Berean Bible Study Notes

Learning to be a Berean, Lesson 10

 

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



A study of the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15, Part 4

In the last lesson, we covered some things that may have been new to you, so let's do a quick review before forging ahead. Here is our verse:

1 Corinthians 15:3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures

Previously, we talked about Jesus as our Messiah in Part 1. (It may be helpful to mentally say "Messiah" every time you see the word "Christ." It does help us avoid taking it for granted). We talked about how Jesus needed to be human in order to be our substitute in Part 2. In Part 3, we discussed how Jesus died in exact accordance with the Scriptures. Here is a review of a couple of those Scriptures:

Isaiah 53

1Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. 11 After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light [of life] and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

 

Psalm 22:1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?(Jesus pointed to this Psalm by his words from the cross. It is an accurate description of crucifixion, written hundreds of years before crucifixion was even invented) Why are you so far from saving me,so far from the words of my groaning?

6 But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. 7 All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: 8 "He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him."

12 Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. 13 Roaring lions tearing their prey open their mouths wide against me. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. 16 Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.

17 I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. 18 They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.

  

More can be found here:

The Sufferings of Christ

 

We also discussed how Jesus died, not just for the sins of Adam, as some claim, but for everyone:

Matthew 26:28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

1 John 2:2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

And, we talked about why Jesus MUST be God in order to have paid for our sins:

We know that sin deserves death:

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And, not just normal "death" but everlasting destruction and eternal separation from God:

2 Thessalonians 1:6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.

So, if the penalty for sin is eternal separation from God, then somehow, that is what Jesus paid for us. Again, that doesn't mean just six hours of physical, human suffering and then death to pay for sin. Jesus completely paid the price for each one of your sins, and the penalty for each and every one of your sins is death. According to 2 Thessalonians 1:9 above, the punishment for sin is everlasting destruction and separation from God, and yet Jesus declared the payment to have been made before He actually died. It wasn't His physical death that paid for sins. Again, I'm not saying that the physical death was not part of the price, but it marked the end of the payment:

John 19:30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." (TETELESTAI)With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Again, that word, Tetelestai, means "paid in full." Jesus work was completely done at that point. The Greek is in the perfect tense, which means it was completed in the past, once and for all, not needing to be repeated.

Jesus paid completely for our sins. If the punishment for sin is eternal separation from God, then that is what Jesus paid. And, again, the only way that Jesus could have been eternally separated from God for our sins, would be if he was God himself. He had to exist outside of time. Somehow, in a way that we can't even begin to comprehend, Jesus suffered eternal separation from his Father, before he even died. There is no way a mere human could do that. No way that a mere human death would be enough. If he was simply a perfect human, he had only his human suffering to offer - because he declared "Tetelestai!" before he even died. It wouldn't have been enough to pay for even one sin of one man:

Psalm 49:7 No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him- 8 the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough- 9 that he should live on forever and not see decay.

No, only someone capable of infinite suffering would have enough suffering to satisfy God's justice. The only one capable of infinite suffering is God himself. Somehow, as only God could, Jesus stepped out of time and suffered ETERNALLY. And, yet, He was there on the cross the whole time. Our brains can't understand - but if that is what we face for our sins, then somehow, that is what Jesus paid for us. And that is love beyond all understanding, all definition. And, truly, He would have done it just for you. If you were the only one who would believe, the only one He could save, He would have done it anyway - just for you. Only God loves like that. Only God loves YOU as much as He loves all humanity.



Jesus IS God. That's what our Bibles say in plain, unambiguous terms. We went through many examples of that in Part 3. Yes, He is fully human and took on flesh once and for all, as the perfect tense of the Greek in this verse shows:

1 John 4:2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.

(That is why you know that those that deny that Jesus was still in the flesh when He was resurrected or say that His second coming is just spiritual are not from God.) But, He is also fully God:

Colossians 2:9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.

A human death was simply not enough:

Psalm 49:7 No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him — 8 the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough — 9 that he should live on forever and not see decay.

Only God - who inhabits eternity, who could suffer infinitely - only God Himself - could actually suffer enough to pay for every one of the sins of each of us.

After Jesus paid this price, He gave up His spirit and died. What's next?

1 Corinthians 15:3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.

Jesus talked about His burial. In Matthew, speaking to the scribes and Pharisees, who had asked Him, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You," He said:

Matthew 12:40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 

And, here:

John 12:1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus' honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 "Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages." 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

7 "Leave her alone," Jesus replied. "[It was intended] that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial . 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me."

Or, as Mark puts it:

Mark 14:3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. (Don't be confused by this. It isn't a contradiction. They were in Bethany, and if you read John carefully, you'll see that it doesn't say they were at the HOME of Lazarus, just the TOWN of Lazarus. Martha is serving, but that doesn't have to be unusual. Simon may have been a relative and asked Martha to serve. Or, since Jesus was a precious friend, she may have asked to help with the meal.)

4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, "Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year's wages and the money given to the poor." And they rebuked her harshly.

