Sabbath School Lesson for October 15-21, 2022

Overview for Lesson 4

We get an idea of the kind of resurrection looked forward to in these Old Testament verses…

  • Job 19:26–“after this skin is destroyed…in my flesh I shall see God” (Sunday)
  • Psalm 49:15–“But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave…” (Monday)
  • Psalm 71:20–“You…shall revive me again, and bring me up again from the depths of the earth” (Tuesday)
  • Isaiah 26:19–“Your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise…” (Wednesday)
  • Daniel 12:2–“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake…” (Thursday)

Patriarchs and prophets of old had total faith in their God, who created them out of nothing. They looked forward to the day when their mortal bodies would be resurrected and they would receive immortal ones, like God intended for them when they ate from the tree of life in the Garden.

They knew God had the power to restore life. Just as surely as He had created them from nothing in the beginning, He would someday resurrect them from the grave and re-create them with new bodies, so they could enjoy eternity with Him.

Memory Text:  “By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac. He who received the promises was ready to offer up his only son…He considered the fact that God is able even to raise someone from the dead–and figurately speaking, he did receive him back.” Hebrews 11:17, 19 NRSV

Abraham was familiar with the concept of the resurrection. He had faith that God would raise Isaac up from the dead. Of course, he wasn’t sure when, so it was indeed a sacrifice and an act of faith that made him willing to surrender his most beloved son.

When an angel from God was sent to stop him at the last minute, Abraham must have felt like he was figuratively getting his son back from the brink of death. His sacrifice, though not brought to completion, taught them figuratively what the Sacrifice of God’s Son would feel like for the Father.

What a blessing it was for Abraham to have the hope of a resurrection to supply him with courage to carry out the dreadful task God had requested of him.

Sunday: I Shall See God (Job)

Job, a “blameless and upright” man, didn’t have a lot of reasons to believe that a resurrection was in his future. Losing all material possessions, his children, even his own health, could have caused him to lose all hope in a bright future beyond death.

But despite his heavy trials, he gave us perhaps the most unconditional expression of faith in God in the Bible, when he said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).

We know this profession of faith stemmed from his belief in the resurrection. In Job 19:25-27, we read that his Redeemer would stand at last and restore him, “after my skin is destroyed”. It would not happen the instant he died, but after he lay deteriorating in the grave. His body would be restored fully and he would see God. How his heart yearned for that coming day of resurrection.

David expressed the same longing. Psalm 17:15 says, “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.” The idea of death being a sleep was evidently common for Old Testament believers.

Bible Verses:

Job 13:15 and Job 19:25-26

  • What inspired such unconditional faith from Job?
  • What was meant by “after my skin is destroyed”?

Job 19:27 and Psalm 17:15

  • Why was seeing God so important to these men?
  • When would David see God? What does that tell us about the state of the dead?

Monday: From the Power of the Grave (Psalm 49)

Psalm 49 makes a powerful statement about the fate of death. Both the wise and foolish, rich and poor, those who are good and those who are wicked–we all meet the same fate of death. Just as the beasts of the field, we all perish. Job verified this truth when he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away” (Job 1:21).

But, according to this psalmist, God will redeem our soul from the grave (Psalm 49:15). Psalm 103:4 says He “redeems your life from destruction”. Surely, our soul merely means our life, not some entity that can exist apart from our bodies, as some Christians claim.

God is the One who resurrects us totally and holistically from death, from the gripping power of the grave. What a blessed hope we have!

Bible Verses:

Psalm 49:14, 15 and Romans 6:23, 3:23

  • Why does death come to us all?
  • What can we look forward to beyond the grave?

Tuesday: “From the Depths of the Earth” (Psalm 71)

Whereas Psalm 49 spoke about the fool who trusted in his wealth as having no hope in the resurrection, Psalm 71 spoke of David’s enemies without that hope.

David was certain that God would revive him again “from the depths of the earth” (Psalm 71:20). He was confident that his “soul” would once again sing praises to God, who had redeemed him (Psalm 71:23). (Remember, “soul” refers to the whole person. Genesis 2:7 said that after God breathed into Adam the breath of life, he became a living “soul”. He didn’t HAVE a soul; he WAS a soul.)

