse in…
#2) James 5:7-8 “Be patient therefore, brethren, till the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until it receive the early (fall) and latter (spring) rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”
Over and over again, God used agricultural terminology with that agrarian society to portray His redemptive actions among men. The rainy seasons in Israel, both latter and former, were quite predictable. God deliberately designed His Old Covenant worship system to revolve around the harvest times in that region of the globe. The 3 harvest feast celebrations, with required attendance in Jerusalem, were intended to be a living enactment in metaphoric style of how God would time His harvests of the bodies of all mankind, divided into 3 corresponding resurrections at these 3 main festival times in the year.
The first was the Matthew 27:52-53 saints-only resurrection, which coincided with Christ’s during Passover week. It was a fulfillment of the type of the sheaf handful of the barley harvest, presented as a firstfruits offering to God in the temple at Passover as a token representation of the bigger harvest expected to come soon around Pentecost.
The second, 70 AD resurrection of Daniel’s people fell exactly on this day of Pentecost, according to the curiously exact prediction of a resurrection on the 1,335th day in Daniel 12:11-13 (from the time of the Eleazar-led cessation of daily sacrifices for the empire when Cestius Gallus’ troops broke into Jerusalem on Oct. 4, 66 AD, up until Pentecost in 70 AD). Those NOT included in this bodily resurrection are the “other lords” in Isaiah 26:13-14 – Gentile nations who had dominion over God’s people throughout history. Not to be flip about someone’s eternal destiny, but it seems that King Thut didn’t make the 70 AD cut for the proselyte “children of faith” , or we wouldn’t have his mummy parked in a museum today.
To finish this pattern, the only harvest feast antitype left to be fulfilled after 70 AD is a resurrection timed to occur when the feast of tabernacles would have been celebrated at Jerusalem’s temple in the fall – the time of the “former” rain. This is why….
#3) Zechariah 14:16-19 mentions only this one required feast to be remembered by all the nations (including the heathen) after Jerusalem’s temple falls in 70 AD. Passover and Pentecost are left unmentioned here in Zech. 14, since they would already be fulfilled resurrection antitypes by 70 AD’s end. Significantly, the fall harvest included multiple types of crops (to mimic the many Gentile nations that will be included in this resurrection). In contrast, Pentecost’s harvest included only the wheat crop – along with the “tares” (to mimic the house of Israel only being raised, both the just and the unjust members).
All these 3 resurrections include physically transformed bodies coming out of the dust. The Matthew 27 saints were without a doubt physically resurrected. It was such an astounding event that even Hymenaeus and Philetus presumed it was the fulfillment of all resurrection hopes that could ever be expected. This brings us back full circle to I Thess. 4 and the “rapture” text. Paul’s words of comfort were meant to combat the discouraging error that Hymenaeus and Philetus had spread through the early church. The Matthew 27 resurrected saints serving among the church were being used by Hymenaeus and Philetus as “proof” that the resurrection was over and done with. In I Thess. 4, Paul is correcting that misconception by telling the sorrowing church members that their dead loved ones would rise first in the coming 70 AD resurrection. The already-resurrected, alive and remaining handful of Matthew 27 saints would not be the only ones making it to the exit ramp, but would join the newly-resurrected dead saints to meet their Lord together in the air.
If all this metaphoric connection between eschatology and the agricultural theme seems a bit far-fetched, there are grounds for it in Colossians 2:16. Paul said that the new moons, sabbaths, and holyday feasts were a shadow of things about to come in his day. The new moon’s appearance that the priests would watch for dictated the day that Passover would be celebrated – and subsequently, when Pentecost would also be celebrated 50 days later. No man knew the day or the hour when the new moon would appear, so they were to watch. Christ linked His actual physical coming with this “sign of the Son of Man in heaven”.
Since this shadow pattern of the 3 harvest feasts has been so meticulously followed through history, I am willing to have faith that God will complete the pattern in my future, using the type of the Feast of Tabernacles, its Day of Atonement, and quite possibly a Jubilee year when the rest of humanity will “return to our possession” in a third, final resurrection at the end of human history. Christ’s final return will come then at the time of the “former” rain, just as Hosea 6:3 and James 5:7-8 predicted.
It is a “Good”, “Better” (Heb. 11:35-40), and “Best” resurrection pattern. It is a resurrection to close the Old Covenant dealings with the whole house of Israel, and a final resurrection to complete the dealings with the rest of humanity under the New Covenant. It is the types of a Rachel marriage (Israel) and a Leah marriage (One New Man combination) to Jacob. It is leaven in the bread-making process, with a punch-down of the dough in 70 AD to help distribute the leaven evenly into every minute corner of the loaf before baking time at the end of human history.
Sorry again for the lengthy reply, Adam. There’s just no easy way to condense it.
Would anyone be interested in a list of other verses connected to the Matthew 27:52-53 saints?
For those of you that have wondered about the purpose for this event, this comment is an attempt to cover everything you always wanted to know about the Matthew 27:52-53 saints, but were afraid to ask your fellow preterists. I have opened the file on this group and found that these guys have an impressive, extensive resume. It isn’t typical of God to mention something only once in scripture. Two or three witnesses to a truth is His usual pattern. Below are multiple references with further detail to expand on their identity. These are ALL talking about the Matthew 27:52-53 saints, and there may well be even more that I haven’t noticed yet. You can find them as long as you aren’t trying to discount the idea of physically-resurrected, incorruptible bodies emerging from the dust. Otherwise, their story is an embarrassing inconvenience that some would prefer was not included in the Bible. Personally, I believe it is a story that is absolutely pivotal to understanding God’s 3-stage plan for the resurrections (plural).
