THE RESURRECTION DAY CELEBRATIONS
The disciples discovered that the Lord was no longer in the tomb on Sunday. Jesus was resurrected on the Jewish Sunday, which starts at 6 pm on Saturday. At sunrise, it was discovered that the Lord was already risen and departed from the tomb.
“For as Jonah was three days, and three nights in the whale’s body, so shall the Son of Man be three days, and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
Jonah went to paradise while in the belly of that fish.
“out of the belly of hell (sheol) cried I.”
“I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me forever.”
Jesus went to sheol also. The time period was the same, and the location to which they went was the same.
Jesus had been horribly mistreated in the days just preceding this trip to the inner earth. He had been put on trial before Herod, who had claimed to be the king of the Jews, and yet, he was not even a Jew himself. Jesus had been taken before the Roman governor, Pilate. This Roman tyrant ignored the advise of his wife who had a warning in a dream. Pilate, a tyrant at the time, later was saved. In this initial meeting of Jesus, he relented and had him put upon the cross to die.
The mistreatment of Jesus, His agony on the cross, with its hours of darkness, pain, and loneliness, was followed with death, and the departure of His spirit from His body. Jesus went to paradise, also referred to as the garden of Eden, known to the Jewish people as ‘Abraham’s bosom’. There, Jesus met saints who were awaiting His death and resurrection, so that they could go to heaven.
Moses and Elijah came to the Mt of Transfiguration to talk to Jesus some days before the crucifixion of Jesus. The Bible tells us that they discussed the things shortly to come (the passion week). They then departed and could take the exciting news back to the others in paradise. How paradise must have rejoiced when the message was brought to them by Moses and Elijah. It is too bad the disciples on that mount had slept and missed the full discussion of Jesus with Moses and Elijah!
Psalms 16 was inserted by the Lord into the Word, to show us prophetically the thoughts of Jesus while there in paradise.
“...Preserve Me, O God; for in Thee do I put My trust.... My goodness extendeth not to Thee, but to the saints that are IN the earth... My heart is glad, and My glory rejoiceth, and My flesh shall rest in hope. For Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell (sheol), neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.”
There, in that passage, we see that Jesus would, during the three days and three nights, be in sheol, and be ministering to the saints “IN the earth.”
Psalms 68 also speaks of this time, and in verse 18 we read:
“Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive, Thou hast received gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.”
This shows us that Jesus, Who had descended to paradise, had then ascended to heaven. Jesus took those saints in paradise to heaven. The gift of grace, the atonement of the blood for mankind, had been given as gifts for mankind. Now, when a saint dies, his/her spirit goes directly to heaven, and not to paradise. The grace of God has been extended so that at death, we can dwell with the Lord.
Jesus, after the three days and three nights, was reunited with the body, and its resurrection startled even those who had been foretold of this event. He had destroyed the devil’s power, and even taken some from paradise back with Him (Hebrews 2:14-15, Matthew 27:52-53). Upon His return to the resurrected body, Jesus had already ‘bruised’ Satan’s head (Genesis 3:15).
The three nights were Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The three days were Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Had Jesus been in the tomb Saturday night, that would have made it four nights. The prophecy prohibited that, and so Jesus, some time after six on Saturday was resurrected and in the morning the disciples discovered His risen body, and the already empty tomb. Therefore, on Sundays, most Christians celebrate the risen Lord.
The early church chose to meet on Sundays, to celebrate the day they found the risen Lord. The day for collections was made the first day of the week. This was the best time, for they already had gathered on this day for worship. This was on Sundays, not on the Sabbath, i.e. Saturday.
Christ is our Sabbath. He fulfilled the type of the Sabbath, and we rest from all our works, by abiding in Him. He is our righteousness. We observe the Lord's day, Sunday, not because of law. All Christians are free to choose their own day of rest, and own day of worship.
"One man esteemeth one day above another; another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord, doth not regard it."
We are not to permit any man to judge us regarding the keeping, or not keeping, or how we keep the Sabbath, or the Lord's day. This may sound as radical teaching, but it is the other teachings that are radical, because they are contrary to the teachings of the Word of God.
"Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days. Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ."
Most Christians do worship on Sundays, we do this by choice, for rigid observance of days is rebuked by Paul.
"But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain."
Christians today, as in the days of Paul, like to put undue significance on days, and the rules for such days. We are free from the types and shadows of such things, and to willingly put ourselves in bondage to such is foolishness. Let us remember, that we belong to the Lord, and every day is to be a day of worship, service, and love to our precious Lord. Let us allow His presence to fill every day.
Surely, we may, and should gather together with believers on the Lord's day, and oftentimes on other days also. Yet, we do not do it out of rigid observance of law, but we do it because we want to be worship the Lord, to exhort our fellow believers, to be exhorted by others, and to share of the blessings of the Lord with the others.
To return to the law of the Sabbath for our choice of Sunday, would obligate us to keep the whole law of Moses:
"For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law."
God promised to abolish days and seasons, and He did:
"For He is our peace, Who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace."
Sunday is simply a day to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus. Sunday is the day chosen by most Christians to celebrate the Lord, and to gather and encourage other believers. We should worship and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, but not carry over to Sunday, the rules of the Sabbath for the Old Testament saints.
Don't be caught in the trap of criticizing others. Live in the freedom given us by Christ, and gather together, and do not forsake such gatherings as you see the day approaching. We need to worship together, and to encourage each other, for the end is very near.
