Jesus and the Resurrection

by: Bill Bratt  


Jesus Christ spent three days and three nights in the grave! The resurrection of Jesus Christ was not on Sunday! The Bible does not command the followers of Jesus Christ to keep Sunday holy in honor of the "so-called" resurrection day of Jesus Christ!

Do these three statements shock you? If you are a Catholic or a Protestant you probably are stunned.

The Bible clearly says in Matthew 12:40: "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." The Bible no where says that Jesus was resurrected on Sunday morning but does indicate that He ascended to heaven on Sunday morning. Notice in John 20:16-17 that Jesus told Mary not to touch Him because He had not yet ascended to God the Father. Thirdly the Bible says nothing about Sunday being holy or to be honored as the resurrection day of Jesus Christ.

(For more information on these topics you can request our free articles:

ĎThe Resurrection was not on Sundayí,

ĎWhy Do You Observe Sunday?í And our audio tape: ĎThree Days and Three Nightsí. Send your request to: ICOG - P.O. Box 22 - Portsmouth, Ohio 45662).

Apostles Preached Jesus and His Resurrection

The apostles preached about Jesus and His resurrection from the dead. Letís notice the following passages: Peter and John were before the Sanhedrin and "as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, {2} being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead" (Acts 4:1-2). {33} "And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all."

The apostle Paul was in Athens and "his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. {17} Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there. {18} Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, "What does this babbler want to say?" Others said, "He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods," because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection" (Acts 17:16-18 ).

The apostle Peter stated in the book that bears his name in 1 Peter 1:1-3: "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, ...{3} Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead".

Jesusí Resurrection is indicated in Godís Plan of Salvation

Godís Plan of Salvation is laid out

in Leviticus 23 where all of Godís seven annual Holy Days are given in order and proclaimed to be holy convocations, the appointed times of God, and He says in verse 2: "'The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts."

(For more information on Godís Holy Days you can request our free booklet: ĎGodís Holy Daysí which goes through each of the seven festivals and describes in detail the meaning of each festival ).

Godís annual holy day festivals are arranged around the harvest seasons and the first barley to become ripe was at Passover time. During the Passover season, which included the Days of Unleavened Bread, there was a special Wave Sheaf Ceremony that took place which had great significance. The Wave Sheaf Ceremony is described in Leviticus 23:10-14.

Letís read this passage beginning in verse 10: "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. {11} 'He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. {12} 'And you shall offer on that day, when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering to the LORD. {13} 'Its grain offering shall be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire to the LORD, for a sweet aroma; and its drink offering shall be of wine, one-fourth of a hin. {14} 'You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your God; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings."

The meaning of this ceremony is important, even though it is no longer performed since the Old Testament priesthood is no longer needed.

Letís notice that in verse 10 that this sheaf is called a sheaf of the firstfruits or the "wave sheaf".

Before they could reap of the harvest, they were to bring a sheaf of the firstfruits to the priest. Most modern Bible translations use the word "sheaf", however, the priests did not wave a sheaf. The word "sheaf" is translated from the Hebrew word "omer", which means a measurement of about two quarts or two liters. The Jews traditionally cut a sheaf, beat out the grain, then ground the first of the firstfruits into flour and offered an omer of that flour. (See Jewish Encyclopedia, article "Omer".)

Quoting from the book: "The Temple - Its Ministry and Services" by Alfred Edersheim, page 204-205: "When the time for the cutting the sheaf had arrived,.... just as the sun went down, three men, each with a sickle and basket, formally set to work. But in order clearly to bring out all that was distinctive in the ceremony, they first asked the bystanders three times each of these questions: ĎHas the sun gone down?í ĎWith this sickle?í ĎInto this basket?í ĎOn this Sabbath (or first Passover-day)?í - and lastly, ĎShall I reap?í Having each time been answered in the affirmative, they cut down barley to the amount of one ephah, or ten omers, or three seahs, which is equal to about three pecks and three pints of our English measure. ... Though one ephah, or ten omers, of barley was cut down, only one omer of flour, ... was offered in the Temple."

The first part of the spring grain harvest was to be waved before God to be accepted by Him (Leviticus 23:11-12). The word "wave" should be translated as "lift up or elevate". The Tanakh (The Jewish Bible) translation translates verses 11-12 as: "He (the priest) shall elevate the sheaf before the Lord for acceptance in your behalf; the priest shall elevate it on the day after the Sabbath. (12) On the day that you elevate the sheaf, you shall offer as a burnt offering to the Lord a lamb of the first year without blemish"

No one was permitted to eat of this early harvest before the wave sheaf was offered (See Leviticus 23:14).

Jesus Was the Fulfillment of the Wave Sheaf Offering

Now letís notice the way in which

Jesus Christ, the first of Godís spiritual harvest, became the fulfillment of the Wave Sheaf Offering. He was the first to be resurrected from the dead. When the apostle Paul was standing before King Agrippa answering for himself concerning the things of which he was accused of by the Jews (Acts 26:2), he said in verse 23: "the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles." Notice that Paul said that Jesus Christ was to be the first to be resurrected from the dead.

