3/19/15

From Jim McGuiggan... Penal substitution (1)

Penal substitution (1)

What follows are reflections on the theory of penal substitutionary atonement. It also engages with proposals made in the book Where Wrath & Mercy Meet (edited by David Peterson and published by Paternoster Press, Cumbria, UK, 2002 reprint).
A limited but working definition of punishment
The English word “penal” comes to us from the Latin word for pain and now carries the idea of “relating to punishment and its infliction.” The English word “punish” comes (eventually) from the same root. Whatever is penal has to do with punishment. But of course the two words now embrace more than the inflicting of pain though they haven’t lost that connection. What would a full and correct definition of punishment look like? Setting aside the legitimate uses of the word that could include abuse and injustice here is one that works well. It summarizes the proposal of Antony Flew. Punishment must embrace these elements in combination.
1. It must be an evil, that is, an unpleasantness (rather than a reward or a pleasure bestowed).
2. It must be related to an offence, the breaking of some rule (rather than a boxer giving another boxer “a thrashing” in competition).
3. It must be the (alleged) offender that is punished (this is the first definition of the Concise OED, “cause (an offender) to suffer for an offence”).
4. It must be inflicted by a personal agency or personal agencies. (Coincidences or accidents cannot be said to be punishment although if the degree of coincidence is extreme we might be tempted to believe that it was inflicted by some unseen personal agency. A child struck by lightning will suffer but that isn’t punishment. There must be intention.)
5. It must be inflicted by a recognized authority (rather than, say, by someone who “takes the law into his own hands”).
The last two points in particular beg to be developed but it looks to me that when we use the word “punishment” in a discussion about a system of punishment that this is the sort of thing we say when we’re using it correctly. As soon as we reject one of these elements something essential to the heart of punishment is lost. Since penal means, “of or concerning punishment or its infliction” when we use the word we must take into account the meaning of punishment as outlined above.
Punishment and suffering distinguished
It’s worth our while to say a little more about the difference between suffering and punishment because I notice in a number of recent publications that the two are used interchangeably. It is one thing to knowingly subject a person to grief or pain and it is another to punish them. A surgeon sometimes subjects a patient to considerable pain and we admire him for it because his intention is honorable and wise. A rapist or mugger knowingly subjects his victim to extreme suffering but it isn’t “punishment” as we’ve outlined above. An honorable judge knowingly subjects innocent little children to suffering when he sends their parents to jail for serious crimes. We say he is punishing the parents and not the children precisely because the parents are guilty and the children are guiltless. It is tragic that the children are subjected to suffering, which results (in part) because they are closely related to the transgressors, and the judge would feel their pain. But it wouldn’t enter our minds to say he was punishing the children. We find it difficult enough to watch the vulnerable and innocents suffer but to be assured that they are knowingly being punished is intolerable. Even though we recognize ourselves as sinners we still judge such a procedure to be immoral and outrageous.
The anger of God and punishment
There are those who are opposed to punishment in any form for any reason. I am not one of them. There are those who seem to think if God can be angry that that’s some form of weakness and so the wrath of God is either forthrightly denied or, for them, it becomes some form of human self-punishment. That is, God “allows us to hurt ourselves” and that, they tell us, is his “wrath”. I would have thought that a God who couldn’t be angry under any circumstances would have a weakness. Be that as it may, the scriptures look awfully plain to me and they teach God can get angry, has been angry and does even now express himself in retributive justice when he sees the need. Some of us have good reason to think of the word “angry” with connotations of vindictiveness or foaming at the mouth or unbridled passion but that isn’t in the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In any case, if sinning carried punishment in itself as part of the structure of things then sin would be doing us a favor. We’d have the anomaly of sin working against itself and in favor of God by subjecting us to pain, which would tend to keep us from sinning. If we took the view that God structured reality so that sin was self-punishing then we would still have God directly involved in punishing us, which is what many people are anxious to deny. I would take the view that God sees sin as worthy of punishment and that he proceeds to punish it as and when he sees fit. I would also take it that his response isn’t the response of a slot-machine, a mindless and impersonal doling out of so much punishment for so much sin. Sin has no true meaning if there is no personal God and punishment has no meaning if there is no personal agent inflicting punishment.
Protesting penal substitution
My guess is that the penal substitution theory of atonement is still the most popular view in evangelical circles. I believe that it retains its popularity in part because it takes sin seriously, cherished hymns and credal statements keep it before us, and so forth. But I confess that I think the rank and file among us don’t think much about it and that if we did we’d look for a better (part) explanation for how atonement works in the Bible in general and through Christ in particular.
Perhaps it’s true that the protest against the theory has been stepped up in recent years with the rise of the “radical feminist movement” and the public outcry against child abuse. But the idea that the view has stood unopposed since the Reformation is foolishness; besides, even those connected to a “radical feminist movement” may be speaking truths that some of us don’t want to hear. Wasn’t that the case when even devoutly Christian people were slave-owners and promoted the slave trade? Some people stood up and asked us to take another look at the Bible.
Maybe rather than blaming radical feminists or “politically correct” people or furious protestors against child abuse for the protest against penal substitution we ought to recognize that the very words generate protest. We’re not speaking here about the innocent suffering! We’re talking about the innocent being punished!
Speaking for myself (though I know I’ve been shaped by many people before me and around me), I’m opposed to the penal substitution theory for numerous reasons. Some of them I think are exegetical and some are theological. I presently think that my theological reasons are based on exegesis and the grand drift of the biblical witness.
A working definition of penal substitution
So what does the penal substitution theory of Christ’s atonement mean? It isn’t easy to tell judging by how different people frame it. James Packer defines it without the use of the words “punishment” or “substitution”. I don’t accept the theory and yet I could fully agree with what Packer said. “Jesus Christ our Lord, moved by a love that was determined to do everything that was necessary to save us, endured and exhausted the destructive divine judgement for which we were otherwise inescapably destined, and so won us forgiveness, adoption and glory.” (As quoted in WWMM, page 102.)
That says nothing about God punishing Jesus. Nor does it exclude Jesus sharing with us the judgement of God against sin. It says nothing about the transferring of guilt or sin or punishment. If what Packer said were all that penal substitution means it wouldn’t be objectionable but neither would it be recognizable as penal substitution. Peterson concedes that Packer has reworked penal substitution to avoid the pitfalls of former formulations of the doctrine. But in light of the above definition he has also avoided penal substitution.
Gary Williams reveals his definition of substitutionary punishment (page 75). “The sharing of punishment is not the same as substitution, since in substitution one goes free from the punishment and another suffers it for him.” That seems plain enough and he seems to come by it honestly in light of the words themselves. It’s the kind of honest-to-goodness definition a regular church-goer would give if he or she had interest in or knowledge about the theory. We humans have sinned against God, our sin demands punishment by God, Jesus Christ stands as our substitute, God punishes him and we go free from the punishment because God punished Christ.
In commenting on 1 Peter 2:24 and Isaiah 52 & 53 (81) Williams tell us that they teach, “Christ bore the sins for his people in their place, and that in so doing he wrought atonement for them as the punishment was poured out upon him by the hand of God himself.” The word “as” in the quotation functions causally. Christ worked atonement because Christ bore the punishment for their sins; punishment that God personally inflicted on Christ.
The personal infliction by God is important to Williams and his colleagues and he wants us to understand that it doesn’t matter who or what God uses as an instrument to punish Christ it is God who punishes him and not the instrument. That is, Gentiles may have spiked him to the cross for their own malicious reasons and Jews may connived in it for their wicked reasons but God alone is the one who punishes him.
The notion of transference (the religious word is imputation) entered the whole scheme honestly. God declares it to be wrong to punish the innocent for someone else’s sin (Deuteronomy 24:16). It is unjust to knowingly punish a known innocent so down the years many writers taught that man’s sins were imputed or transferred to Jesus Christ! They thought this made it easier to deal with God punishing Christ to whom our sins are transferred (in that respect—compare the use of 2 Corinthians 5:21) and God justly punishes him as he would a sinner. This transference notion is bolstered by the use of the scapegoat ritual on Yom Kippur (see Leviticus 16).
Williams feels the tension of this issue. It simply isn’t just to punish the innocent. He tells us that Ezekiel 18 is written to deny that Ezekiel’s peers were innocent (pages 75-76). “The people protest that they are innocent and so should not be suffering for their fathers’ sins, but the Lord answers with an assertion of their guilt. Were they innocent, the Lord argues, they would not suffer...The concern here is to deny that these people could be innocent and yet suffering for the guilty (which would be an injustice on the part of God), not to deny that the guilty can suffer for the guilty.” (The italics is mine. And note how Williams has avoided the word “punished” and substituted the neutral word “suffer”.)
Williams says that the Lord argues that if they were innocent they wouldn’t suffer. He has forgotten what he is supposed to be proving. Then he matter-of-factly says it would be unjust of God if he punished them if they were innocent. I would have thought that that would put an end to his penal substitution speech but no. Williams assures us (page 79) that “Isaiah 53:10 plainly states that the crushing of the Servant was the ‘will of the Lord,’ even though it was also a ‘perversion of justice’ (v.8).”
He goes on to confess that this is hard to unravel unless we conclude that two wills are operating, that of wicked men and that of the Holy Father. But again he slips into the neutral word “suffering” and avoids the crucial word “punishment”. The one who is punishing the innocent Christ he assures us is the Holy Father, personally. But when God punishes guilty Israel through wicked Assyria (see Isaiah 10:5-7) God alone is the punisher though wicked Assyria is his big stick. It doesn’t matter what Assyria’s agenda is (though the text tells us it is self-aggrandizement) God himself is punishing Israel for her sins. There is no difficulty in that. God is forever using man’s unrighteousness to further his righteous ends.
Williams’ difficulty lies in this: he has the Holy Father punishing an innocent man. It’s clear that Christ’s enemies were guilty of injustice because they were punishing an innocent man (53:8 and the New Testament record). Williams assures us that God was doing the very same thing—punishing an innocent man.
I don’t think we need to invent reasons why people protest penal substitution. I would have thought that any reasonable Bible student would assert that it’s immoral because it is unjust, to punish the innocent.
We simply can’t make moral sense when we put punishment and innocence together.
©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.
Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com.

