Why is there no mention of resurrection in the Old Testament?


Why was there no mention of resurrection in the Old Testament?

The Old Testament speaks of resurrection. It may not stand out as much as in the New Testament, but it is written about the resurrection.

Old Testament text about resurrection quoted on the day of Pentecost

On the very day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended and the Church was born, an Old Testament text about the resurrection was quoted. At that time the New Testament had not yet been written. The Apostle Peter’s first sermon was addressed to people who knew and respected the authority of the Old Testament. When speaking to them about the resurrection of Jesus, Peter quoted from the Old Testament, from Psalm 16:

But God raised Him from the dead, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.  For David says of Him,

‘I saw the Lord continually before me,

Because He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue was overjoyed;

Moreover my flesh also will live in hope;

For You will not abandon my soul to Hades,

Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

You have made known to me the ways of life;

You will make me full of gladness with Your presence.’

Brothers, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. So because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. It is this Jesus whom God raised up, a fact to which we are all witnesses. (Acts 2:24-32 NASB) 

Peter used this argument from the Old Testament and presented the resurrection of Jesus as the fulfillment of this prophecy.

There are instances of resurrection described in the Old Testament

The resurrection is also spoken of in the Old Testament. There are cases described when people were resurrected. Elijah resurrected a child. Elisha resurrected a child. But they were resurrected in the same body they had before they died. The New Testament teaches us about resurrection in spiritual bodies, bodies totally different from the ones we have now. The first person to be resurrected in such a body was the Lord Jesus Christ.

There are other places where the resurrection is mentioned in the Old Testament. Here in the text of Isaiah it is written:

Your 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. (Isaiah 26:19 NASB)

Resurrection is a basic concept of true faith in God

Whether you believe in the resurrection or not, the resurrection is a basic concept of true faith in God. The Apostle Paul wrote very indignantly to those who do not believe in the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. Paul wrote to them very angrily and told them that they believed in Christ in vain if they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. All those who put their hope in Christ for this life alone are the most wretched of men. There are many people who go to church, who consider themselves believers and declare themselves so, but do not believe in the resurrection of the dead. The Bible says let us not deceive ourselves. In vain do you believe and you are the most wretched of all men if you put your hope in Christ for this life only.

I recommend that you study the course “Heaven, Hell and Life After Death”. You can get it at the Church “Buna Vestire” in Chișinău, Vasile Alecsandri 133, every Sunday at 10:00. 

Translated by Aliona Soltan