How Many Resurrections Are There?

Sinless Jesus: A Gospel Essential? - LIVE Q&A for September 8, 2022

How Many Resurrections Are There in the Bible?

Josiah asks:

How many resurrections are there in the Bible?

There are really two ways to ask this question.

  • How many people were raised from the dead in the Bible?
  • In how many events will all humanity receive their resurrection bodies?

First Way to Ask the Question: How many people were raised from the dead in the Bible?

Apart from Jesus, there are 8 specific people reported as raised from the dead, and one event where several people were raised without giving a specific number.

  • The widow of Zarapheth’s son (1 Kings 17)
  • The Shunamite woman’s son (2 Kings 4)
  • The man raised out of Elisha’s grave (2 Kings 13)
  • The widow of Nain’s son (Luke 7)
  • Jairus’s daughter (Luke 8)
  • Lazarus of Bethany (John 11)
  • Tabitha (Acts 9)
  • Eutychus (Acts 20)
  • Unnumbered saints in Jerusalem at the death of Jesus (Matthew 27)

Yet all of these were not real “resurrections” – because every one of these people would die again. They were brought back to life in the same corruptible body as before.

There is really only one true resurrection in the Bible – that of Jesus, who is called the “firstfruits of the resurrection” (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). In our resurrection, we will be raised like Jesus.

Second Way to Ask the Question: In how many events will all humanity receive their resurrection bodies?

If the question is, “how many resurrection events are there in the Bible,” I would say either two or three, depending on how you count.

Remember that in John 5:28-29, Jesus promised that all humanity will be resurrected; all humanity lives beyond this life. Resurrection isn’t just something for the righteous; it is also a fact for the wicked:

John 5:28-29

Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves 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 condemnation.

Revelation 20 tells us something of how this happens.

Revelation 20:5-6:

But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

This first resurrection is the granting of resurrection life in resurrection bodies to all those dead in Jesus.

  • This is a resurrection of blessing (blessed and holy is he).
  • This is a resurrection of power (over such the second death has no power).
  • This is a resurrection of privilege (they shall be priests of God… shall reign with Him a thousand years).

The rest of the dead: Those who do not have part in the first resurrection are not blessed, they are under the power of the second death, and they are without privilege.

So, in John 5:28-29 when Jesus described two resurrections, He spoke of two “orders” of resurrection.

Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves 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 condemnation.

The two orders are separated by this 1,000-year period because the rest of the dead are not given their resurrection bodies until the thousand years were finished.

Some people argue that the first resurrection is a singular event, but many see that it should be understood as an order or class encompassing previously dead believers (who are at once with the Lord), the raptured church (already in heaven), and saints from the Great Tribulation.

“‘The ‘first resurrection’ is not an event but an order of resurrection including all the righteous who are raised from the dead before the millennial kingdom begins.” (Walvoord)

Under one way of counting, there are two resurrections:

  • Before the 1,000-year literal reign of Jesus
  • After the 1,000-year literal reign of Jesus

Is it Scriptural to give visiting pastors an honorarium?

l have a question pastor Guzik…. why is it that Pastors are given honorarium when they visit and minister in churches. is it scriptural?

Galatians 6:6

Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.

1 Corinthians 9:11

If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?

1 Timothy 5:17-18

Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”

Are Gentiles a part of spiritual Israel?

Do Galatians 3:28, Galatians 6:16, and Romans 9:6-8 show that Gentiles are a part of spiritual Israel? Please explain why or why not?

Galatians 3:28 – There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 6:16 – And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

Romans 9:6-8 – But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.

Yes, absolutely. The whole concept of the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16) speaks of a spiritual concept of Israel.

Concerning Romans 9:6-8, I think you’re precisely right. Those passages, and a few others in the New Testament, speak of the concept of spiritual Israel. I don’t have any problem with the concept. I think it’s clear biblically that there’s a concept of spiritual Israel. I do, however, have a problem with the concept of spiritual Israel canceling out the concept of literal, genetic, ethnic Israel in God’s plan.

The Bible clearly includes the concept of spiritual Israel. Gentiles who believe are part of spiritual Israel. If you are justified by faith, as Abraham was, then you are part of spiritual Israel. You are spiritually connected to your father Abraham, as an example of faith. The concept of spiritual it’s a wonderful idea.

