Paul the Apostle: Champion of the Doctrine of the Resurrection
J. Peter Hansen, “Paul the Apostle: Champion of the Doctrine of the Resurrection,” in Go Ye into All the World: Messages of the New Testament Apostles, 31st Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2002), 13–26.
J. Peter Hansen was a Church Educational System coordinator in Pleasant Hill, California when this was published.
“If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins,” wrote the Apostle Paul to the Saints at Corinth (1 Corinthians 15:17). If Jesus was not resurrected, then what is Christianity? Is it the meager attempt of God-fearing charlatans to rationalize away the greatest of miracles, leaving men nothing but a hopeless empty tomb? Theologian Gerald O’Collins answered: “In a profound sense, Christianity without the Resurrection is not simply Christianity without its final chapter. It is not Christianity at all.”  The Apostle Paul was not about to let the Resurrection be buried. The doctrine of the Resurrection was a constant theme of his preaching, one which kept him spiritually alive, and one which contributed to his physical death. Paul fought the good fight, even the greatest of fights; he fought for the gospel of Jesus Christ. One of his selected battlegrounds, and one which led to his beheading at the hand of Nero, was the true doctrine of the literal bodily Resurrection of the Savior. It was a doctrine from which Paul refused to back down, never equivocating, always testifying—a champion of the doctrine of the Resurrection. His life of dedication to Jesus the Christ started on the road to Damascus.
Perhaps as early as A.D. 36,  Saul of Tarsus was near to Damascus. The Light of all lights shone round him and the resurrected Jesus appeared to him, giving him specific instructions. Saul, now temporarily blind, was led to the house of Judas. Ananias had been instructed by the Lord to seek out Saul. The Lord further instructed Ananias to lay his hands upon Saul and restore to him his sight, baptize him, confer upon him the Holy Ghost, and strengthen him (see Acts 9:1–19). After Saul tarried with Ananias and the disciples at Damascus for “certain days” (Acts 9:19), he retired to Arabia  for three years. Very little is known of Saul’s sojourn to Arabia. We do know that he did not ask the counsel of any man but that he sought the Lord to qualify him to preach among the Gentile nations (see Galatians 1:15–17). After his solitary preparation he reappeared at Damascus seeking to preach the gospel.
Truly converted and filled with missionary zeal, Saul went straight to the synagogues. His unrecorded testimony that Jesus was the “very Christ” was powerful and convincing to some (see Acts 9:22). It confounded others, and after “many days . . . the Jews took counsel to kill him” (Acts 9:23). Saul heard of the plot and escaped from Damascus, hurrying off to Jerusalem, where he met Peter, the senior Apostle.
Saul desired to preach to the disciples in Jerusalem, but they were understandably wary of him. After all, he was a Pharisee, a member of the Sanhedrin  and a chief persecutor of the early Saints (see Acts 26:6–12). He held the coats of the murderers who stoned Stephen to death (see Acts 7:54–60). Now this man, known as an enemy to the Christians, claimed to be their fellow, a disciple of the Lord. He wanted to meet with them and testify of the Lord’s divinity. Saul was more than an ordinary disciple.
John defined the special nature of the calling of an Apostle as he quoted the mortal Messiah: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go forth” (John 15:16). Luke concurred and enlarged the definition when he wrote that an Apostle is one who is “ordained to be a witness . . . of [Jesus’] resurrection” (Acts 1:22). To “ordain” is to “invest with a ministerial function or sacerdotal power; . . . to set apart for an office; to appoint.”  Saul met the criteria. He certainly did not choose the Lord of his own volition. The Lord chose him. Saul was handpicked and set apart by the Lord through Ananias as another version of Saul’s rudimentary experience accounts. The same hour Saul received his sight under the hands of Ananias, he looked upon the Lord’s servant, who told him,
The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.
For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:14–16; emphasis added).
Saul was a witness of the literal bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ. His first vision was on Damascus road.  His second recorded vision of the resurrected Lord was at the house of Justus in Corinth. Therein, the Lord visited His newly chosen vessel in a night vision. The resurrected Lord told him to preach boldly and that He would protect him (see Acts 18:7, 9–10). His third visit by the Lord took place in the temple at Jerusalem. His call to serve was reconfirmed. “While I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; and saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me. . . . I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles” (Acts 22:17–18, 21; emphasis added).
