What is the Resurrected Soul?


All Scripture Quotations are from the King James Bible


By Dr. Ken Matto


{5} But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.  {6} 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.  (Revelation 20:5-6)


For many years I have used the term “resurrected soul” in describing the action which takes place in the believer’s life.  The Scriptures teach plainly that before a person is saved they are spiritually dead.  Ephesians 2:1-5 are the best Scriptures teaching that truth.


{1} 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.  {4} But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  {5} Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  (Ephesians 2:1-5)


Paul is writing to the Ephesian Christians that they were made alive (quickened) by Christ who before was dead.  Paul makes this statement in both verses 1 and 5.  The word in the Greek behind “dead” in both cases is the word “nekrous” which means “dead, lifeless and useless.”  Now the people he is speaking to were physically alive but Paul was showing that before salvation, they had physical life but were spiritually dead.


Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.  (John 5:25)


The general resurrection taught in John 5:28-29 is not in view here because the graves are mentioned in those verses.  Here in John 5:25 Jesus is speaking about those who are spiritually dead.  It is the same word “nekrous” which is used in Ephesians 2:1-5.  In this verse, Jesus is speaking about those who will inherit salvation because he uses the word “akouw” for the word “hear.”  It means “hearing with understanding.”


Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.  (Romans 6:13)


Here the Apostle Paul is telling the Roman Christians that they are to use their bodies for righteousness and not to go back into sinful ways.  They are to live as those “…that are alive from the dead...”  The word for dead here is also “nekrous.”


Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.  (Ephesians 5:14)


Here we see that the Apostle Paul is speaking in terms of resurrection when he tells the Ephesians they are to arise from the dead.  The word for “dead” here is also “nekrous.”  Now the word in the Greek for “arise” is “anistēmi” which means “bring to life, to rise again, raise, or stand up.”  Now this is an interesting word because it has a cognate word used in the New Testament that is “anastasis” which means “rise, rising, or resurrection.”  Have you ever had surgery where they place you under anesthesia?  We get our word “anesthesia” from the word “anastasis.”  When you go under anesthesia, your life is more in the hands of the Anesthesiologist than the surgeon.  When the surgeon is done, the Anesthesiologist then brings you out of your sleep.  Literally he or she is raising you back to life from the dead.  Very interesting parallel isn’t it?


And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;  Colossians 2:13


Here we read that the Apostle Paul is writing to the Colossians that those who were saved were once dead in their sins and Christ made them alive (quickened) them by means of forgiving all their trespasses.  The word behind “dead” is also “nekrous.”


It is apparent from this groups of verses that before a person is saved, they are dead in sins and trespasses.  A dead person cannot do anything but remain dead until they are resurrected by an outside source.  We saw that a person can be alive physically but dead spiritually which is what happened to Adam and Eve, they died spiritually when they disobeyed God but lived on physically.  I was physically alive for 27 years but spiritually dead and because Christ raised my soul up from the dead, I now have newness of life.  The next section is the ultimate aid to understanding what happens in our soul when we go from death to life.  It is in the Bible because it gives a huge picture of what takes place in the believer’s life when they become saved.  It is the story of Lazarus.


The story of Lazarus is found in John 11:1-44.  The name Lazarus means “God has helped or the help of God.”  The reason why it takes up 44 verses because it conveys a strategic event which happens in the life of every believer.  Without resurrection, we will remain dead for eternity.


Lazarus was sick and his sisters Mary and Martha had sent someone to bring the Lord Jesus Christ back to Bethany so the Lord could heal Lazarus.  In verse 4 the Lord tells the person that this sickness is not unto death but unto the glory of God and for the glory of the Son of God.  In verse 6 we are told that Lazarus had died and Jesus did not come immediately but decided to wait another two days before coming back to Bethany. 


Then in verse 11 Jesus tells the disciples that Lazarus was sleeping and they thought that Jesus was speaking about resting. Then in verse 14 Jesus plainly tells them that Lazarus had died.  In verse 17 Jesus had arrived back in Bethany and was told that Lazarus was already buried for four days.  The four day time period is significant because under Jewish belief, the spirit of a dead person stayed with the body for three days and then departs on the fourth.  So Jesus waited till four days had elapsed so for those who believed this myth would realize that Lazarus was really dead and had no chance to ever live again especially if his spirit had departed.  In verse 21 Martha went to meet Jesus and told him that if he would have been there Lazarus would not have died.  In verse 23 Jesus assured Martha that Lazarus would rise again and in verse 24 Martha thought that Jesus was talking about the general resurrection at the last day.  In verse 28 we read that Martha told Mary but secretly that Jesus had come.  It was secret because the Jews wanted to kill him as we read in verse 8.


