Why I Believe in the Resurrection

Date: 04/08/2023 
Did Jesus really rise from the dead? Hear factual reasons why we can have confidence in the resurrection.

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Doug Batchelor : It's been many years, but it still feels like yesterday. Living in a cave high above Palm Springs, no money, no prospects just drifting through life, deeply confused about who I was and wondering if life held any purpose. Coming from a wealthy family, I could have had it all: money, power, fame, but this all struck me as plastic and empty. It wasn't until I was at the lowest point in my life when I found true meaning. Somebody had left a Bible in my cave, and I quickly discovered why this is the number one best seller in the world.

Friends, I can't even begin to tell you what the Bible has done for me. It's the awe inspiring living Word that has the power to transform human hearts. Jesus said, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you'll know the truth, and the truth will make you free." And this is still the truth today. And it's the reason that I'm standing here today, thankful to be able to proclaim His Word and eager to bring hope to those in need. I truly believe that today's program is going to fulfill that desire and leave you with a rich blessing. And don't forget, stay tuned for our very important free offer at the end of this presentation.

Doug: Really, it's the time of year, about 1,992 years ago during the Passover, Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He rested in the tomb, even on the Sabbath day, from redeeming mankind, and then He rose from the dead. And our subject this morning is going to revolve around the subject of the Resurrection. And I'll be giving you a little bit of personal information on why I believe in the Resurrection. And keep in mind, I'm coming from a background where I was raised agnostic, but I'd like to begin with something that may surprise you a little bit.

These are amazing facts about a movie. Now, I don't go to movies, but I bet most of you have seen "Ben-Hur." I saw it too. It had the largest budget, over $15 million, of any movie made up to that time, about $150 million today. That would probably be closer to $500 million today. I think Titanic was like $500 million budget. Can you imagine that? It had the largest sets built of any film production at the time. A hundred costume wardrobe fabricators, two hundred artists and workmen provided the hundreds of freezes and statutes needed for the film. Over 200 camels and 2,500 horses were used in making the film.

Now, you know, Amazing Facts is involved in completing a film right now called "Armageddon: The Final Events of Bible Prophecy," and ours is a low budget film, but it's going to be really--it's a big budget for us. But I can't imagine working with 2,500 horses. I mean, the crew that you need just to handle them. Ten thousand extras were in the movie. The nine minute chariot race has become one of cinema's most famous action sequences. And contrary to urban myths you heard, nobody died during that filming.

It's the longest ever musical score composed and conducted by Miklos Rozsa. It had a $14.7 million marketing budget. It was the fastest growing, as well as the highest grossing film of 1959, becoming the second highest grossing film in history at the time, only after "Gone With the Wind." It won 11 Academy Awards. No picture has won more. Some pictures have tied for 11 Academy Awards. Epic film.

Now, the reason I shared all that with you is because there's a backstory. Back in the 1870s, two men got on a train in North America. One of them was General Lee--I'm sorry, General Lew Wallace, and he encountered another friend who had also fought in the Civil War with him on the side of the North, his name was Robert Ingersoll. Now, I don't know if you recognize the name Robert Ingersoll, but he was probably the most famous American agnostic. He would go around and do seminars and talk about how the Bible cannot be trusted and religion is a sham, and he talked to packed houses. He was very eloquent, went into politics and became a successful politician.

They knew each other from the war. And Ingersoll asked General Wallace if he'd like to sit with him in his coach. So they sat in their private coach and they had a long ride going to this convention, they were both going to the same convention. And Ingersoll took in talking to Wallace about there is no God. The Bible cannot be trusted, and he waxed eloquent, it flowed like a river for hours. And Wallace was not especially religious. He was rather indifferent to religion, but he was so rattled by what Ingersoll said that he resolved, you know, I need to study into this for myself, because if what he's saying is true, nothing really matters, and he needed to find out.

So, he did a personal study on is there a God? Is the Bible true? And by the way, Wallace, while he was once a general, afterward he was an attorney. So, he looked at it from a logical, defensible position as a lawyer. Here's what he says. "To write all of my reflections would require many pages. I passed them to say simply that I resolved to study the subject. It only remains to say that I did as resolved, with results. The first result is I wrote the book 'Ben-Hur.' The second is a conviction amounting to absolute belief in God and the divinity of Christ." So that whole movie that became an epic film about the Resurrection, it's what you would call historical fiction, it grew out of someone being challenged on the subject of is the Bible true?

Did Jesus really live? Did He rise from the dead? Now when I first heard this, I was a little shook. You know, I went to--I'm not Catholic, but I went to two different Catholic schools. And I remember hearing one time them talk about one of the prayers, they were teaching me the Beatitudes in one of our Bible classes. And they said, you know, Jesus, you know, He taught, and then He died on the cross, and He rose from the dead the third day, and then He told his disciples to go out, and I said, wait, wait, wait, let's back up. He what? He rose from the dead? I was only in third grade at the time. But I said, well, that doesn't happen every day. And I kind of struggled with it even back then. And so, I was pretty much an agnostic until I began to search for is there a God when I was about 16, 17.

