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It is now time to consider a new phase of verification of the Bible. If Jesus Christ is central to it; if the word of God predicted in detail as we are going to see, even His death date, hundreds of years in advance, over many generations of scripture writers, if He Himself IS the remedy, as we have noted and have yet to see in more detail from this same scripture... SINCE indeed He AS remedy claims wholly divine status in the name of the only God there is and the only Father whom He recognises... then this needs INDEPENDENT SURVEY.
In one Chapter, we must now consider what the record in history and scripture has to show; we must ponder and analyse the testimony concerning these things.
Here must lie verification commensurate with a king ... 'a' king ? THE 'LORD' WHOSE claims have echoed from the days of His performances on earth in word and deed, throughout the performances of the human race, up to and including its three world wars in this century; WHOSE predictions grasp history as it it were in a vice; WHOSE offers penetrate men as if they were air.
The rejection slips meanwhile rise in the millions and billions; as Jesus indicated would be the trend for the race; but it is not logic, not reality, not evidence which brings such a sweep of negatives from such numbers of our race, amongst millions who accept Him, receiving Him as Lord and Saviour.
If men in millions will not have the Lord to reign over them, it does not destroy or even compromise His sovereignty: merely affecting the type of impact which it will have upon them!
The logical inability to avoid Christ will be the thrust of this Chapter. Yet as with prophecy later, it stands in a position of verification - rather an independent verification, it is true - of the location of the Bible as the word of God, already demonstrated, reinforced and confirmed in the preceding Chapters.
That is operative.
Now let us hear Hebrews 1 on the ontological excellence of this same Jesus Christ:
"God who at various times and in different ways spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who, being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name then they. For to which of the angels did He ever say, "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You?" And again, "I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son?" But when He brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him." And of the angels, He says: "Who make His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire." But to the Son he says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever: A sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Your Kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions."To this Christ, to Him, we shall now turn our attention.
There was a time (*1) when shallow study of the Bible by people obsessed with the desire to be "Christian humanists", to be able to do all that Jesus did and be all He was; to be able to squeeze God down to their shabby format and functions; to do away with an authority outside the human race and whatever it approved: there was a time when such people sought to have a tame Christ. They wanted to dismiss His "supernatural pretensions", or some such thing.
So they tried to make Him someone with a somewhat ideal vision, or do-good dynamic; merely a commoner in His own kingdom, a mere creature captivatingly cavorting with God. They tried to strip away every miracle, every claim to be God, every reference to the glory He shows in John's Gospel He had before the world was (John 17:24, 3:13, 5:2, 8:42,56-58); they tried to remove the physical resurrection - some concocting the story He did not really rise, but that the disciples had thrills of reminiscence and grew excited about His failure after His death, to such an extent that they were really "gripped" by the view He had not died.
Thus, we are told, they came to confuse corpses with victory, the cross with conquest, and the victim with a victor, and sundry odd things like that, so that they actually in good faith proclaimed He did not rot in His body but had been seen, had eaten, had asked Thomas to put his hands in the wounds, and affirmed categorically that He was not a mere spirit for a "spirit has not flesh and blood as you see Me to have" (Luke 24:39)... They actually believed all this, so the theory goes, when its whole kernel was untrue. But the choicest part about it, this theory, is that according to it, the disciples really were honest and were not super-idiots; for they really did think this little thing, just this trifle amiss.
Although naturally as Biblical Jews, the disciples were accustomed to the idea of resurrection in body at length (the Sadducees one party denied it, while the Pharisees, the Scriptures and Jesus affirmed it); and to the idea of immortality, or the ongoing soul returning to God who made it (Ecclesiastes 12:7) - something the departure of Elijah merely visualised: although all this was clear and common, they were comforted during the very process of the corruption of Jesus' corpse (as these critics suppose). These modern dreamers envisage and allege that while the disciples nestled almost narcotically in the ravaging departure of the one who did all the works, and said all the things, and had all the prayers answered, they were somehow comforted amidst all this callous catastrophe, to such an extent that they began to feel, yes to think, even to say categorically and emphatically that His body did not rot (Acts 2:24-31); and that in His own power, personality and presence with the same privileges and knowledge, He arose and went straight on.
Thus they construe that the inimitable was the subject of a merger into a mirage, or someone infinitely different; a giraffe seemed to become a grasshopper, or the focus of years of fascinated attention shimmered into an unmurdered man.
So trifling a confusion is not normally made, of course, by the mourning relatives; who do not usually see that the reason they should not mourn is that the corpse has left the coffin and continued right on. The reason is that they usually realise the difference. For some interesting reason never clarified, it is thought however, that these careful men, the disciples, failed to make this somewhat elementary distinction which would normally enable one to be deemed sane rather than insane; and that in unison, they all reverted to early infancy and forgot about dreams and reality; fact and fiction, testing ideas and being in effect psychopathic. Indeed, they did so with such valour and rigour that they were vigorous, disciplined and amazingly effective, their lives being commendable for order and honesty, that multitudes and eventually, formally at least - an empire capitulated to their idle tales. They themselves the while, with manly fortitude and godly courage, would happily endure death at the hands of their opponents, who seemed in general to find it necessary to kill such infantile regressives, rather than have them put away.
This hypothesis you see, is hardly commendable.
That is not the only illogical feature of this abortive idea, for consider anew: Jesus not only is incapable of being explained, He and His followers relative to resurrection, unless it happened as they so blatantly asserted, historically and with non-rotting body; He is also incapable of explanation, He and the record, unless He in fact made claims to deity.
Now this last point is argued by Albert Schweitzer in an interesting if blasphemous book, called The Quest of the Historical Jesus. One deems it recklessly blasphemous to say Jesus was deluded with illusions of grandeur, and that is the general conclusion to which the said Schweitzer comes; being forced thereto by his own conclusion that Jesus undoubtedly must have claimed to be divinity, in evident combination with a wholly gratuitous unbelief.
It appears an excellent example of human escapism in this context: reason being used in one aspect, but dumped in another, so allowing apparent escape from God (Luke 15:11-20, II Corinthians 4:4, Hosea 7:16, Revelation 6:16, I Corinthians 1:21, Jeremiah 9:6, Isaiah 44:20, Romans 1:21, Isaiah 30:15-16). This human trend we have noted on several occasions, relating its force to the scriptural analysis, as verification not only of the fact, but of the mode of human decamping from divinity. However, from this descent we ascend back to the fact that in that process, as it seems, Schweitzer did find himself forced to face the supernatural claims of Christ, even if he ducked at their consequences.
