Reach Christians Effectively by -David Young- 25 Para

Resurrection: (23:0)

What Christians Believe:
Many Christians believe that after Christ died and was buried, His physical body rose on the third day and appeared to many of His followers, and entered heaven after forty days. The same physical body they believe will return to earth (23:1)

Statements opposed to a literal interpretation:
1. Paul speaks of the spiritual nature of the Resurrection:
"So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body.. I tell you this brethren: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable." (1co 15:42-44 rsv) (23:2) see

2. Christ distinguishes and separates spiritual identity from flesh identity:
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of spirit is spirit.." (joh 3:6).. "God is a spirit" (joh 4:24) [The essence of Christ is the Spirit and is born from God; and flesh is not the same essence] (23:3) see

3. Christ refers to the Resurrection as spiritual:
"I am the resurrection and the life.." (joh 11:25) [Christ is the "Resurrection",therefore "resurrection" is clearly symbolic usage] (23:4)

4. Christ says His physical body is of no avail compared to the "body" of His teachings:
"He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.. This is the bread which came down from heaven.. he who eats this bread will live forever.. Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending where He was before? It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life."(joh*6:56-63) (23:5) see

5. Symbolic nature of saying "ascended to heaven":
"And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, [even] the Son of man which IS in heaven" (joh 3:13) "..For I came down from heaven." (joh 6:38) "They (the Jews) said, "is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, 'I come down from heaven?'" (joh 6:42 rsv) [It is clear that being "in heaven," "ascending to heaven," and "come from heaven" all have spiritual meanings. What does it mean when Christ states, while His feet are walking on the earth, that He is already in heaven?] (23:6) see

6. The Kitab-i-Iqan explains the spiritual meaning of "residing in heaven":
"These ancient Beings, though delivered from the womb of their mothers, have in reality descended from the heaven of the will of God. Though they be dwelling on this earth, yet their true habitations are the retreats of glory in the realms above. Whilst walking amongst mortals, they soar in the heaven of the divine presence." (kiq 67) (23:7)

7. Resurrection appearances may not have been the physical body of Christ:
Paul lists Resurrection appearances (1co 15:5-8) and includes himself. Yet Paul only saw a bright light long after the Crucifixion. Therefore, other appearances may have also been the very spiritual experiences such as Paul describes for his own. (23:8) see

8. After this Jesus revealed Himself to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias "..Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus." (joh 21:1 rsv) [The Resurrected body was not the physical body that the disciples knew well and would easily recognize] (23:9) see

9. "Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it." (1co 12:27 rsv) "..He (Christ) is the head of the body, the church.." (col 1:18, rsv) ".. Saul, Saul why do you persecute Me?" (act 9:4) [The Body of Christ is symbolic for the community of believers which Paul was persecuting before he believed] (23:10) see

10. "God alone has immortality." (1ti 1:16) "..God is a Spirit.." (joh 4:24) [The Physical body of Christ could therefore not be immortal if God alone is immortal and only Spirit has immortality] (23:11) see

11. "Who in the days of His flesh.." (heb 5:7) [Days of flesh are spoken of in the past tense meaning that Christ was no longer in the flesh] (23:12) see

12. "Today thou shalt be with Me in paradise.." (luk 23:43) [Christ said this to one of the men crucified at the same time with Him. Therefore, that same day they were both resurrected and went to paradise] (23:13) see

13. Resurrection was not unique to Christ and is not the single fact that makes Jesus the Christ:
A. "The tombs were opened and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of their tombs after His resurrection they went into the city and appeared to many.. (mat 27:52-53) [Many non-Christians were resurrected along with Jesus]
B. Isaiah, Elijah, Ezekiel, Melchizedek, and Enoch all ascended bodily into heaven, and apocryphal scriptures say Moses did as well. (Wine of Astonishment p. 160)
C. The Bible describes Ezekiel resurrecting many dead bones and therefore having power over death also. (eze 37:7-10) (23:14) see

14. Paul says as Jesus was raised so will believers also be raised: "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection" (rom 6:5) [The bodies of the believers to be resurrected are clearly not their physical bodies (which no longer exist)] (23:15) see

