Because He Lives

MEMORY SELECTION: “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.” —Matthew 28:6

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Matthew 27:62 – 28:10

IT IS important for Christians to realize that the whole plan of God centers around the resurrection of the dead. This realization comes from an understanding of the condition of the dead. When Adam was condemned to death because he had willfully disobeyed God’s law, the sentence was to everlasting destruction. (Gen. 3:19) There was no hope for a future life except as might result from the generosity and love of God. This sentence was inherited by all of Adam’s progeny.—Rom. 5:12

In order for God to lift adamic condemnation from the human race, it was necessary for a perfect man to take Adam’s place in death. Jesus did this, and became Adam’s ransom price. (Matt. 20:28) For man to benefit from this generous and loving act, God planned to provide a better arrangement under which the people can learn righteousness, and have his law written in their hearts. This being so, they will be enabled to willingly conform their lives to God’s arrangements and be obedient to his will. This new and better arrangement is called the kingdom of God here on earth, and it will operate under the terms of the New Covenant. This New Covenant will require a mediator. Therefore it was essential to God’s plan of redemption that Jesus be resurrected from the condition of death, as he is the only one who qualified to be that Mediator.

The Apostle Paul, in his sermon on Mars Hill, said to the Athenians that God “hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31) In I Timothy 2:3-6 the apostle also stated: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”

The thought of being “saved” as expressed in the text has reference to the application of the ransom price to the world; that is, the lifting of adamic condemnation from them. For those who are asleep in death it means that they will be resurrected into the conditions of the kingdom, freed from adamic sin. Then the text continues to explain that God will have all men come to a knowledge of the truth, which will involve the work of the Mediator during the kingdom. The promise of God concerning the operation of the New Covenant in the kingdom is: “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”—Jer. 31:33,34; Heb. 8:8-12

All of this the apostle indicates will take place in “due time.” The long delay from Christ’s death on the cross and his subsequent resurrection until now, marks approximately the length of the Gospel Age. During this time the Scriptures tell us God has been doing a special work which must precede the general resurrection and the establishment of the kingdom. He has been selecting from every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, a people for his name. These are those who have been called by God and are willing to deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Jesus, laying their lives down in sacrifice. (Matt. 16:24; Acts 15:14; Rev. 3:21) Those who are faithful in this walk will be privileged to have a part in the “first resurrection” and will share with Jesus the privilege of mediating the New Covenant in the kingdom.

The Apostle Paul explains the sequence of these events: “For since by man [Adam] came death, by man [Jesus] came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits [that is, Christ and his church]; afterward they that are Christ’s [that is, the world of mankind] at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.”—I Cor. 15:21-26

Dawn Bible Students Association
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