Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #5 Mortality of man and mortality of the spirit

Mortality of man and mortality of the spirit

Though we are mortal, we have a choice of spiritual birth and spiritual life, providing us with the possibility to face a better life which shall not have an end (immortality). When the New Testament speaks about a new birth and a new life it does not speak about some reincarnation, but about our transformation of our psyche, our spirit which gets a total new attitude and lets us live in a different way than before.

We have to get away from our old attitudes; we have to cut down our old trunk or put our old ‘me’ to death, giving the new ‘me’ the opportunity to spring up from fertile ground. By coming to the true faith we shall blossom again, and our renewed psyche or spirit shall be like the branches of a tree and shall not fail. The power of a plant to spring forth lies within itself (Genesis 3:22), but man needs “outside help.” A man that has died is utterly gone, and when a mortal has fallen, he is no more, but when we are alive we have a choice to bring forth good branches or wild branches bringing forth no fruit. Though those who fear God may have to work hard and have to endure difficulties like others in the world, they may count on the Most High, when they produce fruits worthy of repentance.

Frans Floris - The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, ...

Frans Floris – The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Son of God, Gathering and Protecting Mankind – WGA7949 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The New Testament speaks about new life, which is the life of the Christian attitude to the Old Law and to the world which does not fear God. For those who accept Jesus, the Old Law is no longer the first ruling principle in their life. It is not that they really died, but they put away their old life figuratively. We, when we changed our position in life, and choose to follow Jesus try to obtain union with him. It is also not us who directly will be raised from the dead. The significance of being “raised from the dead” lies in the fact that it was Christ’s death that made the fatal blow to the power of the “old man” – the seed of the serpent, or lust. It is only through the power of Christ’s resurrection that the efficacy of his victory can pass to us by our identification with his death in baptism, for we must be raised to “a new life”. But that new life in Christ can only bear fruit of Christ because he has been raised from the dead.

First there is the spiritual or figuratively coming to a new life in this world system and only later there will be for each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then only those who belong to Christ at His coming. Not earlier. Only at the return of Christ they will be taken out of the dead to be judged by Christ Jesus. Only at the end times the world will see the dead coming back to life or to see the psyches called to come in front of the judgement seat of Jesus.

The followers of Christ, who know they are formed of dust and have to return to dust, shall find themselves liberated from death by Jesus, the unique Son of God, the ‘only begotten.’ By the right free choices they made they shall be allowed to look at that eternal life, having age-abiding life, not to be lost or to be wasted to undergo a second death and to perish forever.

 

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Preceding

Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #4 Psyche, According to the Holy Scriptures

Continued with: Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #6 Summary

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Our love for Jesus – A Christian Science perspective

A Christian Science perspective.

How much do we love Jesus? For Christians, it’s an important question, not just during the Easter season but at any time – because our love for him and our gratitude for his selfless example are essential to understanding the truth he taught and lived.

A fresco of a black Madonna and Jesus in Axum ...

A fresco of a black Madonna and Jesus in Axum Cathedral, Ethiopia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As countless people around the world know, Jesus was born of Mary. The Bible says,

“When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 1:18).

Jesus’ virgin birth is not always easily comprehended, because it goes contrary to physical laws of conception. But in Christian Science it’s seen to be a natural outcome of Mary’s pure spiritual thought. In the textbook of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy explains:

“Jesus was the offspring of Mary’s self-conscious communion with God. Hence he could give a more spiritual idea of life than other men, and could demonstrate the Science of Love – his Father or divine Principle.

“Born of a woman,”

she continues,

“Jesus’ advent in the flesh partook partly of Mary’s earthly condition, although he was endowed with the Christ, the divine Spirit, without measure” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” pp. 29-30).

Christian Scientists look to Jesus’ resurrection and ascension as the triumphal, overarching proof of all that he had taught about God and about our oneness with God, who is divine Life. Jesus demonstrated for the world that life isn’t in matter, that all life is in God, who is infinite Spirit. Therefore matter can’t truly deprive us of life, because it can’t separate us from God.

But Jesus’ crowning, world-changing demonstration of immortal Life could not have come without his intense human sacrifice that led up to it. Although multitudes flocked to Jesus for healing, he was persecuted at every step. In the Bible, the book of Isaiah prophesied the reception this savior of humanity would get:

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3).

It’s difficult for us to comprehend the depths of what Jesus faced, as he encountered the full scope of the carnal mind’s hatred of what he represented. Jesus allowed himself to be subjected to the malice and violence of the carnal mind, knowing the spiritual victory that awaited him, proving that evil is powerless in the face of the omnipotence of God, his Father and our Father.

As we learn to appreciate and love Jesus more, this will help us to comprehend in some degree the love Jesus himself lived, a love that reflected the nature of God, divine Love, and showed forth the real nature of man as Love’s image, or expression. His love healed multitudes. Our growing approximation of it will bring healing into our lives and the lives of others.

This article was adapted from an editorial in the March 30 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

I can’t believe that … (3) miracles can happen

English: Icon of the Resurrection

Icon of the Resurrection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So Christianity is full of miracles. The gospels say that Jesus performed many miracles, like healing people of their diseases and walking on water. Christians today believe that God can work miracles in response to their prayers. And, of course, the central event in Christianity – the resurrection of Jesus – is a miracle. So if miracles can’t happen then Christianity is in trouble.

But why think that miracles can’t happen? After all, if there is a God then surely miracles are the sort of thing you’d expect him to be able to do. (What sort of god would he be, if he couldn’t perform miracles?) And yet many people, even those who believe in God, struggle with the idea that miracles can happen.

One worry that people can have about miracles is the vague sense that this is too mythological, too supernatural, for rational, scientific, modern people to believe in. Turning water into wine might seem like magic trick, or else hocus-pocus, and we’re smart enough to know that magicians deal in illusions, not realities. But this kind of objection is rather vague and its not immediately clear what the problem is. Of course, if someone comes to you and says “I can make a rabbit appear in my hat”, you have every right to suspect that the rabbit is just hidden away somewhere and isn’t going to appear from nothing. But that doesn’t mean miracles are impossible, it just means we’re rightly suspicious of those trading in illusions. And there is a danger that simply dismissing miracles as myth or magic: we’re simply engaged in snobbery not proper rational enquiry.

Perhaps a more sophisticated objection is that miracles break the laws of nature. From our repeated experience, and from scientific investigation, we know that the universe behaves in ordered and regular ways. The sun rises every day, things fall down (not up), and dead people don’t come back to life. These are laws of nature – exceptions do not occur, else they wouldn’t be laws.

And that is all well and good but it suggests that the laws of nature have priority over everything else – that the laws of nature were before everything and overrule everything. Now even for the atheist, this is not the case. Because if you believe that the universe came into being from nothing, then it is not the laws of nature that were before everything else but nothing – if this were true, the laws of nature would be as arbitrary as the rest of existence. So the atheist has no particular reason for suspecting that the laws of nature will continue to operate, except that they have so far. But for the believer, the laws of nature do not have priority either. Because if there is a God, who created the universe, then he is responsible for the laws of nature. Now he is God such a sloppy creator that he made rules and laws that even he couldn’t change? Is it credible to think that God could create gravity and yet be unable to change it when necessary? If that idea just seems too silly to be true, then the objection to miracles evaporates.

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Preceding articles: I Can’t Believe That (1) … God would send anyone to hell

I Can’t Believe That … (2) God would allow children to suffer

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Additional reading:

  1. A fact of History or just a fancy Story
  2. Days of Nisan, Pesach, Pasach, Pascha and Easter
  3. Why think that (2) … Jesus claimed to be something special
  4. Why think that (3) … Jesus rose from the dead
  5. Miracles of revelation and of providence 1 Golden Thread and Revelation
  6. This is an amazing thing
  7. A Meaningful Thanksgivukkah
  8. Blinkered minds
  9. Sometimes we pray and pray and it seems like nothing happens.
  10. Materialism, would be life, and aspirations
  11. Bible and Science: Scientific Facts and Theories

