W W W World Wide Web Witness Inc. Home Page Contents Page for this Volume What is New
GOING WITH GOD
THE CHRISTIAN ABIDING: THE LORD PRESIDING
The Brighter Way for the Declining Day
THREE DAYS IS SCARCELY NEWS FOR ANCIENT MSS!
Filling in the Forsaken Form of Biblical Truth for the Unwary
News 401, The Australian July 10, 2008
The ignorance of the Bible is becoming devastatingly common. Here in Australia, in this same news edition cited above, we learn that it is possible for a young person to grow through the entire education program in NSW to the end of Secondary, and yet for one never to hear of the HOLOCAUST. It is even defended, on the ground that at some early point someone from this horrid phase of history makes a reference to the importance of learning history. W hat a coverage!
THE ACTUAL LEARNING of this history, however, is not required. For that matter, the article points out, we will learn who is Don Bradman, a fine thing, but what of the rest of history outside this land! Is a cultivated ignorance of things biblical, historical, of facts of life (not sexual, glutted and smutted, but realities of its nature in body, mind and spirit) to replace an awareness of data so profound that the new generation becomes manipulable by media, having little foundation, pliable to politicians, reading and hearing the latest of mode of 'culture', which becoming sacred, merely makes man god, while sending him as far as possible from the One who is!
Modish hits and bits are so ideologically important, for political pushers, but to KNOW what has been on the go with some precision and some comprehensiveness, at least in minor outline, this is important when there is a different objective than that which seems to move in many a political breast and educational department. This ? It scarcely appears this: to EDUCATE, to make aware of the smorgasbord of realities what is there. It is indeed true that nowadays in this country, there is more evidence of ideological fervour than of devotion to instructional duty (cf. TMR Ch. 8); nor are we in this alone (cf. Beauty to Ashes Ch. 3).
The same delusive omission from dogmatic delinquency seems to have occurred even in the teaching of English in much of this nation. The PM of yesteryear, John Howard, against whom the press seems in general to have warred with inveterate odium, before leaving at his narrow defeat in the election, had words to say on this aspect. Indeed, he expressed horror at the mishmash of futile subjects being advanced in place of necessary hard core learning. There has even been an extensive furore, in this land, involving some highly placed English experts from academia, with denunciation of futile endeavours to force political overtones, anachronistically and imperiously, into the understanding of such things as a Shakespearian play; while the fundamentals of English grammar and spelling have likewise been neglected.
The concept was that there would be osmotic absorption of the language, and that as far as the mechanics of language are concerned, people as they grew would soon learn what was what, and what not. However, while there has perhaps been too little emphasis on this aspect in some stages of the past, now there has been such a simplistic extremism that as one writer put it, English was tending here to become the only specialised discipline where the technical terms for the trade were not taught! The point is just.
In one's own experience in this field, one has varied from seeing an Inspector in NSW deliver congratulations on one's emphasis on just these things, to a more recent case, where a class in a High School while responding very well to the corrective measures, emphasising both creativity and the technical means for its expression, later stated grudgingly, that it was fine, yes, but HARD WORK.
It seems that this concept is being moved out of English and hard politics is being brought in , where it has no place. This is not to say, by any means, that English teaching should avoid this or that other discipline, but it is in no uncertain terms to declare that the USE made of it, as if it were a servant discipline (a point some actually make!), is illusory and superficial. Thus, instead of conveying its own imagination and potencies and requiring its own deep understanding of movements in history IN THIS FIELD, as well as moving into the depths of analysis of its techniques and procedures, stylistic options and historical exemplars, grammar and its relationship to semantics, there is coming more and more to be, a virtual prostitution.
Relevantly, the neglect of Bible knowledge, English knowledge, historical knowledge, these things are coming to be common in the vastly neglected, and more and more insurgently abused field of education in this land. Other nations are far from perfect; but this is our particular complexion.
Ancient MSS and Modern Neglect
These things being so, and to some extent parallels being available in other lands, but with their own variations, with Biblical knowledge at least becoming increasingly less important to a splatter and now a clatter of educators than the latest trickery on naturalism and its odes and odours (cf. The gods of naturalism have no go! with Wake Up World! ... Ch. 4 - 6 and Delusive Drift or Divine Dynamic Ch. 3). we come to what is touted as a new find. It has hit the news.
What is this find ? It is a new piece of old things, odd things, yes bought some time ago from a Jordanian dealer by a Swiss collector. Now it is brought to light. An article in The Australian, July 10, 2008 summons our eyes to the content of a document in stone, an inscription, with of course, conflict about its dating, but with one school of thought putting it before Christ.
In this, there is reference to rising from the dead in three days: resurrection in that arithmetical binding.
The conclusion some wish to draw is that there was some kind of a movement, the three day movement, or religious approach, and that this is new. They even go so far as suggest that Jesus the Christ may have been just a member of a three-day-rise, group. They continue this tangent, into the vacuous thought of His not being so ... exceptional.
Perhaps they consider that people were foretelling all over the place that they would die and rise in three days; and doing it... It seems a little odd, if so, that such fame and name attaching to such an imaginary movement would have so little substance to it. After all, rising after three days is not just doing the arithmetic part of it well; but the death breaking part ON TIME, with that. It is normally hard enough to rise from the dead, after three days of interment, following a crucifixion of some 6 hours. It is not a noted practice. There is in fact only one exemplar.
They would not seem to pursue these lines of rational thought very far, but they - those who see these things - speak of a 3 day motif relative to resurrection. It was, they feel, a going concern, and perhaps one like square dancing in its day ? Square dancing can come and go, however, but death is on the going side, in a rather and indeed completely singular manner. Singular ? literally, in the circumstances of this death: for only ONE is ever known to have done it, after three days following a very crucial period of being observed to deserve death, that is, a factual and not a notional matter. HE took the precaution of coming from heaven to do it, and having many predictions from God about its happening, why it would happen, where and when, and with what theological and world-wide results, all of which have been attested (cf. SMR Ch. 6, Ch. 9).
This was designer resurrection, specifications in this case revealed to the 'press' if you will, to the populace, to the world, centuries before it happened, in detail, in perspective as if they had written it the day before.
He took a second precaution, that having been interred according to prophecy, with the rich, as in Isaiah 53:9 - that is, in a rich man's tomb, He was not to be found there. Seven centuries' notice had been given, but apparently it was not enough. It is, in fact, ALWAYS, as an empirical fact, that way when the Bible makes proclamations and intimations, and the time for them comes. It goes, history conforms. In this, it is the greatest of conformists, despite the inventions of man; and this, it is merely an illustration of two things, the mastery of God and the inventiveness of man, as contained in His purvey and schema, right to the end of this Age.
Designer resurrection had made its utterly unique way into this world, and it has never been the same since. Billions follow either the Bible or various distortions, but they throng about this Jesus, unable to take their fascinated eyes from the biggest fact since creation; and indeed one far greater than that. THAT was an exercise in creativity; this in more than that (but not less, since re-creating what would otherwise be simply rotten does involve creative thought). It was a portent of passion, of love, a physical motif for the spiritual reality of mercy. According to that same Bible which effectually foretold these things in vast detail and soaring perspective, it was vicarious mercy, that is, not only in HAVING a resurrection of the sin-bearing Christ, so that death could not hold Him, but this above all, in deploying Him, deity in flesh, to achieve it for others on a sound basis.
Truth is undeflectable. Some smirk at their genius for deception; but truth hits the conscience, escapes the suppression orders and will accompany judgment on all creation, squirm, torment itself and twist at is may. Justice will be done; the cries of the victims in their millions are not unheard; but the test continues to the end, to echo throughout eternity, if not audibly, then in its demonstration, that EVERY evil thing in systems having been tried, ONLY the word of God has brought either peace to reason or flesh, or viability to life. Made in truth, it requires it for living.
All this then was done, from the prophecies of the prophets to the words of Christ, foretelling what He would do and why, not once, but many times in this way, parable or straight prediction.
What could flesh do ? It could not find the body. This greatest of biblical predictions, the date and the manner and the method and the sequence of events and the reason and the power of God for man in this amazing spectacular of spiritual blessedness, it had been made and the key figure, guarded by soldiers, it had been lost! Is it possible ? What a bungle on the part of Satan and his accomplices, in the power of a God-forsaking set of officials in Israel and one no different from Rome, Pilate and priesthood alike!
Nor did the soldiers, the guards assigned to cover the rich and notable tomb, do much good, alleging that the disciples took Him while they slept. This is an extraordinary branch of knowledge, knowing what occurs when you sleep, an obvious prevarication. If death is no obstacle, certainly some soldiers are even less, as was shown a little later in the case of Peter, who escaped from a locked prison with gates, and 16 soldiers, to guard, during the night (Acts 12).
The case however is far worse than this. It is good enough for that delightful old British magazine, Punch, sadly gone now. Once again, the Bible scooped the news long before this latest 'find' housed now it seems, in Switzerland. What does the Bible say on the three days ?
To this we now look, moving stage by stage to ensure background is adequate for the immediate point in the foreground.
Ancient Manuscripts, including Hosea 6:1-3, 13:14
In fact, there is not a genre arising from nothing in some date a little before Christ. Of this, NOTHING is known, and the guesswork is founded on a disputed instance of one case, even its date in contest. That, in view of the biblical facts, as an isolated fragment, it is not even relevant as it stands.
