Angelic Conflict part 262: The Lord's power over death – Eph 2:4-10; Heb 10:19-25; Tit 3:5-7; Rom 12:1-2.
length: 77:15 - taught on Feb, 23 2014
Spiritual resurrection is the life of the former captive that has not only been set free from satan/KOD, world system, and the flesh, but has also been made a king in Christ's kingdom.
We are: His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all (EPH 1:23)
We receive: the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints and the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe (EPH 1:18-19)
EPH 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,
EPH 2:2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.
EPH 2:3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
EPH 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
EPH 2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
EPH 2:6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus,
We are not raised from the dead and left in the graveyard.
Because we are united to Christ, we have been exalted with Him and we are sharing His throne in the heavenlies.
Our physical position may be on earth, but our spiritual position is "in heavenly places in Christ Jesus."
Like Lazarus, we have been called from the grave to sit with Christ and enjoy His fellowship.
So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him.
HEB 9:11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;
HEB 9:24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;
HEB 10:19 Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,
HEB 10:20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,
HEB 10:21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
HEB 10:22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
HEB 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;
HEB 10:24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,
HEB 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.
EPH 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
EPH 2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
EPH 2:6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus,
EPH 2:7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
In us, the surpassing riches of His grace is shown. His kindness toward us is shown through that grace, meaning that salvation was a gift that we didn't deserve and judgment was withheld that we did deserve.
In every generation there is a remnant of positive believers who are trophies of God's grace. In the future dispensations we will display this in resurrection bodies, the body of Christ in full display of His grace and kindness, for we did not ever earn or deserve that position.
EPH 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
EPH 2:9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
God's purpose in our redemption is not simply to rescue us from hell, as great a work as that is. His ultimate purpose in our salvation is that for all eternity the church might glorify God's grace (EPH 1:6,12,14). So, if God has an eternal purpose for us to fulfill, He will keep us for all eternity.
Since we have not been saved by our good works, we cannot be lost by our bad works. Grace means salvation completely apart from any merit or works on our part.
Grace means that God does it all for Jesus' sake! Our salvation is the gift of God.
The word that in EPH 2:8, in the Greek, is neuter; while faith is feminine. Therefore that cannot refer to faith. It refers to the whole experience of salvation, including faith. Salvation is a gift, not a reward.
EPH 2:8 For by grace [feminine] you have been saved through faith [feminine]; and that [neuter] not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
"and that" (neuter, not feminine) and so refers not to "faith" (feminine) or to "grace" (feminine also), but to the act of being saved by grace conditioned on faith on our part. Paul shows that salvation does not have its source "out of you", but from God, it is God's gift and not a result of work. [Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament]
Salvation cannot be "of works" because the work of salvation has already been completed on the cross. This is the work that God does for us, and it is a finished work (JOH 17:1-4; 19:30). We can add nothing to it (HEB 10:1-14) we dare take nothing from it. When Jesus died, the veil of the temple was torn in two, from the top to the bottom, signifying that the way to God was now open. There is no more need for earthly sacrifices. One sacrifice - the Lamb of God - has finished the great work of salvation. God did it all, and He did it by His grace.
Sin worked against us and God worked for us, but the great work of conversion is but the beginning.
Anyone who believes that they have to work for salvation will in no way realize that salvation is just the beginning. We are created in Christ Jesus for good works and not because of them.
Ignorance and arrogance go together. The armor of satan has always been lies and deceit.
"When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own homestead, his possessions are undisturbed; but when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied, and distributes his plunder.\
/Christ also removed satan's armor of lies and deceit. These need to be removed from our own souls so that we walk as king-priests.\
EPH 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
It would follow that if I'm created in Christ Jesus for good works then I would need to understand what it means to be "in Christ Jesus" before I could understand how to walk in the good works.
The good works are the fruit born from our individual ministries. If salvation is not from us then neither are the good works. As verse ten states, God prepared them beforehand.
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him\
The understanding of the good works flows from the word of God which is alive and powerful. The power therefore flows from Christ to us through His word and Spirit. The spiritual life combines with the spiritual person to make the spiritual resurrection a reality in the experience of the believer before he is united with his spiritual body.
/The works are not a source of joy but the result of the joy that comes from knowing and believing who we are in Christ Jesus.\
There is much to learn concerning our position in Christ. What have you received from this position? What is the inheritance in election? What is the plan of God that Christ lived and was given to us in predestination? What is it to be a son of God, inheriting a kingship and a priesthood?
How could I walk as a king-priest in the royal family of God if I didn't know that I am this forever, that this position is now the real me, and what does a king-priest in the royal family do, how does he think and behave, and how does he do it all to the honor of the King of kings and our high priest?
/ REV 1:6
and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.\
Don't attempt to get your joy from the source of the works themselves but receive joy from what you have freely received from Christ and then, in joy, walk in your good work.
Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.\
/Gratitude follows joy. If a believer comes to know what he has received from God at salvation [a kingdom that cannot be shaken] and comes to enjoy those things then he will be overflowing with gratitude.\
/So, in light of our own house, plundered by Christ, transformed by Him through regeneration at salvation and through His word after salvation...\
TIT 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,
TIT 3:6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
TIT 3:7 that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
ROM 12:1 I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
ROM 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
/... on the heels of our Lord's teaching on the strong man, plundering His house, taking back what man had lost, and that he who is with Him gathers, we have a rude woman who wants to make an issue out of maternal worship, which has always been popular in almost every cult in history, and our Lord's reply is as clarifying as eye salve.\
/satan's system promotes the worship of the creature and in so doing the person cannot plunder him.
For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.\
/"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." Joseph Goebbels\
LUK 11:20 "But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
LUK 11:21 "When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own homestead, his possessions are undisturbed;
LUK 11:22 but when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied, and distributes his plunder.
LUK 11:23 "He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.
LUK 11:24 "When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.'
LUK 11:25 "And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order.
LUK 11:26 "Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first."
LUK 11:27 And it came about while He said these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice, and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts at which You nursed."
LUK 11:28 But He said, "On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God, and observe it."
/"observe" - fula,ssw[phulasso] = to guard, watch, to keep watch. Attention to and occupation with the word of God.\
When an individual, and entire generation, or a nation resists the kingdom of God, they open themselves up to significant demon activity.
The worst of this activity in the CA are all the false doctrines concerning Christ, the Bible, Israel, and the freedom of divine establishment.
Think of Nazi Germany when a great many in the nation opened themselves up to anti-Semitism. The same with communist China, Soviet Union, Ruanda, Somalia, Afghanistan, North Korea, ... the list is extensive.
So I think we can conclude that demons are restless, like one traveling in a desert looking for a place of rest, and they are constantly looking for that "rest" in, demonizing with lies that oppose the Most High, either a person, a nation, a generation.
Many assume that it is only the very evil people who invite demon possession that are or were under it. While this might certainly be the case with some, that only the very evil invite demon possession cannot be substantiated in the Scripture. I refuse to make doctrines out of conjecture.
