Resurrection Jewish Style: Part 1’s What God Revealed

By SoulBreaths Author [ 4 years ago ]

Empty tomb, garden near Golgatha

It’s real . . . with sneak peeks throughout the Bible to prove it.


© All rights reserved.


Emily Dickinson, 1861 poem.


Safe in their Alabaster Chambers—

Untouched by Morning

And untouched by Noon—

Lie the meek members of the Resurrection—

Rafter of Satin—and Roof of Stone!


Death. Is it a body decomposing into nothingness, trapped in a waiting-for-Godot moment as Dickinson depicts in her “Alabaster Chambers” poem . . . or is it a future transition of the body’s soul matrix into something far greater?


Need a SoulBreaths refresher? Click this popup: Soul Matrix recap


Judaic (orthodox), Messianic Judaic, and Christian teachings stand in agreement: 
Death isn’t the end. It’s another beginning. The soul is eternal. There’s a resurrection coming at the end of days—אחרית הימים—orchestrated by the hand of G-d.

Resurrection to everlasting life for the righteous . . . resurrection to judgment for the others, per Daniel 12:2 and John 5:28-29.


God said to Moses, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.Exodus 3:6


What was G-d saying?
I am the G-d of your father—not I was.
I am the G-d of the living . . . not the dead.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have long past from this world, 
and yet, they are alive.
I am their G-d.

The resurrection of the dead is so entrenched in biblical doctrine that it became the thirteenth principle of the Jewish faith, as defined by The Rambam—Moses ben Maimonides, a renowned, 12th-century rabbinic scholar and philosopher.


I believe with complete faith that there will be a resurrection of the dead at the time when it will be the will of the Creator, blessed be His name and exalted be His remembrance forever and ever.—Maimonides, his Mishnah commentary, tractate Sanhedrin 10:1


The resurrection of the dead is understood in Pirkei Avot (Ethics of our Fathers)—a book containing the rabbinical, ethical/moral teachings from the Mishnaic 2nd century CE period when the oral teachings of Torah were transcribed into a six-part document with 63 tractates, covering various areas of Jewish law.


Rabbi Yaakov said:
This world is like a lobby before the World to Come;
prepare yourself in the lobby so that you may enter the banquet hall.
—Pirkei Avot 4:21


Sound far-fetched? Then consider this.


There are many sneak peeks—real accounts of real people who were resurrected—throughout the Bible. Ten stories are given to nudge our faith toward the main event up ahead.


Those ten accounts—the sons of Jewish and gentile widows, a daughter of a synagogue leader, a dead Jewish man entombed for four days, and all the rest—are shared further down in this article.




Of course, not everyone takes resurrection at face value.


Exhibit A. Orthodox Judaism strongly adheres to the resurrection teaching. But other Jewish sects—Reform, Conservative, Reconstruction, Renewal, Humanistic—typically stray from that biblical core truth to one degree or another. Like the biblical understanding of a Messiah, each person is left to believe or not . . . mostly, not. Or greatly questioning it, at best.


Truth be told, even back in the Second Temple period—1st century CE—the two major sects of the day didn’t agree either. The Pharisees believed “every soul is imperishable” and only the righteous souls would have a bodily resurrection, while all others would enter eternal punishment. Their Judaic counterpart—the Sadducees—pooh-poohed the soul’s eternal existence, the resurrection, angels, and spirits, per Acts 23:8.


Exhibit B. It goes without saying that belief in a resurrection—G-d’s ability to resurrect, His word saying as much, and the examples of it in scripture, particularly of the Messiah, Jesus [Yeshua, his Hebrew name]—is the bedrock of Messianic Judaism and mainstream Christianity. Fringe spin-offs of Christianity, those who like to use the Christian label but not its biblically based belief system, think otherwise.


And then there’s Exhibit C. The rest of the masses who fall within the cracks of Exhibits A and B. Everyday people, artists, writers, thinkers, believers, agnostics, seekers, sojourners, and what-nots.


People like Shakespeare—with his presumably resurrected Hermione in A Winter’s Tale, explored in the Resurrection Jewish Style: Part 2’s What’s the Point of a Resurrected Body, Anyway.


Or the previously mentioned Emily Dickinson, the not-so-believing religious poet whose inner turmoil—paradoxical soul matters, resurrection doubts, and burgeoning transcendental views indicative of the 1800s—unleashed a divergence from her staunch, Calvinistic-Protestant upbringing.


