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TO CHEW ON: "Your dead shall live;
Together with my dead body they shall arise.
Awake and sing, you who dwell in dusk;
For your dew is like the dew of herbs,
And the earth shall cast out the dead." Isaiah 26:19
Bible commenters view Isaiah 26:19 in several ways.
- Spiritual Resurrection
My Thompson Chain Bible links this passage to the topic of "Spiritual Resurrection." So does the Asbury Bible Commentary: "Isaiah 26:19 is an oracle of salvation, a shout of joy that the dead will live. There will be a national restoration (this is similar to Ezekiel's prophecy concerning the dry bones and is not a reference to individual resurrection."
- Bodily Resurrection
My Bible's notes view it as referring to a bodily resurrection: "Dead shall live: The resurrection of the righteous dead affirms the hope of eternal life." The Reformation Study Bible says something similar: "The Old Testament expresses faith in the resurrection of the body since death is an invasion of God's created order." (RSB accessed through biblegateway.com.)
Does it really matter which it is? I don't think so because a spiritual resurrection—a born again experience as Jesus called it—is the beginning of what the Bible calls eternal life which includes a physical resurrection: "The future event of finally being raised to glory with Jesus Christ" - Dictionary of Bible Terms.
Let's camp for a bit on the Bible promise that our bodies will be resurrected.
- It is the hope of psalmists
"But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave,
For He shall receive me" - Psalm 49:15.
"You, who have shown me great and severe troubles,
Shall revive me again,
And bring me up again from the depths of the earth" - 71:29.
- Hosea describes release from death in terms of freedom from a kidnapper
"I will ransom them from the power of the grave;
I will redeem them from death.
O Death, I will be your plagues!
O Grave, I will be your destruction!" - Hosea 13:14.
John recalls Jesus' words about death and resurrection. He said:
- The dead would respond and come alive at His voice:"'Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live'" - John 5:25.
- He said said of every one who believes in Him: "I will raise him up at the last day" - John 6:40.
- Resurrection is promised through belief in Him:"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live' " John 11:25.
Paul describes the coming resurrection in interesting detail:
"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first" - 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
In Revelation, John talks about the extent of this resurrection:
" The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works" - Revelation 20:13.
What an event to look forward to! No wonder the "Resurrection" listing in the Dictionary of Bible terms includes the topics:"The resurrection as an incentive to godliness and perseverance" and "The resurrection as an incentive to endurance and suffering."
Let's keep this hope—this promise—of resurrection in mind as we ride the waves of life, and especially as we say goodbye to those we love who die in the Lord. How wonderful to know that our earthly goodbyes are not final farewells!
PRAYER: Dear God, help me to cling to Your promise of resurrection through the ups and downs of my earthly life.
MORE: Feast of All Faithful Departed
Today the church remembers those who have died in the "Feast of All Faithful Departed." The liturgy for the day begins with this collect:
"O God, the Maker and Redeemer of all believers: Grant to the faithful departed the unsearchable benefits of the passion of your Son; that on the day of his appearing they may be manifested as your children; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen."
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.