Westminster Larger Catechism (Q 87-88)

Dear Church Family,

This past Sunday, we continued our Sunday school lessons in the Westminster Larger Catechism (WLC) in questions 87-88. Here is a brief review.

WLC 87  What are we to believe concerning the resurrection?
We are to believe, that at the last day there shall be a general resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust: when they that are then found alive shall in a moment be changed; and the self-same bodies of the dead which were laid in the grave, being then again united to their souls for ever, shall be raised up by the power of Christ. The bodies of the just, by the Spirit of Christ, and by virtue of his resurrection as their head, shall be raised in power, spiritual, incorruptible, and made like to his glorious body; and the bodies of the wicked shall be raised up in dishonour by him, as an offended judge.

There are some theological traditions that teach that there will be at least two resurrections of the dead (one for the saints before the ‘millennium’ and another for everyone else after the ‘millennium’). However, the Scriptures teach that there will be one day of resurrection for both the righteous and the wicked (Acts 24:14-15). This general resurrection of both the believer and the unbeliever will occur on the day of Christ’s return, the last day (John 6:29-54; 12:48).

On the day of resurrection (the last day), the bodies of the righteous will be raised as “spiritual-bodies” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44) and be made like Jesus’ glorious body (Philippians 3:21). The bodies of the wicked will be raised up in dishonor for judgment (John 5:28-29).

WLC 88  What shall immediately follow after the resurrection?
Immediately after the resurrection shall follow the general and final judgment of angels and men; the day and hour whereof no man knoweth, that all may watch and pray, and be ever ready for the coming of the Lord.

Immediately following the resurrection of the dead, comes the final judgment in which God will judge both men and angels (John 5:26-29; 12:48; 2 Peter 2:4). Jesus describes this final judgment, which coincides with His second coming, in the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46). There is no intermediate time span between Jesus’ second coming and the final judgment; the final judgment follows immediately after the resurrection which will occur when Jesus comes again: “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left” (Matthew 25:31-33).

Living in Anticipation of Christ’s Return and the Day of Judgment

Since we do not know the day nor the hour of His return, Christ commands His people to be ready and to be on the alert, to keep watch and to pray (Matthew 24:36-44; 25:13; Luke 21:34). Indeed, those who belong to Christ look forward to, and pray for, their Lord’s soon return (1 Corinthians 16:22; Revelation 22:20) – Maranatha! Because the day of the Lord is unknown, God calls us to conduct ourselves in holiness and godliness (2 Peter 3:11), to be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless, and blameless (2 Peter 3:14), and to be on guard so that we are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men (2 Peter 3:17), as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).

The Lord be with you!
Pastor Peter M. Dietsch