The Resurrection of Christ
by Henry Dyer
The fifteenth chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, is a rich and mighty Scripture on the great doctrine of resurrection, first, of all, of Christ, and next of all who are His. A false teaching had sprung up amongst Corinthian saints which the apostle takes advantage of to reaffirm the Gospel, of which he shows the resurrection of the Lord and of His saints to be the keystone. That Christ had been amongst the dead, none could deny. His enemies were allowed to make this sure by their stone and seal. Hence the great Gospel truth of His having risen, refuted the error that there was no such thing as resurrection of the dead.
The Lord's own resurrection is the witness to a threefold triumph of God's rich grace. (1) His death has put away sin, and His resurrection is God's own seal of acceptance of His atoning work. (2) He is the Firstborn or Firstfruits to whom all His believing people are to be conformed. (3) That by Him, God will accomplish the resurrection of all His own and of all the dead. The leisure with which God works out His great purpose is seen in the fact, that already there has been a pause of nearly two thousand years between Christ as the first rank of resurrection from the dead and that of those "that are Christ's at His coming" (1 Cor. xv. 23), and then another thousand years before the great white throne resurrection (Rev. xx. 5). First in this Divine order, is seen the Captain of our salvation, Himself alone, sharing with none other the honour of being in the first rank. Alone He fought the fight, and in this earliest scene of victory He must be pre-eminent, as the One through whom it is given to His people. Both His and their resurrection, is distinguished as "from—or from among—the dead"—an expression which caused wonder among His disciples the first time they heard it (see Matt. xvii. 9; Mark ix. 9, 10). Resurrection of the dead" (Heb. vi. 2) was familiar to them, but an elective or choosing-out resurrection, had not been heard of before, though well known to them and others after (see Luke xx. 27, 38; Acts iv. 1, 2; Rom. i. 4 ; vi. 4, 9; Gal. i. 4; and Phil. iii. 11, where the expression of an "out-resurrection from among the dead" is used). Such was the Lord's own resurrection from Joseph's tomb, and that of the saints after "His resurrection" (Matt. xxvii. 52, 53). Such will be the resurrection of the righteous at His coming, without disturbing whatever of the ungodly dead may lie in the unblessed, unhallowed graves around them. What a marvel this will be of God's unerring discernment as well as of His Almighty power! Not a saint will be left in the tomb when the mighty "shout" of the Lord is heard (1 Thess, iv. 16)! Not a particle of the dust of the unbelieving dead will then be moved! And the same discernment will be manifested in separating between those who are alive and remain of His own at His coming, and mere professors who may be found intermingled with them. The saved will be "changed" into His image, the lost will be left for judgment.
In the words of John v. 28, yet another declaration is made of the same resurrection power, on a larger scale, extending to all the dead. At His mighty call "All that are in the graves shall come forth!" This is to be a resurrection of judgment. Then all creation, both sea and land, will give up its then existing dead before the great white throne, for judgment.
The truth of resurrection is scoffed at and scorned by an unbelieving world, and the faith of each succeeding generation of God's saints needs to be confirmed regarding it. How vast are its results! How mighty the Power by which it is to be accomplished! Yet how little in this busy age, is its magnitude perceived, or its solemnity felt, even by true children of God!"