Now Schweitzer evidently reached this conclusion because a careful historical study of the records shows that in every way, they are imbued with this presupposition and concept, insistently and persistently. Thus, although a critic, a radical indeed, Schweitzer felt as a scholar, compelled to abandon this old humanistic notion which the extremists thought of a few thousand (well, say 1.8 thousand) years after the resurrection. This followed: for Jesus assuredly claimed to be the Son of God, the pivot of destiny (see also Appendix C, infra).
Even the oft-used title Jesus used of himself - the Son of Man - has an Old Testament background, when coupled with the context, a background seen in Daniel 7:9-14. There the Christ who speaks in the New Testament of being judge of all men (Matthew 7:31-33 - the sermon on the mount, by the way) is seen as just that. It is in the clouds of heaven the Son of man appears in the Danielic reference, just as Jesus speaks in this very manner (Matthew 24:27-31) in the record of the New Testament concerning Himself as the Son of man. At other times, Christ, God-as-man, names Himself the Son of God (e.g. Luke 16:13-17; 11:27; John 5:19-29; Luke 22:28-30; John 17:1-8).
Christ also identifies in the New Testament with the servant of Isaiah 53 - (e.g. Luke 22:37); but this Servant in the Old Testament, similarly has the stature and status of deity, as already shown earlier (pp. 55-63, cf. 533ff., and Ch.9, Section 1 infra). Not merely was this predicted Servant to be sinless (sacrifice had to be blemishless, and ready to bear sin - Leviticus 22:17-24; 4:3). He was also to be the arbiter of destiny with God (Isaiah 53:12; 49:8-9; 11:1-5; 61:1-3; cf. Daniel 9:26, 7:13-14, Malachi 3:1-3): indeed One receiving judicial powers after death, in settling such destinies upon others.
He, in Isaiah (in the well-known suffering Saviour series, easily discernible in the book) is also called the Saviour - He shall be my salvation to the ends of the earth ... (49:6, cf. 42:6, 62:11, the Servant always being the personal focus, emblem and agent. Cf. Zechariah 9:9, 3:8-10; pp. 780-782 infra). This God indicates, signifying there that He, the Servant, will constitute in Himself a covenant. By this latter means, He Himself binds God to man; in other words, He comprises or enshrines the covenant, the sovereign contract. God has summed His sovereign terms in Him. He is the word of God, as John later calls Him in this aspect. Jesus Christ is shown to be equally honoured with the Father, possessing His power and scope of action - John 5:19-23. (One who does in the just same way what God does, is God - God's mode is unique; it is also infinite.)
In accord with this, Isaiah declares from God, in 45:21-22, that there is no other God (el or elohim titles, both are used: there is none other possessing divine status of any kind, character or degree); just as God there too declares there is no other Saviour but He (Isaiah 43:11). This sin-bearing, contract-comprising deliverer, who saves from sin, is thus not only God: He is also the only God there is. We learn more detail in Isaiah 44:6 and 48:16.
In the former we find that the Lord, the King of Israel is the Redeemer who is the Lord of hosts. In 48:13-16, we see the Maker of the heavens is sent by the Lord God and His Spirit (see also, Out of the Clouds, Zevi Ben Avraham). This redeeming Saviour (cf. Isaiah 53:4-6,10-12) is assuredly God who, in His being thus comprises SENDER and SENT. In His being, therefore, God is not solitary, though He is one in the infinite, intimate, comprehension of Persons in His being; and these Persons consist as a plurality, differentiated in function but not nature, in one being. (See pages 96 ff. supra).
Such data have been substantially pursued earlier, but can here be summarised thus (*2). Similarly, in giving His blood in death for the remission of sins, as seen in the New Testament, He is at the very passover supper, substituting Himself for the believing repenting sinner (Matthew 26:2-28, 20:28) - for that is what blood in terms of sins did (Hebrews 9-10, Isaiah 53:10-12; Leviticus 16:14-27, 17:11, Galatians 3:10-13); and He indicated He was fulfilling, and not abrogating the law of the Old Testament (Matthew 5:17-18).
But all men sin, even the human race per se, as it is. Thus Jesus is not purely humanly comprehensible per se, in New Testament act or terminology: He is not a mere man. He is a man sent from above the plane of this world (John 3:13, 17:3-25); not a simple, sinning, descendent of mere human parents. Rather as is taught, the Son of God Himself (as supernaturally intervening Father), and Mary (as His normal human but converted mother). He is truly man; but truly not man alone; rather God-as-man, and thence sinless and providing in himself - salvation.
Supernatural ? Yes indeed. Schweitzer got that right and showed that matter with good sense and scholarship; that He claimed indeed, in clearest, most integral terms in His Old Testament setting and role, announcing Himself its fulfilment (e.g. Luke 4:16-21, John 8:58 with Exodus 3:14, Matthew 16:64, Mark 14:62, 2:10, John 8:42, 56, 6:38). All of this is a mere selection of what anyone can easily show all through the New Testament record; whether in Matthew or Mark or John (e.g. John 5:22-23; 5:24; 5:25-29; 3:31,16; 6:51-62; 17:3 etc.); and we have hitherto been specialising more in the gospels other than John, but it is surely there too, in rich exposure and exposition.
Hard though it may be for the sin-gripped and dulled soul to grasp, firstly, the grandeur of the love and protection offered by God to His creation, man (Titus 3:4-7); and secondly, the profundity of God in His Son, assuming the role of becoming man (Philippians 2:1-19, Colossians 1:19-23, Isaiah 40:10, 9:6, Micah 5:1-3): this is the testimony of the source of our power to love, of God Himself. It is the examination of this claim of Jesus Christ, that now occupies us, and which we shall show to be irrefutably right, even in this secondary area of our systematic approach, that of verification (the Bible having been proved the word of God, independently of this, in Chapter 1 supra).
The claims of Jesus are throughout, and inseparable from all the New Testament. Unless you propound a crazy or a dishonest Jesus, therefore, you have totally reprobate disciples: purposely pretending that Jesus made these claims; quite ingeniously weaving into His speech about every Old Testament pivotal Scripture predicting the divine status of Christ who was to come, that you could think of.
You have further, to have them making this claim of Christ's divine identity to be the crux of the whole position - and this is exactly what they did (Acts 4:11-12); and He did (John 20:27-29, 8:24,58). This deity claim is made, and because made by Jesus (e.g. Mark 8:27-33; Matthew 16:13-20; John 20:30-31; 1 John 5:1; John 1:1-4; John 1:1-14, Luke 9:12-36; John 17:3 with 17:6-8 and 14:21-24), becomes the whole determinant of a man's position relative to Christ. If you reject it, you are rejected by Christ and reject Him; if you with heart and soul believe thus in Him, then your total destiny is through this cause (the receiving of Christ as He is and as Deity, thus receiving God as He is - cf. John 8:42) - wholly other than otherwise it would be. This then is the apostolic witness, and it is its consistent and coruscating testimony... Jesus claimed Deity.
