Upon completion of this post you will be able to:

  • Write the Key Verse from memory.
  • Define the word “resurrection.”
  • Distinguish between past, present, and future resurrections.
  • Describe the present spiritual resurrection of believers in Jesus Christ.
  • Describe the past resurrection of Jesus.


Jesus saith unto her, I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. (John 11:25-26)


There are two other foundational doctrines of the Christian faith. These are the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. In the study of these two remaining doctrines, the Bible takes us by revelation beyond the present time into the future of eternity.

By the act of creation, God brought the present world into being with the order of time including the past, present, and future (Genesis l). Someday God will bring this present world to an end and time, as we now know it, will cease to be.

The Bible reveals that for the world as a whole, the end of time will come at a special moment ordained by God. There are many events which will happen in the world at this end of time. Only God knows the exact timing of these events.

As individuals, however, a moment awaits each of us when “time shall be no longer.” This is when we come to the end of our earthly lifetime and step from time into eternity. For each person, the end of physical life is the end of time.

There are some mysteries surrounding the end of time and eternity which the Bible does not explain. But the doctrine of the “resurrection of the dead” provides some knowledge of the end of time and eternity which follows.

This chapter introduces the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. The past, present, and future resurrections spoken of in the New Testament are defined and the past and present resurrections discussed. The future resurrection of the dead is discussed in the following chapter.


The meaning of the word “resurrection” is a raising or rising up. It means to cause to rise or raise up from the dead.


There are three resurrections identified in the New Testament:

Past: The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Present: The spiritual resurrection of believers in Jesus Christ.

Future: The future resurrection of all that are in the graves.


Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the power of God:

…because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ…

(I Corinthians 15:15)

Through Jesus the believer experiences present spiritual resurrection. Through Him the future resurrection of the dead from the graves will happen.

The Bible confirms that Jesus is the resurrector, the one who will resurrect the dead:

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. (John 11:25)

And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [Jesus] was made a quickening [life-giving] spirit. (I Corinthians 15:45)

But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death and hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. (II Timothy 1:10)


The Old Testament foretold the birth of Jesus Christ, His death for the sins of all mankind, and His resurrection. David mentioned the resurrection of Jesus:

Being therefore a prophet [David] and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins he would set one upon his throne;

He foreseeing this speaks of the resurrection of the Christ…

(Acts 2:30-31, American Standard Version)

Many verses in the Bible confirm the resurrection of Jesus from the dead on the third day after

His burial:

But now is Christ risen from the dead.    (I Corinthians 15:20)

In the end of the sabbath as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre…

And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye; for I know that ye seek Jesus which was crucified.

He is not here; for He is risen as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead…

(Matthew 28:1,5-7)

The “For Further Study” section at the end of this chapter lists many other references confirming the resurrection of Jesus.


Jesus was seen by many people after His resurrection:

After His suffering He showed himself alive to them in many convincing ways and appeared to them repeatedly over a period of forty days talking to them about the affairs of the Kingdom of God.    (Acts 1:3, Phillips Translation)

He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve;

After that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

After that He was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

And last of all he was seen of me also, as one born out of due time.

(I Corinthians 15:5-8)


After His resurrection, Jesus was careful to provide evidence that He had a real body and He was the same person that had been crucified. The evidence of this was His hands, feet, and side which still had the marks of the nails and the spear.

In other ways His body had experienced important changes. It no longer was subject to the limitations of a mortal body. He could now appear or disappear at will. He could enter a closed room and He could pass between earth and Heaven (John 20:19).

Prior to His death and resurrection during a conversation with religious leaders of Israel…

…Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.

Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt Thou rear it up in three days?

But He spake of the temple of His body. When therefore He was risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this unto them. (John 2:19-21)

Jesus was not talking about the temple in Jerusalem. He was referring to His own body as a temple. After the death and burial of Jesus, when the women entered the tomb to anoint His body, they “found not the body of the Lord Jesus” (Luke 23:55-24:3). When Jesus appeared to His disciples He let them touch the nail prints and the scar from the spear to prove His identity:

And as they thus spake, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said unto them, Peace be unto you.

