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if in some way I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:11)
Paul is not showing doubt or uncertainty about his being a part of the parousia. He is merely not sure how he will arrive there – a martyr’s death, a non-violent death, or by the parousia itself.
The word translated attain (καταντάω katantaō) is a strengthened form of antao and means to reach or arrive at. Paul’s paramount aim is to arrive – not at the physical resurrection of the dead; this is promised to all believers – but to the present life of a believer with Christ in his resurrection.
The word for resurrection here is different from the word used in verse 10. The word in Greek (ἐξανάστασις exanastasis) in verse 10 is anastasis and denotes a rising up from ana “up” and histemi “to cause to stand.” In verse 11, exanastssis literally means the “out-resurrection” from among the dead.
Paul has been contrasting his views previously as a Jew and now as a believer in Jesus. The Jews looked for a physical resurrection of the dead (Greek ton nekron); Paul is now looking forward to the blessed hope of the out rising from among the dead (Greek ton ek nekron) in this life with Christ’s resurrection.
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The Greek rendered “the resurrection from the dead” is literally “the out-resurrection the out of dead (ones).” Only here is the double compound Greek (ἐξανάστασις exanastasis) used in the New Testament. On this, A.T. Robertson writes, “Resurrection (ἐξαναστασιν [exanastasin]). Late word, not in LXX, but in Polybius and one papyrus example. Apparently, Paul is thinking here only of the resurrection of believers out from the dead and so double ἐξ [ex] (τεν ἐξαναστασιν την ἐκ νεκρων [ten exanastasin tēn ek nekrōn]). Paul is not denying a general resurrection by this language but emphasizing that of believers.” Eugene Albert Nida writes, “It has the preposition ek (meaning ‘from’ or ‘out of’) added to the ordinary word for resurrection. There is no indication, however, that one should attach special meaning to this rare word. Paul is probably not thinking of a ‘general resurrection’ of all the dead, but of the resurrection of the faithful believers which will take place at the Parousia, that is at Christ’s second coming (1 Thes 4:16). Here the focus shifts from the participation in the life of the risen Christ here and now to the final and ultimate rising of the dead, when the believers will enter the promised state of eternal blessedness. In biblical thinking, resurrection is always an act of God. He is the agent who causes life and return to life. It is, therefore, best to restructure the final clause as I myself will be raised from death to life, implying that God is the author of this event. The passive construction will be raised from death to life may be made active by saying, “God will raise me from death to life.” In a number of languages, however, death and life must be translated as verbs, thus requiring certain restructuring, for example, “that God himself will cause me no longer to be dead but to live.”
Much press here is given to this unusual expression, regardless of those that claim it needs no extra attention. Joseph Barber Lightfoot and others believe that Paul’s phrase is a purposeful reference to the resurrection of the righteous (cf. Luke 14:14; 20:35; John 5:29; Rev. 20:4–6). It should be noted that Paul tells us specifically that “there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Acts 24:15) The “unrighteous” that Paul spoke of are persons who have died before Armageddon and have not had an opportunity to hear the good news of the kingdom, meaning they had no opportunity to accept it or reject it. God knows who would have accepted the good news had they heard and who would have rejected it. Thus, we can extrapolate that the unrighteous, i.e., unevangelized or unlearned, that are resurrected will likely be those that God knew would have accepted it. Unlike humans, God is able to read hearts and intentions, knowing who would be receptive to the Gospel and who would reject the truth.
These unrighteous ones are not being resurrected to face an immediate adverse judgment and sent to some eternal pit of fire. No, instead, they are entering into a judgment period of a thousand years, where they have an opportunity to act on the Word of God as well as the new book(s) that will be penned. At the end of that judgment period, they will be judged, not on their previous life, but on what they did during the millennium. – John 5:29.
Do All People Know God?
David Platt from Southeastern Seminary says that “all people know God the Father,” which he bases on Romans 1:18-25. These verses in Romans do not explicitly state that. Let’s start by looking at the verses, and I will bold the words and phrases that Platt highlights. Note first that there is a difference between unbelief and unknowing.
Romans 1:17-25 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Unbelief and Its Consequences as the Ungodly People Are Inexcusable
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident among them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For his invisible attributes are clearly seen from the creation of the world, being perceived through what has been made, even his eternal power and divine nature, so that they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their reasoning, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
In short, David Platt is taking these words and phrases and then goes on to do what he calls a fundamental assumption, saying, “God has revealed himself to all men. Everyone on the planet … all people have knowledge of God the Father. It is clear, sufficient, plain so that men (all people) are without excuse.”