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  • Can We Prove Jesus’ Historical Miracles? (humblesmith.wordpress.com)
    the atheists assumes the high ground and asks Christians to prove the creation of the universe, but the atheist has no more ability to explain the beginning of the universe than the Christian. The atheist accuses the Christian of something he is guilty of himself, namely belief without empirical evidence. The atheist berates the Christian for something which he has no better answer. In fact, the atheist answer would seem to ultimately assume that the effect of the universe resulted without a cause, an absurdity.
  • Is Religion Pseudoscience? (psychologytoday.com)
    A pseudoscience is a set of beliefs or practices that pretends at being science—that puts forth evidence and arguments which it says are scientifically sound, but in fact are not. Pseudoscientists argue in support of new fundamental forces (e.g., Rupert Sheldrake’s morphic resonance) and even entities (e.g., ancient aliens). The TV show Ghost Hunters is a prime example; they even have instruments—like voice recorders, EM meters, laser thermometers (and deluxe carrying cases)—which seem scientific, but of course do nothing to detect ghosts. But all pseudosciences have one thing in common: The arguments and reasoning they put forth violate basic rules of scientific reasoning.
  • Villagers worship ‘miracle’ calf in India born with third eye (w/ video) (vancouverdesi.com)
    People are flocking to a small village in southern India to worship a “miracle” calf believedto bean incarnation of a Hindu god, according to Britain’s Daily Mail.The baby cow was born in the village ofKolathur in TamilNadu with a third eye in the middle of its head, much like the Hindu deity Shiva.“This is a miracle calf, so we are worshipping and praying to it like a god,” the animal’s owner, Rajesh, said. “We believe if we worship this calf it will give good luck for us and the people around us.”
  • No Miracles = No Christian Hope (derekzrishmawy.com)
    Whether it be Gnostic mysticism, or German Liberal Rationalism, throughout Christian history there have been numerous attempts to separate the effects, or “inner truth” Christianity from it’s concrete grounding in the narrative of God’s interaction with Israel and the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah. In other words, we want the value of “loving your enemies” and “forgiveness” without grounding it in the Cross where the Godman concretely loved his enemies and forgave them with his own blood. We want the sense of gratitude and joy on a sunny day without grounding it in the Creator God who gives  it to us and currently sustains all things in things in being.
  • Countering the Straw Man of “Spockian” Atheism (patheos.com)
    In a piece at NPR entitled “Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk,” University of California, Berkeley philosophy professor Alva Noë posted his thoughts on what he calls a “Spockian” worldview. He rejects this “Spock-ism” (a reference to the character on Star Trek) and its

    idea that science is logical, purely rational, that it is detached and value-free, and that it is, for all these reasons, morally superior.

  • True Reason: Confronting the Irrationality of the New Atheism Reviewed (wmbriggs.com)
    How rational is it to believe any of the following:

    • Science can explain everything, even itself;
    • The reason anything exists is because of the laws of gravity, quantum fields, and so forth;
    • Jesus of Nazareth was an invention and not a real person;
    • Evolution is why we are so rational;
    • Even though God does not exist you can tell the difference between good and evil;
    • People are only Christians because they were born into it;
    • Miracles are impossible and reports of them are the result of lies, superstition, confusion, and reporting errors;
    • The Gospels on which Christianity relies were written hundreds of years after the fact and are mostly reinventions of other pagan traditions?

    Each of these propositions is not only false but easily proven to be so, as even the most minimal exertions show. Yet believing any, and many more like them, are touted by “New Atheists” as marks of superior intelligence, as enlightened thinking, even as commonsense reasonableness. To these infinitely self-assured folks, disbelief is a synonym of rational. It’s just a guess, but perhaps this irrational belief is why it is so hard to persuade New Atheists of their errors?

  • From Atheism to Christianity: a Personal Journey (po11ycheck.wordpress.com)
    Do you find it difficult to believe in God or accept the claims of Christianity? I did, when I was an atheist, but I changed my mind, and my reasons for doing so may be of interest to you in your own personal journey and attempts to make sense of life.
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    The presence within us of an objective moral law ‘written on our hearts’ points instead to the existence of an eternal Goodness and Intelligence which created us and our universe, enables us to think, and is the eternal source of our best and deepest values. In other words, Lewis argues, atheism cuts its own throat philosophically, because it discredits all human reasoning, including the arguments for atheism. “If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning.” (Mere Christianity). Only by acknowledging that there is a God, he concludes, can we hope to make sense of human existence, the world we inhabit, and, paradoxically, the problem of evil.
  • Clearing Up the Shenanigans: Tom Gilson and True Reason (arizonaatheist.blogspot.com)
    Am I arguing that “miracles happen too often?” Yes, but Gilson misses my point. It had nothing to do with science, it had everything to do with god. Gilson argued in True Reason that god wants his creationsto be “responsible moral agents;” and god also wants his creations to learn from experience. All of these things would not be possible if we lived in a world “of constant supernatural intervention” because “if there isto much chaos (“noise”) in a transmission, the message (signal) can’t get throughto be clearly understood.” (130)I argued that, at least according tonumerous Christians around the world, their god intervenes in the affairs of the worldon a daily basis and I provided one, among other examples, of a Christian friend who thanked god for coming across a set of chairs in someone’s yard.I also argued that far from being opposed to constant supernatural intervention the entire basis of Christianity is built upon supernatural intervention, including god coming down in human form as Jesus to the creation of the world out of absolutely nothing, which are in fact acts of the supernatural, unlike what Gilson stated in his reply (“it’s more than slightly difficult to see how God violated natural law by creating natural law (as creation ex nihilo indicates).”). Gilson’s argument makes no logical sense. Christians argue all the time that “something cannot come from nothing” but for Christians apparently it’s OK. And I suppose a man rising from the dead or a god-man coming down from heaven isn’t a supernatural event? Gilson says nothing about these core beliefs of Christianity.
  • What has convinced many believers to not believe? … the bible did. (skeptical-science.com)
    The embrace of a specific belief has rather a lot of do with your geographical location, and nothing at all to do with what is and is not actually true. It is those around you that draw you in.
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    Derren Brown, the illusionist, did a series on Channel 4 in the UK called Fear and Faith. During this at one point he gave somebody a camera to record a video diary and told her that for the next two weeks they would be manipulating events in her life so that she could learn life lessons, and that she was to record those lessons on her video diary. Darren Brown is well-known for doing the hidden camera thing and so this idea, once planted, was embraced as factual. One week later she had a video crammed full of the lessons she had learned during the events that they had staged. The reveal was that they had done nothing at all except give her the idea and a camera – everything that happened was her reading meaning into random events. – This is exactly the same psychology at play in the “born again” experience where Jesus is with you and helps you out each day.

Why think that (5) … the Bible is the word of God

Imagine there was a man who went around claiming that he had a special message from God and that part of this man’s message was that he would be killed and come back to life. And then imagine that this man did indeed come back to life. Surely that is the sort of person you’d want to pay attention to. We have seen that there is good historical evidence that Jesus is that sort of person – that he claimed to have a special message from God and that he died and came back to life. So we would want to pay attention to what Jesus said about the Bible.

Now for the purposes of this essay we are using the gospels as historical sources, not yet as scripture (otherwise our argument would be circular). But this does not prevent us drawing some conclusions about Jesus’ view of the Bible. For instance, as a first century Jew it would expect Jesus to believe that the Old Testament was inspired by God (just as Jews do today). And the gospels corroborate this. For example, when Jesus says “everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44), he is referring to the three sections into which the Jews divided their scriptures. It is also clear that Jesus regarded the Old Testament books as messages from God. For example, he refers to the Psalms being written by the Holy Spirit (Mark 12:36).

Titlepage of the New Testament section of a Ge...

Titlepage of the New Testament section of a German Luther Bible, printed in 1769. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But what about the New Testament? None of the books of the New Testament were written during Jesus’ lifetime on the Earth. Most written between twenty and forty years after his crucifixion. This being said, there are indications that Jesus expected there to be these books. We know that Jesus was a teacher, that he appointed disciples and that after his resurrection it was these disciples that started telling everyone about Jesus. The gospels say that Jesus selected the disciples for this role; for example, “you are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:48). And those who wrote the NT recognised that they were specially selected as witnesses (e.g. 1 Pet 1:12; Heb 2:3-4). In effect, Jesus says “there are going be witnesses” and the NT writers claim to be those witnesses.

So Jesus accepted the Old Testament as scripture, and it seems likely that the New Testament was written to fulfil Jesus’ instructions. Therefore the testimony of Jesus is gives us good reason for thinking the Bible is a special book and should encourage us to look for further evidence.

How could you know if a message was from God or not? How about if that message was itself miraculous? How about if that message contained accurate predictions about the future? In fact, this is exactly the test the Bible provides for judging whether a messenger is from God or not:

When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously (Deut 18:22)

As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes to pass, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet (Jer 28:9)

Obviously not all predictions are going to be as convincing as others. There seem to be three criteria: (1) that prediction is made before the event it predicts (otherwise its not a prediction), (2) that predicted event can be verified with reasonable certainty (otherwise how would you know if the prediction was successful), and (3) that the predicted events is sufficiently unlikely to make the prediction significant (predicting rain in England is hardly surprising).

