The Day of Resurrection

 

The Day of Resurrection
Min of Separation and Other Dead Ends
I was a Stormtrooper for Jesus. Talking to all my friends about religion. They knew I was in college, preparing to go to the Seminary and become a minister, so they put up with it, and, besides, it was nice for them to talk religion to someone who didn’t have pull over you, being neither your pastor nor your priest.
I was shocked to find out more than a few of my friends did not believe in the bodily resurrection. How could that be? Of course it was in the Bible! Somewhere.
One day, I was hammering away at this very point with a friend and I grabbed the New American Standard Bible, which I had just purchased and was very fond of because none of my classmates used it (the joke was that if you wanted to know what the Hebrew said, you used the NASB), and turned to the one section I knew talked about the bodily resurrection. Job 19.
And it read:
23Oh, that my words were written!
Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
24That with an iron stylus and lead
They were engraved in the rock forever!
25And as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last he will take his stand on the earth.
26Even after my skin is flayed,
Yet without my flesh I shall see God;
27Whom I myself shall behold,
And whom my eyes shall see and not another.
My heart faints within me.
Job 19.23-27 NASB, Copyright 1973
(they since have changed their translation to “from”)
I was dumbfounded by verse 26. Why?
It said “without my flesh I shall see God.”
“That’s just what I was telling you. I believe that I will live in heaven for all eternity, but I won’t have a body. My soul will be with God,” my friend said.
I suggested we go play tennis as I licked my wounds and decided to ask my Hebrew professor, Paul Eichmann, what had gone wrong.


What does your translation (probably the New International Version) say?
In my flesh I shall see God.
Here’s what the Hebrew says.
Wachr ori niqphu zoth
Umibbesari echzeh eloah.
In case you didn’t get that:
Wachr          ori        niqphu            zoth
And after my skin has fallen away   this
Umibbesari               echzeh           eloah.
And from my flesh    I will see         God.
After my skin has fallen away, yet in my flesh I will see God.
 
It all boils down to a preposition, min, the m in umibbesari.
Min means “from”
But in Hebrew, like in English, “from” can have a lot of meanings.
What does the following show? Link them up with the answers.
1. I walked from my house.
2. I am descended from Noah.
3. I can recite it from memory.
4. You can only take some malted milk eggs from that candy.
5. I am lonely when I am far from my family.
6. I made this quilt from old scraps of cloth.
 
A. Min of agent [W 320]
B. Min of material [G 117 hh]
C. Min of place from which [119 v]
D. Min of separation [G 119 w]
E. Min of source [W 322]
F. Partitive Min [G 119 w footnote2]
 
1 C 2 E 3 A 4 F 5 D 6 B
 
References: G=Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, 1910
W=Hebrew Syntax: An Outline, 1980
 
If you believed in the bodily resurrection, how would you translate Umibbesari echzeh eloah?
In my flesh I will see God
If you didn’t believe in the bodily resurrection, how would you translate Umibbesari echzeh eloah?
Without my flesh I will see God
Some people might say it all depends on what you want the Bible to say. You read into it what you want and get out of it the beliefs you want.
 
Some people are not so charitable. They don’t believe in the bodily resurrection and they are intent on making sure the Bible’s teaching of the bodily resurrection is either silenced or down-played.
In 1973 the Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship came out with a three-year pericope series of the Scriptures to be read in the Lutheran churches in America. The ILCW was made up of scholars from the constituent groups of today’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) and from the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LC-MS).
It is the pericope (reading system) we have printed on the back of our bulletins. It is the pericope system we have been using since 1989.

 

Where do you see Job 19.23-26 on it?
It is nowhere to be found

 


 Lectionary B            
 
 


So in 21 years, no one in this church has heard Job 19.23-27 read, which clearly teaches the bodily resurrection! How can that be?
The pericope system doesn’t permit it.
Do you know what we’ve done to change that?
We don’t use the First Lesson (Old Testament) reading prescribed for Easter Sunday. We always read Job 19.
Is Job 19 really that important for the common believer to know? A good place to look to see if something is important or not in the popular mind, is to take a look at the hymnal. Can you think of an Easter hymn that is based on Job 19.23-27’s central phrase, “I know that my Redeemer lives?”
Christian Worship 152, I Know that My Redeemer Lives
False teaching historically enters the church in two ways.
1. The people add customs which become teachings (prayer to the saints).
2. The leaders take away teachings the Bible teaches (homosexuality).
Which might be going on here with Job 19 and Easter?
It seems like those leaders who prescribe the Scripture readings do not want the people to hear Job 19. They are taking away one of the passages that clearly teach the bodily resurrection, the hope of Easter.
Now, that’s a heavy charge to make. We better investigate this further before we are guilty of loveless judgment.
What are some words you can come up with that are associated with the bodily resurrection?
Resurrection
Rise
Hell
Heaven
Eternal life
Eternal death
Life after death
Salvation
Save
Deliver
Redeem
OK. Now, if we look at what the leaders say about these words, and if there’s a down-playing of the bodily resurrection in these words clearly associated with the bodily resurrection, we might be on to something.
A set of books you might find proudly displayed in any pastor’s library (it’s in ours, too) is the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament by Gerhard Kittel. Kittle is a big family name in Biblical languages. His father was the editor of the Hebrew Old Testament and so dominated it that we often referred to our Hebrew Old Testament as our “Kittel.”
Let’s see what Gerhard, the son, has to say about Hell.
“In the Old Testament, hell (Sheol) is the realm of the dead beneath the ocean where all people go to in an eternal, shadowy existence. This is in agreement with the popular Babylonian belief. After 500 B.C., this notion went through a series of changes.  A belief in the resurrection meant Sheol was only temporary. Then under the influence of Persian and Hellenistic ideas concerning retribution after death, the belief arose that the righteous and godless would have very different fates, heaven, the place of rewards, or hell, the place of punishment. The penetration of Jewish culture with Greek ideas of the immortality of the soul led to the idea that the souls of the righteous go at once to heaven after death to await resurrection. This development was still taking place in Jesus’ day.”
(summarized from volume I.pp.146-147)
According to Kittel, does the Bible consistently teach a bodily resurrection?
No. The Old Testament doesn’t know anything about a bodily resurrection. It only came about in Jesus’ day because of foreign influences.
Try to get inside Kittel’s mind. What does seem to be happening that the Christian Church around 100 AD proclaims the bodily resurrection so clearly when the Old Testament is not so clear?
The teaching of the bodily resurrection is evolving in the Jewish mind.
What was happening in the field of science from about 1900 to 1945?
Darwin’s theory of evolution was permeating many fields of science.

Get used to it. Much of modern theology follows paths blazed in other areas of study. Homeric studies in the early 1800’s postulated that the great poet, Homer, either never existed or simply was the compiler of all the oral stories about the wars at Troy and the return of the Greeks. It wasn’t long before German biblical scholars started postulating Moses didn’t exist and the first five books of the Bible were a compilation of four earlier oral traditions. Same thing for the Gospels. The Marxist struggle for social justice in Latin and South America was echoed in the latter Liberation Theology of some Christians. Black Power translated into a Black Jesus.
If the bodily resurrection is an evolving teaching from man’s mind, how dependable is that teaching?
It is not all that dependable, because it is a product of human imagination and social forces.
Can it comfort people? Why or why not?
No. It is made up.
Yes. If we fool ourselves, it is a pretty story to live by, giving us hope and allowing us to face death with equanimity. Then, when we’re dead and gone, what harm did that little white lie do us?
Let’s look at one more word, “Resurrection.”
“In the Greek world, resurrection was impossible. The Old Testament recounts individual resurrections (Elijah raising the Shunamite’s son). There was an inward preparation for the hope of a general resurrection under the influence of Persian ideas. In first century Judaism immortality is not understood as the continuation of life but a mystical liberation according to the Sadducees and other Hellenized Greeks. The Pharisees taught a bodily resurrection to a life much like life on earth. This teaching was expanded by the Christians as the centerpiece of their teaching, the general resurrection of all, with the righteous rising to heaven as Jesus rose from the dead.”
(summarized from volume I, pp. 369-371)
According to Kittel, does the Bible consistently teach a bodily resurrection?
No. There was only an “inward preparation” for that hope.
How did the teaching of the bodily resurrection come about?
The Jews picked up on these ideas from other cultures and liked them so much they incorporated them in some of their belief systems.

