Light for the Last Days

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This morning I was speaking about the Gospel from the resurrection from John’s point of view and one of the things we saw is that Jesus rose from the dead and that He was seen first of all by the women who were much more faithful and zealous to seek the Lord at this time in the morning.

And I suggested that the men, the disciples, had actually fled, most likely to Bethany, when Jesus was arrested, though Peter and John had gone into Jerusalem. And, during the day, Mary Magdalene and the women had gone to assemble the disciples and to bring them together in Jerusalem where they met with the risen Lord.

Let’s just have a word of prayer as we come to the Lord.

Lord, we thank you for your Word. We pray that you bless the reading and the speaking of your Word and help us to understand this subject. We pray in the name of Yeshua, Jesus the Messiah.

Let’s start at verse 33. This is actually the people on the Emmaus road as they go back to Jerusalem.

33 So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread. 36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” 40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marvelled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. 43 And He took it and ate in their presence.

Luke 24.33-49

44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”

Luke 24.44

45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. 46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”

Luke 24.45-49

First I really want you to think about is verse 44 where Jesus said;

“These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”

Torah, Nevi’im, and Ketuvim are the three divisions of the Hebrew Bible and they come together in the word Tanakh which is what Jewish people call the Bible, the Old Testament from the first letter of each division: Torah, Nevi’im, and Ketuvim.

Hebrew Bible – Wikipedia

Jesus was Jewish and He was coming to His Jewish disciples and explaining to them, from the Hebrew scriptures, how He had just fulfilled them.

And, therefore, that they should believe in Him as the Messiah. This is something fundamental to our understanding the Jewishness of Jesus, the Jewishness of the Resurrection, and the Jewishness of the New Testament.

Do Jewish people believe that today? Some do; most don’t. And I want to talk today about some of the objections to this from the Jewish point of view and also about the whole issue of resurrection in Christianity and in Judaism.

When you come to the subject of the resurrection, it is a vital subject for every person on the face of the earth, whatever religion, whatever the race they come from. Every person on the face of this earth is going to die one day, unless Jesus comes first and takes us in the Rapture of the Church. Therefore, death is something which we all face.

What happens after death? Do we just die and rot in the ground and that’s the end of it? Are we reincarnated and come back as a somebody else? Or is there a resurrection to eternal life and a resurrection to damnation, eternal separation from God?

It’s a very important question, I’m sure you agree, a question we need to find an answer to. Most people try to avoid it because it makes them uncomfortable. In fact, they said that in the 19th century the subject you never talked about was sex; in the 20th and 21st century, most people don’t want to talk about death because it makes them uncomfortable.

But, as I said, you can’t avoid it, and it raises an issue. And it raises issues also with Judaism and modern Judaism. Since we’re here, in the middle of a Jewish area, it might be helpful just to know something about how it relates to Jewish people.

There’s a book called ’26 Reasons why Jews don’t Believe in Jesus’ by a man called Asher Norman. I’ve referred to this in the past and it’s a book which tells you that, if you’re Jewish, you should not believe in Jesus obviously! Asher Norman said these words:

Christianity stands or falls by the so-called resurrection accounts in the Christian Bible. There is no concept in the Jewish Bible that the Messiah ben David will die before completing His mission, be resurrected, or be a deity.

Asher Norman

Okay so he says there’s no concept of a Jewish Messiah who’s going to die be resurrected or be a deity, be a divine person.

Norman then proceeds to discredit the resurrection accounts in the New Testament. I’m not going to go into all that because it’s about 40 pages of an article which I’ve done which you will find on the Messiah factor website I’d have done a website called Messiah factor which answers some of these questions so if you want to look up Messiahfactor.com resurrection accounts you’ll find my article on that.

Read – The Messiah Factor

So, Asher Norman says ‘Christianity stands or falls by the resurrection accounts‘. Is he right? Yes, Christianity does stand or fall by the resurrection.

If Jesus is not risen, then forget it, your faith is futile; go home, there’s nothing we can offer.

Unfortunately, much of the church today has really denied the central truths of our faith and so they’re offering Jesus as a kind of glorified social worker who tells you to do some good deeds and hopefully earn your way to heaven.

Yet, biblical Christianity stands or falls by the resurrection of Jesus. Paul said,

17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!

It’s a central event which we believe in, and we believe in not just in a kind of faith experience of the disciples, but believe in that Jesus literally died, that His body was taken down from the cross, and that He was buried, and His body literally rose from the dead in a resurrection body.

Also, by definition, if you believe in Jesus, when you die, your body will die and will be put in the ground in some form, and your spirit will return to God, and you will be resurrected. And so, there is a belief in not just in the resurrection of Jesus but also in the resurrection of the individual, the believer who believes in Jesus.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 these words:

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

1 Corinthians 15.3-8

There is a word ‘seen‘ that means that they literally saw Jesus risen from the dead. It wasn’t just a faith experience, it was seeing a person before them who was resurrected. And, in this passage, in Luke’s Gospel, we read about how Jesus appeared to the disciples. They could see Him, they could touch Him, they could see Him eating fish and they could see Him physically there, before them.

The New Testament, on the basis of this verse, asserts very strongly that Jesus is the promised Messiah who died for our sins and rose again from the dead; and that, after His resurrection, He appeared to the disciples over a period of 40 days before ascending into heaven; and that He will return to the earth sometime later, at the Second Coming.

Meantime, He sends the Holy Spirit to those who believe in Him.

But, through His resurrection, anyone who believes in Jesus and repents, and believes the Gospel, will themselves experience resurrection and eternal life.

This does mean that the Bible clearly teaches there is a life after death, there is a heaven, there is a hell, and either we will be present with the Lord in heaven or absent from Him in hell.

So, from that point of view, it’s a huge issue and you’d think that every person on the face of the earth, if they understood this, would do everything they could to make sure that they’re going to heaven. It would be a pretty logical thing to do wouldn’t it? But people raise all sorts of objections and they spend most of their time trying to avoid it, or arguing against it to say that it’s not true.

Of course, Judaism does not believe this, orthodox or reformed Jews don’t believe this. There are issues which are raised within Judaism about life after death, resurrection, and also about whether the Messiah Himself brings the Resurrection from the dead.

So, again, all these scriptures are telling you that there will be a resurrection, and they’re implying also that it is a literal resurrection and a bodily resurrection, Therefore, Daniel will be resurrected as Daniel, he will be recognizable as the prophet Daniel, and others from the Old Testament period will be resurrected as well.

Tony Pearce

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