The Promise Of Resurrection

One of the objections that many critics of the Bible have, concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, is in the subject of the three days between His death and resurrection.

I received a note from an atheist a few years ago, in which he claimed that scholars have not been able to find any prophecy from the Old Testament, which predicts the resurrection of the Messiah in three days. This question is easily answered as Jesus, Himself, told us that Jonah’s three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish was a prophecy of His future resurrection.

Matthew 12:40 (Jesus speaking) For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

What this reveals to us is that Jesus has a depth of knowledge of the Old Testament scriptures that no one else in the history of the world possesses. It also validates for us, the story of Jonah as an actual event that took place, and not a myth or allegory. If we believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and our Savior, then we should have no problem believing that the story of Jonah in the belly of the whale actually happened—because Jesus said that it did.

This chapter continues with the exhibition of ten impossible prophecies of resurrection that Jesus fulfilled.

Psalms 2:7-8
Psalms 16:10a
Psalms 16:10b
Psalms 17:15
Psalms 49:15
Psalms 68:18a
Psalms 110:1b
Psalms 118:17-18
Jeremiah 30:9
Jonah 1:17

One of the promises that God made to the world in the ancient Hebrew scriptures, is the guarantee of a resurrection by the Messiah. These ten prophecies from the Old Testament Bible, were written well in advance of their fulfillment: The prophecies from the Psalms; one thousand years, Jonah; nearly eight hundred years, the prophet Jeremiah; six hundred years. It is by the resurrection of the Messiah, that Jesus said we could have confidence in our own, future resurrection.

…Because I live, you will live also. John 14:19

Part One: The Messiah will be killed and Resurrected.

Old Testament Prediction:

Psalms 2:7-8 “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.’ ”

New Testament Fulfillment:

Acts 13:29-30 “Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead.”

The Resurrection of the Messiah in the Old Testament

A common theme of the Old Testament is the death of the Messiah as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. There are 58 specific prophecies which describe this event in the Hebrew scriptures.

Psalm 2 is widely accepted by all credible scholars as Messianic. In the original Hebrews language that Psalm 2 was written, it is implied in the language structure of verse 7 that the Son who is begotten will be killed and then resurrected from the dead; in order to receive the kingdom that is promised to Him. The Hebrew word: yelidtika, “to bring forth,” from where the word “begotten” is translated in verse 7, in context with the Messiah, is defined as; “to bring Him forth from the dead.”[1] This is confirmed by Paul in the New Testament, where he relates the second Psalm to Jesus and the term; “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You,” describing the Messiah as He is raised from the dead.

Acts 13:33-35 God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.” 34 And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: “I will give you the sure mercies of David.” 35 Therefore He also says in another Psalm: “You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”

It is clear from Acts 13:29-30, that Luke understood from Psalm 2:7-8; that the Messiah would be crucified and resurrected from the dead. This was necessary in order to have His sacrifice validated by God so that He would be qualified as the Savior of the world, and the future king over the whole earth.

Acts 13:29-30 “Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead.”

Other Old Testament verses, such as Daniel Chapter 9:25-26, in which the Messiah is also described as: cut off or killed; confirms the Old Testament position that the Messiah would be killed and then resurrected.

Daniel 9:25-26 Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself…”

It was widely understood that the Messiah would receive an earthly kingdom as a continuation of David’s reign. It is generally accepted that Psalm 2 was written by David after his victory over the Jebusites, as described in 2 Samuel 5:7-9. As David went before the Lord, in 2 Samuel 5:17-19; He assured David that he would have victory over the Philistines, Syria, and Phoenicia.

2 Samuel 5:17-19 Now when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. 18 The Philistines also went and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. 19 So David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?” And the LORD said to David, “Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand.”

Psalm 2 and specifically chapter 2:7-8 were written by David in response to this victory over the Philistines. David, also being a prophet of God, was writing concerning his future seed, that someday there would be king who would rule forever, over the whole earth.

Confirmation of this fact is found in Acts 4, where Peter has been brought before Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, to be questioned about their declaration that Jesus was the Messiah.

Peter, being filled with the Holy Spirit, pointed to Psalm 2 as the confirming scripture for Jesus’ life and ministry as the promised Messiah.

Acts 4:6-8 …Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel…”

“who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ.’ For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” Acts 4:25-30

Peter is quoting directly from Psalm 2, by the power of the Holy Spirit and it is certain that it was the intent of this Psalm, when it was written by David, to describe the future Messiah. Although David was describing his own personal victory by the Lord against the enemies of Israel in Psalm 2, he was also acting in the capacity of a prophet of God in describing the future ministry and kingdom of the Messiah.

When the facts are examined, there is no question that the New Testament accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection are a true and accurate records of what actually took place in history.

The first Apostles’ creed speaks of the resurrection as the foundation of the Christian church. The text from 1 Corinthians Chapter 15 has been dated by scholars as written just 3 to 7 years from the death and resurrection of Jesus.[2]

1 Corinthians 15:3-9 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

The very first letters which Paul sent to the churches in Asia have been accurately dated to within 25 years of Jesus’ death and resurrection.[3] When we compare these early copies of the letters that Paul wrote, with the Bible which we have in our possession today, they are virtually identical in every essential doctrine of the Christian faith.

One of the often overlooked proofs for the resurrection of Jesus is the current tradition of worship on Sunday instead of the traditional Sabbath. The reason that the early church began to worship on Sunday was in response to a foundational event which took place on Sunday, the first day of the week:

Mark 16:9 Now when Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene…

Within a short period of time after Jesus was raised from the dead, the Christian church began to worship on Sunday, not Saturday. Justin Martyr, considered the foremost authority on the Word of God in the second century, and early church historian, records the fact that the Christian church was already worshipping the Lord on Sunday, early in the first century—in celebration of His resurrection.[4]

If Jesus had not risen on the first day of the week, there would not be a church today that is known by His name, much less a day of worship which has been set aside on Sunday, to acknowledge His resurrection from the dead. These two important points are matters of history, which—add to the massive amount of evidence that would lead any intelligent person to only one conclusion: Jesus of Nazareth died and rose again three days later, as recorded by the New Testament.

For a substantial record of the historical evidence for the resurrection, see the chapter in this book: The Resurrection.

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Part Two: The Messiah, though He will be killed, His body will not decay in the grave.

Old Testament Prediction:

Psalms 16:10a “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol…”

New Testament Fulfillment:

Acts 2:29-31 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.”

The Importance of the Messiah’s Resurrection:

It is obvious that David, who wrote Psalm 16:10 under the direction of the Holy Spirit, did not intend that he would be the object of this verse. David has long since died and his flesh has already decayed from his bones.

When Peter stood before the gathering of people from many nations, assembled in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, as described in Acts chapter 2, he made a point of clarification before the gathered crowd, that Psalm 16:10 was not written for David but for David’s descendant—who would be the Messiah. Because David was a prophet, he was led by the Spirit to prophesy these words:

foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.

This testimony from Peter is a sure confirmation that Jesus fulfilled Psalms 16:10, and that this prophecy was uniquely written for Him. Not only did Jesus rise from the dead on the third day, after He was crucified; while He remained in the grave, His dead body was not constrained by the normal laws of corruption. Jesus’ corpse did not undergo decay or decomposition.

Acts 2:32 “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.”

The process of decomposition is a natural part of death. Although we often hear many details about the suffering and death of Jesus, we seldom hear about what happened to Him in the grave. David’s prophecy speaks of a complete violation of the natural laws of the universe. Everything that dies decomposes and returns the elements it contains, back to the earth. Not so with Jesus’ body. Even as He defied the natural order of death by rising from the dead, His body also was not subject to the natural process of decomposition.

How this happened, it is impossible to say. Jesus was dead; this we know for certain. When the Roman soldiers came to break the shin bones of the two thieves crucified next to Jesus, they found that Jesus had already expired. If Jesus was not dead, they would have broken His legs. The fact that they did not, and this information is recorded for us in the New Testament, is sufficient testimony that He was dead. If there was any doubt about Jesus’ death, the last line of verse 34 below, describes the Roman soldier who thrust a spear into Jesus’ side, with blood and water pouring out. Medical science describes the appearance of blood and water from this wound; as evidence that a rupture of the heart had occurred, which brought immediate death.