Reasoning About the Resurrection of Christ by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=10&article=3689

Reasoning About the Resurrection of Christ

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The resurrection of Christ is central to the faith of every Christian. Without a firm belief that “God has raised Him from the dead” (Romans 10:9), salvation from sin is impossible. Paul wrote: “If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). Without the good news of Jesus’ defeat of death, the Gospel is void of its power to save mankind (cf. Romans 1:16). If Christ was not “raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,” there would be no “newness of life” (Romans 6:4). Rather, every accountable person would lie “dead in trespasses” (Ephesians 2:1,5) without hope of becoming “a new creation” in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Truly, the resurrection of Christ provides the substance for the Christian’s hope and the solid foundation on which to build his faith.
Is it any surprise, then, that first-century evangelists put so much emphasis on Jesus’ resurrection? Peter specifically mentioned how the apostle chosen to take the place of Judas was to become a witness of Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 1:22). A short while later, Peter preached to thousands of Jews in Jerusalem a sermon that hinged on the empty tomb of Christ (Acts 2:24,31-32). He then spoke in the temple about the Lord’s resurrection (Acts 3:15,26), and afterward witnessed to this fact before the highest court of the Jews (4:10; 5:29-32). The apostle similarly witnessed to the Gentiles, beginning with Cornelius and his household (Acts 10:30). Paul repeatedly spoke of the resurrection of Christ in Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 13:30,33,34,37), reasoned from the Scriptures about it in Thessalonica (Acts 17:3), and then gave testimony of this fact before both Festus and Agrippa (Acts 26:22-25).
First-century Christians frequently discussed the resurrection of Christ and were prepared to defend it using logical arguments comprised of sufficient evidence (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:3-8; Acts 1:3; 26:22-23). Christ’s resurrection was fundamental to their faith and prominent in their preaching. It should be no less today. Hundreds of millions of people on Earth disbelieve in Jesus’ death-defying power. Skeptics scoff at the idea of Jesus coming back to life. Infidels in classrooms and media outlets throughout the world adamantly argue against it, alleging that “the bodily resurrection of Jesus did not happen on good biblical grounds,” and it certainly “did not happen on good historical grounds” (Barker, 1996).
In the past, we have discussed various irrefutable proofs for the resurrection of Christ (see Butt, 2002). In this issue of Reason & Revelation, we respond to four questions that skeptics are fond of asking as they attempt to discredit the Bible’s portrayal of this earth-shaking event (Matthew 28:2).

WHAT’S SO IMPORTANT ABOUT JESUS’ RESURRECTION?

