Israel: Covenants & Kingdom (42) – Chapter 5 – Church and Kingdom

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By Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer.. From the book “Israel: Covenants & Kingdom”

The Resurrection of the Body
Something extraordinary happened at the Resurrection of Jesus: He rose through the grave cloths, leaving them behind still intact, but as an empty ‘cocoon’. The stone was not removed to let Him out, but to let us in. If grave cloths cannot stop you, neither can a stone. And later He appeared to His disciples and stood in their midst although the door of the room was closed, and then He was gone again. [Photo top right: The disciples are in a room with the door locked when Jesus appears to them. Luke 24:36-49, John 20:19-23 | Contributed by LUMO project].  But He was no ghost, phantom or hallucination. He was touchable flesh and bones. When that apparently was not convincing enough for them, He ate fish, right there, before their eyes. He accompanied the two disciples traveling to Emmaus, Luke 24:13-32. “…Then their eyes were opened and they recognised Him, and He disappeared from their sight…”

Luke 24:36-43: “…While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said   to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at My hands and My feet. It is I Myself! Touch Me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’ When He had said this, He showed them His hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, He asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’ They gave Him a piece of broiled fish and some honeycomb, and He took it and ate it in their presence…”

This resurrection body obviously has the ability to move back and forth between the different heavenly dimensions, and our earthly dimensions. In the period between Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension we read that “…He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the Kingdom of God’, and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive…” (Acts 1:3). And when John contemplated His Coming in Glory, he said: “…We shall not only see Him as He is, but we shall be like Him…” 1 John 3:2-3: “….Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. All who have this hope in Him purify them- selves, just as He is pure…”

 

John saw and believed
John later writes: “…that which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim… we proclaim to you what we have seen and heard… we write this to make our joy complete…” (1 John 1:1-4). Joy finally prevailed, after all the astonishment and shaky feelings, doubts and hopes, resulting finally in total conviction! One cannot deny the facts, because John was there, saw it and believed. In his Gospel he wrote in John 20:6-8: “…Then Simon Peter who was behind him (John) arrived and went into the tomb, and he saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus head…Finally the other disciple (John), who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed…”

Now it has always puzzled me about what did John see so that he believed? He saw the grave clothes, the strips of linen in which the body of Jesus had been buried. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus had seen to that. They had even brought with them a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about 75 pounds. John 20:38-39: “…Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds…” And they had buried the body of Jesus in the way the Jews were accustomed. John 19:40-42: “…Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there…”

They did not mummify dead bodies in the Egyptian style, taking out the soft parts of the body and stuffing the cavities. The Jews left the corpse intact, but wrapped it in pieces of linen, one for the head and the others for the body. They simply wrapped the whole body in the linen while adding oils, spices, anointments, herbs and powders, to prevent the stench that eventually a decaying body would produce, and to replace it with the sweet odour of these spices. Then they laid the body, wrapped up like this onto a couch of stone hewn in the back wall of a cave in the rocks. The body would be on the stone bench and the head on a stone ‘pillow’. A huge stone was rolled across the entrance of the cave, to deter grave robbers or scavenging animals.

After some time the oils, herbs, spices, aloes and myrrh dried up, giving the grave cloth and strips of linen in which the body and the head were buried a certain stiffness. It would have been very difficult to unwrap them and take the body out.

So what did John see that made him believe? Did he see the linen cloths neatly folded up? That would not have convinced him that resurrection had taken place. Even more so, if he had found the linen in disorder, he would not have believed. But what did he see that made him believe that resurrection had taken place? In my opinion, John must have seen the linen in the original form of the body – but without the body! When he saw the linen like that, maybe a little bit sunk in because the body was no longer inside, like a kind of cocoon or empty shell, the only logical conclusion for him was that the body must have risen through the ‘burial-clothes’. It would have been impossible to unwrap the linen, remove the body, and then put the burial cloth back into the form of the body. The 75 pound mixture of myrrh and aloes simply would prevent that. John realised that He must have risen, but he could not explain it. However, it was the only logical explanation for what he saw.

And if linen could not keep Him, then a stone could not keep Him. And suddenly one realises that the stone was not taken away to let Jesus out, but to let us in, so that we could see with our own eyes and give testimony about these facts, Neither could a room with the doors closed keep Him outside. John saw and believed, and he told us what he saw, in order that we might believe. Jesus rose from the dead. The grave was empty. And only because the grave was empty, can we start to understand the meaning of the cross. In His resurrection body Jesus appeared and disappeared as He pleased. He crossed over between the four dimensions of our universe, into the realms and dimensions of the ‘heavens’ that totally surround us.

To be continued.. with: Chapter 5 – Church and Kingdom – Heavenly dimensions

The book “Israel: Covenants & Kingdom” and other books from Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer can be ordered from the webshop of Christians for Israel International.

 


Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer
President Christians for Israel International

 

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