The Bible contains numerous prophecies. Some are short term prophecies so aren’t easy to verify historically, but there are plenty of long term prophecies to look at it. Here we’ll just look at one group of prophesies to make the point. These are the Old Testament prophecies about Jesus, which accurately predict many of the events of Jesus’ life. These include being a descendant of King David (2 Sam 7:12-13), being born in Bethlehem (Mic 5:2), being betrayed by a friend (Ps 41:9), being valued at thirty pieces of silver (Zech 11:13), having no bones broken in his execution (Ex 12:46), having hands and feet pierced (Ps 22:16; Zech 12:10), having his clothing divided by lot (Ps 22:18), being buried in the grave of a rich man (Isa 53:9) and being raised from the dead (Ps 16:9-11). What is interesting about these prophecies is these predictions al converge on the person of Jesus.

There is one further prophecy worth mentioning. In Daniel 9:24-27 a prophecy is made about set period of time in the history of the Jewish people. It is described in terms of weeks but all scholars agree that these weeks are periods of seven years. The interpretation of the prophecy can be technical because of some unusual Hebrew words and the fact that Daniel was using 360 day years (as opposed to the 365 ¼ day years that we use). But in essence what the prophecy says is that from command to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem to the coming of the Messiah would be 69 “weeks”. And if you do that maths, the time between the Persian command that the wall of Jerusalem should be rebuilt to the time of Jesus is exactly the period specified by Daniel 9. Even if you wanted to quibble about the exact year of the command or the exact year of Jesus’ ministry, the timing is still so accurate that it cannot be ignored.

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Preceding articles:

Why think that (1) … Jesus existed?

Why think that (2) … Jesus claimed to be something special

Why think that (3) … Jesus rose from the dead

Why think that (4) … God would reveal himself in words

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Please find also to read:

  1. No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation
  2. The radiance of God’s glory and the counsellor
  3. The day Jesus died
  4. People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions
  5. Only worship the Creator of all things

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  • 5 Reasons to Suspect Jesus Never Existed (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
    Most antiquities scholars think that the New Testament gospels are “mythologized history.”  In other words, they think that around the start of the first century a controversial Jewish rabbi named Yeshua ben Yosef gathered a following and his life and teachings provided the seed that grew into Christianity.At the same time, these scholars acknowledge that many Bible stories like the virgin birth, miracles, resurrection, and women at the tomb borrow and rework mythic themes that were common in the Ancient Near East, much the way that screenwriters base new movies on old familiar tropes or plot elements. In this view, a “historical Jesus” became mythologized.
  • From Reliable to Divine: The Fulfilled New Testament Prophecies of Jesus (escottspencer.wordpress.com)
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    The Case for the Reliability of the Old Testament (Free Bible Insert)

    The ancient scribes employed a trustworthy system of checks and balances as they copied the original texts, and the accuracy of transmission process was successfully tested with the discovery of the Isaiah text in the Dead Sea Scroll collection. The ancient Jewish believers and Church Fathers also embraced the Old Testament as the Word of God. In addition, archeological discoveries have since confirmed many of the Old Testament accounts, and these archaeological evidences are rich compared to other written claims about the ancient past. Finally, the Old Testament Scriptures contain fulfilled prophecies  (including amazing prophecies about the coming Messiah), establishing the Divine nature of the texts. Based on this evidence, the following summary can be created related to the case for the reliability of the Old Testament
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    During Jesus’ life, He made several predictions in the presence of the disciples. At the time of these prophetic statements, His followers were often more than skeptical and less than understanding. But as the years passed, followers of Jesus saw His words come true, and these fulfilled prophecies served to strengthen their faith:
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    While much of the New Testament prophecy points to a distant future, many of the claims of Jesus can be assessed now. Jesus’ accuracy is so compelling, many skeptics have altered their dating of the New Testament in response. Acknowledging the accuracy of the prophecy related to the Temple destruction, skeptics typically date Luke and Matthew after 70AD to account for the inclusion of this statement. In doing so, these skeptics recognize the power of Jesus’ prophetic ability. They would rather deny the evidence for early dating than accept Jesus’ accuracy. Critics and skeptics of the New Testament recognize the power accurate prophecy has to demonstrate the Divinity of the New Testament.

  • Jesus Preached Islām. Period. (thelionofallah.wordpress.com)
    The only religion in the whole world, that believes in Jesus [ʿĪsā] (Upon Whom Be Peace) and testifies to Christianity is Islām. Muslims believe, that Jesus (Upon Whom Be Peace) was one of the mightiest Messengers of Allāh; that he was born miraculously ― without any male intervention; that he gave life to the dead by Allāh’s permission, and that he healed the born blind and the lepers by Allāh’s permission. A person is not considered a Muslim, unless, he or she believes in Jesus (Upon Whom Be Peace). Muslims believe, that Allāh delivered the Gospel ― Injeel to Jesus (Upon Whom Be Peace), just as He did Torah ― Taurāt to Moses [Mūsā] (Upon Whom Be Peace), the Old Testament ― Zabūr to David [Dāwūd] (Upon Whom Be Peace) and The Mighty Qur’ān to Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).
  • The Holy Scriptures (ptl2010.com)
    During the years of Christ and His death and resurrection a great transition was made between the Old and New Covenants. The Holy Scriptures at that time were Old Testament records and were used as a basis for Israel’s faith. During the first century the Four Gospel’s and the New Testament Epistles were being written and were not published until the 3rd century and after. The Old Testament records (the Holy Scriptures) were Israel’s primary written words of God.
  • How do we know what books should be called Scripture? Broadcast (joelanddeannap.wordpress.com)
    Both the Old Testament and New Testament books were immediately recognized and treated as scripture, though we have no formal statement about the New Testament until the fourth century.
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    How did the early church judge which books were scripture and which were not?

    • The test of authority: Who penned the book?
    • The test of internal evidence: Does the book penned or authorized by a genuine prophet or apostle bear the internal evidence of being God breathed?
    • The test of God’s people: Did genuine believers from the penning of these books to the present recognize them as scripture?
  • We Have A More Sure Word Of Prophecy (nowtheendbegins.com)
    Oftentimes when we study end times bible prophecy, we tend to focus on the Old Testament prophets like Joel, Isaiah, Zechariah, and on our apostle Paul in the New Testament. But Peter has a treasure trove of scripture for us to consider as well.
  • What should we say… (thelivingmessage.com)
    The more frequently you read and study the Bible, more of it will get into your mind and you won’t have to memorize it. It will just be there waiting to be used. It will also give you a greater understanding of God and His ways to “search the scriptures” because in doing so, you will be learning about God more and more.
  • End Times Prophecy Headlines: August 28, 2014 (endtimesprophecyreport.wordpress.com)
  • Preface (whatshotn.wordpress.com)
    With one-fourth of the Bible prophetically future when it was written, the interpretation of prophecy is one of the most challenging areas of biblical study. Too often preconceptions have led interpreters to draw from the biblical text doctrines that were quite removed from what the text actually states. Because prophecy is scattered from the early chapters of Genesis to the last chapter of Revelation and deals with so many different situations and subjects, interpreters of prophecy have too often abandoned any detailed interpretation and reached only general conclusions.

Why think that (3) … Jesus rose from the dead

The central event of the Christian faith is the resurrection of Jesus. If Jesus stayed dead then his own predictions proved false – he was nothing more than a good man with some interesting teaching. But if Jesus rose from the dead then he is someone really special – someone worth believing. What’s more if Jesus rose from the dead then perhaps death isn’t the end – perhaps there is a way for others to overcome death too.

Jesus Resurrection 1778

Jesus Resurrection 1778 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now resurrection isn’t usual. This sort of things doesn’t just happen. Dead people do not come back to life again. So I know full well asking you to believe that Jesus rose from the dead is asking a lot – its asking you to believe in miracles. That’s a problem for some people – we’ll come back to that in Part Two. For now just consider two things: (1) if God created life then surely he is able recreate life, even after it has died, and (2) there is good reason why God might want to be resurrect Jesus, so as to prove that Jesus is God’s representative and to prove that there is life after death. So perhaps you’ll allow that this kind of miracle is a possibility. Now let’s look at the historical evidence. We can summarise the case in four points:

Firstly, Jesus died on the cross. This is not particularly controversial. It was accepted by non-Christians like Josephus, Tacitus, Lucian and the writers of the Talmud. It is, of course, also the unanimous testimony of Christian sources, like the gospels and the letters. Modern medical appraisals of crucifixion have concluded that Jesus could not have survived what he suffered and, in any case, the Romans had ways of ensuring their victims died.

14th century Byzantine Icon of the Descent from the Cross from the Church of Saint Marina in Kalopanagiotis, Cyprus. St. Joseph of Arimathea is the figure standing in the center, in blue-green robes holding the Body of Christ.

