|Dr. Couch, it does not seem that Martha deals with the resurrection of the church in the resurrection story about Lazarus in John 11. What do we say about that?|
ANSWER: The resurrection of Lazarus is taking place during the dispensation of the Old Testament and not during the church age. The church does not begin until Pentecost in Acts 2. She said to Christ" "I know that [Lazarus] will rise again in the resurrection on the last day" (v. 24). You well noted that when He talked with His disciples in chapter 14, Christ was alluding to the future rapture that they would experience, being part of the church dispensation that all of them would transfer into when the church began. Christ said that He was going away to prepare for them "a dwelling place" (a "mone," an apartment) in the Father's House (14:1-2). He then added that He "would come again and receive them to Himself" that "where I am, there you may be also" (v. 3). "To come again for them" would be the rapture!
You noted correctly that Martha spoke of "the resurrection on the last day" in 11:24. That would certainly be the resurrection spoken of by Daniel in his prophecy concerning OT saints, and as well, those who would be part of the tribulation saints (Daniel 12:1-3). Daniel wrote: "And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the scroll, will be rescued. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt" (v. 3).
Though Christ did not address the issue with Martha in John 11, Lazarus would die after the church dispensation began. As with the disciples, he would become part of the church dispensation on the other side of Pentecost.
To make the Bible make sense, keep the lines straight. Don't mix church saints with OT or tribulation saints. The Scriptures then will all make sense!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch