Does The Old Testament Teach A Bodily Resurrection?

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I find it odd how many Old Testament commentaries will downplay the hope of the resurrection within Old Testament texts. The Apostle Paul clearly understood this to be a foundational belief and expectation of the Old Covenant community:

“And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, 7 to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king! 8 Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?” (Acts 26:6–8 ESV)

Paul’s argument seems to be: “They all believe in it; they all hope for it; they all pray for it – but here it is now come to pass and they refuse to accept it! Why should it be thought incredible by any believing Jew that God has raised someone from the dead?”

Why indeed.

Of course the Old Testament taught the resurrection! What else could this mean?

“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” (Daniel 12:2–3 ESV)

What else could this mean?

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.” (Job 19:25–27 ESV)

What else could this mean?

“Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead.” (Isaiah 26:19 ESV)

Clearly the Old Testament embodies a resurrection hope – thanks be to God!

The Apostle is right – the Jewish people should have been expecting it and should have been more prepared to embrace it when they saw it in the person of Jesus Christ. He is the first fruits – but thanks be to God, the harvest is still to follow!

Come Lord Jesus!

SDG,

Pastor Paul Carter


To listen to Pastor Paul’s Into The Word devotional podcast visit the TGC Canada website; you can also find it on iTunes.

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