Today's Foundations Devotional: Saints with a resurrection body
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each
one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are
Christ’s at His coming.
(1 Corinthians 15:22-23)
Yesterday we read about the Old Testament saints resurrected together with Jesus. Two interesting questions naturally suggest themselves.
The first question is: did these resurrected saints comprise all the righteous believers of the Old Testament? Were all the Old Testament saints resurrected together with Jesus?
To this question the answer would appear to be no. Matthew says: “Many bodies of the saints ... were raised.” This phrase, “many ... of the saints,” in normal usage would indicate that it was not all the saints that arose.
This conclusion is supported by the words of Peter on the day of Pentecost.
Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day (Acts 2:29).
Peter is here speaking fifty days after the resurrection of Christ. Yet his words suggest that the body of David was still in his tomb at that time. This would indicate that David, one of the greatest of the Old Testament saints, had not yet been resurrected at the time when Peter spoke on the day of Pentecost. Therefore this resurrection of Old Testament saints on the first Easter Sunday morning was a resurrection of some, but not of all.
The second interesting question concerning these resurrected Old Testament saints is: What became of them after their resurrection?
From the account given, it would appear that these Old Testament saints were, in the true sense, “resurrected” – that is, they were raised up once and for all out of the dominion of death and the grave, never to return again under that dominion. In this respect, there is a complete difference between these saints and the people whom Jesus raised from the dead during His earthly ministry.
Those whom Christ raised from the dead were called back out of death to the same kind of natural, earthly life which they had previously. They still remained subject to all the weaknesses of mortal flesh, and in due course they died again and were buried. These people had merely been restored to natural, earthly life; they had not been resurrected from the dead. On the other hand, the saints who rose with Jesus shared His resurrection with Him. They entered into a totally new kind of life; they received new, spiritual bodies, just like that which Jesus Himself received.
Coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they [the resurrected saints] went into the holy city [that is, Jerusalem], and appeared to many (Matt. 27:53).
These words indicate that these saints had bodies of the same kind that Jesus had after His resurrection. They could appear or disappear at will. They were no longer subject to the physical limitations of a normal, earthly body.
If this is so, then there can be no thought that they ever returned again into their graves and submitted themselves afresh to the process of decomposition. In putting on these resurrection bodies, they had passed once and for all out of the shadow and dominion of death and the grave, never to return thereunder again.
Heavenly Lord, through this description I realize that with the great
privilege of being Your child, I also immediately entered a whole new
life and a new reality. Thank you for that wonderful reality. Amen.