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Featured Resurrection of Christ - What's the evidence for and against a literal resurrection

Discussion in 'Scriptural Debates' started by adrian009, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. adrian009

    adrian009 Veteran Member
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    Thank you Siti,

    I hope to find time tomorrow to respond.
     
  2. adrian009

    adrian009 Veteran Member
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    I'm impressed by your biblical knowledge. Of course with almost every biblical book there is some debate about authorship. That's an inevitability when we are talking about works composed nearly two thousand years ago. I am familiar with some of the arguments around the five NT books traditionally ascribed to the apostle John, and I think you have investigated this very well.

    There would be a minority of Christians who would agree with your conclusions for point seven, the majority believing that God is Omnipotent and that His prophets who are inspired by Him can predict the future. This is an unmistakable theme in the OT, and conservative Christans would attribute over 300 OT verses prophecising Jesus to be their Messiah. The Baha'is are in agreement with the Christians and the Baha'i writings would contain references to numerous OT prophecies regarding Christ. Those same Christains believe in the return of Christ beyond the first century AD based on NT and unfulfilled OT prophecies.

    The strongest case for prophecy are from the words of Jesus Himself when speaking on the Mount of Olives during His final discourse. This sermon is recorded with some consistency in the synoptic gospels Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The authorship is not nearly as important as their intent to faithfully record the spirit and words of Jesus.

    The sermon on the Mount is open to interpretation but I studied it not too long ago with Christians I work with, and no one of us were in any doubt about their relevance to future times well beyond the first century AD.

    Matthew 24:14 for example

    And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

    The gospels had not been preached to all nations until the nineteenth century.

    Also the time of the gentiles needs to be fulfilled (Luke 21:24)

    And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

    The Jews were not free to return to their Holy Land until the nineteenth century.

    So Christ did not return in the first century AD but much later. We're heading off on a tangent away from the main topic. Am I to presume you don't believe Christ literally rose from the dead, appeared in the flesh to His disciples, and ascended to into the sky?
     
    #142 adrian009, Jan 11, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  3. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Could you translate that into English? :shrug:
     
  4. KenS

    KenS Veteran Member
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    You have no competition :)
     
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  5. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    WHEW! :)
     
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  6. siti

    siti Well-Known Member

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    Adrian, I thought you said the Olivet discourse was symbolic? Revelation certainly is - so is Daniel...

    ...in that case, on what basis do you interpret the "times of the Gentiles" to be a literal passage of time during which the natural Jews were prevented from returning to their "Holy Land"?

    This is the key problem I have with Baha'i interpretations of the Bible - you guys often speak with forked tongue trying to have the same passage as entirely spiritual/symbolic for one argument and physical/literal for another.

    Anyway, what I personally believe about the resurrection is not nearly as relevant to the current topic as what I (and you and others) believe the Gospel writers intended it to mean.

    I am pretty sure that they intended it to be taken as a literal physical resurrection to life (signifying the conquest of the 'last enemy') and a spiritual ascension into heaven which was marked by his faithful followers witnessing a vision - much as a few of them had previously at the transfiguration. So in that sense, the ascension was a mystic experience of the disciples, but the resurrection was real. There are precedents for God taking physical humans and making them disappear without trace - so no problem about what happened to Jesus' resurrected body after the ascension.

    Seriously, ALL the rest of the 'prophetic' features - including things like 1260 days etc. can easily be interpreted as being connected with Jesus ministry, death, resurrection and the subsequent establishment of the Christian Church as the focus of divine favour - the "Jerusalem above" was declared "free" very shortly after Jesus departed the earth. Anyway, as you say, that is wandering a bit off topic - but my opinion is that the writers of the accounts interpreted Jesus resurrection as a very real and physical part of the process that brought the functions of the natural temple to an end and opened up the spiritual temple to human access - all in the 1st century. I personally don't believe any of it, but I am pretty sure that's what they meant and the physical death and resurrection of Christ was a necessary part of it.

    PS - there are no prophecies in the "Sermon on the Mount" - I presume you were still referring to the Olivet discourse, but if you are attempting to overturn 2000 years of Christian understanding of scripture, you really ought to be careful with your references and terminology.
     
    #146 siti, Jan 11, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  7. adrian009

    adrian009 Veteran Member
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    The Olivet discourse is widely recognised as being eschatological too and some sources refer to it as a mini apocalypse.

    Matthew 24, Christian Eschatology and The Olivet Discourse

    The Time of the Gentiles is mentioned in both the Olivet discourse (Luke 21:24) and Revelations (Revelation 11:1-2). The land that God promised Abraham is very important to the jews as you know.