1. Jesus is the deity (born of a virgin) in human flesh, the Son of God; or
2. He would have to be insane; or
3. He would have to be a liar, and wholly morally reprobate concerning the truth;
in either case 2 or case 3, also the disciples would have to be
liars, wholly morally reprobate concerning the truth.
When you boil it down, either Jesus is the Son of God or else
i. the disciples are frauds and liars; and
Jesus is insane (A); or
Jesus is a liar (B)... etc.;
and that really is that.
We will systematically examine these
in order to see how they may be placed when assessed in terms of verifications
of a view starting by rejecting Jesus' claim.
But first it would be more pointed but quite the same to say:
If Jesus were not the Son of God then either
He was insane (and the disciples were frauds and liars)
He was a liar (and the
disciples were frauds and liars) .
So then we return to Jesus Himself. That is the issue. The rest is a corollary.
IfJesus were insane, yet as we note this theory teaches, a good man, a kind man, a telling teacher in word and deed, who merely happened to be insane (A): then there are insuperable problems.
Let us trace the consequences for an accuser of this type.
First how could you convict and convince some of the world's greatest men of intellect throughout many generations through the outpourings shall we say, of a lunatic ? Second, how could He be a telling teacher in the religious domain, a leader and a stimulus to one's gaining reality or insight or knowledge through His analyses etc., if insane ? Is not insanity precisely a failure to relate clearly and tellingly and effectively and so on, to reality ? How can you teach, let alone inspire others where you yourself are utterly deficient ? How can you intrigue and ennoble (by their own testimony) men who are illimitably saner and better adapted to deal with what is, than you are ? How by assumed total dereliction of intellectual self-control, can you assist those who are disciplined and arduous in the same field ? We need not go on.
You have in contemplating the results, to assume the opposite of a sufficient cause, for these things to be in Jesus; and then blithely to assume precisely that what this (imagined condition) is not sufficient or adapted or fit to produce as a result, is what in fact it creates! that you gather figs from thistles! Whatever else such a theory may be, it is irrational; and we are only trying to be reasonable, so where the opposition forsakes reason, it is defeated.
Now let us put it this way: if Jesus were merely a good man, a telling teacher etc., who happened to claim to be God (as we see), if that is your view, then He Himself puts you in the wrong immediately.
Claiming to be God, means, if it were a false claim, that He would not have understood the difference between total power, and limited power; between always getting what you want, and often not getting it; between being perfect, and imperfect; between being a creator of all, and a creature; limited and illimitable; a learner amidst grave imperfections of knowledge, and One to whom all knowledge was accessible. Yet if He did not know this difference, then He would have been in such a total failure of all rationality, such a fantasy of erratic, uncontrolled, undisciplined, contra-factual, immature and disorientated failure, that His being either good or telling or a teacher or a systematiser, far less a revealer of the ultimate insights, or even vast insights, would be utterly absurd. In calling Him a good man and a good teacher only, therefore, you have to affirm what you are in clear principle equally denying.
And when you do that, you are irrational; or else mitigating the febrile folly of such fantasy, by being in the process of coming to admit your error. You can resign your reason or resign from your obstruction.
Your choice. But if you decide it would be better to admit the error, then immediately you become rational again, but forever and aye - have to give up the idea that He even possibly could have been not the Son of God, and yet a good teacher and a leader and so on. That is just preliminary. But as far as it goes, let it take us.
Of course, you could still say He was insane and also a poor teacher, an unimpressive leader, a collapsed character; but then you have the obtrusive difficulty of accounting for the results of this person Jesus, which the detractor with all his brilliance and all his insight, I fear would not begin to parallel. That would be like trying to account for an atomic explosion by saying it did not occur. That would relieve the mind of work, but not account for the facts; it would be a further flight to fantasy; irrational. Same result...
But you could still press hurriedly on to the second major alternative - and only other hope if you want to avoid Jesus, the Son of God. (By the way, if He be the Son of God, men certainly won't and can't avoid Him in the end; but we are talking only about their mind and its feelings, etc., for the present. The truth, you see, won't become untrue because men don't believe it. Ask anyone stranded in the ocean on a raft.) But you say, I still have my alternative before I confess myself to be stranded; at least in this verificatory and secondary level, I seem to do so. So let us look at the alternative at this level.
You then would need to affirm that Jesus was a liar (B).
Now let us trace out the consequences for an accuser of this type . . . (B)
First, it follows that if a sane liar, He was also an atheist. His sanity is noted above, leaving us only the option He was a lying atheist or the Son of God.
Reason: if a liar, then He was masquerading as God. But to masquerade as God, knowing you are not God (not usually too hard to find out, since creating the world, or not doing so, having all power or not having it, to itemise just two things, are relatively easily distinguished ...) involves a view that God does not care, or does not matter, or cannot act. After all, you are not fighting God - like some militant, missionary-minded nihilist - you are impersonating Him, if you do this. If you believe in Him, then you know you can't do what He won't permit; so you can't be hoping to influence Him - like students on campuses with guns, hoping to influence the "thinking" of the campus administration.
You can't hope to do better than He, if you believe in Him; for you know that you and all about you is in a direct or indirect way, derivative, dependent on His construction, analysis and continuing power. You can't hope to be helpful, if you believe in Him, by impersonating Him contrary to truth, improving on His wisdom - we have dismissed insanity; and you can't hope to embarrass Him or beat Him. You can, however, be sure that you will be in conflict with Him; will be assessed by Him, and will be in collision - final and in time, irrevocable - with Him; which can have only one result for you and for any people or things you may be interested in - and this applies to any liars, leader or led ... cf. p. 383 supra. (A Volkswagen colliding with a Cadillac is an infinitely joyful comparison, to such conflict.)
To lie and believe, therefore, such a 'Christ' would need to be insane. One would proceed as shown before.... at that point.
But you might instead believe God was powerless before you, and must or might budge before your provocative stance. You would need to be insane to believe that, unless you did not believe in Him; i.e. thought there WAS no Almighty Creator. Since as we have shown, there is just this very God and there is no other God: then to disbelieve in this (actual) God makes you an atheist for the case. A "god" who cannot act is not; so to believe in it is similarly atheism. A "god" who does not care if fact is transgressed, reality is outfaced, if He is impersonated and confusion is brought in His name, is a "god" moreover who condones or consents to lies, esteems unreality an acceptable alternative to the reality He has made; and as we saw before, cannot be God. Thus to believe in such a "God" is atheism. It excludes belief in the only God there is.
