Monthly Archives: March 2013

Topics, Themes and Definitions on The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Definition #1

One of the cardinal facts and doctrines of the gospel. If Christ be not risen, our faith is vain (1 Cor. 15:14). The whole of the New Testament revelation rests on this as an historical fact. On the day of Pentecost Peter argued the necessity of Christ’s resurrection from the prediction in Ps. 16 (Acts 2:24–28). In his own discourses, also, our Lord clearly intimates his resurrection (Matt. 20:19; Mark 9:9; 14:28; Luke 18:33; John 2:19–22).

The evangelists give circumstantial accounts of the facts connected with that event, and the apostles, also, in their public teaching largely insist upon it. Ten different appearances of our risen Lord are recorded in the New Testament. They may be arranged as follows:

(1.) To Mary Magdalene at the sepulchre alone. This is recorded at length only by John (20:11–18), and alluded to by Mark (16:9–11).

(2.) To certain women, “the other Mary,” Salome, Joanna, and others, as they returned from the sepulchre. Matthew (28:1–10) alone gives an account of this. (Comp. Mark 16:1–8, and Luke 24:1–11.)

(3.) To Simon Peter alone on the day of the resurrection. (See Luke 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5.)

(4.) To the two disciples on the way to Emmaus on the day of the resurrection, recorded fully only by Luke (24:13–35. Comp. Mark 16:12, 13).

(5.) To the ten disciples (Thomas being absent) and others “with them,” at Jerusalem on the evening of the resurrection day. One of the evangelists gives an account of this appearance, John (20:19–24).

(6.) To the disciples again (Thomas being present) at Jerusalem (Mark 16:14–18; Luke 24:33–40; John 20:26–28. See also 1 Cor. 15:5).

(7.) To the disciples when fishing at the Sea of Galilee. Of this appearance also John (21:1–23) alone gives an account.

(8.) To the eleven, and above 500 brethren at once, at an appointed place in Galilee (1 Cor. 15:6; comp. Matt. 28:16–20).

(9.) To James, but under what circumstances we are not informed (1 Cor. 15:7).

(10.) To the apostles immediately before the ascension. They accompanied him from Jerusalem to Mount Olivet, and there they saw him ascend “till a cloud received him out of their sight” (Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50–52; Acts 1:4–10).

It is worthy of note that it is distinctly related that on most of these occasions our Lord afforded his disciples the amplest opportunity of testing the fact of his resurrection. He conversed with them face to face. They touched him (Matt. 28:9; Luke 24:39; John 20:27), and he ate bread with them (Luke 24:42, 43; John 21:12, 13).

(11.) In addition to the above, mention might be made of Christ’s manifestation of himself to Paul at Damascus, who speaks of it as an appearance of the risen Saviour (Acts 9:3–9, 17; 1 Cor. 15:8; 9:1).

It is implied in the words of Luke (Acts 1:3) that there may have been other appearances of which we have no record.

The resurrection is spoken of as the act (1) of God the Father (Ps. 16:10; Acts 2:24; 3:15; Rom. 8:11; Eph. 1:20; Col. 2:12; Heb. 13:20); (2) of Christ himself (John 2:19; 10:18); and (3) of the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 3:18).

The resurrection is a public testimony of Christ’s release from his undertaking as surety, and an evidence of the Father’s acceptance of his work of redemption. It is a victory over death and the grave for all his followers.

The importance of Christ’s resurrection will be seen when we consider that if he rose the gospel is true, and if he rose not it is false. His resurrection from the dead makes it manifest that his sacrifice was accepted. Our justification was secured by his obedience to the death, and therefore he was raised from the dead (Rom. 4:25). His resurrection is a proof that he made a full atonement for our sins, that his sacrifice was accepted as a satisfaction to divine justice, and his blood a ransom for sinners. It is also a pledge and an earnest of the resurrection of all believers (Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 6:14; 15:47–49; Phil. 3:21; 1 John 3:2). As he lives, they shall live also.

It proved him to be the Son of God, inasmuch as it authenticated all his claims (John 2:19; 10:17). “If Christ did not rise, the whole scheme of redemption is a failure, and all the predictions and anticipations of its glorious results for time and for eternity, for men and for angels of every rank and order, are proved to be chimeras. ‘But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept.’ Therefore the Bible is true from Genesis to Revelation. The kingdom of darkness has been overthrown, Satan has fallen as lightning from heaven, and the triumph of truth over error, of good over evil, of happiness over misery is for ever secured.” Hodge.

With reference to the report which the Roman soldiers were bribed (Matt. 28:12–14) to circulate concerning Christ’s resurrection, “his disciples came by night and stole him away while we slept,” Matthew Henry in his “Commentary,” under John 20:1–10, fittingly remarks, “The grave-clothes in which Christ had been buried were found in very good order, which serves for an evidence that his body was not ‘stolen away while men slept.’ Robbers of tombs have been known to take away ‘the clothes’ and leave the body; but none ever took away ‘the body’ and left the clothes, especially when they were ‘fine linen’ and new (Mark 15:46). Any one would rather choose to carry a dead body in its clothes than naked. Or if they that were supposed to have stolen it would have left the grave-clothes behind, yet it cannot be supposed they would find leisure to ‘fold up the linen.’” [1]


Definition #2

A central doctrine of Christianity that affirms that God raised Jesus from the dead on the third day. Without the resurrection, the apostle Paul declared, Christian preaching and belief are meaningless (1 Cor. 15:14). The resurrection is the point at which God’s intention for Jesus becomes clear (Rom. 1:4) and believers are assured that Jesus is the Christ.

So significant is the resurrection of Jesus that without it there would be no church or Christianity, and we would still be in our sins (1 Cor. 15:17). In spite of the centrality of the resurrection, however, scholars have frequently debated a number of the elements in the resurrection accounts in the New Testament.

