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The resurrection from the dead

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By Virgil - Posted on 13 April 2009

by Andrew Perriman

The death and resurrection of Jesus, locked together in a brief three-day period, constitute the defining moment of Christian belief. It is here that the light of God’s love for humanity burns most brightly through the dingy fabric of history. But the light of the Easter event can be so intense at times that we fail to see the surrounding context, the whole unrolled cloth, the long narrative of which the cynical execution and ambiguous resurrection appearances are an integral part - and without which they so easily become misappropriated by a truncated mythology of personal salvation. This simple contribution to our Easter reflections highlights four of the narrative insights that foreshadow and explain the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.Ezekiel’s vision of a valley of dry bones

Ezekiel is told that the dried, sun-bleached bones of the house of Israel will live; they will be raised from their graves in exile, raised from the death of judgment, and restored to life, brought back to the land (Ezek. 37:1-14). Resurrection is the hope of a nation that has suffered punishment for its failure to observe the terms and conditions of the Law; it is a metaphor for the renewal of the createdl microcosm of Israel through the Spirit of God: “And they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited’” (Ezek. 36:35).

Resurrection on the third day

Hosea calls rebellious, idolatrous, unrighteous Israel to return to the Lord. The nation has been politically wounded, ‘oppressed, crushed in judgment’ (Hos. 5:9-13), but God will heal it; Israel has been struck down, but he will bind up the people. After two days, the prophet says, God will revive his people; on the third day he will raise them up from death, so that they might live before him (Hos. 6:1-2). Resurrection - indeed, resurrection on the third day - is again a metaphor for the restoration of the people following judgment.

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mazuur's picture

This is an excellent article! Have more to say later when I have more time, but for now what I can't understand is how Andrew can still maintain some future resurrection (unless I am wrong to what he holds to). I mean listen to his words:

"So Jesus tells a simple but devastating story about a harvest at the end of the age of second temple Judaism, when the weeds of sin and lawlessness will be burned up in the fires of divine judgment, and ‘the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father’ (Matt. 13:43). Resurrection is the culmination of the crisis of pagan aggression against Israel: it does not mark the end of history; it marks the historical deliverance and vindication of the righteous."

So, what in the #### does the physical body have to do with the resurrection? It seems to me he is a full preterist but just can't bring himself to accept it. He has both the resurrection and the judgment as past events, so why can't he accept Christ's return being at the same time? Especially since Paul places all four of the events (Resurrection, Judgment, Return, and Kingdom) at the same time!

2Tim 4:1 "I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom"

How can he still be looking forward?

-Rich

-Rich

Virgil's picture

I've had exchanged with him on this very topic - there are several passages in Revelation he has problems with. In some sense, I sympathize with him. People ask me all the time "what will happen when our sun runs out of hydrogen...or blah blah blah" - my answer is, "I don't know!" I imagine that God in his sovereignty will intervene. Bottom line is that there is stuff about the future we do not know - but if it comes down to spiritual redemption, we know a lot about the past that helps us define the future in a much better way that the dispensational eschatology.

mazuur's picture

I don't know either. Maybe by the time that happens (if it happens, as our science on matters that huge is pretty limited) we'll be able to travel the stars like they do in Star Wars (or StarTrek), and mankind will be able to leave this solar system. There is an awful big playground other there that God is still in the process of creating. I say still creating, as new stars and planets are being formed still to this day. Some have been forming for a long time. For all we know, there is already 1 million planets just like ours.

"but if it comes down to spiritual redemption, we know a lot about the past that helps us define the future in a much better way"

Yup! And redemption is what the Bible is all about. It just doesn't speak to the physical like Christendom has assumed all along...well, post first century anyway.

-Rich

-Rich

Virgil's picture

Rich, I know..I agree. Just remember that what appears "clear" to us, may not be as clear to Andrew. And probably he has the same frustration with you and I because we don't "get" him.