Thus Jesus would have had to have been an atheist if He were a liar; indeed in that case, He could not even have believed in the elementary facts of an intelligent, supreme controller and maker of reality; and He must have utterly rejected the entirety of the Old Testament, its whole conceptual statements concerning God. He must have intended to abrogate the Old Testament, while saying He would fulfil it; to have removed every substance of it, while saying He would confirm every jot and tittle; have been a limitless hypocrite. Why this last ? On this view, He would be condemning the Pharisees for teaching for doctrine the commandment of men, instead of the Biblical doctrine, when He (in that case) would be in an even worse position. He would be condemning the fakes who masqueraded as men of God and of the Bible while twisting it all to their own ends; yet He would have been doing this in a more serpentinely subtle way than all! and with the utmost grossness.
It would mean that Jesus, when He drove out the money changers in the Temple on the ground that they were allowing ulterior motivation to infect the pure service of God, and quoted from the Old Testament in doing so, was in fact wishing to gain illicit entrance and power Himself, just as they were; with ulterior motives; just as they had. It would mean that He hoped to make reality, alter destiny, change the whole construction of things; because if there were no Creator, then such a 'Christ' would have no help there. Therefore the "help" would need to be within Himself, to do whatever it was you would have to invent and envisage, He was trying to do. He would have had to have imagined He would "play God"; for that in fact would then be what He was doing; when such a God did not exist.
He would have needed to have imagined that He could do all that the Almighty Biblical God could do, in order to seek to impersonate Him; which, were there no such God, would be impossible. Hence in such a case, He would have to be insane, happily, utterly, paranoidly, pathetically, dangerously, provocatively insane.
But there you come back to precisely the impasse we reached when we were examining that proposition before.
And He can't have been insane.
Thus He must have been the Son of God.
And that is what our primary reasoning already has demonstrated; but this evidential and circumstantial, this particular analysis only confirms it; or as we say, has verified it.
And that is all you can ask of it.
But there is a lot more Jesus can ask of you, should you reject Him in the face of and despite reason (see Jeremiah 2:35; Luke 13; John 3:31-36); and there is a great deal He will ask of you should you be moved to receive Him; who is the delight of life (John 12:49-50,44-46).
Now let us consider a
a man of deceit
inspiring drastic devotion to truth, evidence, and honesty;
a man of depraved mind, making himself the standard when he neither created nor could create or even comprehend that self,
a wisp of reaction
without possibility of truth;
a man of morbid and self-contradictory illusion, esteeming appearance greater than reality while rebuking those who did likewise:
unrealistic, surrealistic and intensively hypocritical;
a man in collision with reality, moreover in this
that he sought to assert himself as a criterion when
consistently, he would need to view himself as a mere consequence
of a reality he neither made, could control or even possibly comprehend
neither ground nor standard for truth or comprehension in such a case);
hence a lunatic,
clinging to his life indeed as if it were God;
when in fact
it would be immeasureably removed from it;
indeed a subordinate creature masquerading as an inordinate Creator
(and not only
hoping to prevail, but succeeding in getting away with it):
and this not only by conscious design
but by the maniac implications of his personality posture;
a shameless schizoid at war with fact, governed by fancy with all the weakness of disorientation
while showing that strength still astounding
the world more than the atom;
and as we saw, an atheist at war with God
yet consistently astounding his acute and acutely motivated official inspectors and critics, jealous or zealous,
by his manipulation of physical reality, and logical acuteness in repelling with power and reason, the best and most thoughtful assaults of
He would be
a leader, then, as we have seen and shall confirm as a consequence of this hypothesis: of a corrupt gang, aware of his egomania
as also of the necessity of his rejection by all human authority
(in that only
thus could he fulfil what he claimed was his Biblical role!);
and of the coming long-enduring detestation racially of his memory,
these things being the predicted and prescribed price of the path he trod
- hence a gang aware of their own official outlawry to come,
in time, and eventual confrontation with God for their presumption and lies.
would need to share his insanity for the same reasons related to the corollary
of such a posture by an atheist.
Such a gang as these would be, nevertheless made their historic impression as the world's salient witness for truth oblivious of cost,
irrespective of authority, of love regardless of hate, of devotion discounting
of death for
God's sake irrespective of men, of nobility without thought of popularity;
of radiance and candour outfacing deceit,
of the use of evidence to confront the nominal
to confound the superficial
humble the pretentious...
In short, such a godless lying "Christ" is amoral, and yet utterly moral;
insane, and yet the best balanced of all
- impotent, yet the only successful claimant during the lifetime to divinity
(try being God to your wife for a day! then imagine doing it to the severest critics for years, whose jobs you menaced, whose power you voided, as well as to masses of devotedly intimate
or pressingly personal disciples and travellers);
corrupt and yet terrifyingly clean;
surrounded by rogues famed for their goodness:
anti-Christ yet evidencing only Christ.
Imagine, moreover, this "liar" knowing He must die as predicted, because His role on which His whole platform and appeal was constantly founded, required this (*3); knowing that without this role, He could not prevail with the religious at all; that He would in any case without it have to abrogate all He had said, recall all His divine pretensions, admit to error and to sin, lose all His power against the priests and within the people. Imagine Him, believing in no God of power at all, doing all this (I need not add, actually, consistently carrying it through) in the hope ?! of being raised from the dead (as necessary, as noted for the same predictive and predicted reason) by the God who was not there (on this theory, which we are rejecting on the adequate ground that it does not work).
Of course, if you reject all reason, believe what you will; but please never again talk about being reasonable and rejecting Jesus Christ. That is what must be said to those who so accuse Jesus Christ. And what shall we say further ?...
It is this. The disciples were - as noted above - liars, if without evidence they spontaneously stated what is recorded about the resurrection; but they did so state publicly and characteristically; liars and frauds, and fellow-frauds, just as surely as in the case that Jesus was insane; for the resurrection difficulty... would end Jesus' power to dupe... if duping were the answer to the evidence of confounding and astounding power in weakness, strength in conflict, heroism in calamity, peace in oppression, truth in corruption, love in passion, inspiration in dejection, resurrection in the death of others as well as in His own case, healing in illness, apparent sinlessness before collusion and subtle hypocrisy, transparent truth before opaque darkness, and prophecy fulfilment in the face of a (hypothetically) uninterested history...