Empty Tomb. Some critics argue that because Paul does not speak of an empty tomb, the idea of the resurrection of Jesus must have developed years after His earthly life and ministry was over. But Paul refers to the burial (1 Cor. 15:4), which argues both for a proper tomb and against the body being dumped into a pit or a common criminal’s grave.

Critics have also pointed to variations in the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection in the gospels, such as how many women came to the tomb and who they were. Why did they come: to anoint the body (Mark and Matthew) or to see the tomb (Matthew)? Was there one angel (Mark and Matthew) or were there two (Luke and John) at the tomb? Did the angel say, “He is going before you into Galilee” (Mark and Matthew) or “Remember how He spoke . . . when He was still in Galilee” (Luke)? Did the women say “nothing to anyone” (Mark) or did they report the message to the disciples (Matthew)? (Note that most ancient manuscripts of Mark do not have 16:9–20—a fact noted in many modern English translations.)

It is well to remember that these variations were recognized by early Christians and were not discovered by recent critics. As early as the second century, Tatian wrote his Diatessaron, or harmony of the gospels, expecting that Christians would gladly accept his work as a substitute for the four gospels. But while Christians read Tatian, they refused to substitute his harmony for the witnesses of the four gospel writers. The faithfulness of these writers in transmitting to us the gospel texts is a testimony to Christian integrity. It is also a witness to their early understanding that the gospels were Holy Scripture, inspired by God.

Furthermore, these writers knew the tomb was empty; because if it had not been empty, the body would soon have been supplied. The only other alternative is that the disciples stole the body as the Jews (Matt. 28:13) and some modern critics have suggested. But such a view is self-defeating because the gospel accounts themselves witness to the surprise of both the women and the disciples about the empty tomb.

Moreover, while it may seem incredible to us, the gospel writers generally refrain from using the empty tomb as a basis for faith! Furthermore, the stone was not rolled away to let Jesus out; he did not need open doors to move about (Luke 24:31, 36; John 20:19, 26). The stone was removed to begin communicating the resurrection to the followers of Jesus. But the empty tomb did not convince them that Jesus was alive! It was at first frustrating to the disciples and “seemed to them like idle tales” (Luke 24:11). Would anyone constructing a story and trying to prove the resurrection use such an approach? These testimonies have an element of authenticity that inventors of stories seldom duplicate.

The Appearances. While the above testimonies about the empty tomb seem to have little to do with the faith of these early Christians, the appearances of Jesus are clearly at the heart of early Christian belief. The consistent witness of the New Testament is that in the appearances of Jesus something incredible happened. The two followers in Emmaus, upon realizing it was the risen Jesus, forgot their concern with the lateness of the hour and rushed back to Jerusalem to tell the others (Luke 24:29–33). The doubting Thomas uttered Christianity’s greatest confession when he realized that the risen Christ was actually addressing him (John 20:27). Peter left his fishing nets for good when the risen Savior asked him, “Do you love Me?” (John 21:15). And at a later time (1 Cor. 15:8), the persecutor Paul was transformed into a zealous missionary as the result of a special appearance by the risen Lord (Acts 9:1–22).

But what was the nature of these appearances? Some have suggested that the appearance of Jesus to Paul seemed to be of a spiritual nature, similar to the revelation of Jesus to Christians today. Since Paul lumps all of the appearances together in 1 Corinthians 15:5–8, these critics argue that all the appearances must be spiritual in nature. They reject the idea that the risen Jesus could be touched (Matt. 28:9; Luke 24:39; John 20:27) or that He could eat (Luke 24:41–42).

Such a line of argument not only judges the witnesses on the basis of rationalistic assumptions, but it flies in the face of Paul’s own admission that his experience was somewhat irregular. Another approach is that advocated by the German theologian Rudolph Bultmann, who speaks of an “Easter faith” of the disciples rather than an actual bodily resurrection of Jesus. Accordingly, he splits the Jesus of history from the spiritual experience of the Christ of faith.

But when the New Testament writers speak of the resurrection of Jesus, they are bearing witness not to what God did for them but what God did to Jesus. Certainly, as a result of the resurrection of Jesus human lives were transformed. For Paul this transformation of Christians is not termed resurrection but salvation. “In Christ” is the expression Paul uses for the spiritual experience of the living Christ.

Finally, the resurrection of Jesus, His exaltation to the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:33), and the giving of the Spirit (John 20:22) are all to be seen as a single complex of events. Although the elements may be viewed as separate happenings, the New Testament writers see them as closely integrated theologically. Together they represent the firstfruits of the new age.[2]


Definition # 3

Historical event whereby Jesus came back from physical death to newness of life with a glorified body, never to die again. The bodily resurrection of Jesus is one of the central tenets of the Christian faith. His bodily resurrection validates the claim that He is both Lord and Christ. It substantiates the proposition that His life and death were not just the life and death of a good man but that He indeed was God incarnate and that by His death we have forgiveness of sin.

The four Gospels are selective in the events they report surrounding the resurrection. Each emphasizes the empty tomb, but each is somewhat different in the postresurrection appearances recounted.

Mark’s Gospel Mark’s account is the briefest, containing only eight verses, if the shorter ending of Mark is accepted as authentic. The focus of his account is on the women’s discovery of the empty tomb (Mark 16:1–4), the announcement of the resurrection by a young man wearing a white robe, and Jesus’ promise to meet them in Galilee (16:5–7). The women’s response is one of fear and awe (16:8).

Matthew’s Gospel Matthew’s report is 20 verses long. He emphasizes three aspects: the empty tomb, his answer to the false accusation that the disciples stole the body, and the Great Commission. Matthew recounts only two resurrection appearances: first, to the women as they fled the empty tomb, and then to the Eleven in Galilee. His account is in four scenes. The first takes place at the empty tomb and involves Mary Magdalene, the “other Mary,” a violent earthquake, the appearance of an angel, the paralyzing fear of the guards, and an admonition to tell the disciples that Jesus is alive (Matt. 28:1–7). The second describes Jesus’ encounter with the women after they fled the tomb (28:8–10). The third is a description of the religious leaders’ attempt to cover up the events at the tomb (28:11–15). The fourth takes place in Galilee and concludes with Jesus giving the Great Commission (28:16–20).