I've had him on my list for a while not to send a copy of Max's book, but I could never get to it. One of these days I'll order a copy from Presence and drop ship it to Holland where he lives. If the Cross and the Parousia will not open doors, I don't know what will. :)

mazuur's picture

Funny that you bring that up. As I was reading his article, I was thinking about King's book. I was starting to wonder if he had indeed started reading it as he seems to be going down the path of seeing the corporate resurrection that King presented 20 years ago. I think if you could just get him to read it, he would be amazed, not to mention save himself years of study only to reach what King has already presented and worked out thoroughly. Could you imagine spending years working out a system/understanding only to find somebody already did it years ago? I wonder if he would even read it. Is he so close minded to Preterism he would turn it down? Funny thing is, he will probably end up there in a few years (as he seems to be getting very close), and then kick himself to death for not being willing to "listen". A path I wasted a lot of time on myself. What a shame. I guess we all have our own path.

"And probably he has the same frustration with you and I because we don't "get" him."

Probably, but the difference is we've already been where he is. We're speaking from the "other side". So, it's not like it's out of ignorance.

-Rich

-Rich

Virgil's picture

I wouldn't call Andrew "closed minded" Rich. :) He is anything but that. I do believe Max King's word would be really beneficial to anyone traveling this path, I think you'd agree.

mazuur's picture

Virgil,

I don't mind completely "closed minded", just towards Preterism. I have read comments by him and he has pretty much made it clear he has no interest in Preterism or what it has to say/present. That is being closed minded. He has his mind made up that it is error(for whatever reason), and won't entertain the idea that it just might be right. Thus, I doubt he would, even if given a free copy of King's book, read a single page of it. Of course I could be wrong.

-Rich

-Rich

SuperSoulFighter's picture

"but if it comes down to spiritual redemption, we know a lot about the past that helps us define the future in a much better way"

Yup! And redemption is what the Bible is all about. It just doesn't speak to the physical like Christendom has assumed all along...well, post first century anyway.

Hey Rich and Virgil! Just a thought or two about the exclusivity of the "redemption".

11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. (Heb. 9:11-15)

Clearly, the "redemption" spoken of in the New Testament involved redeeming saints from within the Old Covenant "world" who were in slavery to "sin" and "death" (as defined within that Covenant). They were "purchased" at the cost of Christ's own life from that law system and its penalties.

Just a thought or two on that subject.

John

mazuur's picture

John,

I agree, but Paul presents that the Gentiles would come into Israel (become part of the spiritual Israel). That was the mystery that Paul wrote about in Ephesians.

Ephs 2:11-13
"11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ."

Eph 2:19-22
"19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit."

Epg 3:1-6
"1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— 2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel"

While it was Israel that had to "die" to the law, the Gentiles had to "die" too, only not to the law, but to "the flesh" (as they were in a state of non-covenantal life [see eph 2:12]). Of course both "died" by joining Christ in His death through baptism.

Col 2:11,12

"11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God"

Rich

-Rich

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Andrew's focus on the "corporate resurrection" of the nation of Israel (true, spiritual Israel) is good and accurate. But I do see, also, an individual resurrection involved in those days that he only hints at in his article:

At the climax of the crisis of national faith provoked by the Syrian tyrant Antiochus Epiphanes, there will be a time of suffering unlike anything that the nation has experienced before. But the righteous are given hope: the people of YHWH will eventually be delivered from the oppressor; those whose names are written in the book will live. Many of the dead will be raised. Those who have been disloyal to the covenant will be raised to receive ‘shame and everlasting contempt’; but those who suffered because of their faithfulness and who helped to preserve Israel through the crisis by turning many to righteousness will be raised to the life of the coming age: they will ‘shine like the brightness of the sky above…, like the stars forever and ever’ (Dan. 12:1-3).

I think this individual resurrection of the Israelites and Jews of those days - to judgment - deserves careful consideration also. I do not believe it was a physical resurrection of course, nor do I believe that Christ's own resurrection was physical (i.e. a re-animation of his corpse). It's easy to gloss over these technicalities in search of "common ground" with Creedalists and those of a more "orthodox" doctrinal persuasion.

I also have a problem with Andrew's emphasis on the universal reconciliation and renewal of this planet and all of mankind to God via Christ's death and resurrection:

In overcoming the enemy of righteous Israel, Jesus also overcame the final enemy of all creation - and thus opened up the unprecedented possibility that not merely the microcosm of Israel but the whole cosmos might be rescued from corruption and made new. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead was the hoped-for renewal of the life of the people of God. It was the re-creation of a nation that, for all its good intentions, had simply failed to escape from the law of sin and death that ruled over the macrocosm. It provided the assurance that those who would lose their lives for his sake and for the sake of the gospel in that time of eschatological upheaval would find their lives again - that those who would enter the fierce contest against pagan tyranny would win a crown on the day of their vindication.

