Today's Foundations Devotional: The saints of the Old Testament will precede us
After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that
we may live in His sight.
As we look back over the Old Testament prophecies of the resurrection of the righteous quoted in this chapter, one feature emerges which is common to them all: The saints of the Old Testament are to be included in it.
We saw, for instance, that God’s promise of Canaan as an everlasting possession was made to Abraham first, then to his seed (descendants) after him. Paul says to Christians: “You are Abraham’s seed [descendants]” (Gal. 3:29). The resurrection of these New Testament descendants of Abraham will not precede that of Abraham himself.
Job said, concerning himself: “I know that my Redeemer lives ... in my flesh I shall see God” (Job 19:25-26).
Through faith in his Redeemer he looked forward to sharing in the resurrection of the righteous.
Likewise, Isaiah spoke of a joyful resurrection of the righteous dead in which he was to be included.
Your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust (Is. 26:19).
Gabriel told Daniel that there was to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked (see Dan. 12:2-3). Then the angel said to Daniel personally:
You shall rest [in the grave], and will arise [be resurrected] to your inheritance at the end of the days (Dan. 12:13).
Clearly, Daniel was to be included in the resurrection of the righteous. In Hosea’s prediction of the resurrection he said:
On the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight (Hos. 6:2).
Hosea included himself in the predicted resurrection. For confirmation from the New Testament, we may turn to the words of Jesus.
And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 8:11).
Jesus speaks of believers from many different nations and backgrounds coming together at the resurrection with the three Old Testament patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This indicates that both Old Testament and New Testament believers will participate together in the resurrection of the righteous.
All who will participate in this resurrection have one qualification in common: faith in Christ’s atoning sacrifice. There is, however, a difference between the saints of the old covenant and those of the new. Under the old covenant believers looked forward – through various prophetic revelations – to a sacrifice that had not yet been offered. Under the new covenant believers look back to the historical facts of Christ’s death and resurrection.
Throughout the remainder of these devotions in the coming weeks we will assume, as an established fact, that the resurrection of the righteous will include the believers or saints of the old covenant as well as those of the new.
Thank You Lord that what Paul has written is true, that in the spiritual
world we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses of faith - they
have preceded us to Your glory, but they are still today also inspiring
and empowering us in our faith! Thank You for that! Amen.