But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.

And He said unto them, Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts?

Behold my hands and my feet that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

And when He had thus spoke, He showed them His hands and feet.

(Luke 24:36-40)

Then said He to Thomas, reach hither thy finger and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God. (John 20:27-28)


Why is the doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead so important to the Christian faith?

But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen;

And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain and your faith is also vain. (I Corinthians 15:13-14)

Believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is necessary to become a true believer:

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9)

Paul presents the resurrection of Jesus as a part of the message of the Gospel:

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

For I delivered unto you first of all 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. (I Corinthians 15:1-4)

The resurrection confirms Jesus Christ is the Son of God:

And [as to His divine nature] according to the Spirit of holiness, was openly designated the Son of God in power [in a striking, triumphant and miraculous manner] by His resurrection from the dead, even Jesus Christ our Lord, the Messiah, the anointed one. (Romans 1:4, The Amplified Bible)

The resurrection confirms Jesus is supreme over all created beings:

That power is the same divine energy which was demonstrated in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and gave Him the place of supreme honor in Heaven-a place that is infinitely superior to any conceivable command, authority, power or control, and which carries with it a name far beyond any name that could ever be used in this world or in the world to come.

God has placed everything under the power of Christ and has set Him up as the head of everything for the Church. (Ephesians 1:20-23, The Amplified Bible)

The resurrection confirms that believers are justified:

Who [Jesus] was delivered for our offenses and was raised again for our justification. (Romans 4:25)

The resurrection means death is defeated:

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the Devil. (Hebrews 2:14)

Because of the resurrection of Jesus, believers will also be resurrected and have new bodies:

Behold I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (I Corinthians 15:51-52)

Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself. (Philippians 3:21)

We will study more about this resurrection from the dead in the following post.

Through the resurrection there is a new life source for believers:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (I Peter 1:3)


The Bible speaks of the present resurrection of believers. This means those who were once spiritually dead in sin are now made alive spiritually through Jesus Christ:

And you (he made alive) when you were dead (slain) by (your) trespasses and sins…

Even when we were dead (slain) by our own shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ. He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickeneth Him… (Ephesians 2:1,5, The Amplified Bible)

And you, being dead in your sins…hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses. (Colossians 2:13)

Therefore if any person is (ingrafted) in Christ, the Messiah, he is (a new creature altogether) a new creation; the old (previous moral and spiritual condition) has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come. (II Corinthians 5:17, The Amplified Bible)


Baptism in water is an outward sign of death to the old life of sin and the spiritual resurrection of the believer in Jesus Christ. But it is not only water baptism that confirms the spiritual resurrection of the believer. It is the new life which he lives:

We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, we too

might habitually live and behave in newness of life. For if we have become one with Him by sharing a death like His, we shall also be one with Him in sharing His resurrection by a new life lived for God. (Romans 6:4,5)


Jesus provided many evidences of His resurrection. These included the empty tomb, the message of the angels, and His visible appearances after His resurrection. There are also evidences which confirm the spiritual resurrection of believers. They include the following:

-Death To Sin Resulting In A New Life:

Spiritual resurrection results in death to sin. The believer does not live like he used to live. He is dead to the evil things of the world and alive in Jesus:

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:11)

-A New Master:

Spiritual resurrection makes Jesus the master of your life. Instead of living for yourself, you live to serve Him:

And that He died for all that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves but unto Him which died for them and rose again. (II Corinthians 5:15)

-New Life Purpose:

A new life purpose results from spiritual resurrection. Instead of concern about temporal things of the world such as material gain, ambition, etc., the attention of believers is focused on eternal things:

If then you have been raised with Christ (to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead), aim at and seek the (rich eternal treasures) that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

And set your minds and keep them set on what is above–the higher things–not on the things that are on the earth. (Colossians 3:1-2, The Amplified Bible)

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