Death could not hold Jesus for He is ‘resurrection and life’:
“Jesus said unto her, I am the Resurrection and the Life.”
The “I am” One shows us that He is resurrection and life, personified. Jesus said:
“I am’ so often. In fact, it is the meaning of Jah, one of His names. It is part of Jehovah, which literally means “I am, I was, I will be”. Yet, He is divine, and “I am” is a divine name.
When Moses asked by what name should he go and release Israel from bondage. The Lord told Him that the “I Am” had sent him.
Jesus is telling Martha, in the above verse, that resurrection and life, is not merely of divine origin, but it is the divine nature.
Mary and Martha came to realize something more of Jesus in this episode. Both said, “if You had been here, Lazarus would not have died.” So they knew that Jesus had healing power. But Jesus says, no, I am more, “I am RESURRECTION and LIFE”. We celebrate the One Who is our RESURRECTION.
Lazarus was ‘sick unto death’ when they sent for Jesus. But Jesus delayed purposely, and by the time Jesus arrived from the trip that should have just been hours, it was four days after Lazarus’ death. Jesus knew beforehand what had happened (John 11:14). It was a sorrowful meeting for Mary and Martha, for their hopes were faded, following the death. They had faith enough that Jesus could have handled it, had He arrived before death. But death to them was greater than Jesus.
When Jesus told Martha, that He is Resurrection and Life. She expressed a belief in the resurrection of the last day. (John 6:39, 44-45) Martha said that perhaps God would do the miracle of resurrection, if Jesus prayed, But Jesus said, I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE. Resurrection is more than a tenet of our faith. It is a fact, and better than that, it is a Person.
Jesus did not say, “I raise the dead” though He did at times raise the dead. (Luke 7:12-14, 8:49-50), but said, “I AM... resurrection and life”. Man becomes immortal, when he comes into union with this Jesus.
Jesus in not just ‘resurrection’ for resurrection pre-supposes death. Before one can be resurrected, one must die. But Jesus said, also, that “I am ... LIFE”. Once we come into Jesus, and He abides in us, we already have eternal life. Our spirit will live forever. Our body may die, but we have life, and our spirit lives eternally.
Even when physical death claims the body. Our spirit continues in Life, for we have Jesus. Resurrection is triumph over death, but Life continues to maintain our spirit, and it is not affected by the temporary cessation of life in the body.
All believers have a promise of both resurrection and life. Resurrection for the body. Life for the spirit. The spirit is untouched by death. Even the ‘second death’ which is separation from God. And only those without Jesus suffer it. We, when death takes the body, actually come into new life. For we are even closer to God, we are ushered into His presence.
II Corinthians 5:6-9
‘...To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”
Now, we have Jesus as ‘Emmanuel’ (God with us). But death of the body, means greater ‘Emmanuel’ presence. For we go literally to His manifest presence. All true life is in Christ. Without Him we are really dead. There are many corpses walking about. Some in churches. For they are ‘dead in trespasses and sins’ and that death is more real and actual, than for a saint to have his/her body die.
We have, as Christians, live spirits that live, in a real, true way. In contrast to sinners, who are dead spiritually. Every believer is in reality and forever in life. And this life is ever increasing. Our bodies start to die, once life has come to them at birth. But our spirits continue to increase in LIFE as we maintain relationship with Jesus.
The Bible shows us that two companies participate in the RESURRECTION:
I Thess. 4:13-18 says that (Vs. 16) ‘The dead in Christ shall rise first”
This speaks of the ‘dead bodies’, for the spirits do not have to rise, they are with the Lord. Jesus was the first fruits of the resurrection. And proved that this will occur as promised. For He is the resurrection, and these atoms that make up the body of a believer in Jesus, have something different about them. They may be dust and scattered to the wind, but those atoms have been permanently marked by the One we call the Resurrection.
When Jesus calls “Come up hither” those atoms will unite again, and be changed from mortal atoms to a resurrected body to be reunited with the spirit that has already been with Jesus.
The second group at the rapture. Are those who ‘are alive and remain’. And they or we, in our mortal body will likewise hear ‘come up hither’. And the LIFE Who is in us, Jesus, Who has transformed our spirit to immortality will transform this mortal body, and in a moment, one split second, will die and instantly almost become a new immortal body. And we will be caught up into the clouds, catching up with the ‘dead in Christ’ who had a head start. (Praise the Lord.) If you do not feel like jumping right about now, you are dead. Quit reading, and roll over in your casket.
“In Christ shall all be made alive.”
I Cor. 15:52
The dead bodies, awake from the dust to redemption of resurrection
,he live bodies at that moment, will find the body joins what the spirit already has gotten from Jesus, i.e. LIFE.
“When Christ, Who is our LIFE, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.”
When a sinner accepts Jesus as Savior, he/she becomes one with Him, and is partaker of His LIFE. We are grafted as a branch into the Vine. That Vine has life flowing from it, into us. We are connected, and share what He is, and He is RESURRECTION AND LIFE.
We are in union with Him.
I Cor. 15:45
“the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.”
I John 5:11-12
“He that hath the Son hath LIFE, He that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”
If Christ Jesus is RESURRECTION AND LIFE, then for us to ’die is gain’ for it opens up the door of even more life for us. Death has not only lost its sting, it has lost its fear, its dread. We see death of the body as a step into more life. We look forward to the rapture, as a triumph of LIFE AND RESURRECTION.
Sunday’s are not meant to be just a meeting day. It is more than a substitute ‘Sabbath’. We are meeting to celebrate the resurrection.