Most anyone who has spent much time reading the Scriptures knows that the Bible writers mentioned several individuals who rose from the dead. After the widow’s son of Zarephath died, Elijah prayed to God, “and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived” (1 Kings 17:22). A few years later, the prophet Elisha raised the dead son of a Shunammite (2 Kings 4:32-35). Then, after Elisha’s death, a dead man, in the process of being buried in the tomb of Elisha, was restored to life after touching Elisha’s bones (2 Kings 13:20-21). While on Earth Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead (Mark 5:21-24,35-43), as well as the widow of Nain’s son (Luke 7:11-16), and Lazarus—who had been buried for four days (John 11:1-45). Matthew recorded how after Jesus’ death and resurrection “the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many” (27:52-53, emp. added). Then later, during the early years of the church, Peter raised Tabitha from the dead (Acts 9:36-43), while Paul raised the young man Eutychus, who had died after falling from a third-story window (Acts 20:7-12).
All of these people died and later rose to live again. Although some of the individuals arose very shortly after death, Lazarus and (most likely) the saints who were raised after the resurrection of Jesus were entombed longer than was Jesus. In view of all of these resurrections, some have asked, “What is so important about Jesus’ resurrection?” If others in the past have died to live again, what makes His resurrection so special? The former editor of Biblical Errancy, Dennis McKinsey, once mockingly asked:
Why would it [Jesus’ resurrection—EL] be of any consequence since...many others rose before Jesus? By the time he rose this was a rather common occurrence. I would think it would have been met by a resounding yawn rather than surprise followed by: So what else can you do? Adam’s act of coming into the world as a full grown adult is more spectacular (n.d.).
Given the fact that Jesus is not the only person ever to come back to life, what is it that makes His resurrection unique? Why is the resurrection of Jesus more significant than any other?
First, the resurrection of Jesus is more significant than any other resurrection simply because the inspired apostles and prophets said that it was. Critics may sneer at this response, but it is a valid point. Jesus did certain things that others did, including being raised from the dead, but His actions were more significant because of the statements attached to them. Consider the miracles Jesus performed in order to set Himself apart as the Son of God and promised Messiah. Many people throughout the Bible worked miracles in order to confirm their divine message (cf. Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:1-4), but only Jesus did them as proof of His divine nature. Once, during the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, a group of Jews surrounded Jesus and asked, “How long do you keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly” (John 10:24)? Jesus responded to them saying, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.... I and My Father are one” (John 10:25,30). These Jews understood that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God in the flesh (cf. 10:33,36), and Jesus wanted them to understand that this truth could be confirmed by the miracles that He worked.
The miracles testified to His deity (John 20:30-31). Why? Because He said they did (10:25,35-38; cf. John 5:36). The miracles that Jesus performed bore witness to the fact that He was from the Father (John 5:36), because He said He was from the Father. A miracle in and of itself did not mean the person who worked it was deity. Moses, Elijah, Elisha, Peter, Paul, and a host of others worked miracles, with some even raising people from the dead. But none did so for the purpose of proving they were God in the flesh. The apostles and prophets of the New Testament worked miracles to confirm their message that Jesus was the Son of God, not to prove that they were God (cf. Acts 14:8-18). Jesus, on the other hand, performed miracles to bear witness that He was the Son of God, just as He claimed to be (cf. John 9:35-38).
Similarly, one fundamental reason that Jesus’ miraculous resurrection is more important to a Christian than the resurrections of Lazarus, Tabitha, Eutychus, or anyone else who was raised from the dead, is simply because the Bible writers explained that it was more important. There is no record of anyone alleging that Lazarus was God’s Son based on his resurrection, nor did the early church claim divinity for Eutychus or Tabitha because they died and came back to life. None of the aforementioned individuals who was resurrected ever claimed that the resurrection was proof of deity, nor did any inspired prophet or apostle. On the other hand, Jesus was “declared to be the Son of God with power...by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). His resurrection was different because of Who He was—the Son of God. Thus, just as the miracles He worked during His earthly ministry testified of His divine message, and hence His divine nature, so did His resurrection.
A second reason why Jesus’ resurrection stands out above all others is because it alone was specifically foretold in the Old Testament. In his sermon on the day of Pentecost, Peter affirmed that God had raised Jesus from the dead because it was not possible for the grave to hold Him. As proof, he quoted Psalm 16:8‑11 in the following words:
I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence (Acts 2:25-28).
Peter then explained this quote from the book of Psalms by saying:
Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses (Acts 2:29-32).
The apostle Paul also believed that the psalmist bore witness to Christ, and spoke of His resurrection. In his address at Antioch of Pisidia, he said:
And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: “You are My Son, today I have begotten You.” And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: “I will give you the sure mercies of David.” Therefore He also says in another Psalm: “You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; but He whom God raised up saw no corruption. Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses (Acts 13:32‑39).
Where is the prophecy for the resurrection of Jairus’ daughter? When did the prophets ever foretell of Eutychus or Tabitha’s resurrection? They did not. No resurrected person other than Jesus had his or her resurrection foretold by an Old Testament prophet, nor did any inspired apostle or prophet in the first century apply Old Testament prophecies to them. This certainly makes Jesus’ resurrection unique.
Third, Jesus’ resurrection is more significant than any other because He prophesied numerous times that He would rise from the dead, even foretelling the exact day on which it would occur. Jesus told some scribes and Pharisees on one occasion, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40, emp. added). Matthew, Mark, and Luke all recorded how Jesus “began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day (Matthew 16:21, emp. added; cf. Mark 8:31-32; Luke 9:22). While Jesus and His disciples were in Galilee, Jesus reminded them, saying, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up” (Matthew 17:22-23, emp. added).
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Christians do not serve a lifeless lord, but a Risen Redeemer Whose tomb was found empty nearly 2,000 years ago.
Just before His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus again reminded His disciples, saying, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again” (Matthew 20:18-19, emp. added). Jesus’ prophecies concerning His resurrection and the specific day on which it would occur were so widely known that, after Jesus’ death, His enemies requested that Pilate place a guard at the tomb, saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day...” (Matthew 27:63-64, emp. added). They knew exactly what Jesus had said He would do, and they did everything in their power to stop it.
Where are the prophecies from the widow’s son of Zarephath? Did he prophesy of his resurrection prior to his death? Or what about the son of the Shunammite woman that Elisha raised from the dead? Where are his personal prophecies? Truly, no one who rose from the dead except Jesus prophesied about his or her own resurrection. And certainly no one ever prophesied about the exact day on which he or she would rise from the dead, save Jesus. This prior knowledge and prophecy makes His resurrection a significant event. He overcame death, just as He predicted. He did exactlywhat he said He was going to do, on the exact day He said He would do it.
Fourth, the uniqueness of Jesus’ resurrection is seen in the fact that He is the only resurrected person ever to have lived and died without having committed one sin during His lifetime. He was “pure” and “righteous” (1 John 3:3; 2:1), “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth” (1 Peter 2:22). He was “a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19), “Who knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21). No one else who has risen from the dead ever lived a perfect life, and then died prior to his or her resurrection for the purpose of taking away the sins of the world (cf. John 1:29). Because Jesus lived a sinless life, died, and then overcame death in His resurrection, He alone has the honor of being called “the Lamb of God” and the “great High Priest” (Hebrews 4:14). “Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many,” and because of His resurrection, “those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Hebrews 9:28).
Finally, and perhaps most important, the significance of Jesus’ resurrection is seen in the fact that He was the first to rise from the dead never to die again. Since no one who has risen from the dead is still living on Earth, and since there is no evidence in the Bible that God ever took someone who had risen from the dead into heaven without his dying again, it is reasonable to conclude that all who ever rose from the dead, died in later years. Jesus, however, never died again. He rose from the grave to live forevermore. All others who previously were raised from the dead, died again, and are among those who “sleep” and continue to wait for the bodily resurrection. Only Jesus truly has conquered death. Only His bodily resurrection was followed by eternal life, rather than another physical death.
Skeptics have argued that “it’s the Resurrection, per se, that matters, not the fact that Jesus never died again” (see McKinsey, 1983, p. 1, emp. added). However, the inspired apostles said otherwise. Paul actually linked the two together while preaching in Antioch of Pisidia, saying, God “raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption.... He whom God raised saw no corruption” (Acts 13:34,37, emp. added). Paul also impressed upon the minds of the Christians in Rome how Jesus, “having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him” (Romans 6:9, emp. added). [Is it any wonder Paul testified before Agrippa and Festus how Jesus was “the first to rise from the dead” (Acts 26:23)? “[H]e was the first who rose again from the dead to return no more into the empire of death” (Clarke, 1996).] Jesus said of Himself: “I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore” (Revelation 1:17-18, emp. added). Furthermore, the writer of Hebrews argued for a better life through Jesus on the basis of His termination of death. One reason for the inadequacy of the old priesthood was because “they were prevented by death.” Jesus, however, because He rose never to die again, “continues forever” in “an unchangeable priesthood,” and lives to make intercession for His people (Hebrews 7:23-25). As so often is the case, skeptics comment on the Bible without really knowing what the Bible says. To say, that “it’s the Resurrection, per se, that matters, not the fact that Jesus never died again” (McKinsey, 1983, p. 1), is to deny (or ignore) what the apostles and prophets actually stated.
Whether or not Eutychus, Tabitha, Lazarus, etc., rose from the grave, our relationship with God is not affected. Without Jesus’ resurrection, however, there would be no “Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31). Without Jesus’ resurrection, no suitable High Priest would be able to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). Without Jesus’ resurrection, we would have no assurance of His coming and subsequent judgment (Acts 17:31). Without Jesus’ resurrection, “we are of all men the most pitiable” (1 Corinthians 15:19).
Jesus’ resurrection is significant—more so than any other resurrection. Only Jesus’ resurrection was verbalized by inspired men as proof of His deity. Only Jesus’ resurrection was prophesied in the Old Testament. Only Jesus foretold of the precise day on which He would rise from the grave—and then fulfilled that prediction. Only Jesus’ resurrection was preceded by a perfect life—a life lived, given up, and restored in the resurrection for the purpose of becoming man’s Prince, Savior, and Mediator. And, only Jesus rose never to die again.

