The Resurrection And Saduceeism
Elder O. B. Mink
Now In Glory
“Whois he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:34).
The resurrection of Christ is an integral and vital part of the gospel, yea, as much so as His death on the cross. A correct and concise view of the gospel is: “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live...” (Galatians 2:20). Separating Christ’s vicarious death from His justifying resurrection (Romans4:25), or vice versa, is to leave the gospel sleeve without an arm. All who teach baptismal regeneration substitute water for the blood of Christ, and thereby nullify the gospel. The major cults make void the gospel by leaving the body of Christ in the grave.
A Historical Event
Let us consider the resurrection of Christ as an historical event. Historically, the resurrection of Christ stands on a par with the most attested to event in human history. Historians who subject themselves to the rules of historical documentation are forced to conclude that the resurrection of Christ is an irrefutable fact of history. The Bible is the world’s only infallible history book, and this divinely inspired history book has much to say about the bodily resurrection of Christ. “He was buried … and He rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:4).
Christ, in His resurrection body, was seen by more than five hundred brethren at once and at the same time (I Corinthians 15:6). At the time the Apostle Paul recorded this blessed experience of the five hundred brethren “the greater part” of these eyewitnesses were yet alive and available for cross examination by the skeptics.
The modern day attorney who has one eyewitness to support the allegation of the claimant has his case half won. If he has two eyewitnesses it is practically an open and shut case. If he has three eyewitnesses, the case seldom goes to court. By paraphrase, Paul says: “Christ arose from the grave in bodily form, and I have at least two hundred and fifty one (the greater part) eyewitnesses whose testimony to His resurrection is insuperable.”
There are eleven post resurrection appearances of Christ recorded in the New Testament But the skeptic with his insatiable contempt for the Scriptures, objects, saying: “All you have to support you in this contention is the Bible, and we do not accept the Bible as authentic.” The disciple of Christ does not need to resort to apologetics to augment his faith in the resurrected and glorified Lord. All who deny the inspiration and veracity of God’s word are in utter darkness, and consummate human logic cannot generate one infinitesimal element of spiritual truth in the heart of the world’s wisest man (I Corinthians 1:21).
The faithful saint knows the word of God is infallible, and when he reads from the blessed page: “The Lord is risen indeed ...” (Luke 24:34), he not only accepts it as truth, but looks with joyous anticipation to the glorious moment when he can say like Peter, We are “eyewitnesses of His majesty” (II Peter 1:16). Not only shall the saint see his exalted Lord, but he shall be like Him, resurrected and glorified (I John 3:2).
The preponderance of Scripture leaves no room for an atom of doubt concerning the resurrection of Christ. But then too, there is something in secular history that attests to the resurrection of Christ, and which causes the infidel and skeptic to gnash their teeth. That is: the willing and joyous martyrdom of the apostles and others who claimed to have seen their resurrected Lord. Their ceaseless labors for the cause of Christ, and their cruel deaths at the hands of the enemies of the cross cannot be explained apart from their claim to have seen Christ this side of His entombment. When Christ was laid in the tomb the faith of the apostles began to wane, defeatism overwhelmed them and pessimism moved them back to boats and nets, but after the resurrection of Christ there was never again a turning back for them. On the contrary, henceforward, it was a turning of the world upside down for Christ (Acts 17:6).
In a few brief years the Roman World was evangelized for Christ. The disciples went forth “Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, Whom I preach unto you is Christ” (Acts 17:3). A dead Christ decaying in the tomb could not have produced such men, nor spurred them on with glad hearts toward their own excruciating martyrdom. Peter explains the mystery of it all in a few brief but powerful words. He says: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (I Peter 1:3).
The faith of the disciples began to falter with His arrest in Gethsemane, and it halted at the sealing of the tomb, but after the resurrection of Christ, it is said of them: “With great power (irrevocable testimony) gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them” (Acts 4:33). Now, the empty tomb was behind them, and the risen Lord before them.
Job, looking toward the post resurrection glory of Christ, said: “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:25, 26). David, speaking of the resurrection of Christ, said: “His soul was not left in Hades, neither His flesh did see corruption” (Acts 2:31).
Zechariah with a prophetic eye toward the millennium, says of his beloved nation, Israel: They shall look upon Him (Christ) “Whom they pierced, and shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son ...” (Zechariah 12:10). The world’s only infallible history book is replete with unequivocal language that Christ burst asunder the bonds of death, and arose the Victor over the dark domain.
The Resurrection and Saduceeism
“The Saducees say there is no resurrection ...” (Acts 23:8). This Saduceeian heresy has been perpetuated unto this late day. All around us are twentieth century Saducees crying out; “No resurrection, Christ never in the flesh came out of the grave.” Some of the contemporary Saducees in their diabolical effort to deceive the credulous have taken to themselves the appellation; “Jehovah Witnesses.” There has never been a people in the history of religion more ill deserving of that superlative connotation than the nineteenth century cult who refer to themselves by that name. There has never been a people further apart from what they claim to be than this pernicious cult.
The Jehovah Witnesses, so-called, mock the doctrine of the trinity, deny blood atonement, vehemently oppose the biblical doctrine of eternal punishment for all who die in their sins, and impugn the doctrine of the deity of Christ. This cult gestated in the mind of Satan, their spiritual father, are by their denial of the deity of Christ necessarily anti-resurrectionists regarding the body of Christ. Error begets error, and in this case damnable error, leaving them immeasurably hopeless.
The Jehovah Witnesses, so-called, claim that only the spirit of Christ came out of the grave. However, the scriptures teach that His spirit did not die, but that Christ commended His spirit into the hands of His Father while yet alive on the cross (Luke 23:46). It was not the spirit of Christ that Thomas was bidden to reach forth and to thrust his hand into the side of, but it was the imperishable, corporeal, glorified, bone and flesh body of the resurrected Christ. Our risen Lord says to His troubled disciples: “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me, and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have” (Luke 24:39).
