SoulBreaths

Resurrection Jewish Style Series: Part 4—Rabbi Scholars Defend Jesus’ Resurrection

By SoulBreaths Author [ 4 months ago ]

Rolled stone from tomb

The resurrection event that changed everything—on both sides of the Judaic-Messianic bridge. What an orthodox rabbi and Jewish scholars have to say about the resurrection of Jesus (Yeshua, his Hebrew name).

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

READING TIME: 7 MINUTES.

 

HAVE YOU READ THE FIRST POSTS IN THIS SERIES?
What God Revealed
Real-Life Accounts
Real-Life Accounts Cont’d
The Resurrection Thunderbolt From Heaven

 

The world’s history has long encompassed extremes—light and darkness, goodness and evil, sagacity and folly, hope and discouragement . . . and the ultimate dichotomy, death and resurrection.

 

It’s the stuff authors love to write about, carefully mirroring our up-down, soul-body matrix existence in their art, which sometimes is reflected back into life. Remember the seesaw duality of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities?

 


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness . . .
it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness


 

Thankfully, God doesn’t leave us in our fractured state. We will rise from the abyss of death.

 

But in sync with life’s duality, even the resurrection event is good news/bad news. There will be a resurrection to everlasting life for the righteous . . . and a resurrection to judgment for the others. (Daniel 12:2 and John 5:28-29.)

 

This is serious business. So God gave us ten resurrection accounts—seriously, count them—to encourage us, to help us see our lives down here via a more heavenly lens. (See prior posts in this series.)

 

And yet, all those resurrection accounts beg the question.

Since resurrection is an obvious biblical teaching,
then why do some people give
an acknowledging nod
to many of those accounts . . .

but discount 
one resurrection in particular?
Namely, the historical resurrection of 
Jesus.

 

Well, one modern-day orthodox rabbi didn’t.
Nor did some other Jewish biblical scholars and rabbis.

 

note: stock photo, not Rabbi Lapide

 

MEET RABBI PINCHAS LAPIDE
author, Jewish scholar, theologian specializing in the New Testament

 

An Orthodox rabbi, Lapide had a real bridge-crossing view. He even wrote a book in 1979 about it: “The Resurrection of Jesus: A Jewish Perspective.” It made quite a stir back then, even garnering attention in Time magazine’s religion section.

 

Lapide (1922-1997) and his scholarly process were all about rediscovering the Jewish aspects of early Christianity. After all, Jesus (Yeshua) and his followers were Jews.

 

Lapide’s convincing Judaic arguments in favor of Jesus’ resurrection as a historic event are worth examining.

 

I mean, rabbis, some of the Sanhedrin, and Pharisees—not to mention multitudes of Jews—recognized in the first century CE that Jesus (Yeshua) is the Messiah. So when a modern-day rabbi studies the totality of the scriptures and supports Jesus’ resurrection, it’s a red-letter moment.

 

Per Lapide, the “Hebrew Bible knows of the translation of Enoch (Genesis 5:24), a transfiguration (Saul: I Samuel 10:6), an ascension (Elijah: 2 Kings 2:11) and three resurrections [which God] carried out through the hands of His prophets.”

 

Namely: I Kings 7: 17-24; 2 Kings 4:18-21, 32-37; 2 Kings 13:20-21.

 

Not a single case was met with unbelief in Israel, per Lapide.
Nope, not one.

 

The hope and belief in resurrection were so ingrained in Judaic thinking, it became part of the daily prayer from renowned 12th-century rabbinic scholar, Moses ben Maimonides and his Thirteen Articles of Faith:

 

Lapide also commented that postbiblical literature gives reports of several miraculous healings, multiplication of bread, diversion of a flood, victory over demons, rainfall after prayer, etc.

 

So the historic resurrection of Jesus
wasn’t a bizarre, non-Jewish event.
And it wasn’t so-called magic or a scheme.
It was real.
From the hand of Adonai, God Himself.
In fact, over the 40-day period following his resurrection,
Jesus appeared to his disciples, others, and over 500 people at once.