But I don’t think anybody should make the mistake of saying that spiritual Israel cancels out the concept of literal, ethnic, genetic Israel. No, God still has a plan for genetic ethnic, literal Israel. Absolutely He does. They still have a part in God’s wonderful unfolding plan of the ages.

Romans 11:25 – For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

Notice that Paul is making a distinction between Israel and the Gentiles.

Romans 11:26a- And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written…

Paul goes on to explain this by quoting some wonderful passages from the Hebrew Scriptures.

Friends, I cannot see any adequate way of understanding what Paul (by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) wrote in this passage that would erase the concept of God’s ongoing part for ethnic Israel in His plan.

God has a plan that Israel will be saved. That is in His unfolding plan of the ages. It’s an important part of it. Jesus said to Jerusalem, “You shall see me no more until you say blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”

So, yes, we totally understand and accept the concept of spiritual Israel. It’s a wonderful and encouraging concept in the New Testament. However, it does not eliminate the truth of the concept of the ongoing part that ethnic, genetic, literal Israel has in God’s unfolding plan.

Are religions other than Christianity inherently demonic or are they just false?

Everything evil in this world is inspired by either the world, the flesh, or the devil. And I’ll be honest with you, sometimes it’s hard to figure out where the influence comes from. John Calvin famously said that the human heart is a factory of idols. And really, that’s what a false religion is. It’s idolatry in some way or another. That points towards that origin coming from the heart of the person, not from an outside source, such as a demonic influence. But there could be demonic influence as well.

Everything that is evil, every false religion, every idolatry, every wicked thing in this world sprang from either the world, the flesh, or the devil. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which influences what. I would say that often, it’s not just one of those influences; sometimes it’s all three. So, we just don’t know a specific source. But we can’t blind ourselves to the demonic origin or use of many things in false religions.

Is baptism by sprinkling Biblical or not?

Baptism by sprinkling should never be the normative practice of the church. The word baptism simply means to immerse or overwhelmed; that’s what the word means in the original language of the New Testament. The most natural thing in the world is to understand baptism by immersion. Baptism by immersion was practiced by the early church. So, I think that should be the normative practice.

Now, when people hypothesize, “What if somebody comes to the Lord in the desert, and there’s only a small amount of water, and they must be baptized, but there’s not enough to dunk them?” Okay, in that situation, go ahead and sprinkle them. But nobody should regard that as the normative practice for the church. If there’s absolutely no option to immerse a person, then you could do something different.

I think it’s so strange how we can tend to latch on to things which happen as rare exceptions, and we want to act as if that’s how things should be done all the time.

So, because the word “baptism” in the original New Testament language means to immerse, to dip, to overwhelm, to cover over; it does not mean to sprinkle. It has never meant to sprinkle. Again, I don’t want to exclude some rare cases, when someone could only be baptized by sprinkling, but those rare cases should never be used to establish a general practice.

Do you think we can love God with all our heart on this side of eternity?

That’s a very good question. Let me give you a typical theologian or Bible answer to that. I’ll say no, and yes.

Do I think that we can love God with all our heart on this side of eternity? No. We can’t do anything perfectly on this side of eternity. Nothing. Our faith isn’t perfect. Our repentance isn’t perfect. Our love isn’t perfect. Our grace isn’t perfect. Our anger isn’t perfect, and so on. We do nothing perfectly on this side of eternity. So, in that sense, the answer is very easy.

But I would say that we can love God to the best of our conscious ability. I’m not trying to say that that’s perfection. When Jesus speaks to us as fallible human beings, He’s saying, “Love the Lord your God with all the best of your conscious ability.” What do I mean by conscious ability? There are always ways that I may not know in which I’m failing in my responsibility to honor God and love Him. But if I don’t know, I don’t know. That’s what makes a certain prayer very valuable. The prayer says this, “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts. See if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24). Search me, God, and know my heart. I think that’s a wonderful and appropriate prayer to pray.

Did Rebecca have suicidal thoughts while pregnant with her twins?

Did Rebecca have suicidal thoughts? Seems like she was experiencing a depression when her twins started fighting in the womb.

