The time is coming when the Lord Jesus Christ will issue out an authoritative command and all who have died will be raised up to be judged. This is an incredible thought. This will occur because the Father “has given Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man” (John 5:27). This reference is an allusion to Daniel 7, where we read about Daniel’s vision of the Ancient of Days (God the Father) seated with power and authority (Dan. 7:9-10). In this vision Daniel also sees “one like a son of man” (The Lord Jesus Christ) approach the Ancient of Days and is given dominion, glory and a kingdom that is everlasting and expands over all the earth (Dan. 7:13-14; cf. Dan. 2:35, 44-45). This is why Jesus says this, namely because it has always been the Father’s intention to grant this authority of judgment to the Son.
Jesus continued by saying, “Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear His voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28-29). The reality behind what we read in verses 28-29 is amazing. Every single person in history will one day be raised up and will stand before God. With authority and command, the Lord Jesus Christ will speak and the dead will be raised. Note that Jesus speaks of two different kinds of resurrection – “the resurrection of life” and “the resurrection of judgment“. The first is in reference to believers and the second to unbelievers. Back in the book of Daniel we read, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2). From the perspective elf the believer, this future event is something the people of God for centuries have anticipated with great excitement. Concerning the resurrection of life the apostle Paul wrote,
“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:16-17)
“Behold! I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor. 15:51-52)
This will be a spectacular event. At the return of Jesus Christ His people will be changed instantly. They will receive resurrected bodies and will be fitted out to enjoy the eternal kingdom of their Lord. Next time I will consider the topic of the unbeliever’s future resurrection.