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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," March Editiion 2008

On The New Testament Doctrine Of A General Resurrection

1 Jesus Taught It

“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection life; and they that done evil unto the resurrection of damnation” (Jn. 5:28-29).

Taken literally and at face value there is no great difficulty in understanding this text as teaching a general resurrection of the dead. A natural, common-sense reading of it leads, unerringly, to that conclusion.

The problem arises when one tries to “superimpose” one’s preconception of premillennialism (derived from one’s assumed interpretation of Revelation chapter 20) back upon the rest of the New Testament, including this text.

The attempt to force John 5:28-29 into a premillennial mold in order to “fit” one’s received “PRE”-conceptions imposed on Revelation chapter 20, however, is academically untenable, and palpably based on hermeneutical dishonesty.

We have ferreted- out the specific popular interpretational subterfuges of dispensational premillennialism in regard to John 5:28-29 and other texts in our book How To Interpret End-time Bible Prophecy: A Wesleyan View, pages 51-70, which please see for more details.

2. Paul Taught It

But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and the prophets: And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust” (Acts 24:14-15).

“Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).

The concepts of both a general resurrection of the dead and of a universal judgment of all mankind in connection with that event are inseparably twined in the mind of Paul. “Who shall judge the living and the dead at his appearing and His kingdom” (II Tim. 4:1) is only one of several statements where this relationship can be seen.

Nowhere can premillennialism be successfully established as the doctrine of St. Paul. For those who care to know, Geerhardus Vos’ book The Pauline Eschatology is the definitive scholarly work that debunks the interpretational subterfuges of the nineteenth century architects of modern dispensational premillennialism in this regard.

The challenge before us all is to be intellectually honest in our desire to know the truth, and in our study of the Bible . Shallow thinkers too easily swallow fables. You go on the stretch to dig a little deeper!

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