Each spring, believers everywhere gather to celebrate the resurrection of the Messiah of Israel. At Alliance for the Peace of Jerusalem, we believe one way we can pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6) is by praying for the salvation of the Jewish people—for them to know their resurrected Messiah, Jesus.
In this article, we will show how the resurrection message is a thoroughly Jewish one. When Jewish people embrace the resurrection of Jesus, they are believing in a very Jewish message. As we explained in a previous article, Jesus’ resurrection is the “first fruits” of the future resurrection of Israel and all God’s people.
Resurrection in the Thirteen Principles, the Talmud, and the Siddur
The Medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher Moses ben Maimon, commonly known as Maimonides or the Rambam, regarded the doctrine of future resurrection—the belief God will resurrect our dead bodies at the end of the age—as a central tenet of Judaism. In his thirteen principles of Jewish faith, Maimonides’ thirteenth principle reads as follows: “I firmly believe that there will take place a revival of the dead at a time which will please the Creator, blessed be His name.”
Maimonides even went so far as to say those who do not believe in the future resurrection have cut themselves off from Israel and have no part in the World to Come. In his work Treatise on the Resurrection, Maimonides wrote:
We vehemently deny and we cleanse ourselves before the Almighty God of the (accusation attributed to us) . . . that the soul will never return to the body and that it is impossible for that to occur. For such a denial (of the resurrection of the dead) leads to the denial of miracles and the denial of miracles is equivalent to denying the existence of God and the abandonment of our faith. For we consider the resurrection of the dead to be a cardinal principle of the Torah.
Similarly, the Talmudic rabbis before the Rambam taught those who deny resurrection will have no part in it (Sanhedrin 90b); and the Siddur, the Jewish prayer book, repeatedly affirms the doctrine of resurrection.
Resurrection in the Scriptures
Most importantly, the doctrine of resurrection is a thoroughly Jewish doctrine because it is a biblical one. The Jewish Scriptures teach God will resurrect the dead. Some passages include:
- Isaiah 26:19: “Your dead will live; their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, for your dew is as the dew of the dawn, and the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.”
- Daniel 12:2: “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.”
- Job 19:25–27: “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God; whom I myself shall behold, and whom my eyes will see and not another. My heart faints within me!”
When Jesus confronted the Sadducees, a sect of Jewish leaders who denied the resurrection, He quoted the Torah, saying, “Regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken” (Mark 12:26–27).
As we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, let us pray Jewish people everywhere will come to know and love their resurrected Messiah, the first fruits of the resurrection of the dead.
by Jennifer Miles
 Isidore Singer, ed., The Jewish Encyclopedia: A Descriptive Record of the History, Religion, Literature, and Customs of the Jewish People from the Earliest Times to the Present Day, 12 Volumes (New York; London: Funk & Wagnalls, 1901–1906), 384.
 Moses Maimonides, Treatise on Resurrection (trans: Fred Rosner; New York: Jason Aaronson, 1982), 35 as quoted in Leora Batnitzky, “From Resurrection to Immortality: Theological and Political Implications in Modern Jewish Thought,” The Harvard Theological Review 102, no. 3 (July 2009): 281.
 Isidore Singer, ed., The Jewish Encyclopedia, 383.