To begin with, I am aware of the record of this event as it is presented in the Book of Nicodemus, and have read it. Scripture itself, though, provides us ample evidence to support the Matthew 27 account without resorting to extra-biblical sources.
#1) I Thess. 4:15-18 – This one was covered already on a previous post. They are the “alive and remaining” ones that would be “raptured” at the 70 AD bodily resurrection, and united with the newly-resurrected ones as they meet the Lord together in the air.
#2) Romans 8:23 – “And not only they, (every righteous creature who has died under the OC up until that point), but ourselves also, (Paul and the members of the early church), which have the FIRSTFRUITS OF THE SPIRIT, (the Matthew 27 resurrected saints living and serving among the early church), even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” Whether this is speaking of a collective body, or a singular body for each one, doesn’t matter. Collectively, these two groups would all have individual, incorruptible resurrected bodies which would be gathered together as one and taken into God’s presence simultaneously in 70 AD.
#3) Leviticus 23:10-11 – “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring A SHEAF (HANDFUL) OF THE FIRSTFRUITS OF YOUR HARVEST unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.” This is the OT type of the NT Matthew 27 saints – an offering given at Passover in expectation of the full harvest coming in the near future at Pentecost. The full import of this point was also covered in a previous comment describing the pattern for 3 bodily resurrections.
#4) Revelation 20:4-6a (Interlinear) – “And I saw thrones; and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them; (possibly the 24 elders) and the souls of those beheaded on account of the testimony of Jesus, and on account of the word of God, (sounds just like the souls under the alter in Rev. 6:9), and those who did not do homage to the beast, nor his image, and did not receive the mark upon their forehead, and upon their hand; (note: this other, 2nd group not doing homage to the beast are not said to be martyred for failing to do so – they may have just died ordinary deaths) and they lived and reigned (as souls) with Christ the thousand years: (in the same sense that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were called “living” as souls in heaven with God as He spoke to Moses at the burning bush) but the rest (LOIPOI) of the dead (this same REMNANT of the dead spoken of above) not lived again (weren’t resurrected) till may have been completed the thousand years. THIS IS THE RESURRECTION FIRST. Blessed and holy he who has part in the resurrection first…” The Matthew 27:52-53 saints were the first group resurrection to ever be raised. There are no unrighteous ones mentioned here in Rev. 20:6, just as there were only saints included in the Matthew 27 group that were raised in 33 AD. And I see the millennium ending at the crucifixion in 33 AD. “It is finished” means the millennium ended at that point – not that salvation’s provisional terms had been met, since that would only be true after Christ’s resurrection. These not doing homage to the beast can be those not participating in emperor worship of the Roman beast up to the point of Christ’s death and resurrection. Conclusion: the Matthew 27 saints are the First resurrection.
#5) Psalm 68:18 – “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: (a “MULTITUDE OF CAPTIVES”) thou hast received GIFTS for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.” This “multitude of captives” Christ is leading out of the grave at his ascension (the morning after his resurrection) is the gift of these Matthew 27 saints raised to immortal life on the earth along with Him. Ephesians 4:8 quotes this same prophecy, with the single change of saying that Christ “gave” these gifts to men. So He received them from the Father, and then turned around and gave them to men. These various “gifts” are listed in Ephesians 4:11-12 (Interlinear). “And he gave some apostles (means “sent ones” – not to be confused with the 12 apostles), and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some shepherds and teachers, with a view to the perfecting of the saints; for work of the service, for building up the body of the Christ;” We are so used to thinking that these are only gifts as talents and abilities being given to the church today, that we can’t recognize that originally, they were actually resurrected saints who WERE these different entities of prophet, evangelist, teacher, etc. They provided the fulfillment of every one of these positions in order to serve and build up the early church after they were raised.
#6) Luke 18:6-8 – “And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge HIS OWN ELECT, WHICH CRY DAY AND NIGHT UNTO HIM , though he bear long with them: I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” These elect which cry for vengeance are the same as the righteous souls in Rev. 6:9 who have been slain “for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God”. (Note: these same two characteristics describe the Rev. 20:4 remnant of the dead) Their cry for vengeance is the same. Jesus promises, as a reward for their persistent prayer, that He will avenge them “speedily” (in the 70 AD judgment on Jerusalem and the nation). At the close of this list I will show how I believe the 144,000 fulfill the identity of these “elect”, and that the 144 K are the same as the Matthew 27 saints.
#7) Hebrews 12:1 – “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with SO GREAT A CLOUD OF WITNESSES, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” This being “compassed about” with this cloud of witnesses meant that the resurrected Matthew 27 saints were still among them as this book was being written, just as the Romans 8:23 reference above states. Some of the members of the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11 were the very ones surrounding the early church that this verse is talking about. Their presence was providing encouragement to the church to persevere with patience until the “better” resurrection arrived for all of them.
#8) Hebrews 12:22-23 (Interlinear) – “but ye have come to Sion mount; and the city of God the living, Jerusalem heavenly; and to myriads of angels, the universal gathering; and to the assembly of the FIRSTBORN ONES IN THE HEAVENS REGISTERED; and to the judge God of all; and to THE SPIRITS OF THE JUST WHO HAVE BEEN PERFECTED;” Here is another echo of the Romans 8:23 Firstfruits when it calls them “the Firstborn Ones” – those who are enrolled in heaven, but not present there yet, even though these “Just Ones” have already been perfected in an incorruptible body. They were a very present reality that the church was experiencing at that time when Hebrews was being written.