Set apart from the world, the “chosen vessel,” was sent out by the Lord “to bear [his] name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15). “Am I not an apostle?” he wrote to the Saints at Corinth. “Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?” (see 1 Corinthians 9:1). Saul, now called Paul (Acts 13:9), was the Lord’s anointed Apostle, fully qualified to testify of the divinity and the reality of the Resurrection of the Redeemer. 
With his companions, including Barnabas and others, the Apostle Paul set out on his first of three major missionary journeys. They sailed to the island of Cyprus and then to Attalea in southern Galatia. The company of missionaries traversed mountain valleys and passes dodging robbers and evil countrymen (2 Corinthians 11:26). On a Sabbath morning, Paul and Barnabas found themselves in Pisidian Antioch, a region in modern-day Turkey. They made their way to the synagogue. After the traditional reading of the law, the priest invited anyone to speak, the common practice of the day (see Acts 13:14–15). The new Apostle delivered his first recorded sermon.
"Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience” (Acts 13:16). It is apparent that Paul addressed both Jews and Gentiles. He talked of Moses and the deliverance of Israel, and of King David and his seed, Jesus. He told of the mission of John the Baptist, of Pilate’s prosecution, condemnation, and Crucifixion of Christ. He reminded them that Jesus had been laid in a sepulchre. Then came the key doctrine taught best by a special witness:
God raised him [Jesus] from the dead:
And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.
And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,
God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.
Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption [death and decay].
For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:
But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption (Acts 13:30–37).
Paul taught powerful doctrine: (1) Jesus is the Christ, a fact verified by His Resurrection; (2) there are living witnesses of the Resurrection; (3) messianic prophecies are fulfilled in Christ; (4) though David’s dead flesh will be corrupted, that of Christ will never be corrupted, because He is the Resurrection.
Remarkably, the Jews did not stone Paul on the spot. On the contrary, when church was over, “many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God (Acts 13:43–44; emphasis added). The bliss was short-lived. The Jews became jealous and challenged Paul and Barnabas. An angry mob persecuted them and ran them out of town. The missionaries moved through other regions, finally arriving at Thessalonica (see Acts 17:1).
Paul went to a synagogue in Thessalonica to preach on the Sabbath. He taught from the scriptures, showing that it was necessary for Christ to suffer and that He rose from the dead. This was the Jesus of whom Paul testified. Some of the Thessalonians believed him. As was often the case, envious Jews forced Paul to flee for his life (see Acts 17:1–9). Paul and his companions passed through Berea, where they had much success, leaving Silas and Timothy (new missionary companions) to do the work. Paul journeyed onward to Athens.
Athens was the cultural and educational center of the world. Many prominent worldly men sent their sons to Athens to be educated. The Greeks were admired as the elite of the world. Their language, architecture, philosophy, art, and customs were modeled throughout the Mediterranean region. Additionally, Athens was a city “wholly given to idolatry” (Acts 17:16). Paul set out to do his work.
He went into the marketplace daily and into the synagogues on the Sabbath to teach his message. He intentionally argued with the locals. He attracted attention. Some called him a babbler. The Athenian philosophers accused Paul of proclaiming false gods and new doctrine “because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.” The Apostle was invited to address the Athenians and found himself in their midst at Mars’ Hill (see Acts 17:17–21).
Saul of Tarsus, now Paul the Apostle, stood before the most learned men of his day. He was near an altar dedicated to the so-called unknown God. He desired to speak by the Spirit, to cause a stirring in the hearts of the honest. His proclamation was a marvel. He testified against the gods of the idolater and for the God of heaven. Paul explained to them the resurrected God of Israel, whom they did not know. Paul “intimates that, by the unknown God, God the Creator was in a roundabout way worshipped by the Greeks.” 
Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead (Acts 17:22–31).