14th century Byzantine Icon of the Descent from the Cross from the Church of Saint Marina in Kalopanagiotis, Cyprus. St. Joseph of Arimathea is the figure standing in the center, in blue-green robes holding the Body of Christ.Secondly, Jesus was buried in a tomb. This is also not particularly controversial. The earliest Christian preachers described Jesus being laid in a tomb (Acts 13:28-29). The gospels record how Joseph of Arimathea took the body of Jesus and laid it in his tomb (Mark 15:46; Matt 27:59-60; Luke 23:53; John 19:41-42). The early reverence of a tomb in Jerusalem (whether or not this is actually the tomb of Jesus) is another witness of the type of burial given to Jesus. And no ancient critic of Christianity – whether Jewish or pagan – ever suggested that Jesus was buried somewhere else.

Thirdly, three days later the tomb of Jesus was empty. This is important because for both Jews and pagans “resurrection” (anastasis) meant bodily resurrection – if Jesus was alive again, his tomb must be empty. Again this is a feature of the earliest Christian preaching (cf. Acts 2:29-32) and the gospel records (Mark 16:1-8; Matt 28:1-10; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-10). But it is also a feature of the early Jewish accounts of Jesus – from the first century onwards they claimed that the disciple stole the body (Matt 28:11-15; Justin, Dialogue 108; Tertullian, De Spectaculis 30; Toledoth Yeshu 9-10). This story presupposes that they thought the tomb was empty (they would hardly tell such a story if Jesus was still in the tomb). The fact that Caesar issued a decree against moving bodies from sealed tombs and had it inscribed on a stone in Nazareth probably indicates that he too had heard the story that the tomb of Jesus was empty (this decree is known as The Nazareth Inscription).

Fourthly, the early Christians claimed to have seen the risen Jesus. When writing a letter to the church at Corinth in the mid-50s, Paul lists those who saw Jesus after his resurrection, including the twelve disciples and Jesus’ brother James. He even says there are over five hundred other witnesses, many of whom were still alive when he wrote (1 Cor 15:5-8). These claims are also a feature of the earliest Christian preaching (Acts 2:32, 3:15, 10:39-40), the gospels (John 20:11-18; Luke 24:34; Matt 28:15-17, etc.), other New Testament texts (e.g. 1 Pet 1:3; Rom 1:4; Phil 3:10; Heb 13:20; Rev 1:18) and other first century Christian texts (Didache 10:2; 1 Clement 24:1; Barnabas 5:7).

ANGELICO, Fra Resurrection of Christ and Women...

Angelico, Fra Resurrection of Christ and Women at the Tomb Fresco, 189 x 164 cm Convento di San Marco, Florence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This evidence is early, based upon eyewitness testimony and has a consistent core – that Jesus died, was buried and rose again. The resurrection of Jesus is, by far, the simplest explanation of the historical evidence.

What about the alternatives? Well, a number of alternative theories have been suggested to explain the evidence but none has managed to convince the majority of scholars. Those scholars who deny the resurrection generally tend to not give a verdict on the evidence. But, for completeness, let us consider briefly just one oft-repeated alternative. It goes something like this: the disciples stole the body and then pretended Jesus was alive again to promote their new religion. After all, the first century Jews claimed that the disciples stole the body.

However, this alternative theory just does not work for a number of reasons. Firstly, if this was a conspiracy then it was a huge conspiracy (over 500 witnesses). Secondly, the disciples had no motivation for the deception – when other Jewish cult leaders and “messiahs” had met gruesome ends their followers had just disbanded. The early disciples gained neither money, status or fame from their preaching. Thirdly, the disciples had everything to lose from such a deception. They were persecuted, imprisoned and executed by both Jewish and Roman authorities. Early witnesses, like Peter and Paul, met their deaths refusing to renounce their faith. Would you die for a lie?

The simple fact is that the historical evidence is clear and consistent. And if the event in question wasn’t so controversial then I don’t think anybody would doubt it. Unfortunately it is controversial. Because if the resurrection is false then Christianity is false. And if the resurrection is true then Christianity (or at least its core claims) are also true. So a lot hangs on this question. And at the end of the day you’re going to have to make up your own mind for yourself. But if you think that resurrection is possible and if, like me, you think the historical evidence is strong, then you have good reason for thinking that Jesus rose from the dead.

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Note: Lucian of Samosata

 

Preceding articles:

Why think that (1) … Jesus existed?

Why think that (2) … Jesus claimed to be something special

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Related articles:

  1. Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God
  2. Glory of God appearing in our character
  3. On the Nature of Christ
  4. Certainty in a troubled world
  5. Let me keep to “first importance” things
  6. Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:7-12 – Opposition and Two Baptisms
  7. Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:13-17 – Jesus Declared God’s Son at His Baptism
  8. 14-15 Nisan and Easter
  9. 14 Nisan a day to remember #3 Before the Passover-feast
  10. Days of Nisan, Pesach, Pasach, Pascha and Easter
  11. A Living Faith #8 Change
  12. The day Jesus died
  13. Jesus begotten Son of God #11 Existence and Genesis Raising up
  14. Jesus is risen
  15. Risen With Him
  16. 3 Reasons the Resurrection Matters
  17. Seven full weeks or seven completed Sabbaths and ascension of Jesus
  18. Shabbat Pesach service reading 1/2
  19. Shabbat Pesach service reading 2/2
  20. Holidays, holy days and traditions
  21. Who Celebrates Easter as Religious Holiday
  22. Easter: Origins in a pagan Christ
  23. Eostre, Easter, White god, chocolate eggs, Easter bunnies and metaphorical resurrection
  24. How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice

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  • What criteria do historians use to get to the minimal facts about the historical Jesus? (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    Have you ever heard Gary Habermas, Michael Licona or William Lane Craig defend the resurrection of Jesus as the best explanation for the “minimal facts” about Jesus? The lists of minimal facts that they use are typically agreed to by their opponents during the debates.
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    There are actually a few more reasons for believing in the empty tomb that he doesn’t go into in the debate, but you can find them in his written work. For example, in his essay on Gerd Ludemann’s “vision” hypothesis. That essay covers the reasons for all four of his minimal facts.
  • Rationality of The Resurrection of Jesus (withalliamgod.wordpress.com)
    Moving from historical data to the best explanation of that data Crossan and Ehrman robustly rejects resurrections hypothesis. Their rejection is not based on historical data, but on what best explain these data. It is not a historical based rejection but a philosophical one, the impossibility of miracles.
  • The Resurrection is Believable (burrissblog.wordpress.com)
    Opponents of Christianity and skeptical minds have always questioned the resurrection, just as they question many other teachings of Christianity. Such skeptics are more common in contemporary America, but they have always been around. What is surprising is that more and more Christians are stating their skepticism about the resurrection.
  • William Lane Craig’s case for the resurrection of Jesus (winteryknight.wordpress.com)

    Certain appearances have earmarks of historicity. For example, we have good evidence from the gospels that neither James nor any of Jesus’ younger brothers believed in him during his lifetime. There is no reason to think that the early church would generate fictitious stories concerning the unbelief of Jesus’ family had they been faithful followers all along. But it is indisputable that James and his brothers did become active Christian believers following Jesus’ death. James was considered an apostle and eventually rose to the position of leadership of the Jerusalem church. According to the first century Jewish historian Josephus, James was martyred for his faith in Christ in the late AD 60s. Now most of us have brothers. What would it take to convince you that your brother is the Lord, such that you would be ready to die for that belief? Can there be any doubt that this remarkable transformation in Jesus’ younger brother took place because, in Paul’s words, “then he appeared to James”?

    Even Gert Ludemann, the leading German critic of the resurrection, himself admits, “It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.”
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    Gerd Ludemann is actually an atheist new Testament historian, and he has even debated Dr. Craig on the resurrection – not once, but twice. That’s the kind of evidence Dr. Craig uses in his case. Not just what your pastor will give you, but what atheists will give you. We need to learn to debate like that.

