3. The Resurrection of Christ

Earlier this week the Life group which my wife and I attend studied “3. The Resurrection of Christ” of the Statement of Fundamental and Essential Truths of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador (PAONL):

Christ did truly rise from the dead and take again His body, with flesh, bones and all things appertaining to the perfection of man’s nature, wherewith He ascended into Heaven, and there sits until His second coming.

I told the group that, noticing that unlike most of the Statement of Fundamental and Essential Truths of the PAONL this Truth is not in the Statement of Fundamental Truths of the Assemblies of God, I’d asked Pastor Roy King (in person) and Pastor Burton Janes (by e-mail) how it came to be in our Statement of Fundamental and Essential Truths. They said that when Bethesda Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland Inc. (now the PAONL) adopted the Statement of Fundamental Truths of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC) in 1929, “3. The Resurrection of Christ” was part of it. I asked the group what was so important about the resurrection of Christ that the PAOC (followed by the PAONL) would make it a separate truth in its Statement of Fundamental Truths. We had a good discussion of the question in which some of the points were made that I’d been planning to make in my presentation.

After the discussion of the question I made my presentation, commenting on the importance, proofs, nature, and significance of the resurrection of Christ.

The Importance of the Resurrection of Christ

The importance of the resurrection of Christ is indicated by the number of predictions that Jesus made of it in the Gospels and by the prominent place given to it in the messages recorded in the book of Acts. It stands out from other resurrections in that it was a permanent rather than a temporary restoration to life, Jesus’ rising from the dead not to just this life and destined to die again but forever to the right hand of God. In 1 Corinthians 15:14 Paul even claims, “[I]f Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (ESV; all Biblical quotations are from the ESV).

Proofs of the Resurrection of Christ

The Empty Tomb
The four Gospels agree that Jesus’ body was placed in a tomb after his crucifixion and that three days later the tomb was empty. The Gospel of John even records Peter and John’s seeing the linen cloths which had been around Jesus’ body and the face cloth which had been on his head lying folded up separately (20:6-7).

The Post-resurrection Appearances of Jesus
This is a possible arrangement of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus recorded in the Gospels, Acts, and 1 Corinthians excluding his appearance to Paul on the road to Damascus.

  1. To Mary Magdalene outside the tomb (or 2; Mark 16:9; John 20:14-17)
  2. To some female disciples on the way from the tomb (or 1; Matthew 28:9-10)
  3. To two disciples on the road to Emmaus (or 4; Mark 16:12; Luke 24:13-32)
  4. To Peter (or 3; Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5)
  5. To the Eleven without Thomas in the upper room (Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-23)
  6. To them with Thomas in the upper room (Mark 16:14; John 20:24-29; 1 Corinthians 15:5)
  7. To seven disciples fishing (John 21:1-23)
  8. To the Eleven on a mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18)
  9. To more than five hundred brothers (1 Corinthians 15:6)
  10. To James (1 Corinthians 15:7)
  11. To the apostles at his ascension (Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:3-9; 1 Corinthians 15:7)

The Christian Church
When the women told the disciples that they had met Jesus alive, “these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them” (Luke 24:11). Yet shortly afterwards they risked imprisonment and even death for preaching Jesus and the resurrection. Only seeing the risen Christ could have brought about this transformation. And only the ongoing influence of the risen Christ can account for the Church’s continued existence.

The Absence of Satisfactory Alternatives
Many attempts have been made to explain away the empty tomb and the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus, including:

  • Jesus fainted on the cross, was buried, and in the coolness of the tomb revived.
  • The disciples stole Jesus’ body from the tomb and then declared that he had risen.
  • The disciples just saw Jesus in hallucinations or subjective visions.
  • The resurrection story was derived from pagan myths of gods dying and rising again.

However, there are problems with each of these explanations. (The group suggested problems with the explanations.)