Grand go the Years—in the Crescent—above them—
Worlds scoop their Arcs—
—Emily Dickinson, “Alabaster Chambers”


I appreciate Dickinson. Her editorial uniqueness. Her questioning. Her honesty for writing about those spiritual wanderings. And to a point, I agree. The arc of each life is a rise and an inevitable fall. The years, vanquished. Past glories, abdicated.

Yep, we’re all on a dust-to-dust journey.


 And Firmaments—row—

Diadems—drop—and Doges—surrender—

Soundless as dots—on a Disc of Snow
—Emily Dickinson, “Alabaster Chambers”


Her poetic musings are intellectually heady—and on a literary and editorial level, they are unconventionally daring for her time. But soul wise, they’re flat. They lack the rest of the story.


Maybe it’s because that’s what happens when we break faith. Turn our heads for a second and start chasing the waistcoated White Rabbit down, down, down the long, dark hole.


You know, when we make something else the main event. When we allow a single thing, anything, everything to eclipse, compromise, or reinvent what G-d faithfully has revealed to humanity throughout time about Himself and the raison d’être of our soul journey down here for what lies ahead.


When the altar of G-d is abandoned . . . replaced by the amalgamated altar of self-reliance, nature, self-mysticism, academia, intellect, philosophy, science, and just about anything else.


That’s not to say there’s something wrong with using our intellect, forging new science, appreciating nature, philosophizing about life, etc.


Far from it.
And it doesn’t mean we can’t question or doubt. 
Questioning is part of the faith-in-action process.


But when pride rises up and we fall in love with the sound of our voices and the reasonings/imaginations of our minds . . . that’s a horse of a totally different color. That’s when we brazenly deconstruct His truths, diminish His ways, reconstruct our golden calf, and collectively build our Tower of Babel.


Breaking faith—breaking that relationship with Him—robs the soul of its Source.


A broken faith flits about, like a butterfly hovering over the bloom of biblical truth but refusing to drink its robust nectar—G-d’s resurrection-empowering nectar that spiritually (and one day, physically) transforms dry bones.


Thank you, Ezekiel 37.
That’s where the L-rd says He’ll breathe new life into old bones.
And we’ve already seen Him perform that promise gloriously with Israel—in 1948 and 1967.



G-d made resurrection pretty clear. These ten examples aren’t just hints. They are real stories about real people who breathed their last, mourned, entombed or on their way to that tomb—then were resurrected to demonstrate G-d’s power, compassion, and future promise. Their historic accounts are listed below. Of course, these resurrected people went on to live again . . . but eventually, had to die again and await the resurrection.


That is, all except one.


And now, ten real-life resurrection accounts. 



1 Kings 17:10-24. Meager, drought-riddled times. The place was Tzarfat [Zarephath]—a Phoenician city between Sidon and Tyre in Lebanon. Read how G-d intervened for this widow.


2 Kings 4:20-37. Opening scene: The village of Shunem, north of Jezreel in the Tribe of Issachar’s land. Elisha, anointed by G-d, honors this woman, saves her son.


2 Kings 13:20-21. The prophet Elisha fell sick and died, his body placed in a burial cave. Time passed. Then one day, some men came to bury another man. Amazing G-d power happens next.


John 11: 1-44. Lazarus of Bethany and his two sisters—Miriam and Martha—were Jewish followers of Jesus [Yeshua] and close friends of the famed rabbi. One day, Lazarus falls sick. His sisters send a message to Jesus to please come, knowing of his healing miracles. The rest of the story is jaw-dropping.


Mark 5:21-24, 35-43. Jesus [Yeshua] had been ministering to a crowd of people near the Sea of Galilee—casting out demons, healing the sick, etc. A Jewish synagogue official named Ya’ir fell at the feet of Jesus, pleading desperately. “My little daughter is at the point of death. Please! Come and lay your hands on her so she will get well and live!” Despite naysayers, Jesus moves . . .


Luke 7:11-16. Jesus, his twelve disciples, and a large crowd went to a lower-Galilee town called Na’im, just south of Mount Tabor within the boundaries of the Tribe of Issachar. As he approached the town gate, a dead Jewish man was being carried out for burial. Jesus took pity on the man’s widowed mother . . .



John 19, 20, 21. Egged on by Jewish authorities and decreed by Rome’s Pontius Pilate, Jesus was crucified at a place called Gulgotha, outside of Jerusalem, died (proven), then was prepped for burial and entombed. The event of all resurrection events was about to happen.



Matthew 27:50-53. Right after Jesus breathed his last on the crucifixion stake, the earth shook, rocks split, and tombs were opened. What about the bodies in them? Read this.



