Death, Resurrection And Eternal Life

///Death, Resurrection And Eternal Life

 

The Supreme Being is real. He is a Person. He is eternal. He has always existed. There was never a time when He did not exist; and there will never be a time when He will not exist. He is immortal and cannot die.

The Living God created human beings for a purpose – so that we could be His friends. He wants to befriend us, and enjoy us, and be with us; and He wants us to enjoy Him and be with Him. Since He is eternal, He wants His friends to be eternal. But man’s sin and its consequence – death – interfered with that purpose. From the moment that Adam and Eve (who were very real people) rebelled against our wonderful Creator, everything changed. Their disobedience affected every aspect of their nature. Their bodies, their souls, their wills, their minds, their spirits, their love for God and their relationship to and connection with God, all became corrupted. Their ability to live forever was ruined. Instead of drawing nearer to God, Adam and Eve ran away from Him. They were alienated from the One who is the Source of life and blessing.

As a result of their alienation from the Lord, Adam and Eve were exiled from the wonderful Garden of Eden and forbidden to eat from the Tree of Life. They were not headed to Heaven (which is a very real place) and to eternal life. They – and all of their descendants – were headed toward death: the First Death, physical death, followed by the Second Death, Gehenna, Hell, which is the Lake of Fire (which is also a very real place).

But the merciful and gracious Creator made it possible to overcome sin and death, and be restored to life and reconnected to Him, so that we could live eternally with Him. Immediately after the Fall, the Lord gave us hope. In the Garden of Eden, He told us that a Redeemer was coming. He would be the Seed of the woman – a very special human being who would get us out of the terrible situation we placed ourselves in. He would make it possible to be reconciled to God, experience atonement, be forgiven from all of our sins, and be able to live forever with Him! The Creator promised us that redemption would be possible.

Eternity In Their Hearts

He also placed within human beings the knowledge of eternity. This is expressed in Ecclesiastes 3:11:Et ha-olam natan b’lee-bahm. He has set eternity in their hearts. Even though we live within time, and are mortal and limited by death, we have an intuitive knowledge about eternity and an innate desire to live forever. Death somehow doesn’t seem right. We want to overcome death and live forever.

A Sure Hope of Eternal Life

The eternal God placed this knowledge and desire to live forever at the core of our being. He also wanted us to be certain that it was possible for us to be raised from the dead and have everlasting life. He didn’t want a situation to develop like it is today, when so many don’t believe in the resurrection, Heaven, Hell or eternal life. Human beings can despair if they don’t believe that they can live forever. They can much more easily make the wrong moral choices if they don’t believe that resurrection, judgment and eternal life are realities. And so, throughout the completely accurate and reliable and true Word of the Living God, we are repeatedly given the hope that we can live forever. The idea of eternal life is found in concepts such as:

Heaven, which is mentioned repeatedly in the Torah as a real place. It is the eternal dwelling place of God and other heavenly inhabitants. The hope is given that human beings who know and love the Lord can be taken to be with the Lord, like Enoch, who walked with God, and then he was no longer here on Earth, because the Lord took him to be with Him where He is in His dwelling place; and Eliyahu the prophet, whom the Lord took in a chariot of fire so that this great man could be with Him where He is.

The Tree of Lifeis described as a real thing (Genesis 3:22). If a human being ate from the Tree of Life, he would be able to live forever.

The concept of going to one’s fathers and being gathered to one’s people. The Lord promised Abraham: As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age. … Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; and he was gathered to his people (Genesis 15:15, 25:8). Abraham was not actually buried near his father and grandfathers. He was buried in Canaan, and they were buried hundreds of miles away, outside of Canaan. Abraham went to his fathers not because he was buried near them, but because he and they were still alive, awaiting the resurrection. This is an indication of life after death.

Yeshua used a passage from Exodus 3 to prove the resurrection. Messiah said: Regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”? He is not the God of the dead but of the living (Matthew 22:31-32). If God is still the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – even when addressing Moses hundreds of years after they lived – and He refers to them in the present and not in the past tense (“I was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”), then they must still be alive! The God of Israel is an eternal God and He has an eternal covenant with His people. God promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob things that were never fulfilled in their earthly lives. God will raise the dead because He cannot fail to keep His promises to them, especially His promise that He will be their God. If He is to be their God, and He is eternal, then they must be resurrected and live forever!

The New Heavens and New Earth. The Lord promised: I create new Heavens and a new Earth; and the former things shall not be remembered (all the sadness and pain) or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create (Isaiah 65:17). Those who know the Lord and are in a right relationship with Him can expect to be happy in a new and eternal universe that the Lord will create.

