There was a great deal of excitement in the local area when the first "sheaf' of the resurrection harvest was waved over Jerusalem. See Leviticus 23:10, 11) Jesus of Nazereth, the Son of the Highest, had been a victim of gossip, slander, ridicule, misunderstanding false accusation, unfair judgment, unjust suffering and the shameful death of the cross. He had entered through the gate of death – and the power that then ruled the world had locked that gate and set a watch to keep their victim inside the prison of death. But suddenly the earth shook, the gate of the grave opened, the watchmen fell down as dead men and Jesus having loosed the pains of death" took up His life again and moved out of the grave declaring Himself "to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead."
His enemies were quite excited. They had earlier declared that if He were to come down from the cross they had nailed Him to they would believe in Him. But now He had given unto them an even greater manifestation of power and they formulated a lie about it. Persistent unbelief will not be persuaded "though one rose from the dead."
The women who came first to the sepulchre early the first day of the week were excited to see the stone rolled away and celestial messengers there to assure them of the resurrected Christ. In their excitement they ran to tell the disciples what they had seen. Upon hearing the word of the women Peter and John excitedly raced to the empty tomb. On the the day of Pentecost the excitement of the Holy Spirit descending upon and dominating the Apostles soon drew people together by the thousands. When the multitude heard that God had raised up the Christ whom they had by wicked hands crucified and slain, their excitement turned into a sense of conviction and guilt which brought 3000 souls to salvation.
A belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the basic conditions for salvation, for “... if thou shalt ... believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." It is basic to a sound system of theology, for "... if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain ..." It is a basic source of power in our witness, for "... if Christ be not raised our preaching is vain ...". Our future hope of immortality is also based upon it, for "... if Christ be not raised ... then they also which are fallen asleep in Jesus are perished."
In Matthew 27:52 we are told about A resurrection of many Old Testament saints. These saints who arose immediately following the glorious and powerful resurrection of Jesus went into Jerusalem and appeared unto many, thus confirming one of the great purposes of Christ's own resurrection — the resurrection of the saints. One can scarcely imagine the excitement of seeing and meeting resurrection saints and doubtless hearing their testimony of what the resurrection of Jesus meant to them.
The resurrection of New Testament Saints is now guaranteed to all who have fallen asleep in Jesus for Jesus has taken the poisonous sting out of death and the victorious strangle hold out of the grave.
This glorious event will take place at the coming of Jesus for the saints. The souls which have departed to be with Christ will come with Him while the bodies that sleep in the dust will wake up and be caught up to be reunited with the soul in a state of immortality to enjoy a deathless eternity with our Lord.
The resurrection of the wicked dead will take place one thousand years after the resurrection of the saints according to Revelation 20. They will be the last ones of all that are in their graves to hear the voice of the Son of God and come forth. Their souls will be called out of the prison fires of hell and their sleeping bodies out of their dusty graves to also be reunited, judged, and sentenced to the penitentiary of the damned — the lake of fire. This will be a resurrection unto damnation, to shame and everlasting contempt. This is the second death.
Lift your glad voices in triumph on high,
For Jesus hath risen and man shall not die;
Vain were the terrors that gathered around Him
And short the dominion of death and the grave.
He burst from the fetters of darkness that bound him
Resplendent in glory, to live and to save:
Loud was the chorus of angels on high, —
The Saviour bath risen and man shall not die.
Glory to God in full anthems of joy;
The being He gave us death cannot destroy:
Sad were the life we may part with tomorrow,
If tears were our birthright and death were our end.
But Jesus hath cheered the dark valley of sorrow
And bade us, immortal, to heaven ascend:
Lift then your voices in triumph on high,
For Jesus hath risen and man shall not die.
Aaron M. Shank