When Paul mentioned the Resurrection, some of the Greeks mocked him and he had to stop speaking. Deaf hearts notwithstanding, he taught key doctrine: (1) God is Creator of all things; (2) He is not worshiped with creations of hands—He created all, He needs nothing tangible; (3) all men are one blood—we are brothers; (4) we should earnestly seek Him; (5) we are God’s children; (6) because we are His, we should not reckon that He is made of silver or gold; (7) we must live lives of repentance; (8) there shall be a judgment; (9) part of that judgment will be the Resurrection which lives in Christ Jesus. Some mocked Paul, but a few believed his words. He departed from Athens and made his way to Corinth. There, he wrote his first epistle to the Thessalonians.
The Thessalonians, like many Saints, were drifting from the doctrine. Paul wrote and encouraged them to maintain their steadfastness. Toward the end of his letter, Paul encouraged the Saints by promising them a wonderfully bright moment, a moment of the Resurrection of the just. They must have been concerned about the veracity of the Resurrection, but Paul reassured the Thessalonians that “Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him” (1 Thessalonians 4:14). In his book The Savior’s Prophecies, Richard D. Draper wrote: “The day of redemption . . . is the event to which the apostle Paul looked forward, proclaiming that ‘the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air’ (1 Thessalonians 4:16–17).”  Dr. Draper points out that the phrase “caught up” is translated from the Greek harpazo, which connotes being snatched up or carried away with some force involved.  From Paul’s description of the day of redemption, one can imagine the eagerness with which the Lord will resurrect His sons and daughters and claim them eternally His.
Paul journeyed to Ephesus, where he wrote a letter to the Saints at Corinth. Contained therein are some of the greatest thoughts on the Resurrection in all of holy writ. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul reminds us that there were many who saw, with their own eyes, the gloriously embodied, resurrected Jesus. “He was buried, and . . . rose again the third day. . . . He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once [not to mention women and children];. . . . After that he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. . . . And last of all he was seen of me” (1 Corinthians 15:4–8). Over five hundred people witnessed this event at the same time, and Paul points out that most of those witnesses were still alive at his writing. He seems to be saying, “If I you don’t believe me, go talk to them!”
The Apostle continued as he told the Corinthians that if Christ had not risen from the grave his preaching was for naught. Why bother if there is no afterlife? In fact, if Christ was not resurrected, then faith in Him is futile (see 1 Corinthians 15:13–17). But, “Christ [was] risen from the dead, and [became] the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20). Paul had firsthand knowledge of that fact and made sure that the Corinthians knew of the doctrine. If there are firstfruits of the Resurrection, there must be subsequent fruits.
“In Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). All mortals are rescued from the pangs of death. All will be resurrected. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that Paul envisioned the resurrection of all men. “Paul ascended into the third heavens, and he could understand the three principal rounds of Jacob’s ladder—the telestial, the terrestrial, and the celestial glories or kingdoms.”  Paul likened glory in each man’s individual resurrection to the sun, the moon, or the stars. Live celestially, receive celestial glory; live a lesser standard, receive lesser light. All will be raised incorruptible, empowered, immortal, never again to die (see 1 Corinthians 15:40–43). “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? . . . But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54–55, 57).
In early June of A.D. 58, Paul made his way back to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Pentecost. By this time Paul was well-known to Jewish antagonists. His reputation preceded him. While he was in the temple purifying himself, a Jewish mob identified him as a foe, fell upon him, cast him out of the temple, and “went about to kill him” (Acts 21:26–31).
Ironically, when the Roman soldiers arrested him they doubled as his rescuers. Paul asked to speak to the captain of the guard, who was apparently taken by Paul’s cultural background. The captain permitted Paul to speak to the mob. Without delay Paul told of his miraculous conversion at Damascus. He testified that he had seen Christ, received his call to be a special witness, and was baptized. Paul then revealed that he went to the temple in Jerusalem, wherein the resurrected Lord visited him again and told him to take the gospel to the Gentiles. At this proclamation, the crowd of Jews went into an uproar, demanding that Paul be killed (see Acts 21:37–22:22). The next day, Paul found himself before the Sanhedrin. 