Kittel follows this same path with the word, “save.” In the Old Testament it means an earthly deliverance, for individuals now or for descendants in the future. In the Gospels it most often means a deliverance from physical ailments with the hint that Jesus’ power can go beyond physical life. The idea of being saved for heaven is in the background until the writings of Paul.
So, who came up with the teaching of the bodily resurrection in its fullest measure in the Christian Church?
Only in the writings of the Apostle Paul.
And if Paul came up with it, then it wasn’t from _God___.
Deep down, the hint is there that nothing in the Bible is from _God_________.
Then why are these guys biblical scholars if they don’t believe it?--Can you think why people spend their life studying the ancient Greek writers, Homer, Plato, Aristotle, if they don’t believe everything these men wrote?
They feel the ideas these men expressed strike such a chord with the core of our humanity that there are lessons to be found in them for all generations or they are so intriguing that future generations can remake the myths and stories into their own realities to help them cope with life.
We call Kittel’s approach to the Bible “the historical critical: method.” It basically denies all that is miraculous about our faith, from inspiration to the resurrection, and leaves us with moral teachings which are good for us. I once heard an (ELCA) preacher tell a very liberal Jewish rabbi that they both preached the same thing. The historical critical method is the method of Bible interpretation in most of the theological seminaries in America today, with a blessed few exceptions that are rather close to home.
 
The Analogy of Faith
But is that the way the Bible really is? Have we been lied to all these years and there really is no bodily resurrection, that it is all just a nice, but false dream to get us through life?
There is another way of interpreting the Bible. While not many wise and learned scholars today believe this is the way to go, it is a method is as old as the hills, as old as language. We call it the historical grammatical method. You simply read the Bible as it is, judging from the context and the historical setting what is being communicated to you.
The historical grammatical method is also big on interpreting more fuzzy passages of the Bible with clearer passages of the Bible which speak about exactly the same doctrine. Oh, and one more thing—the historical grammatical method believes that the Bible will not contradict itself.

Is Job 19 ‘fuzzy”?
Let’s say we go with the “without” translation of the NASB.
Job doesn’t have a _body_____________.
Yet, Job sees God with ___my_____ ___eyes_____.
It will be _Job_____ himself who will see God.
What is the inner contradiction in these statements?
How can you not have a body, yet see God with member of your body? How can it be Job himself if he doesn’t have a body? There is an inner contradiction here.
Is there any inner contradiction if we use the NIV translation?
Job has a __body_________.
Job sees God with _his_______ __own____ __eyes_____.
It will be _Job_______ himself who will see God.
There are no inner contradictions here, because Job is seeing God with the bodily member of his eyes which he has because he has a body.
If you believe the Bible does not contradict itself, which translation of Job 19 must you go with?
You cannot go with the NASB. You have to go with the NIV or others like it.

Read these passages and fill in the chart, circling the words which talk about a resurrection and underlining the words indicate this resurrection is a bodily resurrection. Explain why you came up with your answers. (all citations take from the NIV)
Resurrection?
Bodily?
 
Y
Y
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Ps 16:9-11
Y
N
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Ps 23:6
Y
Y
On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces;
he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth.
Isa 25:7-8
Y
Y
"I will ransom them from the power of the grave;
I will redeem them from death.
Where, O death, are your plagues?
Where, O grave, is your destruction?
Hos 13:14
Y
Y
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
1 Thess 4:16-18
Y
Y
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16
Y
Y
Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out-those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.
John 5:28-30
Y
Y
For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 6:40
Y
Y
I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen--that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.
Acts 26:22-23
Y
Y
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
John 11:25-26
In the coming weeks we will look at Jesus’ Resurrection and see what it means for you and me.

The Day of Resurrection
Rebuffs of The First Easter
Did Jesus really rise from the dead on Easter Sunday, as the Bible says he did? Over the years, many people have not been so sure. Here’s a numbered list of some of those objections. Can you match any of these objections to actual Bible events?
 


 
 
1. Jesus’ body was placed in another tomb by the gardener.
 
 
 
2. Another man was crucified in Jesus’ place.
 
 
 
3. Jesus lapsed into a comma and revived after his stay in the tomb.
 
 
 
4. Jesus’ disciples lied.
 
 
 
5. Jesus’ disciples hallucinated it all.
 
 
 
6. Jesus’ disciples stole his body.
 
 
 
7. Disciples mistook an empty tomb for the one Jesus was laid in.
 
 
A. Otherwise his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first. Matthew 27.64
B. A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. Mark 15.21
C. Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Mark 15.44
D. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. Luke 23.53
E. They were startled and frightened, thinking they was a ghost. Luke 24.37
F. Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” John 20.15
G. When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it. Mark 16.11


1. F 2. B 3. C 4. G 5. E 6. A 7. D
 


What problem do you immediately see with the sources of these supposed objections?
The disciples would not be so foolish as to give ammunition to the enemy to doubt the resurrection. They would have pictured themselves as always believing Jesus would rise from the dead.
Let’s examine the Easter Sunday story to investigate the validity of these objections.
The Other Man Theory
Read Mark 15.21-24
Who carried Jesus’ cross?
Simon of Cyrene
Mark shows some familiarity with this man and mentions him in a way that seems to indicate other Christians should know him, too. How does he do that?
Mark mentions that Simon is the father of Rufus and Alexander, as if everyone knows who these boys are.
Simon’s sons appear at least two times in the New Testament, both times in connection with the writings or work of Paul.
 
Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too.   Romans 16:13-14
 
The Jews pushed Alexander to the front, and some of the crowd shouted instructions to him. He motioned for silence in order to make a defense before the people. Acts 19:32-34
 
How would the widespread familiarity with Simon’s sons debunk the Other Man theory?
Rufus and Alexander would know if their father had been crucified in Jesus’ place and they would have ample opportunity to let the Christians know their teachings were false and their father was innocent of his tragic death.
Prove from Mark’s Gospel that the soldiers did not lose track of Jesus.
It says they brought Jesus to Golgotha and crucified him there. They had everything under control.
How believable is the Other Man theory?
Very unbelievable. The Roman soldiers would have had to act out of character and Rufus and Alexander, men enjoying some fame in Christian circles, would have had to keep their mouths shut in explaining their father’s shameful death.
How believable is Mark’s account.
Very believable. Jesus is in poor shape. Simon carries the cross to Golgotha and the soldiers proceed with Jesus’ crucifixion.
By the By: But were these the same boys?
Granted, Rufus and Alexander are common names, but here’s what makes them uncommon—they were Graeco/Roman names as part of the very small circle of Christians known to the miniscule circle of Christians at Rome. Mark’s Gospel was written at Rome for the Romans. Rufus is among those at Rome whom Paul greets. If Mark’s Gospel were talking about a different Rufus, he would have had to say, “the other Rufus, not the one who we all know here at Rome.”
As for Alexander, the riot in Ephesus was not against Jew and Christian, it was against Greek (the silversmiths) and Jew/Christians whose faith threatened the silversmith’s livelihood. Of course the Jews would want someone with standing before the Roman judge—the Roman Alexander—who was also a Christian. The man who ended up saving Paul (and several others’ necks) from martyrdom in Ephesus would certainly enjoy some fame in Christian circles.
The Gardener Theory
Read John 20.10-18
Which follower of Jesus does this episode focus on?
Mary Magdalene
How hardened was Mary Magdalene in her belief that Jesus had not risen from the dead?
The angels’ message that Jesus had risen didn’t even move her. She still believed Jesus was dead.
Who did Mary mistake Jesus for?
The gardener
Why would she not have recognized Jesus when he appeared to her?
She was crying her eyes out, not seeing clearly, and Jesus was the last person she expected to see in front of her.
How is Mary convinced that Jesus is really risen from the dead?
He calls her by name and she touches him.
What does she do with that knowledge?
She goes and immediately tells the disciples Jesus is alive.
Why is the Gardener theory untenable?
It rests on a misconception of Mary Magdalene that was quickly cleared up.
What’s a better explanation for what has gone on?
Jesus had bodily risen from the dead.
The Mistaken Tomb Theory
Read John 19.38-42
According to this account, who buried Jesus?
Joseph and Nicodemus
How do we already know Nicodemus?
He was the one in John 3 who talked to Jesus at night.
Why would the burial have been a hasty affair?
Friday was drawing to a close and with sunset, the Sabbath started when observant Jews could do no work.
What do we know about this secretive Joseph of Arimathea?
He was secretly a disciple of Jesus, but did not reveal it because he feared the Jewish leadership, of which he was a member! He doesn’t act secretly here in Jesus’ burial.
Consider Luke’s words about Jesus’ burial:
55The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. 56Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
24 1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.
Luke 23.55-24.1
How does Luke tell us the disciples would know exactly what tomb Jesus was buried in and exactly how he was laid out?
The women were there watching Nicodemus and Joseph bury Jesus. They even got close enough to the tomb to see how Jesus’ body is laid out.
Look at Luke 24.1. Why aren’t “the women” identified?
Luke knows we will immediately identify them with the same women who ended Luke 23, the women at the tomb of Jesus for his burial.
Why is the Mistaken Tomb theory untenable, that the two Jews, Nicodemus and Joseph, secretly buried Jesus in a tomb unknown to the disciples?
There was no mistaking the tomb—the women saw the burial going on. It wasn’t a secret thing.
What’s a better explanation for what has gone on?
Jesus was really dead and was really buried in the same tomb that was empty on Easter Sunday.