     

  • ‘Jesus Discovery:’ Jerusalem Archeology Reveals Birth Of Christianity (fourbluehills.com)
  • What are the arguments for the histority of the empty tomb? (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    The concept of resurrection in use among the first converts to Christianity was a Jewish concept of resurrection. And that concept of resurrection is unequivocally in favor of a bodily resurrection. The body (soma) that went into the grave is the body (soma) that came out.
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    It’s significant that the belief in the resurrection started off in the city where the tomb was located. Anyone, such as the Romans or Jewish high priests, who wanted to nip the movement in the bud could easily have produced the body to end it all. They did not do so, because they could not do so, although they had every reason to do so.
    +
    The phrase “on the third day” probably points to the discovery of the empty tomb. Very briefly summarized, the point is that since no one actually witnessed the resurrection of Jesus, how did Christians come to date it “on the third day?” The most probable answer is that they did so because this was the day of the discovery of the empty tomb by Jesus’ women followers. Hence, the resurrection itself came to be dated on that day. Thus, in the old Christian formula quoted by Paul we have extremely early evidence for the existence of Jesus’ empty tomb.
    +
    Note how careful Craig is not to imply that the guard tradition is historical, because we can’t prove the guard as a “minimal fact”, since it doesn’t pass the standard historical criteria.
  • William Lane Craig debates James Crossley on the resurrection of Jesus (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    The burial story supports the empty tomb

    • the site of Jesus’ grave was known
    • the disciples could not proclaim a resurrection if the body were still in it
    • the antagonists to the early Christians could have produced the body

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    Paul was hostile to the early church when he got his appearance
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    there is multiple independent attestation, then it cannot be a creative fiction invented in Mark alone
    regarding the women, even though Jesus respected the women, their testimony would not be convincing to others, so why invent a story where they are the witnesses
    the male disciples did not flee the scene, for example, Peter was there to deny Jesus three times

  • the angel is not authoritative, because the angel cannot be questioned, but the women can be questioned
    there was no response on the lack of embellishment
    there was no response to the earliest Jewish response implying that the tomb was empty
  • The Significance of the Resurrection (spyghana.com)
    The religious leaders would certainly have had enough reason for doing so. They had heard that Jesus had talked of resurrection, and were afraid of hanky-panky. So the argument runs, in order to forestall trickery, they took the precaution of confiscating the corpse. But when this is put into scrutiny, this conjecture also falls into pieces.Having placed the guards at the tomb, what would be their reason for moving the body of Jesus? If the authorities moved the body of Jesus, why didn’t they bring it when the apostles were boldly preaching about the resurrection in Jerusalem? The religious leaders did everything in their power to suppress the preaching on the resurrection. They even arrested Peter and John (Acts 4) and beat them, and threatened them in an effort to silence them.A few weeks of Jesus’ death, the disciples were boldly proclaiming the resurrection. The news spread rapidly. The new Christian movement threatened to undermine the stronghold of Judaism and disturb the peace of Jerusalem. The Jews feared conversion and the Romans detested riots. The authorities had before them one course of action. The Religious leaders could have produced the remains of the corpse of Jesus and published a statement of what they had done. They could have paraded the body of Jesus through the streets of Jerusalem, if indeed, they had it, and that would have smothered Christianity in its cradle. 
  • Guest Post – Jesus’ resurrection and the empty tomb (bennasmith.wordpress.com)
    Why would Matthew fabricate a Jewish cover-story and falsely suggest that it “has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day” (Matt 28:15 NIV)?  He wouldn’t.  Clearly his Jewish audience would have already heard the cover-story.  This is probably why Matthew seeks to rebut it.
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    It is wholly implausible that Jesus’ disciples stole his body.  They were broken and confused.  Their Messiah was dead and they had nothing to gain from stealing his body and then claiming he rose from the dead.  Indeed, they suffered greatly for this claim.No amount of cognitive dissonance could possibly motivate every disciple to claim their Messiah was alive when they knew he wasn’t.  We might at most expect them to find a new Messiah, but they didn’t.The second suspects are grave robbers hoping to make a profit.  However, the Gospels of Luke and John record that Jesus’ grave clothes remaining in the tomb. Why would any grave robbers leave the clothes behind?  Moving a body by itself would be incredibly messy.  Those looking for burial spices would almost certainly simply have carried off the wrapped body and removed the spices in a safe place. Even the clothes themselves could have been sold later on.Perhaps instead the robbers wanted body parts for magic practices.  This is unlikely since there is no evidence that stealing bodies for magical purposes was much of a problem in first-century Palestine.

     

  • John, when he reached the tomb, saw and believed (fggam.org)
    John in his first epistle testifies: What we have seen, heard, and touched we proclaim as the word of life which existed “from the beginning” (1 John 1:1-4). John bears witness to what has existed from all eternity.  This “Word of Life” is Jesus the Word incarnate, but also Jesus as the Word announced by the prophets and Jesus the Word now preached throughout the Christian church for all ages to come. One thing is certain, if Jesus had not risen from the dead and appeared to his disciples, we would never have heard of him.  Nothing else could have changed sad and despairing men and women into people radiant with joy and courage. The reality of the resurrection is the central fact of the Christian faith. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Lord gives us “eyes of faith” to know him and the power of his resurrection. The greatest joy we can have is to encounter the living Christ and to know him personally as our Savior and Lord.the witnesses were in Jerusalem, so they were in a position to knowif the story is made up, who cares what the male disciples did, just invent them on the scene anyway

 

Why think that (2) … Jesus claimed to be something special

As discussed in the previous post, Jesus is mentioned here and there by some non-Christians, like the Jewish historian Josephus and the Roman historian Tacitus. But our main source of information is that provided by the early Christians themselves. This evidence comes in two main types. There are the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), which are conventionally dated from around 70 AD but may well be earlier. Then there are letters that early Christians sent to individuals or churches. There are a number of these in the Bible, many of which were probably written before the gospels. Taken together these provide us with a lot of information about Jesus and who he claimed to be.

First page of the Gospel of Mark, by Sargis Pi...

Gospel sources – First page of the Gospel of Mark, by Sargis Pitsak, a Medieval Armenian scribe and miniaturist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We should comment at this point about the way we’re using these sources. Though they come from the Bible, they are also historical sources and we’re going to treat them in that way. So at this point we’re not too bothered about whether every last detail of the gospels is correct or not. Nor need we be concerned about whether these documents also contain messages from God. We can leave such issues till later. For now we can just look these documents for what they are – ancient documents, which contain information about Jesus, written by people who were in a position to know. So what do these sources say about who Jesus claimed to be?

Well, the most obvious one is that Jesus was called “Christ” (or more properly, the Christ) – that’s where the name “Christians” come from. “Christ” is the Greek word meaning “anointed” , equivalent of the Hebrew word “Messiah”. The concept of being “anointed” refers to the ceremony by which someone was made king in ancient Israel. (There is a good example of this in the Old Testament when David is anointed as king – see 1 Samuel 16). By the time of Jesus the kingdom of Israel had long since been destroyed and the Jews were essentially living under Roman rule. But the Old Testament prophets had predicted that the royal line of the ancient kings of Israel would be restored and that there would be a king again. Many Jews living at the time of Jesus expected the Messiah to be someone who would lead them to overthrow the Romans so they could be an independent nation again. What is interesting about Jesus is that, though he claimed to be the Messiah – the promised king, he did not attempt to lead an armed rebellion against Rome. So whilst Jesus was claiming to be a king, he was not the king they were expecting.

The most common phrase Jesus used to describe himself as “Son of Man”. That may sound like an odd way to describe yourself, and it was even at the time. In the language of the day – Aramaic – the expression “son of man” was used to refer to humanity in general. But that’s not the way Jesus uses it. He doesn’t describe himself as a son of man but as the Son of Man. So what was he getting at? The Old Testament prophet Daniel presents a picture of human history, where nations are represented by vicious beasts (Daniel 7). But this succession of beast-nations does not last forever. At the end of the vision, a court is held with God seated as judge. Power and authority is taken away from the beasts and given to a new character who is described as “one like the son of man”. This character receives a kingdom from God that will last forever. So when Jesus describes himself as the Son of Man, he is claiming to be the future king, the one who will receive a kingdom from God. But not a kingdom like the human kingdoms that preceded it. Instead this is good kingdom that will last forever.

Jesus is often described as being the Son of God. And frequently Jesus presents himself as having a unique father-son relationship with God. He is not saying that he is a child of God in the sense that all God’s creatures are his children. He is claiming that he has a relationship with God that is entirely unique. The gospels include the stories about Jesus’ birth, whereby his mother, Mary, becomes pregnant despite being a virgin. According to the gospels Jesus had no biological father (though no doubt Joseph cared for Jesus as his own son). So in a very real sense God was Jesus’ father. But being the Son of God is not just about parentage. Jesus claimed to have a very special relationship with God. The gospel writers describe Jesus has having special power to perform miracles, special wisdom to teach people God’s ways and special authority to forgive sins. Jesus was not simply claiming to be a prophet or holy man, but God’s special representative on earth.

Lastly, Jesus took the remarkable step of claiming that he was going to die. And not in battle, or by murder, but that he was going to die to free people from sin. He says:

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45)

Westvorhalle der Stiftsbasilika St. Vitus, Ell...

The King of the Jews (INRI) Nailed to death – Westvorhalle der Stiftsbasilika St. Vitus, Ellwangen (Jagst) Kreuzaltar, Hans und Matthäus Schamm (Ottobeuren) zugeschrieben, um 1610; detail: Christushaupt und INRI (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And the early Christians reflecting on the death of Jesus also recognised it as a special death. A preacher named Paul wrote to a church explaining the things he had learnt from talking to those who knew Jesus. He writes:

What I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3)

Now Jesus did die. He was executed. He was nailed to a cross by Roman soldiers and died gasping for air. He died the death of a criminal. He should have been forgotten by history. But his followers understood his death differently. This was not the last disgrace of a failed prophet. This was the turning point of history. When God’s representative on earth made the ultimate sacrifice to so that people could be forgiven for the things they’d done wrong and start a new life.