    The Baha'is are like everyone else here, and trying our best to communicate. We often fall short. We don't have forked tongues. The Olivet Discourse has passages that can be taken literally as well as those that should be taken symbolically. What is required is careful study of the text.

    If you don't believe in the resurrectiion then do you think the gospel writers were trying to deliberately mislead their audience? If we are to have a conversation about the resurrection what you personally believe is important.

    My understanding of the gospels is a work in progress. Thats why I'm here.

    The gospel of Matthew as I understand it, is written around five discourses of Christ, the final one being the Olivet discourse delivered on the Mount of Olives in the week leading to Christ's death as recorded in chapters 24 and 25.
     
  8. siti

    siti Well-Known Member

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    So is the 'temple' in the Olivet discourse and Revelation the physical temple in Jerusalem or a spiritual condition to which Christians (and presumably after them, Baha'is) can attain? Please just answer that question with a straight answer - physical or spiritual?
     
  9. adrian009

    adrian009 Veteran Member
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    The temple that Jesus refers (Matthew 24:1-2) to is the second temple that was destroyed in 70 AD.

    The temple in revelation 21:22 refers to the Lamb (a messianic reference) so spiritual.
     
  10. siti

    siti Well-Known Member

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    Right - so there was (has been) no physical temple since 70AD. Revelation 21:22 refers to "no temple" - I was more interested in the temple that John was told to measure Revelation 11 - this is more pertinent to the question at hand because it also relates to the "two witnesses" and the times of the Gentiles (1260 days and all that) and thereby, to the topic of the resurrection. So is the temple in Revelation 11 the physical temple in Jerusalem or some symbolic reference to something else? It surely can't be the heavenly one can it - in what sense could the heavenly temple be "measured"? In what sense could the heavenly temple's courtyards be given to the "Gentiles" to "tread underfoot"? It certainly looks like the temple in Matthew 24 and the temple in Revelation 11 are the same thing - don't you agree?
     
  11. adrian009

    adrian009 Veteran Member
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    None of this refers directly to a literal resurrection IMHO.

    The third temple in revelation is not 'no temple' but the Christ Himself. Jesus the Christ was a son of Israel but was rejected by His own people and given to the gentiles. The measurements of the courtyard refers to Jerusalem, without the temple.

    And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
    But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

    Jesus identifies the temple with His body.

    Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?
    Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
    Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
    But he spake of the temple of his body.
    When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

    John 2:18-22

    Jesus as the Fulfillment of the Temple in the Gospel of John


    This is not literally the body of Jesus but the Body of Christ (community of faithful believers). There are many references to this in the NT.

    How is the church the Body of Christ?
     
  12. siti

    siti Well-Known Member

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    More obfuscation Adrian. Are the temples in Matthew 24 and Revelation 11 the same thing or not?
     
  13. adrian009

    adrian009 Veteran Member
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    I'm not trying to be difficult.

    The book of revelation is prophetic book about the future. Most scholars think Revelation was written after the destruction of the second temple. Regardless, Revelation 11:1-2 isn't literally about the second temple but uses the temple imagery as a metaphor to convey a prophetic message.
     
  14. siti

    siti Well-Known Member

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    OK - so I'm getting that you are saying it is not the same as the temple in Matthew 24?

    The temple in Matthew 24 was the literal 2nd temple that was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE - yes?

    And the parallel account of Jesus' prophecy in Luke 21:24 links this to the time during which "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." - almost identical to the phraseology used in Revelation 11:2 where the courtyard of the temple is left unmeasured "for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months."

    How can these passages not be referring to the same thing?

    If they are referring to the same thing and it is - as it seems in Matthew 24:1-2 and Luke 21:5-6 - the physical second temple in Jerusalem and the worship rendered therein - then Revelation 11 presumably must also have been fulfilled in 1st century, mustn't it? Because that temple no longer existed after 70 CE, did it? It makes no sense to apply it to the 6th century AD, much less to 1843, 1914 or the 21st century because the Jerusalem temple was long gone by then. The two witnesses in Revelation were also features that were contemporaneous with the 'last days' of the second temple. If that's not the case, then the clear and rather obvious parallels between Jesus' eschatology in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 and that of the author of Revelation 11 is just an irrelevant coincidence? That seems highly unlikely to me.

