The Resurrection of Christ: Part 4
Dr. Rafat Amari
Christ foretold His own resurrection
During His public ministry, Jesus told His disciples He was going to die and be resurrected from the dead on the third day. Matthew 16:21, says “From that time forth, Jesus began to show his disciples, how He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.”
Before He ever experienced the cross, Jesus said His death and resurrection was to be a great sign given to His generation. Luke 11:29-30 says:
And when the multitudes were assembled, He began to say: “This evil generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given to it, except the sign of Jonah, the prophet. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so shall the Son of Man will be a sign to this generation.”
In Matthew 12:40, Jesus tells us more about this sign. He says:
“ For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up in judgment with this generation and shall condemn it. They repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, someone greater than Jonah is here. ”
While many of Jesus' contemporaries refused to believe in the resurrection, the men of Nineveh did believe the prophetic symbols predicting both the coming cross and the resurrection. He was the One who is greater than Jonah because He created Jonah.
The same signs given to the people during Jesus' day are given to us today. The cross and the resurrection are signs telling us that judgment will be applied to those who deny that Jesus Christ was raised to life, the third day after His crucifixion.
Jesus also spoke symbolically about His resurrection in John 2:19
He said to the Jews: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then the Jews said: “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered what He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.
Since the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was telling the religious leaders that it is true you are going to kill me in an effort to destroy my body, but I am going to raise my body on the third day as a sign that I am the everlasting divine Son of the Triune God.
The resurrection was prophesied in the Old Testament
Our rising to a new, spiritual, victorious life was promised to us in the Old Testament as a consequence of the resurrection of Christ.
Not only did Jesus promise His resurrection, but our resurrection to a new, spiritually victorious life was promised in the Old Testament as well. Hosea prophesied a spiritual resurrection for all believers. We read in Hosea 6:2:
After two days He will revive us. On the third day He will raise us up.
Man cannot be victorious because the human nature is unable to live according to God’s spiritual requirements. However, Hosea gives us a promise that a radical change will happen. This change, we are told, will take place on the third day. You can see that this is in reference to the resurrection of Christ, who rose from the dead on the third day.
The Bible tells us when Jesus Christ rose from the dead, He became the first fruit of those who will experience resurrection, as we read in 1 Corinthians, 15:20
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
The resurrection of Christ gave us life, because the spirit of the risen Christ has been given to those who believe in Him so that they can conquer their weakness and dead nature in which they live. Therefore, it is written in Ephesians 2:6, “For he raised us from the dead along with Christ.” That is why the resurrection of Christ foretold in the Old Testament points to the resurrection of all believers.
It was prophesied that the body of the Christ put in the grave would not suffer corruption; neither would His soul remain in Sheol.
In Psalm 16:10 there is a clear prophecy about the resurrection of Christ:
For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
The “Holy One” is a divine title. The psalmist is prophesying about the death of the Divine One whose body reaches the grave. The Psalm tells us that God the Father will not allow this divine person to remain with those who died in the Old Testament, neither will He allow His body to undergo corruption like other humans who die. Corruption of our bodies is a consequence of the curse when sin was brought into the human race. But Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is sinless, so the curse of sin has no power over His body.
Peter, the apostle, quoted this prophecy from Psalm 16 in Acts 2:29-32 on the day of Pentecost to prove the resurrection of Christ. He said :
“Men and brethren, let me freely speak to you of the patriarch David, that is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher 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, God would raise up Christ to sit on His throne. Seeing this before, He spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that His soul was not left in hell, neither did His flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.”
Copyright 2006 by Dr. Rafat Amari. All Rights Reserved.