Resurrection – or the promise of life after death – is integral to Christian belief. As such, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ form the central tenet of Christianity. The gospels of the New Testament don’t just describe the resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion, they also point to at least one resurrection of humanity, often thought to be on the Day of Judgement.
Jesus as the ‘firstfruits’The term ‘firstfruits’ has been integral in Christian culture as the holy offering of the first fruits of the harvest. The Bible employs this terminology to describe Jesus’ return to life three days after he was laid to rest in the tomb. In Corinthians, it is stated that
“Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep [in death]” [1 Corinthians 15:20].Therefore, Christians believe resurrection to be God’s harvesting of mankind, the first and most important of which was carried out through Christ’s resurrection.
Subsequent resurrectionsThe resurrection of Christ is just the first part of God’s plan. In John, we are told Jesus said,
“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” [John 11:25-26].The emphasis is on God’s intention for humanity’s salvation which too will feature a resurrection since “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” [John 3:16].However, the Bible also suggests that resurrection does not point to the full assumption of a physical life after death. Instead, Corinthians explains “It is sown a natural [physical] body, it is raised a spiritual body” [1 Corinthians 15:44].
The resurrection of humanityHowever, The resurrection of humanity cannot take place until what many regard as the Second Coming of Christ. At Judgement Day,
“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 15:51-52].There is also some debate as to whether only true Christians will be resurrected in order to enter the Holy Kingdom, or whether both the just and the unjust will be resurrected to face their judgment.