Most Christians who are my acquaintances believe that God has terminated His covenant with Israel. To end that covenant He would have been required to fulfill all the promises contained within it. One promise God made to Israel was a resurrection from the dead.
Many say God ended His covenant with the Jews at the cross. Then they tell us that several weeks later, on the day of Pentecost, Joel’s prophecies were being fulfilled. It is true that the prophecies of Joel were fulfilled that day, but what does that say about the end of the covenant God had made with Israel? It tells us very clearly that God had not in fact ended it at the cross. It is not legal to renege on a covenant or agreement, calling it null and void, and then come back later and attempt to pick back up on it.
As for the resurrection, what did Paul say about where he learned about it? Notice the following:
Acts 28:20 For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.
Acts 23:6 But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.
Acts 24:15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
Acts 26:6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: 7 Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. 8 Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?
The resurrection was the hope of Israel, and was the promise that God would raise the dead. Israel was spiritually dead. But God had promised to revive her—to raise her from that death. Then He would make a new covenant with her.
Isaiah 49:6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
Ezekiel 37:12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves . . . 25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. 26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. 27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28 And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.
When God made a new covenant, that is when He was going to bring the Israelites out of their graves. (And that is why death ended when the law ended, 1 Corinthians 15:56.) Jehovah would be their God and they would be His people (2 Corinthians 6:16). He would multiply them and they would dwell in the land with David as their king, along with their children and grandchildren, forever. Hosea talked about it; Daniel prophesied of it; Zechariah and Ezekiel foretold it. In fact, all the prophets spoke of this, and they spoke of the last days that occurred in the first century.
Acts 3:24 Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.
From Samuel to all those that followed after him, the prophecies were “of these days” in which Peter was living. Please stop just a minute and take that in. ALL the prophets, from Samuel and those that followed him—all of them, as many as had SPOKEN—FORETOLD OF THE DAYS IN WHICH PETER LIVED.
God promised the resurrection to Israel and He had to fulfill that promise before He ended His covenant with the Jews; otherwise, again, He would have been a covenant breaker. Also, the whole law had to be fulfilled for any part of it to pass (Matthew 5:18).
So the resurrection Paul taught was the resurrection spoken of in the law and the prophets. Therefore, it was a promise of God within the covenant that God made with Israel.
Paul showed in another place that the resurrection was a promise of the covenant of God with the Jews. Notice:
1 Corinthians 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
Of course, Paul was quoting from Isaiah 25:8 and Hosea 13:14. Had God ended His covenant with the Jews without fulfilling this promise of a resurrection, God would be a covenant breaker. And, once again, God could not end the covenant and then come back later and try to reinstate it so He could finally fulfill the terms of it. Therefore, either the resurrection is past or God still has a covenant with Israel–it didn’t end at the cross or on the day of Pentecost and is still, today, in force.
If we believe something about the resurrection that makes it occur after God ended His covenant with Israel and made a new covenant in Christ, we are wrong in our belief. We must “let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).