Both the Death and the Resurrection

Warnock (Raised with Christ) asks some good questions about the connection between the death and resurrection of Christ, and left me with several texts to keep pondering.

For example, I Peter 1:11 tells us of the Spirit’s prediction of “the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.” I Peter 3:21 speaks of an “appeal for a good conscience, through the resurrection.”

The gospel is not the death without the resurrection, or the resurrection without the death. The good news about one is good news about the other. Warnock quotes Calvin to this effect: “When in scripture death only is mentioned, everything peculiar to the resurrection is at the same time included, and that there is a like synecdoche in the term resurrection.” (Institutes 2:16:13, p 75 in Warnock).

Mr. Warnock does well to give us the Ephesians 4:8 quotation of Psalm 68: 18—“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men. In saying, He ascended, what does it mean but that he also descended…?” Warnock: “Paul explains that, in the one word ‘ascension’, the descent from heaven is implied.”

But Warnock never quotes or comes to terms with the idea of John 3:13:“ No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of man.” To think about this would jeopardize his traditional assumptions about immortal souls (p243, in his very messy chapter on “our resurrection bodies”.

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11 Comments on “Both the Death and the Resurrection”

  1. Kenneth Hurst Says:

    Now you are giving me some more to think about.

  2. markmcculley Says:

    God did not say to Adam–you will become mortal if you sin. God said to Adam—if you sin, you will die. Adam was already mortal.

  3. markmcculley Says:

    Luke 24: 36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” 40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. 43 And He took it and ate in their presence

    I Corinthians 15: 39 ALL FLESH IS NOT THE SAME FLESH, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.

    I Corinthians 15: 49 And as we have borne the image of the manof dust, we shall also bear[f] the image of the heavenly Man. 50 Now this I say, brethren, that FLESH AND BLOOD cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.

  4. markmcculley Says:

    Smeaton, Apostles Doctrine ,on Romans 4:25, p147—“The impetration
    of a righteousness which would be legally applied as the sole foundation of justification, was accepted on behalf of all to whom it WAS TO BE APPLIED, and this was the cause of Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

    i take Smeaton to mean

    1. righteousness is one thing, and justification another
    2. righteousness is the cause of justification
    3. the righteousness was accepted/ approved by God, even though not
    imputed to all the elect, justice demands that it must be and will be
    4. on this basis, Christ was raised (because of our justification)
    5. doesn’t mean because we were justified when Jesus was raised
    6. doesn’t mean atonement and justification are the same thing
    7. Christ’s death and resurrection is His own justification….I am not saying we have to say it that way, but that is one Bible way to say it, not only the vindication of I Tim 3:16 or the “because you see him no more” of John 16, but Romans 1:1-4, which to my mind is not talking about
    Christ’s two natures but Christ’s redemptive historical justification

  5. markmcculley Says:

    Lee irons—Calvin was equally concerned with this phrase and felt the weight of these objections against it. However, he didn’t want to tamper with an ancient Creed, so he interpreted it metaphorically (Institutes 2.16.8-12). He said that the descent of Jesus into hell means that Jesus endured the torments of hell in his soul prior to his death. Calvin’s interpretation is theologically acceptable. It’s true that Jesus “endured most grievous torments … in his soul” (WCF VIII.4), in addition to the painful sufferings of his body. Calvin’s metaphorical interpretation has had a tremendous influence in the continental Reformed tradition. It is the view enshrined in the Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 16:

    Question 44: Why is there added, “he descended into hell”? Answer: That in my greatest temptations, I may be assured, and wholly comfort myself in this, that my Lord Jesus Christ, by his inexpressible anguish, pains, terrors, and hellish agonies, in which he was plunged during all his sufferings, but especially on the cross, has delivered me from the anguish and torments of hell.

    This metaphorical interpretation is defended by many Reformed pastors to this day, e.g., Daniel Hyde, In Defense of the Descent (Reformation Heritage Books, 2010).
    But I just can’t see that this is what was intended by “he descended into hell.” If the descent clause is a metaphorical way of describing Christ’s atoning sufferings on the cross, then it’s in the wrong place. It should be after “was crucified” and before “died and was buried.” On the cross Jesus said, “It is finished,” so we know that the atoning sufferings of Christ were completed before he died. He did not go into hell after his death to suffer further punishment in our place. http://upper-register.typepad.com/blog/descended-into-hell/

    • markmcculley Says:

      Calvin argues that the first death IS the first resurrection of Revelation 20:6.