The Revival Theory
John 19.31-37
Why was Jesus’ crucifixion a hasty affair and not the normal three-day torture?
The Jewish religious leaders did not want the crucifixion to extend into their special Sabbath around the Passover, so they asked Pilate to break the prisoners’ legs, hastening their death.
Why would the soldiers not want to go to the trouble of breaking Jesus’ legs?
It was hard work to break a leg, the strongest bone in the body.
How could they be sure Jesus was really dead?
They could stick a lance into his side.
What was the result of their testing Jesus to see if he was really dead?
Jesus was really dead, for blood and water came out. He had been dead long enough that his blood cells were settling out of his plasma.
Why does John make such a point of this, especially with the prophecies pointing to Jesus as the Messiah?
It is proof positive that Jesus is dead. Even in death, Jesus is fulfilling prophecies pointing to him as the Promised Messiah.
Consider these two passages:
Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. Mark 15.44-45
The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” Luke 23.47
 
How do these passages refute the assertion that Jesus was only half-dead when they took him down off the cross?
No soldier in his right mind would lie to the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate.
Who was the centurion who had reported to Pilate?
He was the same centurion who had presided over the crucifixion of Jesus.
How does his words, recorded by Luke, show Jesus was really dead.
He says Jesus was a righteous man. Jesus no longer is, he was, because he is now dead.


Consider these final two passages.
Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said. So they took away the stone. John 11.28, 31
The women asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. Mark 16.3-4
How much strength did it take to roll the stone away from a normal tomb?
The strength of at least a couple of men. Three women couldn’t do it.
How much strength would be available for a human being just coming out of a coma to roll the stone away from the inside?
Not enough to do the job.
What is the alternative to the theory that Jesus was only half-dead?
Jesus was really dead and so his resurrection on Easter Sunday was real.
Which is more believable?
The Bible’s account.
The Hallucination Theory
Read Luke 24.36-49
What do the disciples think they are seeing when Jesus appears to them in the upper room?
A ghost.
Looking at John 20.26, why might this be a good supposition?
The doors were locked. Somebody with a body couldn’t get in or out of the room with the doors locked.
How does Jesus take away their doubts?
He lets them touch him.
Why did Jesus have to eat in their presence?
Now they don’t believe it is really him alive but this time out of joy, so they need more proof.


Stop and think about a person who is having a hallucination, or, let’s say, a dream. A person very close to them has just died and the person is dreaming that they are talking to their departed loved one. Invariably the loved one will tell them he/she’s all right, not to worry, get on with their life. The departed will never tell the living something they do not already know, already want or already have guessed at. Why?
Because the hallucination or dream is a figment of the imagination of the person who is having that dream. As a result, the dream can’t have any insight the person doesn’t already have.
What does Jesus tell his disciples?
That this was Scripture fulfilled, that they would preach the Gospel throughout the world and that they should stay in Jerusalem until power comes upon them.
Have they ever heard this before?
Not the last part. Jesus had not told them to stay in Jerusalem. Everything else they had heard of, even if they had not listened to it.
Why would some of what Jesus said to them be most unwelcomed news?
Staying in Jerusalem, the home territory of Jesus’ murderers, would not be the place they would choose to stay. Some of them had even doubted Jesus when he first told them they were going to Jerusalem for this visit.
How long can a hallucination last?
Maybe a few hours at the longest.
Read Acts 1.3
Judging from the Acts citation, how long did Jesus appear to his disciples?
Forty days, over a month.
Read John 20.24-29
I suppose doubting Thomas must have thought the disciples had seen a hallucination (at best). In a number of ways Jesus shows Thomas he is not a hallucination. List them.
Jesus knows what Thomas’ demand had been even though he had not been present at the time Thomas said it.
Jesus has a tense conversation with Thomas
Jesus lets Thomas touch his wounds.
Jesus tells Thomas something Thomas would not have known
How tenable is the hallucination theory?
Not at all tenable.


What’s a better explanation for what has gone on?
Jesus bodily rose from the dead and appeared to his disciples over a forty day period.
The Theft Theory
Read Matthew 27.62-66, Matthew 28.11-15
On Good Friday, the Jews did not enter Pilate’s residence because entering a Gentile’s house made them ceremonially unclean. Unclean people could not eat the Passover. So they stayed outside, in the courtyard. How pressing was this matter of setting a Roman garrison over Jesus’ tomb?
It was so pressing the Jewish leaders go to Pilate’s home during the Sabbath, thus breaking their law. They were more eager to keep Jesus in the grave than they had been to put him on the cross.
Who came up with the theft theory?
The Jewish leaders.
Did they want Jesus’ body to be stolen?
No, they wanted Jesus’ body to stay in the tomb, so they could refute him as a false prophet.
How could they make sure Jesus’ body wasn’t stolen?
A Roman garrison was posted to make sure no one came near the tomb and they sealed it with the Roman governor’s seal to certify that no one had gone in or come out of it.
Explain how the reaction of the chief priests to the report of the guards on Easter Sunday disproves the theft theory.
They started throwing money at the problem, bribing the soldiers and promising to keep the bribes coming up the ladder if need be.
What’s a better explanation for what has gone on?
Jesus rose from the dead.
The Lie Theory
This is the simplest to understand. Some say Jesus never rose from the dead, his tomb never was empty. Jesus, like any other person, stayed dead. The disciples, rather than being out of work, decided to lie about it and the lie (like many loony conspiracy theories today and many religious movements built upon fraud and confidence games) spread.
This may be the hardest theory to debunk, because it is the most simple. People do lie. When there is a lot at stake people resort to lies.
Can you think of ways to debunk this theory?
Read the following passages in this group before you answer:
We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.  2 Peter 1:16
 
I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.  Galatians 1:11-12
 
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched-this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.  1 John 1:1
Disciples said they did not lie
 
Read the following passages in this group before you answer
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.  2 Timothy 4:6-8
 
When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him.  But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.  "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him.   Acts 7:54-58
Disciples went to their deaths affirming Christ’s resurrection
Consider this passage
Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.  1 Corinthians 15:1-8.
Too many people saw Jesus. If they did not see him, there would be a leak. And Scripture foretold it.
Now you are prepared for the devil’s attack on our faith through the media. Did you see any magazines or television shows recently that proclaimed these theories?


The Day of Resurrection
Jesus Christ, the Firstfruits
On the basis of our study last week, we’d have to say all the theories debunking Jesus’ Resurrection on Easter Sunday are incredibly weak. One would have to have a hardened bias to swallow any of them.
 
