The Journal of Biblical Accuracy

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He was raised!

As we all probably know the last month was the month of the celebration of Jesus' resurrection. I would like therefore to take some time today to see some things about this event. From the many places where the Word of God refers to this event, we will mostly concentrate our attention to some of the public sermons recorded in the book of Acts. To start we will go to Acts 2.

1. Acts 2:14-36

Acts 2:14-36 records a preaching made by Peter on the day of Pentecost, just little after the pouring out of the holy spirit and the manifestation of speaking in tongues that followed it. We will start reading from verse 22:

Acts 2:22-24
"Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves also know - him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; WHOM GOD RAISED UP, HAVING LOOSED THE PAINS OF DEATH, BECAUSE IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE THAT HE SHOULD BE HELD BY IT"

The people who made up Peter's audience, were not foreigners. In contrast, they were people who used to live there and knew the miracles and the wonders that God did through Jesus Christ. However, despite the great miracles done by him, they crucified him. But this was not the end of the story, since just three days after the crucifixion, something else, something unique, changed the whole situation dramatically. What was this? THE RESURRECTION. Really, Jesus, after being three days and three nights in the tomb, was raised again! Luke 24:1-7 tells us:

Luke 24:1-7
"Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, "WHY DO YOU SEEK THE LIVING AMONG THE DEAD? HE IS NOT HERE, BUT IS RISEN! Remember how he spoke to you when he was still in Galilee, saying, "The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and the third day be raised again."

Jesus Christ was risen from the dead, exactly as he had promised to his disciples, and exactly as God had promised in the Old Testament Scriptures. One such prophecy regarding the resurrection of Jesus is quoted in the same speech of Peter:

Acts 2:25-31
"For David says concerning him: "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." 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. THEREFORE BEING EXALTED TO THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, AND HAVING RECEIVED FROM THE FATHER THE PROMISE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, HE POURED OUT THIS WHICH YOU NOW SEE AND HEAR"

God through David, many many years ago, had promised that Jesus Christ would not be left dead nor would his flesh see corruption. In the day of the resurrection this promise was fulfilled. Jesus Christ is the only one who, though dead was raised up and now lives eternally1. And not only that: one day he is going to come back and all that believed in him and in his resurrection are going also to live eternally. As I Corinthians 15:20-23 tells us:

I Corinthians 15:20-23
"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."

Apart from testifying the resurrection of Jesus from the Old Testament Scriptures, Peter also said that it was Jesus Christ who received from the Father the promise of the holy spirit and poured it out. From this it is evident that if Jesus Christ was not risen from the dead, he could not receive and pour out the promise of the holy spirit and therefore neither the apostles nor someone else could receive it and manifest it. Turning it the other way round, the fact that we have holy spirit is because Jesus was risen from the dead and poured it out, and is a proof of the resurrection. Really how many events do you know that can present such an alive proof of their occurrence? Personally I do not know any. The occurrence of past events is usually witnessed only by history. The resurrection also has its own historical witnesses: the people who saw the resurrected Christ and whose witness is recorded in the Word of God. However, it goes more than this. It also has an ALIVE witness: THE HOLY SPIRIT IN YOU. In Acts 5:32 Peter said characteristically:

Acts 5:30, 32
"The God of our Fathers RAISED UP JESUS......And we are witnesses to these things, AND so also is the holy spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him."

See this "AND" there. The apostles and the others that saw the resurrected Christ are NOT the only witnesses of his resurrection. Apart from them there is also one more witness:the holy spirit that God gives to everyone that believes in the Lord Jesus and the resurrection, and which can also be manifested by the nine ways listed in I Corinthians 12:8-10. Truly, every time that you operate this spirit you know that Christ is risen from the dead. For had he not been risen, you could not have holy spirit, and therefore you could not operate it. Do we therefore have an alive proof of the resurrection? YES: the holy spirit and the manifestations that accompany it.

2. Acts 13:14-49 and other passages

Though in the above we concentrated on the fact that the presence and the manifestations of the holy spirit are an alive witness to the resurrection, this does not mean that the eyewitnesses are insignificant. To see some of the things that the Bible says regarding this kind of witnesses let's go to Acts 13. There Paul is preaching in a synagogue of Antioch, a city of Minor Asia. Starting from verse 27 we read:

Acts 13:27-31
"For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know him [Jesus], nor even the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning him. And though they found no cause for death in him, they asked Pilate that he should be put to death. Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. BUT GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD. HE WAS SEEN FOR MANY DAYS BY THOSE WHO CAME UP WITH HIM FROM GALILEE TO JERUSALEM, WHO ARE HIS WITNESSES TO THE PEOPLE."

God raised Christ from the dead. The chief priests and the Pharisees put guards to guard the tomb. They sealed it also. BUT all this was in vain. For Christ was raised from the dead, and "was seen for MANY days by those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem". I would like here to point out the word "many" that is used in this passage, and which, as we know, always declares abundance. In our case it declares ABUNDANCE OF DAYS in which the resurrected Christ was seen. This is the first indication of abundance of proofs regarding the resurrection: the resurrected Christ was seen FOR MANY days, leaving no doubt about his resurrection. However, this is not the only abundance of evidence that we have. The first three opening verses of Acts tell us:

Acts 1:1-3
"The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after he through the holy spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom he had chosen. TO WHOM HE ALSO PRESENTED HIMSELF ALIVE AFTER HIS SUFFERING BY MANY INFALLIBLE PROOFS, BEING SEEN BY THEM DURING FORTY DAYS AND SPEAKING OF THE THINGS PERTAINING TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD"

Jesus Christ presented himself by MANY infallible proofs. To understand the meaning of an infallible proof, let's say that I did something bad and the police caught me at the very time that I did it. In a court this would be an infallible proof. It could not be broken. Even if I hired some false witnesses, to say some lies, their witness could not stand, since it would be invalidated by the infallible proof. Well, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is an event that is based ON INFALLIBLE PROOFS i.e. on proofs that cannot be broken. And in fact not on just one or two of them but on MANY, i.e. on abundance!!