The resurrection has always been as total a phenomenon in Biblical prediction, when applied to God's method of salvation, in uniqueness, portent and power, just as God Himself is one only, without limitations imposable by any. The two have always been correlatives. The three days has been correlative with these, from the symbolism of Leviticus, in the wave offering, on the third day of the Passover, that is that following the day itself, and next the day after the subsequent day of rest, the Sabbath, as prescribed: what is now the first day of the week, to a much later element. This is the statement of Hosea 6 to which we shall shortly come.
First however let us see the total biblical setting in outline here, relative to these things.
As to the crucifixion, of Psalm 22, and the resurrection of Psalm 16, with the details of the former in Isaiah 49:53, and references to it in Zechariah 12:10, and its preliminaries in Zechariah 11:11ff., and results of it as shown in Isaiah 54-55, and as to the power for its attainment, seen in Isaiah 61:1-3 and the plan to have this sin-pardoning death by redemption, which appears in Hosea 13:14: this is a world of divine invention. It is presented in vast emphasis and enormous pathos, in detailed factuality and grave depth. It is given likewise, in exuberant delight and triumphal joy, phase by phase: death for sin, vicariously, and resurrection of the body from the dead, victoriously. You visit the information stations in the prophets, and learn.
In religion, increasingly, to learn facts of any depth seems increasingly unpopular, but in terms of scientific method, an interesting alternative to ignorance, it is necessary.
There is nothing new about the crucifixion, resurrection from 1000 B.C., and it is scarcely news in something more like 2000 A.D.. Are some slow learners ? or is it merely wilful ignorance ? The Lord knows. What we know is this, that is all written, LONG before the stone tablet, from the Dead Sea Scroll collection it would appear, which speaks of the rising from the dead in three says. THAT, that news was scooped around a millenium before, and it is one of the DEFINITIONS of the work of the Messiah, of His sacrifice, as Christ made clear in His use of that term, one to fulfil the prophecy, in such declarations as those seen in Matthew 12:40, 16:21, 17:22-23.
These prophetic DATA were just as much a predictive part of the Old Testament identikit for the Messiah, exhibited in the prophets such as Zechariah, David, Isaiah, Moses, as the death itself and the resurrection itself: the incarnation coming through the tribal basis of Judah, and occurring in Bethlehem, at length leading to the popular striking the Judge of Israel with a rod on the face, as foretold in Micah 5.
First, then let us see God exposing His planning and its motivation, in Hosea 13:14, to take one instance, relative to this whole action of redeeming man from death, by BEARING its cost personally. Let us go centuries before the disputed date of the inscribed stone now being touted. We shall take the elements step by step, dwelling on each in a systematic manner; for the whole thing as described and defined in the Bible, from first to last, IS systematic. It is to be sure, based in love, but love is not without intelligence, nor imagination, as any mother knows.
DIVINE MOTIVE for the DIVINE MOTIF, first, then we consider from Hosea 13:14. The HOW and the WHY have some relationship here. We consider first more generally, the method and the concept.
FROM Anguish, Ecstasy and the Mastery of the Messiah
This leads us to enquire further. Just how did Christ redeem, so that instead of having Jerusalem in its grievous desolation, a type and indeed example of the judgment which truth puts on sin, and the unredeemed sinner, it presents Christ as OUR JERUSALEM, our vicarious victim. This brings us to Hosea 13:14. All excerpts may be changed a little for the express purpose of their present use, from those given in the books noted. Some may be extended to extend points, or varied for emphasis.
III The Divine Cost and the Human Calamity it Covers … Hosea 13:14
HOW is hell itself and the grace that for so many leads to it, to be covered since its exclusion zone, apart from God, is deserved ? It is by a DIVINE RANSOM. God is not willing to ignore sin; but He is willing to pay adequately for it, and cover its cost for each sinner IF and WHEN it is met by sincere repentance (not craven cowering without heart), life then becoming the resultant, even a divinely guaranteed life from Christ (Luke 13:1-3, John 6:40, 6:50ff., Romans 8:32, II John 2:1-2).
That donated life (comparable a little with not a replacement organ but the entirety of life granted that death may be avoided, and this not as a mere option, but as a divine and studied provision) is eternal. It is accompanied by the deletion of guilt through the substitution of Christ for the death of the sinner, and the grant of His inalienable life to the redeemed (cf. John 10:9,27-28).
The power of these mangling evils that He met, it is very great. It is however both merciful and natural that the power of God is greater, since death is His own sentence on sin (Romans 6:23); and the supernatural is both source and criterion for the natural, the product of God Himself. He can cover what He made.
Not every child can fix his own toy, though even a man can hope to do so; but when God makes man, He acts in accord with His own truth, both in condemning our race's misuse of the glorious options which man's spirit provides, and in pardoning the same on terms satisfying to truth. As to man, of these capacities of his, he is only too aware, often degrading himself by exalting himself and exulting in his undoubted powers, so that the higher his spirit flies, the lower his soul lurches.
What then do we learn from this ? Flying in the face of death is like cruising at 600 mph, into a tornado; but being evacuated from it is rather like finding a deep sea submarine near you, with brilliant transfer devices for you, when you are being crushed in diving too deep, and cannot suddenly break the surface without courting death. The intimate horror which sin is, has its placard, its poster in this, that God Himself sees fit to pay RANSOM to exclude this death and hell (Matthew 20:28).
Man’s image from God is a cause of sublimity and of the infernal alike. It is the ground of man's one great step into spiritual space, exposed and fragile, condemned and uncontrite, its issue a crash into the infernal; but it is the opportunity for God's great step into this world, the sublime, made vulnerable to the vicious, that He might cover the case in Himself, for man. ONLY GOD can make the difference, for none other has the power and the purity. It is not too hard for Him, since He both made and understands it all, and knows the things He will do, just as He knew them before the creation, as any wise and knowledgeable inventor might hope to do for his lesser products!
With God, it is not hope, but power and wisdom and self-control, performing without limit or external constraint, the desires of His heart. Making and redeeming man, as many as respond to Him in His grace: this is a grand creation, far beyond the material, even beyond the mental and spiritual realities associated. It is a work of spiritual finesse, profundity and love, for fellowship and wonder to the one created. it has a cut-off point, the truth. It has a cut-off surface, the Cross. There has to be a meeting there.
As to hell and the grave, then, that exit summons for man-in-sin, God Himself will constitute its destruction for His people. The term here, 'pity', has the meaning 'repentance' or change of mind, so that so far from denying pity a place, He denies any change of His pitiful mind, a place. It is PITY on His own heart, in giving the Christ, His only begotten Son for such a role as sin-bearer; it is PITY in the Son Himself, who with strong cries bore up His anguish as He prepared for Calvary (Hebrews 5:7, cf. Luke 22), it is SELF-PITY which is hidden from His eyes.
In marked contrast to Israel, God will NOT TURN ASIDE from His self-imposed duty of pity for those whose redemption is such a burden. In becoming man, He does not simply do, if you will, an accounting procedure: He pays in Person with emotion and sensitivity of soul, and abrasion of spirit as He bears the doom of man in concentrated form, the wrath due sin, till His aching cry ascends to heave, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me!" as it was predicted in Psalm 22, would be the holy expression of the Redeemer's vicarious agony. Sin separates, and Christ bore the wrath of God against it, not as a symbol, but in an atrocity of grief; and what agony energised that lament! (Isaiah 59:1-2).
This is what it cost to rejoin any person who in sin, lost, seeks salvation and finds it by faith through the free grace of God. Here is the pity which knew no pity ... on itself!
Creation was labour and invention. Deliverance for that potentially exalted product, man, is through redemption, even one paid for by God Himself (cf. Hebrews 9:1-12,27-28, 10:10,14)! Nor was this all, for the purity of life which made such a sacrifice as that of Christ on the Cross, meant vigilance, self-discipline and overcoming all mockery and persecution with fire and grace alike. It meant it during His life on earth, and in the public masses, during His ministry to man in the world (cf. John 17:9-19, esp. v. 19).
Such is our Saviour. He is the Saviour of all men (I Timothy 4:10) in the sense that He is sufficient for all, adapted to all, great enough for all; and ONLY of those who receive Him as He is and for what He has done (John 1:12, 8:24, 15:21-23), in the sense that what is always sufficient then becomes operative. A car is sufficient to convey you, but only when you get it does it do so.
We have looked at the method and the concept of redemption, but now the divine MOTIF behind it comes into more focus, in association with these things. This continues the excerpt started above, with this explanatory interpolation.
IV The Divine Destruction Hosea 13:14
Not only however is the divine cost to be met, but in paying in this way, the Lord Himself will even CONSTITUTE in person the removalist of plagues, and in Himself the destruction of hell and death. It is not a matter of bearing sin only, but of bearing it PERSONALLY so that its acids if you will, its poisons etched themselves into the very peace of Christ, producing such a clamour of horror as they confronted His dying gift of life, that He even felt forsaken, as it was predicted He would. This was foretold in Psalm 22, which He quoted in the vivid experience of what as God He had long foreseen: as He came near to death!