So that’s what Jesus claimed about who he was and what he would achieve. But is it true? Was Jesus a future king? Was Jesus God’s representative on earth? And did Jesus’ death provide a way for us to change our relationship with God? Well there is one more thing that the early Christians claimed about Jesus: that he rose from the dead – that he stopped being dead and came alive again. And if that is true then we’re no longer dealing with the claims of a human man but with a moment when God intervened in history to change the world.

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 Preceding: Why think that (1) … Jesus existed?

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Related articles:

  1. Prophets making excuses
  2. Written to recognise the Promissed One
  3. Patriarch Abraham, Muslims, Christians and the son of God
  4. Story of Jesus’ birth begins long before the New Testament
  5. Jesus begotten Son of God #3 Messiah or Anointed one
  6. Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:13-17 – Jesus Declared God’s Son at His Baptism
  7. Servant of his Father
  8. Slave for people and God
  9. People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life
  10. The Anointed One and the first day of No Fermentation
  11. Anointing of Christ as Prophetic Rehearsal of the Burial rites
  12. Atonement And Fellowship 5/8
  13. Atonement And Fellowship 6/8
  14. Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be
  15. How is it that Christ pleased God so perfectly?
  16. Wishing to do the will of God
  17. For the Will of Him who is greater than Jesus
  18. Imprisonment and execution of Jesus Christ
  19. Marriage of Jesus 7 Impaled
  20. A Messiah to die
  21. Death of Christ on the day of preparation
  22. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  23. 14 Nisan a day to remember #1 Inception
  24. Days of Nisan, Pesach, Pasach, Pascha and Easter
  25. After the Sabbath after Passover, the resurrection of Jesus Christ
  26. The Song of The Lamb #6 Revelation 14
  27. Jerusalem and a son’s kingdom
  28. Kingdom Visions of a Man, Throne and Great crowd
  29. Signs of the Last Days
  30. Getting out of the dark corners of this world
  31. The Immeasurable Grace bestowed on humanity
  32. Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26
  33. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
  34. Self inflicted misery #7 Good news to our suffering
  35. Miracles of revelation and of providence 1 Golden Thread and Revelation

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  • Sunday (August 24): “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (shechina.wordpress.com)
    At an opportune time Jesus tested his disciples with a crucial question: “Who do the people say that I am and who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:13). Jesus was widely recognized in Israel as a mighty man of God, even being compared with the greatest of the prophets, John the Baptist, Elijah, and Jeremiah. Peter, always quick to respond, exclaimed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God.
  • Jesus is the Messiah (darnellbarkman.wordpress.com)
    ‘Christ’ in early Christianity was a title, and only gradually became an alternative proper name for Jesus. In practice ‘Messiah’ is mostly restricted to the notion, which took various forms in ancient Judaism, of the coming King who would be David’s true heir, through whom YAHWEH [The Creator God’s proper name] would rescue Israel from pagan enemies.
  • Christianity Fast Facts (wdsu.com)
    Followers of the Christian religion base their beliefs on the life, teachings, and death of Jesus Christ.Christians believe in one God that created heaven, earth, and the universe.
    +
    On the third day after his crucifixion, Jesus Christ arose from the dead.
    +
    The first Christians were Jews who came to believe Jesus was the Messiah. Gentiles (non-Jews) also made up a large majority of its followers, as is the case today.
  • Secular Israel vs Biblical Israel: Are they the Same? (endtimesprophecyreport.wordpress.com)
    With the Gaza War resuming in earnest, now seems to be the time for a few observations about the secular state of Israel, biblical Israel, Jews, the synagogue of Satan and the deliberate Corporate (and other) Media smokescreens which obscure these subjects.
    +
    Of course, the largest mistake–and there are quite a few in the linked piece, which is relatively short–is that one cannot separate the Jews as a people from the actions taken by the leadership of the secular state of Israel.  But we know that is a lie.
    +
    We’re commanded to warn about deception; that deception includes the secular, man-created state of Israel which is NOT biblical Israel. There are observant Jews in Israel.  They are often the victims of violence. God promises He will save His remnant–and He will.  However, make no mistake: secular Israel is not biblical Israel.  Those who confuse the two will reap the unfortunate harvest of deception.  The Christian ignores Jesus’ clear warnings in Revelation 2:9 and 3:9 at his own risk.
  • Matthew 1-7 (apologistmike.wordpress.com)
    The gospel of Matthew was written by an eyewitness to the ministry of Jesus. He was Jewish, which accounts for his emphasis on the Jewish scriptures in the work, and he was a tax collector for the Roman government. This would have enabled him to write effectively. Many early fathers such as Clement of Rome, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian and Origen recognized Matthew as the author of the gospel.
  • FFOZ TV Review: Messiah (mymorningmeditations.com)
    The term Christ is one of the most important terms in all of Scripture and yet is seldom fully understood by followers of Jesus. In episode two we will explore the prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures and learn about the Jewish people’s expectation of the coming messiah. We will study the Hebrew Scriptures and learn that they speak of a coming anointed one, a king who will come to redeem mankind, defeat Israel’s enemies, and set up his kingdom.
  • Simple Truth: Jesus is not the Messiah (leavingjesus.wordpress.com)
    “Christ” is the Greek word for “Messiah”
    “Messiah” is the transliteration of a Hebrew word that means “anointed”
  • “The Christ is the Son of David” (worryisuseless.wordpress.com)
    Why did Jesus question the Jews on the claim that their Messiah or Christ would be the son of David? After all the New Testament makes clear that Jesus himself is a direct descendant from the line of David’s throne (Romans 1:3, 2 Timothy 2:8, Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-38). Jesus posed the question to make his hearers understand that the Messiah is more than the son of David. Jesus makes his point in dramatic fashion by quoting from one of David’s prophetic psalms, Psalm 110: The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I put your enemies under your feet. How can the son be the lord of his father?
  • Michele Bachmann Waiting to be Annointed Messiah (politicususa.com)
    What’s in a messiah, you ask? Like many terms it is problematic. Contrary to what many people may think, despite the origins of our word messianism is not unique to Judaism. In fact, in historical terms we can’t even speak of “Judaism” singular because there were in fact many Judaisms with different ways of life and different worldviews.[1] So not only is there not one Jewish idea (or Christian idea) of what a messiah is but not all ideas of messiahs are Jewish (or Christian).

 

3 Reasons the Resurrection Matters

The resurrection of Jesus (alongside his crucifixion) is by the majority of Christians the central historical event in the Christian faith. You could say that

Without the resurrection there would be no Christianity.

The Jewish fighter against the first followers of Christ, after some time changed  his mind and wrote to the Corinthian community:

“If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14).

The Resurrection of Christ (Kinnaird Resurrection)

The Resurrection of Christ (Kinnaird Resurrection) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lots of people came to the faith because of the tremendous stories they heard and because they came to believe that resurrection of Christ Jesus was not a joke or a fairy tale. Many do not stand still what importance such an act of coming of the dead, by a man really means. Those trinitarian (believing in a three godhead) Christians who take Jesus to be God nullify his death, because the God of gods can not die, and make a farce of this man, who only wanted to follow the will of his Father and not of himself.

“41 And he was parted from them about a stone’s cast; and he kneeled down and prayed, 42 saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:41-42 ASV)

We should understand that Jesus did not pray to himself, but to a much Higher Being, to Whom he would go later.

“28 and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who hath given [them] unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch [them] out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10:28-29 ASV)

“Ye heard how I said to you, I go away, and I come unto you. If ye loved me, ye would have rejoiced, because I go unto the Father: for the Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28 ASV)

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto the Father.” (John 14:12 ASV)

“Now I know that Jehovah is greater than all gods; yea, in the thing wherein they dealt proudly against them.” (Exodus 18:11 ASV)

Several Christians say they  believe in the resurrection and are convinced that after dying a violent death on a Roman cross on a Friday afternoon in 30 A.D., Jesus of Nazareth came back to life and emerged from the tomb on Sunday morning. Those days are not correct, but are not the subject of what we want to bring forward today.

Jesus, as a devote Jew celebrated the Passover or the liberation of God’s People. On the 14th of Nisan, the first month of the Judaic year, he with his closest friends installed a New Covenant, between his Father and those who wanted to come close to God . The Jews had got their opportunity to be the most praised people of God, but now others could also come into the House of God, thanks to what Jesus accomplished.

He was a man of flesh and blood who could be tempted. His heavenly Father is a Spirit and has no flesh, blood or bones. God also can not be tempted and can not sin. Jesus himself never had claimed to be God and always had spoken with respect of his Father in heaven, without Him he could do nothing. Him always referring to his Father made the Pharisees willing to get rid of him.