#9) Matthew 9:37-38 – “Then saith He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth LABORERS INTO HIS HARVEST.” If the gospel was going to be preached “in all the habitable earth, for a testimony to all the nations” before the end came (Matthew 24:14), but the disciples themselves wouldn’t have gone over all the cities of Israel before the Son of Man came (Matthew 10:23), then that leaves a gap of some people that would have to be ministered to by someone other than the disciples. Here is where the labor force of the Matthew 27 saints (prophets, evangelists, teachers, etc.) comes into the picture. Without the ordinary limitations of the corruptible human form, they would be able to cover ground that would be inaccessible to the disciples, and thus make good on God’s promise to reach all the nations of the habitable earth before the end of the age came.
#10) Hebrews 13:2 – “Be not forgetful to entertain STRANGERS: for thereby some have entertained ANGELS unawares.” The world for “angel” simply means “messenger”. In some cases it is referring to spirit beings, and in others, it refers to human agents delivering a message. The context rules. Abraham in his day literally entertained spirit beings that had taken on human form. But in this Hebrews 13:2 reference, I believe it is speaking of the Matthew 27 saints ministering the gospel in their travels to every nation of the habitable earth. As strangers coming to one city after another to spread the gospel from 33-70 AD, the writer of Hebrews is urging the church to exercise hospitality to strangers, since they might well be unknowingly assisting these Matthew 27 saints in the process.
#11) Romans 1:4 – “And declared to be the Son of God with power,according to the spirit of holiness, by the RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD:” Ordinarily, this phrase is rendered “resurrection from AMONG the dead”. But here, it’s OF the dead. These dead that are raised (the Matthew 27 saints) provide proof positive of the power of God, who is able not only raise His own body, but also the bodies of a multitude of captives along with Him. The automatic response of the Roman centurion witnessing the display of this power is to fear greatly, and declare that this truly must have been the Son of God.
#12) Revelation 14:6 (Interlinear) – “And I saw another ANGEL FLYING IN MID-HEAVEN, having the glad tidings everlasting to announce to those who dwell on the earth, and every nation and tribe and tongue and people,” This is a sort of synecdoche, with the singular angel (messenger) representing a group that is announcing the gospel to not just the earth (land of Israel), but also to every other nation of the habitable world, just as Matthew 24:14 above said would happen before the end came. The mid-heaven location is curious, and makes me think of the Matthew 27 saints’ singular condition of being resurrected from the earth, but not yet taken into God’s presence in heaven. It’s as if they are suspended somewhere in the middle between those two realities. What is more significant, this verse comes immediately after the Rev. 14 description of the 144,000, as if it is just continuing the description of them.
#13) Ephesians 1:12 – “That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in the heavens (as righteous souls waiting for the redemption of their bodies), and WHICH ARE UPON EARTH (the Matthew 27 saints which already have this body, but are still on the earth); even in him:” This is just a reflection of the Romans 8:23 verse above that speaks of every creature (KTISIS) groaning and waiting for the redemption of the body. This “gathering together in one” could be called a corporate resurrection of sorts, except that each one of those in the group has their own individual resurrected form. Jacob the patriarch spoke of this very thing on his deathbed, saying that “unto Him (Shiloh/Christ) shall the gathering of the people be” (Gen. 49:10).
#14) Revelation 6 and Revelation 14’s account of the 144,000 – To develop this last point connecting the 144 K with the Matthew 27:52-53 saints, I have done the following study:
Previously I have been mistaken about pinning down exactly who is represented by the 144 thousand in Rev. 6 and Rev. 14. Since then, I have noticed several characteristics shared between their group and the Matthew 27:52-53 saints that show they are one and the same.
We’re first introduced to the souls of the 144 K as they fervently pray for vengeance for their shed blood. It is the same prayer as that of God’s ELECT mentioned in the story of the unjust judge in Luke 18:7-8. The whole context surrounding Luke’s story is describing 70 AD’s events. If Jesus promises that “He will execute the avenging of them “speedily”, it would make more sense if the vengeance for the 144 K is poured out “when the Son of Man cometh” (in 70 AD, just a few years away from Luke’s parable) than it would for a date farther down the road than that.
Next, in Rev. 6:11, it states that WHITE ROBES are given to the 144 K. This is a picture of their being “clothed upon” (II Cor. 5:4) with the righteousness of an incorruptible, perfected, resurrected body. The 144 K are then told to rest (remain on the earth in this resurrected body) for “a little season”. This is the very same “little season”/”short time” between 33-70 AD (Rev. 12:12, Rev. 20:3,7-8) when Satan and his demons are released to deceive the nations. This interlude between 33 AD and 70 AD is when the LAST of the unnumbered multitude of Rev. 7:9 dies – the “fellow servants and brethren” who were ABOUT TO BE KILLED ” (Rev. 6:11) under great tribulation. Their death would be similar to that of the 144 K who had passed away sometime previous to their 33 Ad resurrection – under persecution.
The crucifixion phenomena surrounding Christ’s death is detailed next in Rev. 6:12-17. Since the cross is the antitype of the alter in the OT, it is significant that this 144 K is first presented as being UNDER THE ALTER. Quite literally, this close proximity to the “alter” of the cross is where we find the Matthew 27 saints emerging from their graves on resurrection day, following that of Christ. Revelation 6:12 has a “great earthquake”, (just as Matthew 27 had one), with the sun becoming black as sackcloth and the moon becoming as blood, which duplicates the same conditions during the crucifixion.
Next in Rev. 6:13, the “stars of the heaven fell unto the earth”. This is Satan and his demons being cast out of heaven unto the earth after the crucifixion (Rev. 12:9, 13) which immediately creates mayhem for the inhabitants of both the earth (Israel) and the sea (Gentile lands). Christ had warned his disciples of this twice already in the few days before His death (John 12:31). “NOW is the judgment of this world”, He said, (the judgment of Satan and his angels released to plague the earth and sea). “NOW shall the prince of this world be CAST OUT” (unto the earth – Rev. 12:9,13). And on the night of the last supper, He gives an even more urgent prediction in John 14:30. “…for the prince of this world cometh (is about to be cast down unto the earth), and hath nothing in me.”