John 19:3-34 Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.

Every aspect of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection, are miraculous and beyond the normal scope of the human experience. It was as if God intentionally caused all the events of Jesus’ life to be supernatural and outside the natural laws of the universe. God was making a statement that His Son is the unique and singular Savior of the world. This is the stunning testimony of the New Testament that uniquely qualifies Jesus to be the Messiah.

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Part Three: The Messiah, though He will be killed, His body will be Resurrected.

Old Testament Prediction:

Psalms 16:10b “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”

New Testament Fulfillment:

Acts 13:33-35 God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’ 34 And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: “I will give you the sure mercies of David.’ 35 Therefore He also says in another Psalm: “You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.’

John 20:1-9 “Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.’ Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.”

Messiah’s Body Will Not Decay

Here in Psalm 16:9-11, the Messiah is promised a resurrection after death, without any decay of His body. The designation: “Holy One,” makes the identity of the Messiah a certainty.

Paul confirms that Psalm 16:9-11 was written for Jesus as the Messiah, by using the same language that David used (Holy One), as he confirms that Jesus resurrection was a fulfillment of this Old Testament prediction.

Acts 13:33 … As it is also written in the second Psalm: …Therefore He also says in another Psalm, 16:10b: “You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.’

Psalms 16:10b “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”

According to the second Midrashic exegetical rule, called the “Middot,” originated by Rabbi Hillel: “where the same words appear in two separate scriptures, we are to give the same consideration in applying both scriptures to the same subject.”

Since the term: You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption, is present in Psalm 16:10b and Acts 13:33, both are describing the same subject: The Messiah. This is in keeping with the Pesher form of interpretation used by Peter in Acts chapter 2 and other notable places in the New Testament.[5]

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of all that we believe as Christians. Without the resurrection, there would be no basis to conclude that Jesus is the Messiah and the only way to heaven. Jesus made many bold and amazing assertions about Himself; none of these claims would have any merit whatsoever, except that He rose from the dead just as He said that He would.

Mark 8:31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

Mark 10:34 (Jesus speaking) and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.

Luke 18:33 (Jesus speaking) They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.

Luke 24:7 (Jesus) saying, “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”

The centerpiece of Paul’s preaching is: Jesus rose from the dead “according to the scriptures.”

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…

According to what scriptures?

The scriptures that are a part of this chapter:

Psalms 2:7-8
Psalms 16:10a
Psalms 16:10b
Psalms 17:15
Psalms 49:15
Psalms 68:18a
Psalms 110:1b
Psalms 118:17-18
Jeremiah 30:9
Jonah 1:17

This is an important juncture in the study of Old Testament prophecy. The resurrection of the Messiah was predicted on ten occasions in the Old Testament, as illustrated above. The fulfillment of all the prophecies of the Messiah are the basis for every other doctrine that is in the Bible; including the manner in which a human being may be reconciled to God and inherit eternal life.

The facts of the Resurrection:

• The Romans were very meticulous in their executions for capital crimes. In most cases, the men who were crucified were left on their cross for extended periods of time as a deterrent to those who might consider committing the same crime. It was not uncommon for wild dogs to carry off most of the body leaving nothing left to place in a grave. In Jesus case, the Roman authorities would never have released Jesus body to Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus if they had not personally verified that Jesus was dead.
• Three days after He was crucified, there was no body in the tomb where they had placed Jesus.
• A Roman guard was ordered to stand guard at the entrance of the tomb where Jesus’ body was located. The penalty for falling asleep at the post of a condemned criminal, was the same penalty as that of the condemned, in this case; crucifixion.
• There was an adequate number of guards at the tomb to allow shifts of soldiers to sleep, while others maintained vigilant guard over the tomb. No one could have possibly snuck past this fierce Roman guard to steal Jesus’ body.
• No single person was strong enough to move the 2,000 pound stone that sealed the entrance to Jesus’ tomb. If the number of people necessary to remove such a stone, came to Jesus tomb, they would have been heard and seen by the Roman guard.
• When the burial clothes of Jesus were examined inside the tomb where He had been placed, the shape of the body was still visible in the cloth that His body had been wrapped in. Peter stood in the tomb, stunned that its shape indicated that Jesus body had burst forth from inside the burial clothes, without disturbing them.
• Jesus was beaten 39 times by the scourge, which in most cases, would kill a man before he ever made it to the cross to be crucified. Jesus’ side was pierced by a Roman soldier’s spear, for the specific purpose of making sure that He was dead. His hands and feet were nailed to the wood on His cross.
• When the Roman soldiers came to break the legs of Jesus to hasten His death for the approaching Sabbath, they found that He was already dead.
• The disciples were distraught and broken-hearted, hiding out in fear and shame, believing that Jesus was dead.
• Everyone who observed the torture and crucifixion of Jesus understood that He had died.
• On the morning of the third day, two woman called “Mary” went to Jesus’ tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away, and His body was no longer there.
• Jesus appeared to all of the disciples, alive. He ate with them, spoke to them, told them to touch Him, and see that He was not a ghost but that He was alive as a physical being.
• Jesus remained on the earth for forty days and was seen alive by over five hundred eyewitnesses.

The most stunning evidence for who Jesus is and why He came to earth, is the subject of these prophecies. All of these predictions were written hundreds, to thousands of years, before these events took place. All of these predictions were perfectly fulfilled by Jesus Christ and no other person during the history of the world.

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Part Four: The Promise of Resurrection is only possible by the Messiah.

Old Testament Prediction:

Psalms 17:15 “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.”

New Testament Fulfillment:

Luke 24:6-7 “He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ ”

John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

1 John 3:2 “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

John 10:17-19 (Jesus) “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

John 14:19 (Jesus) “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.”

Did it Really Happen?

Many critics of Jesus Christ, claim that His physical resurrection from the dead is an elaborate hoax, created by the writers of the New Testament. When we examine the ancient texts of the Hebrew scriptures, we discover that the death and resurrection of the future Messiah was predicted, thousands of years before Jesus arrived on earth. When we examine this evidence from the Old Testament, we discover that a bodily resurrection of the future Savior was foretold by God, as a sign—to the world, that His promise of a Redeemer had been fulfilled.

Jesus dying on the cross and then raised to life three days later, was no fabrication; it was a stunning fulfillment of what God has spoken, thousands of years before. When the writers of the New Testament recorded this event, many were eye witnesses of Jesus resurrection. It was not until later that several of the disciples of Jesus realized that His resurrection was a fulfillment of these many prophecies, described by the prophets of the Old Testament.

Executed For Believing in the Resurrection

One of the most compelling pieces of evidence from secular history that serves to validate the presence of Jesus Christ on earth; dying on a cross, and resurrected from the dead, is the persecution of the early followers of Jesus, by the Roman government.

The Romans were very tolerant of every religion except Christianity. The Roman Emperors determined that Christianity was a terrible “superstition,” in which its followers believed in the impossible; their leader had risen from the dead.[6]

“The Roman Empire was generally quite tolerant in its treatment of other religions. The imperial policy was generally one of incorporation – the local gods of a newly conquered area were simply added to the Roman pantheon and often given Roman names. Even the Jews, with their one god, were generally tolerated. So why the persecution of Christians?”

“In order to understand the Roman distrust of Christianity, one must understand the Roman view of religion. For the Romans, religion was first and foremost a social activity that promoted unity and loyalty to the state – a religious attitude the Romans called pietas, or piety. Cicero wrote that if piety in the Roman sense were to disappear, social unity and justice would perish along with it.”

