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Resurrection Sunday – Easter
Easter Dates: April 9th, 2023; March 31st, 2024; April 20th, 2025; April 5th, 2026.
The future, the hope… the concept of life everlasting, eternal life, is found in the Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament, as well as in the New Testament. Death is viewed as the end of physical life but not the termination of existence. The dead, though separated from this life, continue to exist.
“May Your dead live, ‘My corpses shall rise; awaken and sing, you who dwell in the dust, for a dew of lights is your dew, and [to the] earth You shall cast the slackers.“(Isaiah 26:19).
An Old Testament wording “Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead.”
“And many who sleep in the dust of the earth will awaken–these for eternal life, and those for disgrace, for eternal abhorrence.” Daniel 12:2
“The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and raises up.” 1 Samuel 2:6
“Therefore, my heart rejoiced, and my soul was glad; even my flesh shall dwell in safety. For You shall not forsake my soul to the grave; You shall not allow Your pious one to see the pit. You shall let me know the way of life, the fullness of joys in Your presence. There is pleasantness in Your right hand forever. Psalm 16:9 –11
“I will see Your face with righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your image upon the awakening.” Psalm 17:15
“Like sheep, they are destined to the grave; death will devour them, and the upright will rule over them in the morning, and their form will outlast the grave as his dwelling place. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall take me forever.” Psalm 49:15-16 (14-15 Old Testament)
“Yet I was constantly with You; You grasped my right hand. With Your counsel You led me, and after[wards], You took me [for] glory. For whom do I have in heaven, and I desired no one with You on earth. My flesh and my heart yearn; God is the rock of my heart and my portion forever. For behold, those who have distanced themselves from You will perish; You have cut off anyone who strays from You. But as for me God’s nearness is my good; I have placed my refuge in the Lord God, to tell all Your mission. Psalm 73:23 -28
I prefer to use the term Resurrection Sunday because that is actually what happened although Easter is the name familiar to most.
I do not however embrace the secularized version of the very critical and special happening nor do I connect with the bunnies and eggs (although I confess, I do have a fondness for chocolate. Thank you to Hershey’s and Russell Stover for your fantastic Resurrection Sunday chocolate treats)!
The actual events that transpired on Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday are critical to ALL who truly believe the Bible, and these events are a part of the statement of faith for both Messianic Jewish synagogues and Biblical Christian churches.
Was Jesus actually resurrected??? IS Jesus actually alive with God right now??? How do we know that a 2,000 year old event actually happened??? Well, how do we know that anything in history happened?
A historian finds the facts relying on historical data such as archeology, ancient documents and recorded eyewitness testimony to reconstruct the past. Certain principles guide the determination of which historical accounts are reliable and which are not. If there are several independent sources reporting the same event, that is reliable history. If the sources are actual eyewitnesses, that is reliable history. If the eyewitness accounts are during the same general time period as the actual event, that is reliable history. Once the historian has gathered the facts, a determination has to be made if the facts support the alleged historical event.
Along with the Bible, about 18 different ancient non-Christian writers present more than 100 facts about the birth of Jesus, His life, teachings, miracles, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension: Josephus, Tacitus, Thallus, Phlegon, Pliny the Younger, Suetonius, Emperor Trajan, Emperor Hadrian, the Talmud, Lucian, Mara bar Serapion.
The facts are:
1) Jesus died by Roman crucifixion.
2) Jesus was buried in a known, guarded accessible tomb with a rock sealing it.
3) The disciples believed they had seen the risen Jesus. Paul lists the eyewitnesses in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8. Even critical scholars believe 1 Corinthians is an authentic letter written by Paul so here we have a reliable list of people who believed they saw resurrection appearances of Jesus,
4) The disciples really believed they had seen Jesus such that it totally transformed them. Jesus, their leader, had been brutally killed before their eyes. Their reactions were understandable and also cowardly. Peter even denies Jesus three times. But something happened, transforming them from cowards who abandoned Jesus to courageous men who risked their lives for His message. They didn’t just claim Jesus rose, they absolutely believed it in a way that their lives were powerfully changed.
5) The tomb of Jesus was empty. There are three main reasons why the empty tomb is a historical fact. They fall under the acronym (JET). Jerusalem factor (J), enemy testimony (E), and the testimony of women (T). Any conspiracy theories as to a stolen body or any other claims do not have one shred of evidence to back up the claims. That He was actually resurrected has actual evidence to support it.
Skeptics certainly can and will believe what they want. There are doubters for all aspects of history and yet, history is just that, a record of events that happened in the past.
Will we discredit all history that occurred simply because there is no one alive now who was alive then to tell us what happened? The same historical method for compiling the evidence for the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is the same historical method utilized for compiling evidence for anything in history.
Research and examine it all. If you are interested, really dig into the material. As insane, wild, and strange as it is to our natural minds, this actually did happen. An excellent publication, available free of charge that provide direction to all the research and evidence, biblical and non biblical sources, even from skeptics who show the evidence to support this: Gary R. Habermas, “Evidence for the Historical Jesus: Is the Jesus of History the Christ of Faith?”
The resurrection of Jesus is a testimony to the resurrection of human beings.
In the Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament, there are many specific blood sacrifices listed and each one was a covering over the particular sin or sins, an atonement. This is why the sacrifices had to be repeated, and this is why there is the annual Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur, the day of Atonement.
In the New Testament, at the very central heart of the gospel is that the saving death of Jesus is the final atonement, for it is the propitiation: the quenching of God’s wrath for us when He completely removed our sins and took them onto Himself (expiation) thereby reconciling those who believe to God forever! Our sin (ALL of our sin, our entire body of sin; past, present, future) was imputed onto Jesus, and the righteousness of Jesus was imputed onto us, therefore called double imputation. (Romans 3:21-26, 1 John 2:2)
Over 300 prophecies stated in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, were fulfilled by one named Jesus. Our eternal God became man (incarnation) for our salvation; sinless, born under the Law, to fulfill the Law perfectly (Genesis 49:10). Crucified, died, resurrected, alive seated at the right hand of the Father (Psalm 110:1), fully God, fully man (Daniel 7:13-14, Isaiah 52:6-7, Isaiah 9:5 Hebrew Bible [9:6 OT]). By faith, we are able to be reconciled to God forever. Just as Abram back in Genesis 15, by faith.
Do you believe? Will you believe?
Will you receive your Messiah today?