By the way, these two statements by Jesus in John 12:31 and John 14:30 are the undeniable proof to me of the end of Revelation 20’s literal millennium in 33 AD. As stated above, “It is finished” meant the end of the LITERAL THOUSAND YEARS, when Satan and the demons were banned from heaven after their war with Michael, and cast out unto the earth. No wonder the sun was darkened at the crucifixion. The prince of darkness was about to arrive with all his demons in full fury. But – I digress.
The “judgment of this world” (John 23:31) cranks up following the crucifixion, which is why the rest of Rev. 6 describes the great ones of the earth, kings, captains, mighty men, bond and freemen, all claiming that the day of the Lamb’s wrath had come. Four angels (demons) standing on the four corners of the land are assigned in judgment to hurt the earth (Israel) and the sea (Gentile lands). A righteous angel from the east (the “sacred” direction) tells them to wait just until the 144 K servants of God are sealed in their foreheads. To seal something is to put a temporary halt on fulfillment for that particular thing until an undisclosed later date. To me, that says that the 144 K / Matthew 27 saints have their I Thess. 4 “rapture” to heaven put on hold until the “short season” of Satan’s harassment is over in 70 AD.
Not only is that the date for the disposal of all Satanic evil, but it is also the time for the resurrection of the “great multitude” in Rev. 7:9. That is when this second group (the “fellow-servants” of the 144 K) are given THEIR white robes”, representing a glorified, incorruptible body. It is the same “white robe” that was given unto EVERY ONE of the 144 K previously in 33 AD. This is an individual, personal garment, not a corporate one. The only difference is that they were given the assignment of wearing it while “remaining” on earth from 33 – 70 AD. This explains why they have a song to learn in Rev. 14:3 that no one else can learn except them. They have a unique task as a group that no one else was ever given – to minister to the infant NC church during the transition period, and spread the gospel tidings to the whole habitable world (Rev. 14:6). Did you ever consider how much evangelistic territory a resurrected saint could cover from 33 – 70 AD without the limitations of a corruptible body? They could have worked their way into every pocket of civilization throughout the known world.
The 144 K are also called virgins in Rev. 14:4 (because there is no marriage or giving in marriage in the resurrected state). They are described as having been “redeemed from the earth (Israel’s turf) and “redeemed FROM AMONG men” which is speaking of the redemption of the body, the purchased possession”, in a physical resurrection. They are called “Firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb (Rev. 14:4), just as they are the same “Firstfruits of the Spirit” in Romans 8:23. And they were patiently waiting, along with “every creature” from creation forward who hadn’t gotten above ground yet, for “all things in Christ to be gathered together as one (Ephesians 1:10), both the things in the heavens, (souls of the great multitude), and the things upon earth (the Matthew 27 missionaries).
Last of all, the 144 K are seen at the beginning of Rev. 14 standing with the Lamb on Mt. Zion. Those Matthew 27 saints were recorded as actually going into the city (Mt. Zion) and being seen after their resurrection. If it says Christ was there with them, literally standing on Mt. Zion, this is entirely believable for Christ to have done just after his resurrection. My final conclusion after zigzagging back and forth between these passages is that the 144 K are undoubtedly the same as the Matthew 27 saints. There are just too many similarities for that not to be true.
If all this above appears to be a rather jumbled presentation of disjointed items, part of that may be due to John’s recapitulation method of writing Revelation. I just wish I could express it more coherently. But, regardless of presentation, all the puzzle pieces still fit perfectly into a 3-resurrections paradigm.
Wow Patricia! That is a lot to address and I don’t think I’m quite up to the task. I will say that your explanation of 3 resurrections is more reasonable than the dispensational 2 resurrections. My problem with the dispensationalist view is that I cannot see resurrected, glorified saints on earth with mortal but redeemed sinners for 1000 years. I also cannot see resurrected, glorified saints serving in the pre 70 AD church as you described. I do not believe anyone was raised with an immortal glorified body except Jesus.
I do not believe that Enoch has a resurrected immortal body, nor do I believe it for Moses and Elijah. I do believe that all the people that Jesus healed died and that the widow’s son, the young girl and Lazarus that Jesus healed from death also died again.
And ” those who came out of the graves and appeared to many” could have been people who had recently died and were healed. But after Jesus’ resurrection.
Was Peter, James, Paul and Steven raised in 70AD? What about Abraham, Issac and Jacob? Jesus said that they live. Luke 20:38. Wouldn’t all those empty graves be noticed?
I think Jesus the God-Man is the only one with a resurrected, glorified body. Human spirits are with Christ now as Paul said, “absent from the body present with the Lord” 2 Cor. 5:8. I believe that we will be resurrected, immortal and glorified when He returns after He has put ALL His enemies under His feet 1 Cor. 15:27. At that time ALL who are in the grave will hear His voice and rise, some to eternal life and some to eternal torment.
The previous comment by dbinder was entered quite some time back, but here are some observations that might help with scripture evidence that yes, we have at least one ancient example of an individual human with an incorruptible body who stayed on this planet a loooooong time without entering heaven.
I speak of Melchisedec from the Hebrews 7 record. This may strike some as unbelievable, but the writer of Hebrews states quite bluntly that this MAN was still living at that time. Read Hebrews 7:8 carefully. “And here men that die receive tithes; but there (back in Abram’s time) he (Melchisedec) receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that HE LIVETH” – present tense for the Hebrews time period. The whole intent of this passage is to prove the superiority of Christ’s high priesthood, which would last forever, just as Melchisedec, the high priest of Abram’s day, lived forever – “an ENDLESS LIFE” (Hebrews 7:3). That indicates an incorruptible, glorified body. And I know this man never ascended to heaven back in ancient times, because we have the words of Christ in John 3:13. “And NO MAN hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” Christ, of necessity, HAD to be the Firstbegotten from among the dead to ascend to the Father – no exceptions.