Acts 9:36-41. The Messianic Jewish community was being built up in Judah, the Galilee, and Samaria. Their numbers, multiplying. A beloved woman named Tabitha—Dorcas in Greek—died. She was esteemed for her tireless charitable work making clothes for the poor, widows, and others. Then G-d stepped in.



Acts 20:7-12. Pharisee Saul Paulus had a Damascene encounter with the ascended Jesus—and thereafter became a believer in Jesus (Yeshua) as Messiah. Saul traveled extensively to spread the truth of the Messiah—often amid great persecution. Then one day as he was teaching . . .



Check out the next three segments of Resurrection Jewish Style—and the scriptures further down to encourage your faith and walk in the L-rd.


what’s the point of a resurrected body, anyway?

why does an orthodox rabbi—a non-messianic at that—believe in Jesus’ resurrection?




The soul is immortal—Judaically and biblically speaking.


The bodily resurrection of the dead is the hope for the righteous in the coming Messianic Age. The Word of G-d says it best. Here are some examples.


Your dead will live, my corpses will rise;
awake and sing, you who dwell in the dust;
for your dew is like the morning dew,
and the earth will bring the ghosts to life.
—Isaiah 26:19


Many of those sleeping in the dust of the earth will awaken, some to everlasting life and some to everlasting shame and abhorrence.
—Daniel 12:2


Yeshua [Jesus] answered them, “And as for whether the dead are resurrected, haven’t you read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob?’ He is God not of the dead, but of the living!
—Yeshua speaking to the Sadducees, Gospel of Matthew 22: 31-32


Do not be surprised at this because the time is coming when all who are in the grave will hear His voice and come out—those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to a resurrection of judgment.
—Gospel of John 5:28-29


I continue to believe everything that accords within the Torah and everything written in the Prophets. And I continue to have hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. Indeed, it is because of this that I make a point of always having a clear conscience in the sight of both God and man.
—Former Pharisee Saul Paulus (later called the Apostle Paul), presenting his defense before Caesarea’s Governor Felix, as well as the cohen hagadol (Jewish high priest) and Jewish elders, Acts 24:15




McFarland, Philip (2004), Hawthorne in Concord, New York: Grove Press, p. 149, ISBN 0-8021-1776-7.


Royot, Daniel (2002), “Poe’s humor”, in Hayes, Kevin J, The Cambridge Companion to Edgar Allan Poe, Cambridge University Press, pp. 61–2, ISBN 0-521-79727-6.


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

Resurrection Jewish Style: Part 3’s Rabbi-Jewish Scholars Defend Jesus’ Resurrection

By SoulBreaths Author [ 4 years 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).

© All rights reserved.


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


It’s the stuff authors love to write about, carefully mirroring this up-down, soul-matrix existence in their art, which sometimes winds up 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 epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,
we had everything before us, we had nothing before us,
we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way . . .


Thankfully, G-d doesn’t leave us out to dry in our fractured state of humanity. We will rise from the abyss of death. He not only made a way for us to know Him and have a genuine relationship with Him—He’s also pulled back the veil several times to give evidence of the hope that is on the horizon: the bodily resurrection at the end of days—acharit hayamim [אחרית הימים].


I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss.
—Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities


And, yeah, as shared in Resurrection Jewish Style-Part 1, it’s good news/bad news. There will be a resurrection to everlasting life for the righteous . . . resurrection to judgment for the others. (Daniel 12:2 and John 5:28-29.)


But G-d gave us ten resurrection accounts—seriously, count them—to encourage us. Three in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) and seven in the New Testament (Brit Chadashah). Resurrection is the bedrock of traditional Judaism and Messianic Judaism/Christianity.


And yet, all those resurrection accounts beg the question.

Since resurrection is an obvious Jewish 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 

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


author, Jewish scholar, theologian specializing in the New Testament


Clearly a non-messianic, Lapide had a real bridge-crossing view. He even wrote a book in 1979 about it: The Resurrection of Jesus: A Jewish PerspectiveIt 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.


Now I don’t agree with his inference that Jesus (Yeshua) is only the messiah for the Goyim/Gentiles—although there was a time I danced around that tune, but 300 fulfilled prophecies can’t be ignored. Yet, Lapide’s convincing arguments in favor of Jesus’ resurrection as a historic event are worth noting.


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 G-d] 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 Moses ben Maimonides’ Thirteen Articles of Faith: “I believe with full conviction that there will be a resurrection of the dead at a time which will please the creator.” (Maimonides—aka The Rambam—was a renowned, 12th-century rabbinic scholar and philosopher.)


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, G-d 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) G-d 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.