 

In addition to Lapide’s scientific analysis of Jesus’ resurrection—which includes support for the genuineness of Saul Paulus’ Damascene experience—he mentioned two other points as further support:

 

(1) God permitted the women to be the first to witness and give testimony of that resurrection—when they held no value in the culture.

 

(2) Many  Jewish believers were willing to die defending their belief in Jesus’ resurrection.

 

Per Rabbi Pinchas Lapide:
Without the Sinai experience—no Judaism.
Without the Easter [Passover/Crucifixion/Resurrection] experience—no Christianity.
Both were Jewish faith experiences whose radiating power . . .
were meant for the world of nations.
For inscrutable reasons, the resurrection faith of Golgotha was necessary to carry the message of Sinai into the world.

 
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THREE FINE POINTS

 

Point #1. Messiahship. Now I don’t agree with Lapide’s initial inference that Jesus (Yeshua) is only the messiah for the Gentiles (Goyim)—but Lapid did say that in Jesus’ parousia (second coming) he would manifest himself as Israel’s Messiah.

 

To clarify that . . . the prophet Zechariah says that what actually happens at the second coming is this: Israel’s spiritual eyes are open, the veil is removed, so they can see Jesus (Yeshua) for who he is and always has been, the Jewish Messiah of the world.

 

I will pour out on the house of David
and on those living in Jerusalem
a spirit of grace and prayer;
and they will look to me, whom they pierced.
They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son;
they will be in bitterness on his behalf
like the bitterness for a firstborn son.
—Zechariah 12:10

 

There is one Messiah—per scriptures—sent by God
for the Jew first and then for the Gentile.
And Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies, over 100.
Including the Messiah’s initial coming for spiritual redemption,
which will be followed by the final physical redemption,
ushering in the Messianic Age.

 

Point #2. Probability factor. The scientific probability of Jesus (Yeshua) fulfilling the many messianic prophecies is mind-boggling. As Lion and Lamb Ministry aptly states on their site, referencing the noted work of now-deceased mathematics/astronomy university chair Peter Stoner:

 

“The chances of fulfilling 16 [of the 108 prophecies]  is 1 in 1045.
When you get to a total of 48 [prophecies fulfilled],
the odds increase to 1 in 10157.

Accidental fulfillment of these prophecies is
simply beyond the realm of possibility.”

 

Point #3. Lapide and the hotly debated three-days-in-the-tomb issue. Even Christians battle out the calculations. [An easy method to me—without gagging on a calculations gnat—is using our Judaic/biblical view that a day is measured sundown to sundown: (1st “day”) Friday daylight buried before Shabbat began; (2nd day) Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, still in the tomb; (3rd “day”) Saturday sundown to Sunday morning, arose on that third day.]

 

But Lapide gives a compelling Judaic response: It’s not a literal expression in the Hebrew Bible.

 

Stick with me for a moment and hear him out . . .

 

Lapide says, for those with ears biblically educated, that three-days-in-the-tomb expression used in various scriptures refers to the clear evidence of God’s mercy and grace that is revealed after two days of affliction and death by way of redemption.

 

  • Genesis 22:4. On the third day, Abraham lifted his eyes . . . [before the Akedah, the binding of Isaac]
  • Exodus 19: 16. On the morning of the third day, there was thunder . . . [before God’s Sinai appearance]
  • Genesis 42:18. On the third day, Joseph said to them . . . [before releasing his brothers—except one—to return to Canaan]
  • Jonah 1:17. Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days . . . [before he was saved]
  • Esther 5:1. On the third day, Esther put on her royal robes . . . [Israel saved after bitter affliction]
  • Hosea 6:2. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up . . . [before He comes like the spring rain to water their souls ]

 
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JESUS  & JEWISH BIBLICAL SCHOLARS 

 

Per Lapide, the Pentecost testimony of the apostles—claiming the crucified Jesus had risen—proved a big pain you know where for the Sadducees. But for the Pharisees or the majority of Jews, it was a “problem seriously to be investigated.” They knew a resurrection was “entirely in the realm of the possible (Sanhedrin 90b).”