Luke’s Gospel Luke’s record is 53 verses in length. His account consists of a series of resurrection appearances of Jesus ending with Jesus’ ascension. All resurrection appearances in Luke are in Jerusalem. Luke has at least three aims: first, presenting the historical facts (cp. Luke 1:1–4), describing how the unbelieving disciples came to believe in the resurrection by emphasizing the physical nature of Jesus’ resurrected body (24:30, 37–43); second, to show that Jesus’ death and resurrection fulfill OT prophecy (24:25–27, 32); and third, to show that the disciples are to preach the gospel in the power of the Spirit to all the nations (24:46–49). The material is in four vignettes. The first involves the women’s discovery of the empty tomb and the investigation of the tomb by Peter and John (24:1–12). The second, the longest, is Jesus’ appearance to two disciples on the road to Emmaus. The third is Jesus’ appearance to the disciples during the evening of resurrection Sunday. The fourth is Jesus’ final instructions to His followers at His ascension (24:50–53; cp. Acts 1:9–11).

John’s Gospel John’s resurrection account is the longest, extending two full chapters. John records three appearances in Jerusalem: the first to Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb (20:1–18) and the other two appearances to the disciples, once with Thomas absent (John 20:19–25) and once with Thomas present (20:26–29). Jesus’ Jerusalem appearances conclude with Thomas’ great confession, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Like Luke, John focuses on the corporeality of Jesus (20:17, 20, 25–27). The appearance in chapter 21 takes place in Galilee. His purpose seems to be to describe the reestablishing of Peter’s leadership (21:15–19) and to expel the rumor that John, the disciple “whom Jesus loved” (13:23 HCSB) would not die before Jesus’ return.

A cursory reading of the resurrection accounts in the four Gospels reveals a wide variety of material. Admittedly, any attempt at harmonization of the accounts is speculative, and dogmatism must be avoided. It is impossible to know which, if any, of them is correct, but each shows a possible arrangement of events in a credible sequence. The problem of varying accounts, however, is not confined to events surrounding the resurrection; problems arising from differences in details from various sources have attended almost every event in history. The variances in the scriptural accounts suggest independent witnesses rather than the repetition of an “official” party line.

Paul’s Account The oldest account of the resurrection is found in 1 Cor. 15. In that passage Paul recounted a number of postresurrection appearances. He established that the believer’s future resurrection is based on the historicity of Christ’s bodily resurrection. However, the authenticity of Christ’s resurrection is greatly debated.

Response of Critics Since the 19th century scholars have questioned the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus. Some have argued that the women and disciples went to the wrong tomb. The problem with this argument is that the Jewish leadership could have presented the corpse of Jesus in response to the proclamation of the resurrection. Surely they knew the location of the tomb. Another proposed alternative is that the disciples stole the body of Jesus. It is unlikely that the disciples would have stolen the body and thereby invented a story for which they were willing to suffer persecution and martyrdom. Still others contend that Jesus never really died on the cross but He merely “swooned” and later in the coolness of the tomb revived enough to escape. This proposal fails to take seriously the severe beatings Jesus endured, the horrific process of crucifixion, the recognition by a centurion that He was dead (Mark 15:39), as well as the piercing of His side to confirm His death (John 19:32–34). Another suggestion by skeptics is that Jesus continued to live after His crucifixion in some “spiritual” sense but that this did not involve a bodily resurrection. However, the biblical evidence for corporeality is very strong (Luke 24:40–43; John 20:27). Finally, some scholars have compared the resurrection appearances to hallucinations. However, the NT gives evidence of appearances in various places to numerous people, even 500 at one time (1 Cor. 15:6). This proposal also fails to acknowledge that the disciples were psychologically unprepared for the resurrection and actually disbelieved the initial reports.

The evidence in favor of the historicity of the bodily resurrection of Jesus is very strong. The evidence for the empty tomb is weighty. First, the story of the empty tomb is found in all four Gospels and is implicit in the early church’s proclamation of the resurrection. How could they preach the bodily resurrection of Jesus if everyone in Jerusalem knew that His body was still in the tomb? Second, it is difficult to believe that the early church would have fabricated the story of the resurrection and then made women the first witnesses to the empty tomb and the resurrection, since women were not considered reliable witnesses in Jewish culture (illustrated by the disciple’s response to them). Third, something incredible must have taken place on that Sunday to cause Jewish believers to begin worshiping on the first day of the week instead of the Sabbath (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; Rev. 1:10). Finally, nothing short of the miracle of the resurrection can explain the postresurrection transformation in the disciples. The biblical record indicates that at the time of Jesus’ arrest they all fled (Mark 14:50). When the women reported that they had seen Jesus, the men did not believe (Luke 24:11), yet these same men were later willing to suffer persecution and martyrdom in order to preach Jesus as the resurrected Lord. See Ascension; Christ, Christology; Jesus Christ; Resurrection.[3]


Topic: Jesus Christ, resurrection appearances of

Jesus Christ appeared to various groups and individuals on several occasions after his death, prior to his ascension into heaven.

