There was a plot to make Christ’s return from the dead look like a fraud even though the occurrence is not without precedent. People in New Testament times claimed that it was unheard of for blind people to see again, and there is no recorded debate about perfectly fit and worthy men like Elijah, Moses, and Enoch carted off to the grave. There is no doubt whatever that Elisha and Elijah raised a lad to life (2 Kings 32;35 and 1 Kings 17:17-24). The elephant in the room of death’s demise is a man’s prediction about resurrection. Christ used both figurative and literal terms to predict his death and resurrection. He talked about Jonah in the sea monster (Matthew 12:40), destroying the temple (John 2:18-22) and in plain language (Mark 8:31, Luke 9:22). The empty tomb that is displayed as the place where the Saviour of the world lay for three days is a threat to those who try to prove that Christ is alive by using logic and inanimate objects, but the actual threat people stuck in unbelief and rebellion face is where the king of Israel sits and not where he is not.
Fighting against God is painful for the fighter and God. He keeps pursuing both the lost and the saved. Christ could have called a legion of angels to prevent his arrest and passion, but it was in the arena of life and death that we see his best combat. The Lord Christ prevented deaths by healing sickness and disease apart from medical practice, and preempted funerals. He even interrupted a funeral cortege.
When a sick person dies proof of death can be misinterpreted and mishandled. Checking for vital signs is not a modern practice. The ancient world know that breathing was a primary sign of life (Eze. 37:5, (Genesis 2:7, 35:29, Mark 15:37). No technology was necessary to pronounce a person dead. Observers though could say “Oh, she was merely sleeping” or that death’s victim was in an unusual catatonic or comatose state. Observers of that sort are however severely limited when the dead person is in Sheol for four days like Lazarus was. The suffocated, wounded and bleeding Yeshua of Nazareth was taken down from the stake dead.
There are two words in the Nain visit narrative (Luke 7:11-16) that appear nowhere else in the New Testament. A third word appears in this funeral narrative and in Peter’s intervention in Tabitha’s death (Acts 9). Both narratives are Luke’s work and there is no report of carrying out, coffin, or sitting up in the narration of our Lord’s death and resurrection.
- Carry out, ekkomizo
- Coffin, soros
- Sit up, anakathizo
Wait ’til your eyes land on the occupied throne
If we think that an empty tomb speaks loudly we may not be ready for the voice that comes from where the Lamb of God actually sits. There is sheer terror in the hearts of men when they realize what a crude and childish mistake they have made rejecting the cornerstone of God’s kingdom. The officials of the kingdom in antiquity are not automatic participants in God’s kingdom.
“Now therefore, O Lord, the God of Israel, keep with Your servant David my father that which You have promised him, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your sons take heed to their way to walk before Me as you have walked.’”1 Kings 8:25, NASB
How long will people give credence to theories about God’s kingdom that exclude the clear evidence about who is in charge of human destiny? Perhaps not long, as people all over the globe are waking up to the emptiness of their “cultural” traditions. The eyewitnesses of the outcomes of Christ’s death and rising from the dead were hemmed in by the deeds of the Holy Spirit and the words of the disciples and apostles.
“And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay.”Acts 2:30-31, NASB
God’s business is now in the hands of a caring God, far from the ravages of self-centred priests, prophets, patriarchs and wise men, because “the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation of John 7:17, NASB)