Death was the consequence of Adam and Eve’s decision to eat the forbidden fruit. Their only hope—indeed, the hope of every Old Testament saint—was through a Savior who would come through the seed of the woman.
When the long-awaited Messiah finally came, his resurrection from the dead proved his authenticity and the truth of his message. And the New Testament epistles present his resurrection as a prominent part of the gospel message that must be believed, a central truth that cannot be denied, and a key to our sanctification.
In his article “Hope and the Resurrection” on Bible.org, Bob Deffinbaugh explores:
- The theme of resurrection hope infused in all of Scripture, from the history and wisdom books to the gospels and epistles
- What the resurrection means for believers’ forgiveness, sanctification, and freedom from death’s dominion
- What the resurrection means for unbelievers
Resurrection Faith Throughout Scripture
- Abraham was promised a child through whom God’s covenant promises would be fulfilled. The same faith that believed God could bring life from his wife’s dead womb made Abraham willing to sacrifice that same child: surely God could raise Isaac from the dead to fulfill His promises.
- Job never lost sight of his resurrection hope, even in the midst of his earthly suffering: “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that [at] the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God” (Job 19:25-26).
- David revealed resurrection hope in his response to the death of his infant son: “I will go to him, but he will not return to me!” (2 Samuel 12:23). He also penned Psalm 16—”You will not abandon me to Sheol; you will not allow your faithful follower to see the Pit” (Psalm 16:10)—which Peter would declare was a prophesy about the resurrection of the true “Son of David,” the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Jesus spoke of his resurrection from the outset of His public ministry to the very end, though his disciples didn’t grasp the meaning of his words until much later (see John 2:18-22, Luke 18:31-34).
- Revelation portrays Jesus as the risen Lord, and heaven is a return to a garden of sorts, where we once again find the “tree of life.”
What the Resurrection Means for Believers and Skeptics
The resurrection has great significance for both believers and unbelievers.
- It validates the person, work, and teaching of Jesus Christ.
- It proves that the Father was satisfied with his son’s work at Calvary and assures that God will sanctify us through the same Spirit that raised Jesus’ dead body to everlasting life.
- It assures us of the forgiveness of our sins.
- It frees us forever from the fear of death and its dominion over us.
For those who have not yet believed:
- It proves that Jesus was God’s promised Messiah and that everything He said about Himself, salvation, and eternal judgment is true.
- It causes skeptics to think twice: the Holy Spirit bears witness to the proof of the empty tomb, and even some of Jesus’ most zealous opponents were taken aback by the possibility that Jesus may have been raised from the dead.
- It means that everyone who dies will be raised from the dead: believers in Jesus to their eternal rest, and unbelievers to their eternal torment. There is no more terrifying thought for the unbeliever than the teaching of the Bible that just as Jesus rose from the dead, they will be raised as well to endure His eternal wrath.
Access Bob’s full study on resurrection hope on Bible.org.