The resurrection appearances of Jesus Christ on the third day

To Mary Magdalene Jn 20:10-18 See also Mk 16:9-11

To the women at the tomb Mt 28:1-10 pp Mk 16:1-8 pp Lk 24:1-12

To Peter Lk 24:34; 1Co 15:5

To the two travellers to Emmaus Mk 16:12-13; Lk 24:13-16,30-32

To the disciples in the upper room Mk 16:14 pp Lk 24:36 pp Jn 20:19

Further appearances of Jesus Christ

To the disciples in the upper room See also Jn 20:26; 1Co 15:5

Other appearances Jn 21:1 See also Mt 28:16-17; 1Co 15:6-7

Jesus Christ appears at his ascension Mk 16:19; Lk 24:50-51; Ac 1:9

Jesus Christ’s resurrection body

It was different from his pre-crucifixion body Jn 20:26 This suggests that the resurrected body of Jesus Christ was not restricted by natural laws:  closed doors provided no barrier to Jesus Christ’s bodily appearance to his disciples. See also Mk 16:12 The failure to recognise Jesus Christ may be an indication of his changed appearance but also might emphasise the disciples’ own sorrow and lack of faith; Jn 20:14,19 pp Lk 24:36

It was a body of flesh and blood Lk 24:39 See also Lk 24:42-43; Jn 20:20

Jesus Christ foretold his resurrection appearances

Jn 16:16

Responses to Jesus Christ’s resurrection appearances

Fear and alarm Lk 24:37 See also Mt 28:10

Doubt and disbelief Mk 16:11 See also Mt 28:17; Mk 16:13-14; Lk 24:11-12; Jn 20:9,13-14,25

Belief and joy Mt 28:8 See also Lk 24:31-32,41; Jn 20:16,18,27-29

Understanding and worship Mt 28:9 See also Lk 24:8,45-47; Jn 2:22; Ac 2:31-33

The significance of Jesus Christ’s resurrection appearances

They gave proof of Jesus Christ’s deity Jn 20:28-29 See also Lk 24:31-34; Jn 20:8; Ac 10:41-42

Christian life and faith depend on the trustworthiness of the witnesses’ testimony 1Co 15:17 See also Jn 20:31; Ac 3:15; Ro 1:4; 1Co 15:1-58; 1Th 4:14; 1Pe 1:3


Topic: Jesus Christ, resurrection of

True Christian preaching is centred on the fact that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead so that believers may have victory over sin and death and receive the blessings of eternal life.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is foretold

In Scripture 1Co 15:3-4 See also Ps 16:10; 49:15; Isa 53:10-12; Hos 6:2; Lk 24:46; Ac 2:29-31; 26:22-23

By Jesus Christ Mt 16:21 pp Mk 8:31 pp Lk 9:22 See also Mt 12:40 the sign of Jonah; Mt 17:9 pp Mk 9:9 the transfiguration; Mt 17:22-23 pp Mk 9:31; Mt 20:18-19 pp Mk 10:33-34 pp Lk 18:31-33; Mt 26:32 pp Mk 14:28; Jn 2:19-22 Jesus Christ clears the temple; Jn 16:16

The resurrection is preached by the apostles

Ac 4:33 See also Ac 2:24-32; 10:40-41; 17:2-3,18,31

The certainty of the resurrection

Ac 1:3 See also 1Co 15:3-8

These verses particularly stress the physical reality of the risen Christ: Lk 24:36-43; Jn 20:26-28

The necessity of the resurrection

1Co 15:17 See also Jn 20:9

The results of Jesus Christ’s resurrection

God’s power is demonstrated Eph 1:19-20 See also Ac 2:24; 1Co 6:14

The sonship of Jesus Christ is declared Ro 1:4 See also Ac 13:33

The lordship of Jesus Christ is declared Ro 14:9

The lordship of Jesus Christ is seen in that he was raised to the right hand of God: Ac 5:30-31; Eph 1:20-22

2Co 5:15

The destruction of death’s power is declared Rev 1:18 See also Ac 2:24; Ro 6:9

The benefits of Jesus Christ’s resurrection for believers

It is the foundation of salvation Ro 4:25 See also Jn 11:25-26; Ro 10:9; 1Pe 1:21; 3:21

It provides the power to live for God Ro 6:4 See also Ro 7:4; 8:11; Eph 2:4-7; Php 3:8-11; Col 2:12; 3:1; Heb 13:20-21

The intercession of Jesus Christ depends upon it Ro 8:34 See also Heb 7:25

It brings assurance of resurrection to eternal life 1Co 6:14 See also Ro 6:5; 1Co 15:20-22; 2Co 4:14; 1Th 4:14; 1Pe 1:3-4[4]


Theme: Resurrection of Christ, The

1.    Foretold by the prophets. Ps 16:10; Ac 13:34,35; Isa 26:19.

2.    Foretold by Himself. Mt 20:19; Mr 9:9; 14:28; Joh 2:19-22.

3.    Was necessary to

a.   The fulfilment of Scripture. Lu 24:45,46.

b.   Forgiveness of sins. 1Co 15:17.

c.   Justification. Ro 4:25; 8:34.

d.   Hope. 1Co 15:19.

e.   The efficacy of preaching. 1Co 15:14.

f.    The efficacy of faith. 1Co 15:14,17.

4.    A proof of his being the Son of God. Ps 2:7; Ac 13:33; Ro 1:4.

5.    Effected by

a.   The power of God. Ac 2:24; 3:15; Ro 8:11; Eph 1:20; Col 2:12.

b.   His own power. Joh 2:19; 10:18.

c.   The power of the Holy Spirit. 1Pe 3:18.

6.    On the first day of the week. Mr 16:9.

7.    On the third day after his death. Mr 16:9.

8.    On the third day after His death. Lu 24:46; Ac 10:40; 1Co 15:4.

9.    The apostles

a.   At first did not understand the predictions respecting. Mr 9:10; Joh 20:9.

b.   Very slow to believe. Mr 16:13; Lu 24:9,11,37,38.

c.   Reproved for their unbelief of. Mr 16:14.

10.  He appeared after to

a.   Mary Magdalene. Mr 16:9; Joh 20:18.

b.   The women. Mt 28:9.

c.   Simon Peter. Lu 24:34.

d.   Two disciples. Lu 24:13-31.

e.   Apostles, except Thomas. Joh 20:19,24.

f.    Apostles, Thomas being present. Joh 20:26.

g.   Apostles at the sea of Tiberias. Joh 21:1.

h.   Apostles in Galilee. Mt 28:16,17.

i.    About five hundred brethren. 1Co 15:6.

j.    James. 1Co 15:7.

k.   All the Apostles. Lu 24:51; Ac 1:9; 1Co 15:7.

l.    Paul. 1Co 15:8.

