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.
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    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.
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    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

 

Shabbat Pesach service reading 2/2

The Intermediate Sabbath—Losing Heart in the Wilderness
English: panorama of a wadi in the negev deser...

Panorama of a wadi in the negev desert, israel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the Israelites were delivered from Egypt, they came through areas of wilderness on their way to the Promised Land.

Even though the Israelites entered into a covenant with God in the wilderness, and came to understand their identity as God’s treasured possession there, sometimes they responded to hardship and barrenness of the wilderness with discouragement.
In the wilderness, they also lost heart, lost hope, longed for Egypt, and grumbled, murmured and complained.
For that reason, all perished but two—Joshua and Caleb—who followed the Lord wholeheartedly and kept the faith.  The bodies of the other Israelites lay scattered across that vast wilderness.

 

Jeshua is Tempted in the Wilderness, by James Tissot

 

Even Jeshua spent time in the wilderness—perhaps the Judean or Negev Desert.  The Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) led him there to be tempted by the devil, the adversary of God.  (Matthew 4:1–11)
The Negev is not an easy place to live—even with air conditioning!
It is a land of snakes and scorpions; a place of great danger.  And yet, the wilderness is not a punishment, but a necessary stage in our spiritual journey.
It is often God who leads us into our wilderness experiences to humble us, to test us, to refine our faith, and to teach us perseverance and endurance.
If we come out of it alive, we do so “leaning on our beloved” instead of relying on our own strength or limited sufficiency.  (Song of Solomon 8:5)
The wilderness can be our spiritual university where we learn to trust in and depend upon the Lord, and only God knows how long that lesson will take.

 

Holding up the Torah for all to see at Jerusalem’s Western (Wailing) Wall.


For Believers, in the vast space between salvation and the resurrection lies the wilderness, a dry and thirsty land where water is scarce.  That is where we are sanctified.
Because it is so easy to lose heart in the wilderness—our sanctification process—our response to the trials and challenges will determine how well we make it through to the resurrection.
Discouragement during our wilderness is an especially powerful weapon of the enemy because of its enfeebling, demoralizing effect.  Hatred, jealousy, fear, and other negative states may cause us to act foolishly, to fight, or to run.  But at least we act.
Discouragement on the other hand, hurts us more than any of these.  It ultimately saps the energy right out of us, causing us to sit down, pity ourselves and do nothing.
Discouragement causes us to give in to the temptation of the enemy who whispers, “Just give up.”
Hopelessness is a very dangerous state of being.  In fact, Scripture tells us that “hope deferred makes the heart sick.”  (Proverbs 13:12)

 

Jewish men sort through a table full of prayer books at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.


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Additional reading:

  1. Israel God’s people
  2. Commemorating the escape from slavery
  3. On the first day for matzah
  4. Around the feast of Unleavened Bread
  5. High Holidays not only for Israel
  6. Suffering produces perseverance
  7. A new exodus and offering of a Lamb
  8. The redemption of man by Christ Jesus
  9. Atonement And Fellowship 6/8
  10. In what way were sacrifices “shadows”?
  11. The meek one riding on an ass
  12. A Messiah to die
  13. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  14. Festival of Freedom and persecutions
  15. 14-15 Nisan and Easter
  16. Getting out of the dark corners of this world

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Wadi in Nahal Paran, Negev, Israel.

Wadi in Nahal Paran, Negev, Israel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • The Message of First Importance: “Gosh” (lifeconnectionscounseling.org)
    Some people over the centuries have called this day “Good Friday” remembering when the best human that ever lived on this earth was murdered by humankind.
  • Holy Week, Passover, and Boldly Entering Jerusalem (thewidowsmiteyblog.wordpress.com)
    This time of year can be a bit busy for pastors, and I consider myself to be both Jewish and Unitarian Universalist, so this being both Passover and Holy Week, it’s been very busy.Of course, according to the Gospels, it was both Passover and Holy Week. Well, they weren’t calling it Holy Week back then. I mean, there was no Christianity yet – Jesus was an upstart Jewish leader who was making trouble. He had a bunch of followers, and they were all Jewish, too. But the events of Holy Week chronicle what they were doing around Passover. They were pretty busy, too. And Jesus was also tired.
  • The Lamb of God Who Takes Away the Sin of the World! (drmitchglaser.wordpress.com)
    Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts.This Messenger would purify the priests so they might once again offer sacrifices on behalf of the Jewish people.  As the prophet writes, Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.(Malachi 3:3)
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    The Lamb in Exodus 12 is a prophetic portrait of the One who would come and shed His blood for the sins of the world.

    The Lamb of Isaiah 53

    The prophet Isaiah develops the significance of the lamb as an atoning sacrifice.

    There are two key passages in Isaiah 53 which conjoin the idea of the Messiah with the Passover lamb…

  • Out Of The Wilderness-Shoshannah (christinmesite.wordpress.com)
    The wilderness experience is a time when you are hungry and thirsty for more of the Lord, you become dissatisfied with what the traditions and doctrines of men offer in the church, and you set out on a journey to seek the Lord and receive more of Him. You seek the solitude of Him alone.
    If your church and Pastor is hungry for more of the Lord, and He is actively seeking Him and being taught of Him, and preaching as the spirit gives utterance then you are in a good church, but there still should be a time of seeking Him alone.
  • Living in the Wilderness (bradfriedlein.wordpress.com)
    While part of a Rabbinical studies group last year, the Rabbi was talking about the Israelites and their relationship to the wilderness. And how the wilderness has greater meaning – like most things in the Jewish culture, than just being a place where they wondered for 40 years. For the Israelites, the wilderness is this place that symbolizes that time when you know where you’ve come from but you don’t know where you’re going. And it is in that place where you encounter God. It’s that place where God comes to you and reveals Himself to you in new ways.
  • A Wilderness Experience: Loving Prodigals, Release, & Rest
  • In the Wilderness: Words of Encouragement and Admonition
  • When Faith Falters: Relearning Rest
  • Sustenance for the Wilderness Journey
  • A Jew and an Atheist Host a Seder (opineseason.com)
    This past Monday evening, I had the honor of joining a good friend and his wife as they celebrated Pesach with their four year-old son. For those who don’t know, Pesach (Passover) is a holiday which celebrates the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery and their exodus from Egypt. The Seder is the ritual feast that marks the beginning of the seven day holiday.

    For this year’s Seder, my friends invited a living room full of mostly Gentiles (non-Jews) to share in their feast.

 

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Shabbat Pesach service reading 1/2

Because this Shabbat (Sabbath) falls during Chag HaMatzot (Feast of Unleavened Bread), a special reading is inserted into the regular Torah reading cycle.
This special portion will be read in synagogues around the world during the Shabbat Pesach (Saturday Passover) service.
On this weekend as many believers are also celebrating the resurrection of the Messiah, it is fitting to recall the physical redemption of the Jewish People from Egypt.  We know you will be blessed as you discover the Jewish roots of your faith in the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
Shabbat Chol HaMoed Pesach (The Intermediate Sabbath of Passover)
Exodus 33:12–34:26; Numbers 28:16–25; Ezekiel 37:1–14; Luke 24
Handmade shmura matzo used at the Passover Sed...

Handmade shmura matzo used at the Passover Seder especially for the mitzvot of eating matzo and afikoman. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread [Chag HaMatzot].  Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread [matzah], as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Aviv, for in the month Aviv you came out from Egypt.”  (Exodus 34:18)

An Orthodox Jewish boy eats a piece of matzah during Passover.

The Parsha (Scripture portion) for this Shabbat, which occurs in the middle of the Passover week, begins by describing the holy days of Pesach (Passover) and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Chag HaMatzot) which last seven days.
These two special events are most often blended into one and just called Passover, but there is a crucial difference between the two, which we will explore in today’s study.
During the Passover time frame, there are three distinct events that represent three unique spiritual states or conditions of the soul:
  1. Passover represents salvation: we are saved from the wrath of God by faith in the blood of the Passover Lamb.
Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”  (John 1:29)
Jeshua (Jesus) was slain on Passover as the perfect fulfilment of the lamb that saved the Israelites on the very first Passover:
“And when I see the blood I will pass over you.”  (Exodus 12:13)
  1. Unleavened bread, also called matzah or the bread of affliction, represents sanctification.
Matzah is flat because it is devoid of yeast (chametz), which represents wickedness, pride and that which causes us to be puffed up or to think more highly of ourselves than we ought.
“Your boasting is not good.  Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?  Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are.  For Messiah, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”  (1 Corinthians 5:6–7)

The matzah and wine of the ritual Pesach meal called a Seder (order).

Chametz is closely related to the Hebrew word chamutz, which means sour.  Yeast is a souring agent.  Likewise, sin causes bitterness in our soul.
“Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread [matzah] of sincerity and truth.”  (1 Corinthians 5:8)
 The week of unleavened bread, therefore, represents sanctification accomplished through affliction, trials and testing, and the purging of pride in order to teach us humility and obedience by the things we suffer in our wilderness experiences.
“And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.”  (Deuteronomy 8:2)

A tour group takes shelter from the sun under a lone acacia tree in Israel’s desert.

  1. First Fruits, also called Bikkurim in Hebrew, which occurs the day after the first day of Unleavened Bread (although there is some disagreement as to the timing), represents resurrection.Just as the barley is offered up to the Lord as the first crop after winter, so Jeshua was also raised from the dead on the Feast of Firstfruits.
“But now the Messiah is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”  (1 Corinthians 15:20)
 From these distinct elements within Passover, we can understand that between the events of salvation and resurrection is a process of sanctification.

 

Passover Unleavened Bread First Fruits
SalvationSanctificationResurrection

A crop of barley in Israel

 

  • The Beauty of Pesach (Passover) (guardmyheart423.wordpress.com)
    Most people, if you know the Bible, know that Passover comes from the account of the Children of Israel’s deliverance from slavery in ancient Egypt. Over 400 years of tears and sweat and blood and agony…Finally, HaShem sends a deliverer – Moshe. Speaks to him through a bush on fire that was not consumed and sends 10 plagues upon the land until Pharoah finally lets up and sends them away, practically.
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    Our striped, bruised, pierced, and broken matzah (Yeshua) was raised from the dead, conquering death and hasatan (the deceiver) for good!
    We patiently await His return and follow in His footsteps and keep the Feast in all diligence and in His memory. (1 Cor.5:6-8; Luke 22:19; 1 Cor.11:24-25)
  • Chag Pesach Kasher v’Sameach : חַג כָשֵׁר וְשָׂמֵחַ (jewsdownunder.wordpress.com)
    the lessons derived from the Egyptian slavery and the resulting redemption provide a powerful base for Jewish faith and ethics. The journey initiated during Pesach, that of a nation of slaves racing towards freedom, reaches its climax with the festival of Shavuot, without a rendezvous with God at Mt. Sinai. Here the Jews’ new-found freedom finds its purpose.
  • G-dfearers Participation In Shabbat, And Pesach According To Toby Janicki (paradoxparables.justparadox.com)
    Here are some quotes from Toby Janicki author if the book Godfearers and staff writer for First Fruits if Zion regarding Gentile observance of Shabbat and Pesach in the Apostolic Community.
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    “Our Master Yeshua chose the wine and the matzah of a Passover Seder to represent his body and blood. More than just learning about and celebrating the concept of freedom from oppression and exile, for disciples of Messiah, the seder celebrates Yeshua’s atoning death and resurrection while remaining firmly grounded and centered on God’s deliverance of the Jewish people from Egypt.” Toby Janicki
  • Let my people go! – Pesach (Passover)/ The Feast of Unleavened Bread (chandlerozconsultants.wordpress.com) >Let my people go, that they may serve me
    ‘Pesach’, usually called ‘The Passover’ in English, is the greatest of the Judaic festivals and the oldest in the Jewish calendar. Like the Christian Easter, it varies in date from year to year, occurring in the Spring and lasting for seven or eight days, not all of which are taken as holidays.
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    The festival remains essentially a family gathering for remembrance and rejoicing in freedom. In Jewish tradition the festival is known as ‘The Season of Release’, the central theme of which can be interpreted on three levels.
  • Passover 2014: the Jewish festival explained (independent.co.uk)
    As sundown on Monday evening marks the beginning of Passover, we answer some frequently asked questions on one of the most important festivals in the Jewish year.
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    To commence a week of complex dietary restrictions, family and friends gather for the Seder meal served on a special ceremonial dish. Eaten in a symbolic, the dinner includes a lamb bone, a roasted egg, a green vegetable to dip in salt water, bitter herbs made from horseradish and a paste made of chopped apples, walnuts and wine called Charoset.
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    Moshiach’s Feast, beginning before sunset and continuing until after nightfall, concludes the festival. The meal anticipates the arrival of the Messiah, stared on the first day of Passover when a glass of wine is left out for Elijah.
  • A Symbolic look at Pesach (Passover) (bibleanswergirl.wordpress.com)
    Many people read the Old Testament (Tanakh) and do not read the New Testament (B’rit Hadashah). Conversely, there are a large number of people who read the New Testament and neglect to read the Old Testament. In order to properly understand God’s Holy Scriptures we must read and study both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
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    The Matzah is symbolic of the manna the Israelites ate in the wilderness. It also symbolizes Jesus.

    John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

    Jesus was born in Bethlehem, which means House of Bread and He was buried on the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

  • Unleavened bread (propheticsteps.com)
    The feasts of the Lord are of great significance. Their historical importance for the Jewish people and the church should not be overlooked. The most discussed and well-known are the feasts of Passover and Pentecost, for good reason. The other feasts are just as important.
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    The difference between bread and crackers, really, is leaven, yeast, hot air. Are we puffed up by our leaven? Has our sin transformed us into something we were never meant to be? That is what sin does, it turns us into something far different from what God would have us be.
  • Donut Versus Matzah: A Passover Lesson On Arrogance (kissmymezuza.wordpress.com)
    On Passover we don’t eat chametz (leavened bread products). They symbolize arrogance. Arrogance is something that doesn’t last. For example, if we left a donut (chametz) around for a couple of months it would grow mold and rot.

    Chocolate donut

    Chocolate donut (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Matzah represents humility. Humility is a lasting trait. If we leave matzah around for a couple of months, it’s still good. A humble person endures.

  • Passover 2014: Date, History, Traditions (latinopost.com)
    Jewish people everywhere are saying goodbye to bread, because Passover begins tonight, Monday, April 14, at sundown. The eight-day holiday, which is one of the biggest holidays in the Jewish calendar, ends on Tuesday, April 22.The holiday is always celebrated in early spring, from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew months of Nissan. The holiday commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, and celebrates the freedom that the Jewish people now enjoy.
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    Seders are only held on the first two nights of Passover. During the rest of the holiday, chametz, or leavened products, are not eaten until the holiday comes to an end.
  • Timely Growth (belgianbiblestudents.wordpress.com)
    Serious lovers of God and Biblestudents do want to live according to the Law of God and are grateful that they may remember one of the most important happenings in the history of Israel, the People of God, and the liberation of the whole world by the instalment of the New Covenant.
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