Bible Resurrections -
The Special Resurrections of the Bible
In the Bible, resurrections are either general (involving all the saved and lost) or special (involving only a small number of people or even individuals). Here is a list and short description of each of the special resurrections of the Bible. It seems there will be a few individuals who will not be part of the general resurrection of the saved as they are already in heaven as a result of an earlier special resurrection. For example, Elijah, who has already been taken to heaven (in a fiery chariot) and therefore does not need to be resurrected again. The general resurrections are described in the
study on the millennium.
Bible Resurrections in the Old Testament
Moses by Michael the archangel:
"Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee." (Jude 9)
Of course, that is how Moses could appear at the Mount of Transfiguration - because he had been raised from the dead.
"And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him." (Matt 17:3)
Death reigned undisputed until Moses who was the first to be raised from the dead.
"Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come." (Rom 5:14)
The widow of Zarephath's son by Elijah
"And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again. And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived." (1 Kings 17:21-22)
The Shunammite's son by Elisha
"And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed. He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the LORD. And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm. Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes." (2 Kings 32:35)
A man by coming into contact with Elisha's bones
"And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet." (2 Kings 13:20-21).
Each of the three individuals above would have died again and will be raised to life again in the future. Moses, as mentioned, is in heaven having been resurrected shortly after his death. Elijah (2 Kings 2:11) and Enoch (Gen 5:24, Heb 11:5) are also presently in heaven, having been taken to heaven without experiencing death.
Bible Resurrections in the New Testament
Jairus' daughter (dead a few minutes) by Jesus:
"And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live. ... And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was [of the age] of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment." (Mark 5:22-23, 41-42)
The widow of Nain's son (dead a few hours) by Jesus:
"Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother." (Luke 7:12-15)
Lazarus (dead a few days) by Jesus:
"And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go." (John 11:43-44)
Jesus by His Father:
"And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses." (Acts 3:15)
People are sometimes confused by the following verse as it appears in the King James Version:
"Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." (John 10:17-18)
They think that Jesus raised Himself. This is incorrect and leads to some very wrong theology. The word "take," in both cases, is from the Greek word "lambano" . This word is also translated in verse 18 into "received." Jesus received life at His resurrection from His Father. He could not have taken it Himself as He was dead.
"For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten." (Eccl 9:5)
To believe that only Jesus' human body died and that His Spirit continued alive in conscious form is to make it only a human sacrifice which would not be sufficient payment for the sins of the whole world. It confuses the truth on the state of the dead, the nature of Christ and other issues.
Those people raised after Jesus' resurrection by Jesus:
"And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many." (Matt 27:52-53)
Ephesians 4:8 ("... When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.") is often regarded as reference to Jesus taking to heaven those that were raised after His resurrection. Between His resurrection (Biblical evidence is that that was on Friday evening just after sunset) and his first appearance Sabbath morning ("First day of the week" is incorrectly translated from "mia ton Sabbaton " meaning one of the Sabbaths) He raised to life ("... I am the resurrection, and the life ..." John 11:25) those whose graves were opened at the earthquake at His death. He then could have instructed and sent them to tell people in Jerusalem about His resurrection before leading them to heaven as the antitypical wave sheaf later on Sabbath morning. There is much more fascinating to learn about
Tabitha by Peter:
"Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive." (Acts 9:36-41)
Eutychus by Paul:
"And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed. And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted." (Acts 20:9-12)
Those who pierced Jesus who will be raised to witness the Second Coming:
Bible Resurrections in the Future
"Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen." (Rev 1:7)
The two witnesses before the Second Coming:
"And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. ... And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. ... And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them." (Rev 11:3, 7, 11)
Many understand these two witnesses to be Moses and Elijah who will return to earth from heaven to do a special work of witness before the Second Coming. The description given of these two witnesses certainly reminds us of Moses and Elijah:
"And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not (Elijah) in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues (Moses), as often as they will." (Rev 11:5-6)
The study on
makes it very clear when the two general resurrections are. Every one is involved in one or the other:
"Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." (John 5:28-29)
There are a few exceptions such as Moses, Elijah and Enoch but they will still be classed with one of the two groups involved in the general resurrections.
Then there is Jesus Himself at whose voice the dead are resurrected. We can rest assured that He will keep His promise:
"... I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:" (John 11:25)
God is even better than you've ever hoped or imagined.
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Did you know: the Greek has multiple words for forgiveness? God forgives (charizomai
) if we ask or not. Receiving forgiveness (apheimi
) is our choice. God always forgives.