Not in one instance of all the demons that were cast out by our Lord or the disciples in the Gospels involves the faith of the possessed. Not once did our Lord ask any one of them if they had faith, nor is it stated that they did believe in Him. I'm not saying that they didn't, but just stating what is in the Scripture. This would indicate that the people mentioned were not villains but victims.
/Demon possession in the gospels seems to be not so much the result of a league with satan as an expression of bondage under satan's dominion.\
There are two instances of small children being demon possessed.
/Deliverance was a sign of Christ's power and authority over the demon or demons; the sign of the coming kingdom of heaven, and not the moral improvement of the victim.\
In the two instances where faith is mentioned at the time of an exorcism, it is not the faith of the possessed, and both of these instances are of the children.
MAR 9:17 And one of the crowd answered Him, "Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit which makes him mute;
MAR 9:18 and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth, and stiffens out. And I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it."
MAR 9:19 And He answered them and said, "O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!"
MAR 9:20 And they brought the boy to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling about and foaming at the mouth.
MAR 9:21 And He asked his father, "How long has this been happening to him?" And he said, "From childhood.
MAR 9:22 "And it has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!"
MAR 9:23 And Jesus said to him, "'If You can!' All things are possible to him who believes."
MAR 9:24 Immediately the boy's father cried out and began saying, "I do believe; help my unbelief."
MAR 9:25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "You deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again."
MAR 9:26 And after crying out and throwing him into terrible convulsions, it came out; and the boy became so much like a corpse that most of them said, "He is dead!"
MAR 9:27 But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him; and he got up.
MAR 9:28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples began questioning Him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?"
MAR 9:29 And He said to them, "This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer."
MAT 15:21 And Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon.
MAT 15:22 And behold, a Canaanite woman came out from that region, and began to cry out, saying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed."
MAT 15:23 But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came to Him and kept asking Him, saying, "Send her away, for she is shouting out after us."
MAT 15:24 But He answered and said, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
MAT 15:25 But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, "Lord, help me!"
MAT 15:26 And He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs."
MAT 15:27 But she said, "Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters' table."
MAT 15:28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, "O woman, your faith is great; be it done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed at once.
I doubt that we can say in these circumstances that God allowed a demon possession because they deserved it.
The conclusion is that the world is unfair and so is the spirit world.
/The world is unfair as is the spirit world, and it will remain so until Christ returns to physically rule it. \
It would be difficult to believe that those who were released from demon possession by Christ or by the disciples in the name of Christ would not come to believe in Him as their Lord and Savior. But, again, we cannot know for sure.
What we can say for sure is that as the kingdom of God advances there are some in the kingdom of satan that are freed.
/True freedom is in the soul and not in the body and so freedom comes from faith in Christ and His word.\
Therefore, then as now, true freedom from the tyranny of the kingdom of satan comes only through faith in Christ for salvation and is experienced in time through faith in His word. Only in these is there any separation or sanctification from the system of the cosmos ruled by satan and the KOD. Hence, we are not commanded to cast out demons or heal the sick because these are not the ultimate and true freedoms. These were revelations of power over the KOD when Christ brought the kingdom of God to earth and when the apostles established the foundation of the Church.
/Once Christ was enthroned at the right hand of God and the Church was established, the power of the kingdom of God was given in a greater way through Christ's word and His Holy Spirit.\
JOH 14:5 Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?"
JOH 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.
JOH 14:7 "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him."
JOH 14:8 Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us."
JOH 14:9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, 'Show us the Father'?
JOH 14:10 "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.
JOH 14:11 "Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; otherwise believe on account of the works themselves.
He is asking them to believe Him at His word, but if not, He reminds them of the miracles that He performed that revealed His power over all aspects of God's opposition.
JOH 14:12 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father.
/"the works that I do shall he do also" - CA believers will display power over all divine opposition, but spiritually, not physically or visibly.\
This is the age of invisible heroes. Through doctrine the CA believer displays his power, deliverance, and authority over spiritual death, satan and the KOD, the world system, and the flesh. This is a great part of his witness of Christ through the power that Christ keeps pouring into him through the Holy Spirit and the word of God.
The phrase "greater works" have always been troubling to many, but looked at through the phrase, "because I go to the Father," is revealing since He said to the disciples...
JOH 16:5 "But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, 'Where are You going?'
JOH 16:6 "But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.
JOH 16:7 "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.
God the Holy Spirit gave gifts to men and these gifts were given for the witness of Christ in this world. The word greater is used since the results of their witness would be greater. This is easy to understand if we recognize that the power of our witness comes from Christ and works through us. He gave the mystery doctrine, the completed revelation of His word in the canon of scripture.
/The results of the witness of the body of Christ are greater, but Christ is still the source while the Church is His instrument.\
At first glance it seems to say that we do greater stuff than He did, but any believer would see the problem with that. He works through us greater works in the Church, yes greater in quantity but also greater in result. We do nothing. He uses us and flows through us. We are simply instruments in the hands of the Potter.
/"greater works" - CA believers will set people free from all divine opposition spiritually, permanently, eternally.\
Those set free by faith in Christ's word and works remained imprisoned in Hades in Paradise until after the resurrection. When He went to the Father the HS was given to believers and the Church was born. Now, the work of the church in Christ's gospel and the display of their own spiritual power of the fruit of the Spirit, in other words, the witness of the lips and of the life, are setting people free spiritually. At the moment anyone believes in Christ through the witness of Him by a member of the Church, he is immediately entered into union with Christ and will go directly to heaven, face to face with the Lord, when they die physically.
Again, just as humans are unfair, unjust, cruel, and tyrants to one another so it is in the spirit world. Fallen angels victimize fallen mankind, whether it was demon possession in Christ's time or demon influence in our time.
We see Christ angry at the Pharisees but it is never suggested that they are demon possessed, but of their father the devil, desiring to do the things of their father. Not in any instance is Christ angry at those he released from demons.
/In every case Christ's consternation is pointed at the demons and not the persons. \
We can say for sure is that the human world and the spirit world are unfair, and will continue to be so until Christ returns to rule it all.
Just as evil adults can and do sometimes victimize children against their will and God’s will, just as rapists victimize women against their will and against God’s will, and just as despotic political powers victimize their subjects against their will and against God’s will, so demonic spirits can apparently sometimes victimize people against their will - and against God’s will. As we have already seen, the biblical assumption is that the realm of fallen and elect angels is not all that different from the physical realm. One is simply a continuation of the other. This means that life on all levels can be and often is unfair and it is in constant conflict.
And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels waged war\
/God has given us surpassing power to overcome the unfairness of the angelic world and the human world and that power has its source in Christ.\
However, the Church has been far too silent on this subject, and who do you think benefits the most from that?
Following Augustine, and after him the central tendency of the classical-philosophical theistic tradition, we are often inclined to postulate a secret blueprint behind everything, making everything, good or evil, somehow an extension of God’s good will. We marginalize what bothers our false assumptions by calling God’s will a mystery, and although sometimes it is, too often, to rationalize away the reality of evil, we use that dismissal too often.