 

And also per Lapide’s book (pages 137-138, 142), the spiritual heirs of those Pharisees—today’s Jewish rabbis and biblical scholars—have commented on the matter from different angles.

 

  • Maimonides—renowned rabbinic authority. “All these matters which refer to Jesus of Nazareth . . . only served to make the way free for the King Messiah and to prepare the whole world for the worship of God with a united heart, as it is written: Yea, at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him with one accord (Zeph. 3:9). In this way, the messianic hope, the Torah, and the commandments have become a widespread heritage of faith—among the inhabitants of the far islands and among many nations, uncircumcised in heart and flesh.”
  • Rabbi Samuel Hirsch—pioneer of the Jewish Reform movement. “In order that Jesus’ power of hope and greatness of soul should not end with his death, God has raised in the group of his disciples the idea that he rose from death and continues living. Indeed, He continues living in all those who want to be true Jews.”
  • Rabbi Leo Baeck—author of The Essence of Judaism. “They [disciples of Jesus] were seeking the Messiah, the son of David, the promised one, and they found and beheld him in Jesus. His disciples in Israel believed in him even beyond his death so that it became to them an existential certainty that he—as the prophet foretold—had risen from the dead on the third day.”
  • Rabbi Samuel Sandmel—prolific author, theologian, an authority on Jewish-Christian relations. “Only a Jew whose unique combination of qualities was extraordinary could have been thought by other Jews to have been accorded a special resurrection.”
  • J. Carmel—Israeli teacher/author, who says he regrets the Gospels aren’t at home in the framework of Jewish literature. “If the prophet Elijah has ridden a fiery chariot into heaven, why should not Jesus rise and go to heaven?”

 

READ THE NEXT POST IN THE SERIES

Why A Bodily Resurrection

 

HAVE YOU READ THESE EARLIER POSTS IN THIS SERIES?

What God Revealed

Real-Life Accounts

Real-Life Accounts Cont’d

The Resurrection Thunderbolt From Heaven

Rabbi Scholars Defend Jesus’ Resurrection

 

Resurrection series initially created between March 30, 2016 – July 3, 2016

 

CREDIT: Western Wall photo by Dave Herring on Unsplash.com

CREDIT: Bridging the Distance photo by Marija Zaric on Unsplash.com

CREDIT: Lion photo by Jeff Rodgers on Unsplash.com

Resurrection Jewish Style: Part 5—Why A Bodily Resurrection?

By SoulBreaths Author [ 4 months ago ]

picture from pinkpigart.co.uk

Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale shadows our soul-body journey. But what’s that got to do with needing a resurrection? A few things, as it turns out.

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

READING TIME: 8 MINUTES.
HAVE YOU READ THE FIRST POSTS IN THIS SERIES?
What God Revealed
Real-Life Accounts
Real-Life Accounts Cont’d
The Resurrection Thunderbolt From Heaven
Rabbi Scholars Defend Jesus’ Resurrection

 

Shakespeare’s plays often navigate spiritual waters. The Winter’s Tale is no exception. The tragicomedy travels the barrenness, brokenness, and blackened leaves of our wintry lives and moves to a spring-like moment.

 
 

It’s a light nod to God’s promised latter rain in the Bible. This rainy season—as Judaic scholars call it—is resurrection, where your soul-body enters an everlasting fruitfulness.

 

But we don’t all have the same resurrection ending. The soul and body are reunited in resurrection, then face litigation in God’s court, are judged, and subsequently step into one of two places: everlasting life (for the righteous) or everlasting contempt (for the unrighteous), per Daniel 12:2 and John 5:28-29, among other scriptures.