6 "Leave her alone," said Jesus. "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial . 9 I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."

I always read this as something that Mary did as a gift, but if you read it carefully, she apparently did it consciously, knowing and understanding that Jesus had to die.

So, how was Jesus buried?

John 19:38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus , the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40 Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.



You can see a bit more about their customs here, in the passage about Lazarus being raised from the dead. This is in the King James, because part of it is clearer and part of the language is more fun:

John 11:38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.

39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.

40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.

43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth."

44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. (This was probably a cloth that kept the jaw shut while the body decomposed) Jesus saith unto them, "Loose him, and let him go."

 

(I like the "stinketh" part) Here is a bit more on burial customs:

A New Tomb

  

Funeral Customs - Past and Present

 

Only Paul makes an issue of Jesus being buried. Of course, all the gospel accounts speak of the tomb, but only Paul actually makes it part of the gospel. Paul uses it to show that we are tied to that burial through our baptism:

Romans 6:3 Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Colossians 2:11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

 

The next part of the gospel is that Jesus was raised:

1 Corinthians 15:3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.

Jesus was raised on the third day - in accordance with the Scriptures. You already saw one of those prophecies, when Jesus mentioned Jonah:

Matthew 12:40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 

Now, if you were reading the book of Jonah, you wouldn't really think of it as prophecy, and yet Jesus shows that it was. It was actually a picture, worked out in advance, to help the people recognize the event that was being foreshadowed. We went through another one of those earlier. Remember when we went through the story of Abraham's offering of Isaac? As soon as the order came, Isaac was as good as dead to Abraham. They set off and arrived on the third day:

Genesis 22:4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you."

Hebrews 11:19 Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.

So, in this story that portrays more than any other the future sacrifice of Jesus, in the same spot, when was Isaac "resurrected?" It was on the third day. As you go through the Bible, you'll be surprised at how often "the third day" or "three days" is a picture - in one way or another - of resurrection. Look at the very first time it appears:

Genesis 1:9 And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning the third day .

What happens on the third day? Living things appear on the dead ground. Next is the story of Abraham and Isaac. Then, Jacob, when he runs from Laban.

Or, what about the occasion where Joseph is in prison, and the baker and wine steward tell him their dreams? The third day, the wine steward is released from prison and his life was "resurrected." (the baker is killed)

Genesis 40:20 Now the third day was Pharaoh's birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker in the presence of his officials: 21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh's hand,

What day is Queen Esther spared by the king? The third day:

Esther 5:1 On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king's hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. 2 When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.

You can continue in this way and come to the conclusion that there is something very special about the "third day." Personally, I think there remains some "third day" things to be fulfilled. You can study that for yourself and see what you think.

Jesus himself specified that His resurrection would be on the third day:

Matthew 16:21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Even the chief priests and Parisees understood:

Matthew 27:62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 "Sir," they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise again.' 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day . Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first."

 

Now, ever since that first Resurrection Day, people have been denying that Jesus rose from the dead:

Matthew 28:11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, "You are to say, 'His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.' 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

 

People try to deny Jesus' resurrection in all kinds of ways. Some say Jesus didn't really die, but just fainted and then came to in the coolness of the tomb. Of course, the soldier who pronounced Him dead would have been killed for his mistake, so you'd think he would have been pretty careful. The water and blood from Jesus' side was evidence that His heart had burst, but hey, that doesn't mean anything, right? The spear thrust itself? Well, maybe it missed most of the organs. Joseph and Nicodemus, in their grief, simply missed the fact that the body they were wrapping was breathing and had a heartbeat. Then, Jesus, revived by the coolness of the tomb air, pushed aside the huge rock and strode magnificently out, overpowered the guards (who lied about being beat up by a crucified man and instead told everyone that the body was stolen), and then set out on a vigorous, seven-mile walk to Emmaus, where He somehow did a magic trick and disappeared right in front of the eyes of the two disciples.

People say that the correct tomb was simply lost (in three days, with guards posted?), that the body was stolen by the disciples (who then went on to die horrible deaths for a lie), that the body was stolen by the Jews or the Romans (why didn't they just produce it and save themselves a lot of grief?) or that Jesus was never placed in a tomb at all, but in a shallow grave, where dogs ate the body (that one is courtesy of former Episcopalian Bishop, John Spong).

Here are articles by some well known people on the subject:

Evidence for the Resurrection

EVIDENCE FOR THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST

 

Why is it such a big deal? What does Paul say?

1 Corinthians 15:12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

Without the resurrection, Christianity is a false religion. Without the resurrection - showing us that the "Paid in full" of Jesus was accepted - there is no point to any of it. Without the resurrection of Jesus, there is no resurrection for us.

1 Corinthians 15:20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

John 14:19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.



So, how are we raised? What will we be like? The Corinthians apparently wondered that, too. This is what Paul told them:

1 Corinthians 15:35 But someone may ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?" 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.

42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.

