God’s Plan to Leave No Man Behind
The U.S. military tradition of leaving “no man behind” has led the nation to make great efforts to bring fallen soldiers’ bodies home. God also has a plan to leave no one behind.
At the June 12 Singapore summit, North Korea agreed to return the remains of U.S. servicemen who died in the Korean War, some 65 years ago, to the United States. On Aug. 2, 55 boxes of remains were returned to the U.S. from North Korea. Vice President Mike Pence, speaking before many of the loved ones of the fallen soldiers, said: “Today our boys are coming home.”
Mr. Pence continued: “Our nation has worked tirelessly to keep our sacred promise to leave no man behind.” This code has been an integral part of the U.S. military. The Soldier’s Creed reads: “I will never leave a fallen comrade.”
The remains will undergo forensic analysis to try to determine their identity. This is a difficult and laborious process that will take years. The remains in 208 coffins returned by North Korea in the 1990s turned out to be bones belonging to at least 400 people.
The hope is that returning the remains to the surviving family members will bring comfort and closure.
One of the most important truths in God’s Word is that those bones will live again. God also has a plan to leave no one behind.
The prophet Ezekiel wrote about standing in a valley of dry bones in a vision. God told him to say to the bones: “I [God] will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the LORD” (Ezekiel 37:6-7).
Then Ezekiel saw flesh, muscles and skin start to form around the bones until they were complete human bodies—just without life in them (verse 8). He was then told to prophesy: “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live’” (verse 9). God then revealed His plan to give physical life to all these bodies (verses 12-13).
In the future, billions of people who have died will live again and receive the opportunity for salvation.This vision was a graphic portrayal of God’s plan to raise the dead from their graves and give them a new life. In the future, billions of people who have died will live again and receive the opportunity for salvation. Instead of just giving them their lives back to make the same mistakes, they will be given something they never had before, the Spirit of God (verse 14). Jesus also talked about this plan to raise the dead to physical life (Matthew 11:21-24; 12:39-42).
Resurrections: hope of salvation
For many Christians, the idea of a future resurrection where all peoples will be offered salvation is a foreign concept. Many have accepted the idea that today is the only day of salvation and that all people will go to heaven or hell based on what they do in this life.
But the Bible reveals that the “resurrection of the dead” is a foundational principle of Christianity (Hebrews 6:1-2), and all people who never had an opportunity to know God will be given the chance to be taught and worship Him (John 6:45; Romans 14:11; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4; Hebrews 8:11; Micah 4:2; Habakkuk 2:14).
The Bible reveals that all people will have an opportunity to live again in a certain order (1 Corinthians 15:22-23). Here is a brief overview of that order:
- At Christ’s return. As Jesus is returning to the earth, He will resurrect all the saints, those who have been called and are faithful to Him. This is called the “first resurrection,” and those in it will reign with Christ for 1,000 years (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18; Revelation 20:6). Jesus referred to this as the “resurrection of life” (John 5:29).
- The Great White Throne Judgment. Those who never really had a chance to know the true God in this lifetime will be raised to life after the 1,000 years are over. The Book of Life—the opportunity for eternal life—will be opened to them (Revelation 20:5, 11-12). Jesus referred to this time when He mentioned those who will “rise up in the judgment” (Matthew 12:41).
- The Second Death. Those “not found written in the Book of Life”—the incorrigibly wicked who refused to repent when they were given the opportunity—will rise in a final resurrection. These people, who willfully rejected God’s way of life, will be mercifully destroyed in the lake of fire for all eternity (Matthew 10:28; Revelation 20:13-15).
On Sept. 10, 2018, Christians around the world celebrated the Feast of Trumpets (Leviticus 23:23-25). This special day points forward to the return of Jesus Christ and the first resurrection. This festival is just one of seven biblical festivals. You can learn more about these meaningful days in our free booklet From Holidays to Holy Days: God’s Plan for You.