But the resurrection of Jesus also inaugurated a new incorruptible ontology; and the whole of creation came to find in the imminent vindication of the suffering community the promise of its own eventual liberation from a bondage to decay (Rom. 8:19-22). Hope jumps from the microcosm to the macrocosm, from the small, condensed story of Israel to the grand, expansive story of the cosmos. Jesus is not merely firstborn from the dead for the sake of his body; he is firstborn of all creation, the image of the Creator, through whom ‘all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities’ (Col. 1:16; cf. Jn. 1:1-3; 1 Cor. 8:6). So the New Testament came to imagine a final resurrection of all the dead, a final accounting for all that has been done, and a final destruction of everything that stands in opposition to the good work of the Creator God (Rev. 20:11-21:8).

The focus of the New Testament is, demonstrably, almost exclusively the "microcosm of Israel". The cosmology of the New Testament involving the "new heavens and earth" references the new, spiritual civilization represented in "New Covenant Israel" - spiritual Israel. Hopefully Andrew's continued research enables him to arrive at a similar outcome/conclusion.

Otherwise...good thoughts!

JM

davo's picture

SuperSoulFighter: I also have a problem with Andrew's emphasis on the universal reconciliation and renewal of this planet and all of mankind to God via Christ's death and resurrection…. The focus of the New Testament is, demonstrably, almost exclusively the "microcosm of Israel".

G'day John… I think what Andrew postulates here does have some traction WHEN understood in terms of Israel's covenant renewal, and thus those called into it, as being the vehicle, means and avenue whereby God's gracious blessing/s were to flow to those beyond the covenant realm; thus being a testimony in witness, worship and works to the One true Creator God of all.

davo

Barry's picture

Hey John,

Quote:
Andrew's focus on the "corporate resurrection" of the nation of Israel (true, spiritual Israel) is good and accurate. But I do see, also, an individual resurrection involved in those days that he only hints at in his article:
End quote.

My take:

The resurrection encompassed the whole of eschatological history. That being, individuals, cities, peoples that are part of eschatological history.
Historical:
Mat 12:41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas [is] here.
Mat 12:42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon [is] here.

Historical:
Mat 23:33 [Ye] serpents, [ye] generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
Mat 23:34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and [some] of them ye shall kill and crucify; and [some] of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute [them] from city to city:
Mat 23:35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
Mat 23:36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

Historical:
Hbr 11:2 For by it the elders obtained a GOOD REPORT.
Hbr 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. {in the history of eschatology}
Hbr 11:35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: {Through a good report}
Hbr 11:39 And these all, having obtained a GOOD REPORT through faith, received not the promise:
Hbr 11:40 God having provided some better thing for us {of the terminal generation}, that they without us should not be made perfect {the historical life was vindicated}.

It was the historical life that was resurrected.
It was the historical life that was freed from the law.
The grave was a historical waiting place and historical place of rest.

Rom 7:1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?

The spirit returned to the Lord from where it came but the person of temporal history (eschatological to be precise) was raised up at the end of eschatological history.

Those of the terminal generation are dealt with much the same way but in regards to what I call perpetual efficacy.

That meaning that the "firstfruits" inherited all things.

1Cr 3:21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;
1Cr 3:22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the WORLD {that then was}, or LIFE, or DEATH, or THINGS PRESENT, or THINGS TO COME; all are yours;

The spiritual attributes of immortality were deposited historically. The meaning of life spiritually, becomes a perpetual efficacy on an ongoing bases. Which is the meaning of this age.
The meaning of this age is that God's possibility is married with human potential.

These verses are also "historical".

Jer 23:39 Therefore, behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you, and the city that I gave you and your fathers, [and cast you] out of my presence:
Jer 23:40 And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.

Isa 66:24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

Blessings,
Barry

we are all in this together

Sam's picture

This is very encouraging. Thanks for posting it. I am a reader of his blog, now. It's close, folks....real close..

Sam

mazuur's picture

Sam,

God is working these days for sure. Eyes are opening all around us. I just wish he would move a little faster, but I guess he know better. :)

See in a few weeks.

-Rich

-Rich

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