Indeed, not only was there that terrible, that awesome, that splendid anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane, as the impending cross became His immediate fare, but there were cries of depth to His Father as He waited for the exodus of beauty in the impact of iniquity on Himself, that of others. As has been pointed out, the soul of His sorrow was the sorrow of His soul! (Hebrews 5:7, Luke 22:40-46).
How horrible is a plague, but God taking the form of a servant,
became a plague to the plague,
and did so by entering into its menacing dynamic, and stilling it. It is like a doctor entering your cancer tumour and confronting it with his own power, on site! Hell, and the grave that is its anteroom for so many (Matthew 7:15ff.), these were destroyed in all final impact and power by making them irrelevant; for death and damnation has no case when its penalty is met; and Christ met it! This is selective remedy; but that is available for all that, for whosoever will call on the Lord (not someone else's contrived Lord, but the actual One and on Him alone, minus idols cf. Hosea 7:14), that person will be saved (Acts 2, cf. John 6:37, 5:24).
V The Divine Determination
Such a lowering of the glory of deity, such an exposure to horror,
this could lead to review ? Maybe He might waver before such a price - like a buyer of some work of art for a cool one billion, having last minute thoughts about it ... ? Not at all. What does He say of any such thought ?
“Pity is hidden from My eyes”, or “Repentance is hidden from My eyes.”
In other words, there is to be no thought of a change of mind, of heart about paying such a cost. As to that, it is certainly something that could be brought to bear, as indeed it was by Peter when he challenged Christ NOT to die! (cf. Matthew 16:21-23). In reply to Peter’s short-sighted but large-hearted urgings that Christ avoid the death, He replied:
“Get behind Me Satan.
You are an offence to Me,
for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
Agony it was (Hebrews 5:7), even to contemplate it; but He met it, with all the purity of divine passion and all the result of His power. Anguish agitated (Hebrews 5:7, Luke 22:41ff.), as He made strong cries in earnest entreaty as the shadow of a death neither deserved nor natural for the Son of God, became thick with the sight of its appalling smog, worse than that of any industrial town, even Gary Indiana, as one passed through it in 1969 or so, or Peking, as athletes now pass through in 2008.
Yet the Mastery of the Messiah was as active then as ever, the robust passion carrying Him past the pain in prayer to His Father, and to a submission to His will which neither weakness, nor an inadequacy of the appearance of love, nor the incandescence of light by sheer repugnance for ANY sort of darkness, could remove.
Failure was always at hand. Yet success in spirituality, however much the world deemed failure the very heights of attainment, and wrought in the very face of its caustic mockeries, it was this that ruled. In combat with enemies, in combat with Satan, with death or disease, He ruled. Every flicker of possibility dawned like a day of trial; and every light of performance held lustre like a glorious sunset on the day. At the Cross the ultimate test became like a wide viewing screen for all and any to see. The result was the same.
Here was love solemnised in mastery, courage in conquest and pain in sacrifice. Yet not to all was it so clear as the awe-ful day loomed.
How Peter erred here! He vehemently urged Christ to desist from His way to death, not to accomplish any such things, and for his pains had the famed retort of Christ (Matthew 16:23), "Get behind me Satan!" The eyes of Peter had misted, and the source of the mist was denounced!
But look a little further at the divine determination and motif back of these things. God Himself in His glory contemplates the plight and fate of mankind. Considering the sin bound up and stored up in the case of Israel (and He extended the remedy even to the Gentiles as in Isaiah 42:6, 49:6, Jeremiah 16:28 in the depth of divine love and plan), the Lord cries,
"I will ransom them from the power of the grace, I will redeem them from death."
Let us consider this further, having ended the modified version of Anguish, Ecstasy and the Mastery of the Messiah Ch. 3, and press on.
This intention is beautiful and as with many, an illustrious heart is moving. But with God, it is far more, both in power and in purity. He proceeds:
"O Death, I will be your plagues!
O Grave, I will be your destruction!"
Death is an unhappy thing. It is only because of the resurrection that it is within the very scope of life, to contemplate it. Because of the resurrection, it becomes a thing, though painful for a time, that rejoices the heart, when it is one of the Lord's people who go (as in I Thessalonians 4:13-18). If it were not for that, death would initiate a repugnance and a heart-break, to lose what one loves, and to see what had such a profound significance, no more! then to join those whom one has loved, not in an array in the light of the Lord, but in a dismalness of dismantling, this would be a profundity of grief, an almost unthinkable morass.
This, our concept and feeling, if we are just, is itself born from and an index to our origin. It is not natural to die. It is the default of nature from the failure to nurture our nature, and the sin which this involves. God in love ACTED in this deplorable situation; His love so moved Him. What we feel, above and beyond, and without sin but with the intense longing, He felt. He decided to pay, and this is not something wrought in mere time, but before it (Revelation 13:8, (Isaiah 46:8, Ephesians 1:4). Nevertheless, to us it is exposed how His heart moved.
HE HIMSELF would do it: yes more, He would BE IT, the payment. TO the plague of death was one addressee: God. HE would plague the plague. Grave ? hell ? He would in Himself constitute the free pass out of these things, so that what was to be our destruction is destroyed, for all who avail themselves of His action, being found in the purity and for the purity without which life is an extinction in process, or in finale
Grave (or hell), I WILL BE your destruction. Enter an asbestos which has nothing but good to provide, a purity without fibre, a protection from due flames that rebuke with chagrin and contemptibility, the life that loves darkness and dares to dither or depart from the light. Of such dithering, Hebrews gives us some exposure, though in that case the danger was evidently being avoided: yet it was made very clear! Yet for all that, the refuge to which one may flee is very palpalbe (Hebrews 6:19), and its anchor as one proceeds to glory, as a Christian is as sure as God is!
It is in the sequence of Hosea 13:14 that we then see that word with which this section began, "Pity is hidden from My eyes," or "Repentance is hidden from My eyes." HE will not be moved. Neither will the Father pity Himself for this outrage to which in love He concurs for His Son, nor will His Son pity Himself for the anguished horror He is about to experience, for God's resolve is final. HIS mind is made up; for there is more than mere permission for this vastly merciful and eminently pitiful act, there is passion and determination that nothing can move (cf. Luke 9:53, Matthew 16:22-23).
Here is the beauty of His life, the glory of His holiness, the faithfulness of our God and the wonder of His condescension, that it does not even LOOK like condescension, but is as it seems, love with mercy, mercy with pity, pity with profundity, resolution with redemption. This cost ? IT WILL BE PAID. Now a chief reason for the joy that no one can take from the Christian is just this: that it now HAS BEEN DONE! (cf. John 19:30).
Having seen the divine plan, its motif, its schema of operations, its personal involvement, to BE in HIMSELF the curse of death and the cure for man, we find more in the prophecies, on the mode. This is our next step in orientation with knowledge from the book of the Lord.
A look at Psalm 22 will provide much on this topic, from around 1000 B.C.. This is brought from our earlier work, Joyful Jottings No. 25. For further in this theme, the reader is requested to study that same No. 25, which has far more detail than that below.
When Death is Defied by Breaking it
Here again manifestly, is the tableau, picture, portrait of a slow death in agony, such as David did not suffer (-18).
Bones are unbroken.
Strength is dissipated, like mist.
The heart suffers enormous, slow and relentless pressure, being overcome.
A crowd gapes, spinkled with triumphalist foes, like angry bulls.
The death scene has a morbid gathering
like an attentive congregation.
Hands and feet of the victim are pierced by absorbed attendants.
Ugly curiosity shows in the eyes.
Open religious derision proceeds from haughty mouths, pitiless throats, merciless minds,
even from a hostile crowd of priests, or religious specialists,
having no opportunity at any stage to point to any actual omission or fault,
merely frying the victim in the sauce of audacity.
Is this David ? Of course not. It is however his exalted descendant, according to the flesh aspect which his line provided, of whom He speaks in Psalm 45, of whom God speaks in II Samuel 7, and pf whose illimitable divine eminence, Zechariah speaks in Ch. 6, Isaiah in Ch. 11. It is He who is sent according to Isaiah 48:16, as God the sent from God the Sender, the Spirit working together; and it is He who is born into human flesh, as in Micah 5, though eternity is His own proper domain as 5:3 shows and declares.
PSALM 22 INFERENCES
"You have brought Me to the dust of death."
What then ?
WE ARE IN THE ASSURED TERRITORY OF THE MESSIAH, HIMSELF IN THE ASSURED UNITY WITH GOD - as so beautifully delineated in Psalm 45, exhibited in Psalm 110, stated in Zechariah 12:10 and expressed in Zechariah 2:8, Isaiah 40:10.
ONLY SAVIOUR HE IS ASSUREDLY GOD (Isaiah 43:10-11). As to His salvation, HE bought it (as in Isaiah 53:10-11): "BY HIS KNOWLEDGE MY RIGHTEOUS SERVANT SHALL JUSTIFY MANY." What knowledge ?This: "FOR HE SHALL BEAR THEIR INIQUITIES."