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 1 Corinthians 15.20
 
If our resurrection is to be at all understandable, we have to look at Jesus’ resurrection. His resurrection is the firstfruits.
 
What did the Old Testament firstfruits offering mean?
When you have entered the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance and have taken possession of it and settled in it, take some of the firstfruits of all that you produce from the soil of the land the LORD your God is giving you and put them in a basket. Then go to the place the LORD your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name and say to the priest in office at the time, "I declare today to the LORD your God that I have come to the land the LORD swore to our forefathers to give us."  The priest shall take the basket from your hands and set it down in front of the altar of the LORD your God. Then you shall declare before the LORD your God: "My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous. But the Egyptians mistreated us and made us suffer, putting us to hard labor. Then we cried out to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our misery, toil and oppression. So the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with miraculous signs and wonders. He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; and now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, O LORD, have given me." Place the basket before the LORD your God and bow down before him. And you and the Levites and the aliens among you shall rejoice in all the good things the LORD your God has given to you and your household.
Look down from heaven, your holy dwelling place, and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us as you promised on oath to our forefathers, a land flowing with milk and honey."
Deuteronomy 26:1-11, 15
Thanksgiving for the Lord’s past deliverances.
Trust that the Lord will provide a bountiful harvest.
So the firstfruits mean more of the same was coming, only this time the people would be able to keep it.
Let’s see what the firstfruits of Christ’s resurrection entails by following Luke’s account of the Resurrection.
Read Luke 24.1-12
Why had the women gone to the tomb?
They want to finish the burial ceremony for Jesus.
What were they expecting to find?
A dead Jesus.
What was conspicuously missing?
Jesus’ body.
What two pieces of information do the angels give the women?
Jesus is living and Jesus is risen (bodily) from the dead.
What reactions did the women receive from the disciples?
What puzzled Peter when he went to the tomb?
The strips of linen were lying by themselves.
How do you picture that?
They were sitting there like someone just melted through them.

The Resurrected Jesus has/can
Life
A body
He can slip through matter
He can be where he wants at any time
He can talk with people
He can quote Scripture
He can use his power to hide his identity
He can move matter
 
He can appear and disappear at will
 
He can move through matter
 
 

 
The Problem with the Synoptics
We call Matthew, Mark and Luke the Synoptic Gospels, because they largely look at the same events of Jesus’ life. Consider them three eyewitness accounts of Jesus.
The problem with any eyewitness accounts is, if you have more than one of them, there is going to be some discrepancies.
We have read Luke’s account of the women at the tomb. Matthew also records events surrounding the tomb that early Easter morning. Watch this video clip, Matthew 28.1-10 from “Matthew: A Dramatic Presentation of the Life of Jesus, Part Two (The Visual Bible, 1999), following Matthew’s own words. If you don’t already own this video, here’s a website you can visit to purchase it: http://www.christianbook.com
If you are studying this on-line, here’s the Youtube link:
This part runs from 3:39 to 6:20 in this episode.
What are the differences you noted?
No earthquake in Luke.
No angel rolling away the stone in Luke.
Only one angel in Matthew.
No guards mentioned in Luke.
Jesus never appears to the women in Luke.
How can they be talking about the same event? I thought we said Scripture never contradicted itself!
They are talking about the same event. The accounts are not contradictory, but supplementary. Very seldom will two eyewitnesses see exactly the same thing. And some of the story Luke felt he didn’t need to tell (Jesus appearing to the women), because he tells them nothing more than the angel had told them.
Read Luke 24.13-27
Where were these followers of Jesus (not members of the Twelve) going on this Easter Sunday afternoon?
Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem.
Going about three miles an hour, when did these men leave Jerusalem?
Perhaps around 3 pm, because they get to Emmaus around 5 pm, nearly sundown.


How does this show in what they know about Jesus’ resurrection?
They know the events of that morning, the report of the women and John and Peter coming back to tell them what they saw in the empty tomb.
How do their comments about the witnesses of the Resurrection tie in to Luke 24.1-12?
Luke tells us about these two events, the women and Peter.
What in the world is Jesus doing there and why didn’t they recognize him?
Jesus is walking along, suddenly appearing behind them at a distance and catching up to them. They don’t recognize Jesus because “they are kept from recognizing him.” He didn’t look any different, they just didn’t recognize him.
Why didn’t Jesus just reveal himself to these men?
He had a deeper lesson to teach them. He had to prove his resurrection to them through the Bible’s prophecies about his suffering and death. This would be the same method they would use to convince others that Jesus was the Messiah.
Can you imagine some of the Bible passages Jesus pointed to?
Psalm 22 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Crucifixion.
Isaiah 53 He was pierced for our transgressions. Crucifixion
Isaiah 53 He will see the light of life. Resurrection
Psalm 16 You will not abandon your Holy One. Resurrection.
Zechariah 12 Mourning the one they have pierced. Crucifixion
Zechariah 13 Strike the Shepherd. Crucifixion.
Read Luke 24.28-35
When only do the Emmaus disciples recognize Jesus?
When he broke bread and gave thanks.
Why do you think God wanted them to recognize Jesus while he was doing this?
He had done it so many times before in their presence—the familiarity of it got through to them. It was the same old Jesus, doing what he had always done.
The resurrection would not mean a different life for them at the moment, one filled with wonders, miracles and excitement—a thrill ride, but a new life filled with God’s grace, love and quiet confidence.
What was the proof that Jesus really was Jesus and that he was really telling them the truth?
The burning in the heart.
Really? Look at the proof of a prophet God gives.
If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, "Let us follow other gods" (gods you have not known) "and let us worship them," you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. 
Deuteronomy 13.1-3
If a prophet comes to the people and he performs miracles, could he be a prophet of God?
Yes.
If a prophet comes to the people and what he predicts takes place, could he be a prophet of God?
Yes.
If a prophet comes to the people and though he performs miracles and makes truthful predictions, but does not speak according to the Word of God, could he be a prophet of God?
No.
So what was the proof that Jesus really was Jesus and that he was really telling them the truth?
His words agreed with what the Scriptures said.
If you are ever visited by Mormon missionaries and mistakenly take them in and listen to what they have to say, at the end of their presentation they will ask you to seek confirmation of the truth of their message by praying that God reveal to you that they are true messengers of his by giving you a “burning in the bosom.” They are hoping you think it is the same thing the Emmaus disciples experienced.
Explain why it is not.
The Emmaus disciples got that feeling while Jesus was opening the Scriptures to them, not afterwards. They didn’t have to pray for it or seek it, it came to them. Even then it was not the proof of Jesus’ veracity. His words agreeing with Scripture were the proof.
Why do so many people report feeling a burning in the bosom?
The human mind can fool itself. Conflicting spiritual ideas leading to the overthrow of established and long-cherished tenants of faith would lead to tension and stress in a person (not unlike a burning in the bosom). The devil would certainly be able to give a person this burning to further solidify his hold on him.
Go back to the chart, “The Resurrected Jesus has/can” and add another entry.
He can disappear at will.
Contrast the trip to Emmaus and the trip from Emmaus.
They walked slowly, and were downcast. All the wind had been let out of their sails because of Jesus’ death.
They quickly get back to Jerusalem, even in the fading light—did they run?—and were upbeat and excited at Jesus’ resurrection.
Was their testimony about Jesus’ being alive even needed?
No, the disciples already believed Jesus was alive because he had appeared to Peter.
Where is this appearance of Jesus’ to Peter recorded?
It isn’t in any of the Gospel accounts.
Why did the disciples believe Peter when they didn’t believe the women?
It is human nature—the truth is only the truth if the right person says it is.
Why is that a dangerous tendency in God’s church?
The leaders may not be saying the right things. Those nearest and closest to you, a humble child, your wife, your mother, may be reproving you of your sin, but you do not pay attention to them because they don’t have enough standing in your eyes. So often in the Bible it is the humble, the despised, those who have no standing, who are the spokesmen of God. We walk on thin ice if we expect the truth only to come from approved channels.
I think you can add one more entry to “The Resurrected Jesus has/can” chart.
He can be anywhere at any time.
Read Luke 24.36-49
Go back to the chart. What else can Jesus do now in his exalted state?
He can move through matter.
What peace is Jesus bringing to his disciples?
The peace of sins forgiven in their relationship with God.
The disciples already believe Jesus has risen from the dead. Peter has told them. The Emmaus disciples have told them. Why do they not believe it is Jesus when he is standing right there in front of them?
His sudden appearance, coming through the locked doors, makes them think he is a ghost, not the living Jesus. In panic, they revert back to their unbelief and superstitions.
How might people be tempted to revert to superstition under these circumstances?
The house isn’t selling.
Some bury a statue of St. Joseph upside down in their back yard.
You get a call from the police that your child has been in an accident and taken to the hospital.
Some might start bargaining with God, or obey all the traffic laws for once in their life as they are driving down to the police station, so God will reward their obedience with a good result.
The doc has told you you have inoperable cancer.
Some might look for faith healers, anyone who can save them.
You are on the free throw line with the potential game winning shot.
Many basketball players cross themselves.
How does Jesus prove to them that he has really bodily risen from the dead?
He tells them to touch him.
Now why don’t the disciples believe it is really Jesus?
Because of joy and amazement.
How does Jesus now prove he has bodily risen from the dead?
He eats in front of them.
Why is it important that Jesus gives the disciples the same “Emmaus Experience”?
Only when they fully understand the Scriptures can they fully be the witnesses to the world that he wants them to be.
What is the connection between our knowledge of Scripture and our ability to spread the Word?
Generally speaking, the more we know about our God through the Bible, the more we will be motivated and equipped to tell others about Jesus.
Luke brings the Easter account to an end with a look forward towards what event?
Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit will come upon the disciples.
A church is not doing very well. Attendance is down. Finances are hurting. People are moving away. Everyone is starting to turn on everyone else or, just as bad, stay away all together. The pastor has two pieces of advice from other pastors. 1) Start an evangelism committee with a specialized leadership training curriculum designed to get a few well-trained individuals out on the streets witnessing for Christ. 2) Try to get as many people coming to your weekly Bible classes as possible.
Which one should he try?
#2 The more we know about Jesus, the more it will show. Evangelism is something everyone on fire for Jesus can do, not just for a select few. With more witnessing, there will be more people in church. With more people in church there will be more members. With more members there will be more money. With more members growing in their faith there will be more giving. Money problems in a church are almost always symptoms of a spiritual problem—neglect of God’s Word.
 