They would be insane not to notice the obvious criteria by which one can distinguish, as observed, God from no God... and liars if they did not point it out.
The case is the same for them ... if liars, also insane.
And it is not only the disciples (cf. p. 939 infra). For someone claiming to be sinless (as the sacrifice role required and Jesus insisted), it is ease itself to show his error; but for someone claiming to be God (the Almighty of the prophets indeed), it is frivolity and fun to demonstrate his failure to show and elicit the divine attributes of power and knowledge, etc.; well now, for someone making the claims jointly without the criteria, it is total dereliction of all consistency of mind to even consider it.
And you know people don't really consider it except in desperation; and then they must reject it rationally; and it is through this awful fact - that since He is the Son of God, you must act and receive Him and repent and change your ways, and know God - that it therefore appears imperative to avoid this conclusion. It is this which makes the thing worth even discussing; even arise so that it is discussed: not that there is any rational beginning of a reason for the issue itself. (Cf. pp. 379-385 supra.)
It is the will that makes it necessary. This leads, for Christ's accusers, to
If Jesus were a good man only, you would have to be better than He, in order to be able to analyse out His error, and correct His confusion, straighten Him out... advance on His development, and depict Him as He did not depict Himself. You would need to be better than Jesus; which would raise another point: it would just be a pity that no one else ever noticed.
You say the comparison is unintended ? Alas, nevertheless it results. If it is (justly indeed) not relished, deal with it by dealing with yourself: let the Saviour express something of His perfection in you (Colossians 1:27). Repent of your imperfection: acknowledge and accept Him. Set your seal to this, that God is true (John 3:33).
You see He cannot be merely a good man; He cannot be a bad man; He is, as He said, the Son of God. His is the remedy; His is the authority; yours is the spiritual funeral if you avoid God by avoiding the logically essential remedy, and condemn God by negating what is necessary... if God is wiser than you.
Yes, that is the best of it; you would need to be wiser than God, if God had provided no remedy. We saw that.
But are you wiser ? alas it is systematically impossible.
And again, there is the circumstance that no one else has noticed...
But they have noticed Christ, a Christ whose eminently public ministry left thousands as eyewitnesses within living memory of His day and earthly impact, while the basic Scriptures (*4), in unrelieved concert reinforced the Church, and the apostles (*5) staked their claim on what happened, on God who did it, on Christ who claimed it, confirmed it, even by rising from the dead. And this Christ works today with those who adopt His premises and promises. What then of the unbeliever ?
In Christ's name, I challenge you to repent, receive Him and work together with Him: For He is The Truth.
If the truth seems a trifle savage,
that is how a headache seems when the drug wears off. It is however for
the best to consider the condition nakedly. In this case, if the pain is
unacceptable, if the implications are not desired: then the remedy is at
hand... and the doctor is ever available to administer it, He who alone
is deity and has prepared the remedy of Himself.
He was the laboratory; in Him were the fires, of Him was the crucible:
what He 'extracted' was His life which he gave: and it is health to those
who receive it.
Better deliverance than the drug of
delusion... (II Thessalonians 2:11-14).
The apostles (e.g. Acts 2, 3, 13) stressed fact. Threatened, the early core of Christians based prayer on fact (Acts 4:24-30). One of the major ways that Christianity differs from Communism is on facts: Communism, claiming to be scientific, does not verify its claims of a dying State power among happy participants, new men because of the old chains being gone. Quite the contrary. This is developed - and Popper has put it well - elsewhere in this volume. It was not even instituted as required, in fact: the revolution, as we show, being itself where the theory did not point (i.e. it occurred in Russia), while where the theory did point (an industrialised area like Germany), it did not happen.
Of course, much later, with US aid, the Russians invaded non-Communist Germany and forcibly gave it their system, to its utter decline, while West Germany prospered exceedingly under free enterprise. This however was simply a matter of Russia reaping opportunity internationally, when it seems clear it was doomed if not protected against Germany by free nations, in a multiply-partnered world war.
On the contrary to this utter theoretical failure of Communism, then, Christianity from the first has stressed fact in entire consistency. It has been an after the event, and therefore in a scientific sense, a more impressive, claim. It covered observational realities, not fictitious unrealities, not claims unsubstantiated.
This Christ did: He met challenge, He healed the sick, fulfilled the prophecies, met the criterion of overcoming death to such a staggering degree that Thomas, doubting before observation, lost his doubt upon seeing the evidence. The Christians claimed continually, from the first, fact as a cardinal ground for act: because Christ did such things, therefore we must do those. It was not: because we hope Christ will do things, therefore we hope what we do will be good. Again, quite the contrary! Since this is the way things in fact are, this is now what we do next. As far as scientific method is concerned (and there are other tests), Christianity is quite unique: there is simply no competition at this level. Logically, as we have also shown, the case for it is, if possible, more overwhelming, and its status unique.
For detail on the early development of Christianity in history, see Appendix C infra: major features however will be conveniently noted here.
Thus we find that not only was there a fact-stressing religion, relating to claims re events at Jerusalem, one flourishing indeed with those claims in that highlighted centre used by Christ before His execution, Jerusalem: where so much was observed, audited, checked and challenged to His face; and where no challenge against Him ever prevailed, so that His perfect score was a source of distress and desperation to His enemies (John 11:44-51). Death for Him was the only alternative for the godless who could not outface Him, despite the terrible danger in vexing the people.
Not only did this post-resurrection stress on fact proceed in that centre of earlier action: it also happened at once, on the site. Thirdly, it did so in the teeth of ruthless and official pressure of force (a normal and culturally orthodox weapon against the truth to this day). Where observers from the days of Christ's life on earth could easily announce the contrary, if these constantly stressed facts of His life and death and power were not seen, there were two observable reactions: the negative, this was keen on force to suppress Christianity; and the positive, this was to receive this Lord. Logic seemed lost on the part of His detractors; observation and conclusions were specialty of His followers, in cohesive, concerted, frank and testimony that had no fear, in the sight of facts that nothing could or did or would abort.
Nor was this all. There was an obvious frustration on the part of the persecuting Jewish and (by default of justice) Roman authorities. The wild effrontery of the claim of those responsible for His death, that disciples had stolen the body while the guarding soldiers slept, is an index to the state to which they were reduced. As indeed the great historian Philip Schaff points out: If the soldiers slept, how were they able to report a body theft ? (Did they 'see' in their sleep ? perhaps clairvoyant ? not much good scientifically here.) If they did not sleep, why say that they did ? If they were awake, why did they not resist this 'theft', and report on the result of their action ?
