Many things will happen when Christ returns. One will be the resurrection of the dead. But ask yourself this: Why is it necessary to have a resurrection of the dead if dead Christians are right now in heaven?
People misread things all the time. Instructions say “do this,” but they read “do that” because they are distracted or simply misread the instruction for what they hope it says.
A friend of mine once thought he had won a prize of thousands of dollars. He had received one of those “sweepstakes” mailings and was excited about the prospect of having won—but, he was not absolutely positive. I expressed skepticism because I had seen similar contest mailings of dubious transparency. He asked me to come over and read it for myself. I quickly read the mailing, and then I repeated it aloud to my friend, carefully emphasizing the key sentences. He then understood that he had misread it. In my friend’s defense, I must say that the mailing was poorly written, perhaps purposely to mislead the reader.
People misread the Bible too. Long-held, ingrained beliefs cloud one’s ability to simply read a scripture for what it actually says. So many preconceived notions cloud a person’s mind. They “read into” the word of God their own ideas—but the scriptures should be carefully and objectively read to find out what God is truly saying.
For example, the Bible plainly says there is a resurrection of the dead (see Luke 12:14 and Luke 20:35). Not many would argue that there is a resurrection of the just, but some would argue when it occurs. Most who call themselves Christians believe that when a person dies, they immediately go to heaven or hell. However, the Bible makes it very clear that the resurrection from the dead does not take place until Jesus Christ’s return.
Paul shows very clearly in his epistle to the Thessalonians: “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:15–16).
Jesus said, “This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:39–40). “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (v. 54).
The gospel account, in John 11, tells us that when Lazarus died, Jesus came to raise him back to physical life. “Jesus said to Martha, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to Him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’” Martha knew when the resurrection would take place.
Christ said, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself” (John 14: 2–3). When? When He comes again! “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 incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51–53).
This is the true hope of every Christian—and for all of mankind, though the world scarcely understands it now. But you can, if you take the time to read the instructions carefully!
You can learn more about the glorious truth of the gospel. The booklet Is This the Only Day of Salvation? is available right here, free of charge. Be sure to also check out "What Happens When You Die?" for more eye-opening truth about the hope of the resurrection.