“The early Roman writers viewed Christianity not as another kind of piety, but as a “superstition.” Pliny, a Roman governor writing circa 110 AD, called Christianity a “superstition taken to extravagant lengths.” Similarly, the Roman historian Tacitus called it “a deadly superstition,” and the historian Suetonius called Christians “a class of persons given to a new and mischievous superstition.”[7] —Persecution in the early church

The “mischievous superstition,” that Tacitus, Pliny, and Suetonius refers to, was the firm belief by the followers of Jesus that He had risen from the dead. This fact of Christianity made it impossible for the Roman Emperors to accept Christianity as a conventional religion. No other leader amongst any other religion had ever claimed to rise from he dead. We should understand at the onset that Christianity is far different from all other religions. The central and most crucial part of Christianity is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without the Resurrection, Christianity would have ceased to exist before it began.

It was because Christians believed in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ that ten Roman Emperors gave their orders to execute any Christian who would not repent of their Christianity and worship a Roman god.[8] Because Christians maintained such a firm belief the Jesus had risen from the dead, inasmuch as it is firmly established in their scriptures, they would not deny Jesus.

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 1 Corinthians 15:14

History records that early Christians were persecuted and killed, by the Roman government, for a period of 250 years.[9] Beginning with Nero in 54 A.D., and ending with Diocletian in 313 A.D.[10]

All ten of these Roman Emperors recorded their view of Christianity in the records of the Roman Senate Archives.[11] Under Emperor Decius, Christians arrested, could purchase a “libelous,” which proved that they had converted from Christianity, without actually denying Jesus and worshipping a Roman god. This was accomplished by paying a fee to a Roman official to obtain the certificate.

From the massive records of the Romans, that are extant to the present day, any person of diligence can discover that Jesus is a genuine person of history. His early followers were brutally executed for simply believing that He had risen from the dead. The only reason that the Roman Government viewed Christianity as such a great threat, when all other religions were not regarded as so, is due to the primary claim of its leader, and the belief of its followers; that Jesus Christ had not only died on a Roman cross, but that He had risen from the dead. This stunning reality is recorded in the pages of Roman antiquity and is undeniable, empirical evidence of his existence in history. Jesus crucifixion, is recorded in the Roman archives, and the fact of His resurrection is evidenced by the strong stance that His followers took when confronted with death, rather than deny Him. There is no doubt that John’s letter to the seven churches, from the Book of Revelation, chapter 2:8-10, was read to those suffering under persecution. The letter that was written to the church at Smyrna, was specifically intended for those who would suffer under these brutal Roman Emperors.

…you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:8-10

The Promise of Resurrection from the Old Testament

Psalm 2:7-8 is an example of how the disciples took a familiar Old Testament verse from the Psalms and attributed it to Jesus’ resurrection:

Old Testament Prediction:

Psalms 2:7-8 “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.’ ”

New Testament Fulfillment:

Acts 13:29-30 “Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead.”

It was widely known during the writing of the Old Testament, that the Messiah would receive an earthly kingdom as a continuation of David’s reign. It is generally accepted that Psalm 2 was written by David after his victory over the Jebusites, as described in 2 Samuel 5:7-9. As David went before the Lord, in 2 Samuel 5:17-19, He assured David that he would have victory over the Philistines, Syria, and Phoenicia.

Obviously, Psalm 2 and specifically chapter 2:7-8, were written by David in response to that victory. David, also being a prophet of God, was writing concerning his future seed that someday He would be king over the whole earth, forever.

Confirmation of this fact is found in Acts 4, where Peter has been brought before Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander; to be questioned about their declaration that Jesus was the Messiah.

Peter, being filled with the Holy Spirit, pointed to Psalm 2 as the confirming scripture for Jesus’ life and ministry as the promised Messiah.

Acts 4:6-8 “…Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel…”

Then Peter began to explain to the leaders of Israel that what David had spoken in Psalm 2, what precisely what Jesus had accomplished in His arrival on earth:

Acts 4:25-30 “who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ.’ (From Psalm 2) For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”

Peter is quoting directly from Psalm 2, and attributing the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem, as the fulfillment of David’s prophecy of the Messiah. It is certain that it is the intent of the Holy Spirit that Psalm 2 was written about the Messiah. Although David was describing his own personal victory by the Lord, in Psalm 2, against the enemies of Israel, he was also acting in the capacity of a prophet of God in predicting the future ministry and kingdom of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

It is clear from Luke, as he is the author of Acts 13:29-30, and that he also believed that Psalm 2:7-8 was written for the Messiah, who would be crucified and resurrected from the dead. Both Paul and Peter understood that by Jesus resurrection from the dead, He was validating His claim to be the Messiah and the one predicted by the Hebrew scriptures.

When Peter stood to address the assembly of people who were gather in Jerusalem from all over the world, during the feast of Pentecost, he was also speaking to the leaders of Israel, regarding the purpose of Jesus in Israel at that time.

Acts 2:22- 24 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.

The term, “foreknowledge,” is used in context with God’s knowledge of Jesus as the Messiah, the actions of the leaders of Israel in crucifying Him, and God’s promise to resurrect Him from the dead—in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.

No Fabrication; Fulfillment

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Jesus is described as “risen from the dead.” The writers of the New Testament were not fabricating a story to deceive the world, and create a new religion, they were recording an event that God said would happen during that particular period of history.

God’s foreknowledge of Jesus coming into the world as the Messiah, being crucified and then resurrected three days later, was described extensively in the Old Testament; so that when it had occurred, the world would understand that God had kept His promise.

This is one of the important points of this book. The prophecies which come from the Hebrew scriptures, describe the Messiah as killed and then resurrected three days later. The record of history reveals that from the time that Jesus lived, died, and rose from the dead, eyewitnesses have recorded these events and they are preserved for us in the New Testament. Recent Paleographical discoveries, regarding the manuscript of Matthew; confirms that he wrote his narrative of Jesus, while he was still alive. See the chapter: Historical Evidence, for further details.

There is compelling scholarly evidence today, that the gospel of Matthew, was actually written by Matthew himself; as early as 28 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.[12]

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Part Five: The Promise of Resurrection given to the Messiah.

Old Testament Prediction:

Psalms 49:15 “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, For He shall receive me.”

New Testament Fulfillment:

Mark 16:2-6 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away—for it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.”

A Promise Kept

The fact of the Messiah’s resurrection is well documented throughout the Old Testament. David, in writing this 19th prophecy from Psalm 49:15, describes a risen Savior—who has power over the grave. “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, For He shall receive me.”

Peter later confirms David’s prophetic depiction of a risen Messiah, in Acts chapter 2.

Acts 2:25,27 “For David says concerning Him (Messiah): ‘…For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.’ ”

Incredibly, Peter quotes the precise words which David penned in Psalm 16, nearly one thousand years before Jesus would fulfill this prophecy.

Psalms 16:10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

Since David uses similar language to describe power over the grave in both Psalm 49:15 and Psalm 16:10, it is certain that he is speaking of the same person.

According to a well know Midrashic exegetical rule, called the Middot, originated by Rabbi Hillel: when one principle appear in two separate scriptures, they may both be applied to the same subject.[13]

A resurrection from the dead is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. It is the founding principle of Jesus’ ministry and the quantifying truth of everything that Jesus affirmed.

• Jesus claimed that He had power over death.
• He claimed the ability to raise Himself from the dead.
• He said that He will raise all those who believe in Him.
• Jesus promised to destroy death forever.

As Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, they had a plethora of problems within the church.

• Chapters 1-4-Members fighting over who was the best teacher.
• Chapter 5-Struggles with sexual immorality.
• Chapter 6-Christians suing other Christians, instead of working out their differences together in love.
• Chapter 8-Christians using their freedom in a destructive way, causing other weaker Christians to stumble in their faith.
• Chapters 10-11-During their love feasts, some were gorging themselves during their love feasts, leaving little or nothing for the poor who often went away hungry. Others in the church were getting drunk before partaking of communion.
• Chapters 12 and 14-An incorrect usage of spiritual gifts caused disruptions during the teaching of the word of God.
• Chapter 15-False teachers had apparently come into the church and began to tell the people that there was no resurrection from the dead.

