The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him,
Matthew 22:23 (KJV)
Resurrection – What does it mean, to resurrect? Think about this question before reading further. Most would agree that it is to bring back to life something that was dead. The Greek word for this is anastasis and is defined as “a rising from the dead”. It’s supported in the Old Testament by the words of the prophet Isaiah.
Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
There will be an eschatological resurrection – this is for sure. But do you really believe that? As quoted above, the Sadducees didn’t. But you do, right? Then let’s take a look at the common belief that the soul departs from the body after death. This view permeates most Christian religions. It’s often said that the soul is immortal or that it doesn’t die. In Russian, we use the term бессмертная душа (undieing soul). I’ve asked the question to many, “If the soul doesn’t die and leaves the body behind, which are you – the body or the soul?” The answer is always, “the soul”. So this implies that you don’t die. And if you don’t die, then you can’t be resurrected. If resurrection is the bringing to life something that was dead, then in order to be resurrected, you must die. The rebuttal to this is often, “Well… the body is resurrected… not your soul. And the body joins again with the soul.” But is that what Scripture writes?
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
1 Corinthians 15:42
The dead are raised in incorruption. So when a believer is resurrected, they are raised without the corruptible body. But rather, they are transformed into the incorruptible. You (your soul) can be raised… if your soul died as Scripture again clearly states.
The soul that sinneth, it shall die...
We all sin, and as Paul writes, the wages of sin is death. Our souls must die if we expect to be resurrected. So I ask again, do you believe in the resurrection? If your answer is “yes”, then the only outcome is that your soul must first die. If the soul (you) never dies, then you don’t need to be resurrected. But now with this understanding, an understanding that is Biblically justified, doesn’t the resurrection mean so much more? Your very life depends upon it. If your soul is floating somewhere in some special place, a resurrection isn’t required. But if your soul lies asleep in the ground, dead, all your hope relies in the resurrection of Yeshua.
I know the idea of an immortal soul is deeply rooted in us, and what I’m proposing might shake some of your foundational beliefs, but think about it. Explore it further. From where did the idea of an immortal soul come? The historic study will surprise you. To give you a hint, it’s found in Egyptian beliefs, and then was widely spread when Greek philosophy, and Hellenism infiltrated Judaism and Christianity. Where you won’t find it is in the ancient Hebrew culture – the culture of God’s people.