WHY IS CHRIST CALLED THE “FIRST FRUITS”?

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul wrote at length concerning the resurrection of the dead because some of the Christians in Corinth taught “that there is no resurrection of the dead” (vs. 12). As one of his proofs for the Christian’s eventual resurrection, Paul pointed to the fact that Christ rose, and showed that the general resurrection stands or falls with Christ’s resurretion, saying, “if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile” (vss. 16-17)! After hypothetically arguing from the absurd in an attempt to help the Corinthian Christians to see that their stance on the final resurrection completely undermined Christianity, Paul proceeded to demonstrate that Christ hadrisen, making the resurrection of the dead inevitable. It is in this section of Scripture that some find a difficulty. Beginning with verse 20, Paul wrote:
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 (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, emp. added).
In view of the fact that Jesus was not the first person ever to rise from the dead (as previously discussed), some have questioned why Paul twice described Jesus as “the firstfruits” from the dead. Did Paul err? Was he ignorant of all of the previous resurrections? In what sense did Paul speak of Christ as “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep”?
One could respond reasonably to these questions by pointing out the aforementioned fact that Jesus was the first to rise from the dead—never to die again. In this sense, Christ is “the firstborn from the dead” (Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5). Another (and perhaps better) explanation to the question surrounding 1 Corinthians 15:20,23 and Paul’s use of the word “firstfruits” (Greek aparche) is to recognize the metaphor Paul employed. Under the old law, the firstfruits were the earliest gathered grains, fruits, and vegetables that the people dedicated to God in recognition of His faithfulness for providing the necessities of life. The Israelites were to offer to God a sheaf of the first grain that was harvested on the day after the Sabbath following the Passover feast (Leviticus 23:9-14). Paul used the term “firstfruits” in this letter to the Corinthian church to reinforce the certainty of the resurrection. Just as the term “firstfruits” indicates that “the first sheaf of the forthcoming grain harvest will be followed by the rest of the sheaves, Christ, the firstfruits raised from the dead, is the guarantee for all those who belong to him that they also will share in his resurrection” (Kistemaker, 1993, p. 548). Jesus is God’s “firstfruits” of the resurrection. And, like the Israelites, God will gather the rest of the harvest at the final resurrection. Paul seemingly wanted the Corinthians to understand (by way of metaphor) that Christ’s resurrection is a pledge of our resurrection. It is inevitable—a full harvest guaranteed by God Himself.

ON WHAT DAY DID JESUS RISE FROM THE DEAD?

