"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

GETTING REAL ABOUT THE RESURRECTION

~ ~ by James Fire


Looking at a chart known mostly as “the harmony of the Gospels” we see that in the four Gospel accounts, there are different events recorded; they don’t all record the same things for the most part. There are however, a few incidences that all four Gospel accounts do record. Such as the early Galilean ministry, the feeding of the five thousands, the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the declaration of Judas as the betrayer, the agony at Gethsemane, and the other major events that take place immediately thereafter in what’s known as ‘the passion week’.

Then of course there are the accounts of the crucifixion, the burial and the RESURRECTION! Here are all four accounts specifically of the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
Matthew 28: 1 – 14; Mark 16: 1 – 14; Luke 24: 1 – 32; and John 20: 1 – 31.
~*Are these four different versions of the Resurrection account, or four different aspects of the same account? As in any event when there are multiple witnesses, each witness may bring out different details, but if their testimony is real and accurate, the details will never contradict the overview of the entire event, and no two accounts are precisely the same (that would intimate collusion).

So likewise with the four Gospel accounts recorded in these four books; each presents certain details that the others either expand upon, or simply verify, minimize or even leave out altogether. Yet here are four voices, four different accounts that lend credence to this Blessed Event, along with a tomb that is quite vacated, all of which proclaims that, “HE IS RISEN!”

UPDATE: 4/14/12 The Proof and Power of the Resurrection by Eric Barger in his TAKE A STAND ministries Radio program, presented here in archived information.
~ ~ end of UPDATE

Dr. C.I. Scofield has developed a kind of ‘harmony of the resurrection’ in a time line which utilizes all four Gospel accounts in the notes recorded in the study Bible that bears his name:

1) Mark 16: 2-3 – Early morning, three women come to the tomb of Jesus to anoint His body, but they wondered who would roll the stone away for them.
NOTE: In your desire to serve Jesus, the Risen LORD, as these lady saints sought to serve Jesus, the sleeping LORD, resting in His grave any obstacle that stands in your way will surely be moved by the hand of God.

2) Mark 16:1; Luke 24:10 – These three women are named: Mary Magdalene (who was delivered from demons by Jesus), Mary the mother of James and John (the apostles), and Salome. These three were followed by other women who came to the garden tomb later (Luke 23:55-24:1).
3) Matt. 28:2 – These women discover that the stone is ALREADY rolled away – not to let Jesus out, but to let these women in, and witness the truth that He is RISEN and already left the empty tomb!

4) John 20:2-4 – Mary Magdalene runs off to go tell Peter and John.

5) Matt. 28: 1-8 – The other women at the tomb enter the area, see the angel who rolled back the stone (a very huge and heavy object!) and then sat on top of it! The Roman guards sent by the Sanhedrin to keep the body of Jesus from being stolen by His disciples in some sort of ‘resurrection hoax’ are paralyzed with fear – but Jesus is already gone! The angel declares that Jesus is alive, presents the empty tomb to them, and in fear and great joy they also race off to go tell the disciples!

6) John 20: 4-10 – A bit later, Peter and John show up at the tomb and inspect inside. NOTE: The linen clothes are still all there, but the ‘head wrap’ is folded neatly and apart from the other linens. This shows that the body of Jesus was not stolen, or stolen in haste. No robber would waste time folding linen with Roman guards posted outside with order to protect the dead body of Jesus with their lives! Peter and Jon then leave, but John leaves there with the belief that JESUS IS RISEN (John 20:8)!

7) John 20: 11-18 – Now Mary Magdalene returns to the tomb, and is weeping; yet Jesus is revealed to her! NOTE: Before Jesus reveals His presence, Mary looks into the tomb and sees two other angels sitting at the head and at the foot of the stone slab where the body of Jesus had previously been laid down – is this a ‘type’ of the ark of the covenant or is the ark of the covenant a type in foreshadowing this Blessed Event! I believe the latter is true!
Mary supposes Jesus to be the gardener and doesn’t recognize Him, that is, until He speaks her name; John 10: 2 – 4.

8) Matt. 28: 9 – 10 – These other women who ran from the tomb are on their way to tell the disciples the good news when Jesus appears to them! NOTE: in verse 10, the LORD Jesus tells the women “Go tell my brothers I’ll meet them in Galilee.” He doesn’t call them servants at this point, or even friends (John 15:15) but brothers!

Since sin is now paid for by the blood of Jesus, since sin and death are defeated by the RESURRECTION of JESUS CHRIST, the Way is now open for souls to become part of God’s eternal family! John 1: 12 – 13.