/If the evil in this world, the lack of justice in this world were a part of God’s will then why would He say that He hates it? \
"You shall not behave thus toward the Lord your God, for every abominable act which the Lord hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. \
Neither shall you set up for yourself a sacred pillar which the Lord your God hates. \
The boastful shall not stand before Thine eyes;
Thou dost hate all who do iniquity. \
I hate the assembly of evildoers,
And I will not sit with the wicked. \
"The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way,
And the perverted mouth, I hate. \
For I, the Lord , love justice,
I hate robbery in the burnt offering;
And I will faithfully give them their recompense,
And I will make an everlasting covenant with them. \
'Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. \
The spirit world is characterized by warfare, and the earth is part of its battleground. Hence people, even the helpless, will sometimes be casualties of war.
As we shall develop more fully, the ultimate reason why Jesus became a man, carried out his ministry, died a God-forsaken death on the cross, and rose again from the dead was to destroy the devil and place under His foot all His cosmic enemies.
1JO 3:7 Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;
1JO 3:8the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
HEB 2:14 Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil;
HEB 2:15and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.
/The incarnation, then, was an ultimate act of war!\
Far from teaching any sort of pious resignation, Jesus’ whole being, His very God-man identity, was God’s ultimate revolt against the devil’s tyranny.
/He didn’t teach us to look for the hand of God in evil, but to resist evil and to overcome evil with good.\
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.\
I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. \
Therefore evil and good are dialectic opposites and from two completely different sources. Many like dualism for this reason, but this is not true dualism. The evil is not co-omnipotent with the good. The good from the essence of God far surpasses the power of evil. However, evil is very real and very destructive, and so it does possess a certain power.
Power = the amount of work done per unit of time.
The hand of God is in good. And if our soul is filled with His good, His good word and good Spirit, a residence of the kingdom of heaven then we will discern the hand or will of God in our own lives and know that He has not part in evil. All evil will be judged and destroyed in the future.
Our Lord had the power to heal and the power over demons. So we see that He can restore health and incarcerate satan and the KOD forever. His ministry therefore becomes a visible display of His power and in particular areas such as these.
/Christ displayed mastery over demons, physical illness, temptation, false doctrine, sin, evil, death, and nature.\
God created all things in nature as good in Gen 1 and then at the fall things went bad. Animals have an aversion to man and can kill man. Man would have to till the ground by the sweet of his brow or it would only offer up thorns and thistles and some plants became poisonous. The earth produced quakes, storms, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, etc.
/It is interesting to see in light of this that God often speaks of rebuking and restraining the sea. \
PSA 104:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, Thou art very great;
Thou art clothed with splendor and majesty,
PSA 104:2Covering Thyself with light as with a cloak,
Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain.
PSA 104:3He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters;
He makes the clouds His chariot;
He walks upon the wings of the wind;
PSA 104:4He makes the winds His messengers,
Flaming fire His ministers.
PSA 104:5He established the earth upon its foundations,
So that it will not totter forever and ever.
PSA 104:6 Thou didst cover it with the deep as with a garment;
The waters were standing above the mountains.
PSA 104:7At Thy rebuke they fled;
At the sound of Thy thunder they hurried away.
JOB 38:1 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,
JOB 38:2"Who is this that darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?
JOB 38:3"Now gird up your loins like a man,
And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!
JOB 38:4"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding,
JOB 38:5Who set its measurements, since you know?
Or who stretched the line on it?
JOB 38:6 "On what were its bases sunk?
Or who laid its cornerstone,
JOB 38:7When the morning stars sang together,
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
JOB 38:8"Or who enclosed the sea with doors,
When, bursting forth, it went out from the womb;
JOB 38:9When I made a cloud its garment,
And thick darkness its swaddling band,
JOB 38:10And I placed boundaries on it,
And I set a bolt and doors,
JOB 38:11And I said, 'Thus far you shall come, but no farther;
And here shall your proud waves stop'?
There is a sense of the sea as some sinister force that, left to its own, would submerge the world and destroy God’s ordered creation. What prevents this frightening possibility is the mastery of the Lord, who forces the sea into its proper place.
PSA 29:3 The voice of the Lord is upon the waters;
The God of glory thunders,
The Lord is over many waters.
PSA 29:10 The Lord sat as King at the flood;
Yes, the Lord sits as King forever.
Certainly, directly after the flood, the power of God over water and the permissive will of God to release the waters was well known to the 8 who survived. Yet we have noted that the rebel Nimrod, a son of Ham, revolted against God and established the Tower of Babel in the land of Shinar or what would become Babylon. We have noted how Nimrod established a false religion, represented by the Tower that would bring men to heaven (or so promised). This religion was based on astrology, and all astrology's have their mythologies. It is not accident that all mythologies of the cultures that stemmed from this first opposition to God by men after the flood included great conflict.
The best known warfare myth among the ancient Mesopotamians is the Babylonian Enuma Elish, probably dating back to the second millennium BC. In the beginning, according to this story, Apsu and Tiamat lived peacefully in “the happy nothingness of the pristine abyss.” (or water swirling in chaos) In time, they together engendered other gods who eventually made too much noise and irritated them. Apsu therefore decided to kill them, but Tiamat learned of his plan and warned her eldest son, who put Apsu to sleep and killed him. Tiamat becomes enraged at the younger gods who killed her mate. She summons the forces of chaos and creates 11 monsters or demons charged to destroy the younger gods.
The younger gods fight against Tiamat without much success until a champion arises among them by the name of Marduk. Marduk kills Tiamat. Out of her corpse Marduk creates the heavens and the earth. Marduk then kills one of her accomplices, another god, and from his blood creates the human race. The first man is charged with helping Marduk and the other gods to maintain order and to keep chaos at bay. Since chaos was composed of swirling water in the beginning, Marduk posts guards to keep chaos’ waters, upon which the earth rests, from escaping.
Hence “the deep” in Enuma Elish represented the evil of chaos and Tiamat, the enemy of Marduk, who is the obvious hero in this story.
In mythology satan copied and falsified (as he always does) the very real sinister force of the sea as a destroyer after the fall.
PSA 74:10 How long, O God, will the adversary revile,
And the enemy spurn Thy name forever?
PSA 74:11Why dost Thou withdraw Thy hand, even Thy right hand? From within Thy bosom, destroy them!
PSA 74:12Yet God is my king from of old,
Who works deeds of deliverance in the midst of the earth.
PSA 74:13Thou didst divide the sea by Thy strength;
Thou didst break the heads of the sea monsters in the waters.
PSA 74:14Thou didst crush the heads of Leviathan;
Thou didst give him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.
PSA 74:15Thou didst break open springs and torrents;
Thou didst dry up ever-flowing streams.
This is not a mythological figure or some kind of metaphor, but a real foe against God.
It is clear that the psalmist knows that God is sovereign over such creatures of the sea, but none the less they war against Him and God battles them while delaying, in perfect timing, their ultimate defeat.
Job understood that the sea and the sea monster demanded a guard.