(As a brief aside, I have reason to believe that Melchisedec may perhaps have been the translated Enoch, simply re-introduced later on to the world as the King of Righteousness, King of Salem high priest. It would explain a lot of the language of Hebrews 7 concerning Melchisedec who had neither father nor mother, nor children, nor beginning of life, nor end of days. And he wasn’t a pre-incarnate Christ either, because Heb. 7:15 says this man was ANOTHER high priest than Christ. It would also explain why the ancient prophecy of Enoch was circulating in the apostle’s day, and why Jude would have quoted him regarding the Lord’s soon coming to that generation. The man would have still been in this world then, if he is the man referred to in Hebrews 7:8 that still “liveth”.)
(As another aside, Melchisedec is proof positive that Christ retained the glorified, resurrected body that the disciples saw when He ascended, and STILL RETAINS THAT FORM TODAY as our heavenly high priest. If this were not true, we would have lost our only possible human/divine mediator. Our very salvation and our prayers depend upon this fact. It is also proof positive that we will receive the same type of glorified, resurrected body, since we are fellow-heirs with him, and will also have the likeness of His resurrection (Rom. 6:5)
As for Moses, we know he was buried by God, so if that was his resurrected, glorified body on the mount of transfiguration, he also could not have ascended to the Father before Christ did, or Christ is lying in John 3:13.
Elijah’s transport by a whirlwind into “heaven” would also have to be qualified by the John 3:13 reference. If you read the II Kings 2:1-11 account in the LXX (IV Kings), it does seem to qualify this story as not taking Elijah into the presence of the Father at this time. Verse 1 reads, “And it came to pass, when the Lord was going to take Eliu with a whirlwind AS IT WERE into heaven, that Eliu and Elisaie went out of Galgala.” And again in verse 11, “And it came to pass as they were going, they went on talking; and, behold, a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and it separated between them both; and Eliu was taken up in a whirlwind AS IT WERE into heaven.” The conditions of this transport are remarkably similar in language to Ezekiel’s experience in Ezekiel 1:4 and 3:12-14. There, it speaks of a whirlwind that comes out of the north, and says that “…the spirit lifted me up, and took me away…” Ezekiel never ascended bodily into God’s presence in order to receive these visions. Elijah’s transport could have been of the same nature.
The I Thess. 4:15-17 “rapture” event in AD 70 would have been the time when all of these resurrected/translated patriarchs mentioned would finally have ascended into the Father’s very presence.
Patricia, I need to admit that I haven’t thought about many things that you have mentioned. In fact, I need to read your comments a few more times.
My doubt is: do you mean to say that all the dead would come back in the same body which they had before they died? If your answer is yes, won’t it be a Michael Jackson’s Thriller like scene?
https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.jsTHIS IS SOUND AND SOLID WORD WOW THIS WHAT I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR THANK YOU PATRICIA YOU HAVE FILLED THE LOOP HOLES IN PRETERISM YOU SHOULD WRITE A BOOK ABOUT THESE VERY THINGS EVEN THE BEST CAN TAKE SOMETHING FROM THIS,THIS TEACHING IS SPIRIT DRIVEN
https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.jsIF YOU HAVE MORE ON THIS TEACHING IM INTERESTED IN CONTACTING YOU IF POSSIBLE OR YOU ME
Bless you, I especially needed that bit of encouragement today. You made me cry. It has been lonely after having to leave a 16-year church fellowship a couple years ago, and I have a pastor-spouse that is very much opposed to preterism, and laughs at any scriptural point I ever try to bring up about it. I’ve already written enough over the past 6 years to fill up a couple books, but will have to wait a few years to retirement age before I can think about any kind of serious attempt. Adam also has spoken before about wanting to write a book himself. If he did, I know it would be a wonderful addition to preteristic literature. I believe the doctrines of preterism are only going to grow stronger and more refined over time, because they are born from truth. The more books out there on this subject, the better.
I notice you were asking on the Preterist Doctrine facebook page about the connection between I Cor. 15 and the I Thess. 4 context, and how they both relate to the Preterist position and the AD 70 timeline. I don’t have a facebook account where I can answer you in that venue, but if you are interested in some further thoughts on these things, as well as how the Matthew 27 resurrected saints fit in with this, perhaps Adam won’t mind if I pass on the name of a couple posts that you could look into if you wish. If this is not permissible, I can certainly understand if Adam needs to delete or edit this comment.
Try the gracecentered.com Christian forums, where I have posted weekly for over two years under the name of “3 Resurrections” (anonymously, out of respect for any men there who would be offended at a woman writing on theological matters – especially preterism. I don’t want them to disregard what I say simply because they oppose a woman saying it). I wrote one detailed post in their end times forum about the meaning of I Cor. 15:51 called ” ‘We shall not all sleep’ means ‘None of us shall sleep’ “. Also in their end times forum, I wrote a set of comments in a post called “The False Doctrine of the ‘Secret Rapture’ “, that touches on this subject of the Matthew 27 resurrected saints. Also on this same subject, in a couple posts called simply “144,000” and another, “144000”. This website does have a preterist sub-forum that I have used, but most of the time I post anywhere and everywhere on that website, and just expect to be shot at from all angles. Some of them may look on me as their enemy, but I don’t regard any of them as mine. Any members on that gracecentered.com Christian forums site can exchange private messages via the forum’s system, if you are interested in that option.