      Calvin—“Christ did not pour out his soul unto death. Did Christ die when He was working for your salvation? Not thus does He say of Himself, “As the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given the Son to have life in himself.” (John V. 26.) How could He who has life in Himself lose it?…. If He can die, our death is certain.” Tracts Relating to the Reformation, p 436

      The body which decays, weighs down the soul, and confining it within an earthly habitation, greatly limits its perceptions. If the body is the prison of the soul, if the earthly habitation is a kind of fetters, what is the state of the soul when set free from this prison, when loosed from these fetters? Is it not restored to itself, and as it were made complete, so that we may truly say, that all for which it gains is so much lost to the body? . . . For then the soul, having shaken off all kinds of pollution, is truly spiritual, so that it consents to the will of God, and is no longer subjected to the tyranny of the flesh; thus dwelling in tranquility, with all its thoughts fixed on God.

      Tracts Relating to The Reformation, p 443

  6. markmcculley Says:

    http://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php/219019.pdf

    in the first approach (incarnate in order to die) Christ does not offer salvation to all the dead, as if God’s covenant had been revised and now everyone had a second chance at salvation. Rather, Christ proclaims salvation only to the righteous dead, including figures like David, Samuel, the prophets, and John the Baptist.

    This means that Christ’s descent vindicates rather than revises God’s promises, and it takes place as the first movement of his Easter triumph. For most the church fathers, this indicated that the physicality of Christ’s death was the very point of his saving work. Christ came to save human beings, and humans are not disembodied souls. Christ saved us by embracing the physical death that comes as a consequence of our sin (Genesis 2:17). This embrace of death was the entire point of the incarnation: Christ took a physical body upon himself precisely so that he could die in it as God.

    In the second approach, Calvin affirms that Jesus Christ “descended into hell,” but he rejects the claim that Christ literally descended to the realm of the dead to preach to the saints. Such an idea, he says, “is nothing but a story” containing “childish” elements with no basis in the biblical narrative. , 2.16.9

    According to Calvin, Christ could not have descended into hell to proclaim salvation to the righteous dead because there are no righteous dead: This means, Calvin says, that Peter’s claim that Christ “made a proclamation to the spirits in prison” (1 Peter 3:19) should not be interpreted literally.

    mark: I think this means that Calvin thinks none of the justified are ever really dead. But it also means that Calvin discounts the significance of “only the physical death” of Christ.

    • markmcculley Says:

      Calvin—“Christ did not pour out his soul unto death. Did Christ die when He was working for your salvation? Not thus does He say of Himself, “As the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given the Son to have life in himself.” (John V. 26.) How could He who has life in Himself lose it?…. If He can die, our death is certain.” Tracts Relating to the Reformation, p 436

      Calvin—“The body which decays, weighs down the soul, and confining it within an earthly habitation, greatly limits its perceptions. If the body is the prison of the soul, if the earthly habitation is a kind of fetters, what is the state of the soul when set free from this prison, when loosed from these fetters? Is it not restored to itself, and as it were made complete, so that we may truly say, that all for which it gains is so much lost to the body? . . . For then the soul, having shaken off all kinds of pollution, is truly spiritual, so that it consents to the will of God, and is no longer subjected to the tyranny of the flesh; thus dwelling in tranquility, with all its thoughts fixed on God.

      Tracts Relating to The Reformation, p 443

  7. markmcculley Says:

    In 2 Corinthians 5 , Paul clearly does not want “nakedness”. He wants the body from heaven, which is the resurrection body. And Paul’s not going to get that body until Jesus comes again. If Jesus does not come again, if there is no resurrection, then we would all perish. This is what I Corinthians 15 says. Until that day comes, dead Christians sleep, which means that they are dead. It does not mean that only their bodies are dead, because their minds are also dead until resurrection. Genesis 2:7 teaches that dust plus breath (life from God) results in a “living soul” ( a living person).