 

Per scripture, certain things impact that judgment . . . but simply said, it centers on what the soul-body did down here in light of God’s ways—and more to the point, what it did regarding one act of God in particular.

 

Before we get to that, let’s look at some plausible reasons why there’s even a need for resurrection.

 

 

CUES FROM THE BARD

 

In Act 1, Scene 2 of The Winter’s Tale, Polixenes—King of Bohemia—describes his childhood relationship with Sicily’s King Leontes as being like twins, buddy buddies, innocents.

 

That is, until life happens and they’re cast out of their Garden-of-Eden-esque existence and into the Sicilian King’s irrational rampage, where he goes all Othello on his alleged “slippery wife” (Hermiones) and her alleged lover, Polixenes, the king’s friend.

 

The king is wrong. Like really wrong. For the sake of the plot—not unlike our own soul stories—the king and some others choose anything but the humble, righteous path.

 

The tale bulges with jealousies, accusations, misjudgments, malicious lies, for-the-better-good lies, over-the-top emotional reactions, bitterness, relationship splits, disloyalty, paranoia, tyranny, expulsions, broken hearts, death, and more.

 

Along the way, Shakespeare exposes familiar elements of the soul’s journey—its rise, decline, fall, redemptive resurrection (Queen Hermiones is brought back to life after being dead sixteen years).

 

He even turns the physical tables of the atmosphere to mirror the inner soul rumblings of his characters—Sicily’s Mediterranean warmth and light are shrouded in a wintry gloom.

 

Veiled, fractured souls.
Adrift.
Out of sync with God’s ways.
Self-focused. Earthly tethered.
Becoming a wintry heart of darkness.

 

Enter two reasons for an end-of-days resurrection . . .

 

(1) accountability—of what the soul-body matrix has done, said, thought along its earthly journey.

 

(2) divine reconstruction of the soul-body—so it no longer is earthbound/self-focused but raised, recalibrated, made new so those deemed righteous can move with the give-receive love flow of heaven.

 

Let me explain . . .

 
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EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEAR

journeying between weight and responsibility

 

Okay, so you’re not exactly like Shakespeare’s Antigonus, the king’s advisor who teeters between loyalty to the crown and loyalty to truth, makes concessions to protect, and then is chased off stage by a bear and killed.

 

But believe it or not, bears and their presumed Shakespearean connotation have their place in your soul experience and its aftermath, your future resurrection.

 

The word bear appears about twelve times in the play—where a person bears the onus for their actions and their related guilt. And, yeah, the fierce “bearish” beast appears in the midst of it all.

 

How bear/bearing translates to the soul’s journey and end-of-days accountability goes like this—on both sides of the Judaic-Messianic bridge:

 

Bearing your soul—transparent before your Creator, God.
Bearing the weight of your actions—good and not so good.
Bearing the scrutiny of others and our internal self.
Bearing the hardships and testings along life’s journey.
Bearing the responsibility for what you’ve said, done, thought, written, shared, taught, imposed, desired, touched, took, gave, blessed, cursed, healed, harmed, lifted up, brought down.
Bearing the yoke of Heaven (surrendered to God, His word, His covenant—your identity is in Him).
Bearing the final outcome of it all—with your soul’s work salted by His holy fire, tested by His holiness, so the work is either reduced to ash and stubble or glorified in Him.

 

For God shall bring every deed (every action, work)
into litigation (for His judgment),
everything that is concealed,
whether it be good or whether it be evil.
—Ecclesiastes (Kohelet) 12:14

 

And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it.
The earth and sky fled from his presence,
but they found no place to hide.
I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne.
And the books were opened, including the Book of Life.
And the dead were judged according to what they had done . . .
And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life
was thrown into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20: 11, 12, 15

 

Both the soul and the body face their shared judgment: Both are accountable for the life journey. So they are reunited in a new way at the end of days—for a resurrection to righteousness or to punishment.

