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Miracles

22nd June 2008, mgh

 

6) Resurrection, the Greatest Miracle

The sentiment that miracles are impossible. or useless if possible, or open to doubt, is one of the greatest barriers to an understanding of the Bible and God's communication to man of his purpose with the earth and creation. God's purpose is founded on the miracle of Christ's resurrection, and on the anticipated miracle of the resurrection of the faithful believers. The New Testament writers speak of resurrection directly 40 times.

Historians accept that Jesus was a historical figure and that he was crucified and was buried in a sepulchre. There are so many fragments of early text, distributed so widely throughout the Roman Empire, that show the original documents must have been contemporary with events for which there were many witnesses. There was a rumour that the body was stolen, but the empty tomb had abundant historical evidence, supporting the resurrection.

God's promise to man in the Bible is life eternal through bodily resurrection. This is clearly the teaching of the Apostles. To Paul, the resurrection was his whole hope and desire.

If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most pitiable. But now Christ has been raised from the dead. He became the first fruits of those who are asleep.
For since death came by man, the resurrection of the dead also came by man. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then those who are Christ's, at his coming. (1Corinthians 15-23)

In John's gospel Jesus' words related to resurrection are recorded.

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, "  And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5: 28-29)

The conversation between Martha and Jesus when Lazarus had died revolves around resurrection.

But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou will ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus said unto her, "Thy brother shall rise again. " Martha said unto him, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day”. Jesus said unto her, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: (John 11:22-25)

Peter speaking to the people on the Day of Pentecost reminded them of David's hope of resurrection.

Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; (Acts 2: 29-30)

The Apostles' message to the priests and Saducees about the resurrection was met with hostility, but they continued to preach the resurrection from the dead.

And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead... And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.(Acts 4:1-2, 33)

The Old Testament also states that there will be a resurrection of the faithful, “those written in the book.” and who “sleep in the dust of the earth”. Daniel states that this will occur in the last days when there will be a time of trouble unlike any that has been experienced by mankind.

And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:1-2)

Isaiah also wrote of a time of trouble when God will punish the iniquities of man and then the dead who will be raised will rejoice.

Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain. (Isaiah 26:19-21)

The resurrection of the dead is a constant theme in the Bible. In fact it is God's whole purpose to call out a people for his name and purpose in bringing peace to this earth. This is a miracle, but in today's world the possibility of the Creator doing this should become more feasible with the more we learn of the amazing identity of humans, their fingerprint of life and individuality, through such discoveries as DNA. As we know that we are all biologically different one from the other, it should not amaze us that if we accept that the Creator has power beyond our comprehension and made man, we will believe that he can resurrect people.

This greatest of all miracles is God's promise and gift to those who love his word and obey his commands.

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