The most frequent reference to Jesus’ resurrection reveals that He rose from the grave on the third day of His entombment. Matthew and Luke both record Jesus as prophesying that He would rise from the grave on this day (Matthew 17:23; Luke 9:22). The apostle Paul wrote in his first epistle to the Corinthians that Jesus arose from the grave “the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:4, emp. added). And while preaching to Cornelius and his household, Peter taught that God raised Jesus up “on the third day” (Acts 10:40, emp. added). Skeptics are quick to contend, however, that these scriptures contradict various other passages. For example, Jesus predicted that He would “be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31, emp. added). On another occasion, Jesus told His apostles how His enemies would “mock Him and spit upon Him, and scourge Him, and kill Him, and three days later He will rise again” (Mark 10:34, emp. added, NASB). In addition, He informed the Pharisees that He would be in the heart of the Earth for as long as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish—for “three days and three nights” (Matthew 12:40). How can a person be expected to believe that Jesus rose from the grave if Jesus and the Bible writers could not even decide whether He rose from the grave on the third day or the fourth day?
In an attempt to solve this difficulty, some seemingly well-meaning individuals have espoused the idea that Jesus must have been crucified on Wednesday or Thursday, rather than on Friday (eg., Scroggie, 1948, pp. 569-577; Rusk, 1974, pp. 4-6). Because Jesus could not possibly have been in the grave for three nights if He died on Friday and rose on Sunday, some believe He must have died a day or two earlier. However, this is highly improbable. First, Mark 15:42 states that the evening of Christ’s crucifixion “was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath,” and “[b]oth the Scriptures (Matt 27:62; Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54; John 19:14,31,42) and Josephus indicate the day of preparation is the day before the weekly Sabbaths, namely, Friday” (Hoehner, 1974, 131:245; cf. Josephus, 16:6:2). Second, if Jesus died on Wednesday and rose on Sunday then He must have risen from the grave on the fourth day rather than “the third day.” What’s more, all attempts to place Jesus’ crucifixion and burial on Wednesday or Thursday instead of Friday are based more on a misunderstanding of a Hebrew idiom concerning time than actual evidence.
While statements such as “on the third day,” “after three days,” and “three days and three nights” may appear contradictory at first glance, in reality they harmonize perfectly if one understands the more liberal methods ancients used to reckon time. In the first century, any part of a day could be computed for the whole day and the night following it (cf. Lightfoot, 1979, pp. 210-211). The Jerusalem Talmudquotes rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah, who lived around A.D. 100, as saying: “A day and night are an Onah [‘a portion of time’] and the portion of an Onah is as the whole of it” (Shabbath ix. 3, as quoted in Hoehner, 1974, 131:248-249, bracketed comment in orig.). Azariah indicated that a portion of a twenty-four hour period could be considered the same “as the whole of it.” Thus, in Jesus’ time one would have been correct in teaching that Jesus’ burial would last “three days and three nights,” even though it was not three complete 24-hour days.
Scripture is peppered with references which demonstrate that a part of a day was oftentimes equivalent to a whole day.
  • According to Genesis 7:12, the rain of the Noahic Flood was upon the Earth “forty days and forty nights.” Verse seventeen of that same chapter says it was on the Earth for just “forty days.” Obviously, “forty days” and “forty days and forty nights” refer to the same time period in this context.
  • During the reign of King Ahab, Israel and Syria “encamped opposite each other for seven days” (1 Kings 20:29, emp. added). Yet, “on the seventh day the battle was joined” and Israel killed 100,000 Syrian foot soldiers (20:29). Clearly, the two armies did not occupy their camps for a full seven days, but for six days and a part of the seventh. The remainder of day seven was spent in battle.
  • When Joseph’s brothers came to visit him for the first time since selling him into Egyptian bondage more than a decade earlier (Genesis 37:12-36), Joseph incarcerated them for “three days” (Genesis 42:17). The text then reveals that he spoke to them “the third day,” and 42:18-24 represents them as being released that day—i.e., the third day. If Joseph’s brothers (with the exception of Simeon, 42:24) were released on day three of their imprisonment, then the “three days” they spent in the prison (42:17) are not equivalent to three 24-hour periods, but rather parts of three days.
  • When the Israelites visited King Rehoboam and asked him to lighten their burdens (2 Chronicles 10:3-4), he wanted time to contemplate their request, so he instructed Jeroboam and the people of Israel to return “after three days” (10:5, emp. added). Verse twelve of that chapter indicates that Jeroboam and the people of Israel came to Rehoboam “on the third day,as the king had directed, saying, ‘Come back to me the third day’” (emp. added). Fascinating, is it not, that even though Rehoboam instructed his people to return “after three days,” they understood him to mean “on the third day” (cf. 1 Kings 12:5,12).
  • When Queen Esther was about to risk her life by going before King Ahasuerus uninvited, she instructed her fellow Jews to follow her example by not eating or drinking “for three days, night or day” (Esther 4:16, emp. added). Yet, the text then tells us that Esther went in to the king “on the third day” (5:1, emp. added).
By studying these and other passages, one can see clearly that the Bible uses expressions like “three days,” “the third day,” “on the third day,” “after three days,” and “three days and three nights” to signify the same period of time. Again, “[a]ccording to the Oriental mode of reckoning, three consecutiveparts of days were counted three days” (Jamieson, et. al., 1997, emp. added).
From Acts 10, we can glean further insight into the ancient practice of counting consecutive days (in part or in whole) as complete days. Luke recorded how an angel appeared to Cornelius at “about the ninth hour of the day” (approximately 3:00 p.m.; 10:3). “The next day” (10:9) Peter received a vision from God and welcomed visitors sent by Cornelius. “On the next day” (10:23) Peter and the servants of Cornelius departed for Caesarea. “And the following day they entered Caesarea” where Peter taught Cornelius and his household the Gospel (10:24). At one point during Peter’s visit, Cornelius spoke about his encounter with the angel of God. Notice carefully how he began the rehearsal of the event. He stated: “Four days ago to this hour, I was praying in my house during the ninth hour...” (10:30, NASB, emp. added). Although the event really had occurred only 72 hours (or three literal days) earlier, Cornelius spoke of it as taking place “four days ago to this hour.” Why four days instead of three? Because according to the first-century method of reckoning time, a part of the first day and a part of the fourth day were counted as whole days. Surely one can see how this information aligns itself perfectly with Jesus’ burial taking place on Friday and His resurrection occurring on Sunday. A part of Friday, all day Saturday, and a part of Sunday would be considered three days in ancient times, not one or two.
Even though in 21st-century America some may find this reasoning somewhat confusing, similar idiomatic expressions are used frequently today. For example, we consider a baseball game that ends after only completing 8½ innings a “9-inning game.” And even though the losing pitcher on the visiting team only pitched 8 innings (and not 9 innings like the winning pitcher from the home team), he is said to have pitched a complete game. Think about the college student who explains to his professor that he worked on a research project “day and night for four weeks.” He obviously does not mean that he worked for a solid 672 hours (24 hours x 7 days x 4 weeks) without sleeping. It may be that he worked from 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. for four weeks on the project, but not 672 sleepless hours. If he only slept five or six hours a night, and worked on the project nearly every hour he was awake, we would consider this person as one who truly did work “day and night for four weeks.” Finally, consider the guest at a hotel who checks in at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, and checks out at 3:30 p.m. Thursday—less than 24 hours later. Did the man stay one day or two days at the hotel? Technically, the guest was there for less than one full day (24-hour period), yet the hotel legally can charge him for two days since he did not leave before the mandatory 11:00 a.m. checkout time. Considering how flexible we are in measuring time, perhaps we should not be surprised at how liberal the ancients were in calculating time.
Further evidence proving that Jesus’ statements regarding His burial were not contradictory center around the fact that even His enemies did not accuse Him of contradicting Himself. No doubt this was due to their familiarity with and use of the flexible, customary method of stating time. In fact, the chief priests and Pharisees even said to Pilate the day after Jesus was crucified: “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day” (Matthew 27:63-64, emp. added). The phrase “after three days” must have been equivalent to “the third day,” else surely the Pharisees would have asked for a guard of soldiers until the fourth day. Interesting, is it not, that modern skeptics charge Jesus with contradicting Himself, but not the hypercritical Pharisees of His own day.
The idiomatic expressions that Jesus and the Bible writers employed to denote how long Jesus would remain in the grave does not mean that He literally was buried for 72 hours. If we interpret the account of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection in light of the cultural setting of the first century, and not according to the present-day (mis)understanding of skeptics, we find no errors in any of the expressions that Jesus and the gospel writers used.

DID JESUS HAVE THE SAME PHYSICAL BODY
AFTER HIS RESURRECTION AS BEFORE?

