The Resurrection of Christ was the plan of God from the beginning. See 1 Peter 1:18-21 (KJV):
18 Forasmuch as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
The redemption of mankind was foreordained from before the beginning of the world, and it was such a perfect plan nothing can rival it. All these vain conversations and traditions passed down from those who have gone before will not redeem us. It doesn’t matter how pious those traditions are, or how religious they sound and feel. All the gold and material wealth in the world will not redeem us.
God would determine the future of the world before He created the first day. Then He would manifest His perfect redemption plan in what we would learn are the “last times”…or the last days, the acharit-hayamim.
This plan, God’s plan, has very little to do with us, and everything to do with Him. He would determine to create a finite being and place it in a perfect creation of a world. But knowing the limitations of humanity, He would know our finite minds cannot properly understand the unfathomable mind of God. We will struggle to understand immortality while clothed in mortality. We will struggle to comprehend His omniscience with our limited minds. And He would take the limitations of time, the limitations of flesh, the limitations of mortality, and He would sculpt a plan to reveal Himself through those limitations.
I think when we make the redemption of humanity about humanity, we miss the real point. Redemption is about our Redeemer.
I love to study prophecy because it has a way of unfolding the mysteries of God and revealing His heart in the plans He makes. A great secret of God, one of His confounding mysteries, is He has used the base things to invalidate the accepted protocols. He has constantly selected people and circumstances of great unlikeliness for promotion. This seems counter-intuitive for a Sovereign Creator, and yet we’ll find this is one of His methods.
When Adam sinned in the garden and all of Creation slipped into the fallen state, why did God wait four thousand years to bring a Redeemer? Because it’s not so much about the fallen as it is about the rescuer.
Romans 5:6 tells us that at just the right time, or in due time, Christ died for the ungodly. And that word ungodly means “irreverent, wicked or impious”. But what is just the right time?
I think it’s after four millennia of human failures. I think it’s when the track record of humanity has shown enough times that for every step we take forward, we fall back two. I think it’s a history fraught with grievous atrocities and cycles of successes that lead to pride that lead to failures that lead to destruction, repeat ad nauseam. All the human kings have come and gone; some have failed and some have succeeded. Nations have risen and fallen. Cultures and societies have flourished and withered. Death still befalls the greatest and the least. Sickness and disease and sin and corruption and failure have racked the human race.
But God has a timetable. And God calls the times from Christ forward: the acharit-hayamim – the end times, the last days. At the right time, in due time, Christ entered and died for the irreverent. But he didn’t just die; he was murdered, sacrificed as a ransom. A ransom for what? The ungodly. The irreverent.
But it’s Christ’s resurrection we want to focus on here. This is the most pivotal thing that separates him from every other religious figurehead. No one else has raised from the dead.
Resurrection comes from the Greek word “anastasis” which literally means “a standing up again”, and breaks down to mean a resurrection from death, and even “recovery”.
Interestingly, the first time resurrection is used is when Simeon is prophesying over the child Jesus to his mother, Mary, and he says, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against…” What’s translated “rising again” is the same word for resurrection.
Jesus explained a coming resurrection of mankind like this, in John 5:26-29:
For as the Father has life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself; and has given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
We learn here there is a resurrection of anyone who has died, but the outcome of that resurrection is determined by the actions of that life.
When Lazarus died and Jesus came to the house, Martha referenced this resurrection for Lazarus and Jesus replied (John 11:25-26): “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:And whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die.”
We learn here Christ IS the resurrection.
When the Sadducees questioned (in an attempt to trap) Jesus about the resurrection, (Luke 20:34-38) he responded:
And Jesus answering said to them, “The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: but they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed[that the dead are raised]at the bush, when he called the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.”
We learn here that there is another world to come, and those worthy of resurrection into that world will have an incorruptible body (like the angels, and unable to die again), and their roles will no longer be of procreation of their kind, but exclusively as children of God. These are revelational thoughts at this point. The Sadducees didn’t even believe in a resurrection of the dead, and now they’re learning not only is there one, but that our roles change in that new world. We go from mortal to immortal, and we no longer regenerate the human race.
If that wasn’t enough to try to absorb, Christ goes on to explain that God spoke to Moses about the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) as though they were alive at that time – even though (physically) dead. Christ reiterates this concept by saying God is not a god of the dead, but of the living. This is never taught in western church, but the words of Christ are explicit here. I’ve taken them back to the original meanings, and Christ is saying that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were living (in the presence of God) at the time of Moses, six hundred plus years later. [But don’t take my word for it. Look it up, study it, seek the Holy Spirit for wisdom and revelation.]
It’s worded like this in Matt 22:29-33:
Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”
Christ was here on the earth for a purpose foreordained from before the foundations of the earth. He tried to explain it to his disciples, but they could not understand. [Luke 18:31-34 NASU – also in Mark 10:32-34]:
Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. For He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again.” But the disciples understood none of these things, and the meaning of this statement was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said.
These are the only recorded times Christ spoke of a resurrection. And then we have the third day. Notice what the Scriptures record, (John 20:6-9, NKJV):
Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.
So even at this point, Christ’s own disciples did not understand the Resurrection. When did they really comprehend it? There are fifty days from the Passover until Pentecost. In those fifty days, Christ appeared to His disciples and others, and instructed them to wait for a baptism of the Holy Spirit. The disciples were still focused on the kingdom of Israel being restored physically, but Christ deflected from this question and referred them back to the mission: proclaiming the gospel to a lost world. (See Acts 1:1-14)
At Pentecost and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, they received the revelation and understanding that they had been missing. Peter stood up and addressed the multitudes. He began by referencing them to Joel’s words about the “last days”, referring to this being the start of the last days. Peter draws their attention to the man, Jesus of Nazareth, then tells them this (Acts 2:23-24 NASU):
“…this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.”
And now we’re recognizing the power of the resurrection: the impossibility of death to reign in Christ. Revelation and understanding that had been missing in the disciples came with the Holy Spirit. Peter now explained that King David prophesied this centuries earlier. Acts 2:31-34 NASU
“…he [David] looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY. This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.”
The revelation of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is made known through the Holy Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit to understand its implications, even a little bit.
The reality of the Resurrection of Christ is His position at the right hand of God. The power of God in Heaven is at His disposal.
Christ conquered death and was resurrected by His obedience to God. Revisit the Garden of Gethsemane. The Garden of Gethsemane reclaimed the Garden of Eden. All of the amazing benefits of the atonement of Christ on the Cross restore the things we lost in the Garden.
The power of the Resurrection is found in the obedience of Christ. His obedience brings our victory.
Are you weak? So was He. But through His obedience to God you can procure the strength you need.
Are you sick, ill, diseased? Through Christ’s scourging (being obedient to God) your healing has been obtained.
Are you under a curse from sin, unbelief, and/or disobedience? The curse was broken when He hung on the Cross.
Do you feel estranged from God? Are you rejected by those you love? He was rejected by God on the Cross for your acceptance.
But it is not his death that brings us this victory; it is his victory over death, his Resurrection. The Resurrection of Christ is our victory for every need of this life and the next.
For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
1 Cor 15:16-19NASU
No, our hope in Christ is not just for this life, but also the life to come.
This is the power of the Resurrection, available to all who believe and receive. Because of Christ and His obedience to God, we have been given a living hope. We have been given an inheritance that cannot be stolen from us. That inheritance is imperishable; it cannot decay, spoil or weaken. That inheritance cannot be corrupted or damaged; it cannot be polluted or soiled. That inheritance is perpetual and cannot be extinguished or pass away. That inheritance comes through the Resurrection of Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. —1 Peter 1:3-9ESV
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