He Arose and Was Seen

Topic: Salvation

Type: Article

Author:   A. Allison Lewis

If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain . . . you are yet in your sins [1CO 15:14, 17].

It is one thing to think highly of Jesus or reverence Him BUT it is an entirely different thing to receive Him as your Savior. Many speak of His going "about and doing good," and that He spoke words such as never man spoke--that may be reverence but He is our Savior only when we can say in truth with Thomas, My Lord and My God.

The words He loved me and gave Himself for me [GAL 2:20] are a historical statement. They are an account of something that happened. That is history. To this historical fact they add the MEANING of the fact and in so doing they reveal the heart of the Gospel of salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. This is doctrine.

Historicity is vital to true Christianity--if Christ be not risen . . . you are yet in your sins. If Christ did not come into the world, die, and rise again the third day as the Bible records, our faith is absolutely worthless and we are yet doomed in our sins. When Paul stated the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4 he said nothing of some "Fatherhood of God," or "Brotherhood of man," nor did he state some vague admiration for the character and teaching of Jesus, such as is done by Hell bound religious leaders and people of our day. Their "Social Gospel" is not the Gospel at all. What Paul did say is that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, He was buried, He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. Christ died–that is history. Christ died FOR OUR SINS--that is doctrine. Without these two elements, joined in an absolutely indissoluble union, there is no Christianity.

Christianity is based on historical facts--events which were just as real as the Roman Empire, Napoleon Bonaparte, or you and I. As a historical event Christianity can be investigated based on historical evidence. The Bible in many respects is a book of history. It is filled with history. It has proven to be reliable history. The evidence shows that the body of Christ was raised the third day. Indeed He is risen.

The hopes and dreams of the disciples of Jesus were utterly shattered by His death on the Cross. Their Master, they thought, had failed. Yet these same weak, discouraged men, within a few days of the death and burial of Jesus, began the most important spiritual movement that the world has ever seen. What had produced this amazing change? It certainly was not the mere memory of Jesus’ life and teaching. It certainly could not be that one of their number or that all of them were involved in a hoax for they all were convinced that they had seen Jesus (flesh and bones) on several occasions following His death and burial AND THEN they were willing to suffer and die for this certainty. Hoaxers operate for gain not pain. The great weapon with which the followers of Jesus set out to conquer the world was not a dream or love of certain lofty moral principles. It was rather a historical event that had recently happened. It was the fact that HE AROSE.

Christ died for our sins…was buried,…rose again the third day according to the Scriptures: and…HE WAS SEEN [1CO 15:3-5]. He showed Himself alive after His passion [death] by many infallible proofs, BEING SEEN of them [ACT 1:3]. Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said unto them, "Peace be unto you." But they were terrified and frightened--thinking that they had seen a spirit. And He said unto them, "…BEHOLD My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me, and SEE for a spirit has not flesh and bones, as you SEE Me have" [LUK 24:36-39].

Christianity is THE "religion" of the empty tomb. Christ was buried. What was buried? The body of Christ, of course. His spirit or soul left His body about the ninth hour (three pm) [LUK 23:44-46] and went, along with the soul of the repentant thief from one of the other crosses, to the Father in Paradise (verse 43). Physical death is the separation of the soul from the body. Resurrection is the reuniting of the soul with the body. We bury bodies after the soul has departed either to Heaven or Hell. Even infidels agree that one named Jesus of Nazareth died on a Roman cross and that His body was buried. The difference between the infidel and the believer is that the Christian believes that Jesus’ spirit was, on the third day, reunited to His body and that He came forth from the tomb, whereas the infidel denies this event. The religious infidel talks about a "spiritual" resurrection. The religious leadership of the major denominations deny the empty tomb. For example, prominent Lutheran theologian Alan Richardson in his Short Introduction to the History of Christian Doctrine does this. Tom Harpur does the same in The United Church Observer for May 1984. In the March 1980 The Newfoundland Churchman, Anglican Church leader, Bishop Mark Genge, showed his denial of the Christian faith by writing of a "spiritual" resurrection. There are Baptist preachers and seminary teachers from the mainline Baptist denominations who are (as to the Christian faith) Hell-bound religious infidels who deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ and other major Bible teachings. If Jesus did not rise, as the Bible claims, then all men are hopelessly lost in their sins [1CO 15:16-19].

The teaching of the Bible is so plain that a child would have no problem understanding that it teaches that Christ rose bodily from the grave. The New Testament witnesses did not see a spirit. Jesus plainly said, Handle Me, and see for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see Me have [LUK 24:39]. Yes, Christ PHYSICALLY AROSE and HE WAS SEEN.

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This Page Last Updated: 12/03/98 A. Allison Lewis aalewis@christianbeliefs.org