 
The Day of Resurrection
I, Too, Will Live
The closest thing we have to a saint in the WELS told me how upset his mother was at his aunt’s funeral. Yes, the aunt belonged to a different Lutheran Church where it seemed the preacher did not once say the aunt was alive with Jesus now in heaven. Not once did he give any indication the family would ever see her again. He did, however, say we all would fondly remember her, the impact of her life lives on and how blessed we were to share in her life.
Our saint, ever the nice guy, sat silently seething in the pew. His mother went after the preacher after the service. “Shame on you. My sister isn’t just going to live in our memories. My sister is in heaven right now, even though, judging from your words, you don’t believe it! Shame on you!”
 
I guess the preacher’s beliefs were not that much different from the pagan Horace, a Roman poet living just before Jesus’ time. “non omnia moriar. I will not completely die.”
 
If all we’ve got to hang on for our life after death is what the pagans have, why be a Christian?
There is no reason to be a Christian, because there will be no certain hope for us.
Christ as the firstfruits shows us the way. Let’s pursue that path. The Apostle Paul did when he was confronting pagan ideas about the resurrection in Corinth.
Read 1 Corinthians 15.1-11
Judging from Paul’s words, can that preacher mentioned above, be a Christian? Why or why not?
No, because (judging from his profession of his faith in the words of his sermon) he doesn’t believe in the resurrection, which is the gospel which saves us.
What phrase repeats in Paul’s opening verses?
According to the Scriptures.
Do you recall how we can tell whether a person is sent from God or not?
He performs miracles.
He predicts the future.
He teaches according to God’s Word.
What is Paul claiming for his gospel?
That it is from God. He received it from Jesus.
Can you think of the stories of Jesus’ resurrection appearances Paul mentions?
Peter
We don’t know, except that the apostles tell the Emmaus disciples that Jesus appeared to Peter on Easter Sunday.
The Twelve
This has to refer to the Easter Sunday evening appearance
The 500
We don’t know when this was. Perhaps it was his Ascension.
James
We don’t know when Jesus appeared to his brother, but it could have happened at the Ascension, or maybe before, for Mary and the brothers of Jesus were in the upper room immediately after Jesus ascended into heaven.
To me
Jesus appears to Paul as he is making his way to Damascus to persecute Christians
Why does Paul feel the need to go through these proofs of Jesus’ resurrection when he wants to address the issue of our resurrection?
We can’t rise from the dead unless Jesus has risen from the dead and his resurrection of the dead is futile if we don’t rise from the dead. “Because I live, you will live,” Jesus promised. Paul is laying down the thread of proof for Jesus’ resurrection as the foundation for our resurrection.
What is the problem with Paul’s apostleship?
He wasn’t one of the Twelve and became a Christian after Jesus had ascended into heaven.
Why is Paul an apostle, equal to the Twelve?
God selected him and God’s grace was working powerfully through him.
So, is Paul going to teach a resurrection different than the Twelve?
No, it is the same message because it is the same Word of God.
Read 1 Corinthians 15.12-19
The sophisticated Greeks at Corinth were saying there was no resurrection from the dead. They couldn’t understand how the body could be put back together again. They didn’t even think it was desirable! Stoics saw the body as the seat of all our troubles—the lusts, the desires. Get rid of the body and you’d have a happy existence! The Epicureans saw the body as a vital organ of the enjoyment of all good things in this world (mental, physical and sensual), but, as materialists, they couldn’t comprehend a world beyond ours, even going so far as to doubt whether the gods existed.


What would the ramifications be if there is no bodily resurrection from the dead?
Jesus would not be raised from the dead.
Paul’s preaching is useless.
Their Christian faith is useless.
Paul and the Apostles are in deep trouble, telling lies about God.
We are still in our sins.
Those believers who have already died are lost.
I cannot tell you how it feels to have one’s hope of eternal life destroyed, to know your loved ones have died in vain and are irretrievably lost. I do not want even to imagine it. But listen to a group of people who did have their hope of eternal life shattered.
In the 1960’s cryonics got started. It was the belief that if you froze dead people and preserved them in that suspended, frozen state, scientists decades or centuries later could use advanced methods to bring the people held in cryonic suspension back to life. Obviously, the people had to stay frozen for the duration.
A Californian, Bob Nelson, became head of a cryonics group that actually received bodies and froze them. They ran on a shoe-string budget, desperate people came to them, mistakes were made and things went bad, horribly bad. The story is retold on This American Life, Episode 354, originally aired on April 18, 2008. We hear two audio clips, 30:43-34:11 and 42:24-44:31. (Be patient!--it may take a little time to download!)
 
 
What hope of eternal life did the people involved in cyronics have?
They had the hope of “eternal” life in the future when death was reversed through medicine.
Who was responsible for their salvation?
The people they were trusting, Bob and their children.
How firm was this hope based on Bob’s reaction and the reaction of the son who went back to find his parents?
Not firm at all. Bob just walked away from it. The son couldn’t even express it.
If Jesus has not been raised from the dead, we are even more pitiful, because we’ve squandered the one life we have on resisting the desires of the flesh and the temptations of the world.
Read 1 Corinthians 15.20-28
Paul makes a comparison between Adam and Jesus. What is it?
Adam and Jesus are both men, but they brought drastically different things to mankind, death in Adam’s case, life and resurrection in Jesus’ case.