15. "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (mat 12:40) [But Jesus died on Good Friday and rose on Easter Sunday (luk 23:54, 24:2) making a literal interpretation of three nights impossible & emphasizing a spiritual interpretation] (23:16) see

16. The "Doubting Thomas Argument" used by Christians (John 20:27-29) says disciple Thomas thrust his hand into the wounds of Christ so that he might believe the physical body of Christ was resurrected. Whether the Christian believes this to be a physical body or not, there are some things to possibly point out to Christians about the event. According to Harper's Bible Dict (p. 864), "The word used for "appeared" is the same Greek word used elsewhere for "visionary experiences.. We may today characterize these experiences as revelatory disclosures from the transcendent realm.. The appearances are manifestations of the resurrected and already ascended Christ from heaven." (23:17) see

17. "But they were terrified.. and supposed that they had seen a spirit. Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered.." (after asking for fish, he said) "These [are] the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and [in] the prophets, and [in] the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.." (luk 24:39-45) [What kind of body could this have been? According to Paul there are bodies for men, beasts, fish, birds, and "celestial bodies". This body suddenly appeared behind closed doors! (1co 15:30-40). This seems similar to Jesus & Peter meeting with Moses & Elias on the high mountain - after which Jesus said "Tell the 'vision' to no man.." (mat 17:9)] (23:18) see

18. Since Miracles are not the best proof, a less miraculous explanation is a stronger proof. (23:19)

19. Baha'i Explanation of the Resurrection: "..the disciples were troubled and agitated after the martyrdom of Christ. The Reality of Christ, which signifies His teachings, His bounties, His perfections and His spiritual power, was hidden and concealed for two or three days after His martyrdom, and was not resplendent and manifest. No, rather it was lost, for the believers were few in number and were troubled and agitated. The Cause of Christ was like a lifeless body; and when after three days the disciples became assured and steadfast, and began to serve the Cause of Christ, and resolved to spread the divine teachings, putting His counsels into practice, and arising to serve Him, the Reality of Christ became resplendent and His bounty appeared; His religion found life; His teachings and His admonitions became evident and visible. In other words, the Cause of Christ was like a lifeless body until the life and the bounty of the Holy Spirit surrounded it." (saq 104) (23:20)

20. "Attainment unto such presence is possible only in the Day of Resurrection, which is the Day of the rise of God Himself through His all-embracing Revelation. This is the meaning of the "Day of Resurrection," spoken of in all the scriptures.." (kiq 143) [Recognition of the reality of God's Revelation and His Manifestation is the true Resurrection which the disciples only fully recognized after Jesus' death] (23:21)

21. From Harper's Bible Dictionary: "Resurrection is to be distinguished from resuscitation or reanimation of the physical body. It denotes a complete transformation of the human being (1co 15:53-55). From (1co 15:3-8) we learn that faith in the resurrection was based not on the empty tomb, which Paul does not mention, but on the appearances of the Lord. The word used for "appeared" is the same Greek word used elsewhere for "visionary experiences" (emphasis added). We may today characterize these experiences as revelatory disclosures from the transcendent realm. No distinction was drawn between the resurrection and ascension. The appearances are manifestations of the resurrected and already ascended Christ from heaven." (p 864, 1985) (23:22) see

Baha'is believe in the Bible and in Jesus Christ, and are aware that Christians interpret the Bible differently, but regardless of whether the Resurrection of Jesus was physical or spiritual, Baha'is believe in the Resurrection and that He has the power to raise the dead. (23:23)

The proofs of Baha'u'llah are the same as the proofs of Jesus and the objections to Baha'u'llah are the same as the Jew's objections to Jesus. Many Jews felt Moses' physical salvation of the Jews by parting the Red Sea was a greater miracle that the Physical Resurrection of Jesus. They denied Jesus because they were expecting the miracle of another physical salvation of the Jewish people, rather that one person resurrecting himself when their Bible had many examples of people being raised to heaven. Therefore, the Christians should not reject their Messiah because He does not perform the miracles that they want or expect (as the Jews did to Jesus). (23:24)

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