A gentleman once e-mailed our offices at Apologetics Press, questioning whether Jesus had the same body after His resurrection as He did before being raised from the grave. According to this man, Jesus “appeared to people He knew but nobody recognized Him.... It’s as though He had a different body”—and possibly one that was not physical.
At the outset, it is incorrect to assert that “nobody recognized Him,” because Matthew 28:9,17 clearly implies that at least some of Jesus’ disciples knew Who He was and worshiped Him. Moreover, that Jesus had essentially the same body after His resurrection that He had when He died on the cross is evident from at least three different passages. In Luke 24:39, Jesus stated: “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” Jesus expected His disciples to observe His physical body. Later in the same chapter, we read that Jesus ate a meal with His disciples (24:42-43; cf. Acts 10:41). And then in John 20:25-29, which is the most frequently cited passage in defense of Christ having a physical body, Jesus asked Thomas to touch His nail-scared hands and reach into His side that had been pierced with the Roman spear.
But what about those occasions when some of His disciples did not recognize Him? Do such verses as Luke 24:31,37 and John 20:10-16 represent a contradictory element in the resurrection story? First, just because the text says that the disciples thought they had seen a spirit when they actually saw Jesus (Luke 24:37), does not indicate that He looked different. Since they knew He had been killed, seeing His resurrected body caused them to think that He was in spirit form rather than physical. On one occasion, before Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, His disciples were startled at His appearance, supposing He was a ghost (Mark 6:49). A similar thing happened to Peter when some thought his unexpected presence must have been an indication that it was “his angel” (Acts 12:15).
Second, the reason the two disciples who were traveling on the road to Emmaus failed to recognize Jesus initially was not because Jesus had a different body, but because God miraculously prevented them from recognizing Him. Luke 24:16 indicates that at the beginning of their conversation with Jesus “their eyes were restrained,” but then just before Jesus vanished from their sight, “their eyes were opened and they knew Him” (24:31). Thus, the disciples’ recognition ability failed, not because Jesus possessed a different body, but because their eyes were miraculously restrained.
A final person often mentioned as not having recognized the Savior (allegedly because Jesus had a different body) is Mary Magdalene. John 20:11-18 certainly testifies of her initial inability to identify Jesus. The question is: Was Mary’s failure to recognize Jesus her fault, or the result of Jesus having a different body? As with the above cases, there is no indication in John 20:11-18 that Jesus had anything other than His risen crucified body (cf. 20:25-29). There are at least four possibilities, however, as to why Mary failed to recognize Jesus right at first.
  1. The Sun may not have risen all the way yet, thus making it difficult to see (cf. 20:1).
  2. Mary was engaged in deep weeping that likely obscured her vision (20:11,13). In fact, the first words Jesus said to Mary were, “Woman, why are you weeping?” (vs. 15).
  3. Considering Jesus’ clothes were taken from Him when He was crucified (John 19:23-24), and that the linen cloths which were used in His burial were lying in the tomb (John 20:6-7), Jesus likely was wearing clothes that made His exact identity less conspicuous at first glance. Perhaps His post-resurrection attire was similar to what a gardener or watchman would wear (cf. John 20:15).
  4. It also is possible that Mary’s eyes were restrained miraculously, as were the eyes of the disciples with whom Jesus conversed on the road to Emmaus.
Once all of the Scriptures are taken into account, one can see that Jesus physically rose from the grave in essentially the same body that was crucified on the cross. The fact that some of Jesus’ disciples did not immediately recognize Him in no way contradicts His physical resurrection.

CONCLUSION

The inspired accounts of the risen Redeemer have been the focus of much criticism through the years (cf. Barker, 1992, pp. 178-184; McKinsey, 2000, pp. 447-454). However, when the honest, open-hearted student of the Bible looks carefully at the evidence, he will come to realize that these criticisms are actually the result either of insufficient knowledge or hardened hearts. Truly, the more one studies the passages of Scripture in which Jesus’ resurrection is discussed, as well as the historical context in which this momentous event occurred, the more he will see how incredibly accurate and trustworthy the Bible writers were.

REFERENCES

Barker, Dan (1992), Losing Faith in Faith (Madison, WI: Freedom from Religion Foundation).
Barker, Dan (1996), “Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?,” Debate with Michael Horner at the University of Northern Iowa, April 2, [On-line], URL: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/dan_barker/barker_horner.html.
Butt, Kyle (2002), “Jesus Christ—Dead or Alive?,” Reason & Revelation, 22[2]:9-15, February.
Clarke, Adam (1996), Adam Clarke’s Commentary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Hoehner, Harold W. (1974), “Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ—Part IV: The Day of Christ’s Crucifixion,” Bibliotheca Sacra, 131:241-264, July.
Jamieson, Robert, et al. (1997), Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Bible Commentary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Josephus, Flavius (1987 edition), “Antiquities of the Jews,” The Works of Josephus, trans. William Whiston (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson).
Kistemaker, Simon J. (1993), Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Lightfoot, John (1979 reprint), A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
McKinsey, C. Dennis (no date), “The Bible is God’s Word?,” [On-line], URL: http://members.aol.com/ckbloomfld/pamphlets.html.
McKinsey, C. Dennis (1983), “Commentary,” Biblical Errancy, February.
McKinsey, C. Dennis (2000), Biblical Errancy (Amherst, NY: Prometheus).
Rusk, Roger (1974), “The Day He Died,” Christianity Today, March 29.
Scroggie, W. Graham (1948), A Guide to the Gospels (London: Pinkering & Inglis).

From Mark Copeland... "CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS" The Historical Jesus


                         "CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS"

                          The Historical Jesus

INTRODUCTION

1. In the previous lesson, we laid the foundation for a study in
   Christian apologetics:  That the Christian faith is...
   a. AN OBJECTIVE FAITH
      1) With Jesus of Nazareth as the object of that faith
      2) That He is the Son of God, who died for our sins and 
         rose from the dead
   b. A HISTORICAL FAITH
      1) Based upon real people, places, and events
      2) That actually took place in history
   c. AN INTELLIGENT, RATIONAL FAITH
      1) Which invites people to use their minds
      2) To examine the historical evidence which logically supports
         placing one's faith in Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God

2. With these things in mind, we begin by considering the evidence...
   a. Which establishes Jesus of Nazareth as a HISTORICAL FIGURE
   b. One who actually lived in Palestine during the First Century A.D.

[Some might wonder...]

I. WAS THERE EVER ANY QUESTION?

   A. THERE HAVE BEEN SKEPTICS WHO BELIEVED JESUS WAS JUST A "MYTH"...
      1. This concept was popular with some scholars of the 1800s'
      2. It is rarely found today, except among those...
         a. Who are ignorant of the facts
         b. Who purposely suppress the evidence (e.g., as was done in
            formerly communist-dominated countries)

   B. TODAY, NO SERIOUS HISTORIAN (EVEN THOSE WHO ARE ATHEISTS) DISPUTES
      THE FACT THAT JESUS EXISTED...
      1. H. G. WELLS
         a. An atheist, he spoke of Jesus in his book, Outline Of History
         b. "...one is obliged to say, 'Here was a man.  This part of
            the tale could not have been invented.'"
      2. WILL DURANT
         a. Ex-professor of Philisophy of History at Columbia University
         b. He spent two chapters in The Story Of Our Civilization
            depicting Jesus as a historical figure right along with the Caesars
      3. ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA
         a. Used over 20,000 words to describe Jesus
         b. More than Aristotle, Cicero, Alexander, Julius Caesar,
            Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed, or Napoleon

[So there appears to be sufficient evidence to have convinced these and 
others like them that Jesus actually lived.