JOB 7:11 "Therefore, I will not restrain my mouth;
I will speak in the anguish of my spirit,
I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
JOB 7:12"Am I the sea, or the sea monster,
That Thou dost set a guard over me?
Who alone stretches out the heavens,
And tramples down the waves of the sea;
Thou didst tread on the sea with Thy horses,
On the surge of many waters.
The same imagery is used by Isaiah in telling of the release of the exodus and their crossing the Red Sea.
ISA 51:9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord ;
Awake as in the days of old, the generations of long ago.
Was it not Thou who cut Rahab in pieces,
Who pierced the dragon?
ISA 51:10Was it not Thou who dried up the sea,
The waters of the great deep;
Who made the depths of the sea a pathway
For the redeemed to cross over?
ISA 51:11So the ransomed of the Lord will return,
And come with joyful shouting to Zion;
And everlasting joy will be on their heads.
They will obtain gladness and joy,
And sorrow and sighing will flee away.
These passages show that the prophets, song writers, Job, etc. knew the cosmos to be besieged at a structural level with the forces of evil that God Himself does battle.
Evil is not a minor anomalous occurrence on the otherwise pristine stage of the world. This warfare is being played out in the life of God's children as they confront their enemies.
The cosmic warfare is not a thing of the past, nor is it a way that occurs in the heavenlies only, nor is it a war that God fights alone. To the contrary, the thrust of this last group of passages is to proclaim that this war is a present struggle, it occurs in human history, and it very much involves the human race, especially those who know God. All who name the name of the Lord are called to identify and resist, in the power of God, the structural forces of evil that work to thwart God's plan for the earth in general and humanity in particular. We do not fight in our own power, but we conquer through Him who keeps on pouring His power into us.
The creature Leviathan is spoken of in great detail by God in Job 41.
Job had discredited God in his complaining. God confronted Job's contentions.
JOB 40:6 Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm, and said,
JOB 40:7 "Now gird up your loins like a man;
I will ask you, and you instruct Me.
JOB 40:8 "Will you really annul My judgment?
Will you condemn Me that you may be justified?
JOB 40:9 "Or do you have an arm like God,
And can you thunder with a voice like His?
If Leviathan is a metaphor or an unreal mythological creature then God wouldn't boast of His power of him, for His boasting would be empty.
JOB 41:1 "Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook?
Or press down his tongue with a cord?
No one is mighty enough even to wake him up when he is sleeping, let alone to catch, control, or domesticate him.
JOB 41:2 "Can you put a rope in his nose?
Or pierce his jaw with a hook?
JOB 41:3 "Will he make many supplications to you?
Or will he speak to you soft words?
JOB 41:4 "Will he make a covenant with you?
Will you take him for a servant forever?
JOB 41:5 "Will you play with him as with a bird?
Or will you bind him for your maidens?
JOB 41:6 "Will the traders bargain over him?
Will they divide him among the merchants?
JOB 41:7 "Can you fill his skin with harpoons,
Or his head with fishing spears?
JOB 41:8 "Lay your hand on him;
Remember the battle; you will not do it again!
JOB 41:9 "Behold, your expectation is false;
Will you be laid low even at the sight of him?
JOB 41:10 "No one is so fierce that he dares to arouse him;
Who then is he that can stand before Me?
JOB 41:11 "Who has given to Me that I should repay him?
Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine.
JOB 41:12 "I will not keep silence concerning his limbs,
Or his mighty strength, or his orderly frame.
JOB 41:13 "Who can strip off his outer armor?
Who can come within his double mail?
JOB 41:14 "Who can open the doors of his face?
Around his teeth there is terror.
JOB 41:15 "His strong scales are his pride,
Shut up as with a tight seal.
JOB 41:16 "One is so near to another,
That no air can come between them.
JOB 41:17 "They are joined one to another;
They clasp each other and cannot be separated.
JOB 41:18 "His sneezes flash forth light,
And his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.
JOB 41:19 "Out of his mouth go burning torches;
Sparks of fire leap forth.
Job 41: 20 "Out of his nostrils smoke goes forth,
As from a boiling pot and burning rushes.
JOB 41:21 "His breath kindles coals,
And a flame goes forth from his mouth.
JOB 41:22 "In his neck lodges strength,
And dismay leaps before him.
JOB 41:23 "The folds of his flesh are joined together,
Firm on him and immovable.
JOB 41:24 "His heart is as hard as a stone;
Even as hard as a lower millstone.
The very sight of him causes panic.
JOB 41:25 "When he raises himself up, the mighty fear;
Because of the crashing they are bewildered.
This cosmic beast mocks human weapons.
JOB 41:26 "The sword that reaches him cannot avail;
Nor the spear, the dart, or the javelin.
JOB 41:27 "He regards iron as straw,
Bronze as rotten wood.
JOB 41:28 "The arrow cannot make him flee;
Slingstones are turned into stubble for him.
JOB 41:29 "Clubs are regarded as stubble;
He laughs at the rattling of the javelin.
JOB 41:30 "His underparts are like sharp potsherds;
He spreads out like a threshing sledge on the mire.
JOB 41:31 "He makes the depths boil like a pot;
He makes the sea like a jar of ointment.
JOB 41:32 "Behind him he makes a wake to shine;
One would think the deep to be gray-haired.
JOB 41:33 "Nothing on earth is like him,
One made without fear.
JOB 41:34 "He looks on everything that is high;
He is king over all the sons of pride."
Much in this description is evidence that points to satan as this creature. However, the problem is that this creature is obviously not an angel or cherub.
God made him as all other creatures:
There is the sea, great and broad,
In which are swarms without number,
Animals both small and great.
26 There the ships move along,
And Leviathan, which Thou hast formed to sport in it.
God will destroy him, therefore this creature opposes God.
Thou didst crush the heads of Leviathan;
Thou didst give him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.
He is a dragon with multiple heads and satan is depicted as this in REV 12:3.
And another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.
His beast, the antichrist of the Tribulation, also has multiple heads.
And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names.
In that day the Lord will punish
Leviathan the fleeing serpent,
With His fierce and great and mighty sword,
Even Leviathan the twisted serpent;
And He will kill the dragon who lives in the sea.
As satan is alive and well on this earth, biding his time until the time of the judgment we can conclude that the same is true of Leviathan, if it isn't satan himself.
Many questions remain unanswered, but what is clear is that God has absolute power of them and Christ has solidified their future judgment. The beast and the false prophet of the Tribulation end up in the lake of fire along with satan and the fallen angels.
So why go into "depth" about the monsters of the sea?
God created nature and said it was good. Of the six days of creation, or restoration, God said at the end of each day that is was good, except for the second day.
GEN 1:6 Then God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters."
GEN 1:7 And God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.
GEN 1:8 And God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
It is possible that this was the time of the release of imprisoned fallen angels after the angelic fall who were imprisoned in darkness in the deep (the darkest place in the world and possibly the universe) and that the separation of the waters (atmospheric water from surface water) was the time of their release for the part of the conflict that would involve mankind. It is possible, but know that it is solely conjecture.
