I have been asked on various occasions why use a text like 2 Maccabees 7 to discuss resurrection? It is an important and fair question. One uses such a text because it indicates (1) how physical a resurrection the Jews anticipated and (2) because the meaning of resurrection of Christians is what is being debated, making use of the Bible a problem for some who are listening to the discussion. Many of the biblical texts from the OT discuss a resurrection but are not clear about how physical it is. For example, Daniel 12:1-2 simply declares a resurrection but with no detail. In 2 Maccabees there is no doubt that a physical resurrection is what was meant.In this passage seven sons of a faithful Jew are being murdered for keeping the Law one by one. When the third son's turn comes he holds out his hands and stick out his tongue (which the persecutors had come to remove). He basically tells them they can have these bodily parts because one day God will give them back. That makes it pretty clear he expects a physical element to the body he will get at the end. This view is like that of the Pharisees and was the view of resurrection paul had as a Pharisee. When he sees Jesus in a glorified form, it indicates and reinforces this understanding of resurrections.So here is a good example where knowing background of what was believed in the first century also helps us to see what was meant by Christians when they discussed concepts that are taught in the OT but detailed in these later works that the NT also indicates.
Why Discuss 2 Maccabees 7 with Resurrection? A Case for Using Jewish Backgrounds June 13