    Certainly there is a definite link between the two witnesses and the resurrection - but I think the most likely scenario is that the Bible writers intended the account to have the following features:

    1. A literal, physical, bodily resurrection of Christ which though real was also a symbolic enactment of the more general spiritual 'resurrection' - symbolized in Revelation by the resurrection of the 'two witnesses'

    2. A literal physical destruction of the old (second) temple which was also a symbolic enactment of the transfer of divine favor from natural Israel with its capital in the Holy Land to 'spiritual Israel' with its capital as the "Jerusalem above" - the heavenly city in which Christ - as you say - served as the temple.

    But all of that happened within the time of "this generation" - the contemporaneous group of Jesus' followers who had heard his words at first hand.

    I am not saying this is what really happened - I am saying this is what the Bible writers intended to say had happened. To suggest that they had something far future in mind is preposterous IMO. They fully expected that Jesus would "at this time restore again the Kingdom to Israel" (Acts of the Apostles 1:6) - Jesus had repeatedly urged them to be watchful and to expect the events he prophesied to happen at any moment. To suggest that in the very same time they sat down to record these urgent sayings of the Lord, they also had in mind a much later prophetic fulfillment doesn't make a lot of sense. They clearly wrote about events that they intended to be taken as prophecies of events that would "shortly come to pass" (Revelation 1:1) That is clearly how it was intended to be read - and the 'prophecies' are sufficiently detailed in some cases to suggest very strongly that although they were written as prophecy, they were probably recorded after the fulfillment, not before. It was only after the reality of the dodgy spiritual condition of the "new" "temple" - the "body of Christ" - that turned out to be not much better than the shaky second temple of Judaism - became abundantly clear in the ensuing decades that the need to postpone the 'resurrection' to spiritual heavenliness into the indefinite future leaving Jesus' "prophecies" - and his resurrection - open to endless reinterpretation by each generation of born again believers of whatever religious hue.
     
  15. adrian009

    adrian009 Veteran Member
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    That's right.

    If we insist on taking scripture literally then Jesus did not fulfil prophecies in the OT anymore than Baha'u'llah fulfilled many of the biblical prophecies.

    Why are some of these prophecies cyptic? The sceptic will answer that if look at the symbolic meaning rather than literal, then we can get prophecy to say anything. The Christian and the Baha'i will say it is all a test from God that distinguishes the insincere from the sincere.

    If God is All-powerful, why doesn't He just literally appear on clouds of great power than can be seen from all corners of the earth? Because if he did, then we would have no choice but to accept Him, and God wants us to have free will. Alternatively if God doesn't really exist then its just wishful thinking that weak minded and insecure 'Theists' like Christians and Baha'is become enmeshed in.

    So Solomon's temple that was the focal point of Jewish worship when their Kingdom was united under King David becomes an important symbol for Christian eschatology.

    Eschatology - Wikipedia

    Yes

    I strongly agree with the correlationship you suggest between Luke 21:24 and Revelation 11:2

    This is where we disagree. The Olivet discourse refers to two, not one eschatological events.

    (1) (a) The destruction of the temple and the plight of the Jewsih peoples
    (b) The accompanying rise of Christianity and the tests and difficulties ahead.

    (2) (a) The fall of Christianity
    (b) The return of Christ

    The common themes to (1) and (2) are the fall of old religious dispensation and the rise of the new one.

    In that sense the rise of Islam, Babism, and the Baha'i Faith accompanying by the decline of the previous religious dispensation makes perfect sense.

    Daniel 11 is a good example of apocalyptic scripture referring to two periods of time that are vastly different.

    Further some of the prophecy in Daniel concerns the very distant future:
    “The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.”
    Daniel 8:26

    Resurrection is used as metaphor in much the same way that the temple is. Resurrection is about the birth of a new revelation amidst the death of the old.

    I agree with the symbolic enactment of the resurrection. But the literal resurrection never happened any more than the stories in the first nine chapters of genesis literally happened. Its mostly a mythologial story to convey more profound spiritual truths.

    Thats right. So Jerusalem becomes a metaphor for the Holy City symbolising the communal life of those that dwell together under God's guidance as the Jews did.

    If there are two eschatological periods as I have suggested, this is not a problem.

    What the gospel writer's intended can best be described by John 20:31:
    But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

    The author of the book of Daniel did it. Why not Jesus and the auther of revelation?

    But the response of Christ:
    And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
    Acts 1:7
     
  16. Faithofchristian

    Faithofchristian Well-Known Member

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    My question is, how much do you believe in the bible?
    If you do not believe what is Written, then it would be useless to continue.

    As for did Christ really rise from the dead.

    Who do you believe the dead are?

    You believe those dead are, being like dead in graves.
    There's no one in graves, only the bodies of those who have pass from this life to the next life, are with God.

    Once the body becomes old and dies. The body returns back to the dirt of the earth, from where it was taken from, and the spirit within the body returns back to God, who gave it.