Why does Paul emphasize Jesus being a man?
Because God cannot die. Jesus, as true Man, is our replacement and substitute. He joins his life to ours and his resurrection is joined to ours.
We get a glimmer of the chronology of the Last Day here. What is it?
The dead will be raised, then the kingdom will be handed over to the Father after the world is destroyed.
How can you defeat death, a thing that isn’t even a person?
It is picture language here, that the saved are forever removed from death and the fear of death. They cannot die any more.
Why does Paul go into a (to our thinking) convoluted discussion of Jesus not putting God under himself, but that the Son will be subject to God the Father (we presume). What does it mean to you that Jesus is the Son of God? What does Son mean?
The Father produces the Son. This cannot be what Jesus’ Sonship means, for he is co-eternal with the Father. There never was a time when the Father existed, but Jesus didn’t exist.
The Son obeys the Father’s will. This has to be what it means. Jesus’ Sonship is his perfect and complete obedience to his Father’s will and carrying out the plan of salvation, which will come to fulfillment only when the Last Day has ended. And then God will be “all in all.”
Read 1 Corinthians 15.29-34
Paul has one more proof from the Christian’s life that Jesus has risen from the dead. What is it?
Baptism.
Do you know what the Mormons do with this passage?
They baptize dead people in absentia by proxy so that they may end up in one of the Mormon heavens.
What does this passage say about the Mormon baptism for the dead?
Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment. Hebrews 9.27
Once a person is dead, they cannot escape hell and enter heaven.


What might Paul be talking about when he links baptism and death?
Believers were literally being baptized for the dead like the Mormons do—the Corinthians were goofing up on almost anything and everything in their faith.
Believers were being baptized and added to the church to replenish the ranks of the faithful who had died and gone to heaven. “For” here would mean “in place of,” a usage that is in keeping with the Greek word uper. This would seem to be the preferable meaning, for it is hard to imagine Paul passing any false doctrine by without refuting it. It is impossible to tell from the context what the practice in Corinth was which Paul mentions.
Paul gives one final proof of the resurrection. What is that?
His crazy life, facing dangers for the faith.
How does a Christian die every day?
By repentance over sins.
How does the daily death to sin by repentance fit in nicely with Paul’s baptism for the dead?
Daily repentance is the meaning of baptism for our lives. We are baptized into death to sin that we may rise to life for God.
Which brand of Greek philosophy, Stoic or Epicurean, would Paul be quoting with his “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die?”
The Epicurean, for theirs in the only life-style that makes sense if there is no resurrection from the dead.
How long does Paul let this statement of false teaching stand?
Not one verse. He immediately says, “Do not be misled.”
What light might this shed on Paul’s “baptism for the dead?”
It is a baptism into the death to sin and the life to God.
To the wise and mighty in Corinth who deny the bodily resurrection, Paul gives the worst rebuke. What is it?
They are ignorant.
How do you feel when your pastor in a sermon or in a Bible class calls something stupid?
Being polite Americans who are loathe to judge anything, there is the tendency to not like hearing anything being called stupid, but we need to hear it. There is much in our world which is moral folly, “stupid,” and it needs to be pointed out.


Read 1 Corinthians 15.35-49
What kind of body do the dead rise with? Paul responds, “How foolish.” What does that show about the intent of this question?
It is rooted in a lack of belief in the resurrection of the dead. If you can make something sound impossible or ridiculous, the human mind pretty much concludes it isn’t to be taken seriously.
Paul uses a fantastic comparison to show we will not have these sin-ridden, diseased and mortal bodies in heaven. What is it and explain it.
As a seed, once it is planted and decays, turns into a plant so these earthly bodies of ours, once planted and decayed, will turn into a physical body fit for life in heaven.
Now Paul goes on a tear through the different kinds of matter in the world, from human flesh to the makeup of stars! What is the purpose of this discussion.
To show that we still will have material bodies in heaven, only they will be of a different sort, a material body that is fit for eternal life in heaven.
Paul actually reverses the Stoic argument which used the existence of this earthly body as proof that there can’t be a resurrection. How does he do it?
Paul says the existence of our natural body presumes and demands that there will be a spiritual body. We cannot exist without these bodies, so we will have bodies in heaven.
And again Paul returns to Adam. When we say, “the First Adam,” what do we immediately presuppose?
The Second Adam, Christ.
Now Paul goes back to that comparison between Adam and Christ again, only this time he throws us into the mix, giving the time-line for every believer! Put Paul’s words into our chart to clarify.

Adam
Christ
Living being
Life-giving spirit
Came first
Came after
Of the dust of the earth
Of heaven
We bear his image
We will bear his image

So, what type of body will we have in heaven?
We will have a spiritual, material body which will be fit for life in heaven.


Read 1 Corinthians 15.50-57
What will be the biggest change in our bodies when we rise from the dead?
We will be immortal, never able to perish or die.
Who are those who “will not sleep?”
Those who are alive on the Last Day, who do not need to be raised from the dead.
What will also happen to them?
They will receive that spiritual body along with all who have been raised from the dead, because sinful flesh and blood cannot enter heaven.
Why are people afraid of death?
They are afraid of going to hell, afraid of staying dead and missing out of everything.
What role does the law have to play with sin and death?
The Bible teaches “the soul that sins shall die.” Sin brings death. Sin is only sin when there is a law saying it is forbidden.
Instead of despair in the face of sin and death, what can the Christians have?
Victory and joy?
And what is the only reason this is possible?
There is a resurrection from the dead and it is through Jesus Christ, our Savior.
 


The Day of Resurrection
Details, Details, Details
OK. From our study we know these things.
Jesus did really rise from the dead on Easter Sunday.
We really will rise from the dead.
Jesus’ resurrection is the proof that we will rise.
It will be us in the resurrection.
We will have an immortal body, a spiritual body fit for life in heaven in the resurrection.
 
But isn’t there more you want to know?
I do!
Let’s just walk through these Bible passages that talk about the resurrection, life after death and the Last Day and see what they say. (This, by the way, is a dogmatic approach to theology.)
When will the world end and Judgment Day take place?
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Matthew 24.36
No creature knows when the Last Day will come.
Who will rise on the Last Day?
Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:2
Everyone, both believers destined for life and unbelievers destined for hell.
 
and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. Acts 24:15
All, both the righteous and the wicked.
 
Who will raise me on the Last Day?
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. Romans 8:11
The Holy Spirit will raise me.
 
I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. John 5:25
Jesus will call me from the grave.
 
What will happen to the people who are still alive on the Last Day?
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
They will not die, but their mortal bodies will be changed into glorious bodies fit to live in heaven. They, together with the resurrected believers, will be taken to heaven.
 
Will I be an angel in heaven?
That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. "Teacher," they said, "Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and have children for him. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. Finally, the woman died. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?"
Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.   Matthew 22:23-30
No! The point of Jesus’ words is not that we will be angels. We will be like the angels, not being married, not reproducing.
 
What kind of body will I have?
I know that my Redeemer lives,
 and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.  
And after my skin has been destroyed,
 yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him
 with my own eyes-I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!   Job 19:25-27
It will be my body, with my own eyes. I will look like me because I will be me.
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Philippians 3:20-21
I will have a glorious body fit to live in heaven.
 
Augustine (Roman theologian, 400 AD): All will rise in a young age.
Quenstedt (Lutheran theologian 1600 AD): To that opinion, we agree as the most probable, that each will arise in the form which he had at he time of his death.
Do you see any problem with these statements?
Quenstedt’s statement is the most problematic. What about babies who die? Will they be crawling around in heaven? What about stillborns? It would be hard to see how heaven could be heaven if we didn’t have the full use of our human facilities. In this regard Augustine is preferable, as long as “young age” isn’t pushed into childhood. Personally, though I have absolutely no Scripture for proof, I’m holding out for everybody being 23.
 
Will I be married in heaven?
Jesus replied, "The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God's children, since they are children of the resurrection. Luke 20:34-36
No, we won’t be married in heaven and that’s exactly the point of this citation. The Sadducees were mocking heaven even being a possibility because of this hypothetical marriage dilemma. It wasn’t a dilemma at all, because in heaven, no one is married—just as none of the angels are married.
 