 

Their embattled soul-body relationship and fractured state lead to the second reason why we need a bodily resurrection . . .

 
nienke-broeksema-UdTV56iEjIw-unsplash
 

SHORT VERSION: SOUL-BODY DILEMMA

the need for a re-alliance

 

Your soul—with its various nuances—is knitted (so to speak) to your body while in the womb. Together, your soul and body embark on a journey and specific life work . . . a work that ignites your soul-body refinement.

 

“The spirit of God has made me,
and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”
Job 33:4

 

And the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground,
and He breathed into his nostrils the soul of life,
and man became a living soul.
Genesis 2:7

 

Yes, God’s breath is in you. He breathed into you from deep within Himself. How profound and amazing is that? He’s that close to you, day by day, hour by hour, soul-breath by soul-breath.

 

Per the Hebrew in scripture, there are three nuances of the soul. The one translated as life force/self (nefesh) is enmeshed with the body and makes a way for the soul to join the body in a human experience while in this worldly dimension.

 

The job of the God-breathed soul is upward: Elevating the soul-body relationship from glory to glory, for a spiritually fruitful life. Surrendering to the will of God, accepting the yoke of heaven.

 

But that presents challenges. Big ones. The body—from dust to dust—is tethered to the things of this world. It came from the earth and is drawn to earthly things. (You can learn more later about the nuances of the soul in The Combat Zone series.)

 

The push-pull is on. And if the soul follows the body’s earth-minded drives vs. the call upward, the soul-body matrix can become . . .

 

Flooded with spiritual darkness, doctrines of demons.

Strictly a receptor—receiving for self, with no capacity for authentic giving.

Compelled by the things of this world.

Defiant, resisting the yoke of heaven.

Dissonant, clashing with God Himself.

 

In other words, a ravaged, war-scarred vessel whose soul-body partnership is in disrepair.

 

For a resurrection to righteousness,
it will need a reconstruction worthy of God’s presence.

Raised. Recalibrated. Renewed.

 

The corruptible body must return to the dust
and be raised in a glorified body—not constructed from the dust,
not tethered to this earthly realm and ways.
It must work in tandem with a soul that has been tested and tried,
and is in alignment with God.

 

Now about your having a resurrection to righteousness vs. a resurrection to contempt . . .

 
geetanjal-khanna-8CwoHpZe3qE-unsplash
 

HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS CAN BE YOURS

not deserved, yet given—a love not of this world

 

The Lord can come to you like the rain—a glory rain, the true latter rain (resurrection to righteousness) after the barrenness, brokenness, and blackened leaves of the soul’s winter tale.

 

A rain that heralds in the spring, hope, vegetation, new beginnings for you and all those who have lived and died in Him.

 

After two days, he will revive us;
on the third day, he will raise us up;
and we will live in his presence.
And let us know, let us strive to know the LORD:
 like the dawn whose going forth is sure,
and He will come to us like the rain,
like the latter rain  which satisfies the earth.
Hosea 6:2-3

 

But in the winter tale of your soul, there can be lot of swerving here and there. And it can get complicated by a treacherous spiritual battle going on within you and around you.

 

Then there’s trying to do good. Human good. Well meaning but falling way short of God’s holiness and His righteousness.

 

He actually says our deeds—which we’re judged on and linked to our thoughts and words—are stained before Him. They’re like soiled rags from menstrual flux, per the Hebrew.

 

And we all have become like one unclean,
and our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment
[soiled menstrual rag],
and we all have withered like a leaf,
and our iniquities carry us away like the wind.
Isaiah 64:5 (6)

 

So if your soul can become spiritually barren, holding on to the decayed, withered leaves of your wintry tale . . .

 

And if your best deeds, thoughts, words are like filthy menstrual rags compared to God’s holy standard . . .

 

Then how can you or anyone stand before God’s judgment seat—and receive a resurrection to righteousness?

 
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GOD MADE IT POSSIBLE

his truth, his life, his way
 

The veil that covered your wintry, fractured soul can be gone. Death, gone. His breath can bring your soul-body to life—again.

