Chapter 15
The Vindicated Blood of Jesus

Jesus’ Resurrection

The Gospel is the Gospel, not only of the death of Jesus, but also of His resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of Christianity.

Buddha is dead; Mohammed is dead; Zoroaster is dead; Confucius is dead; many Popes have died; but the Lord Jesus Christ is alive for evermore! Hallelujah!

I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen… (Rev. 1:18)

The resurrection of Jesus was the evidence that the Atonement was complete and had been accepted by God. We’re redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus and not by His resurrection, but His resurrection proved that He paid the penalty for sin fully, or else He wouldn’t have been raised. It is in this sense that Paul wrote, in Romans 4:25, that Jesus was “raised again for our justification.”

We shall now consider some important statements in the Bible concerning Jesus’ resurrection.

Acts 13:35

Wherefore He saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (Acts 13:35)

Paul, in Acts 13:35, said that Jesus’ holy body did not see corruption. Corruption, which means physical decomposition and decay, is part of the curse of sin and is the common lot of fallen humanity. Jesus, however, was sinless, and therefore His body could not experience corruption while it was in the tomb.

In Acts 13:35 37, Paul makes a contrast between the body of David (an imperfect man) and the body of Jesus (God’s Holy One). David’s body saw corruption while Jesus’ body saw no corruption.

If Jesus’ body had experienced corruption, it would mean that He had been tainted by sin when He died, and therefore He could not have been an acceptable sacrifice to God for our sins. If Christ was not raised from the dead without seeing corruption, then no atonement was made and we’re still in our sins. But, by virtue of His absolute sinlessness, Jesus’ body was incorruptible, and therefore Paul continues in Acts 13, with the promise of forgiveness of sins and salvation through Him.

Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. (Acts 13:38-39)

Acts 2:24

Whom [Jesus] God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden of it. (Acts 2:24)

In Acts 2:24, Peter says that it was not possible for Jesus to be held by death. In other words, Jesus could not have stayed physically dead. Jesus paid the full price for man’s sins when He shed His precious blood on the cross, and therefore once He had died there was no more penalty needed to be borne by Him in our place.

Jesus was sinless, and death, which is the wages of sin, had no power over Him and no right to Him. Therefore He could not stay dead, and He had to be resurrected. The Father, in justice, could not allow His perfect Son to stay dead.

Jesus voluntarily laid down His life and bore the penalty for our sins and died, but once the Atonement was complete and God’s justice satisfied, the sinless Lamb had to be raised from the dead. It was not possible that He should be “holden” of death!

A common question in the minds of many Christians is: If Jesus fully paid the price for our sins when He died, then why did He stay dead for three days and nights? Why didn’t Jesus die and then immediately return to life? Why three days and nights in the tomb?

We believe there are several reasons why Jesus remained dead for three days and nights, and they are as follows:

(a) Jesus had to remain dead for a period of time that was long enough to show that He had truly died.

(b) The Word of God cannot be broken, but must come to pass; and Jesus had to fulfill the Old Testament Scriptures, as well as His own words, that He would be dead for three days and nights.

(c) Jesus remained dead for three days and nights, because God, in His wisdom, simply decided that it would be that way.

1 Corinthians 15:17

And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. (1 Cor. 15:17)

If Christ was not resurrected bodily then our faith is vain, or fruitless, and we are still under the guilt of our sins, and in a state of eternal condemnation.

If Jesus was not raised from the dead, He must have been sinful on the cross and therefore death had power over Him and a legal right to Him. This in turn means that He couldn’t have died for anyone other than Himself. Therefore there was no vicarious death of an innocent substitute on our behalf, and we all must pay the eternal penalty for our sins ourselves.

Jesus, however, was sinless and holy on the cross; therefore He was resurrected bodily. Consequently, we are not still in our sins, but we have been saved, and we are born again unto a living hope of the complete manifestation of our redemption and of our future union with Jesus in His resurrection. Jesus’ resurrection is the pledge and guarantee of our own resurrection.

…because I live, ye shall live also. (John 14:19)

Matthew 12:38-40

Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But He answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matt. 12:38 40)

The teachers of the error that Jesus died spiritually use Jesus’ statement in Matthew 12:40 to try to prove their false theory that Jesus suffered in hell for three days and nights to redeem us.

However, Jesus’ statement that He would be “three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” refers to His physical body being in the grave for that time.

The experience of the prophet Jonah was a type of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Jesus’ statement refers to His physical body being in the tomb for three days and nights. It’s as simple as that.

In John 2:18 22, Jesus spoke of the same “sign” of His divine commission that He referred to in Matthew 12.