We’re talking about the marriage of Isaac and Rebecca. Rebecca becomes pregnant, and there are twins in her womb. She is agitated because the twins are agitated; they’re fighting and striving with one another in her womb. God explains to them that He has chosen the younger of the twins to be over the older of the twins, which went against the normal way that they did things in those days. Normally, the firstborn had the honor and birthright. There are places where God upset that order to be sure, but when He did, He was upsetting a normal order that existed.

I don’t recall anything in the Genesis text that tells us that Rebecca had suicidal thoughts. Clearly, she was troubled, and no doubt somewhat anxious or depressed. I don’t think that’s a stretch to say. But I think all we have to go on is what the text itself says. I don’t recall anything in the text that points to Rebecca being suicidal in this occasion, so I would have to say no. We want to be careful that we don’t speak with confidence in places where the Scriptures themselves do not speak.

Is assurance of salvation described in 1 John 5:13?

I grew up in the church where the emphasis was on sanctification and works based salvation. Can you explain your views on 1 John 5:13?

1 John 5:13 – These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

I think one thing you’re getting at is how we should have an assurance of our salvation. “I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.”

I would say this very strongly, very categorically: God wants His people to have an assurance of their salvation. I don’t think it’s God’s intent for a believer to be constantly tortured about the salvation of their soul. “I’m saved today. I’m damned tomorrow. Who knows what it’s going to be like next week? I don’t know.” No, no, no.

God wants His people to have a confidence in their salvation. Not an arrogance, and not a presumption. In 1 John 5:13, he connects it to the idea of continuation. “And that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” Listen, if someone continues to believe in the name of the Son of God, they can have full reason for assurance in their Christian life. They can know, as it says there, that they have eternal life, based on God’s promise. It’s not based on the strength of their belief or the quality of their belief but based on the promise of God that the righteous will live by faith.

I think God wants us to have this condition of assurance. I don’t think it glorifies God or benefits His people to live in frequent states of agony over the salvation of one’s soul.

So, a works-based salvation is always dangerous. Always. We need to be very clear with this. It should be universal among the people of God that when somebody asks us, or when we just think in our own head, “Why am I saved? Why am I right with God? Why am I going to heaven?” the first instinct should be to point to Jesus.

Why am I right with God? Why am I going to heaven? Why am I rescued for this life and eternity? Because of who Jesus is and what He did for me, especially what He did at the cross and in His resurrection. It’s that simple.

Now, it’s a little bit dangerous when the instinct is to answer that question by pointing back to myself: “It’s because of something I did; because I live a holy life; because I read my Bible every day; because I gave up so many things for God; because me, me, me.” No, that’s a bad and dangerous instinct.

The core of the Christian life is not what we do for God. It’s what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. Now, I said, the core of the Christian life. Part of the Christian life is what we do for God. Absolutely, positively. We believe in the idea of holiness. We believe in the idea of sanctification. We believe in the idea of growth in grace and obeying God. Absolutely. But that’s not the core.

The core of the Christian life is not what I do for God. It’s what God has done for me in Christ Jesus. I hope that answers the question for you. I hope that you are able to walk in that sense of an assurance of your salvation. And it’s not because you’re so wonderful, your faith is so strong, or your life is so holy, but because your trust is in the God who rescues you in Jesus Christ.

Are DNA tests “sanctioned” by the Lord? Is this like visiting a medium in God’s eyes?

Are DNA test sanctioned by the Lord? I’m thinking about the idea that I’ll know more about my future medical issues. Is this like visiting a medium in God’s eyes?

I personally have no problem with a DNA test. I don’t think it’s anything like visiting a medium or a palm reader or witchcraft or anything like that. Now, just like with anything, something good can be misused. So, we’re certainly not talking about the misuse of something good from God.

I would say that, yes, it’s fine for you to get a DNA test. I personally did get myself a DNA test. I think my children gifted it to me for my birthday or Father’s Day or something like that, and I was very pleased to receive it some years ago. I’ll tell you one thing that I was curious about.

My last name is Guzik. It’s a Polish name. In fact, it means “button” in Polish. My father’s whole side of the family is Polish. I was curious to see if perhaps there was some Jewish background in my DNA, because many of the Polish people with the name Guzik that I looked at in history have been Jewish.

When we went to Yad Vashem, that great museum and display about the Holocaust in Jerusalem, they have an area where you can look up names of those who perished in the Holocaust. And we saw that many people with the name Guzik had died in the Holocaust, because they were Jewish.

