September 28, 2010

The Mighty Resurrection

The Sepulchre
Dan Burr
I do not just read Christian source material as I would pigeon-hole myself when doing apologetics. I make an honest attempt to keep myself abreast of all the diversified and sometimes unique (in a bad way) blasphemies and irreverence that adorn the atheist and agnostic blogs that I have bookmarked. I often frequent these sites along with comparative religions to gauge where I stand with the unbelieving world. The internal inconsistencies in many of the dissenting arguments are so apparent as to be obvious and it surprises me that they do not recognize the inconsistencies in their arguments. I must say that I have just returned from one of these forays and after such a foray I become rather indignant and annoyed with blissful ignorance passed off as intellectuality or supposedly educated people of "higher education" pretending to be the enlightened elite.

Romans 1:12
"Claiming to be wise, they became fools..."

1 Corinthians 1:20-21
"Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe."

Their arguments are often ungrounded, fallacious and absurd and they have the gall to bash other's beliefs when theirs are clearly illogical or internally inconsistent. Also, after these forays into "I-Hate-Christians Land" I usually like to reground and reroot in the Scripture.

So lets go reground shall we? (**and my subconscious responds: "Why yes Andy, let's do so!"**)

Lets talk about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and elaborate on its importance to the Christian faith and the individual Christian. The Resurrection is the linchpin in Christianity. Besides, I feel like talking about it on days other than just Easter since it helps me keep things in perspective. Pain, suffering, purpose, glory, Jesus, Yeahhhh!!!!! The Resurrection is important all year round as it is a shadow of what is to come for all believers.

1 Corinthians 15:12-19
"Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied."

Pitied because we have believed a lie and are believing a lie. People led astray due to deception are to be the most pitied and forlorn.

But as Christians we know that it is not a lie as all evidences both Biblical and Historical point to Christ being the First Fruit of the Resurrection. The act of the Resurrection itself was the affirmation of the Father's acceptance of the Son's work on the cross. This Resurrection of Christ is imperative to God's plan of redemption. It fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament. Of specific importance is Christ's statements about Himself: That not only would He be put to death but He also knew of His own Resurrection.

Matthew 16:21
"From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life."

Matthew 16:17
"Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven."

Matthew 16:22-23
"Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you! Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

Matthew 20:19
"and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!"

Mark 8:31
He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.

Mark 9:31
"...because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise."

Mark 10:34
"who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise."

...and the list continues.

The Empty Tomb

Either Christ was Resurrected or someone stole the body. If someone took the body why was the body not produced later. Disciples couldn't have done it because the tomb was being guarded by Roman soldiers and the tomb had been sealed.

John 20:6-8
"And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed"

The interesting things about the passage of John 20:7 is the statement about the shape of the linen wrappings indicated to John that the Lord had risen. The wrappings were still in the shape of the head or in a "rolled up or a wrapped" condition judging by the word in the verse rolled-[ἐντυλίσσω/ἐντετυλιγμένον] or entulisso/entetuligmenon: the implication is that it was in the shape it would've been on his head not "folded" as other translations in other English versions. Rolled as in circular/ a mummy or like you would wrap your knee with an Ace bandage. It had retained its general shape albeit flattened and absent a head (Christ's). The position that the linen would've been in would've been rather difficult to mimic. It is quite evident what had happened, the body of the Lord Jesus Christ has passed through the wrapping. The linen then collapsed in on itself and retained a cylindrically wrapped or "rolled". How have I drawn this conclusion? This word is only used in two other places in the New Testament, Matthew 27:59 and Luke 23:53 and it also refers to Christ and the actual wrapping of his body by Joseph of Arimathea. The implication it is the same shape and the same form.

The Resurrection appearances annihilate any opposition to the Resurrection story. He was seen by many in the days (40) and weeks afterwards. Including women, the two on the road to Emmaus, Peter and the twelve disciples, 500 believers at one time, etc. The large crowds of witnesses add extra voracity to the eyewitness accounts as these accounts of many people seeing Him could not be attributed to hysteria or psychosis unless it was mass hysteria. There were clearly enemies of Christ or doubters converted and beleived so this is highly unlikely.

We then see the transformed disciples that were willing to die for what they believed they had witnessed. Had they made up this story of Christ's resurrection, telling it would've been one thing but to die for a deception of their own making is counter-intuitive and highly unlikely. When they saw Him they were completely changed. This is especially evident in Peter. He goes from bumbling, happy-go-lucky Peter who was relatively thick-headed to steadfast and sure of Himself (he shows pronounced conviction as opposed to unsureness and oscillating in his beliefs as when Christ was still alive).

As Jews they had observed the day of the Lord on the first day of the week as opposed to the Sabbath. This is profound as it is a complete change in mindset ingrained through centuries of tradition.

Christ was raised by the power of the Father.

Ephesians 1:19-20
"...and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms..."

But also had the power to raise Himself.

John 10:18
"No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."

The Holy Spirit was also involved in the Resurrection.

Romans 8:11
"And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you."

This is either a reference to the Holy Spirit or God the Father.

All this information taken together by anyone with half a melon (brain) and lick of sense can see something amazing happened around the time of Jesus' death even if they didn't have the Bible or had one and refused to read it. But if we do take this information in combination with the historical evidences and eyewitness accounts in the Bible, it is almost undeniable. Yet God-haters persist in their vain attempts to deify themselves in place of the god they do not believe in. Some even deny Christ ever existed. It is sad. They really do believe they are intelligent yet they are deceiving themselves and accepting the accolades of the like-minded vainly conceited clones to bolster their manufactured reality. They same thing that claim Christians do with God and fellow-believers. So I guess we could say their intelligence and pursuit of the idols of intelligentsia are their God?

Burr, Dan . The Sepulchre. 2009. NA, NA. Dan Burr Illustration. Web. 28 Sept. 2010. Painting

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