What is this evidence...?]

II. THE EVIDENCE FOR A HISTORICAL JESUS

   A. AMONG "PAGAN" SOURCES...
      1. THALLUS (a Samaritan historian, ca. 52 A.D.)
         a. Wrote attempting to give a natural explanation for the
            darkness which occurred at the crucifixion of Jesus
         b. Note carefully:
            1) He did not deny the existence of Jesus
            2) But only tried to explain away the strange circumstances
               surrounding His death
      2. LETTER OF MARA-SERAPION (written to his son, ca. 73 A.D.)
         a. He tells of the deaths of Socrates, Pythagoras, and of Jesus
         b. "What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise
            king?...Nor did the wise king die for good; he lived on in
            the teaching which he had given."
      3. CORNELIUS TACITUS (Roman historian, ca. 112 A.D.)
         a. Writes of Jesus in his ANNALS
         b. "Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by
            Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberias."
      4. PLINY THE YOUNGER
         a. Governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor, ca. 112 A.D.
         b. Wrote to the emperor Trajan about Christians and their
            devotion to Christ
      5. SEUTONIUS (Court official and annalist under Hadrian, 120 A.D.)
         a. "As the Jews were making constant disturbance at the
            instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome."
         b. Luke makes reference to this same expulsion in Ac 18:1-2

   B. AMONG "JEWISH" SOURCES...
      1. THE TALMUD
         a. Consists of two separate books dealing with Jewish law,
            written during the period from 100 A.D. to 500 A.D.
         b. Speaks frequently of Jesus of Nazareth...
            1) In unfriendly terms, of course
            2) But never disputing his status as a historical figure
      2. FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS
         a. A Jewish general turned Roman historian, born 37 A.D.
         b. Makes several references to Jesus in his History Of The Jews
         c. E.g., "...and brought before it the brother of Jesus, the
            so-called Christ, whose name was James."

[Such is the evidence which must be taken into account by any
intelligent and rational person.

But what are the implications of such evidence?]

III. THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS EVIDENCE

   A. WHAT IT "DOES" DO...
      1. It provides a solid basis upon which one can intelligently
         believe in Jesus as a person who actually existed in history
      2. It exposes the shallow thinking of any who would try to mark
         off Jesus as a myth
      3. It requires everyone to give some sort of answer to the
         question posed by Jesus Himself:  "But who do you say that I
         am?" - Mt 16:15

   B. WHAT IT "DOES NOT" DO...
      1. The evidence we have seen thus far DOES NOT prove Jesus to be
         the Son of God
      2. In fact, it does not tell us anything about Jesus except:
         a. That He lived and died during the First Century A.D.
         b. That He must have done something significant to gain some
            notoriety by the historians

   C. TO LEARN MORE ABOUT JESUS, WE MUST LOOK ELSEWHERE...
      1. There have been many fanciful stories written about Jesus
      2. But the Christian considers the twenty-seven books known as the
         New Testament to be the only reliable source of information about Jesus
      3. But are they?
         a. Is the New Testament reliable as a historical document?
         b. Can we even be sure that what we have is actually what was
            penned by the original authors of the New Testament?

CONCLUSION

1. The next study shall begin an attempt to answer these questions

2. For now, we have simply laid one block as we build a foundation upon
   which we can rest our faith...
   a. We have seen that it is more logical to believe that Jesus did in fact exist
   b. To assert that He is a myth is groundless

3. And since He actually existed, that requires our giving some answer
   to the question Jesus asked:  "WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?"

4. Will our answer be "LORD!", or "A CAREFULLY CONTRIVED LIE!"
   a. As we shall see, these are the only two choices we have
   b. The evidence we shall continue to examine should help give us the right answer!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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From Gary... Bible Reading March 19



