THE NEW PATTERN
The events between the death and resurrection of Jesus set a new pattern for the destiny of righteous souls. Prior to Christ's resurrection, departed spirits of the righteous went to paradise. After the death and resurrection of Jesus, the spirits of the righteous could ascend immediately into the presence of God. This is confirmed in the record of the death of Stephen:
But he [Stephen], being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
AFTER THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS
The story of Lazarus and the rich man reveals what happened to departed souls before the death and resurrection of Jesus. After His resurrection the destiny of the souls of the wicked remained the same, but the destiny of righteous souls changed.
When Jesus died He said "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit". His body was laid in a tomb but the destiny of His spirit was decided by God. The Bible reveals what happened to the spirit of Christ after death:
DESTINY OF THE DEAD
There is much about the period between physical death and the resurrection that is not revealed in the Bible, but three things are clear: 1. At the time of death there is a separation between the body and the spirit and soul. The physical body is put in the grave, but the soul and spirit live on in eternity. 2. The spirits and souls of those who were righteous go to a different place than those who were wicked. 3. The destiny of the righteous was different before and after the death of Jesus.
EXCEPTIONS TO THE RESURRECTION
Those who never die will not need to be resurrected from the dead.
Paul wrote: Behold, I shew 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 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. (I Corinthians 15:51-53)
When Paul says "we shall not ALL sleep" he means all true believers who are alive at the time of Christ's return for His Church.
The Bible reveals two things about all human beings:
1. All will experience the resurrection of the dead.
2. All will experience eternal judgment.
Jesus said concerning the future resurrection:
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth;
They that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:28-29)
The Apostle Paul also writes about this resurrection:
EVIDENCE OF HIS RESURRECTION:
Jesus provided many evidences of His resurrection. These included the empty tomb, the message of the angels, and His visible appearances after His resurrection. There are also evidences which confirm the spiritual resurrection of believers. They include the following:
-Death To Sin Resulting In A New Life:
Spiritual resurrection results in death to sin. The believer does not live like he used to live. He is dead to the evil things of the world and alive in Jesus:
IMPORTANCE OF THE RESURRECTION:
Why is the doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead so important to the Christian faith?
But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen;
And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain and your faith is also vain. (I Corinthians 15:13-14)
Believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is necessary to become a true believer:
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
HIS RESURRECTED BODY:
After His resurrection, Jesus was careful to provide evidence that He had a real body and He was the same person that had been crucified. The evidence of this was His hands, feet, and side which still had the marks of the nails and the spear.
In other ways His body had experienced important changes. It no longer was subject to the limitations of a mortal body. He could now appear or disappear at will. He could enter a closed room and He could pass between earth and Heaven (John 20:19).
The meaning of the word "resurrection" is a raising or rising up. It means to cause to rise or raise up from the dead.
There are three resurrections identified in the New Testament:
Past: The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Present: The spiritual resurrection of believers in Jesus Christ.
Future: The future resurrection of all that are in the graves.
Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the power of God: