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The Resurrection of the Dead
By Ken Raggio
I cannot think of a more enticing discussion. Can the dead be raised? History shows they can be. Jesus showed that fact clearer than anyone who ever lived. After raising several people from the dead during his lifetime, He personally returned from the dead after three days.
Let's talk about it.
"But now is Christ risen from the dead,
Here is a subject that is both controversial and enigmatic. Will dead men really live again?
"But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
With those words, Paul sets forth his own firm belief that Jesus is in very fact alive from the dead. Our eternal hope, and our ultimate motivation for living for God today rests in those statements.
"Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again" (John 10-17-18).
Ordinary men have no power with death.
"It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:" (Hebrews 9:27).
If death of the body meant annihilation, then there could be no judgment afterward.
"And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:" Job 19:26.
This clearly suggests that Job expected his dead body to revive and appear before the presence of God.
The Pharisees, already open minded to the notion of angels, demons, and spirits, heard Him out more readily.
Historians say that Paul's mentor, Gamaliel, a Pharisee, and member of the Sanhedrin, suggested in his day that the rise of the Christian movement was God's doing. It is doubtful whether Gamaliel could have believed Christianity was God's doings if Jesus had been lying dead in the tomb. That would have meant the death of Christianity. Jesus' resurrection was a profound factor in the public acceptance of the gospel message.
"After more than 700 hours of studying this subject, I have come to the conclusion that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is either one of the most wicked, vicious, heartless hoaxes ever foisted on the minds of human beings--or it is the most remarkable fact of history."
Paul gave this account in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures."
1. The authors of the four gospels. They were either present to see His death, or were personally acquainted with eyewitnesses.
"And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth."
"For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption" (Psalm 16:10).
Peter linked David's prophecy to Jesus' in Acts 2:30-32:
"Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
It is impossible to comprehend the potential of a miraculous resurrection.
Lazarus' blood turned moist, and his heart began to pump it through his veins. His lungs inhaled and exhaled again. His brain lit up. His eyes opened, his ears heard the voice of Jesus, and his legs and arms lifted him up and carried him out of the tomb.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
Jesus' own resurrection outshined all the previous miracles he had done. Never before or since has a man precipitated his own resuscitation from beyond the grave. With no other man's assistance or participation, Jesus walked back into the material world. We have the Bible record.
Oxford University history professor Thomas Arnold, author of History of Rome, said,
"I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God hath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead."
Jesus' resurrection is the guarantee of the Christian's victory.
"I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."
Then he continued,
"But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished" (verse 5).
In verse six, John defines the SECOND resurrection, and explains that since all the SAINTS were in the FIRST resurrection, only SINNERS would be in the SECOND resurrection a thousand years later.
Saints will rise in the first resurrection
"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:" (Romans 6:4-5)
Paul taught that the seed sown would come up in a new form.
Jesus' first appearance was to the women. He instructed them not to touch Him for He had not yet been glorified. Later, He challenged Thomas to thrust his hands into His sides.
Water baptism illustrates this principle profoundly. It is one of the agencies of new birth. It plays a catalytic role in transforming the believer from a death-doomed mortal, to an everlasting immortal. It is truly a miraculous transformation as Jesus taught.
Many believers fail to grasp the pivotal role of water baptism in the new birth. Jesus' instructions to Nicodemus were explicit:
"Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit," (John 3:5,6).
The emphasis in these words is that a BIRTH takes place both in the water and in the Spirit.
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost," (Acts 2:38).
He understood the typology of burying the old man. Through burial in the name of Jesus' (following repentance) we are prepared for resurrection to the newness of life in the Holy Spirit. Water baptism is a necessary step in the new birth. Water baptism is the burial of the old man, which leads to the resurrection of a new creature, born of the Holy Spirit
There is an actual birthing that takes place IN THE WATER. Something is created, born in the water. Just as a baby's birth involves two distinct processes, so does the new birth.
Jesus was clear to tell Nicodemus that the new birth consisted of two elements: 1. Water birth, and 2. Spirit birth. You have to be born of the water - that is why water baptism is essential. You have to be born of the Spirit - that is why spirit baptism is essential. The combination of water and Spirit constitutes a complete baptism. One Lord, one faith, one baptism.
"And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body."
Verse 40 continues, "There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another."
The dead in Christ will be raised from the tombs, but they will not be raised corruptible. They will be changed in a moment, the twinkling of an eye. Meanwhile, the saints, which are alive and remain will not be required to die. Our mortal bodies will instantly be changed to immortal bodies. (I Corinthians 15:53-55).
"And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."
That yearning is depicted again in 2 Corinthians 5:2,
"For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:"
The resurrection is a miraculous transformation
"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Our spirit, which returns to God when we die, will be REJOINED with our resurrected body so that we may walk and talk with one another ON THIS EARTH for 1000 years with Jesus Christ and all the saints. If we are still alive at the time of the resurrection, our mortal bodies will be instantly changed to immortal without our ever tasting death.
The shout of victory
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
Jesus Christ is the key to our victory
Jesus taught that life does not consist in the abundance of the things which a man possesses. (Luke 12:15). He taught against laying up treasure on earth. Rather, we should set our affections on things above. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
"That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead." (Philippians 3:10,11).
"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:4).
"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"
Eyewitnesses Of The Resurrection:
Jesus' resurrection from the dead is no myth.
It is one of the most reliably corroborated facts in ancient history.
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