I also write occasionally under my real name on the “deathisdefeated” website, where they permit every member to have a blog on their site. I have changed slightly on a few of my views since first joining their site, but have not had time to go update a few of those older posts yet. Hope some of this above helps you Michael…and thank you again for your encouragement!
Bless you for being willing to read through any of my comments at least one time, let alone a few more times. You must be a patient man.
I will have to confess that I may be the only person on this planet who has never watched or listened to any performance of Michael Jackson. We grew up in the 60’s without TV, (as well as no cable currently for the last 14 years), and the radio was only turned to one local Christian station. We read books. Lots of books. And during the summer when we were bored, I remember getting assigned to write reports on National Geographic or Readers Digest articles. Family devotions in my youth consisted of “Bondage of the Will” and Augustine’s “City of God”.
So, I have no point of reference to compare the physically resurrected bodies of mankind with the Michael Jackson “Thriller” image you have in mind. Sorry. What I do know is that our resurrected, glorified forms will mimic that of our “fellow-heir” and our “brother” – Jesus Christ’s. Whoever heard of siblings from the same father that did not resemble each other physically? The body of the “First-begotten” is going to have the same type of composition as that of the Second-begotten, the Third-begotten, and so on. And if you are a fellow-heir, does that not imply that you will receive a portion equal to or similar to that of the other heirs of the estate?
So if we study every bit of revelation we have concerning the resurrected body of the Lord Jesus, we can expect the same qualities for our own bodies, when changed at the last resurrection into an incorruptible, immortal state, as described by the following:
#1) It can disappear at will, as Christ did for the two disciples as He broke bread and ate with them. (Luke 24:31) Thank you Lord, that we will still be able to enjoy food in this resurrected form! (Luke 24:42-43)
#2) It will be a form of flesh and bone with no blood animating it, because “the life of the flesh is in the blood”, and we will then be animated totally by the Spirit.
#3) It can levitate, as Christ did at His final ascension from the Mt. of Olives in front of the disciples. (Acts 1:9)
#4) Its appearance can be manifested to one individual while simultaneously being hidden to another, as the risen Christ appeared to Paul on the Damascus road, but NOT to his companions. (Acts 9:7) This is important in understanding why the AD 70 resurrection was visible to some, but NOT all. (Mark 9:1)
#5) It can appear recognizably as its former self, since Peter, John, and the disciples on the shore at the Sea of Tiberias recognized Him. (John 21:12)
#6) It can also assume “another form” or appearance at will, as Christ did for the two on the road to Emmaus. We read of no shocked response from them at seeing any crucifixion wounds, so apparently Christ could assume these marks or dispense with them at His discretion. (Mark 16:12)
#7) It will not marry or be given in marriage, since immortal beings have no need for procreation to replace themselves. (Luke 20:34-35)
#8) It is impossible for it to pass through the death process again. “Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him” (Also Luke 20:36)
#9) It can travel at virtually the speed of thought, since Christ ascended to heaven in this glorified body the morning after His resurrection – during the brief interval between His speaking to Mary alone, and then encountering the three women who held Him by the feet only a short time later. His first ascension to the Father occurred between those two encounters. (John 20:17 cp. Matt. 28:9)
As to the mechanics of how God will perform this change to the incorruptible, we are not told. But I would repeat God’s question to Abraham, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” We remember John the Baptist’s testimony to God’s power before the Sadducees and Pharisees, that God could raise up children of Abraham from the stones at the River Jordan. If the various cells of a long-dead saint’s body have scattered to the four winds of heaven, I have utter confidence that a sovereign God can reassemble these in order for His child to stand before Him. “Known unto God are all His works.” And our bodies are certainly the work of His hands. God is able to distinguish between the cells of a Titanic victim disintegrating on the ocean floor, and the fish that swallowed them.
Also, the DNA of one saint cannot be confused with that of another’s – even if that saint had never progressed beyond a single fertilized cell that was aborted. Life begins at conception, when it is endowed with a soul and spirit. After that point, it is merely a matter of multiplication of countless cells with the same DNA blueprint. I have no doubt that God can make up the deficit as needed. It will be a slam-dunk operation for the Creator to accomplish this on the day of the last resurrection. And His performance will bear not even the slightest resemblance to Michael Jackson’s paltry “Thriller” production – whatever that looked like.
Hi, Patricia Watkins,
// If the various cells of a long-dead saint’s body have scattered to the four winds of heaven, I have utter confidence that a sovereign God can reassemble these in order for His child to stand before Him.//
It’s Okay that you are unaware of MJ’s thriller. There are many saints who died of oral cancer, with a very repulsive cavity in the place of their cheeks. My own sister died of intestinal cancer with most of her body having scars from surgeries. My wife died of a huge abscess on her back. Won’t it be scary if they come back in the same shape?
Once I stayed in a village where our house was surrounded by agricultural fields. We used to get carrots, beetroots, cabbage and turnips from the farmers at very low prices. We used to consume them in various forms. After a couple of years, while the field was dug up for constructing a building, a few human skeletons were unearthed. It is obvious that we have consumed the decayed parts of those human beings through those vegetables. Now, their cells have become part of our bodies. If their bodies are to be reconstructed, it has to be done from our bodies as well – I am not very sure whether I have explained the scenario well.
The surface of this planet contains the decomposed bodies of hundreds of billions of human beings who lived and died here. We are part of the food chain, albeit, indirectly. Our cells contain molecules (or whatever) from the bodies of those who died before us.
We shed hundreds of thousands of dead cells each day. I am not sure whether God has a huge database server to keep track of each cell in our bodies. To me, it is easier for God to keep track of our spirits, rather than each atom that constitute our bodies.
To my understanding, God is the owner of every spirit, and the spirit returns to God while we die. (It may require only a small database server to keep track of the spirits of all the human beings ever lived on this planet, speaking as a software person, that is.)
