Resurrection of Condemnation

By David Embury

Jn 5:24-29 "Most assuredly, I say to you [Israel], he who hears My word and believes [first-fruit saints] in Him who sent Me has everlasting life [life unto or into the age/s Eph 2:7 about to come – the AD70+ world of righteousness 2Pet 3:13], and shall not come into judgment [condemnation = present tense], but has passed [present tense] from death into life [into covenantal resurrection]. Most assuredly, I say to you [Israel], the hour is coming, and now is [present tense], when the dead [in trespasses and sins] will hear the voice [the Gospel] of the Son of God; and those who hear will live [in fullness of life i.e., eternal life – Jn 10:10]. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all [the whole harvest] who are in the graves ["all Israel" – Ezk 37:1-14] will hear His voice and come forth--those who have done good [righteous works of grace], to the resurrection of life [the AD70 reward of such works], and those who have done evil [self-righteous works of law], to the resurrection of condemnation [the AD70 consequences of such works, i.e., loss of rewards].

The present tense context of this passage shows that "the resurrection of condemnation" was not just limited with the finality of the Parousia, but also directly associated with the age of which it consummated. There was for Israel a spiritual, moral and covenantal awakening occurring in that age as a result of the contemporary and concurrent proclamation and acceptance of the Gospel in the "this generation" – this the language makes abundantly clear: "he who hears My word and believes… has eternal life".

However, for those who had been awakened or "raised" into this awareness of the truth [verse 25's "and now is", meaning the first-fruits resurrection] but then subsequently disregarded this heavenly message and calling [Heb 2:3; 6:4-8; 10:26-17, 29; Jn 8:30-33, 37, 44; 2Pet 1:10] indeed fell in shame – having experienced resurrection from "the death" out of trespasses and sins, only to then experience the consequences of the resurrection of condemnation associated with the personal shame and loss suffered by the "old covenant man" or identity and mode of existence that the second death brought. Thus the finality of the old covenant's demise in Israel's AD70 'lake of fire' was truly a condemnation of historical and perpetual shame [Isa 66:24; Jer 23:39-40; Ezk 16:62-63]. Those who clung or returned to that old world perished with it – dying in their sins [Jn 8:24], not having grasped the forgiveness that was theirs.

These then were they who had acquiesced again [Gal 2:18] to that which they had initially abandoned in Christ [adherence to the law for righteousness] and so in due course along with their stubborn countrymen literally paid with their lives. Entrusting their lives yet again to that old covenant world and identity of Jerusalem, Temple, Priesthood and Law – that to which they had returned, having "fallen from grace" [Gal 3:1-3; 5:4], returning as it were like dogs to vomit [2Pet 2:20-22], reverting once more to law observance for righteousness – "filthy rags", "dung" and "loss" [Isa 64:6; Phil 3:8; 1Cor 3:15]; yet for those who remained "in Christ Jesus" there was "no condemnation" [Rom 8:1]; but for those who in trials and testings had abandoned their Lord, only loss and shame [Mk 8:38; 2Tim 1:8-9]. Such loss and shame, however, was ultimately relative to the receiving of rewards in the Parousia and NOT their status or position of existence thereafter:

2Tim 2:12-13 If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.

And so it was that throughout all this did the grace of God reach out to all Israel, and beyond:

Isa 45:22-25 Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth![2Cor 5:20] For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return; that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath. He shall say, ‘Surely in the LORD I have righteousness and strength. To Him men shall come, and all shall be ashamed who are incensed against Him. In the LORD all the descendants of Israel shall be justified, and shall glory.’” [Rom 10:1; 11:2, 26-27]

1Cor 3:15 If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved [delivered], yet so as through [the AD70] fire.

The resurrection of AD70 did have temporal and corporeal outcomes in the loss and destruction of physical life, and covenantal consequences of lost rewards in an old covenant and its world judged. THIS was "the resurrection of condemnation" – but the main thrust of the Age Changing Resurrection was the fulfilment of Israel's restoration-resurrection – "the promise" [Act 26:6-8], which subsequently brought Life to the world [Rom 11:15].

Thus resurrection was all about Israel's corporate and covenantal transition and stance before God as forgiven and the world-wide blessing that this brought. Resurrection was NOT about individual substance postmortem i.e., one's ethereal composition or disposition after death, but rather about humanity's collective and renewed, restored and reconciled position and stance before God through Christ.