1Corinthians 15:4c-8 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
‘Seen’ – Over 514 witnesses saw Christ after the resurrection, we have 12 appearances of Christ: firstly to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9; John 20:15-16); to the women at the tomb (Matt. 28:9); to two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-31); to Peter (15:5; Luke 24:34); to ten of the apostles (John 20:19); to eleven of the apostles (John 20:26); to seven of the apostles (John 21:1-22; this was after the second Sunday); to eleven of the apostles on a certain mountain in Galilee (Matt. 28:16); to all twelve apostles, which including Matthias (15:5; Acts 1:26); to five hundred brethren (15:6); to James, the Lord’s brother (15:7; Gal. 1:19); to all the apostles again (15:7; Mark 16:19-20; Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:3-12, 26).
‘Cephas’ this was Peter (Luke 24:34; Mark 16:14).
‘The twelve’ – the term is used here officially, including Matthias (Acts 1:26) and excluding Paul (15:7-8).
‘He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.’ This could be the same as in Matthew 28:16.
‘He was seen of James; then of all the apostles.’ This is James, the half-brother of Jesus (Gal. 1:19).
‘And last of all he was seen of me also’ – This is proof that Paul did not class himself as one of the 12 apostles (15:5-8). They were chosen because they had been eyewitnesses from the beginning.
‘One born out of due time’ [Greek: ektroma] a child untimely born; an abortion. Paul referred to being born out of the season when the 12 apostles were chosen (Isa. 66:6-7; Rom. 11:25-29; Zech. 12:10-13:1).
John 5:28-29 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
The ninth New Testament prophecy in John: ‘The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live’ are fulfilled and continuously being fulfilled as men turn to God for salvation. They that hear shall live (Acts 3:19; Rom. 10:9-17). ‘So hath He given to the Son to have life in himself’ – As God, this could not be true, but as the Son of man all life-giving powers and all authority to redeem and judge were given by the Father through the Holy Spirit (Isa. 11:2; 42:1; 61:1; Acts10:38; Mat. 12:28).
The tenth New Testament prophecy in John is unfulfilled ‘for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.’ Jesus is saying that we must not marvel at His power to resurrect souls from death in sin (John 5:25; Eph. 2:1-9) and that He will also resurrect dead bodies from the grave (John 5:28-29; 1Cor. 15:20-23; Rev. 20:4-15).
Only the bodies die at physical death (Jas. 2:26) and only the bodies go into the graves to await physical resurrection (John 5:28-29). All scriptures on the future resurrection of the dead refer to the bodies that sleep in the graves, not to the souls and spirits which are immortal and do not sleep in the graves. The righteous are in a conscious state in heaven (2Cor. 5:8; Eph. 4:8-10; Php. 1:21-24; Heb. 12:22-23; Rev. 6:9-11) and the wicked are conscious in hell (Luke 16:19-21; Isa. 14:9; Rev. 20:11-15). The souls and spirits of all men will be brought back from heaven or hell to the place where the bodies were buried and God will then resurrect them so that they will hear the voice of the Son of God and come forth to live forever in heaven or hell (Dan. 12:2; 1Thes. 4:13-18). The bodies cannot come forth out of the graves lifeless and dead, so when the souls and spirits reunite with the bodies in the resurrection they will come forth like Christ did when His soul and spirit came back from hell to the body in the tomb and He came out of the grave (Psa. 16:10; Mat. 12:40; 28:1-6; Eph. 4:8-10).
The righteous that ‘have done good’ (Greek: poieo, from which we get the word poem) refers not so much to individual acts of goodness as to character, nature, and conduct. The righteous that are ‘blessed and holy’ (Rev. 20:4-6); that ‘are Christ’s’ (1Cor. 15:23, 51-58; Gal. 5:24); that are ‘worthy’ (Luke 21:36); that are ‘in Christ’ (1Thes. 4:16-17; 2Cor. 5:17); that are in ‘the way, the truth, and the life’ (John 14:1-6); that have purified themselves ‘even as He is pure’ (1Jn. 3:2-3); that are without spot or wrinkle and without blemish and are the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23; 5:27; 1Cor. 12:13; Col. 1:18, 24) – these will be resurrected to eternal life 1,000 years before the wicked (John 5:29; Dan. 12:2). The wicked will be resurrected to eternal punishment and damnation 1,000 years after the resurrection of the righteous (Dan. 12:2; Rev. 14:9-11; 20:4-6, 11-15; 21:8; 22:15).