Another cult, the so-called Christian Scientists, which is neither Christian nor scientific; allow for a resurrection of the principles of Christ, but not His body. The Scripture says: “If Christ (not merely His principles) be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (I Corinthians 15:14). Modern day Saducees, in an effort to get around the truth of the bodily resurrection of Christ, have infinitely multiplied erroneous and fatal theories. Let us note a few of these soul damning theories, i.e.:
1. The Swoon Theory. This theory claims that Christ had a temporary suspension of animation on the cross, and that His friends took Him from the cross to a cool cave where He was revived and soon after appeared to His disciples in the same body as before His crucifixion. We have already seen from Scripture that the bodily resurrection of Christ was the one factor which encouraged and empowered his disciples to go forth at the cost of their lives with the gospel of the resurrection. Such a theory as stated above would have had the very opposite effect on them. Instead of seeing Him as conqueror over death and the grave, the impression He would have created in them would have been one of weakness and subjection. But the fact is: He died on the cross, was buried, and arose from the grave the third day following (I Corinthians 15:3, 4). Now, in this late hour, He says in triumphant tone to every heart of faith: “I am He that liveth and was dead; and behold I am alive for evermore, Amen, and have they keys of hell and death” (Revelation 1:18).
2. The Telegram Theory. This view contends that Jesus sent spiritual messages or telegrams to His disciples from the grave, and that these messages became to the disciples spiritual appearances or manifestations of Christ. This theory leaves far too many unanswered questions, one of which is; How about the empty tomb? This theory would be ludicrous if it was not so pathetic.
3. The Hallucination Theory. This theory teaches that the friends of Christ were under great stress due to the events associated with the crucifixion. That they were tired, brokenhearted, nervous, and near to despair. To alleviate for this agonizing state of mind they imagined that Christ was still with them. This may be possible with one or two people, but to allow it to be true with eleven men, is to allow an absurdity. Surely, it is rank foolishness to try and charge five hundred brethren with simultaneous hallucination.
There are many more Saduceeian theories extant concerning the resurrection of Christ, but all are more or less repugnant to sound reasoning, and diametrically opposed Scripture. So, I pass them by as unworthy of note, and will now consider one of the philosophical arguments put forth concerning the resurrection of mankind. The argument is: “If all of mankind from Adam to the last man was resurrected there would not be standing room on the earth for them. They would have to stand on each other’s shoulders ten high.” Somebody took the time to answer this silly argument, and has shown the implausibility of it. The following statistics are gleaned from the answer.
Allowing for population increases from Adam until now, every person could stand in the state of Texas with a square yard per person, and there would be billions of yards left over. In the state of Texas there are 816,664,654,400 square yards. Earth’s present day population is a little over 3,000,000,000. Allowing this many in every generation from Adam until now there would only be 540 billion living and dead. That would leave three billion square yards for the Texas jack rabbits. Moreover, all the resurrected people are not going to live in Texas, nor the USA, neither are they going to live on earth. Millions and millions of people will never again see this earth after death, and this most surely includes the anti-resurrectionists. “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). The “lake of fire” is a mighty long way from Texas and this earth.
All the combined powers of darkness tried to keep Christ in the grave, and were rewarded for their nefarious efforts with miserable and utter defeat. “And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:12-15). So shall it be with Satan’s efforts to keep the bodies of men in their graves. Let us hear the final verdict on this matter from Him Who is the personification of the resurrection: “... All that are in their 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; 11:25).
The Resurrection: Life Giving Principle
“But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:24, 25).
When Christ was on the cross He said: “It is finished” (John 19:30). The power of the curse to condemn those for whom He died was eternally terminated. The vicarious death of Christ is the believers’ “nail in a sure place” but the pardon gained and written in the blood of Christ waited three days to be sealed and notarized by the resurrection of Christ from the dead (Hebrews 9:12). Though He “spoiled principalities and powers” by His death (Colossians2:15), it took the resurrection “to make a show of them openly.” Thus it is, Paul in retrospect asks: “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth?It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:33,34).
The so-called Christian religion of today has a lot of crossianity, but little to no genuine Christianity. The crucifix is universally popular, and the empty knick-knack cross is worn by multiplied millions who know nothing about the living and Sovereign throne sitting Christ The ceremonial cross of mock christianity is a stench in the nostrils of the Thrice Holy God, for it depicts a dead and decomposed Christ. Paul never made a fetish of the cross, but he said of his cross bearer: “I know Him and the power of His resurrection” (Philippians 3:10). The resurrection of Christ is the consummate work of redemption (I Corinthians 15:1-5), and it is this great truth Paul used to gainsay the Gentile Saducees in the church at Corinth (I Corinthians 15:12- 20).
The devil has had a great and fearful success in rolling the stone of doubt over the sepulcher of the mind of professing Christendom, and they are perfectly content with their crucified and buried Jesus. Nevertheless, the true church, owning Christ as its living Head, continues faithful; preaching the God exalting truth of Christ’s victory over death and hell, and with glad patience waits for the living, glorified and Sovereign Lord.
Paul was charged with preaching “Jesus and the resurrection” (Acts 17:18). Should we who believe in the resurrection of Christ be less zealous than Paul in this matter? Nay, we should strive with all of our might to be found equally guilty of this rewarding charge. Let all who believe in the resurrection of Christ, rejoice and be glad, for the risen Lord will one day soon rid the earth of Saduceeism, and we shall be blessed with His everlasting presence.
(The Baptist Herald - May, 1990)
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