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    July 15, 1893

    “The Resurrection of Christ” The Bible Echo 8, 13.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Taken as a simple matter of history, there is nothing better attested than the fact of the resurrection of CHRIST. It was well known to all the people who lived at that time, and was a matter of common report. When the apostles spoke to the Jews, they talked of the resurrection of Jesus as something that did not need to be proved, but as that of which everybody was well informed. When Paul stood before Festus and King Agrippa, and spoke of the resurrection of Christ, Festus tried to make light of the matter, but the apostle replied that he was not mad, but spoke forth the words of truth and soberness, and then added: “For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely; for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.” Acts 26:26.BEST July 15, 1893, par. 1

    The fact is that the Jews never disbelieved that Jesus had risen from the dead after the crucifixion. This is shown by their action after the resurrection. An angel had come down from heaven, and had rolled the stone away from the sepulchre. Before the dazzling light of his countenance, the guards had fallen to the earth as dead men. Then JESUS came forth, and met his disciples, who went to tell the rest of the brethren. “Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and showed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money to the soldiers, saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole Him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.” Matthew 28:11-14.BEST July 15, 1893, par. 2

    Who that knew anything about Roman discipline would ever believe such a story as that? What Roman soldier would ever dare acknowledge that he had slept on guard, if it were really so? The story was absurd, on the face of it; for although in spite of the sure death that always follows detection, a single soldier sometimes sleeps on guard, it is not possible that an entire guard should fall asleep at the same time. But the story which the Roman guard was bribed to tell was its own best refutation. For the very fact that they were not put to death, although they told that they had slept while on guard, and had allowed their charge to be stolen from them, is evidence that nobody really believed the story. The very means used to discredit the resurrection, established the truth of it.BEST July 15, 1893, par. 3

    IMPORTANCE OF THE RESURRECTION

    To bear witness of the resurrection of Christ was the one work of the apostles and their co-workers. This appears more fully than anywhere else in the account of Paul’s case, which Festus gave to Agrippa. After telling about the desire of the Jews to have judgment against Paul, and of his own demand that they appear against him in a regular manner, he said that when the accusers came, “They brought none accusation of such things as I supposed; but had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one JESUS, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.” Acts 25:18, 19. That was the sum of the whole matter. The Jews said that Jesus was dead, and Paul affirmed that He was alive. To the mind of the heathen ruler it seemed a most foolish, trifling controversy. What difference did it make to him or to anybody else, whether Jesus were alive or dead?BEST July 15, 1893, par. 4

    Ah, the heathen ruler did not know that that simple question was the greatest thing in the world; that on it hung everything, even the destiny of the whole world. For as the apostles and disciples preached, they did not speak of the resurrection of JESUS as a mere fact of history, but they dwelt upon the results of that event. That which angered the rulers of the Jews was that they “preached through JESUS the resurrection from the dead.” Acts 4:2. Without the resurrection of JESUS there could be no life for man. The Apostle Paul puts the matter thus: “Now if CHRIST be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? Now if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is CHRIST not risen; and if CHRIST be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of GOD; because we have testified of GOD that He raised up CHRIST; whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not CHRIST raised; and if CHRIST be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in CHRIST are perished. If in this life only we have hope in CHRIST, we are of all men most miserable. But now is CHRIST risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.” 1 Corinthians 15:12-20. All our hope comes from the resurrection of JESUS CHRIST. So the Apostle Peter blesses GOD that He has “begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of JESUS CHRIST from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3.BEST July 15, 1893, par. 5

    Notice that in the discourse of Paul concerning the resurrection he says not only that if CHRIST be not risen those who have fallen asleep in Him are perished, but that “ye are yet in your sins.” The resurrection of JESUS assures the resurrection of men from the dead, only because it brings the forgiveness of sins. The hope of the resurrection is simply the hope that comes from righteousness received through faith in CHRIST, “who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” Romans 4:25. The Apostle Peter connects the “lively hope” to which GOD has begotten us by the resurrection of JESUS CHRIST from the dead, with the fact that we are “kept by the power of GOD through faith unto salvation.”BEST July 15, 1893, par. 6

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