As a result of their incorrect understanding of the resurrection, many Christians at the church of Corinth began to lose hope. The source of this incorrect doctrine originated from secular philosophies of Roman culture. There were three main ideologies that crept into the church of Corinth which countermanded the truth of the resurrection:

Stoicism: (New Age philosophy) At death, the soul merges into God. The personality is destroyed; the body is not raised again, only the spirit.[14]

Epicurean philosophy: (Atheism) There is no existence beyond death. Death is the end of all existence.[15]

Platonism: (Hinduism, Buddhism, New Age) Only the soul is immortal. At the death of the body, the soul “migrates” into a new body. There is no physical resurrection. Many of the doctrines of Platonism were adopted into the Christian church by St. Augustine, the “Doctor of the Catholic Church.” His early writings were greatly influenced by Plotinus’ Enneads, and became the foundation for Christian thought.[16]

The purpose of Paul’s two letters to the church at Corinth was to correct these false doctrines that had been brought into the church and remind the members of the truth. In 1 Corinthians Chapter 15, Paul emphasizes that without the surety of a resurrection, our preaching is empty and our faith is empty (15:4).

The word Resurrection originated from three Greek words:

Anastasis: “to stand up”[17]
Nekro: a corpse.[18]
Histemi: “to cause to stand up”[19]

If we put these three words together, we arrive at the following definition: The Lord causes a dead corpse to stand up. It is evident that the Bible teaches a physical resurrection from the dead that includes the spirit, soul, and body. The body will die, but the sprit is eternal. The moment that a believer in Jesus dies, his spirit departs his body and rises to meet the Lord in heaven.

2 Corinthians 5:1-8 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

“…to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord”

We can be thankful that the church at Corinth was such a mess. As a result of their misunderstanding in many of the basic doctrines of the Christian faith, we become great beneficiaries. As Paul writes to clear up the issue of “what takes place after death,” we gain a clear understanding for precisely what happens to us at the moment our body ceases to function.

Jesus promised those who place their trust in Him, that although our body will die; He has the power to raise it to life. If we should perish before the Lord returns for us at the Rapture, when He arrives; He will resurrect our body and make it eternal as it rises to meet Him in the air.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

The church at Thessalonica has a similar misunderstanding in the doctrine of the resurrection and the event described as “the Rapture.” Paul writes specifically to this church, in order to clarify the important points of these two important doctrines:

1. Those who have fallen asleep, a polite way of describing the death of a believer in Jesus Christ, who have been with the Lord since the moment of their death—will be brought with Jesus upon His return at the Rapture.
2. Those who are alive at His return, during the Rapture, will be changed instantaneously from mortal to immortal.

1 Thessalonians 4:15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

At the moment of the Rapture, Christians who are alive will not rise first to meet Jesus in the air; the dead will have first priority.

Those who have died, believing in Jesus and the hope of the Rapture, will be raised first; their dead bodies will be transformed into eternal bodies, then united with their spirit which has been with the Lord in heaven since their death.

The believers on earth who are alive will rise to meet the Lord, as their bodies are also transformed into a new eternal body.

We should notice that the spirit of the person who dies believing in Jesus, goes immediately to be with the Lord upon, their death. There is no intermediate place called “Purgatory,” and no dwelling of the spirit on the earth for a period of time before it rises to meet the Lord after death. The process of death, immediately sets the spirit free to ascend to heaven. We see this illustrated in the New Testament.

Paul speaks of an event that took place fourteen years previously, in which he was stoned to death by some of the men from Lystra. In Paul’s description, at the moment of his death; he was immediately in the presence of the Lord, without delay.

2 Corinthians 12:2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven.

The term, I know a man, is a common usage of the third person that is often made use of, to avoid the appearance of boasting. Some of the Greeks during this time suggested that when speaking of your own experiences, the writer should use the third person so as to appear humble.[20] Paul frequently stated that he would boast only in Christ and his own weaknesses (2 Cor. 12:5). It is certain that this experience of death by stoning was Paul’s description of an event that took place in his own life.

The precise timing of the event when Paul was stoned to death, and was immediately in the presence of the Lord, is not known. It is likely that the “fourteen years ago” that Paul speaks of was only an estimation. During this period of history, years were not counted in the same manner as today. Part of a year was still counted as a full year. The recounting of fourteen years could have been as little as a month or two from the first year, plus twelve whole years, and then a portion of months of the fourteenth year.[21] With this in mind, Paul could be referring to a period when he would have been in Tarsus, his home town, just prior to his first missionary journey.[22]

There is a reference in Acts 14:19, where Paul speaks of being stoned to death by the men of Lystra; after some who heard him speak, believed that he was “a god.” Certain leaders, believing that Paul was not a god but instead a fraud, convinced the men of Lystra to stone Paul to death.

Acts 14:19 Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.

Whether or not this event in Acts 14:19 is the true account of Paul’s death and ascension into heaven that he spoke of in 2 Corinthians 12:2, no one is certain. Based on this description by Paul and what we know in regards to the timing of these events, this verse from Acts 14 is certainly a reasonable estimation of the time and place that this incident occurred.

Paul describes his death by stoning and the fact that he was immediately taken to the third heaven. This is not a mystical description of heaven as the Later Day Saints imply; it is simply a simplistic description of the true location of heaven.[23]

First Heaven: The atmosphere of the earth where the birds fly.
Second Heaven: The location of the Sun, the Moon, and the stars.
Third Heaven: The unseen location where God dwells.

From this example in the New Testament, we can validate the fact that a person who has placed himself under the protection of Jesus’ sacrifice, will be taken immediately to heaven upon his death.

More importantly, at the precise moment of death, the hope of a resurrected body is assured to us by Jesus.

When our body does die, our spirit will immediately depart this temporary dwelling and be present with the Lord in heaven. There is no delay, whereby our spirit will remain here on earth. There will be no “soul sleep,” as our soul lies in a state of suspension. The spirit that lives inside our body is eternal. At the moment of death, the spirit departs the body. If we have placed our life in the hands of Jesus Christ and we die trusting in Him for our salvation, then our spirit will immediately depart, to be present with the Lord in heaven. If we rejected the salvation that Jesus has offered us throughout our earthly life, then our spirit will depart our body to descend into hell, where it will remain until the final judgement of all things (Luke 16:22-23).

Hebrews 9:27 And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment… (NLT)

Armed with these truths, Paul writes to the church at Corinth, beginning with the basics:

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.

First: Paul reminds the church that he has formerly taught these principles to them.

Second: They had, in the past, received these facts as truth.

Third: These facts about the resurrection are the certainty in which we stand.

Finally, because of Jesus’ death for our sins and His resurrection, we know that He has the power to raise our dead bodies to life. These are the truths, whereby we are saved if we continue to believe them all throughout our life.

1 Corinthians 15:12-14 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.

The truth of the resurrection was predicted in the Old Testament, and the certainty of this eternal life is made possible only by the coming of the Messiah. The Savior would offer up His life in exchange for all human lives. His death would pay the price owed for all sins and make eternal life with God a reality. Only those who personally accept what the Messiah has done for them, by His death on the cross, have the forgiveness of their sins and eternal life appropriated to their account.

If we die without receiving Jesus, we have no hope after death. The Bible gives no indication that there is a possibility of salvation after the body ceases to function and the spirit departs the body.

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment…

The prophecy of Psalm 49:15 is the subject of this Messianic prediction:

Psalms 49:15 “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, For He shall receive me.”

The Messiah is promised the resurrection of His body, after He makes His life an offering for the sins of the world. As a result, He has also promised all those who place their complete trust in Him, their own resurrection from the dead—to a life, eternal.

John 11:26 “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

John 14:19 … “Because I live, you will live also.”

Paul closes chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians by emphatically stating that should we reject the principle that Jesus was raised from the dead, in fulfillment of this prophecy, that our faith is futile (empty), and we are still in our sins.

1 Corinthians 15:17-20 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep (died) in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

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Part Six: The Messiah will rise from the dead and ascend back to heaven.

