12, 13. In the light of the resurrections discussed, what questions do we need to consider?
12 The accounts mentioned above should give you something that Martha had. That is, assurance that our God and Life-Giver has the ability to bring a dead person back to life. It is interesting, though, that a faithful servant of God, such as Elijah, Jesus, or Peter, was present on each of those occasions, during the time when Jehovah was performing miracles. What can we say, however, about those who died at other times in history? If in a certain era God was not performing resurrections, could faithful men and women expect that God would raise the dead at a future time? Could they feel as did Martha, who said: “I know [my brother] will rise in the resurrection on the last day”? Just why could she believe that, and why can you?
13 There are actually a number of passages in God’s inspired Word that show that Jehovah’s loyal servants knew that a future time of resurrection was in store. Consider a few.
14. We can learn what about the resurrection from the account about Abraham?
14 Think of what God told Abraham to do with Isaac, the long-awaited heir. Jehovah said: “Take, please, your son, your only son whom you so love, Isaac, and . . . offer him up . . . as a burnt offering.” (Gen. 22:2) Imagine the feelings that such a command would stir up. Jehovah had promised that through Abraham’s offspring all nations would be blessed. (Gen. 13:14-16; 18:18; Rom. 4:17, 18) Also, Jehovah said that the blessing would come “through Isaac.” (Gen. 21:12) But how could that occur if Abraham put Isaac to death as a sacrifice? Paul was inspired to explain that Abraham believed that God was able to raise Isaac from the dead. (Read Hebrews 11:17-19.) The Bible does not say that Abraham felt that if he obeyed, in a mere few hours, a day, or a week, Isaac would come back to life. Abraham could not know when his son would be raised to life again. But he trusted that Jehovah would resurrect Isaac.
15. What hope did the patriarch Job express?
15 The patriarch Job similarly looked to a future resurrection. He realized that if a mere tree is cut down, it might sprout again and be like a new plant. Not so with a man. (Job 14:7-12; 19:25-27) If a man dies, he cannot raise himself up from the grave and live again. (2 Sam. 12:23; Ps. 89:48) Of course, that did not mean that God could not resurrect a person. In fact, Job believed that Jehovah would set a time to remember him. (Read Job 14:13-15.) Job could not know when in the future that time would be. Still, he trusted that the One who created human life in the first place could and would remember him and resurrect him.
16. An angel gave the prophet Daniel what encouragement?
16 Daniel is another faithful man whom we know about from the Hebrew Scriptures. He served God loyally for many decades, and Jehovah supported him. At one point, an angelic messenger urged Daniel, that “very precious man,” to “have peace” and “be strong.”—Dan. 9:22, 23; 10:11, 18, 19.
17, 18. Daniel was given what promise about his future?
17 Daniel was almost 100 years old and nearing the end of his life. He might have been thinking about what the future held for him. Would Daniel get to live again? Absolutely! At the end of the book of Daniel, we read God’s assurance to him: “As for you, go on to the end. You will rest.” (Dan. 12:13) Elderly Daniel knew that the dead are at rest, with no “planning nor knowledge nor wisdom in the Grave.” Daniel would soon be going there. (Eccl. 9:10) But that would not be the end of him. He was promised a future.
18 The message to the prophet Daniel continued: “You will stand up for your lot at the end of the days.” No date or length of time was given. Daniel was to come to his end in death and then rest. Yet, saying that he would ‘stand up for his lot’ in the future amounted to a clear promise of a resurrection to come—long after he had died. That would be “at the end of the days.” The Jerusalem Bible renders the promise to Daniel: “You will rise for your share at the end of time.”
Like Martha, you can be confident about the resurrection (See paragraphs 19, 20)
19, 20. (a) How does what we have considered so far relate to Martha’s statement to Jesus? (b) What will we yet consider?
19 Martha clearly had reason to be confident that her faithful brother, Lazarus, would “rise in the resurrection on the last day.” The promise given to Daniel, as well as the certainty reflected in Martha’s reply to Jesus, should reassure Christians today. There will be a resurrection.
20 We have seen that actual events in the past prove that a resurrection is possible—the dead can be brought back to life. And men and women who served God anticipated that a resurrection would occur sometime in the future. Is there any indication, however, that a resurrection could take place long after it was promised? If so, that would give us added reason to look forward, as Martha did, to a time of resurrection. Still, when would that happen? Let us address these aspects in the following article.