 

On this mountain he [the Lord God of Hosts] will destroy
the veil which covers the face of all peoples,
the veil enshrouding all the nations.

 

He will swallow up death forever.
Adonai Elohim will wipe away
the tears from every face . . .
Isaiah 25:6-8 excerpts

 

Despite the fractured stated of humanity, God made a way for your receiving a resurrection to righteousness—and avoiding a resurrection of punishment.

 

But it’s your choice.

 

If you receive His way, your deeds are still judged—but through the blood sacrifice of the Messiah, His Son, Jesus (Yeshua, his Hebrew name).

 

He took on those filthy-ragged deeds/sins (mentioned in Isaiah 64) at the cross so his act of love could wipe your slate clean. When you receive Jesus as Messiah, God’s holy righteousness is imparted to you.

 

Accepting what God has done through the Messiah doesn’t mean you get to live your life willy nilly . . . it means putting on that precious gift and the responsibilities that go with it.

 

Not the manmade yoke of religiosity and compounded burdens—but the gentle yoke of the Messiah.

 

The yoke of heaven that is easy, light, profound. Loving God, walking upright in His ways, letting Him become your identity.

 

Yet through it all, mindful that you’re made of dust and fractured. But standing on His wholeness. Steeped in His strength and faithfulness. Submerged in a holy, grace-empowered process in Him.

 

Jesus is the only way to God for Jews and Gentiles. He is the Living Torah, the fulfillment of the Law, the Redeemer, the Holy Lamb of God who died for your sins, mine, and the world’s.

 

When you have a bodily resurrection in the Messiah,
winter and the soul-body war are over.

 

The KING has conquered death.

 

The body and soul become like a wheel within a wheel.

 

The receiver-driven body is dead, corrupted, disintegrated.
The resurrected body is glorified, incorruptible.
A giver and a receiver. Harmonious with God.
Donning the yoke of heaven.

 

The body is reunited with its now-refined soul,
made holy in and with Him.
All things are made new.

 

Existing as one in holy tandem,
giving and receiving in a sanctified way.
Without self-gratification or self-adoration.

 

Raised in His image.
Mirroring His circular, love-funneled nature.
A soul-body matrix, tested, tried, submerged, empowered
by and through His Truth, Life, Way, Word.

 

In Him . . .
The latter rain is the greatest glory.
The latter rain is His gift to you, a glorified bodily resurrection.

 
 

HAVE YOU READ THESE POSTS IN THE SERIES?

What God Revealed

Real-Life Accounts

Real-Life Accounts Cont’d

The Resurrection Thunderbolt From Heaven

Rabbi Scholars Defend Jesus’ Resurrection

Why A Bodily Resurrection

 

Resurrection series created between March 30, 2016 – July 3, 2016

 

CREDIT: Tree Archway in Snow, Edinburgh (Source: pinkpigart.co.uk)

CREDIT: Shakespeare by Jessica Pamp on Unsplash.com

CREDIT: Bear Running by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash.com

CREDIT: It’s Your Breath by Nienke Broeksema on Unsplash.com

CREDIT: Hand Catching Rain by Geetanjal Khanna on Unsplash.com

CREDIT: White Crown by Ashton Mullins on Unsplash.com

 

RELATED RESOURCES

 

http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/contents/treatises/1913cr.htm
In the shadow of the ladder, Rabbi Yehudah Lev Ashlag
http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/281644/jewish/The-Resurrection-of-the-Dead.htm

http://www.chabad.org/kabbalah/article_cdo/aid/380651/jewish/Levels-of-Soul-Consciousness.htm

http://www.aish.com/sp/pg/Path-of-the-Soul-1-Discovering-Mussar.html (Maimonides character traits)

R.. Sproul:
http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/dark-night-soul/

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2002-02-28/features/0202280319_1_bear-center-stage-shakespeare

 

Journey on