Old Testament Prediction:

Psalms 68:18a “You have ascended on high…

New Testament Fulfillment:

Luke 24:51 “Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.”

Ascension to Heaven From the Mount of Olives

The Book of Acts tells us the precise location where Jesus ascended back to heaven.

Just after the last supper and shortly before Jesus would go to the cross, He stated that after He was crucified, He would be raised to life three days later. Jesus remained on the earth for 40 days after His resurrection and confirmed that He was alive by more than 500 eye witnesses, none of whom ever wrote in contradiction that He had not risen from the dead. Jesus final instructions to His disciples directed them to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Father; the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. After showing Himself alive for 40 days, Jesus ascended back to heaven from the Mount of Olives.

Acts 1:9-12 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” 12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey.

It is interesting that Zechariah describes the return of the Messiah to the earth, a second time, to the exact same location of His departure, the Mount of Olives.

Zechariah 14:3-4 Then the LORD will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle. 4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east.

Jesus is Returning to Fight the Battle of Armageddon

When Jesus returns to earth with His church, it will be to fight a great battle, described by the Book of Revelation Chapter 16: The Battle of Armageddon. This war will take place in a valley, north of Jerusalem called Megiddo. It is the site of many important conflicts of past history and is referred to by Revelation 19:11-15 as the Winepress.

In Psalms 2:1-5, David describes a battle between the Lord and the kings of the earth who have assembled together in this valley of Megiddo, for the specific purpose of killing Jesus.

Psalms 2:1-5 Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the LORD shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure…

Psalm 2 refers to the term indignation as a reference to the time of Tribulation which will last for seven years. Isaiah also describes the Battle of Armageddon as the indignation of the Lord against all the nations who are gathered to fight the Messiah, when He returns to earth. This combat that Isaiah sees in his prophecy, is the topic of Psalms 2:1-5, which will occur during the return of Jesus, at the end of the Tribulation period.

Isaiah 34:1-4 Come near, you nations, to hear; and heed, you people! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world and all things that come forth from it. For: the indignation of the LORD is against all nations, and His fury against all their armies; (at Armageddon) he has utterly destroyed them, he has given them over to the slaughter. Also their slain shall be thrown out; their stench shall rise from their corpses, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood.

The blood from the slaughter of this encounter, will fill the Valley of Megiddo; to the height of a horse’s bridle, or about 5 feet deep. The Valley of Megiddo is approximately 200 miles in length and about 100 miles wide.

Revelation 14:20 And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.

Isaiah gives us a graphic description of the wrath of the Lamb, portrayed as “the indignation;” when the Messiah will destroy all those who have assembled to kill Him, at His return. In Isaiah Chapter 63, the prophet gives us a vivid description of this battle, when the Messiah will tread the winepress of the Valley of Megiddo alone, destroying all of the assembled armies. The blood from this carnage is sprinkled upon Jesus’ garments.

Isaiah 63:3 I have trodden the winepress alone (the valley of Megiddo), and from the peoples no one was with Me. For I have trodden them in My anger, and trampled them in My fury; their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have stained all My robes.

John writes in the book of Revelation to clarify that Jesus is the one whom Isaiah was speaking of—with His clothing covered by the blood of those He has slain in the Valley of Megiddo.

Revelation 19:13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

Isaiah 63:4-6 For the day of vengeance is in My heart, (the Day of the Lord) and the year of My redeemed has come. I looked, but there was no one to help, and I wondered that there was no one to uphold; therefore My own arm brought salvation for Me; and My own fury, it sustained Me. I have trodden down the peoples in My anger, made them drunk in My fury, and brought down their strength to the earth.

The prophet Joel describes, in similar fashion; this final battle at Armageddon. Joel refers to this location as the Valley of Jehoshaphat, where king Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, defeated the Gentile coalition of Moab, Ammon, and Edom.

Joel 3:2 I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land.

Some of the names for the location of this battle:

1. Valley of Megiddo (2 Chronicles 35:22).
2. Valley of Jezreel (Joshua 17:16).
3. Valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:2).
4. Valley of Decision (Joel 3:14).

Joel continues, in chapter 3:9-16, by describing the Battle of Armageddon and the coming of Jesus’ kingdom that will last for one thousand years. In these verses, Joel relates the thousand-year reign of Jesus, as commencing from the Valley of Jehoshaphat, where He will judge the nations, also depicted in Matthew 25.

Joel 3:9-16 Proclaim this among the nations: “Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near, let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’ ” Assemble and come, all you nations, and gather together all around. Cause Your mighty ones to go down there, O LORD. “Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; for the winepress is full, the vats overflow— for their wickedness is great.” Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will diminish their brightness. The LORD also will roar from Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; the heavens and earth will shake; but the LORD will be a shelter for His people, and the strength of the children of Israel.

The judgement of the Nations

Matthew 25:31-32 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.

The Prophet Zechariah Describes the Battle of Armageddon:

Zechariah 14:2-3 For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle.

When Jesus fulfilled this prophecy from Psalms 68:18, He ascended back to heaven from the Mount of Olives. Since that time, He has been preparing a place for all of those who eagerly wait for His return.

John 14:2-3 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Since the book of Genesis describes the creation of the earth, which required six days, this causes us to wonder how beautiful heaven must be; knowing that Jesus has been preparing this place for us, for over 2,000 years.

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”[24]

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Part Seven: The Messiah will be resurrected from the dead and ascend back to the right hand of the Father.

Old Testament Prediction:

Psalms 110:1b The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”

New Testament Fulfillment:

1 Corinthians 15:25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.

Mark 16:19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.

Matthew 26:64 Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Mark 16:6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.”

Mark 16:9 Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene…

Acts 1:9-11 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

Exalted to His Former Glory

Psalms 110:1b describes the Messiah as sitting at the right hand of God. This is an Old Testament allusion that indicates the highest position of honor, power, and glory; reserved only for God. The testimony by those who saw Jesus rise to heaven, describes Him sitting at the Right hand of God. The fact that the Messiah will sit at the Right hand of God, requires that He must also be resurrected from the dead.

Mark 16:19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.

The principle of honor as given to those who were permitted to sit at the right hand of the king, is established in the Old Testament Book of 1 Kings:

1 Kings 2:19 Bathsheba therefore went to King Solomon, to speak to him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her and bowed down to her, and sat down on his throne and had a throne set for the king’s mother; so she sat at his right hand.

In the New Testament, Jesus is described as: exalted to the right hand of God, and sitting at the right hand of God:

Acts 2:32-33 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.

Acts 2:34-35 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: “The LORD said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’ ”

Ephesians 1:20 …which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places…

Colossians 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.

Hebrews 1:3 …who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that Jesus is a created being, like one of the angels in heaven.[25] Paul wrote in the Book of Hebrews that Jesus is not one of the angels; He is the unique, eternal Son of God.

Hebrews 1:13 But to which of the angels has He ever said: “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”?

The fact that Jesus is: exalted to the right hand of God, is an important confirmation that He is in fact Jehovah-God, not a created angel.

This highest place of honor, has been given to Jesus as our Great High Priest, as stated by Paul in the book of Hebrews.

Hebrews 8:1 Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens…

Paul also describes Jesus as a man who sat down at the right hand of God.

Hebrews 10:12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God…

Sitting on the throne of God today, at His right hand—is a man, the author and finisher of our faith.

Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus has gone into heaven to sit at the right hand of God, all other authorities are made subject to Him.

1 Peter 3:22 Jesus…who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.

When Jesus rose from the dead, He was seated at the right hand of God.

Ephesians 1:20 …which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places…

From these verses of scripture, we see that it is certain that the writers of the New Testament believed that Jesus was the object of this prophecy. The Messiah would die, be raised back to life, and then sit at the right hand of the throne of God. This was a special place of honor reserved only for the Messiah. Jesus was given this place of recognition because of the sacrifice that He made for the sins of all people.

Jesus fulfilled this prophecy by the testimony of witnesses who saw Him ascend back to heaven, to the right hand of God.