The LORD Jesus Christ appears on TEN DIFFERENT OCCASIONS during His last forty days after His resurrection and before His ascension into heaven. See Acts 1: 1 – 3 and take note of the phrase “many infallible proofs” in regards to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

1) To Mary Magdalene;
2) The other women . . . as previously mentioned above.
3) Luke 24:34 – Jesus appears privately to Simon (Simeon) Peter.
4) Mark 16: 12; Luke 24: 13 – 32 – Two disciples on the road to Emmaeus encounter the living Christ.
5) Mark 16: 14; Luke 24: 36 – 43; John 20: 19 – 25 – Jesus appears to His eleven disciples, but minus Thomas (so really ten).
6) John 20: 26-31; 1 Cor. 15:5 – Jesus appears to His eleven, but this time Thomas is with them, and note what Thomas declares on vs. 28: “My Lord and my God”! A plain declaration to the deity of Jesus Christ!
7) The Risen LORD and Savior also appears to seven of His eleven disciples by the sea of Galilee in John chapter 21.
8) Matt. 28: 16-20; Mark 16: 15-18; 1 Cor. 15:6 – Jesus again appears to His apostles as well as to five hundred people all at once!
9) 1 Cor. 15:7 – He appears to the son of Joseph and Mary (the mother of Jesus): James, the half brother of Jesus our LORD.
10) Mark 16: 19-20; Luke 24: 44-53 and Acts 1: 4-11.

DOES GOD POSSESS TWO DIFFERENT KINGDOMS?

Jesus is the Christ; and ‘Christ’ in the Hebrew language is what? “Messiah”, right? Now, the Messiah according to all the Old Testament prophecies and revelation from the Old Testament prophets and books is the King and ruler of Israel (We’ll be getting more into the kingdom of Israel, covenants God made with Abraham and David and why Israel is important to biblical Christians in another article (and a sermon to be delivered online sometime, LORD permitting)).

The apostles had great hopes of the restoration of the kingdom to Israel and the reign of the MESSIAH, the Son of David who is JESUS of Nazareth, but One who was born in Bethlehem, the birthplace of David, according to a prophecy in Micah.

Yet when Jesus died on the cross, these hopes were destroyed in the minds of the apostles and turned to ashes and dust. However, HE ROSE from the dead!

In Acts 1:3, Jesus spoke of “the kingdom of God” and in verse 6 the apostles asked if the Messiah Jesus would now “restore the kingdom to Israel” now that He has RISEN from the dead. Are they the same thing, or something different? And if different, are they both legitimate or has one of these kingdoms become obsolete?

Jesus did NOT say, “That’s all over with now; now we have the church instead.”

We must remember that the nation and kingdom of Israel and the church are two entirely different things. Both are important and part of God’s plan – just different parts of His overall plan for the ages.

Jesus said, “That’s for the Father to know, not you” in verse 7.

So when will the kingdom be restored to Israel?

Acts 1: 10 – 11




And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven
.


When Jesus returns and touches down on the Mount of Olives, right where He left and ascended into heaven, and His physical return to planet Earth occurs, this will precede the restoration of the kingdom to Israel.

Yet this event of Jesus touching down on the Mount of Olives takes place only AFTER the battle of Armageddon where Satan, the Beast and the armies of the world attack Jesus who arrives from the clouds (2 Thess. 1:7-9; Psalm 2) and He takes them all out (Satan is bound and cast into the abyss; the Beast and the False Prophet go immediately into the Lake of Fire or Gehenna).

Armageddon takes place AT THE END of the Seven Year period known as Daniel’s 70th week, the time of Jacob’s Trouble, or more commonly (though somewhat inaccurately) as the Great Tribulation period. During these seven years the Beast rules the world as absolute ruler.

The 70th week of Daniel (the Great Tribulation) BEGINS only after the church is raptured, taken out of this world – those members of the true church that are among the living as well as the dead (1 Thess. 4:16-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-56) – and we finally meet our precious LORD and SAVIOR face to Face!

But once all this is done with, that’s when the Messiah Jesus will rebuild the Kingdom of Israel (This will be covered in the previously mentioned article/sermon) . . . and this chain of events commences like falling domino’s once the rapture takes place – and when does the rapture happen? We don’t know the day, only that it takes place prior to Daniel’s 70th week.