He also addresses the hotly debated three-days-in-the-tomb issue. Even Christians battle out the calculations. But Lapide gives a smart Judaic response: It’s not a literal expression in the Hebrew Bible.


Lapide says, for those with ears biblically educated, that three-days-in-the-tomb expression refers to the clear evidence of G-d’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 G-d’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 ]




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 G-d 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, G-d 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?”


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 [crucifixion location]
was necessary to carry the message of Sinai into the world.
Rabbi Pinchas Lapide



John 19, 20, 21


[Head’s up: Bridge-Crossing Account]


Egged on by Jewish authorities and decreed by Rome’s Pontius Pilate, Jesus was crucified at a place called Gulgotha, outside of Jerusalem. Pilate had a sign posted on the cross in three languages, Hebrew, Latin, Greek: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.


Two criminals were crucified that day as well, one on either side of Jesus.


It was Friday, a day of preparation for the Shabbat [Sabbath]—a special one because it was Passover week. The Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, so they asked Pilate to hasten the deaths of the three men by breaking their legs. The soldiers broke the legs of the men on either side of Jesus, but when they came to him, they saw he was already dead.


One soldier took his sword and pierced Jesus’ side. Immediately, blood and water poured out. He died without one of his bones broken, fulfilling Psalm 34.


Joseph of Arimathea—a Jew, a man of means, a respected member of the council, and a follower of Jesus—asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Pilate granted permission.


Joseph and another Jew, Nicodemus—a Pharisee, member of the Sanhedrin, and follower of Jesus (John 3)—took the body, wrapped it in linen sheets with the myrrh-and-aloes spices, in accordance with Judean burial practice, and placed the body in a new tomb (previously purchased by Joseph of Arimathea for himself), located in a nearby garden. Shabbat was nearing and they had to work fast.


A huge stone locked the entrance—and Pilate had soldiers guard the tomb, worried about the stories of Jesus’ promised resurrection.


Early on the first day of the week—Sunday—when it was still dark, Miriam from Magdala along with Miriam (the mother of James), and Salome went to the tomb in hopes of someone to roll the stone away so they could anoint the body with spices. [Mark 16]


But the stone was already rolled away.


Miriam Magdala ran to tell the disciples Peter and John, who immediately went to the tomb and saw that it was empty. Not understanding, they returned home, perplexed. Miriam stood outside the tomb crying, then bent down to peer in the tomb. Two angels sat where the body of Jesus had been—one at the head and one at the feet. 
[Reminds me of the two angels facing one another on top of the Arc of the Covenant.]

“Why are you crying?” the angels asked Miriam.

“They took my Lord, and I don’t know where they’ve put him,” she cried.

Just then, she turned and saw Jesus standing there.


In the evening of the same day—the first day of the week—the disciples were gathered behind a locked door, fearful of the Judeans.


Jesus appeared, stood in the middle, and said, “Shalom aleikhem!”
He showed them his hands and his pierced side.


Throughout the next forty days, he appeared to many people, per convincing proofs, and spoke of things regarding the Kingdom of G-d. He appeared to  . . .


(1) several women immediately afterward (Miriam Magdala, Miriam, Salome, Joanna)

(2) Simon Peter

(3) his disciples at various times (e.g. in an upper room and at the Sea of Galilee and on a mountain in the Galil)

(4) two disciples on the Emmaus Road

(5) his half-brother, James

(6) over 500 people at the same time (1 Corinthians 15:6)


Unlike the other resurrected people mentioned in the Bible, Jesus didn’t have to die a second time. He’d conquered death. He ascended into heaven, witnessed by his disciples: Simon (Kefa/Peter), Andrew, John, Ya’akov ben Zavdi (James, son of Zebedee), Philip, Bartholomew (Nathanael, Bar-Talmai), T’oma (Thomas), Mattityahu (Matthew), Ya’akov bar-Halfai (James, son of Alphaeus), Simon the Zealot, and Taddai (Thaddeus, also known as Judas—not Iscariot, but the son of James).

While he was blessing the disciples, Jesus ascended into heaven, returning back to the Father. His followers evidenced him being taken up into a cloud (Acts 1). Right afterward . . .


Two men clad in white robes said to his followers:
“Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven?
This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven,
will so come back just as you saw Him go into heaven.”


* * *



Check out all the segments of Resurrection Jewish Style.

what’s been revealed


real-life accounts


real-life accounts cont’d


what’s the point of a resurrected body, anyway?


why does an orthodox rabbi—a non-messianic at that—believe in Jesus’ resurrection?


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


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