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Part Eight: The Messiah shall be resurrected from the dead.

Old Testament Prediction:

Psalms 118:17-18 I shall not die, but live, And declare the works of the LORD. The LORD has chastened me severely, But He has not given me over to death.

New Testament Fulfillment:

Luke 24:1-8 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ ” And they remembered His words.

1 Corinthians 15:20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Power Over Death

The certainty of Psalm 118 as Messianic, is a settled matter. One of the most famous portions of these prophetic scriptures is found in Psalm 118, verses 22-26.

Psalms 118:22-26 The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. 23 This was the LORD’S doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. 24 This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. 25 Save now, I pray, O LORD; O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity. 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!

Psalm 118, Verses 17-18 describe the Messiah, having power over death, though the Lord will chasten Him severely:

I shall not die, but live, And declare the works of the LORD. The LORD has chastened me severely, But He has not given me over to death.

This leaves no doubt that this prophecy from Psalms 118:17-18 is describing the resurrection of the Messiah, who will come on one specific day: This is the day the Lord has made, to offer His life for the sins of the world.

Psalm 118 was likely the final song that Jesus sang during the Last Supper. It was the Psalm recited during His entrance into Jerusalem on the 10th day of Nissan, four days before He became the Passover Lamb. There is a great probability that this 118th Psalm will be sung at Jesus’ second appearance on earth, at the end of the seven-year Tribulation. Many Bible scholars believe that by the way this Psalm was constructed, it was composed specifically for the laying of the foundation stone of the temple.

Psalms 118 verses 17-18 describes a personal statement: Although I shall be severely chastened: as in Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion for the worlds’s sin, He states that He shall live again.

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Part Nine:The Messiah shall be born as a descendant of David. He will be raised up (literally, raised from the dead) and be Israel’s King in the future.

Old Testament Prediction:

Jeremiah 30:9 For my people will serve the Lord their God and their king descended from David—the king I will raise up for them. (NLT)

New Testament Fulfillment:

Matthew 28:6 He is not here; for He is risen, just as He said He would.

John 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world…”

Matthew 21:9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!”

Revelation 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.

Resurrection to Rulership

Jeremiah’s prophecy describes the Messiah: ruling over Israel as her King. This will not occur until Jesus returns to earth, at the end of seven-year Tribulation. At that time, the Lord will judge the nations and set as kings and priests over the earth—all those who have received Him, before the Tribulation begins. The promise of Jesus to all those who keep watch for His return; they will each have a special place of rulership with Him when He establishes His kingdom on the earth.

Matthew 25:23 His lord said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.”

Luke 19:17 And he said to him, “Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.”

There is a subtle nuance that may be missed in Jeremiah’s prophecy, where he states: whom I will raise up for them. In the literal Hebrew language, the idea here is “Raised up by Resurrection.”[26] This sheds new light on the meaning of Jeremiah’s prophecy. The One to rule over Israel will not only be a “King” from the Line of David, but He will also be one who is resurrected from the dead. This defines Jesus Christ and His resurrection, three days after He was crucified; as the clear object of Jeremiah’s prophecy. Jeremiah is predicting the Messiah’s resurrection almost 600 years before Jesus is born.

The Resurrection by Empirical Proof

The eyewitness accounts of those who saw Jesus alive after He was viciously beaten, crucified, and pierced by a Roman spear, describe a historical event of such profound magnitude, that the course of the entire world has been altered by their occurrence.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a fact of history that is well documented in over 24,000 copies of New Testament manuscripts that have survived the past two thousand years. In addition, there are numerous extra-biblical documents which are a part of the Jewish and Roman archives for this period in history (see Manuscript Evidence).

All of the circumstances surrounding the events of Jesus’ death and resurrection were written by honest and reliable men, who recorded these events and distributed them to the local churches in Asia at that time. The entire gospel account was compiled and canonized as authentic scripture and a true account of Jesus death and resurrection, before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.[27]

As many as 30 additional gospels were presented to the Christian church to be included in the New Testament. All but four were rejected by the church as non-authoritative due to their origin not coming from the Apostles who actually witnessed the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.[28] This is early empirical proof from shortly after the events took place, that the four gospels which are in our New Testament today, were considered an accurate and authoritative narrative of the transmitters who recorded the events of the crucifixion and resurrection.[29]

As further evidence of the authority of the New Testament as scripture, all of the Christian churches in Asia copied, extensively, these letters; which documented Jesus’ death and resurrection and distributed them to other churches.

The Resurrection Proven by Prophecy

An often overlooked fact of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and whether or not this event actually took place, is the corroboration of a Resurrection that was promised and predicted in the Old Testament prophecies of the Bible. This chapter lists ten of these prophecies from the Old Testament that predict the resurrection of the Messiah.

When Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, the men who had been with Him for three and one half years, all began to search the scriptures for the details of those earlier predictions. They discovered that each part of Jesus’ actual resurrection was predicted by these many Old Testament prophecies. The fact that the large body of Old Testament scriptures speak of a resurrected Messiah, is corroborating evidence that a resurrection was expected of the coming Messiah. Every detail of these prophecies was fulfilled by Jesus and recorded in the New Testament, by eyewitnesses, who saw Him alive after He was crucified.

If today, we had nothing more that the New Testament which details the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we would hold in our hands, all the authority that is required to prove that Jesus rose from the dead. The New Testament was written by diligent, honest, and sincere men, who wanted to preserve a record of these events that were so phenomenal; every person on the earth should know about them. We have absolutely no reason to doubt that their narratives of Jesus life, death, and resurrection; are anything less than factual. The body of evidence that is presented in this book; fully validates this conclusion that the New Testament Gospels were written by Honest Men.

When we add more than 365 Old Testament predictions of a coming Messiah who will be crucified and then resurrected from the dead, all fulfilled by Jesus Christ in the authoritative account of the four gospels; we cannot possibly detach the resurrection from the four gospels as a myth, nor consider their testimony as anything less than an absolute certainty of history. See the secular records of history that also validate the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, under the section: Honest men.

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Part Ten: The Messiah will be raised from the dead after three days.

Old Testament Prediction:

Jonah 1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

New Testament Fulfillment:

Matthew 12:40 (Jesus speaking) For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Luke 11:30 For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation.

Jesus and Jonah

If we carefully study the Book of Jonah, we will see that one of the most extraordinary illustrations for the love of God is demonstrated in this wonderful story.

This narrative comes to us about 800 years before Jesus made His entry into the world. Jesus said, in Matthew’s Gospel, that all of the events which are described in the book of Jonah are real and they actually happened. In fact, this prophecy of the Messiah exists because the story of Jonah really took place.

Jesus also confirmed the effectiveness of Jonah’s feeble attempt at bringing a message of repentance to the people of Nineveh. As the scribes and the Pharisees demand a sign of His authority as the Messiah, Jesus reminds them of the prophet Jonah and his words.

Matthew 12:38-41 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered Jesus, saying, Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you. 39 But he answered them, An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. (ESV)

From Jesus commentary on Jonah, we see that the three days and three nights that Jonah was in the belly of the great fish, were intended as a foreshadow of Jesus death and resurrection. By this prophecy of Jonah, we see that God predicted, in the Old Testament, that the Messiah would be dead for three days and three nights, before His Resurrection.

Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh with God’s message of repentance, because he knew that the Lord is very loving, patient, and kind. He understood that if he brought this news of hope to the people of Nineveh, whom he viewed as worthless, should the people actually repent; God would save them. Jesus condemnation of the leaders of Israel is observed by the similarities between Jonah’s callousness to deliver this message to Nineveh, and the complete and utter disregard of the scribes and Pharisees to acknowledge Jesus as the true Messiah.

Both Jonah and the leaders of Israel were guilty of being self absorbed, rather than fulfilling the purposes that God had called them to as leaders—in the first place; to love and care for people.

Jonah’s message was not loving, kind, nor persuasive.

