Does the Old Testament affirm an ultimate resurrection of the righteous?

  • Question

    Does the Old Testament explicitly and/or implicitly teaches that God plans on raising all his righteous remnant (Israel) to eternal life? Resurrection unto eternal life here refers to a special kind of heavenly living with God, free from the evils of the world beholden to sin's current reign.

“Yes, after all…
  • E.g. it is taught in Job, Psalms, Hosea (early texts!)

    The idea of a general resurrection (and heaven) was well expressed in very early Jewish belief.

    • Taught in Job 14.
    • Taught in Psalms.
    • Taught in Hosea 13 etc.

    This is relevant because it entails that the Old Testament teaches a general resurrection.

  • E.g. it is taught in Daniel 12:2 (“everlasting life”)

    • Daniel 12:2-3Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
  • E.g. it is taught in in Isaiah 25f (“swallow up death“)

    • Isaiah 25:8He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the Lord has spoken.
    • Isaiah 26:19Your dead will live; Their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, For your dew is as the dew of the dawn, And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.
  • Genesis: “Death comes from sin, and sin alone”

    In the book of Genesis, it is implied that Adam (and those after him) faced ultimate/permanent death if and only if they transgressed one or more of God's commandments (i.e. sinned).

    After all...

    • In Genesis, we read of Adam and Eve initially being created by God in a paradise—“the garden of Eden.” There they were commanded not to eat from a particularly fruit tree, and warned that if they did they would die.1 The text seems to imply this was in fact the only way they would die. Putting the pieces together, God gave them a free choice to do right or wrong. In doing wrong, they came to intimitately know sin (guilt), and it was this that more specifically which was the cause of their death.

    This is relevant because the Old Testament implies a new age will come when all who have freely aimed to submit to God will be cleansed of their sin, and be given new hearts disinclined to ever sin again. The consequence will be that death will no longer hold them, precisely because they are righteous. So the Old Testament in the book of Genesis does seem to affirm a resurrection of the righteous.

    1. Gen 2:17 — “in the day [Heb. “Yom”; i.e. time-period] that you eat from it you will surely die.”
  • Old Testament: “The messiah will die and rise”


    • The Old Testament says the Messiah will live on.
    • Isaac’s father anticipated his son’s death and resurrection.
    • Psalm 16:10 says (“[won’t] allow your Holy one to undergo decay).
    • Hosea 6:1-2
    • Job 19:25-26
  • Old Testament: “God is all-powerful and all-good”

    The Old testament teaches that God is all-powerful and all-good.

    • It teaches God has the power and will to preserve the righteous (who he loves)

    This is relevant because belief in a heaven—whence all evil is destroyed—is a fairly straightforward inference from these two properties, and a resurrection of the righteous dead is nearby this inference, and a natural hope for those who believe in such a God.

  • Jews: “God will resurrect us from the dead”