“17  But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh even until now, and I work. 18 For this cause therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only brake the sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God. 19 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father doing: for what things soever he doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner.” (John 5:17-19 ASV)

“21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall ye worship the Father. 22 Ye worship that which ye know not: we worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such doth the Father seek to be his worshippers. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:21-24 ASV)

That he was not a spirit he would proof to his disciples after he was taken our of the dead, after having resided for three days in hell. (In case many Christians could count well, they would not take Good Friday as a day Jesus died and Sunday being the day he stood up from the dead, because than he would not have been three days death.)

Lamentation at the Tomb, 15th century.

Lamentation at the Tomb, 15th century. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We may already be happy those Christians say Jesus was put unto death, put in a grave (sheol = the hell) and was resurrected. They should come to see it was not Jesus who came from himself out of the grave, but that it was his Father Whom took him from the dead. This is important, because when Jesus is a man of flesh and blood, who can get up from being death, this makes it also possible for us. In case Jesus is God that does not proof anything for a humble human being, who can sin and probably did more than one sin in his or her life. When we know how severely God punished the first human beings and did not make an end straight ahead to this distorted situation and broken relation, we should wonder what the use would be in case God Himself would come to earth to play a man and to do as if He could be tempted and as if He could die. You might wonder why such a charade would have any use and why God than waited such a long time to come to this earth to play the role of Messiah.

From historical writing we got to know what happened in the past with the people who claim to be God His People. We also got to know about the Nazarene Jew Jeshua who did many miracles and who claimed to be the son of God, but never said he himself was God.

His resurrection is not easy to believe. But if it is true, it is the most pivotal event in human history. Much has been written in defense of Jesus’ resurrection, according to Brian G. Hedges, Lead Pastor for Fulkerson Park Baptist Church and the author of Christ Formed in You: The Power of the Gospel for Personal Change, Licensed to Kill: A Field Manual for Mortifying Sin, and Active Spirituality: Grace and Effort in the Christian Life, the most thorough and convincing book being N. T. Wright’s massive 800-page volume, The Resurrection of the Son of God. (Christian Origins and the Question of God, Volume 3) (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2003)

What is unquestionable is that the first generation of Jesus’ followers did believe he had risen, and were convinced that everything had changed as a result.

Consider just three of the ways the New Testament highlights the significance of the resurrection.

1. Jesus’ resurrection means that his sacrificial death on the cross was sufficient, and therefore our sins can be forgiven.

Paul emphasizes this in 1 Corinthians 15, reminding us that

“Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (vv. 3-4).

Then, in verse 17, he argues that

“if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”

In other words, Paul saw a direct connection between the resurrection of Jesus and the sufficiency of his death to atone for our sins. When Jesus rose again on the third day, it was the public announcement that God was fully satisfied with the sacrificial death of his son Jeshua.  In his resurrection, Jesus was vindicated (1 Timothy 3:16).  But in his vindication, we are vindicated too. That’s why Paul says in Romans 4 that Jesus

“was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:25).

2. Jesus’ resurrection means that death is defeated once and for all.

As Peter proclaimed on the Day of Pentecost,

“God raised [Jesus] from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:24).

The distinctive English image, with Christ ste...

The distinctive English image, with Christ stepping on a soldier, in a 14th century Nottingham alabaster relief (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are told that ‘Death‘ lost its grip on Jesus! Death could never have had a grip on God. But every man, though being created in the image of God, would, because of the sin of the first man, be in submission to death.

When Jesus was a man of flesh and blood and not a spirit, like his Father, this all makes sense. By the Father taking His son out of death and even by taking him to sit on his right site, to become a mediator between God and man, we have the assurance Jesus can mean something to us. He is not only our solicitor or privileged intercessor by the Most High, he is also an example to what can happen also to us.

The resurrection means that Jesus not only defeated death for himself, but that he defeated it for us. He died and rose as a new representative for humanity, as the Second Adam.

“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead,”

writes Paul,

“the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:20-22).

It is in that way that Jesus his disciple John looks at the genesis of the New World of Christ, where Jesus is that begin for all of us, the alpha, but also the end, the omega.

After the default Adam, we have a remake Adam to which we can refer; In him we find a new harddisk to start anew, fresh under his guidance, with his software.

His resurrection guarantees ours.

Perhaps no one has said this more eloquently than C. S. Lewis. In his 1947 book Miracles, Lewis wrote:

“The New Testament writers speak as if Christ’s achievement in rising from the dead was the first event of its kind in the whole history of the universe. He is the ‘first fruits,’ the ‘pioneer of life.’ He has forced open a door that has been locked since the death of the first man. He has met, fought, and beaten the King of Death. Everything is different because He has done so. This is the beginning of the New Creation: a new chapter in cosmic history has been opened.”

The empty tomb assures us that sickness and suffering, death and disease will not have the final word.

This should be both personal and powerfully hope giving to all of us.

3. Jesus’ resurrection means that the material world matters.

Lest there be any misunderstanding, when the apostles said that Jesus rose again, they meant that his physical body came back to life. The risen Jesus wasn’t a phantom or ghost, but a breakfast-eating, flesh-and-bone, human being (see Luke 24:36-43 and John 21:10-14).

As the Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist John Updike once said,

Make no mistake: if He rose at all

it was as His body;

if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules

reknit, the amino acids rekindle,

the Church will fall.

When Jesus’ came out of the tomb in a physical body, it was God’s definitive stamp of approval on the creation project with all of its materiality. The resurrection shows us that matter matters. And this is why the early Christians looked to the future with confidence that the created order itself would be redeemed (see Romans 8:18-25).

Though we wait for the full consummation of new creation, the Scriptures also teach that the power that raised Jesus from the dead is already working within us (Ephesians 1:19-20). The resurrection, you see, not only assures of God’s forgiveness and comforts us in suffering as we anticipate the final reversal of death, disease, and decay; it also motivates and empowers us to push back the tide of suffering and evil in the present world, through word and deed, in mercy and in justice, all in Jesus’ name.

(Having taken in mind words from Brian G. Hedges,Lead Pastor for Fulkerson Park Baptist Church and the author of Christ Formed in You: The Power of the Gospel for Personal Change, Licensed to Kill: A Field Manual for Mortifying Sin, and Active Spirituality: Grace and Effort in the Christian Life. Brian and his wife Holly have four children and live in South Bend, Indiana. Brian also blogs at www.brianghedges.comand you can follow him on Twitter @brianghedges.)

End Notes


N. T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, Volume 3) (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2003).

The Greek word for “justification” (dikaiosin) in Romans 4:25  is closely related to the word “vindicated” (edikaiothe) in 1 Timothy 3:16.

C. S. Lewis, Miracles (New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1947) 236–237.

John Updike, “Seven Stanzas of Easter,” in Telephone Poles and Other Poems (Random House, 2013).

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Preceding articles:

Entrance of a king to question our position #1 Coming in the Name of the Lord

Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be

Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God

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Additional reading:

  1. The meek one riding on an ass
  2. The son of David and the first day of the feast of unleavened bread
  3. About a man who changed history of humankind
  4. Lord or Yahuwah, Yeshua or Yahushua
  5. Who was Jesus?
  6. On the Nature of Christ
  7. Jesus begotten Son of God #18 Believing in inhuman or human person
  8. Jesus is the Son of God but Not God the Son
  9. Yeshua a man with a special personality
  10. A man with an outstanding personality
  11. An unblemished and spotless lamb foreknown
  12. No Other Name (But Jesus)
  13. Servant of his Father
  14. Servant for the truth of God
  15. Slave for people and God
  16. Jesus spitting image of his father
  17. Reasons that Jesus was not God
  18. Jesus and his God
  19. The high calling of God in Christ Jesus
  20. Jesus Messiah
  21. Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
  22. How is it that Christ pleased God so perfectly?
  23. For the Will of Him who is greater than Jesus
  24. Wishing to do the will of God
  25. Imprisonment and execution of Jesus Christ
  26. A Messiah to die
  27. Jesus memorial
  28. No person has greater love than this one who surrendered his soul in behalf of his friends
  29. The redemption of man by Christ Jesus
  30. The day Jesus died
  31. An unblemished and spotless lamb foreknown
  32. The Song of The Lamb #5 Revelation 5
  33. Why do we need a ransom?
  34. Ransom for all
  35. A new exodus and offering of a Lamb
  36. 14 Nisan a day to remember #1 Inception
  37. 14 Nisan a day to remember #2 Time of Jesus
  38. 14 Nisan a day to remember #3 Before the Passover-feast
  39. 14 Nisan a day to remember #4 A Lamb slain
  40. 14 Nisan a day to remember #5 The Day to celebrate
  41. 14-15 Nisan and Easter
  42. Around the feast of Unleavened Bread
  43. A Holy week in remembrance of the Blood of life
  44. High Holidays not only for Israel
  45. Festival of Freedom and persecutions
  46. Death of Christ on the day of preparation
  47. Why did Jesus have to die on the cross?
  48. Swedish theologian finds historical proof Jesus did not die on a cross
  49. Impaled until death overtook him
  50. Jesus three days in hell
  51. Christ has indeed been raised from the dead
  52. Through Christ’s death you can be adopted as a child of God
  53. Jesus is risen
  54. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  55. Jesus begotten Son of God #11 Existence and Genesis Raising up
  56. Seeing Jesus
  57. Faith a commitment to the promises of Christ and to to the demands of Christ
  58. Jesus begotten Son of God #6 Anointed Son of God, Adam and Abraham
  59. Jesus begotten Son of God #19 Compromising fact
  60. One Mediator between God and man
  61. Ember and light the ransomed of Jehovah
  62. A fact of History or just a fancy Story
  63. The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ
  64. Only one God
  65. God of gods
  66. God is One
  67. The Trinity – true or false?
  68. The Trinity – the Truth
  69. True Hope
  70. Epitome of the one faith
  71. Restoration Scriptures True Name Edition Matthew Chapter 27
  72. Hebraic Roots Bible Matthew Chapter 28
  73. Hebraic Roots Bible Book of The Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2