The Nature of Jesus’ Resurrection Body

When Jesus first appeared to the Eleven, they thought that he was a spirit. He demonstrated that he had a physical rather than a spiritual body by inviting them to look at and touch him and by asking for and eating food (Luke 24:36-43). When they told the missing Thomas that they’d seen Jesus, he said, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” In Jesus’ next appearance to the Eleven (John 20:26-29), he told Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands, and put out your hand, and place it in my side,” indicating that he had the same body as he’d had before his resurrection. Bible scholars disagree on whether Jesus’ being able to appear and disappear suddenly (Luke 24:31,36) and to enter a room although the door was shut (John 20:19,26) mean that his body was spiritual as well as physical.

Significance of the Resurrection

  • It affirmed that Christ Jesus is who he claimed to be–the Son of God. “[he] was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:4).
  • It ensures our salvation. “[he] was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:25).
  • It made Christ Jesus our intercessor. “Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Romans 8:34).
  • It assures us of power for life and service. ”that I may know him and the power of his resurrection” (Philippians 3:10).
  • It assures us of our future resurrection and immortality. ”knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence” (2 Corinthians 4:14; here “us” refers to Paul).
  • It guarantees that there will be a day of judgment. “because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).
  • It calls for us to obey God in this life. “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58; here “therefore” means “because of the resurrection”).
  • It calls for us to stop yielding to sin in this life. “We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness” (Romans 6:9-13).
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6 thoughts on “3. The Resurrection of Christ

  1. Marlo and the KNIGHT

    Dear Mr. Hunter,

    I am a friend of your daughter’s. I have been reading your blog and would like to make comment. I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and read what you wrote about our beliefs and you wrote correctly and I wanted to thank you about that. I also wanted to question you, though, on your own. In the section of fundamental Pentecostal beliefs it talks about speaking in tongues or “other languages”. Paul did speak in other tongues on his Missionary journeys like you say and the other disciples at that time, because they had a great preaching work to do and many people to reach with the Good News about the Christ. They spoke the different foreign languages that were spoken at that time to people who could understand them, not what is done today in Pentecostal churches. At the time that the disciples were speaking in tongues, they covered the Earth with the good news. The Bible at Mark 13:10 “In all the nations the good news has to be preached first.” What service or use does the speaking in tongues in the Pentecostal church serve today? Who is it benefiting?? No one can even understand it. 1 Corinthians 14:33 “God is a God not of disorder, but of peace.”

    Reply
    1. Bob Hunter Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Marlo.

      “Paul did speak in other tongues on his Missionary journeys like you say and the other disciples at that time, because they had a great preaching work to do and many people to reach with the Good News about the Christ. They spoke the different foreign languages that were spoken at that time to people who could understand them,” I’d appreciate your providing me with Biblical evidence for your claim. The only places that I find speaking in tongues referred in the New Testament are in Acts and 1 Corinthians. In Acts it is identified as accompanying baptism or filling with the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 11 is identified as the gift of speaking in tongues, which when accompanied by the gift of interpretation of tongues is equated with the gift of prophecy. Is neither place is it recognized as preaching to people of another language.

      “What service or use does the speaking in tongues in the Pentecostal church serve today?” Pentecostals believe that both of the above experiences are for today’s Christians as well as for New Testament Christians. Thus they believe that God still baptizes or fills people with the Holy Spirit and that He demonstrates that He has done so by causing them to speak in tongues. And they believe that God still provides messages to His people through the exercise of the gifts of tongues and of the interpretation of tongues.

      “Who is it benefiting??” The speaking in tongues which accompanies baptism or filling with the Holy Spirit benefits the recipient because it assures him or her that he or she has been baptized or filled with the Holy Spirit. Exercise of the gifts of speaking in tongues and of the interpretation of tongues is of benefit to those hearing what is said because it provides them with encouragement, etc., from God.

      “No one can even understand it.” Like Paul, Pentecostals recognize that speaking in tongues without an interpretation is useless. Thus generally after someone gives a message in tongues, the congregation will silently pray for someone to be given the interpretation of what has been said.

