Resurrection Concept Not Unique To Christianity

Different People Understood Resurrection Differently

Resurrection was not a concept that was unique to Christianity. In fact it predated Christianity. And the understanding of different cultures about the concept was different.

Resurection of the dead

Resurrection of the dead

As far as the Pharisees were concerned, it involved the exoneration of the true people of God and their deliverance from exile. They considered being under Roman/ pagan rule as still being in exile. As far as they were concerned resurrection was nothing short of the end of exile. Therefore resurrection was not just a new life after death for the pious, it also meant the return from exile, the forgiveness of sins, the “re-establishment of Israel as the true humanity of the covenant God, and the renewal of all creation.” (1)

As regards the Pharisees, resurrection meant the overthrow of the present government together with the overthrow of the “Temple regime” and the salvation of the chosen people of God. This is what the Pharisees were waiting for and the Sadducees were against, being part of the Temple regime. As far as the Essenes were concerned, resurrection meant receiving God’s “future eschatological (end of days) benefits” and being established as the true Israel. (2)

The Common Understanding Of Eschatology

It was commonly understood that the term “eschatology” is indicative of the doctrine relating to “the last things.” The word “last” was understood either wholly as referring to the final destiny of mankind in general or of each individual. It was also understood as referring to “the end of a certain period in the history of mankind or of a nation that is followed by another, entirely different, historical period.” To ordinary people it meant the time when God would bring them total victory over their enemies and lead them to lasting peace and prosperity. (3)

1 Corinthians 15:42-44 state as follows: “So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” (4)

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia: “”No doctrine of the Christian Faith”, says St. Augustine, “is so vehemently and so obstinately opposed as the doctrine of the resurrection of the flesh”… This opposition had begun long before the days of St. Augustine.”

Resurrection According To The Catholic Church

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church the body after resurrection is changed into a spiritual, imperishable body. How? Christ is raised with his own body: “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself”. But he did not return to an earthly life. So, in him, “all of them will rise again with their own bodies which they now bear,” but Christ “will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body,” into a “spiritual body.”

The Qumranites also believed that before the end there will be a “great eschatological war waged against the powers of evil and all wicked men and that the remnant of Israel – meaning themselves – would receive the peace and prosperity (everlasting bliss) that God had promised his chosen people. (5)

But for him to be able to do this Jesus would have to be God.

(1) Who were the Pharisees and Sadducees, and why did the latter not believe in resurrection (contra the former)? (n.d.). Retrieved 2011, from

(2) Who were the Pharisees and Sadducees, and why did the latter not believe in resurrection (contra the former)? (n.d.). Retrieved 2011, from

(3) Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.

(4) Resurrection of the dead. (2012). retrieved 2012, from

(5) Encyclopaedia Judaica. (2008). Retrieved 2011, from

Picture Credits: 1) Resurrection of the dead  ….0…1ac.2.64.img..0.1.132.GH3lo_oxoIw#imgrc=i2iqc1T5N8JDIM%3A



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