Good time of the year - Passover - Death and Resurrection of Christ - good time to have this little study - short but to the point, and so true. Thanks Don.
From "Thy Kingdom Come" - a publication of The Association of the
Covenant People, Burnaby, B.C. Canada
by Don Robson
The Resurrection is the cornerstone of the Protestant faith, yet
the church is unsettling in its ambiguity on this subject.
Furthermore, it is usually only discussed at Easter and I have
found over the years that the sermons on this subject are both
ambiguous and abstract. I suggest that this is the exact opposite
of enlightening and has created confusion among the laity which
is reflected in every funeral service which we attend. I believe
that many of our clergy do not believe in the physical
resurrection and this is compounded by the fact that they
have no understanding of the Kingdom of God, which they find,
"within our hearts". Even the Second Coming cannot be taken
literally, so in their minds, Christ has already returned, "in
The apostle Paul preached the Resurrection as the absolute
cornerstone of our faith. For example, 1st Corinthians 16:18, "If
the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be
not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then
they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." The
resurrection is reinforced in the verses 4:16-18, 1st
Thessalonians, "For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven
with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump
of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which
are alive shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to
meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
Previously, I mentioned funeral services. Well, that is the place
that we hear that our souls have gone to heaven where we can
enjoy that august environment, worshipping and praising
God. Then, when resurrected, our souls depart from heaven to
respond to the bodies leaving the grave at the call of our Lord.
For me, that does not put the Resurrection in a favourable light!
At a recent funeral I attended, I commented to the presiding
minister that we "short-circuited", the Resurrection, with souls
embarking for heaven at the point of death. This defines death as
a transition from one life to another. This is not so! While God
preserves our souls, "in the secret places", to be united with
our new incorruptible bodies on Resurrection day, there is no
awareness during our wait, in sleep, in the grave. I offer two
quotes. Ecc 9:10, "There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge,
nor wisdom, in the grave wither thou goest." And Psalm 115:17,
"The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into
silence." SO, DEAD IS DEAD! By the way, the challenged minister
responded by saying it was too complicated to explain!
The clergy have failed to realize that heaven is the exclusive
abode of God. In John 3: 13, Jesus says, "And NO MAN hath
ascended up to heaven: but He that came down from heaven
even the Son of Man which is in heaven."
This raises a question. If we are not resurrected to enter into
heaven, where do we go? Right here, that's where! God created the
earth as a paradise for man and gave man dominion over the earth.
To teach men to follow His eternal rules, He founded a kingdom at
Sinai and although the people of that kingdom floundered, falling
short of the glory of God, He sent a Redeemer of the Kingdom of
Israel, Christ Jesus, whom we adore. When Jesus returns, as
promised, He will establish and extend the Kingdom and peace will
flourish throughout the whole world, encompassed by the glory of
God. Those of us who achieve the first Resurrection will rule
with Christ in His Kingdom, through to the eighth day millennium,
through one thousand years. Following this period of peace, Satan
must be loosed for a little time, and the second Resurrection
will occur, some raised to eternal life, and some to judgment.
(This could be the subject of a complete article itself so I will
not address it here.)
Because the clergy have spiritualized the Kingdom, there
is no understanding of the bulk of the Bible story. Jesus
selected Abraham to be the founder of the Kingdom because of his
faithfulness. This continued through Isaac and Jacob and Jacob's
twelve sons. The Old Testament is full of the stories of the
Kingdom of Israel, and later, during the reign of Rehoboam, the
splitting of the Kingdom into the House of Israel and the House
of Judah. The prophets also advised us that the two Houses
would be united again under one king. This will occur when Shiloh
comes, whose right it is, who is the Appointed One, to reign over
the whole House of Israel. Gabriel explained this to Mary, when
he indicated that Jesus would rule over the House of Jacob, (the
whole House of Israel). It is noteworthy that this is not the
case today. Queen Elizabeth preserves David's throne, but many of
the Anglo-Saxon peoples, and the Scandinavian, and other related
peoples are not under her jurisdiction.
So, to summarize, we start by saying the Resurrection is real, it
will happen, and we will be resurrected with incorruptible bodies
to enter and serve in the Kingdom of God, with Jesus reigning
among us on earth. Why do we believe this? Because Jesus said He
would lay down His life and take it up again in three days. AND
HE DID!!! When He demonstrated publicly His great power with the
Resurrection of Lazurus, Martha said, (before the Resurrection)
"I know that he shall rise again at the resurrection at the last
day." And Jesus replied, John 11: 25, "I AM THE RESURRECTION
AND THE LIFE: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet
shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me, SHALL
NEVER DIE." Jesus also told Nicodemus that to enter the Kingdom
of God, man must be born again. Over Nicodemus' pro tests, Jesus
explained the Resurrection, where we exchange earthly bodies for
spiritual bodies and enter the Kingdom for eternity.
This story of Nicodemus contains the famous John 3:16, "For God
so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have
BELIEVE IN HIM!!!!