It is also possible that God doesn't give us details about particular things so that we can use our imaginations to fill in the blanks for ourselves, knowing that whatever we imagine must be in harmony with divine will and the essence of God. At the same time God instructs us to not to wrangle about words, which I would extend to viable interpretations. No one can say for sure who Leviathan is and no one can say for sure what the reason is for God not saying that the second day was good. But we are not to argue with other believers over interpretations of it, unless an interpretation is clearly outside of the character and essence of God.
It is clear that nature also is enslaved in the conflict.
ROM 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
ROM 8:19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
ROM 8:20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope
ROM 8:21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
ROM 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
ROM 8:23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
ROM 8:24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees?
ROM 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
As we have seen the sea is a major part of this groaning and pain.
This has all been laid down in this study for the purpose of understanding one of Christ's most significant miracles over nature.
While crossing the Sea of Galilee one evening, Jesus and his disciples got caught in a fierce storm. The boat looked like it was going to go under, and the disciples were thrown into a state of panic. Jesus however was sleeping.
MAR 4:35 And on that day, when evening had come, He said to them, "Let us go over to the other side."
MAR 4:36 And leaving the multitude, they took Him along with them, just as He was, in the boat; and other boats were with Him.
MAR 4:37 And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up.
MAR 4:38 And He Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?"
MAR 4:39 And being aroused, He rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Hush, be still." And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.
And Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet, and come out of him!"\
MAR 4:40 And He said to them, "Why are you so timid? How is it that you have no faith?"
MAR 4:41 And they became very much afraid and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?"
What is most significant about this passage is that the description of the Lord rebuking the wind (stated in all three synoptic gospels) and His commanding the waves to be quiet sounds remarkably like other exorcism narratives in the gospels.
It is possible that this storm was created by satan and the KOD in order to attempt to drown the Lord and the disciples, however this can only be conjecture.
Yet the words used, rebuke and muzzle, are telling. If the language is indeed telling us this, then it appears that Christ Jesus looked upon this ordinary storm at sea, this ordinary event of nature, as a demonic force, and he rebuked it and muzzled it.
The word rebuke in both the old and new testaments is a term that denotes an authoritative exercise of God's power in subduing His enemies.
The identical language of Jesus Christ rebuking and subduing hostile waves and Jehovah's rebuking and subduing hostile waves in the OT can hardly be coincidental.
Then the channels of water appeared,
And the foundations of the world were laid bare
At Thy rebuke, O Lord,
At the blast of the breath of Thy nostrils.
Thou didst cover it with the deep as with a garment;
The waters were standing above the mountains.
7 At Thy rebuke they fled;
At the sound of Thy thunder they hurried away.
Thus He rebuked the Red Sea and it dried up;
And He led them through the deeps, as through the wilderness.
So we add to the list of things that Christ came to bind up and plunder. Nature, under the control of the god of this world was shown to be completely under the power of the Carrier of the kingdom of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, King of kings, Lord of lords, Master, Savior, Victor.
One stronger than the strong man who had hitherto controlled the seas had arrived and bound him up. Tragedy still happens at sea and from the sea as the final skirmishes are settled in the CA, but it's over and the Lord will return a second time and make the earth a perfect environment.
For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
The possibility that natural phenomena or natural disaster could be a manifestation of demonic power is thought to be exceedingly absurd in our modern day of scientific enlightenment. We are among the few people in the history of the world for whom this would be the case.
We are in a war with an very active enemy. God does not give us confirmation of demonic activity outside of the clearly false doctrines of demons, however, this does not mean that they are not heavily involved in the affairs of men and the events of the world.
Those who don't understand this become easy victims of their schemes and remain slaves in their decaying kingdom.
Other nature miracles performed by our Lord are the withering of the fig tree, and the feeding of the five thousand and then the four thousand (He has power over famine). He has the power to destroy false doctrine (legalism) and the power to destroy famine.
These things still continue to thrive in our world, but for how long? Now, spiritually, I am delivered from false doctrine, legalism, and a famine of spiritual food. In the CA the word of God has been freely given all over the world. It has never once stopped it progression around and around the globe, starting in the Roman Empire and now, the most printed book in the history of the world and in every nation. We are a spiritual kingdom and Christ has plundered for us and distributed to us the victory over every aspect of life that we lost at the fall, and has given it brand new, beyond restoration, but eternal, heavenly, and never to fade away.
The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
/Christ revealed His power over satan, demons, death, nature, famine, sickness, handicaps, heartache, false doctrine, religion, etc.\
The Victory: The Resurrection of Christ.
As traced by the so-called Covenant theologians, the death of Christ is given a place of large significance but His resurrection is accounted as little more than something for His own personal convenience, His necessary return from the sphere of death back to the place which He occupied before. In other words, as viewed by Covenant theologians, there is practically no doctrinal significance to Christ’s resurrection.
A NEW ORDER OF BEING. A sharp contrast exists and should be recognized between the glory of the preincarnate Christ on the one hand and that of Christ in resurrection on the other hand. In other words, His resurrection was vastly more than a reversal of His death. Such reversals, indeed, were the rule for all other so-called resurrections recorded in the Bible. They were, to be strictly accurate, only restorations or resuscitations from the state of complete death. The difference is seen in the fact that other so-called resurrections were a return to the former life and estate wherein those thus revived were subject to a second dying, while of Christ it is said He arose into a sphere of being never occupied or exhibited before. It is not contended that any change was wrought in His Deity other than that which is possible in the realm of association or incarnation. The humanity of Christ--His body, soul, and spirit--instantly became that which had been anticipated throughout all eternity, namely, perfect humanity glorified and exalted to the point that it was not only meet for heaven, but meet as well to be an integral part of the glorified theanthropic Person. It is no small requirement upon that which was itself only perfect humanity that it should become an integral part of the all-glorious, exalted, resurrected Son of God. In other words, Christ is the first and only one of all earth dwellers thus far to put on immortality. The Apostle announces respecting Him-- “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen” (1 Tim. 6:16); “Who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). Immortality is wholly of the body, never of the soul or spirit, and since no other one from this sphere has yet received the glorified resurrection body, He only hath immortality. That immortal body with a glorified soul and spirit united to Deity becomes the incomparable theanthropic Person, the exalted Savior.
[Walvoord: Jesus Christ our Lord]
All branches of systematic theology have tended to underestimate the significance of the resurrection of Christ. Orthodox scholars usually emphasize the apologetic significance of the resurrection as an attestation to the deity of Christ and the value of His substitutionary death. The resurrection of Christ is normally held to be a proof of the future resurrection of the saints. Often neglected, however, is the relation of the resurrection of Christ to His present york.
In liberal theology, the resurrection of Christ is rejected as a nonessential, and the conclusion is reached that Christ continues to exist after His death but not in a body. Scriptures relating to the subject are spiritualized or explained away. As James Orr noted a generation ago, the tendency now is to deny the resurrection as impossible, and therefore untrue.