It is thus time to look in our survey, at this aspect: PSALM 45 contributes. This Messiah, HIS is the very throne of God. It is infinite, this intimacy of the sublime Saviour with the Sovereign Sender. It is to God and not another that He brings, for God He is, from God He came, for God He did it, and as to that, He declared, Before Abraham was, I am, taking the specialised and significant name of God in self-identification (cf. Exodus 3:14).
But although we see here evidence of the resurrection, implied and assured, is there anything more direct about it ? Assuredly. First note the plan of God, in this, that He would not vainly die, but RANSOM from death: that implies power to pay and free. He would also destroy the curse, and that implies power to get it done and keep it done, and so secure for ever that life which death could not hold, as in Acts 2:24. GOD, as He says, will work and who will annul it! (Isaiah 14:27).
From the same work and number,
Joyful Jottings No. 25, we now proceed to the resurrection in flagrant directness. It was cited by Peter at Pentecost, as shown in Acts 2.
A) PSALM 16 FACTS
Intimately linked with the above, as we shall see, is Psalm 16. It gives more detail on the METHOD used for this sacrificial splendour of the divine, as does Psalm 22. To both of these then we shall look for answers to such questions.
First, Psalm 16 then. Here as we read it, we find ourselves in the midst of sensitive perception of the mercies shown to the Psalmist, see his heartfelt fidelity to God, past all snares and illusions, all competition from idols of any kind, from the gods that man is ever a-making. Here is David, inspired writer of the Psalm and father to the line into which the Messiah was to be cradled (cf. Isaiah 9:1-7). David again sees Him as the victor of victories as in Psalm 110. David himself had no bodily promise from God, for his own day, that his body would be preserved, for his own son, Solomon, was simply set to succeed him, and assigned to replace him on earth.
Yet here (Psalm 16:6), as the king reflects on his "good inheritance", he sees the best part of it. And that ?
He looks at this chosen Messiah, where God graces humankind with a gift as generous as startling, as expressive of the love of majesty as of its devotion, the Messiah with universal victory ordered and prepared for the completion of His whole mission, Him of Psalm 45, 72. Such victory is over any kind of selfishness, carelessness or disregard, as much as over any external affront. This is the assurance for HIS KINGDOM, where He is king. It is He who (as in Psalm 72) can have such concern for the poor (in spirit, in whatever, but those willing to receive, others being rather 'fat' to use the Biblical terminology): and this ? For what purpose ?
It is this: That He redeems them from deceit, oppression and violence (72:13-15). There is beauty and wonder. Deceit and violence currently grip the world like an electro-magnetic arm, seizing it with electric power, crushing it with indifference. HE in His time of rule to come on His return as depicted in Zechariah 14, Psalm 72, will break all that. THIS is very wonderful, a joy to the heart, refreshment to the spirit. With such power, there is no question that He will perform (cf. Joel -13); and with His plan, there is no doubt of His intention.
The Messiah redeems from oppression, but also from death itself (Psalm 21, Isaiah 53-55, Hosea , Ezekiel 34; Psalm 49:7,15).
Now in Psalm 16, practicalities of the case are spelt out.
Seeing an eternity of life in the Lord, stretch before him (Psalm16:8, 21:4), David now realises that it has this working base. Not himself, but his descendant in the maternal line, it is He who would break death. It is God Himself who would do it, the Messiah being the express and explicit Son of the Father (cf. Jeremiah 31:22), the imperial gift in personal presence before the New Covenant, as found in 31:31ff., Isaiah 9:1-7, Psalm 2, 72 esp. vv. 12-14, cf. 102:18-21.
Perceiving this as something to be attributed by the Messiah, his Lord, to him (cf. Isaiah 26:19), David then spells out its nature. In verses 9-10, the data are is staggering, but also refreshing; for here is such a wedding of spirituality supreme, with humiliation unthinkable in human format that the angels might well chorus, and men listen, yes and children with their mothers too! The divine willingness to take out of the depths of death and the impending grasp of hell, in its fitness for the uncovered sin, is beautiful to behold, as we savour the faith of the Messiah, thrust into horror in His vicarious atonement, delivered in strength from its results, forfeiting ease that He might achieve our comfort. Here is love.
For the Messiah, even His flesh will rest in hope. Why should it ? For this reason:
"For You will not leave my soul in hell,
Nor will allow your Holy One to rot" - .
On the contrary,
"You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fulness of joy.
At your right hand are pleasures for evermore" - 16:11.
The body would normally rot when hit by death. In this case, there is a divine intervention past all barriers (as in Romans 1:4), and in this there is rest, resurrection and a rot-free future.
In Psalm 40 as here in Psalm 16, and in Psalm 22, you see King David's spirit rove (cf. I Peter 1:10-11) from his own experience as a "type" or emblematic foreshadowing of the Christ, to that descendant of the maternal line, the Messiah Himself. Thus David, progenitor for the maternal line for Christ, can still feel suddenly, proleptically, as if the present time at once grasped and entered into future things, indeed can sense spiritually its latent and mordant morbidity.
Similarly, the Psalmist can be conveyed by the Spirit of God to the coming pangs, betrayal (pp. 232ff. infra) and exaltation of the One who is to be his Lord (Psalm 110). His eyes lifted up as to some distant (chronological) hills, he sees the clouds and storms, the wonders and the beauty of these coming events, around their sublime and sovereign pinnacle which soars into the heights, bearing like the US mountains for presidents, the face not of man, however, but of God as expressed in human form, His only begotten Son.
Nor is it in stone, but in flesh; nor does it simply endure in stone, but in life, past death, for its overthrow, His to secure, is done! Eternity was – and is (Philippians 2, John 8:58, Revelation 1:18) – His; and through death’s just breach, He conferred immortality upon all who receive it, among mankind. This is His own creation exposed to sin’s league with death, drawn to His lordship of the gift of life (Matthew 11:27, John 12:32, 6:37), and it is fivefold His to give. They are His by creation, concern and care, provision and plan, performance and purchase offer, anguish and triumph.
But let us revert to our special site, to consider the special significance in Psalm 16.
B) PSALM 16, IMPLICATIONS
1) Hence the Messiah HAD to rise from the dead.
Anyone who, work finished, could not/did not do just that, was certainly NOT the Messiah; for this was one of those magnificently clear and clearly magnificent feats which He had to perform.
Nor was this merely a distinguishing feature: it was a function necessary for the character of His promises to be fulfilled to many, and integral to the revealed plan of salvation.
Thus, any claimant to this role, who could hope to secure a massive acceptance, an acceptance indeed by the faithful who had long awaited the Messiah with sacred trust and intense knowledge drawn with anticipation and relish from the Bible (cf. Luke 2:25-38), would simply have to be resurrected in body. That was all there was to it. It is not very easy to do.
A shiny face speaks fine, but facts speak 'clear' (cf. Isaiah 53:2). Voluntary sacrifice of an eternally magnificent form for this role also speaks clear, as does humiliation for such a purpose as this. Testimony to these facts over years of 'laboratory of life' demonstration by the Messiah speaks with even louder voice. As Christ answered a suffering John the Baptist,
"Go and tell John again those things which you hear and see:
the blind receive their sight,
and the lame walk,
the lepers are cleansed,
and the deaf hear,
the dead are raise dup,
and the poor have the gospel preached to them,
and blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in Me."
Small wonder the disciples were drawn by successive revelations in practical life, of who this Jesus was, that they were gathered to Him, like children to the sea. Small wonder this capped all (cf. John 20:24-31, cf. , John 16:4 in context to v.24) at the testimonial level, in works! (cf. John 16:10-11). Indeed, as it is a cap-stone, so it is a basic necessity to faith (Romans 10:9). Faith without it is fraud, fiction or both.
2) We have - in The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, Chs.6,8-9, shown that there were also miraculous healings and profound wisdom predicted, and to be shown by the Messiah, and much more besides - birthplace, death-date, tribe and so on. All this we have seen before.
In our present context however, let us emphasise this: ANY failure in ANY detail or dimension would be certain to be snapped up by His opponents in order to discredit Him, remove a stimulus to envy, to give them the priestly pre-eminence or scholarly portent desired, the national security in their foggy terms, that they desired (cf. John 11, Matthew 27:18). If they tried so hard with false witnesses, who could not be accredited in truth, WHAT, just what would they have ACHIEVED IF there had been the smallest particle of error to be used in fact! (cf. Matthew 26:59ff.).
In fact, with such able and motivated men in such masses in various groupings, machinating and soaring in pride and desire, whether before or after the resurrection, not merely may we safely assume that the facts were pondered carefully for any fault (as, though in error, evidenced in the narrative in John -52). They also were turned with some of the fleetest of foot-work. It is like having 100 barristers with the strongest possible personal stake in a thing, ranged with greedy legal minds against you, looking voraciously for your least formal or factual error; and then quite simply, by pure authority and authenticity, making them look like empty mouths, unable to do anything more than obscure the air with the foul breath of ambitious frustration.
3) In the present case, they had merely to produce the body. Even a credible scenario would have helped. The notice of God's intention to act had long enough been given. The predictions of Jesus made the danger resound with contemporary force. Yet nothing has ever been produced to explain the failure of Roman priests, keenly motivated (see SMR Ch.6). It is as the British announced a few hundred years in advance, or more accurately a millenium ahead, what they would do at Dunkirk, then succeeded in doing it just the same, though their plans were known.