There again is this unanswerable force of fact. The power of God raised Christ, and if they slept - or were put to sleep by it - then the lie is explained. An excuse is needed. The soldiers seem to have the support of authority despite what superficially was gross dereliction of duty. What harm in disciplining soldiers, if someone stole a body as they slept!
Nothing could be done by authority, so the absurd lie was concocted. Authority and ostensibly delinquent soldiers are in agreement at such an event as this, when the risk of rousing the whole populace was already a heavy one. How should this be, except in collusion ? Would not death for the guards be the more likely result for such reckless failure ? If then God's power overcame the guards (we are reminded of Peter's deliverance from prison - Acts 5:19-29), two options met the authorities. Only surrender to Him - by the guards, by the authorities- at His resurrection, or lying remained. It is still the position (I John 2:22 cf. I John 5:10).
Not only was there this stress on fact; not merely was it highly focussed; not merely did this occur in the Lord's test-site of Jerusalem, where so much had occurred; not only was it done in the face of fierce persecution, not merely did it evoke at the resurrection, obvious deceit from the frustrated authorities, not only was Rome's power humbled by these extraordinary and quite unanswerable means, not only was Christ's claim after death verified, as always before it: indeed this fact-stressing religion surged through the Empire.
This it did against the opposition so notable and ferocious, from the essentially factless religions of Rome, even though the persecutions reached levels of force, violence and rampancy that are historically notorious. Moreover (see Appendix C infra for detail), in living memory of Christ's so public deeds - any one failure for His extraordinary, indeed divine claims being enough to discountenance Him: not only was public preaching received with acclaim by thousands whose lives depended, perhaps here and certainly hereafter, upon its truth, but basic epistles of Paul were accorded the status of scripture. The power, authority, association with Christ (cf. Acts 1:21-23) of the apostles, their deeds, their intimacy with Him and His deeds - the observation by all, of both - the unfailing verification of all things at all times, the prodigious character of the works done, their fulfilment of duly authorised scriptural predictions by the prophets of the Old Testament, the visible, audible, factual realities were such that the people could not but accord such a place to the apostles and to their formal writings, or to those which came from their midst, from colleagues with whom they were involved.
From such a base as this, the fact is explicable that such a corpus of New Testament scriptures arose and was formed and received with the speed, consent and cohesion that in fact occurred, within living memory of the Master speaking Himself, and acting (cf. Appendix C, pp. 1139ff. infra). The predictable schisms, squalls, divisions about the authority of Christ, of - therefore - the apostles, about facts ... predicated on non fact, this does not arise to blight a progress so dramatic, a cohesion so intense, a spread so resurgent, an authority so immense, so soon accorded to so many writings, set, almost unthinkably in The place of Scripture. Why is it almost unthinkable ? For those with the reverence for the Almighty God, and His sacred things, especially Scripture, among the Jews, anything set on that level is more imposing than ever: it is spiritually like the atomic bomb physically. Such was the situation then.
But the fact is that neither the memory of the people, nor the scriptures nor the corpse that arose to re-created life on earth, were manipulable. There was a power in the facts that no scandalous scalpel could cut. What could so easily have been effectively contradicted, in a way indeed disastrous for Christianity, from so many obvious quarters, and by such obvious ways, persistently failed to do so. There was no sacred hush of society about the new religion. Quite the reverse: the hush was in the air of their slaughter, as radiant realists showed they meant what they said, as they left the earth, aided by the frustrated rage and violence of their murderers.
Rational opposition showed itself in fact to be completely powerless. This verifies anew the facts. Maximally motivated, militarily equipped, violently offensive men - as to their effect - were as mice in the matter. Neither reason nor evidence could be found to thwart a religion almost mocking them all by the public way in which it did public deeds, and recalled the public life of Christ; and the public way in which He had confirmed His claim to be deity. This, in practical terms, was infinitely harder to maintain in that setting where the Almighty was The God, amongst the Jews; and it was exceptionally awkward when deeds to fit flowed like a river in its course, from Jesus Christ; and even worse, with so many grateful for... changed facts, and acts of combined authority, healing and kindness.
An early, authoritative New Testament core of scripture and an instantly concerted, practically bold and effective Christ-worshipping body of people met with no answer to their call to fact, but that of force. This is the historical position, and it is the predicted position, from which it appears as one more verification therefore. Thus Christ said that:
i) Luke 21:14-15, their testimony had access to mighty power, when they would be on trial; and
ii) they would be subjected to gross abuse by force (Luke 21:12).
Not only, then, was the persecution, and its consequence, predicted; it was necessary for worldlings who had no case from evidence or reason to quash it.
The Gospel, the Lord's status, the scripture's authority, the New Testament scripture's aura, the amazing speed of its acceptance, the cohesion of the apostles and the body of the early church: all of these individually are sites of verification. The result of all these things, in terms of scientific method, is not merely verification; and not merely multiplied, cohesive, inter-active verification. It is persistent, consistent, multiple verification where each test was extremely sensitive. Yet it is even more than this.
Despite this vulnerability to fact, to situation, the extent and character of the positive results even surpasses what might have been expected, granted we were dealing with authenticity, factuality and reality. It savours, beyond this, of the power of God; and that yet again is specialised verification, in a specialised situation, of great challenge by its very nature.
And all this occurs in a religion where facts are provocatively and pervasively stressed, in the very area and scenes of Christ's eminently public earthly work. In this very setting, there is an exuberance, a candour, a flavour, a dynamism, an irresistible urge and surge, a buoyancy, a cost-is-irrelevant thrust accompanied by current power, in the setting where past wonders of Christ authenticated his identity.
That, identity, was the crucial thing, as Christ's questions and dialogue with Peter made clear - Matthew 16:13-17. In pith, it went like this, Christ called Rock and Peter called stone:
Q. WHO AM I ? ...That was the question; This was the answer, and on this, the little stone making his obeisance to the Rock, who is God only (Psalm 62:1-3), yes on that revelation (*6) from the Father (cf. Matthew 11:27, I John 5:12, 2:27), of that predicted Rock (Isaiah 28:16, Daniel 2:34-35, 7:13 ff., Matthew 21:44)... on that, on Him so revealed, the Church would stand. (See Index - Rock.)
A. YOU ARE THE CHRIST ! ...
Response of Christ:
STONE IS YOUR NAME,
AND ON THIS ROCK MY CHURCH WILL STAND.
NOT FLESH AND BLOOD BUT MY FATHER SHOWED YOU MY IDENTITY.
In this field, the Person either was or was not God, and in view of the nature of the person concerned, it was clearly crucial to know His identity!