More important, however, than the liberal view in contemporary theology, is the neoorthodox concept of the resurrection of Christ. Though the more conservative of neoorthodox scholars tend to recognize the resurrection of Christ as a historic fact, they claim that in itself it does not have historic significance. Emphasis is placed upon the experience of Christ in the believer rather than in the fact of the empty tomb.
Richard R. Niebuhr has discussed at length the problems that the modern Protestant mind has in accepting the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In his introduction of the conflict between resurrection and the ideas of history Niebuhr writes,
The intense analysis of the New Testament produced by the great age of historical investigation has emphasized, among other things, this fact that belief in Jesus as the risen Lord informs every part of the early church’s thought. But the rise of historical criticism has also made it increasingly difficult for theologians and biblical scholars to accept the New Testament order of thought. They have felt obliged to remove the resurrection of Jesus from its central position and to place it on the periphery of Christian teaching and proclamation, because the primitive resurrection faith conflicts disastrously with modern canons of historicity.
His subsequent discussion discloses the dilemma of modern scholars who on the one hand reject the actual event of the resurrection of Christ as a miracle, and yet have to account for its prominent place in the New Testament narrative.
If accepted in the normal meaning of words, Scripture establishes the orthodox position concerning the resurrection as a proof of His person and His offices and at the same time demonstrates that the resurrection of Christ is the key to all of His present work as well as the consummation of the divine plan in the prophetic future. For the present discussion, only these major facets of the significance of the resurrection can be sketched.
The Resurrection Is a Proof of the Person of Christ
It is significant that the meaning of the three official names of Christ, namely, Lord Jesus Christ, is substantiated by His resurrection from the dead. The title Lord, usually regarded as a declaration of His deity and authority over all creation, is based on the assumption that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Though in His life He offered many substantiating evidences, the supreme proof of His deity is the solid fact of His resurrection. It was this argument which Peter used in his Pentecostal sermon when he declared on the basis of the fact of His resurrection that Jesus is “both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:86). Peter used the same argument of the resurrection of Christ in his presentation of the gospel to Cornelius (Acts 10:40). In the introduction to the epistle to the Romans, the Apostle Paul stated that Christ was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” The early disciples considered the resurrection of Christ to be the final and convincing evidence that Jesus was all that He claimed to be, the very Son of God who existing from all eternity had become incarnate to fulfill the plan of God in His life, death and resurrection. The resurrection of Christ is, therefore, an important proof of His deity and has been so regarded by orthodox scholars from apostolic days to the present.
In the title Christ as attributed to the Lord Jesus is embodied the hope of Israel for a Messiah to deliver them from their sins. Though the death and resurrection of Christ were anticipated by Old Testament prophecies, Jewish leaders in the time of Christ did not realize their necessity for Him to fulfill His role of Messiah to Israel. It was only by His death that He could provide redemption and claim victory over Satan, and it was in His resurrection that He demonstrated the power of God which was to be ultimately manifested in the deliverance of Israel and the establishment of His righteous kingdom in the earth. The promise to David that He would have a Son who would reign forever is now made possible of fulfillment by Christ in His resurrection body and is in keeping with the claim of Christ that He was the Messiah of Israel (John 4:25-26). The specific relationship of resurrection to His Messianic character is also revealed in His conversation with Martha in John 11:25-27. In a word, it was necessary for Christ to die and to be raised from the dead in order to be what the prophet had anticipated, a Messiah who would be Israel’s Deliverer and Saviour throughout all eternity. If Christ had not been raised from the dead, it is evident that His claim to Messiah-ship would have been thus destroyed. Conversely, the fact of His resurrection establishes His right to be Israel’s Messiah in the past as well as in the future.
Jesus, the third title attributed to Christ, meaning “Jehovah saves,” was His human name bestowed by the angel. He was given this name because He would “save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). His work as Saviour, however, while inevitably related to His death on the cross, also demanded His resurrection. It was for this reason that Christ was commanded not only to die but to rise from the dead in John 10:17-18. According to John 12:27, where Christ prayed in regard to His death, “Father, save me from this hour,” He did not anticipate merely deliverance from, death but prayed that if it were necessary to die, He would experience complete deliverance in His resurrection.
Milligan notes that the Greek is literally “save me out of this hour” (italics added). Milligan adds: “Our Lord prayed not merely that, if possible, He might escape suffering, but that, if it was impossible for Him to escape it, He would pass through it to a glorious deliverance,—that through death He might be conducted to that life beyond death in which the purpose of His coming was to be reached.” It is the uniform presentation of Scripture that His resurrection is a necessary counterpart to His work in death, and apart from His resurrection His death would have become meaningless (John 11:25; ROM 5:10; 8:84; 10:9; Phil. 2:8-11; HEB 5:7). The resurrection of Christ is, therefore, the proof of His person and of that which His person effected, namely, His work on the cross.
The Resurrection Is a Proof of His Offices
The three offices of Christ, those of Prophet, Priest and King, are each related to His resurrection. The offices of Christ are one of the major themes of the Old Testament as they relate to Christ. Moses anticipate4 Christ’s office as a Prophet in Deuteronomy 18:18. The priestly office of Christ is prophesied in Psalm 110:4 and His kingly office is in fulfillment of the promise to David in II Samuel 7:16 (cf. Luke 1:81.33).
As a Prophet. The prophetic ministry of Christ, though largely fulfilled on earth prior to His death, needed the authentication of His resurrection to give authority to what He had already said as well as His continued ministry through the Spirit whom He would send (John 16:12-14). If Christ had not been raised from the dead, He would have been a false prophet and all of His ministry as recorded in the Gospels would have been subject to question. In like manner, His postresurrection ministry, bringing into climax much that He had taught before, would have been impossible apart from His bodily resurrection. The resurrection, therefore, constitutes a proof of the validity and authority of His prophetic office.
As a Priest. The resurrection of Christ is clearly related to the continuance of His priestly office. This was anticipated in Psalm 110 where Christ is declared to be a Priest eternal in character: “Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek” (v. 4, ASV). The concept of Christ as a Priest who continues to live forever is further substantiated in Hebrews 7:25 where it is said of Christ, “He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” In contrast to ordinary priests, who have their priestly office terminated either by death or retirement as in the Levitical order, the resurrection of Christ made possible His continuance forever as our High Priest. This is the teaching of the New Testament as well as the anticipation of the Old. Hebrews 7:24 (ASV) states it explicitly: “But he, because he abideth for ever, hath his priesthood unchangeable.” It is evident from the Scriptures that, apart from the resurrection, Christ’s priestly office could not have been fulfilled.
As a King. The third office, that of King, fulfilled especially the anticipation of the Old Testament of a Son who would have the right to rule. Christ was not only to rule over Israel, fulfilling the promise to David of a Son who would reign forever, but over the entire world as the One to whom God has given the right to rule over the nations (Ps. 2:8-9). Christ’s continuance, on the throne forever after His death, in fulfillment of the plan of God that He should reign over all nations as well as the nation of Israel, would have been impossible if He had not been raised from the dead. His resurrection was essential to His unique fulfillment of each of His divine offices.
