Approaching Easter for 2013, it is apparent that each celebration of Christ’s resurrection from now on, has more significance than at any other time in history. The reason is simple; what is known as the “first resurrection” (Rev 20: 5, 6) is according to prophecy not very far away.
Yes, this writer is aware of the pagan roots of the holiday we now call Easter, but we are addressing the heart of the matter here, not the misguided perception. The heart is resurrection, nothing more.
What Easter is Not!
People who only darken the door of the church on Christmas and Easter are not likely to have any knowledge of how these holy days really came about and if they were to ask, they would most likely get a standard religious answer based on that church’s view, rather than a scripturally based explanation.
If the resurrection was only meant to signify the coming of spring, new life, the joy of rabbits and Easter eggs, or even the beauty of orchids, lilies and flowers it would make Christ’s death on the cross a rather foolish act. It would be an object lesson that reaches to the furthest corners of goofy to extract a lesson. Without the clarifying light of scripture such a celebration would become ersatz – or is it too late already, has perception already overtaken reality?
Resurrection of Christ – A Promise and a Stamp of Approval
Christ’s resurrection, rather than merely being a cause to celebrate spring, is a promise that one day we will all be resurrected. When Jesus used ‘verily verily’ to precede a statement it was a signal to take heed. It was fair warning that the truth within his declaration was a surety not a wistful or pious platitude open to many interpretations and debate. One such declaration was his promise that one day; we will all see our own resurrection.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” (Jn 5: 25)
When the lepers, the blind and every kind of disease was healed during Christ’s public ministry it was to verify his deity. It was proof to a dying world that they were witnessing the works of the Creator and Master of Life. The final verification, his resurrection, was the capstone and full stamp of approval from God the Father that Jesus was indeed his only begotten son.
In reality, God did not approve Jesus because he was resurrected, but rather his approval came because Christ – is the resurrection.
“Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. (Jn 11: 23-25)
The Resurrection and Prophecy – Inextricably Entwined
Prophecy contains pictures of future events, the last day’s falling away, the coming of Antichrist, the destruction of Muslim invading armies on the plains and hills of Israel and much more. The promise of a resurrection for every person who has ever lived is also a prophetic declaration, but it stands in a place quite apart from all other prophecy because we are given a pre-view and an actual demonstration of it, in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It is a prophecy and a promise with teeth - no one will escape its bite.
Christ’s Resurrection - Not the Last One this World Sees!
Who would guess that the scripture provides an entire chapter in Revelation (Rev 11: 1f) for those who are doubtful of Christ’s resurrection which is a promise of a last days, last minute double resurrection just before terrible judgments begin on a global scale. Not only do the two servants who preach the gospel during the reign of Antichrist get resurrected, but accordingly, it is an event seen around the world.
Prior to these days of instant global communications this prophecy was very difficult for expositors of the scripture to explain.
The two “witnesses” described in Revelation eleven will shake up the world with yet one more resurrection. It will cause many to turn away from Antichrist and it is the mercy of a Living God given as the last herald to the living. It is a reiteration of Christ’s resurrection in full color, worldwide and spectacular. It is proof that God does not like sneaking up on an unsuspecting creation just to lower the boom, without mitigation and mercy.
Two Resurrections? – Yes, but Let’s Not Get Confused
It is not confusing, the Bible teaches that at the second coming of Christ there is a resurrection of the just. Those who will ultimately be judged into punishment are not resurrected until the one thousand year rule of Christ (The Millennial Kingdom) is completed.
“But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” (Rev 20: 5, 6)
It is this scripture and others like it that have given birth to the old adage “born once, die twice – born twice, die once.” Jesus said we must be “born again” to see the kingdom of God. (Jn 3: 3) Quite simply it is only those who have accepted the re-birth that are resurrected at the second coming of Christ.
The Resurrection No One Wants to Attend!
The second death is a resurrection at the end of Christ’s millennial kingdom and those who are found there are from every walk in life. No stature or rank is recognized whether prophet or president, rich man or poor.
It is the final dark day in which separation from God becomes permanent for millions. It is a resurrection of the hopeless and it will include every kind of sinner and mocker that time has ever produced. It is the one resurrection that you will not want to attend.
In one of the last chapters of the entire bible this last warning is given to wit:
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Rev 21: 8)
Changing the Terminology - Not Enough
Many churches and individuals have begun to call Easter “Resurrection Day” rather than trying to explain the derivation of the word Easter. Even this is not enough. A better plan would be to acquaint yourself with the next two resurrections and adjust the path of your life to accommodate that knowledge.
With that accomplished no one will have to wish you either a happy Resurrection Day or a happy Easter. It will be the happiest day of your life. This is the prophetic promise of Christ’s resurrection.
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God”
George Frederick Handel extracted from - Job 19: 25, 26
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