By Li Cheng
Today I will fellowship the truth of resurrection of the dead with you. Let us readfirst. Ezekiel 37:5-6 records, “Thus said the Lord GOD to these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live: And I will lay sinews on you, and will bring up flesh on you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the LORD.” The said, “And this is the Father’s will which has sent me, that of all which he has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” (John 6:39). And 1 Corinthians 15:52-53 says, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” There are many other verses in the Bible about resurrection of the dead, yet here we won’t study them one by one.
The resurrection of the dead is to happen when the Lord Jesus returns, and is a great hope for us believers in the Lord. But there are many sorts of stories about how exactly the dead will be raised. Of them, the most familiar one is the literal interpretation of the verses, which says: When the Lord descends in , He will perform supernatural signs, using His great power to recover the bodies of the former saints who have slept in the Lord. Then, with the same forms as they had when they died, some of them will come out of their graves, some will emerge from the ground, and some will rise up out of the sea. At that time those living believers will see that for an instant, myriads of corpses and ashes that have been decomposed in the dust for thousands of years, and the submerged people who have long turned into fish shit and vanished into nothing regain their lives with the same bodies as they were formerly in when they died, become incorruptible, and then enter into glory. What a wonderful and spectacular scene! Resurrection from the dead is indeed one aspect of the truth, but will it be as legendary and supernatural as we conceive? Will the Lord accomplish it in light of our conceptions and imaginations? Of cause not, because the wisdom of God soars higher than the heavens, just as the Bible says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, said the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). If resurrection of the dead is as what we have imagined that the dead will emerge from the graves and the sea with their original bodies, then doesn’t our man’s mind transcend that of God? Therefore, God will not carry out His work according to the conceptions and imaginations of us corrupt mankind. For example, when the Lord Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about the truth of regeneration, He said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see ” (John 3:3). Based on the literal sense of the word, Nicodemus thought that regeneration was for a man to be born from his mother’s womb the second time. His understanding was totally wrong. As we can see, we humans can only understand to that extent, unable to get at any higher meaning. For another example, when talking with the Samaritan woman, the Lord Jesus said, “But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst” (John 4:14). Also based on the literal meaning of the word, the Samaritan woman took the water given by the Lord as drinking water, thus saying, “Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come here to draw” (John 4:15). She also misunderstood the Lord’s word. Likewise, if we interpret the prophecies of being resurrected from death and God’s words literally, will we not make the same mistake as Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman did? Just as the words in a book of truths say, “Hidden within the proclamations of My voice are a number of My intentions. But man knows and understands nothing of these, and keeps receiving My words from the outside and following them from the outside, without being able to realize My heart or intuit My will from within My words” (“The Thirteenth Utterance” of God’s Utterances to the Entire Universe).
Then what is the true meaning of resurrection of the dead? I saw these words in the book, “From My perspective, the death of the flesh is not a real death. When My Spirit is reclaimed from a person, that person dies. Therefore, I call all those demons corrupted by Satan (those who have no faith, all unbelievers) the dead. Since the creation of the world, I have added My Spirit to everyone, everyone who I have chosen. However, after a phase which followed creation, people were occupied by Satan for a period of time. So I left and people started to suffer (the suffering I endured when I was incarnated and nailed onto the cross, as is spoken of). However, at the time predetermined by Me (the time when My abandonment of people ended), I reclaimed the people I had predestined and I once again placed My Spirit in you so that you came back to life. This is called ‘resurrection from the dead.’” (“The Ninety- eighth Utterance” of Utterances and Testimonies of in the Beginning). “God created man, after which man was corrupted by Satan, and this corruption has made people into dead bodies—and thus, after you have changed, you will be different from these dead bodies. It is the words of God that give life to people’s spirits and cause them to be reborn, and when people’s spirits are reborn they will have come alive. Mention of the ‘dead’ refers to corpses that have no spirit, to people in whom their spirit has died. When people’s spirits are given life, they come alive. The saints that were spoken of before refer to people who have come alive, those who were under Satan’s influence but defeated Satan” (“Have You Come Alive?”). These words made me see that Adam and Eve created by God in the beginning were living beings with a spirit, and were men of conscience and sense, who could manifest and glorify God. After their corruption by Satan, God’s Spirit left them. While they were still alive in the flesh at that time, in God’s eyes they had already become the dead who were without a spirit. Accordingly, after being corrupted by Satan, we mankind have become the dead without a spirit, have been completely occupied by Satan, and are full of corrupt satanic dispositions such as arrogance, selfishness, craftiness, malevolence, deceit, greed, and so on. Like Satan, we can judge, resist, attack, and blaspheme God, which are the typical manifestations of the dead. The dead ones are those who live in corrupt nature and resist God, and who are against God. The living ones are those whose spirits have been quickened and whose satanic dispositions have been cast away. They can listen to and know His work, their conscience and sense have returned to normal, and thus they can obey and love God. When we live in God’s word and live before the truth, we will become living men with a spirit—the ones that are raised from the dead.