Letís notice a few more passages that reinforces this point.

Paul passed this information on those in the Church of Colosse: Jesus "is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation" ... {18} "And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence" (Colossians 1:15, 18).

Letís see how the Apostle Paul saw this concept of "firstfruits": "But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. {21} For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. {22} For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. {23} But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming" (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).

This scripture says: "Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep." So Jesus was the very first to be "harvested" or "resurrected" from the dead.

Not even King David who was a man after Godís own heart (Acts 13:22) and will be in the millennial Kingdom of God in the future (Hebrews 11:32, 39) did not beat Jesus to the punch in being resurrected before Jesus was.

Letís notice what the apostle Peter said about David on the Day of Pentecost beginning in Acts 2:29: "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. {30} "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, {31} "he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. {32} "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. {33} "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. {34} "For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: 'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand".

Please note that David had not been resurrected and he was still in his grave on this Pentecost which was fifty days after Jesus had been resurrected and ascended to God the Father in heaven.

Also note what Jesus said in John 3:13: "No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven".

Please note that NO man could precede Jesus Christ into the presence of God the Father. No man could be "harvested" before Jesus was presented as the "firstfruits" from the dead.

Now letís notice what happened just before Jesus ascended to heaven as recorded in John 20:16-17: Jesus said to Mary: "Mary!" She turned and said to Him, "Rabboni!" (which is to say, Teacher). {17} Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.'"

So early in the morning on Sunday, the first day of the week, after Jesus had been resurrected and before He had ascended to the Father, He told Mary not to touch Him because He had not yet ascended to God the Father. But later the same day, Jesus did allow His disciples to touch Him as recorded in Matthew 28:9: "And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice!" So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him".

This makes it plain and clear that Jesus had gone to the Father in heaven and presented Himself to the Father in the period of time from early in the morning when He wouldnít allow Mary to touch Him till this period of time that He was with His disciples.

So when was the wave sheaf offered? Verse 11 of Leviticus 23 says: "'He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it." The wave sheaf was to be offered on the day (or morrow) after the Sabbath. At the same time that the priests lifted up the wave sheaf offering in the Temple, Jesus had been lifted up to heaven (ascended), and was presented and accepted by God the Father. Like the wave sheaf offering, He was offered on our behalf.

The purpose of the Wave Sheaf Ceremony pertains as to when you start counting the fifty days in order to know when to celebrate the festival of Pentecost. The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, which means "fiftieth", is always to be observed on a Sunday, which is the fiftieth day after the cutting of the wave sheaf during the Feast of the Days of Unleavened Bread. The cutting of the wave sheaf pictures when Jesus was cut out of the earth (tomb) and was resurrected. The waving, lifting up or elevating of the wave sheaf "omer" pictures Jesusí ascension to God the Father to be accepted by Him. Jesus is the first of the firstfruits.

So when was Jesus Christ resurrected? The cutting of the wave sheaf pictures when Jesus was cut out of the earth, His tomb, where He had been for three days and three nights and was resurrected (Matthew 12:39-40). The cutting of the sheaf was done just as the sun went down at the end of the Saturday Sabbath during the days of unleavened bread. Jesus Christís resurrection at this time was a fulfillment of this prophecy given in Leviticus 23:10-14. Hereís an example of the New Testament revealing what the Old Testament was concealing.

(For more detailed information on this topic request our free article: ĎThe Resurrection was not on Sundayí).

Christians are Called First Fruits

Jesus Christ is the first of the firstfruits and we, the Saints, are firstfruits. Firstfruits is an offering made to God (Leviticus 2:12). Jesus who was the first of the firstfruits was offered to God as we have already seen. We, the Saints, are going to be offered to God as we shall see. The word "Saint" comes from the Greek word "hagios" and means sacred, pure, morally blameless, consecrated and holy.

James, Christís brother (Mark 13:55), says: "Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures." (James 1:18).

The apostle John records in Revelation 14:1-4: "Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father's name written on their foreheads. {2} And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. {3} They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. {4} These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb".

Letís notice a few things in this passage. The term Lamb is referring to Jesus Christ (John 1:29,36). The one hundred and forty-four thousand represents the bride of Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:7-9, 21:9), those who have been redeemed from the earth from among men.

Jesus is Our Redeemer

Redemption is the act of redeeming. Websterís Dictionary defines the word "redeem" as: "to set free; to rescue or ransom, to save from a state of sinfulness and its consequences."

In the Bible the idea of redemption is connected to the redeeming of slaves (Leviticus 25:39-55). We are slaves of sin and the Apostle John recorded Jesus as saying: "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. {35} "And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. {36} "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed" (John 8:34-36).

Jesus died for us that He might redeem us: "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, {12} teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, {13} looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, {14} who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works" Titus 2:11-14 .

All men have sinned and needs a redeemer. Jesus paid the price for us by dying for us. Jesus is our Redeemer.

Count Fifty Days to Pentecost

Letís continue in Leviticus 23: 15-17 "And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. {16} 'Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD. {17} 'You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the LORD."