11.  Fraud impossible in. Mt 27:63-66.

12.  He gave many infallible proofs of. Lu 24:35,39,43; Joh 20:20,27; Ac 1:3.

13.  Was attested by

a.   Angels. Mt 28:5-7; Lu 24:4-7,23.

b.   Apostles. Ac 1:22; 2:32; 3:15; 4:33.

c.   His enemies. Mt 28:11-15.

14.  Asserted and preached by the Apostles. Ac 25:19; 26:23.

15.  Saints

a.   Begotten to a lively hope. 1Pe 1:3,21.

b.   Desire to know the power of. Php 3:10.

c.   Should keep, in remembrance. 2Ti 2:8.

d.   Shall rise in the likeness of. Ro 6:5; 1Co 15:49; Php 3:21.

16.  Is an emblem of the new birth. Ro 6:4; Col 2:12.

17.  The first-fruits of our resurrection. Ac 26:23; 1Co 15:20,23.

18.  The truth of the gospel involved in. 1Co 15:14,15.

19.  Followed by his exaltation. Ac 4:10,11; Ro 8:34; Eph 1:20; Php 2:9,10; Re 1:18.

20.  An assurance of the judgment. Ac 17:31.

21.  Typified

a.   Isaac. Ge 22:13; Heb 11:19.

b.   Jonah. Jon 2:10; Mt 12:40.[5]

[1] Easton, M. G. (1893). Easton’s Bible dictionary. New York: Harper & Brothers.

[2] Nelson’s new illustrated Bible dictionary. 1995 (R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison & Thomas Nelson Publishers, Ed.). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.

[3] Cook, B. (2003). Resurrection of Jesus the Christ. In C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen & T. C. Butler (Eds.), Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen & T. C. Butler, Ed.) (1381–1382). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[4] Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser.

[5] Torrey, R. (2001). The new topical text book: A scriptural text book for the use of ministers, teachers, and all Christian workers. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Bible Software.

The True Meaning of the Day in which Chocolate Was Invented

In our increasingly secular nation, a growing number of Americans are clueless as to the real reason for the Easter holiday. Case in point: This year’s White House Easter Egg Roll has as its theme “Be Healthy, Be Active, Be You!” In the United Kingdom somewhere around 80 per cent of children do not even know the true meaning of Easter. In this piece Marsha West reveals the far-left’s plot to secularize the Christian faith and then she lays out the true meaning of Easter.

Instituting the Lord’s Supper by John MacArthur

While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew26:26-28)

Passover was the oldest of Jewish festivals, older even than the covenant with Moses at Sinai. It was established before the priesthood, the Tabernacle, or the law. It was ordained by God while Israel was still enslaved in Egypt, and by the time of Christ it had been celebrated by God’s people for some fifteen hundred years.

But the Passover Jesus was concluding with the disciples in Matthew 26 was the last divinely sanctioned Passover ever to be observed. No Passover celebrated after that has been authorized or recognized by God. Significant as it was under the Old Covenant, it became a remnant of a bygone economy, an extinct dispensation, an expired covenant. Its observance since that time has been no more than a religious relic that serves no divinely acknowledged purpose and has no divinely blessed significance. To celebrate the Passover is to celebrate the shadow after the reality has already come. Celebrating deliverance from Egypt is a weak substitute for celebrating deliverance from sin.

In fact, Christ ended the Passover and instituted a new memorial to Himself. It would not look back to a lamb in Egypt as the symbol of God’s redeeming love and power, but to the very Lamb of God, who, by the sacrificial shedding of His own blood, purchased the salvation of all who believe. In that one meal Jesus both terminated the old and inaugurated the new.

Breaking the unleavened bread was a normal part of the traditional Passover ceremony. But Jesus now gave it an entirely new meaning, saying, “This is My body” (Matthew 26:26). The original unleavened bread symbolized total detachment from the old life in Egypt, carrying nothing of its pagan and oppressive “leaven” into the Promised Land. It represented a separation from worldliness and sin and the beginning of a new life of holiness and godliness.

By His divine authority, Jesus transformed that symbolism into another. Henceforth the bread would represent Christ’s own body, sacrificed for the salvation of men. Luke reports that Jesus added, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19), indicating He was instituting a memorial of His sacrificial death for His followers to observe.

In saying the bread is His body, Jesus obviously was not speaking literally. A similarly foolish misunderstanding already caused the Pharisees to ridicule Him and many superficial disciples to desert Him (John 6:48-66). It is the same misunderstanding reflected in the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation. That literalistic notion is an absurd misinterpretation of Scripture. Jesus’ statement about eating His body was no more literal than His saying He is the Vine and His followers are the branches (John 15:5), or than John the Baptist’s calling Him the Lamb of God (John 1:29).

As the disciples drank of the cup, Jesus said, “This is My blood of the covenant” (Matthew 26:28). Luke’s gospel indicates that the Lord specified “new covenant” (Luke 22:20), clearly distinguishing it from all previous covenants, including the Mosaic.

When God made covenants with Noah and Abraham, they were ratified with blood (Genesis 8:20; 15:9-10). When the covenant at Sinai was ratified, “Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, ‘Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words’” (Exodus 24:8). When God brought reconciliation with Himself, the price was always blood, because “without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22; cf. 1 Peter 1:2). A sacrificial animal not only had to be killed but its blood had to be shed. “The life of all flesh is its blood” (Leviticus 17:14), and for a life truly to be sacrificed, its blood had to be shed.

Jesus therefore did not simply have to die but had to shed His own precious blood (1 Peter 1:19). Although He did not bleed to death, Jesus bled both before He died and as He died—from the wounds of the crown of thorns, from the lacerations of the scourging, and from the nail holes in His hands and feet. After He was dead, a great volume of His blood poured out from the spear thrust in His side.