“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 23:6). Immediately upon Paul’s mentioning the Resurrection, a dispute ensued. Fearing the worst, the chief captain took Paul into protective custody (see Acts 23:7–10). Paul must have been disconsolate, even into the next night. That was when the Savior, who does not abandon His faithful servants, stood beside Paul and talked with him.  “Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome” (Acts 23:11). Paul had again seen the Redeemer, this time standing before him in His resurrected body. Further, Paul received his marching orders. He had to go to Rome to testify before the most powerful man on earth—Nero.
Before Paul had his audience with the emperor, he had to be tried at Caesarea before Felix, the Roman governor. “There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust,” Paul witnessed to Felix and his court. “Touching [because of my teaching] the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day” (Acts 24:15, 21). Again Paul did not equivocate. And again, his best efforts landed him in jail. Two years later, Paul was summoned anew to the court of Porcius Festus, the new governor at Caesarea. King Agrippa, great-grandson of Herod the Great, happened to be in Caesarea and was in attendance for another of the Apostle’s powerful discourses on the Resurrection.
Paul opened his testimony with a biographical statement of his training as a Pharisee and his own persecution of the Christians. Following his familiar format, Paul told his Damascus story, using it as the basis for his testimony of the Resurrection. Then came the dialogue which confounded the court, leaving the two-man jury hung, and resulting in the Apostle Paul being sent to Rome.
Paul: “[I testify] that Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.”
Festus: “Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.”
Paul: “I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.” 
Agrippa: “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”
Paul: “I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds” (see Acts 26:23–29).
The court could find no reason to sentence Paul to either death or prison. He had asked to be sent to Rome to appeal to Caesar. His wish was granted.
While in Rome, sometimes in the Mamertine Prison and other times under house arrest, Paul wrote letters to his friend Timothy, testifying of the Resurrection to the Saints of Colossae, Ephesus, Philippi, Palestine (in Hebrews), and sometime after his Roman Imprisonment.
To the Colossians Paul wrote that man is created in the image of God, that He has all power, that He is the head of the Church, that through Christ all will be reconciled to the Father. By Him, “in the body of his flesh,” all will be presented before the Father (see Colossians 1:15–23).
Paul reminded the Ephesians that the Father raised Jesus from the dead to rule with Him in the next life (see Ephesians 1:20).
Paul wrote rather graphically to the Philippians. After attributing his own successes to Christ, Paul reported that he had lost all his worldly goods which he had previously valued. Now his treasures were as dung compared to that which he gained in Christ. He knew the Christ and the “power of his resurrection.” He further prophesied that he would attain his own resurrection and that each of us “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto [Christ’s] glorious body” (see Philippians 3:7–8, 10–11, 21).
He recalled to the memory of the Jewish Christians,  or the Christians of Jewish ancestry, still in the general area of Palestine, that there are basic principles of perfection in the gospel of Jesus Christ. They include faith in God, repentance, baptism, the laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment (see Hebrews 6:1–2).
Still in Rome near the end of his life, Paul wrote two known letters to his beloved Timothy. In the second one, he warned against the errant resurrection philosophies of Hymenaeus and Philetus. They were teaching not that Christ was still in the grave but that the general resurrection was now over.  They alleged that the greatest of miracles had ended with Christ. They “have erred,” wrote Paul, “saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some” (2 Timothy 2:18).
Paul knew that the end of his life was in sight. Some of his final words poignantly testified of the joy of his own pending glory which he knew was certain: “I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day” (2 Timothy 4:6–8).
Nero was not in Rome for Paul’s first arraignment. Nothing is known of his second hearing, but Nero must have been there. It was he who would have had to sentence the Apostle to death. Tradition holds that Paul was beheaded about two miles southwest of the city on the Ostian Way. Because he was a Roman citizen, he was spared the tortures of crucifixion or the horrors of being coated with pitch and set afire.  Early Christian writers agree that Paul was decapitated by Nero’s command.
“Examine your records. There you will find that Nero . . . exercised his cruelty against all at Rome. . . . Thus Nero publicly announcing himself as the chief enemy of God, was led on in his fury to slaughter the apostles. Paul is therefore said to have been beheaded at Rome,”  wrote Eusebius in his History of the Church. Tertullian affirmed: “Paul is beheaded. . . . At Rome, Nero was the first who stained with blood the rising faith. . . . Then does Paul obtain a birth suited to Roman citizenship, when in Rome he springs to life again ennobled by martyrdom.” 