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Related articles:

  1. Pre-Good Friday Rememberances
  2. The Festival Sabbaths and Preparation day
  3. Preparation day of Passover
  4. Weekly Torah Portion: Pesach (Passover) Week 1
  5. Passover, A seven-day festival
  6. The Passover Lamb
  7. Our Passover Lamb
  8. The Lamb of God
  9. He Says Concerning Himself “I am the Son of Elohim”
  10. Preparations for the Passover Meal – Luke 22: 7-13
  11. Passover and the Feast of First Fruits
  12. Passover Confusion?
  13. Jesus Christ, Our Passover
  14. Happy Passover!
  15. Passover and Good Friday are just hours away! – A Message from Bibles for Israel
  16. The Week With Two Sabbaths
  17. The Crucifixion Week
  18. Faith Without Obidience
  19. Easter Reflections: Betrayal, Trials, Denial, and Remorse
  20. Dave Hunt : Scripture reveals the answer Of .Crucifixion Week
  21. Tree of Jesus Life, the Suffering Christ, Passion Week
  22. Gospel according to Saint John – Chapter 19
  23. 10 proofs passover is a memorial
  24. Proof Jesus Died Just Before the Passover Feast in 33 AD
  25. The Day of Crucifixion and time of resurrection
  26. Easter
  27. The Empty Tomb
  28. The Passover Lamb has Gone Missing
  29. He is not here, He is risen, just as He said
  30. Happy Easter, He Is Risen!
  31. He Is Risen! – Matthew 28: 1-20
  32. He’s Risen! (Easter Sunday Reflections)
  33. Resurrection Sunday
  34. Easter scripture for today
  35. He Is Alive..
  36. Walk with Jesus: Matthew 27 He who overcame
  37. The Evolution of the Resurrection
  38. Oh Foolish People
  39. How long was Jesus in the grave?
  40. Solving the Three Day Three Night Mystery
  41. Yet Another Three Day Three Night Question
  42. Three Days Three Nights Follow Up

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  • Can you question the Resurrection and still be a Christian? (religionnews.com)
    Did Jesus literally rise from the dead in a bodily resurrection, as many traditionalist and conservative Christians believe? Or was his rising a symbolic one, a restoration of his spirit of love and compassion to the world, as members of some more liberal brands of Christianity hold?As Easter approaches, many Christians struggle with how to understand the Resurrection. How literally must one take the Gospel story of Jesus’ triumph to be called a Christian? Can one understand the Resurrection as a metaphor — perhaps not even believe it happened at all — and still claim to be a follower of Christ?
  • Resurrection – for ME? (aworldontheedge.com)
    Resurrection is defined in the dictionary as the act of causing something that had ended or been forgotten or lost to exist again, to be used again, etc.We come into this world innocent, and nothing can change that we’re made in the image and likeness of God. Part of each one of us is spiritual, like it or not. And it is that spirituality that draws us to God.
  • The Resurrection is Believable (burrissblog.wordpress.com)
    Opponents of Christianity and skeptical minds have always questioned the resurrection, just as they question many other teachings of Christianity. Such skeptics are more common in contemporary America, but they have always been around. What is surprising is that more and more Christians are stating their skepticism about the resurrection.
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    1. Something dramatic happened that changed the disciples from a hiding, defeated group to a group willing to die for their faith in Jesus. They were devastated when Jesus was killed. Did they just decide to reinterpret His death or did they see Him alive again?2. If Jesus’ dead body was in a tomb near Jerusalem, why didn’t His opponents simply bring out the dead body when His disciples started preaching that He was alive?
  • The Significance of the Resurrection (spyghana.com)
    The embalmed remains of Lenin lie in a crystal casket in a tomb in Red Square in Moscow. On the casket it says: “He was the greatest leader of all peoples, of all countries, of all times. He was the [savior] of the world!”All is in the past tense for Lenin. How forward-looking, by contrast, are the triumphant words of Christ: “I am He that [lives] . . . I am alive forevermore.”
    +
    What judge would listen to you in a court of law, if you said that while you were asleep your neighbor came into your house and stole your TV set? Who knows what goes on when he/she is asleep? A testimony like this would be ridiculed in a court of law. Besides, the guards would have lost their heads if they told the Roman governor, Pilate that they were asleep at their post and the disciples came and stole the body. Furthermore, we are faced with a psychological and ethical impossibility. Stealing the body of Jesus was something totally foreign to the disciples and all that we know of them. It would mean that they were perpetrators of a deliberate lie, which was responsible for the deception and the ultimate death of thousands of people.Each of the disciples faced the test of possible torture and martyrdom for his statements and beliefs. People will die for what they believe to be true, though it may actually be false. They do not, however, die for what they know is a lie. If anything is clear from the Gospels and the Book of Acts, it is that the apostles were sincere. They may have been deceived, if you like, but they were not deceivers. Hypocrites and martyrs are not made of the same stuff.
  • The Resurrection Of Jesus Christ Is The Greatest Single Event In Human History (fggam.org)
    Do you realize that Jesus never corrected, withdrew, or amended any statement He ever made? I wish I could say that! Jesus Christ never apologized for anything He ever did or said. Jesus Christ never sought advice from anyone, never had to ask for forgiveness. Jesus Christ doesn’t have any strong points. For Him to have strong points, He would have to have weak points.
  • Three Implications of the Empty Tomb (mainthings.wordpress.com)
    Paul says, if the King is risen and if the King is enthroned than nothing done for Him is meaningless. It is His triumph and not our fruitfulness that determines these realities.
  • Because of Easter, We Are Overcomers (chronicillnesspaindevotionals.wordpress.com)
    As I think about the power that God exerted to raise Christ from the dead, my human mind can’t fully comprehend what that entailed. But I do know that no other power is so great, and as a Christian, that power now lives in me.
  • The Resurrection of Jesus is not optional (gracedigest.com)
    Notice that there are three key parts to the gospel Paul preached. 1. Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. 2. He was buried. 3. He as was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. This is important! If you take away the resurrection component you have nothing! Try sitting on a stool with two legs! Just so, a gospel without the resurrection of Jesus is no gospel (good news) at all! Paul went to great lengths to assure his readers that indeed Christ did rise from death.
  • Is Jesus’ Resurrection the Best Explanation of the Evidence? (jkw00d.wordpress.com)
    1. Historical claims are strong when supported by multiple, independent sources.
    2. Historical claims which are also attested to by enemies are more likely to be authentic since enemies are unsympathetic, and often hostile, witnesses.
    3. Historical claims which include embarrassing admissions reflect honest reporting rather than creative storytelling.
    4. Historical claims are strong when supported by eyewitness testimony.
    5. Historical claims which are supported by early testimony are more reliable and less likely to be the result of legendary development.+
      Some skeptics argue that Jesus may have been crucified but He did not actually die. Instead, He lost consciousness (swooned) and merely appeared to be dead only to later be revived in the cool, damp tomb in which He was laid. After reviving He made His way out of the tomb and presented Himself to His disciples as the “resurrected” Messiah. Thus the Christian religion begins.
  • The Doctrine Without Which Holy Week Is Not Good News (derekzrishmawy.com)
    Unless I am united to Christ, all of his obedience to the covenant, or righteousness, is not mine–I am left to stand on my own false works before the judge of all the earth. Unless I am united with Christ, then his sin-bearing death is not mine, and I am left to give an account for all my wicked sins. Unless I am united with Christ, I am not part of the crop of which Christ is the first-fruits, and I can only reap the death that  sin leads to and have no life through the Spirit.