There was nothing in the chemistry of Christ’s blood that saves. And although the shedding of His blood was required, it symbolized His atoning death, the giving of His unblemished, pure, and wholly righteous life for the corrupt, depraved, and wholly sinful lives of unregenerate men. That blood made atonement for the sins of all who place their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

As noted above, the divinely ordained Passover remembrance ended when Jesus celebrated it that night with His disciples. Any observance of it since that time has been based solely on human tradition, the perpetuation of an outward form that has long since lost its spiritual significance. But for those who belong to Jesus Christ, that event in the upper room began a new remembrance of redemption that the Lord will honor until He returns in glory.

As you prepare to celebrate the Lord’s death and resurrection this week, take some time to consider God’s faithful deliverance of His people. If you’ve been redeemed, remember that your salvation was possible only through the sacrifice of Christ on your behalf (Ephesians 2:8-9). And if you have yet to bend your knee in repentance and faith, know that it is only through the shed blood of Christ that you can be set free from the captivity of your sin (2:1-7).


(Adapted from Matthew 24-28: The MacArthur New Testament Commentary.)

Available online at:     COPYRIGHT ©2013 Grace to You

THE PASSION AND THE EMPTY TOMB by John Ankerberg and John Weldon


What Next?

1. The First Act of an Eternal Drama


2. Jesus’ Death and Burial—and the Empty Tomb

3. Jesus’ Resurrection Appearances

4. The Powerful Evidence of Skepticism

5. Legal Testimony About the Resurrection


6. Conflicts in the Descriptions of Jesus’ Death?

7. Confusion over the First Visitors to the Tomb?

8. Doubts About the Angels at the Tomb?

9. Clashes in the Accounts of Jesus’ Appearances?

The Most Stunning Fact of Forever

Appendix A: The Uniqueness of Christianity and Its Empty Tomb

Appendix B: Theories That Deny the Resurrection

Appendix C: The Resurrection of Christ and the Mystery Religions


List of Sources and Suggested Reading

A Note from Author John Weldon

Christ in the Passover – Jews for Jesus

Christ in the Passover shows the link between the ancient Festival of Redemption and Christ as the Lamb of God—your church members will never forget it! This sermonic demonstration is visual, so the congregation will actually see a table set with traditional Passover items. The missionary uses Scripture as well as the visual items to walk through a Jewish Passover seder, weaving the story of the Exodus together with the life, death and resurrection of Christ. The words He spoke in the upper room come alive as each Hebraic item is carefully explained. Many churches finish this powerful presentation by celebrating communion, and most who have tell us that Christ in the Passover has deepened their church’s communion experience.

Watch a 45 minute video of David Brickner presenting the passover here.


Watch a video preview of the Christ in the Passover presentation.

A Proof of the Resurrection

Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you,
that God should raise the dead?
(The Apostle Paul speaking to King Agrippa, Acts 26:8)

By J.C. Philpot*

Notice… the grand fact of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. On this the whole verity of the Christian faith may be said to be suspended. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, He was not what He declared he was, “the Son of the living God.” But if He rose from the dead, it was God’s own attestation that He was his only begotten Son, for all will admit that nothing short of the power of God can raise the dead. For this reason we find in the Acts of the Apostles the resurrection of the Lord Jesus made a leading feature in every sermon and every address.

Whether Peter preached to the inquiring Jews (Ac 2:23,24 Ac 3:15), to the opposing Sanhedrim (Ac 4:10 Ac 5:30,31), or to Cornelius and his friends (Ac 10:39,40); or whether Paul addressed the synagogue of Antioch (Ac 13:30), the Athenian Areopagus (Ac 17:31), or king Agrippa and the most noble Festus, it might be said of them what the Holy Ghost declares of all the rest; “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.” (Ac 4:33)

Look for a few moments at this remarkable circumstance, that these blessed men of God made the resurrection of Jesus, as it were, the very foundation of all their sermons and addresses; for we may be sure that the Holy Ghost inspired the apostles thus to preach. And see the reason why they bore this firm testimony in the very forefront of the battle which they waged in the name of God against the kingdom of darkness and death.

The Lord of life and glory had been condemned to death by the Jewish council on a charge of blasphemy, first, because He had said that “He would destroy the temple made with hands, and within three days build another made without hands” (Mr 14:58); and, secondly, that He had declared, in the very presence of the council, that He was the Christ, the Son of God (Mr 14:61-64). He therefore died under the charge of blasphemy, in pain and ignominy, crucified openly for that alleged crime in the face of the assembled thousands who had come from all parts to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.

Now, had Jesus not risen from the dead that charge would have been substantiated, and He would have been justly convicted by the voices of many thousands as having been put righteously to death. It was necessary, then, not only for the whole economy of redemption, but for the very veracity of Jesus Himself, and for the whole truth of the Gospel, that He should be raised from the dead by the power of God as the seal of His mission, as the standing, undeniable, irrefragable [not to be contested, ed.] truth that He was the Messiah, the Son of God, as He claimed to be.

We see, then, the force and meaning of the Apostle [Paul]’s words, where he says that the Lord Jesus was “declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead” (Ro 1:4). It was God’s attesting witness to His divine Sonship, the visible, ratifying seal to His heavenly mission. And not only so, but God’s own assurance to the church that His atoning sacrifice had been accepted, that the debt due to law and justice was fully discharged, and her justification complete, for He “was delivered for our offences and raised again for our justification” (Ro 4:25); that is, He, as the head and representative of the church, was raised by God from the dead as justified from all law charges, and the church was thus visibly and authoritatively declared to be justified in Him….

Notice… the identity of the Lord’s risen body. It is a cardinal, fundamental article of our most holy faith that the same actual, identical body was raised from the grave which was deposited in it. If erroneous men had not indulged their vain speculations about the risen body of the Lord Jesus, we might well wonder at their daring attempts to pull up the landmarks which the Holy Ghost has so plainly set up in the Word of Truth [the Bible, ed.]. The Lord never had, never could have, two different bodies, one before, another after the resurrection…. The identity of His body is… indispensable to His still being Jesus, “the same yesterday, today, and for ever”….