Beheaded? Yes. Crowned by martyrdom? No! Let not death limit the Apostle. Paul’s crown is the one of which he testified until it sent him to the executioner’s sword. Paul’s crown is his resurrection, made possible by the Redeemer whom he knew and loved.
 Gerald O’Collins, The Easter Jesus (Valley Forge, Pennsylvania: The Judson Press, 1973), 134.
 Evangelical New Testament scholar Dr. Craig L. Blomberg of the Denver Seminary proposes that the Crucifixion may have been as early as A.D. 30. That would set Paul’s conversion at A.D. 32, and his first meeting with the Apostles in Jerusalem at A.D. 35. See Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1998), 35. Brigham Young University’s former dean of religion, Sidney B. Sperry wrote, “From considerations growing out of the author’s study of the Book of Mormon, he believes that the Savior was crucified in the year A.D. 33. . . . If this be true, the time of the Apostle’s conversion was about A.D. 36.” See Sidney B. Sperry, Paul’s Life and Letters (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1955), 3.
 Dr. Sperry pointed out that “we cannot determine with any precision the exact place where he [Paul] went.” Arabia included a very large area in that day including not only the Sinai Peninsula but also the transjordan region, and possibly even Damascus itself. See Letters, 24.
 Acts 26:10 points to the fact that “many of the saints did [Paul] shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.” To have voting power in capital cases, one would have been a member of the Sanhedrin.
 Noah Webster, An American Dictionary of the English Language (New York: S. Converse, 1828; reprint, San Fransisco: Foundation for American Christian Education, 1980).
 Some have contended that the incident on the road to Damascus was limited to Paul’s hearing the voice of the Lord and did not include his actually seeing the Resurrected One. A close review of the Apostle’s defense before Agrippa settles the argument. He related his Damascus account to the court saying the personage identified Himself as Jesus, who then said, “I have appeared unto thee, . . . to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee” (Acts 26:16).
 The faithful Christian Ignatius wrote in approximately A.D. 105, “I do not, as Peter and Paul, issue commandments. They were Apostles.” In The Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1989), 1:75.
 Clementin, Ante-Nicene Fathers, 2:321.
 Richard D. Draper, The Savior’s Prophecies: From the Fall of Jerusalem to the Second Coming (American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications, 2001), 44–45.
 Draper, Prophecies, 57, footnote 22.
 Joseph Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B. H. Roberts (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1909), 5:402.
 It is probable that Paul was, at one time, a member of the Sanhedrin. In Acts 26:10 Luke recorded that Paul admitted to being cruel to the Saints, imprisoning them and “when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.” To cast a vote for death, one must have been a member of the body authorized to sentence in capital cases—the Sanhedrin. Furthermore, Paul seems to have recognized some members of the Sanhedrin when he appeared before them and “perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees” (Acts 23:6).
 This marks the fourth recorded visitation of the resurrected Savior to Paul. The others are found in a chain of scriptures: Acts 9:1–9; 18:9–10; 22:17–18.
 Agrippa, the last of the family of Herod, was a Jew. While Agrippa was probably not a fully practicing Jew, Paul knew that he had been taught, and at minimum knew of, the words of the prophets.
 “‘Dung’ is a rendering of the Greek word meaning ‘refuse.’ Both these words are polite translations.” In D. Kelly Ogden and Andrew C. Skinner, New Testament Apostles Testify of Christ (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1998), 191.
 Ogden and Skinner, New Testament Apostles, 245.
 The beginning of the First Resurrection is found in Matthew 27:52–53. Jesus was resurrected, and after Him “the graves were opened” and many who were once dead were now made whole each in his own resurrection. Hymenaeus and Philetus, Paul contends, were incorrect in preaching the resurrection of the dead was complete. If this philosophy were true, only the righteous Saints who died before resurrection morn would qualify to be raised from the dead. The rest of us would be left to molder in the ground.