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Wednesday, February 22 2012
Paul's Resurrection Lesson
Jesus Christ rose from the dead, exactly three days and three nights after His death by crucifixion (see Why Observe The True Sabbath?). The illustration below is an extremely-rare Biblically-accurate portrayal of the actual "Cross" used by the Romans (shaped like a capital T - see Crossing The T) and of the scene around it that day (this author has never found any illustration that portrays what the Holy Bible actually describes as accurately as that picture, done by a German artist in the 1800s).
While the religious authorities (see Annas And Caiaphas) who caused the killing of the Messiah obviously agreed what killing meant, they disagreed about what came after - "For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both." Among the Pharisees was Saul, who after his conversion, would become known as the apostle Paul (see Straight Street). A statement by Paul after his conversion:
"23:6 But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. 23:7 And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided.
As a Pharisee, Saul / Paul had a head start on some of the others because of his belief in a resurrection. His problem was that he obviously did not understand it very well, before his conversion. Paul did however understand it very well after his conversion (notice also his use of the term "Church of God" - which means people of God, not some present-day man-made corporate entity or hidden group that one must get some human's permission and approval to "join" - see Can You See The Church?; also Is Your Church A Cult?).
"15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel [see The True Gospel Of Christ] which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
Just as was the case with the religious leadership in Jerusalem of that time (and still today), some of the people that Paul taught believed in the resurrection, while others did not. Some of those who did realize that there was a resurrection were nevertheless still in error (as Paul had been earlier) regarding just how and when it is going to happen. Their confusion even caused some of them to paradoxically deny Christ's own resurrection (keeping in mind that Paul was speaking to Christians in Corinth here).
"15:12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 15:13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 15:14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15:15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 15:16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 15:17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 15:18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 15:19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." (1 Corinthians 15:12-19 KJV)
"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept"
Paul continued to explain that the Messiah was indeed resurrected from the dead, "the firstfruits of them that slept" - just as all of His people will be resurrected in their due time (according to the Word of God, death is absolute unconsciousness in which there is no sense of the passage of time - from the moment of death to the resurrection will seem instantaneous - see Could Christ Return Tonight?). Until then, the dead are dead.
"15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 15:21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. 15:24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God [see The Days Of Christian Work And Rest], even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 15:25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 15:27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all." (1 Corinthians 15:20-28 KJV)
Paul then expounded how futile physical human life would be if physical life was the end of life (the "baptized for the dead" statement has been debated for centuries, however true Christians know that genuine baptism is only valid for repentant people; it may have been a practice of "baptism" for believers who died, or were martyred, before they could be baptized as they intended to do; see also Why Isn't Infant Baptism Valid?).
"15:29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead [see What Does The Bible Really Say About Your Soul?], if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? 15:30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? 15:31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 15:32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus [see also Nero's Torches], what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame." (1 Corinthians 15:29-34 KJV)
Whether for the first resurrection, to spirit, on the day of Christ's return (see When And Where Your Eternal Life Will Begin), or to the second resurrection, to physical life, a thousand years later (see The Eighth Day: What Does It Mean?), the original body is not resurrected.
"15:35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? 15:36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 15:37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: 15:38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 15:39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. 15:40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 15:41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory." (1 Corinthians 15:35-41 KJV)
Unlike all of the rest of humanity, the Messiah's death and resurrection has already occurred. That's the difference. The similarity (at least for those in the first resurrection) will be that, on the day of Christ's return, the first resurrection will occur by means of a gathering of them to the very place in Jerusalem where the Messiah was Himself resurrected - near the Mount of Olives (shown above).
"4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 KJV)
On that day, "as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly."
"15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 15:43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.
The point of the famous "John 3:16" verse (see the Fact Finder question below) was "that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption."
"15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 15:51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep [see We Shall Not All Sleep], but we shall all be changed, 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
Fact Finder: Is the full lesson of the famous "John 3:16" verse actually about the future resurrection that is coming?
This Day In History, February 22
896: Arnulf was crowned Emperor by Pope Formosus, who later declared Lambert deposed.
1349: Jews were expelled from Zurich, Switzerland.
1370: Robert II succeeded his uncle, David II, as King of Scotland, beginning the Stuart dynasty.
1512: Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci died at age 61. "America" (i.e. the continents of North America and South America where numerous "American" nations would later come into existence, from the northern border of Canada, to the southern tip of Argentina) was derived from his first name.
1630: Native Americans (who were called "Indians" by early European explorers who thought that they had arrived in India) introduced popcorn to British colonists in North America.
1632: Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems was published. Galileo correctly believed that the Earth orbits the sun - which nearly got him executed by the Church of Rome that incorrectly taught that the sun orbits the Earth.
1797: The last invasion of Britain occurred when 1,500 French troops landed at Fishguard, in Wales.
1825: Britain and Russia established the Alaska-Canada boundary. The U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867.
1862: In Richmond, Virginia, Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as President of the breakaway "Confederate States of America."
1911: The Parliament of Canada voted to keep Canada as a member state within the union of the British Empire (later known as the British Commonwealth).
1913: Francisco Madero, revolutionary President of Mexico, was assassinated by the military, along with Vice-President Pino Suarez.
1958: Egypt and Syria joined to form the short-lived United Arab Republic (Bible prophecy does plainly describes a united Arab confederation, in the past, and in the yet future - see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy).
1979: The Caribbean island of Saint Lucia gained full independence from Britain after 165 years. It became the 40th member state of the British Commonwealth.
1980: Israel introduced its new currency, the shekel. It replaced the Israeli pound.
1984: The U.S. and Britain sent warships to the Persian Gulf in support of the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein following an Iranian offensive against Iraq. At the time, Saddam Hussein was viewed as an ally of the western democracies, despite the atrocities and war crimes that he was committing then, no different than he was later when he had gone from being a pro-western "good dictator" to an anti-western "bad dictator."
1997: Scientists in Scotland announced that an adult sheep named Dolly had been successfully cloned.