It is far better than the case where such plans were stolen, as if by spies to show in advance the landing was to be at Normandy. In this case, that of the resurrection and NON-ROTTING of the body, the thing was even announced, declared and exposited with the authority and imprint of it. It sat not in the shadows, but lustrous with light, in the synagogues, for those who awaited the Messiah, and they were many.
4)There is only one explanation: the sheer power and method that God would use, had been pre-selected by Him, so that this would prove effective.
The stunning of the guards in fear, as the boulder is moved - this was simple - to God. Some idea, for example, of a little shuttling, a shuffling shuttling of the body w while soldiers slept ignores the death penalty they would face - commuted to save face in view of this act of God. In the case of the murder of Christ, He was selected to die, not least, because He had the power of life. It was as if they found it unfair competition as we read John 11 on this topic. How awful, is the priestly purvey on the issue of this popular Christ. He even raised the dead! What next! Aha! we must act!
Such was the impact on them in this resurrection mode, in that case, the famed one of Lazarus, in their very midst.
False witnesses and cover up, when the murder was done, these were merely an adornment of the strategy, since He was too careful to be caught.
So here: a false story, not even a good one, any more than the false witnesses were any good (for their evil purpose) is concocted. The sleeping guards were so sorry, but they were wide awake at the same time as they slept, so being able to report that the disciples had nabbed the body. Sleep walking we have heard of; but sleep seeing, and seeing what happens which you are supposed to intercept, it is more than a little rich.
Indeed, the case is worse for the lie. The notoriety of the victim, plus the fact that He had to rise from the dead, as it was predicted, as we have just seen, and His bold claim, indeed His announcement of rising within 3 days (also predicted as in SMR Ch.6, we see), gave them an excellent time warning. Not only was He to rise, flesh intact, bones unbroken, He was also to do so in 3 days. This is like mighty mouse telling a cat 3 hours ahead in just what way he will pull out his whiskers. The whole scenario is absurd, unless of course you take account of one thing: the main actor is God.
But what is it like ? It is as if President Clinton would lightly toss the keys and codes to his atomic console (if he has one) to someone who stood by, and in a dreamy, hazy daze, watch him walk away, and enter the place where the key would open and dispense atomic power to some location to be destroyed!
Simply, God put His plan on record in such minute detail of place, time and method, of procedure and of task for the Person to be concerned in it, the matrix in the heavenly Messiah, that it stands as a divine feat for all time, in plan and performance alike, its features cut in the Rock of His word and scanned into the work of history.
Instituted by His counsel,
conveyed by His word,
indited by His Spirit,
effected by the Eternal Word of God, the Messiah, Jesus Christ,
confirmed by the operation of His Spirit (Romans 1:4),
heralded to men,
demonstrated in the flesh,
adorned with the originality of God in the nature of the risen body,
directed to glorification,
achieving glory for men, women and children who should believe:
here was a resurgence of divine magnificence indeed.
Thus having planned, having spoken and having recorded His speech in His book, the Old Testament of this day, He proceeded to put it into action with that immeasurable knowledge and depth, decisiveness and deftness which is similarly seen in the creation which is His.
Nothing could or would or did stop it, or cover up what it all meant. As to motive, sympathisers with Christ, believers would not be drawn to going to hell as liars, frauds, and for what ? It would be for seeking to authenticate what (if He did not rise) would be a false Messiah. The case was conspicuously the contrary. Faith, fact and height would collaborate, a magnificent trio, constituting both a taunt to truth-haters, the reckless renegades and the unruly, and a testimony to all.
Yet hell attracts few. Its take far exceeds its direct appeal! Pretending a heaven in order to get there is indeed a common phenomenon, but it is not - and here is the point - the deceptive intention of the director of delinquency in hell. It is however a result. The devil is subtle.
Enemies - these would scarcely destroy their own case - EVEN IF they could (SMR Ch.6, pp. 931-939, Biblical Blessings, Appendix IV, Endnote 1).
He HAD to rise and all the power of hell, of this world, simply did not and could not prevent His escape. It was by wholly unconventional methods, through completely irresistible power and the risen body had as well, significantly supplemented powers - not that this was strictly necessary, in exiting the tomb before such retiring soldiery, they in the dark and the awe, like a ship in the night, during a storm. People are human. They tend to react to the wholly unfathomable. These did, helped by some physical accompaniments of the titanic act.
These powers of hell could neither prevent the escape nor quash the demonstration of the characteristics of His new body, His new powers, nor annul the testimony of the action and the doughty arising of the church, built, if you will, just above His tomb.
No one ever - even in Jerusalem shortly after His death - actually stopped the Church dead by the very simple expedient of showing that His works did not happen, "as advertised", or that some of the hundreds of prophecies concerning Him had failed. After all, they were all THERE in the city, during that past time (or nearly all of them, there was no mass exodus!). It was not for lack of ability or agility or enterprise. Indeed, in the crucifixion itself, and in the attempts to trap Christ in His words before this (cf. Matthew 22, Luke 11:53-54), lawyers lying in wait, there was precisely that consistent failure on the part of His adversaries (cf. Matthew 22:46), which led to the murder as the best expedient to their amoral minds.
What else, in dishonour and dishonesty, seeking survival for their nation, their system and their superiority, could they do when shown inferior and unworthy! What other means would occur to them, to press for victory, before such triumphant testimony as that of Christ consistently was seen to be: had these not shown enterprise, motivation and such qualities of persistence as would have adorned the curriculum vitae of the sinners who walked in the name of priesthood! Had not their efforts been canny, bright and devious ? Yet He always won. We KNOW what to do about you, seems always a last resort of mafias, ecclesiastical or other.
Those who preferred honour from one another to that from God (John -47) would certainly be deluging themselves with such honour, except for one thing: against Him, you just could not win! Not merely did He do good, but He used a supernatural power which in exasperation many tried to link to the devil (but what devil would be destroying his own kingdom, Christ countered!). And WHY was it in exasperation that they worked their frustrated way ? It was this: since they could neither show His self, work or words as weak or wilful, selfish nor aggressive, but these shone undimmable, they were in inestimable defeat. They not only failed, but the more they tried, they worse they fared. Loss meant a downturn in the spiritual market, and decreasing consumer confidence ... in THEM!
As for Him, it was worse still. Not only did He show who and what He was, but it was in shattering contrast to themselves, as they could sense, perceive, feel. He was shown to be kind and humble, powerful and wise, correct and true, noble and valorous, honest and authentic; and the more you tried to crack the exterior, the more the interior showed itself THROUGH that exterior! What a Christ... What did not seem to occur to many of them was simply this: then believe in Him. That scouted for their own reasons, they faced the dilemma: deal with Him or be assassins of their own positions and power, hopes and glory.
Who could fight against a life like that! But what a bit - why of course, murder! That would do it. Then make lies, to give protective cover, fund the guards, have them say they slept while others moved the body, the greatest act of clairvoyance ...
The sheer lameness of the cover up of the "escape" from death into life that was far greater, individually made manifest on this earth was intolerable. The failure which was to be turned to triumph through murder became the murder turned into failure by resurrection - and worst of all, PREDICTED resurrection, making them all look like dummies.
To counter His claims by showing His weakness, failed; to catch His mouth in casual utterance, failed; to trap His audacity by exposing ignorance or lack of forethought, failed; to murder, failed and the bumbling nonsense given out afterwards failed even to be rational. Any attempt to prove that He had failed to perform any of the hundreds of prophecies in their turn and order had every chance of success, as a potential weapon, but this too failed, since no such omission COULD be shown to occur, even by the hundreds of severe and sorely tried enemies whose prestige, power and self-respect might be in part restored in one thing.
This, this might be ... IF ONLY - if only there were one weakness in this parallel: the life and the predictions in comparison. Could not some divorce be achieved! Alas, in life as in death, in death as in resurrection, the only answer was a simple but solemn, No! The predicted (Matthew 24:1ff., 23:37ff., Luke 19:42ff.) destruction Jerusalem, after one generation had had time to life after the murder, this alas and alas, this brought the very disaster which was part of the reason for their murder of the Messiah in the first place (John 11:48ff.).
Thus, IF ONLY He had not prayed for His tormentors, the sinners while He "poured out His soul to death" (Isaiah 53:12), then this detail would have rebuked God's word, or shown the Messiah a fraud. It did neither, because with just that feeling of accuracy, as when the Space Shuttle lands, but far more so, He moved on in His exploration of man, acting with all the supremacy of God, while being subjected to all the vulgarity of man. He DID so pray. He kept on praying that His Father would forgive them, and even worse from the perspective of the assassins, He added this, "for they do not know what they are doing!"
That was all; that was that.
In general the case is clearly outlined. Showing a flaw in God's word is something the world never does, though tormented to it, like a man by lust in the presence of an obsessively desired woman.
Past and beyond all this, one must note that the brilliant brevity of the detailed scenario had meaning, and it was fulfilled in all points. Not MERELY detail as a test, NOT ONLY sequence as a test, but MEANING in the program, even the plan of salvation, could omit nothing. It was not a Punch and Judy show, but a show of the punch and the Judas quality of much of the earth.
