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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Spirituality: Jewish View of the Resurrection

Jewish thought
The afterlife consisted of residence in a placed known as “Sheol.” In Hebrew, Sheol ( שאול†, Sh'ol) is the "abode of the dead", the "underworld", "the common grave of humankind" or "pit". A few references from the Old Testament are: "I shall go down to my son a mourner unto Sheol" (Genesis 37:35). – Jacob referring to the death of Joseph “Therefore Sheol has enlarged its throat and opened its mouth without measure; And Jerusalem's splendor, her multitude, her din of revelry and the jubilant within her, descend into it.” (Isaiah 5:14) – personification of Sheol "Just as a cloud dissipates and vanishes, those who go down to Sheol will not come back." (Job 7:9).

The English word "resurrection" means a re + standing, or standing (rising) again. There are two occurrences of forms of ANASTASIS in some versions of the LXX at Job 42:17, ‘And Job died, an old man and full of days: and it is written that he will rise again (ANASTESESTHAI) with those whom the Lord raises up (ANISTESIN).’ This could be rendered: "that he will be resurrected with those the Lord resurrects." So, the first occurrence of "resurrect," or "resurrection" is in the Book of Job which is thought to record events from the Sixteenth Century BC between Joseph and Moses.

The next occurrence of this form anastasis is 1,300 years later in the Book of Isaiah again in the negative much as in the case in Job at Isaiah 26:14, ‘But the dead shall not see life, neither shall physicians by any means raise them (ANASTESOUSI).’ Then in the positive at 26.19, ‘The dead shall rise (ANASTESPNTAI) and they in the tombs shall be raised.’ This verse in the LXX is precisely quoted by Jesus at John 5:28.

Lastly, the resurrection is directly mentioned 200 years later in Daniel 12:13, ‘and thou shall stand (ANASTESE) in thy lot at the end of the days.’ Though the resurrection is inferred by the metaphor of "awaken" in Daniel 12:2.

There is another occurrence of the form anastasis at Hosea 6:3, ‘in the third day we shall arise(EXANASTESOMETHA) and live before Him.’ Revelation 11:12 is an echo of it.

The resurrection is inferred in several other cases. For example, ‘(Abraham) reckoned that God was able to raise him up even from the dead; and from there he did receive him also in an illustrative way.’ (Hebrews 11:19 NWT) Paul does not tell us how he knows this and it may be reached by normal deduction regarding God’s power. (Romans 4:17) Or, the natural interpretation of Genesis 3:15. Judging from Paul, then, this would be the earliest record of hope in a resurrection.

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