By Oscar M. Baker
"And if Christ be not raised...then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." Note the ALSO. Unbelievers will not be raised under any circumstances, but even believers would perish if Christ not raised.
With this as an introduction, let us continue with the Old Testament references.
Pr. 10:30: "The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth." This refers primarily to Israel.
Pr. 13:13: "Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed." Destroy, as used in Gen. 6:7,13,17.
Pr. 14:12: "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Life only in Christ.
Pr. 15: 24: "The way of life is above (upward) to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath." The wise have life and so go upward from hell by resurrection. Hell is sheol, hades, the grave. The only way of escape is by resurrection, just as in the case of Christ.
Pr. 21:16: "The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead." Congregation is the word, church. If that man remains in this church or group, he will never rise.
Eze. 18:4: "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." This is under law and the death untimely. A soul dies.
Eze. 18:23: "Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?" In both the OT and the NT there seems to be no hope for those that die in their sins. For such there has to be a turning back, a repentance, to have life and resurrection.
Eze. 18: 27: "When the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive." The primary meaning here is that he will continue to live and not die a judicial death. But there is more than that implied in many places.
Eze. 18:32: "For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves and live ye." In most of the references in Proverbs, the primary meaning is that to obey the law would to be to live long in the land, but to disobey would mean death. But one can read in them that this may go beyond mere disobedience in many cases, and that death then would be permanent.
Mal. 4:1: "For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch." There is a finality about all this that precludes any idea of their resurrection and inhabiting the promised land. Note that there is left neither root nor branch. They even involve their posterity.
(Reprinted from Truth For Today Vol. 34, No. 5 )