But because, after the resurrection, the Lord came miraculously into the place where the disciples were assembled, the doors being shut, and vanished out of the sight of the disciples at Emmaus, and because they cannot conceive how He can wear a human body in heaven, such as He had upon earth, men who would be wise above what is written have assumed that a change took place in that body, and that it no longer consisted of flesh, and bones, and blood, as before, but was, as it were, transmuted into some aerial, celestial substance, they know not what, but such as they imagine would be more fitting to inhabit the courts of heaven.

Now, nothing can be more plain, if we are willing to follow the footsteps of the Holy Ghost, than that it was the same identical body which hung on the cross that rose from the dead. It would seem, as if to stop all cavil, and crush in the very bud all such erroneous speculations as we have alluded to, the Lord Himself gave again and again the most incontrovertible proofs after His resurrection that He was the same Jesus as before, and not another, and that He wore the same body in all respects without change or alteration. He did not appear for a few moments only, as if “showing himself through the lattice,” and then hastily withdrawing, but conversed with them most familiarly, and ate with His disciples after the resurrection (Lu 24:42,43 Ac 10:41); and for this very purpose, that they might be standing and undeniable eye and ear witnesses that it was indeed the very same Jesus with whom they had consorted before His crucifixion.

Now we all know what a marked change a little alteration makes in a person’s form and features, so that a severe illness, or the lapse of a few years, makes him scarcely recognizable as the same person by even his most intimate friends. If, then, any visible change had taken place in the body of the Lord Jesus, it would not only have destroyed its identity but its identification. The whole chain of evidence that it was indeed the same Jesus Who had been crucified that was risen from the dead would have been broken to pieces unless it was clearly and undeniably the same form, the same features, the same feet and hands, the same voice – in a word, the very same Jesus whom they knew so well and loved so dearly.

Did not Mary Magdalene know His form and features well? Could she have been deceived? Was not John, who leaned on His breast at the last supper, well acquainted with His voice, gestures, and countenance? Could he have been deceived? So with Peter and James, not to name the other disciples who had attended Him daily from the baptism of John (Ac 1:22). One witness might be deceived, but not so many.

But besides this, there were several special seasons on which the Lord did not only appear for a short time to His disciples, but was with them some space. Look at the instance of Thomas. What can exceed the clearness of the testimony mercifully produced by his very unbelief? So firmly fixed was he in his disbelief of the resurrection that he would not believe that the disciples had seen the Lord as risen from the dead; and declared that except he should see in His hands the print of the nails; and, lest his eyes should deceive him, unless he put his fingers into the print of the nails; and even lest he should be deceived then, except he should thrust his hand into the very side which had been pierced by the Roman spear, he would not believe. But how condescendingly to him, and how graciously for the saints in all ages, did the blessed Lord, eight days after this unbelieving declaration, appear again gently to reprove him for his unbelief, but at the same time to afford to the church through him the memorable testimony that He wore still the same body; that the hands were the very same hands, still bearing the print of the nails which had fastened them to the cross, and that it was the very same side which still wore the thrust-mark of the Roman spear.

If this were not a proof of actual identity where shall we find one? If this evidence be rejected, what remains but to reject the whole mystery of the resurrection as an idle tale? Learned men have, by comparing Scripture with Scripture, ascertained that the blessed Lord appeared ten times to eye-witnesses after his resurrection and that at some of these appearances, as that memorable one recorded [in] John 21, He conversed with His disciples as closely and as intimately as before His resurrection. And that His human body in which He ate and talked with them was not a shadowy appearance, which had neither flesh nor bones, He spake to them those ever-memorable words, “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.” (Lu 24:39). “Behold,” said He, “my hands and my feet” – they are real hands, they are real feet; “that it is I Myself,” the same, the very same Jesus, having the same body which you saw Him wear before; “handle Me, and see,” feel, if you will, whether it be real flesh or an aerial body, “for a spirit,” such as you take Me to be, a disembodied soul, or an airy, unreal phantasm, “hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have.”

Can anything be stronger than this the Lord’s own testimony to the actual identity of His body before and after His resurrection? And if it be objected that, whatever the body of the Lord was then, it is now so exceedingly glorified that it has lost in that glory all the distinctive features of its former humanity, we reply: How was it with that same body before the resurrection, on the holy mount, when it was transfigured before the three disciples, so that “His face did shine as the sun, and His very raiment,” as borrowing lustre from his glorious humanity, “was white as the light” (Mt 17:1,2)? There we see that the brightest glory no more altered the identity or changed the substance of the Lord’s body than the glory of the face of Moses altered his….

The Lord’s first appearance was to Mary Magdalene – (Mr 16:9-11 Joh 20:14-18);
His second to the disciples journeying to Emmaus – (Mr 16:12 Lu 24:13-32);
His third to Simon Peter – (Lu 24:33,34 1Co 15:5);
His fourth to the eleven disciples in the absence of Thomas – (Lu 24:36-43 Joh 20:19-25);
His fifth to the eleven again, when Thomas was present – (Mr 16:14 Joh 20:27-29);
His sixth to the women who had at first visited the sepulchre – (Mt 28:9,10);
His seventh to the apostles and five hundred brethren at once in Galilee – (Mt 28:16-20 1Co 15:6);
His eighth to the disciples when fishing on the lake of Galilee – (Joh 21:1-24);
His ninth to James the Lord’s brother – (1Co 15:7); and
His tenth and last to all the apostles assembled at Jerusalem just before His ascension – (Lu 24:44-49 Ac 1:4-8 1Co 15:7).

These are the “many infallible proofs” of which the Holy Ghost speaks (Ac 1:3) that He was really and truly risen from the dead.