50 I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."

 

1 John 3:2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

 

Now, remember, John had seen Jesus resurrected, but note how he means something else. Even though he had seen Jesus, he apparently didn't yet have eyes that could see him as he is. In order to see Jesus as he really is, we have to be like Him. I believe this means that after His resurrection, Jesus was more than three dimensional. No one seemed to be able to readily recognize Him, even when they had seen Him before, as here:

John 21:12 Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord.

Isn't that an odd thing to say? Why would they even have wanted to ask Him? They'd seen Him in the upper room. Did they forget so quickly what He looked like? Yet, if He was multi-dimensional, his "three dimensional" presence may not have always looked the same. Imagine a 3D cube passing through a 2D world (a plane). If it passes through so that one surface is exactly parallel with the plane, it would always appear to be a plane. However, if it passes through at an angle, it would appear to be a variety of shapes. Yet, to us, with our 3D eyes, we can tell that it's a cube, no matter how it's turned.

Mark 16:9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it. 12 Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country.

After His resurrection, Jesus could pass through locked doors and disappear from sight at will:

John 20:19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"

Luke24:30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight .

Yet, He was not a spirit:

Luke 24:39 "Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones , as you see I have."

We will be like Him, so we will not be spirits, either. This verse agrees:

Job 19:25 I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. 26 And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; 27 I myself will see him with my own eyes — I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!

These verses seem to imply that when we are like Him, our bodies will be rather glorious!

Ezekiel 8:2 I looked, and I saw a figure like that of a man. From what appeared to be his waist down he was like fire, and from there up his appearance was as bright as glowing metal.

Matthew 17:1 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.

Daniel 12:2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.

Matthew 13:40 "As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.



What will we do? What will it be like? I don't know. We certainly won't be flitting around on clouds. We will be flesh and bone and flesh and bone needs a physical world. This idea of some kind of wispy, insubstantial heaven is not supported by the Bible at all. All I know for sure is this - wherever our Lord Jesus is, that's where we will be:

1 Thessalonians 4:17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.



Some information on the ossuary that was on the news in 2002:

Burial Box May Be That of Jesus's Brother, Expert Says

The James Bone Box: Hoax or History?



Let's put it all together

1 Corinthians 15:3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.

We've spent a long time on this gospel that Paul says saves us if we believe it. Again, we talked about how Jesus had to be fully human. He took on flesh and bone - and still had flesh and bone when He was resurrected. To deny that Jesus has come in the flesh (and will return in the flesh!) is the spirit of antichrist.

We talked about how Jesus had to fully God in order to die for our sins. In fact, Jesus told the Jewish leaders that if they did not recognize Him as the "I am," that they would die in their sins:

John 8:24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be], (This phrase is not in the Greek) you will indeed die in your sins."

He truly died and was placed in a tomb. On the third day - the one we call Easter - He was raised from the dead and now lives, forever and ever. That's it! That's the gospel that saves you.

So, what do you need to do in order to be saved? First, recognize that you are a sinner! Without recognizing that you are a sinner, the gospel is pointless. And, even that recognition comes from the Holy Spirit. In fact, it is the first job of the Holy Spirit when He works on you:

John 16:7-8 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.

So, you recognize your sinfulness and repent:

Mark 1:14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15"The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"

Luke 13:1 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."

And then what? Just believe the good news - the gospel!

1 Corinthians 15:3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.

Notice what the gospel DOESN'T include. No mention of Jesus' teachings! (Knowing what Jesus has to say about how to live is wonderful, but it isn't part of the gospel!) No mention of the age of the earth, or angels or prayer or lots of other things that people can get mixed up on. (In other words, can someone be saved and yet still be confused about some of the Bible's teachings? Yes!) No mention of any works at all, absolutely none.

 John 6:27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval." 28Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" 29Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."

(Works absolutely have a place in the life of a believer, but they are not part of the Gospel. More on that here) No, the only thing you need to do to be saved is to believe that Jesus died for your sins and that He was raised again. Even the faith in that comes from the Holy Spirit!

Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9not by works, so that no one can boast.

So, we are saved by our faith in Jesus' death for our sins and in believing that He rose from the dead. There's nothing we can do to add to that. To try to add anything - any good work, any ANYTHING - is to say that Jesus' infinite suffering on our behalf was not enough. There is no bigger idolatry. Now, what we do and how we live BECAUSE we are saved - that's another study for another day.

 

Some articles on our resurrection bodies:

The Resurrection Body

Some Notes About Heaven

And many, many other articles here. Just be careful in your browsing!

 

Thank you for being part of this "Learning to be a Berean" Bible study! The next logical thing to study is the Holy Spirit and how He guides our lives as believers. There is a study on that here:

Living by the Spirit



And, if you are interested, there are links to more studies on other subjects here:

Other Berean Bible Studies



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Learning to be Bereans Bible Study



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Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. - Acts 17:11



© 2012 This study was written by Jacqui Komschlies and last updated 1/2/2012. If you have questions, comments, corrections or concerns, please write me.

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