Sunday, April 5, 2015

Paul’s citations to establish Christ’s resurrection

33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
34 And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.  (Acts 13:33)

One of the things I find interesting about Paul is that he uses the scriptures very creatively to prove his points.

When he preaches in Antioch, he cites certain scriptures to establish that Christ’s resurrection was prophesied of by the prophets.  His references can be obscure, but it is worth examining how he uses them and thinking about the logic by which he concludes they establish his point.

So the first citation is from Psalms 2:7 which says “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.”  Paul is comparing resurrection to birth.  The speaker in the Psalm speaks for God and declares another (Jesus Christ) is His Son and has been begotten or born in a day.  Christ was born of Mary and was also the Son of God, but His birth was by a mortal mother.  We could say that baptism is a rebirth, and that might be the way we understand it for ourselves when we apply it to us. 

But it best fits the resurrection because when you are born you have the type of body like the one who bore you.  For someone to have a glorified body like Heavenly Father, one that would never die, you have to be resurrected; you have to have your spirit inseparably reunited with your body.

The next scripture cited is part of Isaiah 55:3 : “I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.”

This is an obscure reference to a promise given to David that a descendant of David would always sit on the throne of Israel.  For some time this was interpreted to mean that the Davidic dynasty would continue, but it also prophesied of Christ’s resurrection because He was a descendant of David, and once He was resurrected, He would rule in heaven and would never be removed.  Any time “the sure mercies of David” is mentioned, it is a reference to this promise.

It is neat to find these little references to resurrection and to see how apostles in the former day found them in unexpected places.  It gives me the sense that there are depths in the scriptures yet to be plumbed.

Jesus rose from the dead and because He did, so will we!

Happy Easter!