The Resurrection of Christ Is Essential to All His Work
Just as the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ was a proof of His deity and lordship, so also was His resurrection an indispensable evidence of the efficacious value of His death on the cross. Here again, one is faced with the absolute question of whether Christ is all He claims to be. If He did not rise from the dead, then He is not the Son of God, and it follows that His death on the cross is the death of an ordinary man and of no value to others. If, on the other hand, Christ actually rose from the dead, He not only demonstrates by this means that He is indeed all He claims to be but that His work has the value set forth in the Scriptures, namely, a substitutionary sacrifice on behalf of the sins of the whole world.
It is for this reason that so frequently in Scripture the resurrection of Christ is linked with His work on the cross, as in Romans 4:25 (ASV) which states not only that Christ “was delivered up for our trespasses” but that He “was raised for [with a view to] our justification.” In like manner, the resurrection of Christ is linked to real faith in Him as in Romans 10:9 (ASV):
“Because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead,
thou. shalt be saved.” The resurrection of Christ and His substitutionary death are twin doctrines which stand or fall together.
As James Orr expressed it: “It seems evident that, if Christ died for men—in Atonement for their sins—it could not be that He should remain permanently in the state of death. That had it been possible, would have been the frustration of the very end of His dying, for if He remained Himself a prey to death, how could He redeem others?” It is significant that those who deny the bodily resurrection of Christ always also deny His substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.
The resurrection of Christ has not only a backward look toward the cross demonstrating the power of God in salvation, but it is also the doorway to His present work
in heaven. One of the important reasons for the resurrection of Christ was the necessity of a victory such as His resurrection as a prelude to His work in heaven. Orr
states, “The Resurrection of Jesus. is everywhere viewed as the commencement of His Exaltation. Resurrection, Ascension, Exaltation to the throne in universal
dominion go together as parts of the same transaction.” At least a dozen important aspects of His present ministry were contingent upon the fact of His resurrection:
Sending the Holy Spirit. The promise of Christ that He would send the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7) was contingent upon His resurrection and His return to glory. The Holy Spirit was sent to continue the ministry of Christ which was, in a sense, suspended when He returned to heaven. As Christ expressed it in John 16:7 (ASV), “Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send him unto you.” The major feature of the present age, namely, the ministry of the Spirit, is therefore dependent upon the validity of Christ’s resurrection from the grave and His return to glory as the triumphant, resurrected Saviour.
Bestowing eternal life. Through the Spirit whom Christ sent to the earth, He is able to bestow eternal life on all those who put their trust in Him (John 11:25; 12:24-25). If Christ did not literally rise from the dead, God’s program of giving life for spiritual death through faith in Jesus Christ would become invalid. He is able to bestow eternal life by virtue of who He is and of what He has done in His death and resurrection.
Head of the church and the new creation. In His resurrection from the dead, Christ also became Head of the new creation as well as Head of the church. This is stated in Ephesians 1:20-25 (ASV) , where the power of God is manifested:
When he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
As the Head of the new creation, He is able to form the church as His body and give it eternal life. According to I Corinthians 15:45b (ASV), “The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” In a similar manner, according to I Peter 2:4-5 (ASV), Christ comes as “a living stone” with the result that believers “as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” This power to form the church is further amplified in I Peter 2:9 (ASV): “But ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”
This present undertaking of God like all other aspects of His present work depends upon the validity of His resurrection and is essential to His present exalted work. Milligan writes:
Thus, then, it appears that the Resurrection of our Lord brings His work to its first stage of completion; for it perfects the different offices by which the work is accomplished. It is an essential part of the work which He left the mansions of His Father’s glory to perform. If He did not rise from the dead and return to His Father, He is neither Priest, Prophet, nor King, in the full sense of any of these terms.
The work of Christ as Advocate. The present ministry of Christ in heaven as the Advocate of the believer (I John 2:1, ASV) depends likewise upon His person and His work and is valid only because Christ is who He is and because He died on the cross for our sins and rose in triumph from the grave. It is because “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” His work as Advocate in turn depends on the fact that “he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world” (I John 2:2, ASV).
The work of Christ in intercession. The resurrection of Christ is specifically linked with His work in intercession in which Christ presents His petitions on behalf of weak and tempted Christians and intercedes for them before the throne of grace. According to Hebrews 7:25 (ASV), this ministry is dependent on His resurrection: “Wherefore also he is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” His resurrection is necessary to His perpetual intercession.
The bestowal of gifts. According to Ephesians 4:11-13, Christ gives gifted men to the church such as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. His work in thus bestowing gifted men upon the church is, however, dependent on the fact revealed in the preceding verses that “when he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men” (EPH 4:8, ASV). Now that He has “ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things” (EPH 4:10, ASV), an act, of course, which depended upon His resurrection, He is able to be sovereign in His bestowal of gifts and gifted men.
Impartation of spiritual power. Just as the deliverance of Israel from Egypt was God’s divine standard of power in the Old Testament, so the resurrection of Christ from the dead is a divine standard of power in the New Testament, especially in relationship to His work for the church. It was because of who He was and what He was able to do that He could say in Matthew 28:18 (MV), “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth.” This standard of power is described especially in Ephesians 1:17-25 where the apostle expresses his prayer that the Ephesian Christians might “know what is . . . the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him sit at his right hand in the heavenly places” (EPH 1:18-20, ASV). It was by virtue of His resurrection that He was able to send the Spirit who would be the channel through which the power would come according to Christ’s own prediction in Acts 1:8 (ASV): “But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” It is as the Christian enters into the reality that he has positionally in the risen Christ and becomes a partaker of Christ’s victory over death that he is able to realize the power of God in daily living.
The raising of believers to a new position in Christ. It is in keeping with Christ’s present work for believers that they be raised to a new position in Christ. According to Ephesians 2:5-6 (ASV): “Even when we were dead through our trespasses, [God] made us alive together with Christ (by grace have ye been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.” By virtue of the resurrection of Christ the believer can now be triumphant in his new position, no longer being dead in trespasses and sins in Adam, but raised in newness of life in Christ Jesus.
Christ in His resurrection, the first fruits from among the dead. In His resurrection from the dead, Christ fulfills the Old Testament anticipation in the Feast of the Firstfruits in that He is the first to be raised from the dead in anticipation of the future resurrection of all believers, as stated in I Corinthians 15:20-23 (ASV): “But now hath Christ been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of them that are asleep. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; then they that are Christ’s at his coming.” The resurrection of Christ, therefore, is the historical proof substantiating the hope of the believer that he too will be raised from the dead, in keeping with the prediction of Philippians 3:20-21.
Christ s now preparing a place. In the upper room, Christ told His disciples, “In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3, MV). An important aspect of the present work of Christ stemming from His resurrection is that Christ is anticipating future rapture and resurrection of the church and is preparing a place for His bride in heaven. Here again, His present work would be meaningless unless it was supported by a literal resurrection from the dead.
