“There shall be a resurrection of the dead.”
HAVING seen the great law-giver resign his breath, it may be fitting to note those passages of the Old Testament which declare a belief in the resurrection. The first is the memorable passage from the ancient book of Job—
21 Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me. (The patriarch was in a very sad condition, and he implored his cruel friends to spare him, seeing he was already sufficiently pressed down by the hand of God. Let us be very gentle with those upon whom God has laid his afflicting hand, and even should they seem to be a little petulant and fretful, let us bear with them, knowing that pain is very hard to suffer.)
22 Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh? (His poor flesh was all a mass of anguish, and yet they annoyed his mind with upbraidings. This mention of his flesh led him to speak of the better lot which he expected for his body, and caused him to utter the following famous confession of faith.)
23 Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!
24 That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!
25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, (Job knew it, and was certain of it—that he had “a kinsman” who still lived, who would redeem his body from its captivity, whatever might come of it), and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. (He foresaw the victorious second advent of Christ as standing in his own proper person upon the earth: his hope of resurrection was based upon that advent.)
26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.
He expected the worms to pierce his skin and devour his flesh, but he believed that it would rise again, that in his flesh he might behold the Lord.
27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me. (He, himself, in his own personality, would look upon the Lord, out of his own eyes, although the most vital parts of his frame and all his flesh would long before have rotted in the tomb. Job is clear as the sun in his testimony.) Let us now look to Isaiah—
THY dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. (With Jesus shall we rise.) Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. (The grave shall only be a withdrawing-room for the saints’ bodies during the tribulations to come.)
21 For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.
Great troubles have been and yet must be among men. God will punish oppressors, and at the last the dead shall rise from the dust, and convict all tyrants of their murderous crimes. Till then the saints sleep in Jesus, so far as their bodies are concerned. Let us now hear Daniel—
Daniel 12:2, 3; 13
AND many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, (This does not refer to the soul which is in heaven, but to the body which alone is in the dust of the earth,) some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (So that both the righteous and the wicked will rise from the grave.)
3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. (May every one of us labour to be of that brilliant company.)
13 But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days. (Cheerfully we will go to our tombs and rest, for our portion is secured till Jesus comes in his Father’s glory.)
Soon, too, my slumbering dust shall hear,
The trumpet’s quickening sound;
And, by my Saviour’s power rebuilt,
At his right hand be found.
These eyes shall see him in that day,
The God that died for me;
And all my rising bones shall say,
Lord, who is like to thee?
C. H. Spurgeon, The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1964), 146.