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)

In John 2, it is clear what Jesus is talking about – that the resurrection of His body after three days and nights in the grave was the sign of His divine commission.

Furthermore, it should be observed that God provided the fish for Jonah’s deliverance. It was not a place of punishment.

At this point we add that those who teach that Jesus had to experience the “second death” to pay the full penalty for our sins, are somewhat inconsistent within the framework of their own teaching. The same men who teach that Jesus experienced the “second death” teach that He was born again and released from punishment after suffering in hell for only three days and nights.

Now if Jesus had to experience the second death to redeem us, then how is it that He only suffered in hell for three days and nights? The second death is a state of everlasting torment and alienation from God! If Jesus experienced the second death, then He is still right now suffering in hell, and He will be there forever!

The idea of God suffering in hell for eternity in a state of separation and alienation from Himself is, of course, quite absurd; but then, so is the whole erroneous teaching of Jesus dying spiritually!

Jesus will not spend eternity suffering in hell, and He did not even spend three days and nights suffering in hell, but His work of redemption was finished at the cross when He shed His precious blood, and the resurrection of His body from the dead was the sign of His divine commission.

Revelation 1:5

…Jesus Christ, who is…the first begotten of the dead… (Rev. 1:5)

Some men have used this Scripture in Revelation 1:5 and others like it to try to prove that Jesus died spiritually on the cross and was later “born again” by God in the pit of hell. They say that Jesus was the first man to be born again under the new covenant.

However, the Bible teaches that Jesus never died spiritually and was not born again, but He became the “firstborn from the dead” when He was raised physically from the dead:

That Christ should suffer, and…be the first that should rise from the dead… (Acts 26:23)

Jesus did not die spiritually, and whenever the Bible speaks of His resurrection from the dead, it always refers to the resurrection of His body by the Holy Spirit.

Christ is called “firstborn” in Scripture in several different senses:

(a) Jesus was the “firstborn son” of His mother. Jesus had brothers and sisters; but, by reason of His birth from a virgin, He was the firstborn.

(b) The term “firstborn from the dead” (Col. 1:18) refers to Jesus’ physical resurrection from the dead. He was the first man ever to be raised from the dead with a glorified body, never to die again.21

In another spiritual picture or figure, Christ is called “the firstfruits” of the dead in 1 Corinthians 15:20 and 23. Does this mean Jesus was “harvested” in a literal sense? Obviously not! It is a figure. So too, the term “firstborn from the dead” does not mean that Jesus was born again out of spiritual death, but it refers to His bodily resurrection.22

(c) The term “firstborn” in Scripture refers not merely to birth, but also to position, status and inheritance rights.

In Israel, the firstborn son had special rights and privileges including a larger share of the inheritance. In Exodus 4:22 and Jeremiah 31:9, the nation of Israel is called God’s “firstborn,” meaning that the nation was chosen by God to be the recipient of special privileges and blessings, as compared with the Gentile nations.

This usage of the term “firstborn” as meaning the most illustrious of its class is found in other places. In Job 18:13, the “firstborn of death” is a deadly disease. In Isaiah 14:30, the “firstborn of the poor” means a pauper of paupers. In Psalm 89:27, “I will make Him my firstborn” means to invest Him with royal dignity, and clothe Him with preeminent splendor, so as to make Him exalted in majesty above all the kings of the earth.

This often is the sense in which Christ is called the “firstborn.” The term refers to His position, rank, rights and special privileges.

…[Christ is] the firstborn of all creation: For by Him were all things created…all things were created by Him, and for Him: (Col. 1:15 16, Greek)

In Colossians 1:15 16, Paul’s meaning is that because He is the Creator of all things, Jesus has the position of “firstborn” with respect to all creation. The term does not in any way refer to Jesus being born again, but it speaks of His exalted position and precedence. Jesus holds the rank, as compared with every created thing, of firstborn in dignity and preeminence.

Paul moves from speaking of the preeminence of the Son in the whole universe in verse 15, to His preeminence as Head of the church in verse 18, and he again uses the term “firstborn”:

And He is the Head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence.

So when the Bible speaks of Jesus Christ as being “firstborn,” it does not refer to Him being born again. Jesus never died spiritually, and He was never born again.

One author has written that to be born again is to “become a partaker of the divine nature.” The same author wrote that Jesus Christ was the first person ever to be born again. This means that in this author’s understanding, Jesus became a partaker of the divine nature, which in turn means there was a time when Jesus wasn’t a partaker of the divine nature. Here again, these teachers, whether intentionally or not, have actually denied the deity of Christ! To teach that Jesus was born again of the Spirit of God and became a partaker of the divine nature is to teach that Jesus was, at some point, less than God! That is the seriousness of the error.

