“From Dust You Shall Arise:” Resurrection Hope In The Old Testament -- By: Mitchell L. Chase

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 18:4 (Winter 2014)
Article: “From Dust You Shall Arise:” Resurrection Hope In The Old Testament
Author: Mitchell L. Chase

“From Dust You Shall Arise:”
Resurrection Hope In The Old Testament

Mitchell L. Chase

Mitchell L. Chase is adjunct professor of Old Testament at Boyce College and Preaching Pastor at Kosmosdale Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky. He earned his Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and his Th.M. and M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Chase is the author of Behold Our Sovereign God (Lucid Books, 2012), The Gospel is for Christians (Lucid Books, 2010), and a number of articles published in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, including articles for The Gospel Coalition.


My oldest boy used to think that if he could not see the sun shining in the sky during the day, then it was not really out and shining. For him, the sun had to be visible, uncloaked by clouds. He eventually realized that the presence of the sun was evident in the light it shone. Clouds might affect his seeing the fiery ball above, but the rays still came down to illumine the earth. And soon he will learn that even darkness does not mean the absence of the sun, for the moon reflects its light.

The sun of resurrection hope shines bright and clear in Daniel 12:2: “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” There is not a cloud in sight. But whence came this hope? Some interpreters insist that it did not shine earlier than Daniel 12.1 But what if rays could be seen through clouds in earlier prophets, poetry, historical books, and even the Torah? What

if the promise of resurrection, in some places, was more like moonlight?

In this article I will put forward evidence that the OT authors advanced a hope for resurrection. Daniel 12:2 is the fullest expression of it, but that verse is not an innovation or intrusion in OT theology. Resurrection hope is discernible in the Bible’s earliest books and culminates in the statement that those who returned to the dust would one day wake up and rise.

Two Preliminaries

An exhaustive exploration of OT resurrection hope is not possible in this article, so subsequent sections will engage texts that represent expressions of this hope in the theology of the OT authors. Crucial to my approach are two preliminary issues: first, the importance of pro...

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