What failed did so for one reason: it did not have what it took to succeed, even with entrenched authority, both political and military, both bloody and with alleged links to the supernatural God, behind it. THIS ONE MAN made it all fail, because, very simply, in ALL things He admirably succeeded. That, after all, is ONE thing God always does (cf. Isaiah 43:13 and history...).
5) However, God had still more to do. It was not merely that He had to raise this mutilated remnant of the Christ's body. You have to die before you can be resurrected.
In this case, with that characteristic directness which His power enables and His heart here asserts, God specified details of HOW the Messiah would have to die; and indeed WHEN, the date for this solitary massacre (the latter as shown in SMR pp. 886ff., More Marvels ... Ch. 4).
Any detail of this, of the procedure specified in prophecy, any datum in this field missing or contradicted, would provide a lethal shot for His enemies to demonstrate that He was spurious. And so He would have been, if He had failed in anything. No words wars would then be needed.
If you had ONE FACT, contrary to the prophecy - something God had not 'managed', then that would that. The Messiah would be a fraud. God however DOES manage. Indeed, it is very amusing as we see dis-faith in action, to note that
- no one then -
- no one now -
- no scholar, pedant, journalist or priest,
- could then or can now show just one such thing: where the word of God failed!
- whether written, or living as Christ the eternal word of God, incorporated in flesh.
- What then ? They are in this, whatever their race,
"the factless society"... The Bible romps home, stating BEFORE others, what others NEED TO KNOW, but blindly ignore, or wilfully deflect.
But "as for God , His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. For who is God, except the LORD?" (II Samuel 22:31).
That is just - the way that it is. This is how it happens; these are the data which consistently present themselves, in all things, and for our present purpose, and attest why it is so here!
Just incidentally, one might add here one other obvious implication. One of the chief, because necessary reasons why theologies of unbelief (from anti-Christians or from 'liberal' anti-Bible 'Christians') constantly change is the same old one you see in some chronic areas in science. It is because no one of them ever manages to do the job, to repudiate with reason. It is especially so in organic evolution as we have traced many times; it is so in theology in general.
Its climes and chimes, its moods, its modern and post-modern, its phases and phrases, some like Ritschl's now seeming ancient like dinosaur deaths, some so new that they have scarcely had the froth drunk off the top, its frilling, trilling but spiritually chilling follies, and folies, these dance to the tune of the piper, the liar, who like the Pied Piper, leads them like rats to their hole in the mountain. Receiving honour from one another helps them (but not to the truth - John 5:44-47). It takes the mind off the direction of motion, perhaps. We leave them there, then, and proceed to move from our Psalm and its implications, to the next one.
This is the one which is to show us, this time,
not the method of His death,
which as we saw in
nor the nature of the result of His death in life.
We have seen these. IN BOTH those phases, God delivered the statement in detail about the event.
We have now a further target. What however of the THREE days, the arithmetical aspect of this RANSOM BY GOD, from death, of this RESURRECTION of the MESSIAH, after His sin-bearing sacrifice ? What of the exact time ? of the time so often foretold by Christ, the 3 days. It is as in so much that He said and did, precisely taken from the Old Testament, for in its fulfilment He showed His identify and thus ground for faith. We turn now to Ch. 6 of SMR to look at this aspect.
In view of all this, it is clear the prophecy is from the identity kit of prophecy concerning the Messiah in the Old Testament. In fact, there is reference to Hosea 6:1-3 (cf. Chapter 9, Section 1C infra). This is the book which in 13:14 speaks of God redeeming His people from death, by becoming the plagues of death, and becoming likewise the destruction of the grave. In Chapter 6, then, we see an exhortation to return to the Lord, in tender tones. It speaks of being stricken and raised up on the third day. Isaiah 26:19 also speaks of the people being raised, but in these terms: my dead body, shall they arise. In full:
"Your dead shall live. My dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing you who dwell in the dust."
In Isaiah therefore, we find a resurrection (cf. Daniel 12:1 ff.), in which the resurrection of the children of God is tied to, incorporated in and effected through the resurrection of the speaker. In this passage, that is the one who refers to them as "My people", and being the One with omnipotent power over death, He is God.
God then (as in Psalm 49:7,15), who alone can redeem from death, and who will do so, will execute this phase of the mission by raising His own dead body, and this will imply the resurrection guarantee of His people.
Now on the third day, God will raise up His people, says Hosea, so that they may escape the corruption otherwise their lot. Thus in Psalm 16 we similarly find that the Messiah will have a body not to be corrupted (*7) (vv. 9-10). The implications of His resurrection are to carry over to His people, guaranteeing theirs, and the third day is absolutely crucial to the (necessarily) stringent constraints on the prophets. (They were to ensure their prophecies were genuinely of God, and hence worked, were fulfilled, if prediction was made: or die - effectively blasphemers - Deuteronomy 18:20-22.)
No other day is in view for this epochal resurrection, guaranteeing action whereby God will act to ensure the resurrection of His people: that is, in the body He has prepared for Himself (Psalm 40:1-6).
In the typical format of Leviticus, that is, the symbolic presentation of sacrificial and allied doctrine, there is further reference to the third day. Thus the passover is here given a date. The passover ? This refers to the 'lamb', led as to the slaughter, in its antitype. It is thus a preliminary expression for God's 'lamb' (of Isaiah 53), to be slaughtered for the sins of His people (Isaiah 53:3-6,10). What then is the date laid down, for this annual ceremony ? This is the fourteenth day of Nisan (March, April). This was the day commemorating in the Mosaic sacrificial system, that mighty act of God in delivering those who had the blood of a lamb on their doors, among the Jews, during the confrontation with Pharaoh in ancient Egypt.
This blood, it was said, would be the ground on which the angel of death would deliver the household so covered. Thus was instituted a perpetual feast, and they ate of the lamb whose blood was their 'protection', through its death giving them life. The "blood makes an atonement for the soul" (Leviticus 17:11).
Others (namely certain Egyptians) were slain; but where the blood was, there was God's life-permit for sinners.
Leviticus 23:4 notes the date for it, the symbol of the deliverance from death of the Jewish people. Leviticus 23:6 institutes a 'sabbath', a special day of rest, to follow - that is, on the fifteenth of that month. 23:11 institutes an operation for the following day, by the inclusive Jewish counting, the third day, paralleling Christ's third day, on which He declared He would rise from the dead: the destroyed 'temple' being raised, in the face of His priestly accusers and murderers (cf. John 2:18-23). It was an astonishing prediction for any but God to make. (See Deut. 16:2-10, Lev. 23:4-15.)
The third day was the waving of the sheaf of grain, indicative of the harvest, the springing up to life, following the passover and rest. A burnt offering of thanksgiving would accompany this. The sequence then is redemption, rest, life.
This is merely the typical or symbolic indication of what elsewhere is given.
Would the Messiah be raised ? Yes, but would He be raised on the third day, having made emphatically and repeatedly clear by His own speech on earth, that this was part of His mandate. Our Old Testament references give a basis for the prophecy; but the crucial point here is simply this: Christ Himself also made this prediction, and He did so in terms of existing constraints indeed.
Buttressed not only by the resurrection, the meeting, the eating, the walking, the talking, the chef work with the fish, the fishing directions, (John 21:1-14), the laboratory style availability of the body of Christ for 'testing purposes only' for Thomas - 'the man for the facts' (John 20:24-29) - they had also this act. It was so typical of the precision of God (who after all made precision as well as art and its abilities). It happened precisely on schedule as to day, as indeed did the death as an item in the sweep of history, as to date (see pp. 886-899 infra). It gave them yet more zest to them in following Him thereafter with a fearless assurance, knowing His entire and detailed dependability; which this vindicated. From such a base you might expect the intense rapture and power with impact, of the Christian faith, at once; and the FACT that this occurred is even further verification of its stated basis.
The right date for the Messiah, as we see there, was clearly predicted, and death in any other region of the first century, or any other century would have been as 'out of the question' as resurrection not on the third day. It would not have met the standards of checking which God has given to Thomases of other times - (John 14:11) 'believe... for the works' sake', if need be.
So here, the right day for the resurrection places a scientific premium on the rigour of the test.
That is, then, another element in the scope of prophecy, both from Christ and (less obviously but yet definitely) in the Old Testament. Christ, by declaring the matter so clearly, removed any question of difficulty. He said it loud and clear; and so had to do it. That, as we saw, is expected of the prophet of the Lord; how much more of 'that prophet', the Messiah, the great One (of Deuteronomy 18, the One to supersede Moses! and who would Himself become the sacrifice - Isaiah 53:10, Zechariah 3:8-10, 6:12-13).
Thus this genial feat is an added evidence of the superb and majestic ease with which the Messiah conquered death: He gave every opportunity for proving Him wrong, even as to the day; and to His enemies He gave advance notice of his D-day, His invasion: His invasion of life from the dead (cf. Psalm 2:1-7). Since they were obviously most motivated to prevent any such unmitigated 'disaster', this advance notice of plans was an amazing 'gift' to His oppressors. (Compare the Pharisees' concern: Matthew 27:62-63.) It also constituted an awe-inspiring exhibition of the unlimited power of God, used in conjunction with His word, and expressed to man on earth, concerning what He would do there.