    As for did Christ really rise from the dead.
    The dead as being Spiritually dead, having no understanding of Christ, Thereby they are Spiritually dead.

    Therefore they are Spiritually dead to Christ.
    And not dead in graves as some people believe they are, No

    They are Spiritually dead and are not in graves, But have pass over into the great gulf fix, Awaiting for the Judgement of Christ Jesus.

    The Great Gulf Fix, is those who haved pass from this life over into the Spiritual Realm, dimension which we can not see,
     
    #156 Faithofchristian, Jan 15, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
  17. adrian009

    adrian009 Veteran Member
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    Baha'i believe in the same God, Jesus and bible as the Christians. Clearly we have a different understanding about the resurrection, the Divinity of Christ, and the exclusivity of His message.

    Life and death are metaphors for belief and disbelief in the Christ/God.

    The soul of man continues to exist and progress in the worlds of God beyond this one. That progress depends on the mercy of God, our Faith in Him, and our living the life according to His Word.

    That is right.

    The important part of Jesus rising from the dead is that we can have Faith in Him and through Him have Eternal life.

    Our progress depends upon the Christ.

    The soul of man is a divine mystery that men with the keenest intellect are unable to unravel.
     
  18. siti

    siti Well-Known Member

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    Says you, say evangelical Christians - but where is the scriptural evidence for this?

    It doesn't matter whether it really happened or not, what matters to this discussion (at present) is whether the authors intended to say that it really happened - I strongly believe, based on many readings of the scriptures, that the authors of the Bible intended their readers to believe that Christ was literally, physically resurrected. To suggest that they had in mind a far future restoration of spirituality is to grant them knowledge that their own record of their understanding at that time denies - even if the far future fulfillment were true - there is no way that Jesus' disciples and the other supposed authors of NT scripture understood it that way. It just does not come out of any fair reading of scripture at all.

    IF. But you have yet to present any credible evidence to show that there are intended two eschatological periods.

    The Book of Daniel is a fanciful book of selectively recorded historical details, Jewish mythology and failed restoration prophecies. There was no spiritual restoration after Daniel was written - the Jews just sank further and further into oppression and superstition and were finally destroyed after their treasured restoration prophecies had been appropriated by the outbreak of Christianity. "Jesus" simply transferred some the Seleucid "abominations" of the Maccabeean era and re-applied them to the Romans desolation of the temple in the 1st century. And those words of Jesus were recorded after the event but written "as prophecy" (i.e. as if they were prophecies written before the events) just as the events surrounding Antiochus IV Epiphanes persecution of the Jews and the Jewish revolt had been in Daniel 8.

    Anyway, genuine textual and historical evidence aside (I know these are only welcome when they support the predetermined beliefs), what scriptural evidence is there that the Bible writers definitely intended to indicate a second, far future, fulfillment of these prophecies?
     
    #158 siti, Jan 15, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
  19. adrian009

    adrian009 Veteran Member
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    This is a major topic that has been debated amongst Christians and the learned since the early days of Christianity. The preterist view is popular amongst some modern bible scholars and rejected by most conservative Christians.

    The problems with preterism are many. For one thing, God’s covenant with Israel is everlasting (Jeremiah 31:33–36), and there will be a future restoration of Israel (Isaiah 11:12). The apostle Paul warned against those who, like Hymenaeus and Philetus, teach falsely “that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some” (2 Timothy 2:17–18). And Jesus’ mention of “this generation” should be taken to mean the generation that is alive to see the beginning of the events described in Matthew 24.

    https://www.gotquestions.org/preterist.htm


     
  20. adrian009

    adrian009 Veteran Member
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    I think it does matter what happened and if the authors of any biblical book are describing something that almost certainly didn't happen, we need to examine the authors intent in a new light.

    The gospel writers were not writing history books, rather a story that captured the Spirit and central message of Christ. There was no literal Satan who Christ talked to when He was in the desert, demons don't exist anymore than Satan does, there was no tearing of the veil in the temple, no people rising from their graves, and no physical rsurrection of Christ. There are clues that the resurrection stories in the gospels are not literal as evidenced by the disciples struggling to initially recognise their Lord, and His movement through solid objects like a spirit.

    In regards to a future restoration, Christ was clear that He would come again like a thief in the night but no one knew the day or the hour, not even the Son, only the Father. He spoke of the Comforter who would teach all things. So it is true that the disciples ddi not understand fully about what Jesus said in regards the end times. I think they settled for faithfully recording the words He spoke, even if they didn't fully understand them.
     
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