The Genesis Of Resurrection Hope: Exploring Its Early Presence And Deep Roots -- By: Mitchell L. Chase

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 57:3 (Sep 2014)
Article: The Genesis Of Resurrection Hope: Exploring Its Early Presence And Deep Roots
Author: Mitchell L. Chase

The Genesis Of Resurrection Hope:
Exploring Its Early Presence And Deep Roots

Mitchell L. Chase*

* Mitchell Chase resides at 7109 Bunger Avenue, Louisville, KY 40272.

I. Introduction

This article will explore passages in Genesis that are roots to the tree of resurrection hope. In our investigation we will not find explicit statements such as Isa 26:19 (“Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise”) or Dan 12:2 (“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake”), but those expressions are not sudden intrusions into a biblical vacuum. Wright is right to call belief in resurrection a “re-expression of the ancient Israelite worldview,” a hope “sown in the same soil as the beliefs of the Patriarchs; seed and soil, indeed, are important clues to the continuity, as well as the discontinuity, between (for instance) Genesis and Daniel.”1

By looking at certain passages in Genesis, we will be putting our ear to the ground to hear the faint but discernible rumblings of what will arrive later and louder in the words of the prophets. Even though some scholars insist that “there can be no suggestion that belief in resurrection was implicit in the Old Testament before Daniel,”2 I will contend otherwise. The roots of resurrection hope go deep, and the seeds were sown early. First, I will show NT validation for looking in the Torah for a belief in resurrection, and then I will examine ten passages from Genesis.

II. New Testament Validation Of Resurrection Hope In The Torah

1. The words of Paul in Acts 24. When Paul once again found himself in a public forum listening to accusers hurl their charges, he labeled the allegations untrue and unprovable (Acts 24:11–13). But he did have something else to confess: “I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust” (24:14–15).3 The participial

phrase “having a hope” was the result of “believing everything laid down,” which means his belief in the OT led to and stirred his hope. His belief was resurrection-focused (“that there will be a resurrection...

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