“I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come.”
The Old Covenant
Judaism since the time of Abraham had some belief in the Resurrection. The Torah speaks of Abraham Gen 25:8, Ishmael Gen 25:17, Isaac Gen 35:29, Jacob Gen 49:33, Moses and Aaron Deut 32:50, as “gathered to their people.” Later in the Tanakh we find, “Your dead shall live, their bodies shall rise. O dwellers in the dust, awake and sing for joy!” Is 26:19, as well as “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” Dan 12:2. Sheol offered both gloom and hope.
After many Jews followed Rabbi Yeshua, Rabbinic Judaism put much greater emphasis on its own resurrection traditions, so much that Maimonides’ Thirteen Articles of Jewish Faith began with the existence of God and ended with the Resurrection. Rabbi Yeshua‘s fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies in heaven, the life to come, either immediately or at the Second Coming, would fit well into the overall Jewish narrative. Perhaps someday it will.
The New and Eternal Covenant
§ 988 The Christian Creed – the profession of our faith in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and in God’s creative, saving, and sanctifying action – culminates in the proclamation of the resurrection of the dead on the last day and in life everlasting.
At the end of our earthly life, we experience death and rebirth. At death, our soul rises from our body for Rabbi Yeshua’s particular judgment. § 1022 “At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love” Jn 5:28–29. We then go to heaven, purgatory or hell.
Our immortal souls are pure spirit in this life, and they remain pure spirit in heaven until the Second Coming. At that time all earthly life will end and purgatory will close forever. The souls in purgatory will go straight to heaven where, with the souls already there, they receive their glorified bodies. The souls in hell also receive their bodies adapted for perpetual torment, “I am in anguish in this flame” Lk 16:24. “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment” Jn 5:28–29.
God can of course also resuscitate us, the person rises from the grave only to die again. In the Old Testament, 1 Kings 17:17–24; 2 Kings 4:18–37; 2 Kings 13:20–21. In the New Testament, Mt 9:24–25; Lk 7:11–15; Jn 11:38–44; Acts 9:36–41.