With those attestations of His identity, these of His continuing power, current force against His disciples was merely an abrasive; and with hearts not prone to collapse, in view of the facts, they were polished rather than subdued by 'the treatment'. Russia has given a more contemporary treatment, in its U.S.S.R. phase as a sort of new Rome; but it has not broken the Christians, and the the results are not so distant from that first scene. that, the distant continuance of the original power, in the name of the Person of Jesus Christ, is yet another verification. It must be recalled that all these things could have been different; but they are rock solid!
Founded on rock, they were not subdued, but were polished by the abrasive force of mere might, so that like metal, they shone, brighter than day (cf. 1 Peter 1:5-7). It is easy through custom to take something of this for granted; but the fact is that the religion of fact soared from take-off with all the startling exuberance of atomic force, not here seen in H-bombs with their destruction, but inescapably attested in the sheer wonder of reconstructive reality.
In this connection, we notice that the third day disappointment, latent in some of the disciples, surfaced in the road to Emmaus discussions following the crucifixion of Christ (Luke 24:21). The travellers were reflecting that it was already the third day since these things had happened.
Christ's frequent and dire predictions about rising on the third day put an additional constraint on the resurrection. It would be quite hopeless if it were on the second or the fourth. Failure to rise at the predicted, the prophesied time would have meant that He was in fact not the Messiah. It was as simple as that; and to the disciples en route to Emmaus, it was beginning to appear that He was not the Messiah, because here it was the third day, and as yet no action. God is no laggard.
Clearly the message had got through. Nor was it alone, that Christ had said it; He also had constraints, something of which He was as Messiah entirely aware. Matthew 26:53-56 shows that He expressly rejected any thought of asking for supernatural aid against the arrest party that led on to the crucifixion in due course. The reason is vital:
HOW THEN COULD THE SCRIPTURES BE FULFILLED, THAT IT MUST HAPPEN THUS ? ... BUT ALL THIS WAS DONE THAT THE SCRIPTURES OF THE PROPHETS MIGHT BE FULFILLED.Paul in I Corinthians 15:1 ff. also incorporates the third day as a basic datum.
"Your dead shall live. My dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing you who dwell in the dust."
In Isaiah therefore, we find a resurrection (cf. Daniel 12:1 ff.), in which the resurrection of the children of God is tied to, incorporated in and effected through the resurrection of the speaker. In this passage, that is the one who refers to them as "My people", and being the One with omnipotent power over death, He is God.
God then (as in Psalm 49:7,15), who alone can redeem from death, and who will do so, will execute this phase of the mission by raising His own dead body, and this will imply the resurrection guarantee of His people.
Now on the third day, God will raise up His people, says Hosea, so that they may escape the corruption otherwise their lot. Thus in Psalm 16 we similarly find that the Messiah will have a body not to be corrupted (*7) (vv. 9-10). The implications of His resurrection are to carry over to His people, guaranteeing theirs, and the third day is absolutely crucial to the (necessarily) stringent constraints on the prophets. (They were to ensure their prophesies were genuinely of God, and hence worked, were fulfilled, if prediction was made: or die - effectively blasphemers - Deuteronomy 18:20-22.)
No other day is in view for this epochal resurrection, guaranteeing action whereby God will act to ensure the resurrection of His people: that is, in the body He has prepared for Himself (Psalm 40:1-6).
This blood, it was said, would be the ground on which the angel of death would deliver the household so covered. Thus was instituted a perpetual feast, and they ate of the lamb whose blood was their 'protection', through its death giving them life. The "blood makes an atonement for the soul" (Leviticus 17:11).
Others (namely certain Egyptians) were slain; but where the blood was, there was God's life-permit for sinners.
Leviticus 23:4 notes the date for it, the symbol of the deliverance from death of the Jewish people. Leviticus 23:6 institutes a 'sabbath', a special day of rest, to follow - that is, on the fifteenth of that month. 23:11 institutes an operation for the following day, by the inclusive Jewish counting, the third day, paralleling Christ's third day, on which He declared He would rise from the dead: the destroyed 'temple' being raised, in the face of His priestly accusers and murderers (cf. John 2:18-23). It was an astonishing prediction for any but God to make. (See Deut. 16:2-10, Lev. 23:4-15.)
The third day was the waving of the sheaf of grain, indicative of the harvest, the springing up to life, following the passover and rest. A burnt offering of thanksgiving would accompany this. The sequence then is redemption, rest, life.
This is merely the typical or symbolic indication of what elsewhere is given.
Would the Messiah be raised ? Yes, but would He be raised on the third day, having made emphatically and repeatedly clear by His own speech on earth, that this was part of His mandate. Our Old Testament references give a basis for the prophecy; but the crucial point here is simply this: Christ Himself also made this prediction, and He did so in terms of existing constraints indeed.
Buttressed not only by the resurrection, the meeting, the eating, the walking, the talking, the chef work with the fish, the fishing directions, (John 21:1-14), the laboratory style availability of the body of Christ for 'testing purposes only' for Thomas - 'the man for the facts' (John 20:24-29) - they had also this act. It was so typical of the precision of God (who after all made precision as well as art and its abilities). It happened precisely on schedule as to day, as indeed did the death as an item in the sweep of history, as to date (see pp. 886-899 infra). It gave them yet more zest to them in following Him thereafter with a fearless assurance, knowing His entire and detailed dependability; which this vindicated. From such a base you might expect the intense rapture and power with impact, of the Christian faith, at once; and the FACT that this occurred is even further verification of its stated basis.
The right date for the Messiah, as we see there, was clearly predicted, and death in any other region of the first century, or any other century would have been as 'out of the question' as resurrection not on the third day. It would not have met the standards of checking which God has given to Thomases of other times - (John 14:11) 'believe... for the works's sake', if need be.
So here, the right day for the resurrection places a scientific premium on the rigour of the test.
That is, then, another element in the scope of prophecy, both from Christ and (less obviously but yet definitely) in the Old Testament. Christ, by declaring the matter so clearly, removed any question of difficulty. He said it loud and clear; and so had to do it. That, as we saw, is expected of the prophet of the Lord; how much more of 'that prophet', the Messiah, the great One (of Deuteronomy 18, the One to supersede Moses! and who would Himself become the sacrifice - Isaiah 53:10, Zechariah 3:8-10, 6:12-13).
Thus this genial feat is an added evidence of the superb and majestic ease with which the Messiah conquered death: He gave every opportunity for proving Him wrong, even as to the day; and to His enemies He gave advance notice of his D-day, His invasion: His invasion of life from the dead (cf. Psalm 2:1-7). Since they were obviously most motivated to prevent any such unmitigated 'disaster', this advance notice of plans was an amazing 'gift' to His oppressors. (Compare the Pharisees' concern: Matthew 27:62-63.) It also constituted an awe-inspiring exhibition of the unlimited power of God, used in conjunction with His word, and expressed to man on earth, concerning what He would do there.