In verse 31 we read that there were mourners in the house with Mary but when she got up to go meet Jesus, they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep.  In verse 32 Mary also told Jesus that if he was there Lazarus would not have died.  Then in verse 34 Jesus asked where the tomb of Lazarus was.  Verse 35 is the shortest verse in the Bible but one of the most deepest verses showing how the death of his saints affect Jesus.  Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.  (Psalm 116:15)  Then in verse 39 Jesus commands them to roll away the stone.  Just like a person who becomes saved they are given a new heart and their stony heart is removed.  A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.  (Ezekiel 36:26)


Then Martha reminds him that Lazarus was dead for four days and he already would be stinking because of body decomposition.  Then in verse 40 Jesus reminds Martha that if she believed she would see the glory of God.  In verse 42 Jesus then prays a prayer to his Father thanking him that he always hears him.  In verse 43, Jesus then called Lazarus by name to come forth.  To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.  (John 10:3)  It is important that Jesus called Lazarus by name because first of all, Jesus knows the name of all those who are his and secondly, if Jesus would have just said come forth, then every dead person in the world would have come forth.  Jesus was specifically raising Lazarus from the dead and no one else at this time.  Then in verse 44 in response to the calling of Jesus, Lazarus responded and came out of the tomb alive.  He was still bound by the grave clothes and his face was bound by the face cloth.  Jesus did not remove those instead he commanded the people around to loose him and let him go.  The words “loose” and “let” in the Greek are in the Imperative Mood making them a command.  Here we see Jesus saving Lazarus and the people loosing him.  The picture is simple Jesus does the saving and the true believers are to train the new believer in the teachings of Scripture.  The grave clothes represent the teachings of the world.  As the new believer is taught the Scriptures, the worldly beliefs come off like the grave clothes come off.  Worldly beliefs do not harmonize with the Christian life.  If the church is a compromised church where the new believer goes, then that new believer will be secured in their grave clothes and never shed them.


Some principles spring forth from the story of Lazarus:


1) Lazarus was dead and could do nothing to raise himself and therefore had to be raised by Jesus.


2) Jesus called him by name which is how he calls every believer from spiritual death.


3) Did Lazarus have the free will to stay in the tomb if he wanted?  Of course not, God stood outside his tomb and commanded him to come forth.  And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:  (Acts 17:30)  God commands men everywhere to repent but only those whom God calls by name will repent, that is, become saved.


4) Before a person comes to salvation they have the stench of death on them but once God saves them they now a have a fragrance of life.  But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.  (Philippians 4:18) 


Lazarus was completely dead and there was nothing that he could do to raise himself even though his two sisters probably did everything they could to prevent his death.  Lazarus did not have a free will because he was dead.  Lazarus was physically dead which is akin to a person who is unsaved being spiritually dead.  The unsaved person is in the same boat as Lazarus having no ability whatsoever to bring about their own salvation because dead is dead.  This is the basic biblical teaching that the free willers totally ignore and reject.  They reject the belief that unsaved man is spiritually dead and incapable of bringing about their own salvation.  A spiritually dead person cannot will themselves into heaven because their spirit is dead even though they are walking around with physical life.  They must be saved from an outside source just as Lazarus needed Jesus to resurrect him, we also need God to resurrect us from being spiritually dead and that brings us back to our opening verses.


{5} But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.  {6} 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.  (Revelation 20:5-6)


Notice in verse 5 it states “This is the first resurrection.”  Now dispensationalists look at this and claim it is the rapture.  This is an erroneous teaching.  The understanding of the first resurrection is found in verse 6.  It speaks about those who had part in the first resurrection being blessed and holy which describes what the believer becomes because of salvation.  Then the next phrase gives us the insight about what this is speaking about.  “On such the second death has no power” speaks about the first resurrection removing the power of the second death.  The first death is physical death. The second death is eternal damnation.  Since we have received our resurrected souls which is the first resurrection we are passed from death unto life, the second death has no power in the life of the believer.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.  (John 5:24)  The first resurrection is the resurrection of our dead souls unto eternal life which is personal and specific in the life of those God calls and the second resurrection will be on the last day when all believers and unbelievers will be raised if they have physically died before the Lord returns.  No person on earth can will either the first or second resurrection.  Lazarus couldn’t will his own physical resurrection and no person can will their own spiritual resurrection.  {12} But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  {13} Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  (John 1:12-13)  John 1:12-13 states that it is will of God and no the will of man because the will of man is spiritually dead until resurrected by God.