The hope of the resurrection was obviously real for these Old Testament writers. They looked forward to the time when their bodies would be restored. As Paul tells us, “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).

Bible Verses:

Psalm 71:20

  • What do you think “the depths of the earth” refers to?

Psalm 71:23, 115:17, and Genesis 2:7

  • If the dead don’t praise the Lord, then when would David be able to sing praises to God?
  • What did David mean by “soul” in this verse?

Wednesday: “Your Dead Shall Live” (Isaiah)

While Job, David, and others expressed their resurrection on a personal level, the prophet Isaiah spoke of the life after death experience as something that happens to all of us together. The righteous will be resurrected together to eternal life, but all the wicked dead will be resurrected and destroyed for eternity.

Isaiah 26:19 speaks of the resurrected righteous this way: “Your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; for your dew is like the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.”

Then, in Isaiah 26:21, we read: “For behold, the Lord comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth will also disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain.”

Malachi saw that second resurrection of the wicked and described it this way: ” ‘For behold the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘that shall leave them neither root nor branch.’ ” (Malachi 4:1).

There is hope and comfort in Isaiah’s words, as he declares in Isaiah 25:6, “And in this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all people a feast…” and in verse 8, “He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces.” John, the author of Revelation, of course, used similar language in describing these events (Revelation 19:9 and 21:4).

Bible Verses:

Isaiah 26:19, 21

  • Why does Isaiah express the resurrection as something that happens to all at the same time?

Isaiah 26:6, 8, Malachi 4:1, and Revelation 19:9, 21:4

  • What significance is there that these prophets saw events in such similar ways?

Thursday: Those Who Sleep in the Dust (Daniel)

Daniel notably tells us that “those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake” (Daniel 12:2). This resurrection occurs at the time when Michael, the great prince, stands up (Daniel 12:1). We see in verse 2 that the righteous and the unrighteous will experience a resurrection. (The general time of these resurrections is clarified in the last chapters of Revelation.)

There has been some confusion about who this Michael is. But in each of Daniel’s prior visions, there are references to a divine being called “the Prince of the host” (Daniel 8:11), “the Prince of princes” (Daniel 8:25), and “Messiah the Prince” (Daniel 9:25). This leaves many theologians to identify Michael as none other than Christ, the Messiah. He, alone, would have the power over life and death (Revelation 1:18).

Martha, whose brother Lazarus had died while Jesus was away, had this same hope of a resurrection. She said to Jesus, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (John 11:24). She had this belief in a resurrection through her understanding of the Old Testament writings, the only scriptures available to her.

Bible Verses:

Daniel 12:2 and Genesis 3:19

  • Who are those who “sleep in the dust”?

Daniel 12:1, 8:11, 25, 9:25 and Revelation 1:18

  • How do these verses confirm that Michael is the Messiah?

John 11:24

  • What was Martha’s understanding of the state of the dead?

Friday: Final Thoughts

Psalm 16:9, 10 has proven confusing to some, because it mentions our “soul in Sheol”. The Hebrew Sheol, in English, means the “abode of the dead”. Although some modern versions of the Bible assume this is a place of torment called hell, other translators recognize sheol as the grave. After all, isn’t that where the dead are literally “resting”?

David is saying in these verses that his flesh would rest in hope. God would not leave him in the grave, in Sheol. He even predicted that God would not allow His Holy One (His Son) to see corruption, or decay. This, of course, was true, as Jesus was resurrected shortly after His death.

The three days and nights Jonah was in the belly of a large fish symbolically represented the time it took for Jesus to be resurrected. Jesus even mentioned this in Matthew 12:40. Jonah compared his experience as being in Sheol. It must have felt like a grave when he declared, “Out of the belly of Sheol I cried” (Jonah 2:2).

Nowhere in the Bible is sheol said to be a miserable underworld existence, where the dead live on in torment and suffering. The lie that Satan told Adam and Eve in the Garden that they would not die must be behind such a deceptively cunning belief. It certainly is another way for Satan to taint God’s character, making Him sound neither loving nor just in His dealings with man.

Next Week: Resurrections Before the Cross

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