How did I come to the point where I could believe in the Resurrection? Well, I've got seven primary points, I may take a few rabbit trails along the way. First of all, two thirds of American adults, there was a survey that was done by the Life Study, and two-thirds of Americans, 66% say they do believe in the biblical account of the physical Resurrection of Jesus. But it's troubling when you realize that those that are between 18 and 30, 18 and 34, 59% do not believe. Meaning that the generation that is coming along, as you probably already heard from numerous studies, is becoming more and more agnostic, and less and less believing in Christianity, believing in God. Things are changing in our culture, and I'd like to especially appeal to that group in my comments this morning.

Why do I believe in the Resurrection? One, it was foretold in the Bible. Paul says in 1 Corinthians, he said that Jesus rose the third day as the scriptures say, according to the scriptures. There are many scriptures. You can look in the Old and the New Testament, Old Testament, Psalm 16, verse 10, "You will not leave my soul in the grave."

This is speaking of the Messiah. He didn't say I want to go to the grave. He said, you want to leave it there, "nor will your holy one," the Messiah, "see corruption. Wouldn't be there long enough to decompose, which happens after the third day. Jesus walking around when He was alive, He told them over and over, "From that time," Matthew 16:21, "Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and the chief priests, be killed, and rise the third day." He said it very frequently. He said it so frequently that even His enemies remembered this after He was crucified, they went to Pilate. You find this in Matthew 27:63. They say, "Sir, we remember while He was still alive, how that deceiver said after three days, I will rise." They remembered it. That's why they requested a guard at the tomb, which of course, just further proves that it did happen, increased the number of witnesses.

So, there are so many prophecies. I mean, Jesus said, "No sign will be given to this generation, but the sign of Jonah." And the big sign of Jonah is, you know, it's not very likely that a person is going to come out of a fish alive after three days. Jonah's experience is a type of a Resurrection. Indeed, Daniel coming out of the lion's den is a type of the Resurrection. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego surviving the fiery furnace is a type of the Resurrection. When Abraham goes up the mountain with Isaac and he's going to the place of sacrifice and there's a substitute, and Isaac comes back alive, Paul tells us that that is a type of the Resurrection. And so you've got all these different examples in the Bible where it looks like it was hopeless, and then things turned around. So, the prophecies foretold this.

Point number two, Jesus's after death appearances, all the different times that He appeared after He died. According to the apostle Paul's letters, as well as the four gospel accounts, Jesus appeared alive after His death on numerous occasions in diverse and varied ways. They saw Him in the Upper Room, they saw Him on the Mount of Olives, they saw him fishing at the Sea of Galilee. They saw Him walking between Jerusalem and Emmaus, and many other occasions that are not even recorded. It says over a period of 40 days He appeared.

Now look at how Paul describes this in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, verse 3, and I think you're going to see this on the screen. 1 Corinthians 15, verses 3 through 8, "For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures." Notice he says, according to the scriptures, this is what it said was going to happen. "And that He was seen by Cephas." Cephas is one of the names for Peter, same name, "then by the twelve." Notice 12, speaking those who are of the team of 12 apostles. "After that he was seen by over five hundred brethren at once."

Now, friends, if I came, you know, running in the room here and I said, oh, you won't believe it. I just talked to Gabriel. You say, you talk to Gabriel? Yeah, Gabriel, the angel. You sure? Yeah, I saw this shadow and then I heard this voice, and I'm sure it was Gabriel. You'd go... Well, four people come in and say we just saw Gabriel. They say, well, still they maybe all had the same hallucination. But if we all came in and we said, we saw Gabriel and we touched him, then you say, what? Then if we all came here, we said, we saw him, he spoke to us, we spoke to him, we touched him, and we ate together. If people don't believe that, what evidence would you accept?

What did Jesus have to do after the Resurrection to prove He was real? What would you accept? If you won't accept that He walked, and He talked, and He ate, and He appeared to them, and they could touch Him. He wasn't a phantom, and this is not one or two people. This is hundreds of people that saw Him. I would think that's pretty compelling. Then it says He was also seen, the greater part, let me see, "After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present." He said, when Paul writes this, he says many are still alive. If you want living witnesses, he's writing to the church in Corinth, "but some have fallen asleep," some have died. "After that He was seen by James." This is James, the brother of Jesus who ends up becoming a leader of the church. Jesus especially appeared to His brother because you know, the Bible says, even His brethren did not believe, so He appeared.

The other reason I believe, point three, the short time frame between the events and the actual eyewitness claims. Now, so many people, when they tell a fantastic story, the story is written years later. It's like, you know, they say the city of Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus who were nursed by a wolf. And this legend is written, you know, hundreds of years after they had all been dead and gone, and they just make up, you know, it's as true as Hercules or anything else. There's all kinds of interesting stories.

When you read Homer's “Odyssey" you wonder how much about the battle of Troy and the Trojan Horse, how much of that is true. Were there really sirens on the island calling the men into the rocks? Was there really a cyclops with one eye? Was there really a Medusa with snakes coming out of its head? I mean, because of some of the things in Greek mythology and these things they say, how can that be true?

