In Proposition 125, George Peters states:
“The Kingdom to be inherited by these gathered saints requires their resurrection from among the dead.”
In this proposition, Peters rightly brings to the discussion the vital importance of the resurrection from the dead. As will be discussed in the below observation, the hope of the resurrection is often shoved to the proverbial backburner of theology in favor of focusing on the death of Jesus and the coming Kingdom. As Peters notes, in order to inherit this coming Kingdom, there must be a resurrection of the righteous dead.
The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 125 is the following:
“All along, the position has been taken that, owing to the postponement of the Kingdom, a preliminary dispensation of grace to us Gentiles has intervened, and that even the dead saints, whatever their position in this interval, are waiting until the “day of Redemption,” the time of the resurrection for their inheritance, etc. This is confirmed by the language of Paul in 1 Cor. 15:32, who lays the greatest stress on the resurrection as the necessary and appointed means by which the blessings that are covenanted can be obtained. The memorial, the Abrahamic covenant, the Davidic covenant, promise after promise, involve a resurrection from the dead, and the resultant reception of blessings; and hence the emphatic language of Paul, because of this very relationship, “what advantageth me, if the dead rise not.” He well knew that inheritance, crown, and Kingdom belonged to the period of the resurrection. Auberlen (Div. Rev. p. 208) justly argues that one of the doctrinal defects of the Reformation was, that the resurrection of Christ was not made sufficiently prominent as compared with His sacrificial death, while in the apostolic preaching the Crucified and the Risen held equal place. And this feature extended finally in an undue exaltation of the intermediate state, until the resurrection is almost practically ignored as of comparative little consequence to the honor, glory, etc., of the deceased saint. To appreciate the force and pertinency of the resurrection, there must be a return to the scriptural presentation of the matter.”
Let’s just say I am really digging (no pun intended) Peters focus on this issue. Scripture clearly notes the importance not only of the death of Jesus on the cross, but also the importance of his resurrection from the dead. Paul declared in 1 Cor. 15:12-19, the following:
“Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope[a] in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”
I am more and more interested in Peters view of the intermediate state, but with that said, it seems he is alluding in this observation to the common perception that the righteous immediately join the bridegroom at death. If such a position were true, then what is the point of the resurrection and why did Paul declare that if the resurrection of Jesus did not take place, we are all to be pitied? It seems we have yet again put the cart before the horse in our approach to the process of what will take place as evidenced in Scripture. The resurrection will take place for a reason. To skip over it is a theological mistake and to ignore the intermediate state, this time of waiting for the bridegroom to return or to improperly elevate the intermediate state to that of immediate enjoyment of at least a portion of the inheritance before the correct time, is a theological problem many fail to address or correct.