Eternal Life Is Explicitly Stated:

In Job: Job is one of the earliest books of the Bible. Even in the time of Job, belief in the resurrection and eternal life was common knowledge among those who knew the Lord. This great and righteous man declared: I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take his stand on the Earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God (Job 19:25-26). Job understood that after he died and his body decayed, he would be raised from the dead and, with a new body, see his Creator and Redeemer.

By King David: He declared to the Lord: You will not abandon me to Sheol, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. In Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forever(Psalm 16). David knew that after he died, the Lord would take his soul out of Sheol – the holding place of the dead – and that he would live forever with complete and unending happiness in the presence of God. This is also a prophecy of the resurrection of the Messiah, David’s Son, and God’s Holy One, the first and only one, so far, who has been raised from the dead.

By Isaiah: Your dead will live; their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy(Isaiah 26:19)! Human beings who knew and were faithful to the God of Israel will be raised from the dead, given new bodies and experience eternal happiness! Isaiah also predicts the death and the resurrection of one very special human being – the Messiah – a specially empowered human being whom God will send us who will help overcome our greatest problems – sin and death: He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death (Messiah died) … He will see his offspring and prolong his days (but He is alive!). He was cut off from the land of the living (Messiah died). After the suffering of his soul, He will see the light of life and be satisfied (but now He is alive!). He poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors (Messiah died). Therefore I will give Him a portion among the great, and He will divide the spoils with the strong (but He is alive!). God’s Suffering Servant will die, and come back to life, and enable many other human beings to experience forgiveness and gain eternal life.

In Daniel: An angel told Daniel: Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground shall awake, these (the righteous who know and serve God) to chah-yay-olam – everlasting life, but the others to everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:2). In the last days there will be a resurrection of the righteous and the wicked, with eternal consequences for each. It is clear that those human beings who are faithful to the Lord will enjoy everlasting life.

Summarizing the teachings of the Torah and the Tenach on this matter of life and death and resurrection: Human beings have rebelled against God, who is the source of life. Death is the consequence. But, the souls of the righteous will be redeemed out of Sheol. They will be resurrected and given new bodies. They will enjoy eternal life. It is the Messiah, the Redeemer, God’s Holy Suffering Servant, who would make final atonement possible, and eternal life, by dying and coming back to life. Our duty is to believe in Him and welcome Him when He appears.

What the Lord promised in the Older Books, He fulfilled in the Newer Books

 The Redeemer who was first promised to us in the Garden of Eden came among us. The eternal Son of God left Heaven and became a man – a perfect, sinless, holy and righteous, and God-honoring human being. The Son of God understood His reason for coming from Heaven. He repeatedly told the Jewish people His purpose for coming among us was to die a death that would enable us to be reconciled to God, so that we could be raised from the dead and live forever.

During Passover at the Temple, He told a group of Jewish leaders: Destroy this Temple (referring to His body as a dwelling place of the Spirit of God) and in three days I will raise it up. He predicted that the majority of Israel’s leaders would not recognize Him. They would kill Him, but He would come back to life!

Yeshua predicted to one of Israel’s leading rabbis how He would die – by being lifted up on a cross; and He told Nicodemus the purpose of His death – eternal life. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. All who know Him and believe Him and loyally follow Him will be saved from death and will live forever.

He told a group of Jewish leaders in Jerusalem who opposed Him: Just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom He is pleased to give it … Whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life(Do you hear Yeshua’s words and believe that He is the Messiah that God sent?). I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live … A time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.

During Passover, He declared to a huge crowd in the Galilee: My Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day … I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. To gain eternal life we need resurrection. For resurrection we need faith in God the Father and Messiah the Son. Are you looking at Yeshua, and do you know that He is Messiah and Lord and Savior? Do you believe in Him, and trust Him, and are you confident in Him?

The One who always tells the truth continued: I am the living bread that came down from Heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever … Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood (not literally, but spiritually getting closer to Him by knowing Him and believing in Him and following Him) has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. During Chanukah at the Temple in Jerusalem, the Faithful Witness stated to a group of Jewish leaders: I give them (those who know and follow Me) eternal life, and they shall never perish. Yeshua, who cannot lie, said to a wonderful Jewish woman named Martha: I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies – those who place their trust in Me and follow Me, even if they do die, will be resurrected from death and will live again in the World-To-Come. And everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Every human being – Jew or Gentile, man or woman – who comes to understand that Yeshua is the Messiah, and the Son of God, and the only Savior that God has sent to rescue mankind, will not experience death – the Second Death – Gehenna, Hell, the Lake of Fire. He asked Martha, do you believe this? Then He raised her brother Lazarus from the dead and demonstrated the truthfulness of His claims. Martha believed the words of the Lord. Do you?