Anyway, I don’t reject some of the points raised in your comments, they are thought provoking, indeed.
Hi again, Tomsan Kattackal,
First and foremost, allow me to extend sympathy for you and your family’s past encounter with one of the worst medical traumas that anyone can be forced to pass through. It doesn’t alleviate the distress knowing that most families have had at least one member succumb to it. The incidence of cancer does appear to be on the rise.
I cling closely to the verse that “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” This provides a picture of God, similar to a loving parent hovering over the bed of their dying son or daughter who is suffering from the ravages of licentious living. Though that son or daughter may have become a believer, yet sin’s after-effects are taking their inevitable toll on the body, and they will eventually pass through death as a consequence. Their death is precious in the parent’s sight, knowing that it is the first step on the road to their being reunited again one day – body, soul, and spirit. Just so with the pathos of the human condition paying the full price of sin’s effects. It is intense, and touches the heart of God.
But, as surely as a just God’s promise MUST be fulfilled – that the wages of sin includes the death of the body – in the same manner, a faithful, promise-keeping God will fulfill His oath to raise that same body. This is why He provided the Matthew 27:52-53 resurrected saints as an example of undeniable proof to that first-century generation that He could do this very thing for His people. The infant church needed this visual demonstration of what they could expect for themselves, in order to encourage them to remain faithful in the blistering persecution periods they would face that culminated in AD 70’s bodily resurrection.
Christ is the Great Renovator. “This Old House” of ours – our tabernacle (as well as our soul and spirit) – is not beyond His powers to renew, restore, and immortalize. Can He sort out which “plumbing fixtures”, which “electrical wiring”, or which “cabinetry” belongs in which “house”, should someone accidentally install in one home those parts that originally belonged in another home? Certainly. There is no limit on God’s database for sparrows, humans, stars, etc. “He calleth them all by their name”.
It should be no more difficult to believe in God’s restorative power over a person’s flesh in the resurrection than it is to recognize Jesus’ restorative power to heal or bring life to the dead while He was on earth. It’s the same power at work – the power of the resurrection that Paul anticipated knowing and experiencing. (Phil. 3:10) What difference is there in restoring the dead flesh of a leper, so that it becomes “like that of a little child” (as Naaman’s was), and restoring the flesh of those who have been dead for centuries? Dead tissue is dead tissue in both cases.
Not to be profane, but at His resurrection, didn’t Jesus leave behind all the hair he had grown and shed through the 36-plus years of His living on earth? (And no, 36 years is not a typo.) Didn’t He leave behind 36 years of toenail clippings? His baby teeth? Umbilical cord? Also the collective mound, as you have mentioned, of dead skin cells sloughed off throughout that 36 years of living in the land of Israel? Etc., etc. You get the picture. And yet we know that the body that went into that sepulchre was the same body that vacated those premises; wholly complete, and in a glorified state. Is Jesus impatiently waiting for the last resurrection so that He can reclaim some cellular parts of Himself that some Judean farmer inadvertently swallowed along with his evening meal of figs and unleavened bread? I don’t think so. Forgive me if this sounds flippant or crude. I truly don’t mean to be.
I just don’t see the difficulty with the omnipotent Creator being able to present each of His children at the resurrection in a completed, restored, immortal version of their original self. For the aborted child, the necessary multiplication of cells will have taken place. For the maimed, they will be made whole. For the aged – if the same facade is maintained – what would be wrong with a beautiful patina accompanying a vigorous, revitalized body that can never die? God “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us…” (Eph. 3:20) “…according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead…” (Eph. 1: 19b-20)
There should be enough superlatives in those verses to satisfy even the most dubious of doubting Thomases.
Oh! How I wish you were right?! Jesus bore the wounds on his hands and his chest even after his resurrection, which proves that he was not in any glorified body. He didn’t ask Thomas to insert his finger into a non existent wound, nor did he make the illusion of a wound on his chest! (Joh 20:27). So, the great restorer was not fully restored at his own resurrection!
So, the talk about clipped thumbnails and shed hair and all that stuff remain just verbiage!
You need to learn about resurrection and stop thinking carnally (such thought is death)!
Hi again Tomsan,
You are right about the verbiage. It’s a difficult habit to break. I do admire those who are able to make their points more succinctly.
But if it seems that I harp on the physical resurrection to the exclusion of the spiritual, that is only because I am trying to remove one major, unnecessary stumbling-block that keeps many from embracing the truth of all WRITTEN prophecy being fulfilled before AD 70; (minus the UNWRITTEN prophecy of Rev. 10:4 that was SEALED UP, of course). The two concepts of another physical resurrection in the future for us, and the fulfillment of all written prophecy before AD 70 I have NOT found to be mutually exclusive. They reconcile perfectly under a paradigm that acknowledges three bodily resurrection events.
You mention that you believe that Christ did not appear in His glorified body in front of the disciples after His resurrection. Did you miss my #6 comment about the different forms that a resurrected body can adopt? I base this on the Mark 16:12 passage describing Christ appearing in “another form” (hetera morphe) to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. The definition of “heteros” reads as expressing “a qualitative difference, and denotes another of a DIFFERENT SORT”. The term “morphe” is also found in the Phil. 2:7 verse that speaks of Christ “taking the form (morphen) of a servant”. This shows me that Christ could dispense with one manifestation of Himself that included crucifixion wounds, and take on “another form” that did NOT have them, such as the form that the two disciples on the road encountered. Their natural, calm exchange of conversation with Him in Luke 24:13-29 as they traveled makes no mention of any reaction to seeing obvious, gaping crucifixion wounds from the crown of thorns, nail holes in His hands/feet, etc. Remember the Is. 52:14 prophecy that “His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.” Yet none of this is noticed or remarked on in Luke 24:13-29, because Christ was able to change to “another form” for the sake of Cleopas and his companion. And if the saints’ resurrected bodies share the same qualities that Christ’s glorified body possessed from that example, then we also will be able to assume different forms at will following the resurrection of our bodies.