Just an initial observation. Platt is going beyond Scripture with his exaggerating the level of knowledge that one can have based on observing creation. Paul says that which is known about God … his invisible attributes are clearly seen from the creation of the world.” (1:19-20) What is known (Gr. gnōstos) or can be known from humans with limited knowledge, some even literarily ignorant, not knowing how to read and right, observing creation? The Greek adjective (gnōstos) that is translated known simply means knowable, something that can be knowable, recognized, what can be known, able to be known. Does this sound anything like “it is clear, sufficient, plain.” Why did Paul 21 times use and highlight the importance of the Greek word epignosis, an intensified form of gnosis (knowledge), which means accurate or full knowledge? Why did Paul say, “‘for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how will they hear without someone to preach?” (Rom. 10:14-15) Note that without someone to bring an accurate knowledge of God to the unevangelized, Paul asks ‘how will they believe.’ Therefore to know (gnōstos) about God based on observing creation alone is enough to leave a person unexcused in their not acknowledging the divine attributes (eternal power and divine nature) of a higher power, who brought everything into existence, but is it really enough for them to have faith (belief) based on an accurate knowledge of God, so that “it is clear, sufficient, plain”? If this were the case, why did God see fit to give us a special Revelation, i.e., the Bible? Why did the Father send the Son to give us the Gospel if knowing based on observing Creation leads to what “is clear, sufficient, plain”?
Romans 1:1-17: Paul introduces himself and expresses his desire to visit the congregation in Rome. Then, he gets right to the main point of his writing to the Christians in Rome. God favors no group of people over another and holds out the possibility of salvation to everyone that has faith. Paul emphasizes the importance of faith and why it is necessary for everyone.
Romans 1:18-32: What is true about everyone is that all humans are sinners and deserve God’s wrath. This is clearly easier to see from the unevangelized unbeliever, who is without excuse as he ignores the evidence of a Creator. Because of his sinful nature as well as his lack of accurate knowledge, he lacks a correct view of God “without someone to preach” to him. (Rom. 10:15) So, he ends up worshiping the created thing (even if it is himself he worships, humanism) as opposed to the Creator, eventually giving into his fallen fleshly desires, to degraded practices.
Romans 2:1-29: David Pratt and others, who might sit in judgment or criticize the unevangelized unbeliever, they too can be judged. Why? The conservative evangelical Christian like David Pratt has an accurate knowledge of God’s Word and resource study tools far greater than most, and they profess to be teachers of God’s Word. The unevangelized unbeliever has the conscience that God placed in every human that prods them to do what is right as well as the evidence of a Creator within creation, leaving them unexcused if they turn from that basic knowledge. Moreover, if they ignore that conscience, it can become calloused and unfeeling but still accountable. If they ignore the evidence of a Creator, they are accountable.
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 W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996). Page 44.
 A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933), Php 3:11.
 I-Jin Loh and Eugene Albert Nida, A Handbook on Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1995), 107.
 τὴν ἐξανάστασιν κ.τ.λ.] The ‘resurrection from the dead’ is the final resurrection of the righteous to a new and glorified life. This meaning, which the context requires, is implied by the form of expression. The general resurrection of the dead, whether good or bad, is ἡ ἀνάστασις τῶν νεκρῶν (e.g. 1 Cor. 15:42); on the other hand the resurrection of Christ and of those who rise with Christ is generally [ἡ] ἀνάστασις [ἡ] ἐκ νεκρῶν (Luke 20:35, Acts 4:2, 1 Pet. 1:3). The former includes both the ἀνάστασις ζωῆς and the ἀνάστασις κρίσεως (Joh. 5:29); the latter is confined to the ἀνάστασις ζωῆς. The received reading τῶν νεκρῶν for τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν, besides being feebly supported, disregards this distinction. Here the expression is farther intensified by the substitution of ἐξανάστασις for ἀνάστασις, the word not occurring elsewhere in the New Testament. – Joseph Barber Lightfoot, ed., Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians, Classic Commentaries on the Greek New Testament (London: Macmillan and Co., ltd, 1913), 151.