Shortly before His death, as Yeshua was going up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the Torah. They will condemn Him to death and will turn Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day He will be raised to life”. Jews and Gentiles were involved in His death. Jews and Gentiles benefit by His resurrection!

Then, after fulfilling all that His Father required Him to do, He died on Passover, not because He was subject to death, but so that He could be our Korban, our Sacrifice, our Substitute, our Sin-Bearer, our Kinsman Redeemer! And, because He never sinned, death couldn’t hold Him. He rose from the dead and came back to life!

The Resurrected One appeared to many, confirming to many reliable witnesses that He had indeed risen from the dead. He appeared to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18), and to the other women (Matthew 28:8-10). He revealed Himself to Simon Peter (Luke 24:34), and to the two on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). He showed Himself to the Ten (Luke 24:36-43), and then to the Eleven eight days later (John 20:24-29). He appeared to seven of the apostles by the Lake of the Galilee (John 21:1-23), and also to 500 at one time (1 Corinthians 15:6). He showed Himself to His brother James, who became the leader of the great community in Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 15:7), and finally He revealed Himself to Saul of Tarsus, who became one of the very greatest missionaries and evangelists of all time (Acts 9:1-16).

The Implications of the Resurrection

Yeshua’s resurrection is God’s seal of approval on everything that Yeshua did and taught. Every teaching He gave and every promise He made is true and accurate, reliable and trustworthy, and divinely inspired. Yeshua’s resurrection declares that He is Lord and Messiah and Savior and Redeemer.

If a human being wants to live forever, it is essential to believe that Yeshua is fully man, and fully God, and that He rose from the dead. We are told by Rabbi Paul that if you confess with your mouth that Yeshua is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved, you will be raised from the dead and live forever. Do you believe? And do you confess this belief to others?

When the resurrected Yeshua appeared to doubting Thomas, Yeshua said to Thomas, reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving but believing. Thomas answered and said to Yeshua, My Lord and my God. Yeshua said to him, because you have seen me you have believed? Blessed are they who did not see and yet believed. Thomas finally believed that the resurrected Messiah was Lord and God. According to tradition, he went on to confess Him all the way to India. Even though you may not have seen Him, do you believe? Do you confess? If so, you are greatly blessed!

Are you sure that your name has been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life – the book of the Messiah who was sacrificed? Do you know that you will make it to the New Jerusalem, and you will enjoy the Tree of Life, which is on either side of the River of the Water of Life, which flows from the throne of God the Father and Messiah the Lamb?

Not only does Yeshua’s resurrection give us a sure hope of being resurrected and living forever, but it also gives us resurrection power now to live a better life, resurrection power to overcome our old nature, resurrection power to serve God the way we should, and resurrection power to witness the way we should.

If the possibility of living forever – eternal life in a perfect world with your Creator and perfected human beings and other glorious beings like the majestic angels – doesn’t interest you, ignore this message. Don’t think further about it. Busy yourself with other things. Just don’t complain on the Day of Judgment!

But if you would like to live forever – seek, read, study, pray, and you will find the truth. The answers are there. Then, be willing to serve the Lord wholeheartedly; and be willing to sacrifice everything in this life to gain life in the World-To-Come; and make it a priority to confess this Great News about eternal life through Israel’s resurrected Messiah to a dying world of human beings!

By | 2017-10-16T18:26:06+00:00 May 28th, 2013|Categories: Other Articles|Tags: |Comments Off on Death, Resurrection And Eternal Life

About the Author:

Rabbi Loren Jacobs is the senior rabbi and founder of “Congregation Shema Yisrael” (which means “Hear O Israel”). Congregation Shema Yisrael is a Messianic synagogue which was started in 1986 when Rabbi Loren and his wife Martha moved to Michigan to proclaim the Good News about the Messiah to the Jewish people living in the metro Detroit area. Rabbi Loren was raised in a Jewish home in the Chicago area, and became a Messianic Jew in 1975. He graduated from Moody Bible Institute’s Jewish Studies program in 1979 and received a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Literature from Northeastern Bible College in New Jersey in 1986. His wife Martha is a fifth generation Messianic Jew, which is quite unusual. They have two adult children and two grandchildren.