We are currently reading through ‘The Final Decade Before The End’ by Ed Stevens in our Saturday Morning Bible Study at The Blue Point Bible Church. The Final Decade Before The End is a must have study resource regarding the first century political/social/theological climate and how our New Testament was put together. I have previous mentioned to Mr. Stevens how great of a resource this book is – minus, of course the erroneous details he shares regarding the resurrection of the dead.
As Mr. Stevens outlines the missionary journey’s of the Apostle Paul, he goes on to mark out an important question, “What kind of resurrection was Paul preaching?”. He directly cites the following verses:
“…when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question (Acts 23:6)”.
“…having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked (Acts 24:15)”.
“…other than for this one statement which I shouted out while standing among them, ‘For the resurrection of the dead I am on trial before you today.’ (Acts 24:21)”.
“But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, “Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you.” (Acts 24:25)”.
Mr. Stevens goes on to say, “These statements are interesting for a lot of reasons, not only because of their affirmations of imminency, but even more so in regard to the nature of this “about to be” (Gk. mello) resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. If Paul was thinking of a collective body of Jewish believers being raised out of covenantally-dead Judaism, why would he mention “both the righteous and the wicked” being raised?” And he furthermore says, “Those who teach the Collective Body resurrection view have not been able to satisfactorily explain Paul’s language here”.
This statement is without merit because nothing in the verses, nor in what Mr. Stevens says in the this whole particular section, demonstrates why the Corporate Body View of the resurrection of the dead is in error. Rather, it would seem that Mr. Stevens is failing to understand what is being put forth as the proper perspective by CBV proponents. In a previous blog I had written, An Introduction To And Praise of the Corporate Body View, I explained that “…the “resurrection passages” found throughout the Bible are speaking about the “change” (alasso in the Greek) of the living saints and the making stand upright (apantesis in the Greek) of the “dead ones” into one immortal “corporate body” (the glorified Body of Christ).”. In order for that ‘resurrection reality’ to occur, there needed to be a resurrection of the righteous and the wicked and a judgement, thus offering the promise to one and condemnation to the other. This is what is put forth in Daniel chapter 12. In teaching after teaching, debate after debate, CBV proponents such as Dr. Don K. Preston, Dr. William Bell, Holger Neubauer, among many others, have explained the corporate body view being inclusive of a necessary resurrection of the righteous and the wicked, yet a continued standing and glorification of those in Christ, i.e., the Church. Oddly enough, Ed Stevens goes on to affirm the very essence of the corporate body view, “We simply affirm, like Paul and the Pharisees, that at the Parousia the souls of the Old Testament saints would be raised out of Hades and judged”.
Futurists, and clearly some Preterists alike, have sought to cite Acts 24:15, wherein the Apostle Paul says he has “the same hope as these men”, referring to the Pharisees, as proof that the ‘resurrection of the dead’ is about an individual- ethereal reality, but this is flawed. The Apostle Paul qualifies the source of the resurrection of the dead hope as the Law and the Prophets, not intertestimental-literature, not tradition, nor apologetics regarding Gnosticism and disembodied spirits. The Law and the Prophets! Obviously the Apostle Paul had a different perspective of the hope of Resurrection, since Jesus Christ is the resurrection (cf. ) and only those who have Spiritual-discernment can understand these things (cf. 1 Cor. 2:), but, his source was the same as the Pharisees.
It is vital that we return back to understanding the Biblical narrative, especially as it outlined in the Law and the Prophets, to best understand the theological realities we enjoy today in Jesus Christ. Recently, Bible teacher, Larry Siegle, of Fulfilled Dynamics, has been writing articles highlight the Biblical narrative and God’s eternal purpose throughout the ages, and more recently he wrote one on resurrection. In his article, RESURRECTION: God’s ‘Purpose of the Ages’, he highlights the areas of controversy regarding the ‘resurrection of the dead’ that were taking place in the early church. Visit the following link to enjoy that resource, https://powerofpreterism.wordpress.com/2020/11/21/resurrection-gods-purpose-of-the-ages/
Ironically, this morning I woke up to a social media reminder of something I posted 6 years ago – a quote by William Bell. He said, “At the core of the false teaching of ‘individual physical resurrection’ in Greek dualistic anthropology and Western individualism”.
I conclude with an affirmation I put forth in the aforementioned blog I had written, An Introduction To…, “The “resurrection of the dead” is the ultimate conclusion of fulfilled Bible prophecy. The fulfillment of the every joy and tittle of the Law and the Prophets it all that the prophets longed and hoped for. In and through that fulfillment the Mystery of the Ages would be revealed The living and the dead would and were raised into a new “bodily experience” when the Messiah fulfilled all that was necessary for the restitution of all things. The Apostle Paul detailed the overcoming of the covenantal death, which was lamented through the Prophets in this manner: “But when this perishable will have put on the the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting”. Praise God for the Corporate Body Resurrection! The Glorified Immortal Body of Christ where Resurrection and Life is found.”
P.S. – If you’d like to watch the public discussion of our differences regarding the ‘resurrection of the dead’ that I had with Mr. Ed Stevens in July 2017 at The Niagara Preterist Confence, you can do so at the following link, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7zaUtNfLC0