The grace and ease of the victory (cf. Isaiah 25:8, Hosea 13:14), in this sense of meeting yet more stringent specifications, attests something. (We are not here referring to what it took to gain it, merely to the power involved: obviously it was agony.) It is the supreme power of the unique God, who alone rules.
To attest this power and majesty, amid compassion and appeal: this is one of God's major stated purposes in Isaiah 41:17-26 and on to 42:18, in 43:5-14, and in 48:3-14 moving on to 49:9. He indicates that He is so forecasting and has so forecasted and acted to fulfil, that He is leaving no predictive-performance competition around, so that His people, in their ruthless follies, might be warned the better, and helped the more to faith in Him, despite their unruly rebellions from what had been so obvious for so long, since Moses.
Such a level and standard of prediction points with power to the majesty of the Person who provides it. After all, not only did God do the work of exhibiting His power and His precision, His involvement and His knowledge through such mighty acts of historical function, actually performing at that majestic, sovereign level (as is His prerogative and power): He said in advance that He would do so, and then He did it exactly as He said, amid the milling, multitudinous, multi-faceted world of events. In fact, it is in the first and the last of these two references, just made, in Isaiah, that God proceeds to provide that focus for faith that is crucial, the Messiah (cf. Isaiah 41:28-42:6 and 49:1-6, and see Chapters 8 and 9, infra on prophecy).
A cardinal instance is the resurrection prediction concerning Him, and the detail of its timing. This is a matter of style, of that ease of champions who overcome with facility; and where nothing can prevent, it is the style of the champion of champions, the lord of lords, the king of kings, the conductor of history.
One exhibition, then, of this style of the matter is our mathematical contribution to the resurrection in the phase of prophecy concerning the Messiah; and for good measure we add it. After all, He did so; and we are examining the fulfilments in the area of fact.
This had to be done, met, fulfilled. As in similar cases (the Emmaus road case showing it well enough), the Old Testament setting, together with the specific emphasis of Jesus Christ on the point meant this: Any failure here to meet the prediction would have been all that it would have taken, to unseat the Christian faith. (It works with real rigour conversely; and so it did in prospect, on the way to Emmaus!)
Thus, instead, this datum, the third day, as a matter of fact, is vigorously, constantly stressed, as are so many of the things seen and heard, at the very core of the religion. This was done as it crusaded amid those who were there at the time, the scriptures, as we see, being in place: circulating, in large measure, in living memory of the events. This is the contemporary fact.
Next, we can go even further, and see the three day theme even earlier than this. This is taken from the volume noted below, slightly adapted for our present purpose. We move back in time, then, to Joshua.
DIG DEEPER, HIGHER SOAR,
DIVINE GLORY DELIGHTS THE MORE Ch. 3
Joshua, being commissioned (1:1-9), and told that in three days they would cross Jordan and enter (1:10ff.), had sent out spies into the land to be occupied. They were detected though not found; for the king of Jericho hearing of it, commissioned a search. Quickly the men hid in the lodging house, which was that of Rahab, the harlot. Her place was investigated, but she had hidden them in the roof, amid stalks of flax, which she had laid down. When asked by the searchers, she told them the men had come but had gone when the city gate was being shut. Go quickly and overtake them! she advised.
Rahab was assured that the Lord had given the land to the invading Israel, and said so to the spies of Israel, before she sent them safely on their way. The people are all fainthearted because of you, she declared, for we know what the Lord did to the kings you have already overcome, and how the Lord dried up the Red Sea waters for your escape. She asked them to SWEAR to her, following her kindness in their escape, that they would spare her family. If, was the reply, nothing is said of our coming here, then our lives for yours: this will be honoured.
As her house was on the wall, she let them down by a rope, advising them to get fast to the mountain, and to hide there for three days, until the searchers were back.
Once again, it was the now increasingly well-known three days, for it was three days that Joshua had announced from the Lord, that would pass before they would cross Jordan, so being miraculously led through the barrier to rest, into rest, in victory, through the work of the Lord. This period is emphasised in the text. Now, again, the spies hid for 3 days, to ensure the report leading to victory, got through.
Again, this as in Leviticus 23, where the Passover is followed by a rest day and then the wave-offering, on the third day. In this, along with sacrifice, a sheaf is waved before the Lord, showing that despite death, sacrificial death, life would still in force through the power of God, and that death would be redeemed by life, on the third day, the mourning turning into gladness.
Thus, this was already symbolised by Moses, as crucial to the covenant.
It was the same in Hosea 6, where just as the dead would be raised, the body of the Lord (Isaiah 26:19), so would there be salvation for Israel, the third day (Hosea 6).
It was this same third day which Christ foretold as a criterion of His own sovereignly made sacrifice.
It was the third day likewise that Hosea indicated that salvation would come to a stricken Israel, those who believed (as always), with the Lord's own headship over these as His body, the one so often depicted as being killed, so often being raised, and in Isaiah 26:19, being raised AS HIS OWN DEAD BODY, thus defining the situation for Hosea 6. With Himself the Head, with His body torn and stricken, they are to be raised IN ORDER THAT THEY MIGHT LIVE (Hosea 6:3). Thus is it done: He the substitute (Isaiah 53:1-10), they the redeemed; His the work of resurrection to defeat death, theirs as His body the rest of being raised, resurrected as redeemed in their season.
That is the 'WE' of Hosea 6:3, who despite the lamented and general condition of faithlessness in Israel, immediately following in Hosea 6:4-5, are to be delivered. It moves thus: it is HIMSELF as having the saints in their death as His dead body, and they, as that body to be raised. It is He the firstfruits, they to follow; but it is on the third day the thing is wrought, then the price declared paid for the redemption of the body (as in Romans 8), and it is He who pays. As to this, the body of believers whom He thereby redeemed, their time is to come when the day for the general resurrection is ripe: 8:23, as Isaiah had depicted it in 26:19. So did death receive its translation into life.
They would HANDLE and KILL Him, but after three days He would rise again, according to the scriptures. So accordingly, the spies also hid for three days, before being delivered from death and opening the door for Israel to enter the Promised land. Symbols co-ordinate with telling effect in the biblical depiction. What it is that they symbolise, or specify now this way and now that, in this detail and in that, in this meaning and in that, in this implication and in that, it is outshone by the things themselves which He did, will do and has accomplished: irruptive into His own earth for the benefit of His own creation, that all mankind might not die with the earth, this world when it goes (Matthew 24:35), yes and worse than die (Daniel 12:2).
Indeed, in I Corinthians 15, the point is taken to the extreme of felicity and pungency, of beauty and of clarity. Sown in a natural body, we are raised in a spiritual body, sown in mortality, we are raised in immortality,
"But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
"For since by man came death,
by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.
"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
But each one in his own order:
Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming."
From It Bubbles, It Howls, He Calls Ch. 8
Isaiah 26 for its part, has in its earlier verses, been rich in the terms of trust in and peace from the Lord, in blissful surrender and confidence, being one of the chief scriptural resources, like Isaiah 40, in the Old Testament in this connection. It deserves the closest reading.
Speaking of the departure from their misalliance with other 'lords' (Isaiah 26:13), and the distress following from such errors, nevertheless in contrition of heart and confidence of soul, those here figured are seen waiting diligently upon the Lord; and it is here that we find, that although their own works are not especially impressive, to say no more, "Your dead shall live, My dead body, they shall arise."
As already noted, this is a resurrection setting of the dead arising from the dust, as it proceeds to narrate. Hence we are being told by the speaker, in fact the LORD, that it is AS HIS DEAD BODY that HIS PEOPLE will arise, in the times of general resurrection. In Hosea 13:14 we find that despite the evils and errors of Israel, there is a great work to be performed for His people, those who believe in Him (as in Isaiah 28:9-16, ending on the Messiah's salvation, and 29:1-4, and 28:21), literally an "awesome work" and it focusses on the Messiah, as seen in Isaiah 2, 4, 7, 9, 11, 22, 28, 32, 40, 41-42, 49, 50-55, 61 and so on.
Isaiah 26:19 with Hosea 6, then, involves His resurrection as the criterion of accomplishment and the attestation of victory (as in Psalm 16, 40, Isaiah 52-53, and of course here in 26:19). ONLY IN HIM is this to occur. The work of defeating death in ransom, and effecting healing and deliverance for those who will put their trust in Him, the Messiah (cf. Isaiah 53:1,10) is accomplished on the third day. For the stricken, there is help; for torn there is triumph; for it is not for ever, but on the third day that they are to be raised up, THAT THEY MIGHT LIVE. Thus in His accomplishment is their security, and in Him, they are contained, for the last part of the divine plan.
In Hosea 13:14 emphasis is placed on God personally breaching death, effecting this deliverance by ransom (as in Matthew 20:28). He personally will be the ‘plagues’ of death (cf. Hebrews 2:24, Isaiah 53).