His universal lordship over all creation. In Ephesians 1:20-23 it is brought out that Christ not only became Head over the church by virtue of His resurrection and ascension, but has resumed His position of Lord over all creation. Such would be impossible if He had not been literally raised from the dead as the One who had power to lay down His life and take it again.
Shepherd of the flock. In His death on the cross, Christ fulfilled the anticipation of Psalm 22 that He would die as the good Shepherd for His sheep. In His present ministry, however, Christ fulfilled what is anticipated in Psalm 23 as the great Shepherd who cares for His sheep. His present ministry is anticipated in a number of passages in the New Testament (John 10:14; HEB 13:20; I Peter 2:25) - Yet to be fulfilled after His second coming is the fulfillment of passages relating to His work as the chief Shepherd (I Peter 5:4)
The Future Work of Christ Is Also Dependent upon His Resurrection
In a number of particulars, the work of Christ yet to be fulfilled in keeping with the prophetic Scripture also depends upon His resurrection.
The resurrection of all men. It is anticipated in the prophetic Scriptures that Christ by the power of His own resurrection will raise the dead in a series of resurrections, probably in the following order:
1. the church at the time of the rapture (I Cor. 15:51-53; I Thess. 4: 14-17)
2. Israel and the Old Testament saints at the time of His coming to the earth to establish His kingdom (DAN 12:2, 13; Hosea 13:14; Matt. 22:80-81)
3. the tribulation saints at the time of His second coming (REV 20:4)
4. the probable resurrection of millennial saints at the end of the millennium, though this is not mentioned in the Scriptures specifically
5. the resurrection and judgment of the wicked dead at the end of the millennium (REV 20:12-14)
Regardless of time and character of resurrection, all resurrection is attributed to the power of Christ (John 5:28-29; I Cor. 15:12, 22) and depends upon the historical fact of His own resurrection.
The marriage of the Bridegroom and the bride. At the time Christ comes for His church at the rapture, He will be joined to the church in heaven in keeping with the figure of the Bridegroom coming for the bride. This figure in the Scriptures speaks of the eternal union and fellowship of Christ and His church and is an important aspect of His future work, logically depending upon the fact of His resurrection from the dead. The church in the present age is a bride waiting for the coming of her Husband (II Cor. 11:2; REV 19:7).
The judgment of all classes of moral creatures. In addition to His present work of administering chastening and disciplinary judgments in the life of the believer, Christ will also be the final Judge of all moral creatures, whether men or angels. These judgments can be itemized as referring (I) to the church (II Cor. 5:10-11); (2) to Israel nationally and individually (Matt. 24:27— 25:30); (3) to the Gentiles at the time of His second coming to the earth (Matt. 25:81-46); (4) to angels, probably at the end of the millennium (I Cor. 6:3; II Peter 2:4; Jude 6); (5) to the wicked dead (REV 20:12-15). There also are general references to the fact of judgment as attributed to Christ in His power demonstrated in His resurrection (John 5:22; Acts 10:42; ROM 14:10; II Tim. 4:1).
Reigning on David’s throne. In the original prediction to David that his throne and seed would continue forever, it is implied that ultimately One would reign who would be a resurrected Person. In ordinary succession of kings who ultimately would die, it is unlikely that the throne would be actually established forever as stated in II Samuel 7:16. The prophecy given to David has its confirmation in the announcement of the angel to Mary, where it was stated of Christ, “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:32-83, ASV). The specific promise given to David, therefore, is to be fulfilled in Christ and could not have been fulfilled if Christ had not been raised from the dead. This is confirmed in Peter’s Pentecostal sermon in Acts 2:25-31 where the resurrection of Christ is tied in with the promise to David that God would set One of David’s descendants upon His throne.
The final deliverance of the world to the Father. As a climax to the drama of history, Christ delivers a conquered world to the Father according to I Corinthians 15:24-28. The ultimate victory and the establishment of the sovereignty of Christ over all of His enemies could not have been accomplished apart from His resurrection. This is predicted in I Corinthians 15:26 (ASV), “The last enemy that shall be abolished is death.” The ultimate resurrection of all men as well as the ultimate subjugation of the entire world to the sovereignty of Christ depends upon His resurrection. It is not too much to say that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a link in the total chain of God’s sovereign program without which the whole scheme would collapse.
Lewis S. Chafer has summarized the importance of the resurrection in these words:
His resurrection is vitally related to the ages past, to the fulfillment of all prophecy, to
the values of His death, to the Church, to Israel, to creation, to the purposes of God in
grace which reach beyond to the ages to come, and to the eternal glory of God. Fulfillment of the eternal purposes related to all of these was dependent upon the coming forth of the Son of God from that tomb. He arose from the dead, and the greatness of that event is indicated by the importance of its place in Christian doctrine. Had not Christ arisen—He by whom all things were created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers, He for whom things were created, who is before all things, and by whom all t7hings consist (hold together) —every divine purpose and blessing would have failed, yea, the very universe and the throne of God would have dissolved and would have been dismissed forever. All life, light, and hope would have ceased. Death, darkness, and despair would have reigned. Though the spiritual powers of darkness might have continued, the last hope for a mined world would have been banished eternally. It is impossible for the mind to grasp the mighty issues which were at stake at the moment when Christ came forth from the tomb. At no moment of time, however, were these great issues in jeopardy. The consummation of His resurrection was sure, for omnipotent power was engaged to bring it to pass. Every feature of the Christian’s salvation, position, and hope was dependent on the resurrection of his Lord.
The Resurrection Is a Proof of the Inspiration of Scripture
Like other important prophecies which have been fulfilled, the resurrection of Christ is another confirmation of the accuracy and infallibility of the Scriptures and a
testimony to its inspiration by the Holy Spirit. The resurrection of Christ fulfilled many prophecies both in the Old and New Testaments. Of importance in the Old
Testament is Psalm 16:10 quoted by Peter in his Pentecostal sermon (Acts 2:27). As Peter points out, this promise could not have been fulfilled by David who died and
whose tomb was known to them at the time of Peter’s statements. It could only refer to Jesus Christ whose body did not see corruption.
In the New Testament narrative, Christ frequently referred to His coming death and resurrection, and these predictions again had their fulfillment when Christ rose from the dead (Matt. 16:21; 20:19; 26:61; Mark 9:9; 14:28; John 2:19). The Apostle Paul in giving his testimony before King Agrippa affirmed that the heart of his message was that which Moses and the prophets had predicted “how that Christ must suffer, and how that he first by the resurrection of the dead should proclaim light both to the people and to the Gentiles” (Acts 26:23, ASV). It is inevitable that anyone who denies the resurrection also denies the inspiration of Scripture and usually it is also true that those who deny the inspiration of Scripture deny the bodily resurrection of Christ. The two are linked as are many other important doctrines of biblical faith. The fact of the resurrection of Christ remains a pillar of the Christian faith without which the edifice soon totters and falls. The resurrection of Christ is, therefore, to be numbered among major undertakings of God which include His original decree, the creation of the physical world, the incarnation, the death of Christ, and His second coming to the earth.