Who Will Be Raised?
It is sometimes clamed that if all the countless millions that ever lived were suddenly raised from the dead, there would not be found room for them upon the earth. This is disputed by others. The fact of the matter is, however, that all will not be raised from the dead and, indeed, only a minority will enjoy that experience. The Bible clearly shows that those who lack an understanding of God’s purpose will not be raised for judgment (Psalm 49:19,20; 88:5; Isa 26:14; 43:17; Jer 51:57). Paul describes such as “having no hope, and being without God in the world” (Eph 2:12).
Jesus expressed the truth in these words: “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25). The Lord declared that those who ‘believe’ will live again, and in doing so he emphasised that ‘light’ or ‘knowledge’ is the ground of responsibility. He who knows the will of God will be raised to judgement whether he performs that will or not, for to know is to be held responsible (Acts 24:15). Christ taught that those who refuse to submit to the requirements of God will “see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” with all of similar faith, granted eternal life in the Kingdom of God, whilst they themselves will be “cast out” (Luke 13:28; John 3:19).
Felix to whom Paul preached and who had an understanding of what was required (Acts 24:22) “trembled” when Paul reasoned with him of “judgment to come” (Acts 24:25), because he doubtless recognised that he himself will be included among the rejected in that day (Romans 2:2,7,8,16).
The Bible teaches that the responsible dead (both just and unjust) will be raised, and together with the living will be assembled before the judgment seat of Christ at his coming to receive their rewards “whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor 5:10; Rom 14:10-12). Those who by “patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory, honour and immortality” will receive eternal life (Romans 2:7). Those who have rejected Christ’s way of life will experience “tribulation and anguish” ending in the ‘second death’ which will again bring them to the grave from whence they will have come (Rev 2:11; 21:7,8; Gal 6:8; Rom 6:21-23). Most people live in ignorance of divine truth and will remain for ever in the grave. For upon what grounds could those who are ignorant of the Divine way be judged?
Bro Caisantus Wasike (Bungoma, Kenya)