Discover What the Scripture Says About Overcoming Death
Last week we talked about the ten times the Bible records people raised from the dead. Now we’ll expand that thought and explore more Biblical references about people rising from the dead.
Valley of Bones
Ezekiel records a vision in which he sees the bones of a human army reassembling themselves and coming back to life. Although we could interpret this as a literal resurrection, it’s better seen as an allusion to what God plans to do in a spiritual sense.
Attached to this evocative vision is a prophetic word to the people of Israel telling them that God will bring them back to life and return them home to the promised land. It’s also a pledge of restoration into a spiritual afterlife (Ezekiel 37:1-14).
In similar fashion, John’s epic vision of the end times talks about two witnesses raised from the dead after three and a half days. Their resurrection terrifies all who see them. Then God calls them to join him in heaven.
Though we could interpret this vision in a literal sense that two people will come back to life at the end of time, we may be better off understanding the whole vision as allegory with us being raised from the dead and joining God in heaven (Revelation 11:1-14).
All Who Are God’s Children
As followers of Jesus, we carry a hope of being raised from the dead, too, and spending eternity in heaven with our creator and our Savior. Paul confirms this in his letter to the church in Ephesus when he reminds them that we’ll be raised from the dead through Jesus to join him in heaven (Ephesians 2:6).
Paul again addresses this in his letter to the church in Thessalonica. When Jesus comes again we’ll rise from the dead, be caught up in the clouds, and live with him forever (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).
Women Who Received Back Their Dead
In the book of Hebrews, we have one short sentence that states a fact without explanation. In the chapter about faith, the writer references women who received back their dead, people raised to life again. (Hebrews 11:35).
We don’t know who these people are or how many. It could refer to the son of a widow in Zarephath and the Shunammite woman’s boy, raised from the dead by Elijah and Elisha, respectively. Or could refer to other instances we aren’t aware of.
Regardless God raised people from the dead in the Old Testament.
We must mention the Enoch, even though God didn’t raise him from the dead. This is because Enoch didn’t die. He skipped that step. He faithfully walked with God, and God took him away, presumably to join him in heaven (Genesis 5:24).
Similar to Enoch, Elijah didn’t die either but went up to heaven in a whirlwind when his time here on earth was over (Elijah 2:11).
We have the Old Testament story of God telling Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. Though Abraham is willing, God provides an alternative to stave off Isaac’s death (Genesis 22:1-19).
The New Testament adds clarity to this passage. It says that Abraham was willing to carry out God’s command confident that God could resurrect Isaac, in effect raising him from the dead (Hebrews 11:17-19).
Jesus Raised from the Dead
God provided Abraham with a ram, an alternate sacrifice instead of Isaac. For us today, Jesus is our alternate sacrifice.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.