This passage is telling us how to count fifty days to Pentecost. In Verse 17 it mentions two wave loaves baked with leaven. This is prophetic in what the two loaves represent, one loaf represents the Old Testament Saints and the second loaf represents the New Testament Saints. Notice that these loaves are waved or lifted up or elevated in the same manner as the wave sheaf offering was lifted up. The wave sheaf offering represented Jesus Christ being resurrected and ascending to God and being presented to God the Father. The Pentecost offering is similar in that the Saints will be resurrected in the first resurrection and be presented to God the Father as the Bride of Jesus Christ and then the marriage of the Lamb will occur when Jesus Christ will marry the Church.

The festival of Pentecost is not to fall on a calendar date, but on a day of the week - "the morrow after the seventh Sabbath" from the wave sheaf offering which is always on a Sunday.

"Pentecost" comes from the Greek and means "fiftieth," a reference to the feast falling on the 50th day after the wave sheaf offering. The festival is referred to variously as Pentecost, the Feast of Weeks or the Feast of Firstfruits. The seven intervening weeks are the weeks of grain harvest in Palestine, beginning with the first ripe barley during the Days of Unleavened Bread and finishing with the wheat harvest before Pentecost. Pentecost, then, is a harvest festival.

In Palestine there are two annual harvests. First produced by the early rain, is the spring grain harvest, second, produced by the "latter rain," comes the main harvest ... the much greater fall harvest. God intended His Holy Days to picture to His Church repeatedly year by year the fact that only those He himself calls during this age can become His begotten children now (John 6:44). We are merely the firstfruits of the great spiritual harvest. As Passover symbolized Christ's sacrifice for the remission of our sins and the days of unleavened bread, the putting away of sin and living righteously (Romans 6:4). Pentecost pictures the first part of the spiritual harvest-the calling out of the Church-the called-out ones which, for the New Testament dispensation, began in 31 A.D. On the day the Holy Spirit first came to dwell within flesh, as prophesied in Joel 2:28: "And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions."

Pentecost looks forward to the return of Christ and a massive pouring out of Godís Spirit. The seven weeks of harvest thus would portray the harvest of saints taking place in our age between Christís departure and His return to this earth.

Pentecost is the very feast that Jesusí disciples were observing as recorded in Acts 2:1 "When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place."

We are Saved by the Life of Jesus

The blood of Jesus Christ is very important and some people think that you are saved by His blood, but that is not what the Bible says. The apostle Paul clarifies this in Romans 5:9-11: "Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. {10} For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. {11} And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation". Did you notice what Paul said. We are justified by His blood by Him being our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7) and we are saved by His life. Jesus was resurrected back to life by God the Father. In Peterís Pentecost sermon, he said: "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses" (Acts 2:32). So God the Father resurrected Jesus and we will be resurrected by Jesus Christ. Letís notice what Jesus said:"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44).

Letís notice something else that Jesus said: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. {26} "And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die" (John 11:25-26). Jesus is promising us that He will resurrect us and give us eternal life.

The Resurrection gives us Hope

We can give praise to God for a living hope. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3).

We all go through trials and tests and life at times seems futile. The apostle Paul went through more than his share of trials and tests and letís notice what he said about hope: "I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust" (Acts 24:15). The resurrection gave hope to Paul.

Letís look at one of the most powerful passages regarding the return of Jesus Christ and our being resurrected: "But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. {14} For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. {15} For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. {16} For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. {17} Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. {18} Therefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Life has its pain and suffering and we all are going to die (Hebrews 9:27). The hope of the first resurrection gives us something to live and die for.

The Faith chapter in the Bible tells of many Saints who lived their lives in faithful obedience to God and yet "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth" (Hebrews 11:13). Some of Godís people have had to endure persecution and death "and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection" (Hebrews 11:35). Obviously the better resurrection is the first resurrection. Jesus said: "Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years" (Revelation 20:6).

Letís notice how fast the first resurrection will occur: "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. {53} For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality"

(1 Corinthians 15:52-53). From this verse we can see that we do not have an immortal soul because we are mortal and must put on immortality.

What Happens After We are Resurrected?

When Jesus Christ returns and the first resurrection occurs we will rise and meet Him in the air and go to Jerusalem and establish the Kingdom of God on earth. He will make us "kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth" (Revelation 5:8-10) with Him for a thousand years (Revelation 20:6). We will be blessed in that we will partake in the marriage supper of the lamb when we as the Church are married to Jesus Christ" (Revelation 19:9). (For more information on this topic you can request our free article: ĎThy Kingdom Comeí).

In conclusion: Jesus Christís life, death and resurrection is the central core of our Christian faith. The words of Jesus gives us hope and inspires us to continue on in the faith of fighting the good fight, overcoming, repenting, doing good works and preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God.

The promise of Jesus to resurrect us and to give us the reward of eternal life gives us hope so that we can live our lives and make it into the Kingdom of God to be part of the Bride of Christ and we shall always be with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for all eternity.

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