A. Acts 23:8
The Sadducees were a Jewish sect of the first century principally known for their denial of the resurrection.
B. Luke 20:27-38
Their contention with resurrection motivated them to devise a hypothetical question whereby they intended to make Jesus look foolish. He shut them down hard. Their premise was irrelevant and the truth of what they denied was implicitly evident in one of the most basic stories of Israel’s history. In fact, the Old Testament is replete with evidence of the resurrection.
I. THE LIVING ASCENDED
A. Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5
Enoch’s earthly life ended deathlessly. If death is the end, what became of him?
B. 2nd Kings 2:10-11
Elijah ascended, bodily, to heaven. There is someplace to go beyond this world.
II. THE DEAD ROSE
Multiple examples of physical resurrections in the Old Testament ought to have sufficed to convince the Sadducees.
A. 1st Kings 17:17-24
Elijah raised a child from the dead.
B. 2nd Kings 4:18-37
So did Elisha.
C. 2nd Kings 13:20-21
Even Elisha’s skeletal remains had the power to raise the dead!
III. THE DEAD WERE SUMMONED
A. 1st Samuel 28:3-20
After he died, Samuel was summoned by a medium at the behest of King Saul. He complained that his rest had been disturbed. Where was he resting?
B. Deuteronomy 18:10-11
Of course, necromancy is absolutely wicked, and Saul was a raging hypocrite for having engaged in this. Nevertheless, it demonstrates the reality of existence beyond death.
IV. CHRIST’S RESURRECTION WAS FORETOLD
A. Psalm 16:10
David prophesied that Messiah would not stay dead.
B. Acts 2:22-32
This prophecy’s fulfillment was explained clearly, after the fact, by the apostle Peter.
V. RESURRECTION WAS ANTICIPATED
A. 1st Samuel 2:6
Hannah understood resurrection.
B. Job 19:25-27
Job understood resurrection.
C. Psalm 17:15
David understood resurrection.
D. Psalm 49:15
Korah understood resurrection.
E. Psalm 73:24
Asaph understood resurrection.
F. Isaiah 25:8; 26:19
Isaiah understood resurrection.
G. Daniel 12:2
Daniel understood resurrection.
VI. SOLOMON WAS UNDERSTOOD IN CONTEXT
A. Ecclesiastes 9:5
Perhaps the Sad-you-sees rested their doctrine on one misunderstood passage. Doing so would, of course, require neglecting all the evidence previously considered.
B. Ecclesiastes 1:12-14
Solomon was writing about the “vanity” of what occurs “under the sun”. From the limited perspective of futile thinkers on earth, the dead are ignorant and dumb.
C. Ecclesiastes 2:1, 12
Solomon wrote from the cynical perspective of one who had tested himself with pleasure and insanity. He was writing with a sense of satire.
D. Ecclesiastes 12:14
Ultimately, he concluded his treatise with a dire warning about ultimate judgment, which would be pointless without the resurrection.
VII. CHRIST SETTLED THE MATTER
A. Matthew 11:2-6
Even if the sect could be pardoned for misapprehending the truth of resurrection earlier, once Christ arrived, there was no excuse. He was raising the dead!
1. Matthew 9:18-26
Jesus was so good at raising the dead, He could even work a miracle of healing on His way to a resurrection! Mind you, this girl was certainly dead: passed on, no more, ceased to be, expired and gone to meet her Maker, a stiff, bereft of life, resting in peace, pushing up the daisies, her metabolic processes history, off the twig, kicked the bucket, shuffled off her mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible! We know because “they laughed Him to scorn” when Jesus said, “the girl is not dead, but sleeping”. Jesus brought her back anyway!
2. Luke 7:11-16
Jesus was so good at raising the dead, He didn’t even need to touch this boy’s corpse. Just touching the coffin was enough to bring him back to life.
3. John 11:1-44
Jesus was so good at raising the dead, he delayed his arrival at the home of a sick friend, so he’d die first, just to be able to bring him back! He was four days dead at that point and stinking. Jesus brought him back with a word.
B. Acts 1:1-3
Christ Himself rose from the dead and “presented Himself alive… by many infallible proofs… during forty days”!
C. 1st Corinthians 15:1-20
The four essential facts of the saving gospel are that Christ died, was buried, arose from the dead, and was seen by a substantial number of witnesses. If he didn’t rise, then preaching and faith are futile and we are hopeless. No religion makes sense without the prospect of life beyond death.
The Sadducees had every reason to believe the resurrection, but refused. We could try to compassionately understand what interfered with their faith, but it would be pointless. They simply chose to reject truth. Many times, we use Scripture after Scripture after Scripture to persuade our Mormon friends that the New Testament is sufficient, or our JW friends that Jesus really is God, or our denominational friends that baptism is necessary for salvation, and they just won’t accept it. We may think our efforts are faulty and try to change tactics, but the reality is they just don’t want to believe!
A. John 5:28-29
Resurrection and judgment is real. We must prepare for the last day.
B. Romans 6:3-7
To be prepared for the resurrection we must undergo a kind of spiritual resurrection right away in baptism, wherein we kill our old man of sin, bury him in water, and rise to new life!
By Bryan Matthew Dockens
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