The Blessed Hope of the Believer
Let's begin in Titus 2:11: "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts (remember the fruit of the spirit) we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world: Looking for THAT BLESSED HOPE, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our savior Jesus Christ...".
While many believe that the return of Jesus Christ to establish His millennial reign is "that blessed hope", scripture does point to something else entirely. Yes, we do hope for His appearing. Yes, we do hope for His reign. But more than that, our hope, and the culmination of our redemption is eternal life, spent in the presence of our Lord God and our Savior in a perfect world re-created just for us. I'm speaking of the resurrection, and we find it spoken of in Acts 24:15: "and have hope toward God...that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both the just and the unjust".
Paul, when being questiond by the Sanhedrin, spoke to the issue by saying "I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question". (Acts 23:6). Again in Acts 26:6, Paul says "and now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers". By the time of Jesus, and later Paul, Judaism had divided into two camps of theological thought. One camp was comprised of the Sadducees, who basically denied that the resurrection was something to come, and the Pharisees, who pinned all their hopes on a resurrection.
The hope of resurrection & eternal life is written in scripture beginning in Genesis, and going through Revelation. Listed following are just some of the promises relative to this resurrection, and seen as the "promise made of God unto our fathers".
- Genesis 3:15, 22:18, 26:4, 49:10
- Deuteronomy 18:15
- 2 Samuel 7:12
- Psalm 132:11
- Isaiah 4:2, 7:14, 9:6, 40:10
- Jeremiah 23:15, 33:14-16
- Ezekiel 34:23, 37:24
- Daniel 9:24, 13:32
- Romans 15:8