John 11:21-25
 
John 11:21 (KJB)
Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
 
Martha knew well that if Jesus would have been present when Lazarus became sick, then Jesus would have healed him. Martha had more insight than the leaders of Israel because she recognized the power that Jesus had over sickness and death. She shows that she is a true disciple of Christ because she had faith that if Jesus was there circumstances would have been different. At this point her faith has a limit, in that it was limited to the belief that Jesus could only prevent the death of Lazarus. She may have also heard about the other two resurrections Jesus had performed but they were done before the bodies were buried. In this case, Lazarus was already dead four days and in the tomb.
 
John 11:22 (KJB)
But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.
 
Now Martha states that she knows that even at this point, whatever Jesus asks of God, God will give it to Him. She probably viewed Jesus at this point as being a mediator between God and man. She saw Jesus as one who could approach the Father and this is a lot more than the leaders saw in Him. She was confident that the relationship Jesus had with His Father was so intimate that the Father would not refuse His Son anything.
 
John 11:23 (KJB)
Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
 
Now Jesus begins the discourse which will lead to the raising of Lazarus. Jesus said to Martha that Lazarus will rise again from the dead. Jesus had spoken this in a nebulous manner which could have been pointing to the resurrection of all believers or the impending resurrection of Lazarus alone. The words “shall rise again” are in the future tense.
 
John 11:24 (KJB)
Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
 
Here Martha makes a tremendous statement about the resurrection of all believers on the last day. Many only see Martha as someone who only concerned herself with daily tasks but here we have revealed to us that Martha had a good understanding of biblical things. This is the fifth time in the book of John that we read that the believers will be raised on the last day. The first four are John 6:39, 40, 44, and 54. Martha’s understanding of the last day confirms fully John 5:28-29.
 
(John 5:28-29 KJV) Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, {29} And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
 
Now an interesting point must be raised. Lazarus is a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Pre-millenialists claim that believers are going to be raptured before a seven year tribulation period and then the world will continue on for another 1,007 years. If this is the case, then why is Lazarus not being raised until the last day? There is a serious flaw in the pre-tribulation view of the resurrection. They claim several resurrections while the Bible teaches only one general resurrection. Lazarus is not being raised until the last day and there is no qualifier stating that it is speaking about the last day of a dispensation. It is speaking about the last day of human history. The question needs to be asked that if all Christians who died up to the time of the rapture are to be raised, then why is Lazarus not being raised until the last day? It is a serious flaw when we allow a created system of beliefs to override the plain teachings of Scripture. The words “last day” mean that this day is the end, the farthest one out, final, or extreme. There is no room for any more time after these words are used. How could you have a last day with more days following? If I eat the last piece of cake, will there be any more left? Of course not, it was the last piece.
 
John 11:25 (KJB)
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
 
Resurrection - A standing up, rise, rising up
He were dead - Natural human death (Aorist tense)
 
Jesus now built upon what Martha knew to be truth. Jesus now states that He is the resurrection and the life. Believers who physically die before the return of the Lord Jesus Christ experience two resurrections. For this we must do a little detour to Revelation 20:6:
 
(Rev 20:6 KJV)
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

In this verse we will discover what the first resurrection is. The Bible clearly teaches a single, general resurrection and we must seek to understand if the first resurrection is something different from a resurrection of believers. Let us explore some unique characteristics of the first resurrection. The key to understanding the first resurrection is in the part of this verse which states, "on such the second death has no power."

Who is unaffected by the second death, which is a synonym for judgment and hell? Only the born again Christian is unaffected by judgment because Christ has already paid for our sins. Therefore, our abode will be heaven not hell. Every born again Christian on earth has experienced the first resurrection. I saw a famous Pre-trib theologian on a talk show mockingly put down this biblical view by saying something has to be dead before it can be resurrected. He offered no alternative teaching but just a pseudo-intellectual put down.

I am glad he said it because it is based on truth, whether he knows or not. Let us look at Ephesians 2:1-3:

(Eph 2:1-3 KJV) And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: {2} Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: {3} Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

We read in verse 1 that we were dead in our sins. It seems that something was dead, and it was us. Now were we physically dead or spiritually dead? The answer is simple, we were spiritually dead. Paul tells us that we walked in the deadness of our sins, until something happened. We read in Ephesians 2:5:

(Eph 2:5 KJV) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

God made us alive or resurrected our dead souls. The phrase "quickened us together" may also be translated "to make alive together." That theologian who mockingly discounted this truth should have done his homework and would have discovered that something was dead, and was made alive. When you received Christ, did your physical body change? Of course not, but you did receive your resurrected soul, and before you did, you were dead to the things of God, whereas now you are alive to the things of God. Let us look again at Ephesians 2:6:

(Eph 2:6 KJV) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

As a result of being made alive, we are raised up to sit together with Christ in heaven, as if we are already up there reigning with Him. The rest of Rev. 20:6 tells us that we are on the right track since when a person becomes saved, they become: priests of God and Christ (1 Peter 2:5); blessed (Eph. 1:3); and holy (Eph. 1:4). So as we see the believer is already reigning with Christ as a result of their position, and since this reigning is in effect at present, it also tells us that the thousand year reign is also in effect at present. The two cannot be separated.

So we see biblically that the first resurrection which we have in Christ is the resurrection of our dead souls unto life. The second resurrection that the believer that has physically died experiences is the resurrection of their physical body. When the Lord returns, those believers who are alive at that time will not experience physical death but will have only experienced the first resurrection.
 
Then Jesus goes on to say that He is the life. What life is He speaking of? He is speaking of eternal life which is given to all those sheep He came to save. Eternal life begins at the moment of salvation and if the believer physically dies, they continue on right into Heaven without any hiatus. This is the life the Lord grants to His children. It is to be enjoyed here as well as throughout eternity.
 
This is why Jesus could say that even though a believer is dead, they continue on into eternity. He is not speaking of spiritual death but physical death. A good example of this is when He was on the Mount of Transfiguration when Elijah and Moses appeared with Him. Moses died about 1500 years prior and Elijah died about 850 years prior yet they were both alive on the Mount. The Mount of Transfiguration is a great comfort to believers that as soon as they die physically, they go right into the presence of the Lord. Remember how Elijah was translated. He went to Heaven in a chariot, not somewhere else. Many think a Christian goes to the heart of the earth to wait for Christ’s second coming. They call it Abraham’s bosom but Abraham’s bosom is a synonym for Heaven because that is where Abraham is.
 
One other thing we need to look at in John 11:25 and that is the words “he were dead.” It is one word in the Greek “apothane” and it is in the aorist tense. The aorist tense denotes an action without specific reference to its duration, repetition, or completeness. It states the fact of an occurring action with little or no emphasis on time or duration. This means that it does not matter when a Christian died, whether in the Old or New Testament time, nor the duration of a period of time the person has been dead. Those in Christ will still be alive as we saw with Moses and Elijah. Abel has been dead for thousands of years yet he lives. Joseph has been dead for thousands of years, yet he lives. The sacrifice of Christ on Calvary covers every single believer from the beginning of time to the end. Time has no effect upon the salvation plan of God. Remember Ephesians 2:6? God already sees us up there, seated with Christ. Martin Luther died in 1546 and will be raised on the last day. George Washington was a Christian who died in 1798 and will be raised on the last day. My two friends and brothers from the Hungarian Reformed Church in Perth Amboy, NJ, Bob Uveges died in 2004 and Gabriel Tariska died in 2006 will be raised along with Martin and George on the last day but until that time, they live.

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