The grace and ease of the victory (cf. Isaiah 25:8, Hosea 13:14), in this sense of meeting yet more stringent specifications, attests something. (We are not here referring to what it took to gain it, merely to the power involved: obviously it was agony.) It is the supreme power of the unique God, who alone rules.
To attest this power and majesty, amid compassion and appeal: this is one of God's major stated purposes in Isaiah 41:17-26 and on to 42:18, in 43:5-14, and in 48:3-14 moving on to 49:9. He indicates that He is so forecasting and has so forecasted and acted to fulfil, that He is leaving no predictive-performace competition around, so that His people, in their ruthless follies, might be warned the better, and helped the more to faith in Him, despite their unruly rebellions from what had been so obvious for so long, since Moses.
Such a level and standard of prediction points with power to the majesty of the Person who provides it. After all, not only did God do the work of exhibiting His power and His precision, His involvement and His knowledge through such mighty acts of historical function, actually performing at that majestic, sovereign level (as is His prerogative and power): He said in advance that He would do so, and then He did it exactly as He said, amid the milling, multitudinous, multi-faceted world of events. In fact, it is in the first and the last of these two references, just made, in Isaiah, that God proceeds to provide that focus for faith that is crucial, the Messiah (cf. Isaiah 41:28-42:6 and 49:1-6, and see Chapters 8 and 9, infra on prophecy).
A cardinal instance is the resurrection prediction concerning Him, and the detail of its timing. This is a matter of style, of that ease of champions who overcome with facility; and where nothing can prevent, it is the style of the champion of champions, the lord of lords, the king of kings, the conductor of history.
One exhibition, then, of this style of the matter is our mathematical contribution to the resurrection in the phase of prophecy concerning the Messiah; and for good measure we add it. After all, He did so; and we are examining the fulfilments in the area of fact.
This had to be done, met, fulfilled. As in similar cases (the Emmaus road case showing it well enough), the Old Testament setting, together with the specific emphasis of Jesus Christ on the point meant this: Any failure here to meet the prediction would have been all that it would have taken, to unseat the Christian faith. (It works with real rigour conversely; and so it did in prospect, on the way to Emmaus!)
Thus, instead, this datum, the third day, as a matter of fact, is vigorously, constantly stressed, as are so many of the things seen and heard, at the very core of the religion. This was done as it crusaded amid those who were there at the time, the scriptures, as we see, being in place: circulating, in large measure, in living memory of the events. This is the contemporary fact.
William Byrd's has given some music, here entitled "SING JOYFULLY" on this grand topic of the resurrection.
We shall find, as our studies progress (cf. esp. pp. 842-884 and 986 ff. infra), that the fever of Europe at that time, has been transformed by our own time, in those segments vulnerable and interested in the philosophies of pathology, the dogmas of disease, as we shall express it, into a bubbling 'ecumenical' conglomerate of irrational Eastern mysticisms and pantheisms, Western metaphysical obscurations and contradictions, and desires and designs for a demiurge or director with whom to replace Christ... a suitable embodiment for the spirit of antichrist, for the devil's messiah.
2 Much more detail is given on the criteria, character and predictions of the Messiah, the Servant, the Lord who was to come (cf. Zechariah 2:8, 3:8-9, 6:12-15, 9:9, 11:12, 12:10-11) in Chapter 9 infra. On aspects of these predictions, see esp. : pp. 59 supra, 755ff., 769, 936-943, 973A infra.
3 See Chapter 9, pp. 800-801, for extension in the area which conversance with the prophetic and historical context makes possible to those who know it. This occurs in the prophecy section (Chapters 8 and 9), a payload for those who make the effort to find the facts that require study.
4 See Appendix C infra on Canon - esp. *2 and *3; also *5 Ch. 6.
5 See EXTENSION on THE FORCE OF FACT, pp. 467 ff. infra; and 1155-1156 infra.
6 FAITH, REVELATION AND REGENERATION
Chronologically: faith in (receiving) that 'object of faith', that Son of God, Jesus Christ, seems simultaneous with regeneration and salvation. Why? To have it sooner, denies Scripture (John 6:47, 1 John 5:1, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21); to have it later, denies it no less (Romans 8:9, Galatians 4:7).
Functionally: faith is prior, for it 'receives' what it takes (John 1:12). How could it receive something when it is not there to take it? Yet it is relevant to salvation obtained, only when it is supernaturally and rightly focussed; AT which, it also obtains. This however is specific faith, effectual faith, saving faith - like Peter's (Matthew 16:17).
Structurally: regeneration is prior, for how can that believe which is not created with the power to do so?
Logically: they appear simultaneous.In enactment, the heart must be created to believe; the faith must be present with which to believe; neither is present without supernatural operation: both come, since regenerative functionality includes faith; is impossible without it. They come joint.
Formulation or explicit consciousness of faith is not however the same as its existence; nor is the comparative absence of formulation at any given time, the same as the absence of the thing itself, faith. Like a powerful engine, faith will respond if called upon, even if there the response is not wholly instantaneous. (Cf. James 2:20, Hebrews 11.)
Verbally: 'Calling upon the name of the Lord' may commence before salvation- regeneration: for it is impossible to strait-jacket the way God works; and a sheer wall of conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment may rebound a soul without clear vision, so that it may yet commence at variable depth, to seek what is obtained when faith (wherever the words may in fact have been in actual prayer) grasps its object, Jesus Christ. Thought may outrace words, spirit may plunge past thought; the Lord knows: but the operation occurs in an eventual milieu of topical faith, which can exist only in a regenerated person (1 Corinthians 2:14): God produces it at will.
It is God alone who reveals His Son
(Matthew 11:27, 16:17), not flesh and blood; and to such revelation,
faith ascends like a glider in an updraft.
7 Because of this, there was no need for the normal seven-day ceremonial defilement which would have arisen from anyone touching the dead (Numbers 19:11-20), with all of the sacrificial procedures required for such a defilement (cf. p. 938 infra). This vast simplification of the situation had arisen because of one unique fact. It was this: Christ had Himself walked away with His own body... from the tomb which the two Marys had identified (Mark 15:47). His body, being dead no more, defiled none, Himself included: no, not even those two Marys who delightedly held His feet (Matthew 28:7). Meeting Him was meeting resurrection in Person (John 11:25). The message was life, not death.