Then some people will ask: How to become a living man? It says in the book, “Originally the man made by God was alive, but because of Satan’s corruption man lives amid death, and lives under the influence of Satan, and so these people have become the dead who are without a spirit, they have become enemies who oppose God, they have become the tools of Satan, and they have become the captives of Satan. All the living people created by God have become dead, and so God has lost His testimony, and He has lost mankind, which He created and is the only thing that has His breath. If God is to take back His testimony, and take back those who were made by His own hand but who have been taken captive by Satan, then He must resurrect them so that they become living beings, and He must reclaim them so that they live in His light. The dead are those who have no spirit, those who are numb in the extreme, and who oppose God. Moreover, they are those who do not know God. These people have not the slightest intention of obeying God, they only rebel against Him and oppose Him, and have not the slightest loyalty. The living are those whose spirits have been reborn, who know to obey God, and who are loyal to God. They are possessed of the truth, and of testimony, and only these people are pleasing to God in His house. God saves those who can come alive, who can see , who can be loyal to God, and willing to seek God. He saves those who ’s incarnation, and believe in His appearance” (“Have You Come Alive?”). And the Lord Jesus said, “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come” (John 16:12-13).
Obviously, seeing that we man have become the dead without a spirit after being corrupted by Satan and did not know how to worship or obey God, God started His plan to save us mankind. To begin with, He issued laws for man to obey, leading man’s life on earth, so that we man became aware of how to worship God and be blessed by Him, and of what was committing sins and being cursed by God. But by the end of the Age of Law, we mankind sinned more and more and would all be condemned and cursed by the law. For this reason, God was incarnated for the first time to carry out the redemptive work in the Age of Grace under the name of the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s redemption spared us mankind from the end of being executed for our sins under the law. Redeemed by the Lord Jesus, we believers in the Lord have been forgiven of our sins; whereas, the root of our sins has not yet been resolved. We are still caught up in the corrupt satanic dispositions, living a life of sinning and confessing every day without being able to extricate ourselves. We can’t keep God’s commandments nor follow the Lord’s way, but lust for the trends in the world. We are arrogant and conceited, crooked and crafty, selfish and base. We can show off and testify ourselves, and even worship celebrities, great men, as well as the pastors and elders. Moreover, we always tell lies to deceive others, and swear fake oaths and make empty promises before God to deceive Him Also, we scramble for fame and fortune and have jealous disputes with each other. And so forth. Suppose we are not cleansed of these corrupt dispositions, how can we become living beings? The Lord Jesus said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:25-26). God returns in the last days to express the truth so as to free us completely from sin and make us purified. When we accept the truth as life, use the truth to replace our satanic dispositions, and live out the reality of the truth, we can thereby cease to be enemies of God, truly obey and love God, and fulfill our duties faithfully. Only then have we completely cast away our corrupt satanic dispositions, and turned from the dead ones into the living ones, that is, we have been raised from the dead. The men who are raised from the dead are the ones who have been revived in spirit and thus belong to God, who live out the reality of the truth and have the new life, and who have God’s glory and can testify God. What God wants are the living ones rather than the dead ones, because only the living ones are qualified to inherit His promise—to enter into the kingdom of heaven. May all of us receive the truth from the of Lord Jesus as our lives, be raised from the dead, and thus inherit .
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