      Reply
  2. Marlo and the KNIGHT

    Dear Mr. Hunter,

    Thank you for your reply. I also read what you wrote about Jesus resurrection and could not believe what some people believe – that Jesus fainted and was revived in the cool tomb! People of such little faith :(…

    You are right that the verses in the Bible that speak about the foreign languages that the disciples spoke with holy spirit are in Acts…specifically Acts Chapter 2. It is that marvelous day of Pentecost when all in the room are filled and tongues as of fire are above each of them and they began to speak in different tongues just as the spirit was granting them to make utterance. (Acts 2:1-4) Then, starting there in verse 5 of Acts Chapter 2, it says, :”As it was, there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, reverent men, from every nation of those under heaven. So, when this sound occurred, the multitude came together and were bewildered because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Indeed, they were astonished and began to wonder and say, “See here, all those who are speaking are Galileans are they not? And yet how is it we are hearing each one of us his own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and the inhabitants of Mesopotamia and Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and the district of Asia and Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya, which is toward Cyrene and sojourners from Rome, both Jews and proselytes WE HEAR THEM SPEAKING IN OUR TONGUES ABOUT THE MAGNIFICENT THINGS OF GOD”

    Jesus Christ said the way to know that you were truly one of his disciples was this – John 13:35 “By this all will know that you are truly my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.” So, even though we don’t do any unusual or spectacular things, we do try to show love to one another on a global scale. We do not get involved in politics or go to War and kill our brothers in other countries. We are waiting for God’s Kingdom with Jesus Christ as our King. (Matthew 6:9,10)

    Mr. Hunter, I really like your daughter. She has been so friendly and nice with me. I am sorry about the loss of your wife and her mother at such a young age. I lost my Mom 8 years ago this past December 6th. I miss her very much. It makes the resurrection hope take on a whole new meaning!! My hope is to be here right on the earth and to live forever in a Paradise with my Mom and her Mother and her Aunt, all of whom I hope get resurrected. I never met my grandmother or great Aunt, they were both dead before I was born. Jehovah God gives us so much to look forward to! Your Friend, Marlo and the KNIGHT

    Reply
    1. Bob Hunter Post author

      – It is that marvelous day of Pentecost when all in the room are filled and tongues as of fire are above each of them and they began to speak in different tongues just as the spirit was granting them to make utterance. (Acts 2:1-4) Then, starting there in verse 5 of Acts Chapter 2, it says: “As it was, there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, reverent men, from every nation of those under heaven. So, when this sound occurred, the multitude came together and were bewildered because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Indeed, they were astonished and began to wonder and say, ‘See here, all those who are speaking are Galileans are they not? And yet how is it we are hearing each one of us his own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and the inhabitants of Mesopotamia and Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and the district of Asia and Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya, which is toward Cyrene and sojourners from Rome, both Jews and proselytes WE HEAR THEM SPEAKING IN OUR TONGUES ABOUT THE MAGNIFICENT THINGS OF GOD.'”

      The chapter goes on to tell how Peter spoke to the crowd which had gathered because of hearing the believers speak in their languages and how as a result of hearing his sermon, not of hearing what the believers had said when speaking in tongues, they were convicted and asked Peter and the apostles what they should do. Peter presented the Gospel to them and they were baptized as believers. The passage suggests that there is place for both speaking in tongues and preaching in the church.

      – Jesus Christ said the way to know that you were truly one of his disciples was this – John 13:35 “By this all will know that you are truly my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.”

      One of my favourite passages!

      – Mr. Hunter, I really like your daughter. She has been so friendly and nice with me. I am sorry about the loss of your wife and her mother at such a young age. I lost my Mom 8 years ago this past December 6th. I miss her very much. It makes the resurrection hope take on a whole new meaning!! My hope is to be here right on the earth and to live forever in a Paradise with my Mom and her Mother and her Aunt, all of whom I hope get resurrected. I never met my grandmother or great Aunt, they were both dead before I was born. Jehovah God gives us so much to look forward to!

      Allison has told me how much your friendship means to her. I have a hope similar to yours, to meet again my first wife and other family members who have passed on and to share life with them in the millennial and eternal kingdoms.

      Thanks, Marlo, for your comments here. May God bless you in your walk with Him.

      Reply

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