Will I be embarrassed on Judgment Day by an imperfectly sanctified life on earth?
"I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake,
 and remembers your sins no more. Isaiah 43:25
No, the Lord will never remember our sins and bring them up to us, no matter how often parents or spouses do after they have promised to forgive and forget.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. Ephesians 5:25-27
No, Jesus’ presents us to himself as perfectly spotless and blameless. There are no stains from previous skeletons in the closet.


What will be the joys of heaven?
And I--in righteousness I will see your face;
 when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness. Psalm 17:15
Seeing God face to face will be one of the highest joys.
 
But your dead will live; their bodies will rise.
 You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy.
Your dew is like the dew of the morning;
 the earth will give birth to her dead. Isaiah 26:19
The joy of life, fresh as the morning dew, will never fade.
 
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:1-4
A new heaven and earth will give us reason to rejoice and the whole, wonderful setting of heaven. It is pictured as a wedding, the happiest of times in the ancient world and in ours. The presence of God is mentioned again, and the memorable no more tears over death or pain.
 
How does the Bible describe heaven?
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Eternal life
 
Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:12
Reward
 
Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." Matthew 19:21
Treasure
 


Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." Luke 23:43
Paradise, a beautiful garden
 
In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. John 14:2
A mansion filled with enough rooms for everybody to have a dwelling place.
 
Instead, they were longing for a better country-a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:16
A heavenly country, a city. Those who have never been exiled or driven as refugees can never appreciate this reference.
 
His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." Luke 3:17
The barn, a great place for what a farmer wants to protect from the elements.
 
"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32
Kingdom
 
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, 1 Peter 1:3-4
An unfading, imperishable inheritance which we are sure to get.
 
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2
Glory. That is our hope, that we will live in glory with God in heaven.
 


Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:17-18
Heirs
All told, the descriptions of heaven are nothing, if not wonderful. God gave them to us that we might long to get there and resist every attack by the devil, world and our sinful human nature to rob us of that inheritance.
What joys will I have in heaven?
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18
I will have a glorious life that is incomparably better to the life I now lead.
 
And I--in righteousness I will see your face;
 when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness. Psalm 17:15
I will rejoice in seeing God.
 
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
I will know everything, just as God knows everything about me.
 
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2
I will be like God in that I will be perfectly holy and sinless.
 
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. Revelation 22:1-5
I will see God, serve him and be able to live a healthy life forever.
 


You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.   Psalm 16:11
I will live and rejoice forevermore.
 
And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God. Rev 11:16
I will rejoice to worship God.
 
But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. "Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent's food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain," says the LORD. Isaiah 65:18-25
I will enjoy the labor of my hands forever. Whatever I need, my God will give me even before I ask him. There will be perfect peace for me to enjoy in heaven.
Where is heaven?
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know-God knows. And I know that this man-whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows-was caught up to paradise.   2 Corinthians 12:2-4
Heaven is up there, for this man was caught up to it.
 
After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:17
Heaven is up there, for all believers will be taken to meet the Lord in the air and be with him forever.
 


(however)
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. 2 Peter 3:10
The Lord promises to make a new heaven and new earth to replace the one which has been destroyed.
 
That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.   2 Peter 3:12-13
God brings forth a new earth where his people will live.
 
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. Revelation 21:12
The new heaven and earth perfectly replace the old heaven and earth.
 
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. Romans 8:18-21
Why is creation long for the day of resurrection if it is not going to be recreated? 
Creation, too, will be freed from sin’s bondage and emerge forever as the paradise God intended it to be.
 
"Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
 nor will they come to mind. Isaiah 65:17
The new heaven and earth will blot out memory of the first one.
 
"As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me," declares the LORD, "so will your name and descendants endure.”
Isaiah 66:22
This new heaven and new earth will endure forever.
It seems as if the “up in the clouds” theory of heaven is untenable. Paul is speaking figuratively about being caught up into heaven. The Thessalonians passage is talking about being taken off the face of the earth while it is being destroyed. We will be with the Lord forever, not up in the clouds forever. We will descend to the new earth to live out eternity.
Will I ever die again?
The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 1 Corinthians 15:26
No, I will live forever, for death has been put out of business.
 
Can I be kicked out of heaven?
But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. 2 Peter 3:13
No, only righteous people who would never do anything evil enough to warrant getting kicked out, live in heaven.
 
Will there be degrees of glory in heaven?
Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. Daniel 12:1-3
Yes, some will shine like the stars, some like a bright night sky. There is a difference here.
 
"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
"'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.    Matthew 25:21, 23, 28-29
Each servant is given a reward in proportion to what he has done. Some have more, others less. This equates to glory in heaven. Some will have more glory, others will have less. The happiness, however, is equal, for all the good servants share their master’s happiness.
 
(But see the whole parable)
While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. He said: "A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. 'Put this money to work,' he said, 'until I come back.'
"But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, 'We don't want this man to be our king.'
"He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.
"The first one came and said, 'Sir, your mina has earned ten more.'
"'Well done, my good servant!' his master replied. 'Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.'
"The second came and said, 'Sir, your mina has earned five more.'
"His master answered, 'You take charge of five cities.'
"Then another servant came and said, 'Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21 I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.'
"His master replied, 'I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? Why then didn't you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?'
"Then he said to those standing by, 'Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.'
"'Sir,' they said, 'he already has ten!'
"He replied, 'I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. Luke 19:11-26
The point of the parable is not to describe degrees of glory in heaven. The main point of the parable is to show people Jesus was not going to bring heaven to earth in the near future. It was a lot longer off than later in Holy Week. That’s why Jesus has the king go away and entrust portions of his kingdom to servants. That they were able to double their investments also testifies to the long period of time that has elapsed. If there is a second point to the parable it is to be faithful, for the unfaithful servant was sent to hell. This, too, ties in with the length of the king’s absence. It is much easier to become less than faithful the longer the king is away—don’t do it!
Read in this way, the parable has nothing to say about degrees of glory.
 
All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12
As the wicked are paid back trouble for all the trouble they have given (less trouble for those who have troubled less, more trouble for the arch-troublers), so God’s people will receive degrees of glory in heaven.
 
The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. "That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:46-48
As the wicked servants will be punished according to their wickedness, the good servants will be rewarded according to their obedience.
_______________________________________________________
While the Bible clearly does teach a difference in punishment for the souls in hell in accordance with their degrees of wickedness, the parables cited assume a symmetrical relationship in heaven. This is unwarranted by the passages. Heaven is a reward of God’s grace, hell is the payment for man’s evil. The two are worlds apart. All the parables of Jesus focus only on the degrees of punishment for the wicked, as a way of warning the believers that much is expected of them—for them to fall away now, after having come to faith!!! Better not to have been born!
Indeed, the passages cited show an equality in heaven among the believers. They are glorified. They are made worthy by Jesus. Even the Daniel citation falls under careful scrutiny. Hebrew poetry works in parallel, saying the same thing in the two different lines. Shine like the brightness of heaven is equivalent to like the stars. The wise who will bring many to Jesus are the righteous. There is the same glory, the same happiness. It seems only the sinful human nature, hoping for some special recognition for a life of slaving away for God, may be disappointed with that. For these reasons, this writer rejects the ideas of degrees of glory in heaven.
 
Will there be others with me in heaven?
I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 8:11
Yes, all believers and it is pictured as a lot of people.
 
Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Matthew 17:3
The saints of old will be there in heaven.
 
Will I know everyone in heaven?
Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters-one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." Matthew 17:2-4
Bathed in the heavenly glory of Jesus, Peter instinctively knows it is Moses and Elijah speaking with Jesus. Introductions are unnecessary. So it will be in heaven.
 
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
We will know others, who they are, what they are, as well as we are known—fully.
 
Am I going to be saddened if I don’t find unbelieving friends who have made it to heaven?
“Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
 nor will they come to mind. Isaiah 65:17
I will not remember those unbelievers who have perished in hell.
 


Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? 1 Corinthians 6:1-3
Rather than being saddened by God’s righteous judgments, I will approve of them and second them on Judgment Day. That will not come back to cause remorse later.
 
After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his saints.” Revelation 19:1-2
We will praise God in heaven for his justice meted out to unbelievers, be they the Great Deceiver or all who followed him.
 


