"I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." John 11:26.
These were Jesus' words of consolation to Martha. They state briefly man's future hopes in, and because of the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Let us analyze the statement, and, if possible, gain its full import.
The first statement"He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live," teaches that only believers shall be resurrectedmade to "LIVE." This may appear out of harmony with other statements of our Lord to the effect that ALL in their graves shall "come forth," until we recognize the full force of the words, RESURRECTION and LIVE. We have heretofore shown that the word resurrect signifies to lift or raise up again to perfection, and that since man's fall was from perfection, as represented in Adam, his resurrection would imply a bringing to perfection again. But many Scriptures indicate that while the gospel Church will be lifted to the perfection of the new nature in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, the world will be resurrected, or brought to perfection of their human nature, gradually, the entire Millennial age being the times of resurrection, or restoration.
Now, we shall find in the scripture under consideration, that by recognizing a similar fullness of meaning in the word "LIVE," we have the statement clear and easily understood, and in harmony with all other Scriptures.
To LIVE means a great deal, in its full import. Adam and Eve lived, i.e., had life in perfect measure, before sin entered. When death entered and the dying commenced, it was a process of ceasing to liveso death, the opposite of life passed upon all men. Hence, looked at from God's standpoint, all are dead, and none alive. (2 Cor. 5:14; Matt. 8:22.) So then though it is true that all in their graves shall "come forth," they will come forth with a small measure of life, such as men now have, still measurably in death. [The most hale of the race today, enjoy but a fragment of perfect life,] in which condition all shall come to a knowledge of the truth, and whosoever believeth in the Ransomer though dead, "yet shall he LIVE." Belief in the ransom being necessary to the full acquirement of the favor purchasedLIFE.
In perfect accord with this view (and no other) is that peculiar statement of John 5:25: Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall LIVE." [Sinaitic MS. omits "and now is" in this text.] According to the general conception this should read, they that live shall hear, but this would not have been in harmony with the plan,not true; hence the peculiar and guarded expression used, only appreciable as we come to see more deeply into God's plans for that coming age. All are deadunder death's dominionit has passed upon all. The Redeemer has come, the ransom has been paid, and in due time all the dead shall hear [be brought to a clear conception of it] and they that hear [receive, or grasp it] shall [in due time] LIVE, reach perfection of lifebeing. A few who were of the dead class, have heard more or less distinctly in this age of the ransom price given for our release. Those who have heard it, could also AFTERWARD HEAR, of a prize or high calling [R697 : page 6] being offered during the Gospel age to believing sacrificers, and thus have "access into THIS GRACE, wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the GLORY of God." But the due time in which the great mass of the dead shall hear, will be when the "little flock" has attained the glory, and as Members of the great Prophet shall teach and bless the people, bringing them out of their graves or opening sin-blinded eyes and prejudice-stopped ears, as it is written. (Isa. 35:5.)
In the light of the previous statement, this one becomes very clear and simple. It is the Lord's assurance that any who reach the condition of LIFE, may retain it forever, if they shall forever continue believers. It is the promise of Everlasting Life.