There is actually a very simple way to prove that Christ’s body, shown to that impressive list of eye-witnesses in I Cor. 15:5-8 during those 40 days, really was His glorified body. You need to cross-reference a few passages to prove this. Look first at the question Christ posed to the two disciples on the road. After reproving them for not believing the OT prophets’ testimony concerning Christ, He asks, “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to ENTER INTO HIS GLORY?” His sufferings came first, followed by His glorification. By this point in time, He had already ascended once to the Father to perform His high-priestly actions on our behalf, (as He had told Mary in John 20:17), and had returned to earth.
Now go to John 7:39. The context is the last, great day of the feast, when Jesus cried aloud with an invitation for the thirsty to come and drink. Those who did believe on Him would have rivers of living water flowing from the internal source of the Spirit. Then it says that this Spirit – “the Holy Ghost was NOT YET GIVEN; because that JESUS WAS NOT YET GLORIFIED.” Here we have the two events linked together in time – the giving of the Spirit, and the glorification of Jesus. So, wherever we find the Spirit being first given to believers, the event will be preceded by the manifestation of a GLORIFIED Christ.
Now, go to John 20:20-22 to find just when that Spirit was first given. It is the first encounter between Christ and the disciples, that first evening after His resurrection, the first day of the week. He shows them His hands and side, and then says, ” ‘Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said unto them ‘RECEIVE YE THE HOLY GHOST:’ ” This is when the Holy Ghost itself is first given; NOT at Pentecost when the Holy Ghost’s gift of tongues was given to launch the evangelistic surge of the church. Therefore, when compared to John 7:39, this MUST be Christ’s glorified body in front of them at that moment, including the crucifixion marks of just one form (morphe) that He temporarily chose to display, in order to bolster their feeble faith.
Another short passage identifying the timing for Christ’s possession of a glorified body is found in I Peter 1:20-21, “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you: Who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead AND GAVE HIM GLORY; that your faith and hope might be in God.” This is glory that immediately follows the resurrection, just as it also states earlier in I Peter 1:11, that “the sufferings of Christ” would precede “the GLORY that should follow;”
Apologies again for the length of this, Tomsan. I appreciate your being willing to engage on this subject, even if you don’t find agreement with it.
I again wish you were right. Jesus was not a street magician, whether it was before resurrection or after to make different appearances. He lived as a common man and while he performed miracles he did them prayerfully.
We arrive at convoluted conclusions when we have a fixed agenda, be it in matters of belief or politics.
Jesus preached publicly and was a known personality in Jerusalem and its periphery. Nevertheless, while Judas had to betray him, he told the mob who accompanied him to seize the man whom he kisses. Why? Was he making appearances, like, as you said, resurrected beings? Was there none among the mob who could identify the man who taught thousands of people for more than 3 years?
Clues are in the Bible, please do search for the answers.
There are always passages that eluded our attention, they will keep eluding as we look at scriptures with a fixed agenda.
Do I look for a physical resurrection a few thousand years from now? Is that my hope? No way! If I were a first or second century Christian and if I were told that I will be raised in my body a few thousand or million years from then, I would have been pursuing something other than following Christ.
Stop harping on unscriptural, illogical things, study to prove yourself worthy.
God forbid I should ever quit “studying” to seek God’s approval – not man’s – for my doctrinal positions. Rest assured, it would be a well-deserved shame before Him if I did so. Since the time Preterism first crossed my radar, I had seldom before then experienced this much joy in reading God’s words and what others had to say about those words. And thankfully, none of us has to risk our standing in Christ by the level of knowledge or hopes that we have – or don’t have. Ultimately I have but one agenda, and that is attempting to follow so closely behind Jesus that it would be difficult to distinguish between His shadow and mine.
Do you happen to have an alternate interpretation of what Mark 16:12 means by the term “another form” for the post-resurrection Christ? I presume you also have a scripture-based viewpoint of what defines a “glorified Christ”. And as an aside, what is your take on the account in Matt. 27:52-53 of the resurrected saints who went into Jerusalem after Christ’s resurrection? Most others have dismissed this excerpt as an irrelevant anomaly, with no real connection to the doctrine of resurrection. Is this also your perspective?
[Unfortunately, this site doesn’t show REPLY button where it is needed. And I don’t get notified of replies]
You keep talking about post resurrection Christ, but you have conveniently avoided my question about pre-crucifixion Christ.
Sorry, you can’t answer my question, because, you have not studied a thing!
Please excuse – I had thought your question was simply a rhetorical one that wasn’t seeking for a response. but your purpose for asking this question concerning the nature of Christ’s pre-crucifixion form are a little vague to me. You’ll have to explain why you believe this subject is pertinent to the topic of a resurrected Christ’s glorified form. Is there a particular point you are trying to drive home, that I am failing to catch?
In typical fashion for comment exchanges, we are wandering quite a bit from the original post’s theme, and are probably testing Adam’s tolerance!
// the nature of Christ’s pre-crucifixion form are a little vague to me.//
This is what happens while we study the scriptures with an agenda.
The topic is relevant because you mentioned that Jesus appeared variously after resurrection. Even before the crucifixion, there was some difficulty in identifying him, though he mingled with people.
Study and you will find answers.
Don Preston does a great job dealing with this exact issue in his book on Thessalonians https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0979933757/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1469374796&sr=8-2&pi=SY200_QL40&keywords=Preston+Thessalonians&dpPl=1&dpID=51dlhK5-L8L&ref=plSrch