But in Hosea 6:4-5, we see, as so often elsewhere (for example in Isaiah 30), that the nation of Israel is so far off that it is disjoining itself altogether from the saving presence of the Lord; indeed, in Isaiah 65:13-15, 62:1-3, we find the Lord is going to call His servants by another name, and in the interstices of history before the restoration of Israel (as in Ezekiel 36ff., cf. SMR Appendix A), there is to be devastation. This indeed will continue in no small degree until they come to Him on the new basis (cf. Isaiah 32:14ff., 62:1-3, Deuteronomy 32, Romans 11:25ff.), which while not invalidating His promises, does supersede His former provision of access to grace, in that now the Messiah has come, and all hinges on Him (as in Isaiah 22:20ff., 53). The Gospel of Isaiah 50-55 becomes the kernel now, and nothing can displace it (Isaiah 59:21).
Thus, in line with these normative facts, we find in Hosea 6:4-5, the complete contrast of Israel the nation, with this blessed condition to which Hosea is referring in 6:1-3. The contrast is poised, pointed and stylised. Whereas on the one hand, the blessed who rise as Christ's dead body, that is, are included in its resurrection principles and powers by gratuitous gift, yet on the other, the nation's 'goodness' vanishes in dispirited vagueness, dispersing like a cloud of unbelief.
Paul puts this same 'containment' in Christ as risen, for those following Christ as risen, in terms of His being the first-fruits of the resurrection, and they those who follow (as is the case in the fulness of the season, agriculturally, to pursue the image). These follow in due time (I Cor. 15), and are kept in spiritual freshness. IN terms of imagery, to them is the former AND the latter rain (Hosea 6:3), while those who are not believing in Israel are in a most contrary position. Their goodness is like the morning cloud which passes away. They are like the rising mist, soon gone in the heat of the day! (Hosea 6:4-5).
Nor is Israel the only beneficiary, not are its sins the only sins: for this same Jesus, the Messiah, is given as a light to the Gentiles no less, for it is too SMALL a thing for Him to redeem the remnant from Israel, for He is for all peoples.
GOD, LIKE THE DAYS, IS THREE IN ONE:
DAYS ARE THREE FOR ONE PURPOSE,
HE IS ONE FOR ALL PURPOSES
IN SENDING, IN BEING SENT, IN COMMUNION (Isaiah 48:16),
INFINITELY INTIMATE, OF ONE NATURE, ONE BEING WHO COVERS ALL MAN NEEDS,
BEING AUTHOR OF ALL
Thus it is not only the case that there is NO LATE DATE idea about 3 days and rising and all that. It is over 3000 years old; it is precise, prophetic. It is confirmed by Christ, both the sacrifice, the reason for it, the results of it, the timing of the the three days in it, and the passionate insistence that WHATEVER the Law and the Prophets had said, MUST be fulfilled, yes even to the arithmetic.
Great was His emphasis on this, confirming and applying before the event, the age-old predictions in one point, and in many; while fulfilling them in everything in the realm of His suffering ministry, to the uttermost. This, as He indicated, suffices until He comes (cf. Matthew 25). In the meantime, the Gospel was to go through all the earth (DONE), to all nations and its nature was specified, though many not only forget what that is, changing in churches to other things (a sort of self-crucifixion of some parts of what was the Church, while the 'virgins' not sleeping depart from this, as in Matthew 25), as also predicted (cf. Matthew 24:24, II Peter 2, II Timothy 3, I Timothy and II Timothy 4).
In this, it is just a parallel to those predictions of events to SURROUND His coming, When He came to suffer as Saviour, predicted events surrounded Him; when He comes to judge and rule, predicted preliminaries exhibit it, like gathering storm clouds (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5). These are moving with that same irresistible force as did His own feet in carrying Him to the Cross, and to the waiting disciples, on the third day (cf. Luke 24:19-22).
Even the angel knew it, what was to be, saying to those who were to witness His resurrection:
"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.' "
For millenia, this was the theme; and then He came and did it.
The passover itself, that central symbolism in so literal an historical situation as a national prelude to escape from Egyptian slavery, contained the pith in the path to salvation, and its broader depiction in Leviticus 23 showed the first day of it, the slaying, the second, the rest and the third, the life in the first-fruits of the harvest, signifying death done, life achieved, as more directly expressed in Isaiah 26 and Hosea 6, with all their relatives among the prophecies.
A new third day vogue ? a new resurrection motif ? New ? only if you think of some 3400 years as yesterday, or what vastly preceded the time of Christ on this earth, some 1500 years, as novel. New ? even in thousand year terms, not very. New ? if this is new, then so is Gentile era, so is the Gospel, for they have long lived together, in theme and depiction, millenia ago, long before Christ died! itself dated in advance as if the divine exuberance for data and detail could know no limit; but love is like that. It likes to make things very sure, and where clarity is in view, very clear. On the other hand, there are those who are immune, and at the very first evocation of the lustre of love, except it be lust, they seem to faint and not to flow, like a stream dried up.
Added Reference from Thy Word is Wonderful Ch. 6, is provided for convenience below.
Indeed, The Answers Book, Edited by Dr John Batten cites the finding that the Hebrew term transliterated yom is used, with a number, 410 times outside Genesis 1, and each time means an ordinary day. The term in English may be adapted to many meanings, even three in one sentence; and such is the cognate quality often found in languages, that it may be used in various senses in Hebrew.
However, the writer who wishes to convey his mind will obviously, if at all competent with words, make it clear what he has in mind. If the context as first set down by an author does not convey it, then it must be made to do so by the manner in which it is left to rest. If one wishes to do something outside the ambit of all examples, one does well to ensure that the imagination is not left without support for its proclivities, and that the mind is filled with just grounds for comprehension of what one is telling.
Incompetence and confusion may produce anything, and frequently do in pseudo-scientific and proto-theological discourse. However, as in politics, the abuse of language by those whose meaning is perhaps in some cases even the last thing they want to make clear is not the point. If, by high contrast, the discourse here is as far removed from ambiguity as possible, then the confusion does not lie in the writer who doubts, but in the reader.
Of great interest in this connection is Hosea 6:3, which though it does not list a sequence of numbers in stated ordinal sequence concerning days, yet does mention one item, 'the third day' just as it notes three days. Naturally, 'third day' would be heavily inscribed in symbolic sacrificial mode in the minds of those who had for so many hundreds of years had the Passover and the third day waving of the sheaf, in testimony following death and the rest day, of the abundant and overpowering assertion of life. The harrying work of preparing sacrifices and following the ceremonial prescriptions year by year in this focal feast time would be as well known as Show Day here in Adelaide or in Melbourne.
It appears that some, seemingly inundated with ignorance of the issues involved, however, want to make this also something vague. It is in fact so precise that the point of dawn on the third day in Christ's tomb comes as He does. This coherent theme, so strong and consistent in both Testaments concerning this third day, at first in the sacrificial symbolism in very ordinary days, and then in the resurrection actuality, in very chronological and normal days, though with extraordinary significance, as in Genesis 1, is one of the first things in the faith: that Christ rose on the THIRD day.
He Himself emphasised it repeatedly, the angel in the tomb referred to it. Moreover, Christ not only made massive impact with it before His death (Matthew 17:2320:19, Mark 9:31, 10:34, Luke 18:33, 24:46 for example), but even the disciples on the road to Emmaus mentioned that this was the third day since His death, and thus they seemed somewhat concerned that nothing had happened ... being uninformed that He was just that very day rise; but this ignorance was soon remedied. Soon they found that they incognito fellow-traveller was in fact the risen Christ - when they began to eat with Him!
Of significant import is the fact that when Christ confronted the disciples with His resurrection demonstration to one and to all, including Thomas, bent on scientific method and amply rewarded by provision of the test, declared this, or rather exclaimed it: "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory: (24:26-27), and followed it up with a further arithmetical exhibit. IN Luke 24:46, He added:
"Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer
and to rise from the dead on the third day,
and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached
in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."
Let us see what is implied here.
1) It was written in the Old Testament (the only one then extant!) that Christ would suffer.
2) It was also there written that He would rise from the dead.
3) Likewise found is this: that He would do this on the third day.
4) This totality is integral to the proclamation
of the necessity of repentance and the provision for remission of sin.
5) It would begin in Jerusalem.
Thus it was so written that it was NECESSARY that He would rise on the third day, and this no less than the fact of the resurrection of the rising of what was buried, the body as in Psalm 16 and Isaiah 26:;19, was inherent in the Gospel. That is of course precisely what we have demonstrated in the above.
For a fuller treatment of this fascinating and coherent theme throughout the two Testaments of the Bible, see Going with God: the Christian Abiding the Lord Presiding Ch. 5.
This is mere cream on the cake, already delicious enough. God does not leave His contexts uncertain, and makes them clear to anyone willing to pursue them in their total contextual apparatus, all the scriptures. Definitive exhibits of this or that kind are there; if ignored about days in the resurrection or days in the crafting of creation alike, they do not change, nor does the message. God undertook to irrupt with the body of His saved, incorporated in His own arising, on the third day; and He created in six of these abundantly specified days in this item by item specific account which merges into history with its similar specificity, moving from the generation of the heavens to that of man, in his various families in an account of coherent historicity and semantic fixity in phrase and logical sequence of all these events, even emphasising the latter.
Import of other themes, genres and semantics is merely obtrusive, intrusive and illegal licence, to disrupt His law. Whatever the intention, the outcome is unconscionable in the deferential treatment of ANY literature. So to harass the word of God is like making a discourse on the derivation of hydrogen from sulphuric acid into a paper on politics.