Since the Resurrection and Ascension of the LORD Jesus Christ, the church has been busy about seeking first the kingdom of God, and by the Gospel, preaching salvation through Jesus Christ, seeing people “added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

The REALITY of the RESURRECTION –

Skeptics have certain objections about the resurrections, objections that are unfounded when confronted by the facts (Here are three of the most popular objections):

They say:

1) Jesus didn’t really die – on the cross; He just fainted, and was taken down off the cross, laid in the tomb, revived in the cool temperatures and fought passed trained Roman soldiers after budging a two-ton stone! This was after Jesus was severely dehydrated, beaten, whipped with a cat-o’-nine tails that was known to so shred a person’s tissues that they would be disemboweled, and then nailed to the cross where His wrists and ankles would be rendered useless due to the thick nails that they were pierced with.
Skeptics rightly state that dead bodies don’t bleed, and they claim Jesus did not die because of the following observation made by John the apostle:

John 19: 33-35

But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:
But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
And he that saw it bare record and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe
.


People who died by crucifixion ended up dying either by suffocation or some form of cardiac arrest. The fact that clear fluid or “water” (plasma) and “blood” (blood cells called placates) flowed from the spear wound shows that the plasma filled the cardial cavity in the chest, which happens when the body is under severe distress and extreme constriction.

See the following article on this subject:

A Physician Analyzes The Crucifixion


2) Jesus’ body was stolen by His disciples. It’s claimed that the resurrection was a hoax perpetrated by His followers, and that they disposed of the body somehow, which would make them accomplices in a deceitful plot and bold face liars.

Matthew 27: 62 – 66

Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,
Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.
So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch
.


This “watch” which Pilate provided for the Sanhedrin comprised of a unit of Roman soldiers, numbering somewhere between four and sixteen men; being Roman soldiers they were professionally trained, well skilled in weapons and some of the most formidable warriors of all time.

It’s been said that a single Roman soldier, with competent skill of a machira (a short sword, roughly two feet in length, with a double edged blade) could defend himself against four opponents and more often than not defeat them!

From the web site “Life of Jesus.org” we have the following (The Jesus Tomb Page):

1. The Roman soldiers were under strict orders and their being asleep would mean their death, so it was impossible for them to take that liberty to fall asleep.

2. There were at least 4 Roman soldiers, and if it was a regular Roman watch, like in Acts 12:4, they were changed every 3 hours, so the possibility of all 4 getting asleep at one time is below zero.

3. A cord was stretched across the stone and an official seal with clay was fastened at each end, so it could be detected if the grave was opened.

4. The disciples themselves, who were grieving and were afraid of what would happen next, when they saw the empty tomb of Jesus and Him resurrected after that, they became so bold, that they did not anymore fear about their lives [though they were tortured and threatened with death, and even martyred – they never recanted their proclamation that Jesus has risen indeed from the dead!]. Had they stolen the body, their "faith" would not stand the test of being able and more than ready to give their life for a cause they knew was a fraud. It had to be for real!

3) Jesus didn’t really physically rise from the dead – He was a hallucination, His followers suffered delusions or at best He was raised up but only as a spirit without a body.

No two people share the same hallucination, yet multiple witnesses from two to five hundred people saw Him at once. Mass hysteria? He was also seen by single witnesses such as Mary Magdalene, Peter and James.

Any suffering from a psychological disorder of delusions end up deteriorating until a complete mental breakdown occurs if such delusions persist. Yet Jesus appeared to His followers for 40 days and these witnesses proceeded boldly with joy to proclaim fearlessly of the risen LORD!


Luke 24: 36 – 43 –

36 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.
41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?
42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.
43 And he took it, and did eat before them.


1 John 1:1 – 3 –

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ
.

Here is an article FROM The MIND of FIRE that I think would be appropriate right now, entitled The Shortest, Longest Line

Excellent books that address the issue of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ:

The Resurrection Factor – by Josh McDowell
The Case for the Resurrection – Lee Strobel
Who Moved the Stone – Frank Morrison
The Resurrection Debate – Gary Habermas/ Antony Flew


Because our precious LORD and SAVIOR has RISEN FROM THE DEAD, ALIVE FOREVER MORE, we have the steadfast hope and assurance that our sins are forgiven, and paid for; and also that eternal life is ours through the LAMB of GOD Who was slain. And such eternal life that we will share with our Abba Father and our LORD Jesus Christ “world without end”! HALLELUJAH!


Romans 6: 8 - 10

8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.


Hebrews 9: 24 - 28

24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.


1 Peter 3: 18

18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:


1 Corinthians 15: 20 - 21

20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead
.


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