    The one thief asked to be remembered (favored) on the last day, in paradise. But Jesus promised him that very day, that the thief would enter the kingdom on that day. It’s not only a matter of “moving the comma” but a matter of remembering where Jesus was when Jesus died that day. Acts 2 clearly tells us that Jesus was in Hades (Sheol, the grave), and so we need to think about what the thief asked and what Jesus answered.

    Moses and Elijah were not alive at the mount—if they were, then there would be no need for Jesus to come again or for them to be raised from the dead! Are you saying that Moses and Elijah did not have bodies but they could be seen by the disciples? Was it a vision, or was it a resurrection so that Abraham and Moses do not have to wait for that day with the rest of us? (read Hebrews 11:39-40)

  8. markmcculley Says:

    Hebrews 7:16 a priest based on a legal command concerning physical descent but based on the power of an indestructible life.

    The power of an indestructible life is not that Christ was unable to die, but the power of Christ’s resurrection to immortality.

    Romans 5: 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His resurrection!

    I Corinthians 15: 45 So it is written: The first man Adam became a living being. The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.

  9. markmcculley Says:

    http://dbts.edu/blog/a-new-and-legitimate-way-david-moffitts-reading-of-hebrews/ Moffitt’s thesis, while nicely argued, is nevertheless untenable, primarily for two reasons. First, Moffitt’s understanding of Jesus’ priesthood is reductionistic. Moffitt forces precision where Hebrews simply will not allow it. Hebrews—however frustratingly—never gives us a clear idea when Jesus became a high priest. While it could suggest that Jesus’ priesthood began only after his resurrection (Heb 7:16) or only once Jesus entered heaven (Heb 8:4), it could also suggest that Jesus’ crucifixion—his voluntary death—was itself a priestly act. After all, while one might, with Moffitt, separate sacrificial slaughter from atonement, no one—especially anyone familiar with the Day-of-Atonement ritual—would suggest only the latter was a priestly activity (see, e.g., Lev 16:11, 15). Second, Moffitt’s understanding of atonement is reductionistic. Whether or not sacrificial slaughter—death—is less central to atonement than the presentation of blood/life can presently remain an open question. Neither Hebrews nor the OT, however, will allow death to function simply as the preparation for atonement, which is to say, as simply the preparation for the atoning manipulation of blood in God’s presence. This sort of conclusion would make nonsense of those instances in the OT where atonement is secured by death alone, without any reference to the Levitical cult, much less to the ritual manipulation of blood (see, e.g., Exod 32:30–32; Num 25:13; 35:33; Deut 21:1–9; 2 Sam 21:3ff. et al.) or, related, to those cultic contexts which accent the atoning value of some ritual element other than manipulation (see, e.g., Lev 1:4; 4:26). Moffitt’s reading, moreover, is also out of step with a more traditional and, arguably, convincing reading of Lev 17:11, which emphasizes death—life given in the place of another’s life—rather than life released and, therefore, available for atoning purgation. Much the same, in fact, could be said for Hebrews, which stubbornly refuses to view Jesus’ death as simply preparatory for and, thus, “peripheral” to atonement (cf. p. 276). Rather, it is Jesus’ death itself that restores humanity’s lost glory (“because he suffered death,” Heb 2:9), frees humans from the devil’s grip (“by his death,” Heb 2:14), and provides the forgiveness necessary for the inauguration/mediation of the new covenant (“now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from…sins,” Heb 9:15; et al.). None of this, of course, requires a metaphorical reading of Jesus’ archetypical blood ritual, which is to say, none of this undercuts Moffitt’s more fundamental point about the literal nature of the Day-of-Atonement antitype. What does, however, is Hebrews’ one explicit reference to Jesus’ resurrection in 13:20. There the author says that Jesus was raised because of the efficacy of his covenant-inaugurating—and, thus, atonement-securing—death (“through the blood of the eternal covenant”). In other words, Jesus’ death—his blood—had atoning virtue prior to his resurrection and, thus, prior to the moment at the center of Moffitt’s thesis.


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