The Orthodox Faith
For St Paul Orthodox Youth Society - Brisbane
By Fr. John Abdel-Karim
34 – The Resurrection of the Dead
With death, the soul is separated from the body. It receives a particular judgement and remains separated until the Second Coming of Christ and the final judgement. At the final judgement, man will be presented before Christ as a full person, with a body and soul. For man to be presented like this, his body must be resurrected and be united with the soul. This will happen immediately before the final judgement. Holy Scripture absolutely assures us of this. Let us see some of its passages.
"The hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear His voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgement" (John, 5:28-9).
St. Paul says "Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed" (1 Corinthians, 15:51-52).
St. Paul says elsewhere, "For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord"
(1 Thessalonians, 4:14-17).
From the above passages of Holy Scripture we are clearly taught beyond any doubt that:
a) The dead will be resurrected before the Second Coming of Christ and final judgement. "All who are in the tombs shall hear his voice, and come forth" (John, 5:28).
b) The resurrected body will be immortal. "The dead will be raised imperishable" (1 Corinthians, 15:52).
c) Before the Second Coming or during it, the living will be changed; in other words, their bodies, like those of the dead, will be spiritualized and made immortal: "The dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed" (1 Corinthians, 15:52).
d) The living and the dead will proceed to eternal life or eternal hell. "And come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment" (John, 5:29).
With the resurrection of the dead and the final judgement, death is abolished. The end of the world also comes, but this does not mean the catastrophic end to the world but rather change and finality. Sin will disappear.
LET US PRAY
Thrice-holy God, Who with Your infinite love created and sustain us, You admire and bless us whenever we do good, You tolerate us when we sin, You forgive us when we repent. You deigned that Your only begotten Son should become man, to be crucified, to die as a man, to be resurrected and become the first-born from the dead, and to make possible our own resurrection. We thank You for all these things. We ask You please to give us repentance. Make it so that we will proceed to the resurrection of life and not to judgement. Grant us eternal life. Do not allow our eternal punishment. Do not deprive us of the joy of Your everlasting presence.