Bible Reading  

March 19

The World English Bible


Mar. 19
Exodus 32, 33

Exo 32:1 When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron, and said to him, "Come, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we don't know what has become of him."
Exo 32:2 Aaron said to them, "Take off the golden rings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them to me."
Exo 32:3 All the people took off the golden rings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron.
Exo 32:4 He received what they handed him, and fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made it a molten calf; and they said, "These are your gods, Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt."
Exo 32:5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation, and said, "Tomorrow shall be a feast to Yahweh."
Exo 32:6 They rose up early on the next day, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.
Exo 32:7 Yahweh spoke to Moses, "Go, get down; for your people, who you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves!
Exo 32:8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it, and have sacrificed to it, and said, 'These are your gods, Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt.' "
Exo 32:9 Yahweh said to Moses, "I have seen these people, and behold, they are a stiff-necked people.
Exo 32:10 Now therefore leave me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them, and that I may consume them; and I will make of you a great nation."
Exo 32:11 Moses begged Yahweh his God, and said, "Yahweh, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, that you have brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?
Exo 32:12 Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, 'He brought them forth for evil, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the surface of the earth?' Turn from your fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against your people.
Exo 32:13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, 'I will multiply your seed as the stars of the sky, and all this land that I have spoken of I will give to your seed, and they shall inherit it forever.' "
Exo 32:14 Yahweh repented of the evil which he said he would do to his people.
Exo 32:15 Moses turned, and went down from the mountain, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand; tablets that were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other they were written.
Exo 32:16 The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tables.
Exo 32:17 When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, "There is the noise of war in the camp."
Exo 32:18 He said, "It isn't the voice of those who shout for victory, neither is it the voice of those who cry for being overcome; but the noise of those who sing that I hear."
Exo 32:19 It happened, as soon as he came near to the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing: and Moses' anger grew hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands, and broke them beneath the mountain.
Exo 32:20 He took the calf which they had made, and burnt it with fire, ground it to powder, and scattered it on the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.
Exo 32:21 Moses said to Aaron, "What did these people do to you, that you have brought a great sin on them?"
Exo 32:22 Aaron said, "Don't let the anger of my lord grow hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil.
Exo 32:23 For they said to me, 'Make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we don't know what has become of him.'
Exo 32:24 I said to them, 'Whoever has any gold, let them take it off:' so they gave it to me; and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf."
Exo 32:25 When Moses saw that the people had broken loose, (for Aaron had let them loose for a derision among their enemies),
Exo 32:26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, "Whoever is on Yahweh's side, come to me!" All the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.
Exo 32:27 He said to them, "Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, 'Every man put his sword on his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate throughout the camp, and every man kill his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.' "
Exo 32:28 The sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.
Exo 32:29 Moses said, "Consecrate yourselves today to Yahweh, yes, every man against his son, and against his brother; that he may bestow on you a blessing this day."
Exo 32:30 It happened on the next day, that Moses said to the people, "You have sinned a great sin. Now I will go up to Yahweh. Perhaps I shall make atonement for your sin."
Exo 32:31 Moses returned to Yahweh, and said, "Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made themselves gods of gold.
Exo 32:32 Yet now, if you will, forgive their sin--and if not, please blot me out of your book which you have written."
Exo 32:33 Yahweh said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
Exo 32:34 Now go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin."
Exo 32:35 Yahweh struck the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.
Exo 33:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, "Depart, go up from here, you and the people that you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, 'I will give it to your seed.'
Exo 33:2 I will send an angel before you; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite:
Exo 33:3 to a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of you, for you are a stiff-necked people, lest I consume you in the way."
Exo 33:4 When the people heard this evil news, they mourned: and no one put on his jewelry.
Exo 33:5 Yahweh said to Moses, "Tell the children of Israel, 'You are a stiff-necked people. If I were to go up into your midst for one moment, I would consume you. Therefore now take off your jewelry from you, that I may know what to do to you.' "
Exo 33:6 The children of Israel stripped themselves of their jewelry from Mount Horeb onward.
Exo 33:7 Now Moses used to take the tent and to pitch it outside the camp, far away from the camp, and he called it "The Tent of Meeting." It happened that everyone who sought Yahweh went out to the Tent of Meeting, which was outside the camp.
Exo 33:8 It happened that when Moses went out to the Tent, that all the people rose up, and stood, everyone at their tent door, and watched Moses, until he had gone into the Tent.
Exo 33:9 It happened, when Moses entered into the Tent, that the pillar of cloud descended, stood at the door of the Tent, and spoke with Moses.
Exo 33:10 All the people saw the pillar of cloud stand at the door of the Tent, and all the people rose up and worshiped, everyone at their tent door.
Exo 33:11 Yahweh spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. He turned again into the camp, but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, didn't depart out of the Tent.
Exo 33:12 Moses said to Yahweh, "Behold, you tell me, 'Bring up this people:' and you haven't let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, 'I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.'
Exo 33:13 Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you, so that I may find favor in your sight: and consider that this nation is your people."
Exo 33:14 He said, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
Exo 33:15 He said to him, "If your presence doesn't go with me, don't carry us up from here.
Exo 33:16 For how would people know that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Isn't it in that you go with us, so that we are separated, I and your people, from all the people who are on the surface of the earth?"
Exo 33:17 Yahweh said to Moses, "I will do this thing also that you have spoken; for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name."
Exo 33:18 He said, "Please show me your glory."
Exo 33:19 He said, "I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of Yahweh before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy."
Exo 33:20 He said, "You cannot see my face, for man may not see me and live."
Exo 33:21 Yahweh also said, "Behold, there is a place by me, and you shall stand on the rock.
Exo 33:22 It will happen, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and will cover you with my hand until I have passed by;
Exo 33:23 then I will take away my hand, and you will see my back; but my face shall not be seen."


Mar. 19, 20
Mark 12

Mar 12:1 He began to speak to them in parables. "A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a pit for the winepress, built a tower, rented it out to a farmer, and went into another country.
Mar 12:2 When it was time, he sent a servant to the farmer to get from the farmer his share of the fruit of the vineyard.
Mar 12:3 They took him, beat him, and sent him away empty.
Mar 12:4 Again, he sent another servant to them; and they threw stones at him, wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully treated.
Mar 12:5 Again he sent another; and they killed him; and many others, beating some, and killing some.
Mar 12:6 Therefore still having one, his beloved son, he sent him last to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.'
Mar 12:7 But those farmers said among themselves, 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.'
Mar 12:8 They took him, killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.
Mar 12:9 What therefore will the lord of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the farmers, and will give the vineyard to others.
Mar 12:10 Haven't you even read this Scripture: 'The stone which the builders rejected, the same was made the head of the corner.
Mar 12:11 This was from the Lord, it is marvelous in our eyes'?"
Mar 12:12 They tried to seize him, but they feared the multitude; for they perceived that he spoke the parable against them. They left him, and went away.
Mar 12:13 They sent some of the Pharisees and of the Herodians to him, that they might trap him with words.
Mar 12:14 When they had come, they asked him, "Teacher, we know that you are honest, and don't defer to anyone; for you aren't partial to anyone, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?
Mar 12:15 Shall we give, or shall we not give?" But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, "Why do you test me? Bring me a denarius, that I may see it."
Mar 12:16 They brought it. He said to them, "Whose is this image and inscription?" They said to him, "Caesar's."
Mar 12:17 Jesus answered them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." They marveled greatly at him.
Mar 12:18 There came to him Sadducees, who say that there is no resurrection. They asked him, saying,
Mar 12:19 "Teacher, Moses wrote to us, 'If a man's brother dies, and leaves a wife behind him, and leaves no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up offspring for his brother.'
Mar 12:20 There were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and dying left no offspring.
Mar 12:21 The second took her, and died, leaving no children behind him. The third likewise;
Mar 12:22 and the seven took her and left no children. Last of all the woman also died.
Mar 12:23 In the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be of them? For the seven had her as a wife."
Mar 12:24 Jesus answered them, "Isn't this because you are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God?
Mar 12:25 For when they will rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
Mar 12:26 But about the dead, that they are raised; haven't you read in the book of Moses, about the Bush, how God spoke to him, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'?
Mar 12:27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are therefore badly mistaken."
Mar 12:28 One of the scribes came, and heard them questioning together. Knowing that he had answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the greatest of all?"
Mar 12:29 Jesus answered, "The greatest is, 'Hear, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one:
Mar 12:30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment.
Mar 12:31 The second is like this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
Mar 12:32 The scribe said to him, "Truly, teacher, you have said well that he is one, and there is none other but he,
Mar 12:33 and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."
Mar 12:34 When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God." No one dared ask him any question after that.
Mar 12:35 Jesus responded, as he taught in the temple, "How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David?
Mar 12:36 For David himself said in the Holy Spirit, 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies the footstool of your feet." '
Mar 12:37 Therefore David himself calls him Lord, so how can he be his son?" The common people heard him gladly.
Mar 12:38 In his teaching he said to them, "Beware of the scribes, who like to walk in long robes, and to get greetings in the marketplaces,
Mar 12:39 and the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts:
Mar 12:40 those who devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation."
Mar 12:41 Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and saw how the multitude cast money into the treasury. Many who were rich cast in much.
Mar 12:42 A poor widow came, and she cast in two small brass coins, which equal a quadrans coin.
Mar 12:43 He called his disciples to himself, and said to them, "Most certainly I tell you, this poor widow gave more than all those who are giving into the treasury,
Mar 12:44 for they all gave out of their abundance, but she, out of her poverty, gave all that she