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Sunday, April 04, 2021

The Other Resurrections

Wishing everyone a blessed Easter! (For those who think Easter is pagan in origins, not so! The facts are linked here.) People who know their Bibles realize that Jesus was not the only person raised from the dead. There is also a puzzling section in the Gospel of Matthew that needs some attention.

We celebrate the bodily Resurrection of Jesus at Easter, but there were other people raised from the dead in the Bible. One passage is very puzzling.
Apostle St. Matthew, Doménikos Theotokópoulos (El Greco), 1612
We read of several people being raised from the dead — more precisely, restored to life — even in the Old Testament. Jesus raised several, as did the apostles. (One instance that struck me as rather humorous is in Acts 20:7-11. Paul was preaching before he had to leave, and he went on so long that Eutychus, who was sitting in a window, dozed off and fell to his death. Paul raised him up from the dead, then they went back to teaching and so forth through the night.) Jesus is God the Son, the Creator (Col. 1:15-17, John 1:1-3), who had risen as the prophets foretold. He defeated death and Satan (Gen 3:15, Heb. 2:14, 1 Cor. 15:55, Col. 2:15, Rev. 1:18), and will never die. Those other people eventually died again and have their final resurrection soon.

Matthew 27:50-54 tells us about tombs of many of God's people being opened and, after the bodily Resurrection of Jesus, went into the city to say howdy. Was it an addition that was tacked on in later manuscripts? After all, the Textus Receptus (established by Erasmus in 1516 and was used by translators of the King James Bible and other early English translations) has added verses. John 7:53–8:11 and the last twelve verses of the Gospel of Mark are not in the most reliable manuscripts. People may think that this tomb opening thing was also a later addtion.

Some professing Christians think the raised saints section was a literary device for dramatic effect. Part of their reasoning is that this was only a brief passage in Matthew; none of the other Gospels mention it. There may be very good reasons for this only appearing in Matthew's Gospel.

Atheists occasionally refer to this passage in their attacks on the Bible. "Haw, haw haw! If that happened, it would have been made the history books!" Well, if news of it traveled through the Empire and reached Rome, Caesar may have said, "Oh, yeah? How about that. Gimme another chicken leg." In other words, we're talking about the first century A.D. in a small part of the Roman Empire that had lousy WiFi, so they didn't exactly have instantaneous communications. Why would Rome care? Also, mockers are predisposed to reject any and all miracles, so it shouldn't matter to them if this passage was in one Gospel or all four, since they reject the Resurrection of Jesus in the first place.
In the past few years, I have had numerous skeptics challenge my belief in Christ’s Resurrection on the basis that Matthew is the only person who recorded this event. After all, they argue, such a monumental miracle—“many” people being raised and appearing to people in Jerusalem—surely would have made the news of the day. In other words, there is no way that other ancient writers would have neglected to write about such an amazing event, so Matthew must have simply made it up.

How should we respond to such a claim? Should Christians be concerned that Matthew is the only biblical writer to mention this exceptional miracle? What impact might this argument have on belief in the physical Resurrection of Jesus Christ?

You can read the rest of this very interesting article by visiting "Did the Dead Rise and Appear in Jerusalem?" Death has been defeated, and we will be free from the tribulations of living in a sin-cursed, fallen world. My father had Parkinson's Disease, dementia, and other problems when he died. Mom died of a malignant glioma, my oldest brother had Down Syndrome and the mentality of a child. We're going to have a grand reunion in Heaven where there will be no more tears and no more pain (Rev. 21:3-4). My hope is based on certainty. Deniers of God have no hope, and a terrible eternity waiting for them (Rev. 20:13-15) unless they repent and make Jesus the Lord of their lives.



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