The Sin-Death State of Israel and All of Mankind
This Learning Activity will continue where we left off in the previous. In that segment we concluded that all of mankind, who had disobeyed God (and from previous material we know that encompasses ALL people beginning with Adam) are in a condition of sin death and in need of resurrection. The Bible also singles out one people group in particular and states that they are in this particular situation, that group being the nation of Israel.
1. Luke 2:34
Simeon had pronounced a blessing on Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus. That blessing included the Greek word “anastasis” that is translated “rising” in this verse. What Simeon had pronounced was that Jesus was to be the resurrection from sin death, or the moral recovery, of many in Israel. Israel, as a nation, was desperately in need of a resurrection from their spiritual death by their Messiah who had just arrived as Jesus of Nazareth!
2. Ephesians 2:1
3. Who is being written to in the verse above?
4. Were the people Paul was writing to biologically dead or alive?
5. Had those Paul was writing to ever been dead at any time before Paul wrote to them?
6. Why had these people previously been dead?
Paul was writing to people who were currently alive biologically and had been resurrected. The resurrection they had already begun to experience was not from a biological death, but rather, from a spiritual death that was the result of sin!
To be spiritually resurrected is to be delivered from sin and sin death. This takes place in the New Covenant when a person believes in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the resurrection and the life and a person baptized into Christ at the moment of belief has union with and is placed in Christ along with His death and resurrection.
7. John 5:24
8. What does the verse above state as the requirement to possess eternal life?
9. What additionally happens upon a person believing?
As a Christian you should NEVER let anyone talk you out of the powerful truth in this verse. “…he who believes….has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” Note carefully and permanently the promise: eternal life, no judgment and passed from spiritual death to eternal spiritual life! Also take note of the verb tenses used. This is NOT some future happening but rather occurs at the instant of believing! There will be Christians who will attempt to convince you that these are all conditional on your performance here on earth for the remainder of your biological life. That belief is just not true and if you believe it you will not experience the freedom that you have in Christ!
10. 2 Timothy 2:17, 18
Since we now understand that spiritual resurrection takes place at the instant of belief, you may run into a few well-meaning Christians who will direct you to the two verses above with the intent of informing you that you are a heretic because of such a belief. The supposed heresy, they will say, is that you believe that the resurrection is also past and that belief was condemned in this passage. But let us examine what this text is saying.
The two Bible characters mentioned in verse seventeen are Hymenaeus and Philetus.
11. What is it that Hymenaeus and Philetus were saying?
12. What was the result of what Hymenaeus and Philetus were saying?
Through a thoughtful study of this passage, the Bible student should come to the conclusion that Hymenaeus and Philetus could not possibly have been talking about a physical resurrection; otherwise they would not have been “upsetting the faith of some.” Instead, if they were talking about a physical resurrection they would have been the laughing stock of the community rather than upsetting the faith of some! If it was a physical resurrection they were speaking of, it would have taken no more than a visit to a local graveyard with a shovel to disprove what they were saying. It had to be a spiritual resurrection that could not be validated with the physical senses but this is not what was resulting in some being upset in their faith.
The error involved here is that Hymenaeus and Philetus did not understand that although Paul (who probably wrote 2 Timothy in the autumn of AD 58) had been preaching the New Covenant spiritual resurrection during the time of the transition between the two covenants, this transition would not come to completion until the Parousia of Christ circa AD 70! The transitional period was when the Old Covenant was growing old and ready to pass away as we have already seen in Hebrews 8:13. The problem then was one of timing! The general resurrection of those in Sheol along with their judgment (separation of the sheep from the goats, Matthew 25:31-34) would not have taken place yet because all of those events took place at the Parousia of Christ and the Destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 twelve years after the writing of 2 Timothy. That is why Paul came down so hard on Hymenaeus and Philetus, their timing was all wrong and it was affecting some of the believers.
Before we leave this topic I do want to be sure you understand that although Hymenaeus and Philetus were totally wrong at the time they spread that heresy, today, in the 21st century, the general resurrection is past, and all believers are spiritually resurrected from sin death the instant that they believe which is a continuing action!
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