Jonah 3:4 On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed! 5 The people of Nineveh f believed Gods message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow. (NLT)

Jesus used the true repentance of Nineveh as a public chastening for the nation of Israel. In this regard, it is certain that Jonah and the incredible story of being swallowed by a great sea creature, was not a metaphor—it was described by Jesus as a genuine event. For those who cannot believe that God exists, every supernatural event that is claimed in the Bible is unachievable. For God, who has the infinite power of creation; nothing is impossible or supernatural. Preserving Jonah in the belly of a great fish, resurrecting the Messiah from the dead; these events are quite typical for God. By the immenseness of the universe, the complexity of life, the fine balance that is required to allow the universe and intelligent life to exist; all these magnificent facts of creation, became a reality because of the Greatness of God, who makes all things possible.

Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me? Jeremiah 32:27

We should understand the reason for Jonah’s unwillingness to go to Nineveh with the message of salvation. This was a city so immense that it would take a man three days to cross it on foot. In their surveys of Nineveh, archeologists have discovered that the city was more than thirty miles in length and ten miles wide. As the capital of Assyria, Nineveh contained some of the most brutal, and vicious people who have ever lived on the earth.[30] Perhaps it was because they lived such reprobate lives that the majority of people who occupied Nineveh, knew in their hearts that they were wicked and longed for an opportunity to be free of their sin and guilt.

Nimrod, the father of every false religious system of mankind, established Nineveh about 4500 B.C.,[31] according to the book of Genesis.[32] The people of Nineveh had tried all of the religions of man, every pleasure and exciting preoccupation of that present world, yet they still felt empty and unsatisfied. We know this is true because of their immediate response to Jonah when he informed the city that in forty days, God would destroy them all if they did not repent.

Jonah 1:2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.”

The Ninevites were such a brutal people that when they would lay siege to a city and begin to conqueror, many of the inhabitants of these besieged cities would commit suicide rather than be taken captive and tortured by the soldiers of Nineveh.[33]

It is of particular interest to discover that as Jonah was seeking to flee from God’s call to deliver a message of salvation to the Gentiles of Nineveh, he goes instead to Joppa to try and escape the will of God. About 800 years later, a fisherman by the name of Peter, was up on the roof of Simon the Tanner in Joppa, when the Lord gave him a vision to go to the Gentiles and deliver the very same message that God had given to Jonah.[34]

On the first day, walking through Nineveh, just a third of the way through the city—Jonah delivered God’s message of repentance: “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” The response of the people was immediate and heartfelt; the people believed God and turned from their sins. The response of the Lord was equally swift and certain: He ceased from His plan to destroy their city, and He saved all those who came to Him in sincerity. It appears that this repentance was from the entire population. Jonah 3:5 states: “From the greatest to the least of them.”

Jonah 3:4-5 And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.

The people believed what God has said, through Jonah. They proclaimed:

Jonah 3:9 Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish? 10 Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.

In response to their turning to God, Jonah was exceedingly angry.

Jonah 4:1-3 But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. 2 He prayed to the LORD, “O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

The conundrum for Jonah was his intimate knowledge of God’s character. He knew and understood the love and compassion of God. He was certain that if the people of Nineveh repented of their sins, that the Lord would save them. Because of the harsh treatment of the Ninevites against Israel in the past, Jonah did not want God to show mercy; he was happy to watch them all perish under God’s judgement.

Jonah did not have the same heart for people that the Lord has. God was willing to do anything that was necessary to save us all, even when it meant sending His own Son to die a horrible death for our sins. Jonah did not want the people of Nineveh to be saved. His hatred and disregard for their welfare was apparent by his unwillingness to go to Nineveh in the first place; and further revealed by his anger when they did repent and received a pardon from God.

When the Lord saved the people of Nineveh, after their response to Jonah’s’ call for repentance; he was so disappointed and self consumed that he requested that God would kill him.

Jonah 4:2 So he prayed to the LORD, and said, “Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. 3 Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!”

In this example, we see the true nature of the human heart, in contrast to the merciful and loving heart of God. Because Jonah knew God and His immense compassion for even the worst of people, He was unwilling to be a part of saving those who he considered unworthy of God’s love. Many people who do not know God consider Him mean, vengeful, and unfair. Some simply deny His existence at all. The fact remains, the scriptures give us countless examples of how truly good and loving the Lord is.

The Bible is also brutally honest in its revelation of the true heart of mankind. When we don’t get what we want, our feelings are hurt, we become angry, and often turn and blame God for our problems.

Jonah 4:4-8 But the LORD replied, “Have you any right to be angry?” 5 Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the LORD God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”

Again, the loving acts of a wonderful and compassionate Father. As Jonah sits outside the city to see what will become of it, he makes himself a shelter. God causes a vine to grow over Jonah to protect him from the heat of the sun. Shortly after God comforts Jonah, He sets out to cause him great discomfort. We may miss the reality here that both the blessings and the difficulties we experience in our lives are from the same Father who allowed the shade of the vine, as well as the worm who ate the vine. Both events were for the purpose of causing Jonah to grow up and become the man of God that he should be. We should never think that because we are experiencing trials and difficulties that we are not in the will of God. In fact; all those who truly seek to serve the Lord, will suffer great difficulties and trials.

Acts 14:22 …through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.

The final three verses of the book of Jonah, vividly illustrate the genuine character of God in His eternal compassion for human beings. This is observed in contrast to Jonah’s preoccupation with himself, and a total lack of concern for the thousands of lives which are at stake if God does not move to save them. This is a common problem for us as human beings—who are fallen from God’s intended perfection. We often become so enthralled with our own lives that we fail to perceive the vast number of other people who are drastically affected by our actions, and equally grievous; our indifference to their despair and suffering.

Jonah 4:9- 11 But God said to Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?” “I do,” he said. “I am angry enough to die.” 10 But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?”

It is a common reaction amongst those who suffer disappointment, failure, or difficulties, to fall into a sorrow. Sometime our struggles makes us feel like ending our life would be better than going on. We fail to understand that even the worst of circumstances do not last for long. In a day, a week, or a year, our entire outlook on life can change substantially; if we will only persevere and trust in the goodness of God to help us.

The Lord reminds Jonah what is really at issue here, and of greatest importance:

Although Jonah is feeling sorry for himself because he is disappointed in how God has dealt with the people of Nineveh, he has failed to understand that there are over 120,000 young children and infants in Nineveh who have yet to attain an age where they understand their sin and accountability to God (who cannot tell their right hand from their left). Jonah is grieving over a withered vine, but he has no compassion for people who are about to perish, eternally.

It is a common error of human beings; that we major on the minors. The passion of individuals who protest and make public demonstrations for the rights and lives of whales, spotted owls, trees, lakes, rivers, and the seas, while failing to stand up for the right to life for helpless human beings. Are not the lives of unborn children of greater significance than the rights of animals? Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the conception of a child, or the inconvenience or responsibility that is required to bring the unborn into this world, should we not demand protection for innocent human life? At issue in this regard is not the rights of the mother or her own body, but the fact that she carries within her, the life of a tiny, helpless baby. This life within the womb is not simply “tissue.” In Psalm 139, God said that when we were in our mother’s womb, He knew us. He said that although we were still unformed, He has already planned all the days of this persons life. If were were just tissue and not a person, God would not refer to us in this manner. From the moment that we are conceived, God knew us. He further states that He “formed us in our mother’s womb.” When an abortion takes place, a human life has been ended.

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. Psalms 139:13-16

As a race of fallen beings who often reveal ourselves as lacking the glorious qualities that God originally created us with; we frequently fail to differentiate between the importance of people—in favor of things of lesser value.

While Jonah is only thinking of himself, God is always thinking of everyone, even those considered the least amongst us.

It was to this end that God planned for His own Son to come to earth and suffer a horrendous death for us—in fulfillment of hundreds of predictions that would allow us the proper validation and identify of the Messiah. Jesus has met every requirement of these prophecies and He stands alone as the only person who can rightly be identified as the Savior of the world.