1 Timothy 3:16

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (1 Tim. 3:16)

Paul, referring here to Jesus’ resurrection, says Jesus was “justified in the spirit.” Paul meant that by Jesus’ resurrection it was shown or declared that He always was righteous in His spirit. By His resurrection from the dead, Jesus was declared to be – not made to be – the holy Son of God (Rom. 1:3-4).

To teach, as some have, that Paul’s expression in 1 Timothy 3:16 means that Jesus was “born again out of spiritual death,” is to demonstrate a lack of understanding concerning the biblical teaching of justification, as well as to display a lack of knowledge concerning the Greek term for “justify” which never, in all of Greek literature, means to make righteous, but always means to declare to be righteous.

For example, a Christian, when he is “justified,” is not “made” righteous in a literal sense.25 Righteousness is imputed to him, or charged to his account, and he is declared by God to be righteous. Paul makes it clear in Romans 4 that righteousness is imputed to the Christian:

And therefore it was imputed to him [i.e., Abraham] for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; (Rom. 4:22-24)

The Christian’s change of nature occurs in “regeneration.” Justification is a purely legal act of declaration in the “Courts of Heaven,” whereas regeneration is a transforming act of the Holy Spirit on the inside of the person.

Many Scriptures reveal the declarative nature of justification:

…how shall we justify ourselves?… (Gen. 44:16, Hebrew)

…the judges…shall justify [i.e., declare to be innocent or just] the righteous, and condemn the wicked. (Deut. 25:1)

If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. (Job 9:20)

…he justified himself rather than God. (Job 32:2)

…wisdom is justified of her children. (Matt. 11:19)

But he, willing to justify himself… (Luke 10:29)28

In all the above Scriptures, it would not make any sense to interpret the term “justify” as having reference to being born again, or to an actual change of nature; but the declarative meaning of the term “justification” is quite obvious.

Jesus was never born again, but He was “justified.” By His resurrection from the dead it was declared, or proved, or shown that He always was righteous in His spirit. That is the meaning of 1 Timothy 3:16.

Matthew 27:50-53

Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost [i.e., yielded up His life]. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. (Matt. 27:50 53)

In Matthew 27, the graves of the saints were opened when Jesus died, but their bodies came out of the graves only after Jesus’ resurrection. We believe that God intended this to signify that while it was Jesus’ death that conquered our death and opened the door to physical immortality, yet it is in union with His resurrection that we are raised.

Thus, while our redemption was wholly accomplished by the shed blood of Jesus, without His bodily resurrection we could not be saved.

Acts 2:32

This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. (Acts 2:32)

Christians have been given a commission by God, and that commission is to be witnesses of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, but He didn’t stay dead. He rose from the dead, and He is alive today, and He is the same today as He was almost 2000 years ago:

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Heb. 13:8)

When Jesus was on the earth He “went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil” (Acts 10:38). Jesus is alive and He is the same today, and He is still saving and healing people and setting people free. The only difference is that now He is doing it through His witnesses.

In Acts 1:8, Jesus commanded His disciples to be His witnesses:

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

Many Christians today are trying to obey that command; however, a great many of them have ignored the fact that before Jesus commanded His disciples to be His witnesses, He told them to wait for the promise of the Father which was the baptism in the Holy Spirit after which they would “receive power.”

Again, in Luke 24:49 Jesus told His disciples to wait “until ye be clothed [Greek] with power from on High.”

Christians have been commissioned by God to be witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus, and the scriptural way to be a witness of Jesus is through the power of God:

And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus… (Acts 4:33)

We are to be witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus. We are not called to be witnesses just of the doctrine of His resurrection, but of His resurrection itself! Jesus is alive! Jesus is alive, and He is the same today as He always was. We are to be witnesses of the living Christ!

Therefore, we must have the supernatural power of God in our lives to discharge our commission fully. Without the power of God we shall be witnesses just to a church or to a creed or to another religion called “Christianity.” But with the power of the Holy Spirit, we shall be witnesses to a Person, to a living Person, to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus did not command us to proclaim the “Gospel” to all nations without telling us what the “Gospel” is! A wonderful definition of the Gospel is found in Romans 1:16:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Rom. 1:16)

The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, unto soteria, to everyone that believes. The Gospel is the redemption of the whole man by the power of God, through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

Jesus is alive, and He has sent us to proclaim, and to demonstrate, His resurrection and His life.


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