As it is evident from the above, the resurrection was not a secret event for which we have just some bits of doubtful information. In contrast, as Peter said in Acts 10:39-41:

Acts 10:39-41
"And we are witnesses of all things which he [Jesus] did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. HIM GOD RAISED ON THE THIRD DAY, AND SHOWED HIM OPENLY, NOT TO ALL PEOPLE, BUT TO WITNESSES CHOSEN BEFORE BY GOD, EVEN TO US WHO ATE AND DRANK WITH HIM AFTER HE AROSE FROM THE DEAD"

God SHOWED JESUS OPENLY. The resurrection was not a hidden event. Instead, through the abundance of Jesus' appearances, God established as clear and irrefutable that His Son was alive.

Though by now we have seen that Jesus appeared FOR MANY days, and with MANY infallible proofs, we have not yet seen to how MANY he appeared i.e. how MANY were the eyewitnesses of his resurrection. To get an answer to this question, let's go to I Corinthians 15:3-82 There we read:

I Corinthians 15:3-8
"For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that HE WAS RAISED AGAIN THE THIRD DAY ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES AND THAT HE WAS SEEN by Cephas [Peter], then by the twelve. After that he was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that he was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all he was seen by me"

In one of his appearances, Jesus was seen BY OVER FIVE HUNDRED PEOPLE!! If this is not an abundance of eyewitnesses, what is it then? Returning to our example with the court, one eyewitness is many times enough to prove the reality of an event. The resurrection of Jesus Christ does not have just one or even a few eyewitnesses but OVER FIVE HUNDRED, let alone the witnesses of the other appearances.

To conclude therefore, the resurrection of Jesus Christ has two kinds of witnesses. The first is the holy spirit and the manifestations that accompany it. Apart from this, there are also the eyewitnesses of the resurrection, whose witness is recorded in the Word of God. As we saw above: the resurrected Christ appeared to MANY people, for MANY days, and with MANY INFALLIBLE proofs, thus leaving no doubt about his resurrection.

Truly, how many events do you know that can present such an abundance of evidence, and for which, apart from any other witness, you have also an ALIVE witness? Personally, apart from the resurrection, I do not know any.

3. Acts 3:26 and other passages

Having seen the witnesses to the resurrection and the fact it is because of it that the holy spirit was made available, let's go ahead to see a few more of its effects. To start we will go to Acts 3:26. The relevant passage is part of a preaching of Peter made to the Jews.

Acts 3:26
"To you first, GOD HAVING RAISED UP HIS SERVANT JESUS, SENT HIM TO BLESS YOU, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities."

God raised up Jesus Christ and send him TO BLESS US. Only blessings can someone has from him. However, without the resurrection this could not happen. And not only that. As I Corinthians 15:17 makes clear:

I Corinthians 15:17
"And if Christ is not risen your faith is futile, you are still in your sins!"

Before one believes in the Lord Jesus and in his resurrection, he is described as "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1). This situation changes only after he believes. However, as the above passage makes clear, if Christ was not risen then this believing or faith would be futile, vain! Moreover, we would still be in our sins! But fortunately, all this would happen only if Christ was not risen from the dead. And I say fortunately for:

I Corinthians 15:20
"NOW CHRIST IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep."

Christ is risen from the dead. We are no longer n our sins. Our believing is not in vain. As Ephesians 2:1, 4-8 says:

Ephesians 2:1, 4-8
"And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins........BUT God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, MADE US ALIVE WITH CHRIST (by grace you are saved), AND RAISED US UP TOGETHER, AND MADE US SIT TOGETHER IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES IN CHRIST JESUS, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God"

Now Jesus Christ is alive. We are no more dead in our sins. When Christ was raised up, we were raised up with him. When he was made alive we were made alive with him. When he sat in the heavenlies we sat together there with him. The usage of the past tense in the above passage shows that from God's point of view, all these are considered as accomplished realities from the day that He raised Christ from the dead. Evidently, had not Christ been raised from the dead, nothing of them could have possibly happened.

4. Conclusion

Having finished this study, I believe that it should be already clear the reality of the resurrection and of the things that we have because of it. Because of the resurrection we have holy spirit, which together with its manifestations and the eyewitnesses is a proof that Jesus is alive. Because of the resurrection, we are considered as raised up with Christ and sited in the heavenlies with him. Because of the resurrection we have Christ in us (Collosians 1:27) to bless us. Because of the resurrection our believing is not in vain, and we are no longer in our sins. Because of the resurrection, those who died believing in Christ, will not perish but they will also be raised again in his coming. These are only a few of the things that we have because of the resurrection and the reader is advised to study for himself the Word of God to find more3. However, I believe that they are enough to make clear the importance of this event. Christianity does not have a dead leader whose philosophies and theories we are to follow. Instead it has an ALIVE leader, one that lives eternally; one that God approved by raising him from the dead (Romans 1:1,3-4, Acts 17:29-31) and who is to come back again one day to pick up those who wait for him, and among them us as well.


Anastasios Kioulachoglou




1. Others have also been raised from the dead, as Lazarus for example, but they died again.

2. Apart from the appearances recorded in I Corinthians 15:3-8, there are others that though not recorded here are recorded in the gospels, such as the appearance to Mary the Magdalene, to the two men that were going to Emmaus, and to the eleven without Thomas, at the evening of "the first day of the week".

3. See also the article: On the resurrection of Jesus.