*Excerpted and adapted for blog posting from: “MEDITATIONS ON SACRED HUMANITY – THE RESURRECTION,” By J. C. Philpot Chapter Eight from the book – Meditations on the Sacred Humanity of the Blessed Redeemer; also posted here:

Of First Importance: The Cross and Resurrection at the Center by Albert Mohler

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Christian faith is not a mere collection of doctrines — a bag of truths. Christianity is a comprehensive truth claim that encompasses every aspect of revealed doctrine, but is centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ. And, as the apostolic preaching makes clear, the gospel is the priority.

As Christians around the world prepare to celebrate the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ we are reminded of the priority of the gospel. In his most recent article, “Of First Importance: The Cross and Resurrection at the Center,” R. Albert Mohler Jr., recalls what the Apostle Paul considered, “of first importance.” Dr. Mohler reminds Christians that among all the glorious revealed truths of the Christian faith it is the death and resurrection of Christ that are of first priority.

You can read Dr. Mohler’s entire article here.

Destructive Heresies and Doctrines

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.(2 Peter 2:1 NASB)

False professors and false prophets have one thing in common. They are convinced that the ‘religious paradigm’ they love, cherish, follow, and proclaim is true. Of course, they come to this conclusion through what some of them refer to as their ‘thinkology.’ In other words, what makes it true in their hearts is their own acceptance of it. The deciding or defining standard, which is used by these people, is their own value system. They oppose clear Biblical truth because “they just don’t believe it” while they embrace humanistic forms of Christianity simply because their ‘thinkology ‘ gives them a green light.

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Holy Week and the Insomnia of Jesus by Russell D. Moore

When the disciples screamed in the face of a storm, Jesus slept (Mk. 4:37-38). When Jesus screamed in the face of a cross, the disciples slept (Mk. 14:37,41).

Why could Jesus sleep so peacefully through a life-threatening sea-storm, and yet is awake all night in the olive garden before his arrest, crying out in anguish? Why are the disciples pulsing with adrenaline as the ship is tossed about on the Galilee Lake, but drifting off to slumber as the most awful conspiracy in human history gets underway?

Read More Here . . .

Pastor Says Jesus Was Wrong about Marriage

Breitbart reports on an interesting discussion that recently took place between Terry Jeffrey, a news editor from CNS News Service, and Rev. Oliver White, a pro-same sex marriage pastor. The exchange occurred on the Sean Hannity Show and reporter Larry O’Connor summarizes it thusly:
This exchange in particular was the most glaringly infuriating as White, a proponent of same-sex marriage who angered his own congregation recently because of his adamant belief that Christianity supports such a practice, went so far as to agree that Jesus Christ was wrong about His position on marriage being defined as one man and one woman, and if Jesus were alive today he would, in fact, support gay marriage.
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Tim Keller: One Can Believe Homosexuality Is a Sin and Still Believe that Gay ‘Marriage’ Should Be Legal

Reporting on the growing tension between personal and political views of same-sex ‘marriage’ faced by professing evangelical Christians, The Huffington Post focused on comments made recently by pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.

Speaking to a group of journalists at a forum sponsored by the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Keller predicted that, in spite of the growing public support for gay ‘marriage,’ large numbers of Christians will continue to believe that such a practice runs contrary to the Christian faith.

“There’s a tendency to say, where are evangelicals going? I think they’re going to look more and more politically, actually, like conservative Roman Catholics, and like African Americans. I think that’s where they’re going,” Keller said. “But the inertia of the Bible keeps them from, I think, getting really very liberal when it comes to theology and social ethics.” Source

Keller reportedly offered an interesting qualification, however, as he clarified this statement by saying that “you can believe homosexuality is a sin and still believe that same-sex marriage should be legal.” Read more of this post

1 in 5 Americans Undecided about Easter Worship

Associated Baptist Press reports:

One fifth of Americans haven’t decided if they will attend church on Easter Sunday, according to newly reported numbers by LifeWay Research.

The rest of the population is roughly half and half. Four in 10 — 41 percent — say they plan to attend a worship service on Easter, while 39 percent say they do not.

MARC FABER: Not Even Gold Will Be Able To Save You From What Is Coming

“Despite the continued reverberations regarding the Cyprus bailout and its involvement of bank deposits, gold struggled to maintain the positive momentum created in the first two weeks of March and instead now looks very likely to move lower, towards $1580/oz,” wrote Deutsche Bank commodities analyst Xiao Fu in a note this morning.

Bible comes to life as locusts swarm Israel

Locusts have descended on Israel this week, just in time for Passover. As millions of Jews commemorate the story of the children of Israel’s exodus from Egypt, including the 10 plagues that afflicted Pharaoh and his people, millions of the crunchy buggers are creeping all over Israel’s southern deserts.

The New Age Jesus

Dr. David Reagan and I were delighted to have as our guest on Christ in Prophecy Warren Smith, the author of the book The Light that Was Dark. This fascinating book tells Warren’s touching story of how in his search for a Savior he got sidetracked into the occultic darkness of the New Age Movement. From his many years of experience under that influence, Warren now has dedicated his life to warning Christians about the dangers of the New Age and help us recognize how we can avoid these satanic influences from creeping into our churches.

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The Prophetic Whirlwind

Today, the disturbing trend amongst Christian churches is to ignore and discredit the study of prophecy and those that teach it. Thirty percent of the Bible is prophetic in nature. So when a teacher or denomination collectively ignore that much scripture, or treat it as if it were unimportant, then they are sorely going to be missing things that tie the past and the present together with events to come.

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Why U.S. churches are failing – Farah

Joseph Farah reveals role in America’s deterioration from God-centered culture

Because the American church has withdrawn from its role in teaching. Why are all those buildings empty Monday through Friday? Why aren’t they being used to offer an alternative to government schools? Why are even the children of pastors being dumped into government schools? Why are the children of believers adopting the ways of the world in the extreme? Why are they not being equipped with a biblical worldview that will guide them through their most challenging years? Why is the church failing even to be salt and light to their own offspring, let alone the broader culture as they are commanded by scripture?

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