I was curious to see if there was Jewish heritage in my genetics, but the answer was basically no. There was the smallest percentage, but not anything of note in my genetics.

So, I don’t have any problem with doing a DNA test in that regard. I think the results of it could be used in a weird or superstitious or strange way. But I don’t think that the thing itself is something inherently bad. It’s just a finding of medical science. That’s my opinion.

What happened to Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus?

I heard that Jesus’ earthly father Joseph died early in life. Is there any truth to this? How would one know?

The bottom line is that we don’t know. The Bible doesn’t tell us. But here’s what the Bible does tell us. The latest mention of Joseph being alive is when Jesus was about 12 years old, when Joseph and Mary went to one of the Feasts of Israel in Jerusalem, and they lost Jesus in the Temple. While they were on their way back to Galilee, they noticed that Jesus was gone.

So, we have that particular account of Joseph when Jesus was about 12 years old. We hear nothing more about Joseph in the biblical record. No one knows for sure. Most people suppose that Joseph died at a young age. Some people believe that Joseph was somewhat older than Mary. That’s true. Maybe he died a natural death. Maybe he died from some accident or illness; we don’t really know.

But it seems that at some point fairly early in the life of Jesus, Joseph passed away, and the responsibility to provide for Mary and for the family naturally passed to Jesus, the eldest son. Therefore, He took up the career the work of a builder, a carpenter. Actually, the word in the New Testament translated “carpenter,” talking about Jesus being the carpenter’s son, is better translated as “builder.” Jesus was a builder, as was Joseph.

That’s the best we can do. The Scripture is really don’t tell us. We don’t have any reliable historical reference outside of the Scriptures. All we can say for certain is that at some point after Jesus was 12 years of age, Joseph passed from the scene. And by the time Jesus emerged in His ministry, at 30 years of age, Joseph was nowhere to be found and Mary was by herself.

Does God give us interests or things we want to pursue, just so we can crucify our flesh and stop pursuing what we want in life?

I don’t know if there’s any specific Scripture that sheds light on this. But it sounds strange to me to say that God actually gives us something only for the sake of us crucifying it. I’m trying to think through this question as you present it to me.

You could think of in a very practical situation for someone in ancient Israel. They get a prize lamb; it’s a perfect lamb. And that’s the lamb that they should sacrifice. Now, would we say that God gave them that lamb? Well, sure, you could say that. Did God want them to sacrifice a lamb? Well, if they came to a situation where a sacrifice was required of them, then it would be plain to say that they should give the best that they had.

I want to avoid any implication that God is toying with us, as if He said, “I gave you this just so you would give it up.” But at the same time, I can’t deny that we may oftentimes be in a place where we give Him a talent, a resource, an ability, or a gift that we’ve received, and we lay it down before His throne, and for His glory.

So, we want to avoid any implication that God would toy with us, and that He’s not acting as a wise and loving Father. Apart from that, I would say that the principle does stand that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father above, as James tells us in his letter. God wants us to lay down some of those good and perfect gifts before Him. But I want to avoid the idea that if there’s any blessing in our life, we shouldn’t have that, and it should be given to God. That just seems like a strange way to approach. But I can’t get around the idea that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father above. Yet some of those good and perfect gifts He wants us to lay down before His throne.

Are there things that we can do to receive a miracle from God?

Is it true that God always waits for us to do something in specific in our life, to receive a miracle. Some people say that I haven’t received what I expect, because God wants me to do something.

I want to stress this. We can’t think that there’s something we do which obligates God to give us a miracle. It doesn’t work like that.

We don’t have a transactional relationship with God, where God says, “Well, if you do A, B, and C, then you’ll get D, the miracle that I promised.” It just doesn’t work like that. There’s nothing we can do to force God to do a miracle for us, as we would hope or desire.

So then, what do we do with this? How do we approach this? I would put it like this. It is possible that God has something that He wants to give to one of Hs children, which we fail to receive because we lack faith. That’s definitely possible. There are things that God wants to give us which we do not receive, because you could say we lack faith or we lack obedience, or whatever it is. But we don’t make the mistake of thinking that we have a transactional relationship with God. We can’t force Him to do the miracle we want Him to do if we just fulfill three or four conditions.

If you’re praying for something, and you haven’t received it, continue to talk to God about it.