In this prophecy of Jonah, God is describing the three days and three nights of the Messiah, lying dead in the heart of the earth, only to defeat death forever by raising Himself to life again, on the third day.


[1] Strongs Hebrew Concordance, begotten, Word #3205e
[2] Reginald Fuller, Foundations of New Testament Christology (Scribner’s, 1965), p. 142
[3] See Frederick Fyvie Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1972), pp. 11f, 14f.
[4] 1.Rokeah (2002) Justin Martyr and the Jews p.22.
2. Martyr, Justin (1997). Trans. Leslie William Barnard. ed. The First and Second Apologies. New York: Paulist Press.
[5] As described by the Expositional Bible Commentary on Acts 2:25. Both quotations have “at my right hand” and thus are deliberately treated together (cf. v. 33). In addition, both quotations are used in pesher fashion (cf. comments on v. 16), for it is a pesher understanding that evokes the introductory statement “David said about him” and that applies the quotations wholly to Jesus.
[6] Robert L. Wilkin, “The Piety of the Persecutors.” Christian History, Issue 27 (Vol. XI, No. 3), p. 18, 19
[7] 1.Everett Ferguson, “Did You Know?” Christian History, Issue 27 (Vol. XI, No. 3), inside cover.
2.Robert L. Wilkin, “The Piety of the Persecutors.” Christian History, Issue 27 (Vol. XI, No. 3), p. 18.
3.1.Persecution in the Early Church, religion facts.com, March 17, 2015
[8] 1.Persecution in the Early Church, religion facts.com, March 17, 2015
2.“The Roman Empire was generally quite tolerant in its treatment of other religions. The imperial policy was generally one of incorporation – the local gods of a newly conquered area were simply added to the Roman pantheon and often given Roman names. Even the Jews, with their one god, were generally tolerated. So why the persecution of Christians?
In order to understand the Roman distrust of Christianity, one must understand the Roman view of religion. For the Romans, religion was first and foremost a social activity that promoted unity and loyalty to the state – a religious attitude the Romans called pietas, or piety. Cicero wrote that if piety in the Roman sense were to disappear, social unity and justice would perish along with it.
The early Roman writers viewed Christianity not as another kind of pietas, piety, but as a superstition, “superstition.” Pliny, a Roman governor writing circa 110 AD, called Christianity a “superstition taken to extravagant lengths.” Similarly, the Roman historian Tacitus called it “a deadly superstition,” and the historian Suetonius called Christians “a class of persons given to a new and mischievous superstition.” {9} In this context, the word “superstition” has a slightly different connotation than it has today: for the Romans, it designated something foreign and different – in a negative sense. Religious beliefs were valid only in so far as it could be shown to be old and in line with ancient customs; new and innovative teachings were regarded with distrust.”
[9] Maurice M. Hassatt, “Martyr.” The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. IX, Robert Appleton Company, 1910
[10] Mark Galli, “The Persecuting Emperors.” Christian History, Issue 27 (Vol. XI, No. 3), p. 20.
[11] 1.The Annals: The Reigns of Tiberius, Claudius, and Nero by Cornelius Tacitus and J. C. Yardley ISBN 0-19-282421-X Oxford pages 2-27.
2.”Tacitus and the Writing of History,” by Ronald H. Martin 1981 ISBN 0-520-04427-4, pages 104–105.
[12] 1. Dr. Carsten Peter Thiede, the director of the Institute of Basic Epistemological Research in Paderborn, Germany
2. Thiede, Carsten Peter & D’Ancona, Matthew, The Jesus Papyrus, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1996.
[13] As described by the Expositional Bible Commentary on Acts 2:25. Both quotations have “at my right hand” and thus are deliberately treated together (cf. v. 33). In addition, both quotations are used in pesher fashion (cf. comments on v. 16), for it is a pesher understanding that evokes the introductory statement “David said about him” and that applies the quotations wholly to Jesus.
[14] 1. Stoicism, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
2. John Sellars. Stoicism, p. 32.
[15] Russell, Bertrand. A History of Western Philosophy, pp. 239-240
[16] 1. O’Connell SJ, RJ, The Enneads and St Augustine’s Vision of Happiness. Vigiliae Christianae 17 (1963) 129-164.
2. Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine. Vol 1, The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition 100-600; Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine. Vol 3, The Growth of Mediaeval Theology 600-1300, section, “The Augustinian Synthesis”.
[17] Thayer and Smith. “Greek Lexicon entry for Anastasis”. “The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon”. . 1999
[18] Thayer and Smith. “Greek Lexicon entry for “Nekro”. “The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon”. . 1999
[19] Thayer and Smith. “Greek Lexicon entry for ”Histemi”. “The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon”. . 1999
[20] Levinson, Stephen C. “Deixis” in Pragmatics. pp. 54–96.
[21] ESV Study Bible Acts 11:27-30 commentary
[22] Ibid.
[23] The doctrine of the Mormon Church which describes certain levels of heaven for certain believers.
[24] Isaiah 64:4
[25] Reasoning from the Scriptures,
1985, p. 306
[26] 1. “Will raise,” from Strong’s Hebrew Concordance, word # 6965, and the Hebrew word Pa’al: to arise, and from Brown-Driver-Briggs: Jeremiah 25:27, used to describe one who has been killed, who is risen.
2.From the Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Regarding Jeremiah 30:9, “The person indicated here is the future ideal King, the so- called second David (cf. “last Adam” and “second man” [1 Cor 15: 45- 47]). The messianic regent is a scion of the house of David (cf. Ezek 37: 24- 25). The Targum, though interpretative, is correct in identifying this ideal King as “Messiah, the son of David.” Among the Jews the name David came to be used of royalty, much as Pharaoh, Caesar, or Czar, but only in the highest and final sense.”
3.From Fausett and Brown Commentary: The Son of David, Messiah, must therefore be meant; so the Targum (compare Isa 55: 3, 4; Eze 34: 23, 24; 37: 24; Ho 3: 5; Ro 11: 25- 32). He was appointed to the throne of David (Isa 9: 7; Lu 1: 32). He is here joined with Jehovah as claiming equal allegiance. So Christ was raised up as the antitypical Deliverer (Ps 2: 6; Lu 1: 69; Ac 2: 30; 13: 23).
[27] “It was not too long after Jesus’ earthly ministry that the Synoptic Gospels were written (most likely, all before the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70). Originally, the four Gospels disseminated independently of one another. Their individual status as Scripture is usually not debated.” Kellum, L. Scott; Köstenberger, Andreas J.; Quarles, Charles L (2009-08-01). The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown (Kindle Locations 739-741). B&H Publishing. Kindle Edition.
[28] As first hand accounts, written themselves, or dictated to writers; by the Apostle who saw Jesus resurrected.
[29] 1.”The other Gospels were rejected on the grounds that they did not agree with the commonly accepted four canonical Gospels. This implies not only antiquity but also the authority of the transmitters.” Kellum, L. Scott; Köstenberger, Andreas J.; Quarles, Charles L (2009-08-01). The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown (Kindle Locations 744-746). B&H Publishing. Kindle Edition.
2.R. Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses:The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006). Emphaisis on the eyewitness accounts of the four Gospels, establishing that the Apostles acted as an “authoritative collegium” in the Gospels’ preservation of eyewitness testimony regarding Jesus in the Gospels.
[30] “Nineveh, the capital of the ancient Assyrian Empire, was noted for its cruelty and violence (Jon. 3: 8). This is confirmed by the ancient records found there.” New Scofield Bible Study notes on the book of Jonah.
[31] “The great city of Nineveh” goes back to early postdiluvian days (Gen 10: 11); archaeologists date the oldest of the discovered remains about 4500 B. C.” Expositor’s Bible Commentary on the book of Jonah.
[32] Genesis 10:8-11
[33] 1.Assyria, Its Princes, Priests and People, by A. H. Sayce: http://rbedrosian.com/Classic/sayce2.htm
2.Contenau (1954, p. 148).
[34] Acts 9:43 So it was that he stayed many days in Joppa with Simon, a tanner.