The Day of Resurrection
Hope to Build On
OK. From our study we know these things.
Jesus did really rise from the dead on Easter Sunday.
We really will rise from the dead.
Jesus’ resurrection is the proof that we will rise.
It will be us in the resurrection.
We will have an immortal body, a spiritual body fit for life in heaven in the resurrection.
And now we know answers to a lot of other, smaller questions regarding heaven.
So.
So? It’s the difference between the Bible and religion!
The word “religion” literally means “to bind up again, tie up again.” The idea is that the people will run riot unless they have the fear of God in them. This is the idea most governments work with that give religious organizations tax breaks. They are good for the governance of the country because they keep the people in line. That’s why religion works with guilt, fear, and threats of punishment to motivate people.
Unfortunately, many churches show they are religious in exactly this way. The motivation for living the Christian life comes from the Law. They could very well react to the Resurrection with “so.” It is largely irrelevant to how they live their daily lives, motivated as they are by the Law.
 
The Bible says we live the Christian life out of love for a God who freed us.
Most Evangelical Lutheran churches grasp this idea and make it the center of our Gospel preaching. So don’t be surprised when your kids are out playing on Good Friday, or you haven’t given up chocolates for Lent, your neighbors catch you with a beer or putting a few quarters into a slot machine, “You’re not very religious!”
You should really tell them, “No, I’m not religious at all—I’m a Christian!” But don’t—they won’t understand it and they’ll say all sorts of bad things about Lutherans. But it’s true!
 
The Resurrection forms every aspect of my life.
 
We’ve studied the great Resurrection chapter, 1 Corinthians 15. Look how Paul concludes this chapter.
 
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58
 


Why should I stand firm?
Because Jesus rose from the dead and will give me eternal life. My life will not be irrelevant.
 
Why should nothing move me (away from Christ)?
He is the only source of salvation.
Why should I jump into the Lord’s work?
Everything I do for him will have his guidance and blessing. 
Is this Law motivation or Gospel motivation?
Gospel. Jesus has done this for me. I want to respond to his love.
 
Why would none of this happen if Christ didn’t rise from the dead?
I wouldn’t want to waste my precious life doing things my sinful human nature doesn’t want me to do. I’d want to spend my time being an Epicurean.
 
There’s another great chapter, the chapter of faith, Hebrews 11.
You may already know how it starts out:
 
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. Hebrews 11.1-2
 
Then the writer goes through so many of the Old Testament stories. By faith Abel offered a better sacrifice to God. By faith Noah built the ark. By faith Abraham moved to the Promised Land and trusted that God would give him a son. By faith Moses threw his lot in with the Children of Israel, by faith the sainted kings and prophets of old lived and died.
Here’s how that chapter ends.
The world was not worthy of them. They were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us, so that only together with us would they be made perfect. Hebrews 11.38-39.
 
None of them received heaven in this life. Their bodies are going to have to wait until the Last Day so they, together with us, can enter into glory.


Now look what the writer says.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12.1-3
Where’s the Resurrection or life after death mentioned twice?
The crowd of witnesses and Jesus sitting at the right hand of God.
What impact will that have on our lives.
We will be inspired to follow their example.
Who makes up the cloud of witnesses in your life and how does the outcome of their lives impact yours?
 
 
 
 
Is this Law motivation or Gospel motivation?
Gospel motivation. By faith the ancient saints were carried through the tough times by the Lord and will inherit heaven, as we will. By faith the same Lord will get us through tough times, so don’t give up!
 
But wait! Hebrews 12 isn’t done! He now compares the Christian’s life to the life of the Children of Israel around Mount Sinai. We haven’t come to a mountain shrouded with smoke and fire—we have come to the heavenly Jerusalem, come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. We have come to a mountain that cannot be shaken and removed by the destruction of the Last Day!
Here comes the punch line:
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12.28-29
Where is the Resurrection in these lines?
The unshakeable kingdom


How are we to live?
With thanks and worship to God With reverence and awe.   Fear crossing him, for he will destroy us if we transgress his commandments and pass into unbelief. Revere him for his loving and forgiving ways which are so wonderful.
 
Why are we to live that way?
We are going to heaven.
Is this Law motivation or Gospel motivation?
Gospel. God has given us heaven—this is how we want to live.
All this is well and good. For those who are healthy, wealthy and wise, how wonderful it is to go to these truths of the Bible and find inspiration in them. But how about when a person is facing death? How does the Bible’s teaching of heaven help him?
 
We do have the very words of a person who knew he was facing death. And the resurrection was the source of his strength. The man was the Apostle Paul. He has been imprisoned for the second time in Rome. This time he will not be released. Tradition tells us the Romans beheaded him.
Let’s read his last words.
Read 2 Timothy 4.1-5
How can you tell thoughts of eternity weigh heavy on Paul’s heart?
He starts his charge to Timothy with references to Judgment Day and the heaven which will follow.
What is Paul most worried about?
That the Gospel continue to be preached.
Why would the Gospel perhaps suffer a setback in the near future?
Paul would be executed.
What is an additional obstacle to Timothy stepping into Paul’s shoes to spread the Gospel?
False teachers will spring up like weeds and find a ready and large audience.
Why do false teachers prosper?
Because they tell people what they want to hear.
What is a true teacher supposed to tell the people?
What God wants them to hear.
How do Paul’s words show Timothy his work will be hard?
He is to keep his head, endure hardship and discharge his duties. These are not “walk in the park” phrases.
>      So a dying person, in the light of the Resurrection, is going to see to it that the important things are carried out.
 
Read 2 Timothy 4.6-8
List the phrases that Paul uses showing he knows his end is near.
Poured out
Departure
Fought the fight
Finished the race
What thought captivates Paul at the end of all his struggles?
The crown of righteousness, eternal life.
If there were no life after death, where would Paul be looking at the end of his life and why?
His accomplishments, because there would be nothing more for him to experience.
How does Paul show the Resurrection has touched him?
He looks forward to his death with confidence, rather than with fear.
>      So a dying person, in the light of the Resurrection, is going to look forward to heaven, rather than backward on his accomplishments in life.
 
Read 2 Timothy 4.9-16
Often at the end of a person’s life, they remember their enemies and curse them or exhort their children or friends to avenge them. Why does Paul mention the deserter Demas?
To show Timothy how alone he is so Timothy quickly comes to Rome.
Is there any judgment on Demas?
No, Paul just speaks of his not being at his side.
Why does Paul’s mention of Alexander the Ephesian metalworker not fall into the normal remember, curse, avenge pattern?
Paul simply says the Lord will take care of it. He doesn’t have to pray to God or make God vow to avenge him.
What is the purpose of Paul even mentioning Alexander?
He is a continuing threat to Timothy—he shouldn’t underestimate the man’s abilities for harm.
Far from wishing ill on those who left Paul in the lurch in his first trial, what is Paul’s wish for them?
That they be forgiven.
How can he be so generous?
He’s going to a place where vengeance and payback are meaningless. Heaven awaits, he can’t be caught up in the sins of this life, no matter how righteous they may seem.
>      So a dying person, in the light of the Resurrection, is not going to be vindictive, but forgiving.
 
Read 2 Timothy 4.17-18
At Paul’s first trial, who was his strength through it all?
The Lord
What was the Lord’s purpose in standing by Paul?
That the Gospel be preached
What was the wonderful result?
He was released from prison
Who is Paul’s strength now?
The Lord
What is the wonderful result now?
That God will bring Paul safely to heaven.
>      So a dying person, in the light of the Resurrection, will be confident that the Lord will bring him safely to heaven.
 
But didn’t we know this from the first lesson? In the face of death, the believer places all his trust in a God who saves, a God who has such a wonderful future in store that the believer can face death with confidence and grace.
 
23“Oh, that my words were recorded,
that they were written on a scroll,
24that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead,
or engraved in rock forever!
25I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.
26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
27I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!
 
Don’t you wish the powers that be had Job 19.23-27 in the regular pericope series?
Now go back to the pericope series and find a reference to Noah’s Flood (Genesis 6-9)!
 
 
Thanks for your attendance!