But the Bible is written very differently. The Bible gives a lot of very accurate accounts of history, and events of empires, and customs of the day in great detail. And it not only talks about the good things the heroes do, it talks about their embarrassing failures. It is one of the most objective books of history that you could ever read, where the other ones, you know, they always make the hero out to be this almost a divine champion that is beyond reality. But it'll tell you about King David killing Goliath, and it'll tell you about David and Bathsheba.

There's a short time frame for the Bible. You know that the first history of Alexander the Great was written by Theodora Silas 300 years after Alexander was dead. Now today, you know, when we're writing about Christopher Columbus, we can't get our heads together about what to think about him, because after hundreds of years go by, you just don't have that many documents. Nobody ever questions Alexander the Great, even though the first history was written 300 years after he was dead.

One of the most compelling points I've got listed as point number four is the sincerity of the witnesses. They absolutely believed what they were saying because they put their lives literally on the line. Most of the apostles died of unnatural causes, generally from persecution because they were preaching and teaching the Resurrection of Jesus, they had seen it. They were totally unafraid of death because they knew death had no fear for them, because Jesus rose and it should have no fear for you, because Jesus rose. They had absolute confidence. Peter, at first, he was so afraid there in the trial of Christ, he denies Jesus, but after the Resurrection, when they threatened Peter, he said, "You decide whether I ought to obey God or you." And they continued preaching about Jesus even though they were whipped and flogged for doing it.

So, you look in the first century, the gospel, it takes off like a cannon shot. It goes from no Christians to covering the Roman Empire. Why? How could they do that so quickly? Because they believed what they were preaching was true. They put their lives, I mean, you know, some people will make up stories and deceive, but how many of you would be willing to die for something you knew to be a lie? So, they were absolutely sincere.

Then you've got the extra-biblical accounts. It's not just the Bible talking about this. There are historians outside of the Bible that talk about it. You got Christians and non-Christians, believers and unbelievers, and they admit it, not only in the New Testament, you got Tacitus, he was a Roman historian that had nothing good to say about Christians, but he acknowledged Jesus, he acknowledged that Jesus was crucified. He says Jesus was crucified by Pilate, he was a historian during the time of Emperor Tiberius. You've got Josephus, Lucian, the Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Barnabas, Justin Martyr, et cetera. They're all living outside of the Bible. They're all recent reports. Many of them contemporaries with those who witnessed it and they talk about the events as though they're absolute history.

You know, friends, if you're going to believe anything you ever read in history, you're not going to find more in ancient history than you're going to find on the Resurrection of Jesus in the times of Jesus. There is a reason that history today is dated from his birth.

The other reason I believe is, it is a central pivotal teaching throughout the New Testament. The teaching of Jesus rising is really the axle on which the gospel rotates. Acts chapter 2, as soon as the Holy Spirit poured out, what does Peter say? Acts chapter 2, verse 23. "Him being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands and have crucified and put to death, put to death, whom God raised up having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it." Paul Acts 17, verse 2, "Then Paul as his custom was," what did Paul do as a regular custom? "He went into them and three Sabbaths, he reasoned to them from the scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer, rise again from the dead."

Paul is explaining from the scriptures, not the New Testament, that the Messiah would rise from the dead. "This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ." Paul would have had nothing to gain by doing that. And on many occasions, he got stoned because to say that Jesus could rise from the dead was putting them on a level with God. They called that blasphemy. Acts 5:29, "But Peter and the other apostles answered and said, 'We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus who you murdered by hanging on a tree.'" The whole message, the punctuation, the exclamation mark that Jesus makes on everything else He said earlier is that He would rise from the dead. If you wondered if He was the Son of God, He said, well, I'll prove it. He said, "I lay down my life and I take it up again." I mean, you got to be pretty powerful to raise yourself. Wouldn't you say?

And then of course, point number seven, the empty grave. I think that is actually a point. They went to the grave. They had put His body in the grave. You got all these gospel testimonies, they laid Him in the grave. He was dead. Tells where the grave came from. Tells how the body got to the grave. Joseph of Arimathea, who was one of the Sanhedrin that did not support the decision, he was not invited to the kangaroo court when they convicted Jesus. He went and begged the body of Jesus from Pilate. Once it was confirmed He was dead, he was given the body, he and Nicodemus worked together to buy the ointment. They delivered the project to the women who oversaw the wrapping of His body. I mean, they're wrapping His dead body. He would have suffocated if He was just in a coma. They wrapped up His head, the empty grave. Well, they could have snuck His body away.

You know, the Roman soldiers were later paid to say that they stole the body away. But really, I mean, can you picture the apostles, the guards there around the tomb? They quietly tiptoed over these Roman soldiers that are all snoring so heavily, they don't hear them wrestling this stone aside from the tomb and they don't wake them up. They all sleep through it. And a Roman soldier, if it loses its charge, they lose their life. That's why they said the soldiers were afraid, and the priest said we'll pay Pilate if it comes to his ears. Don't worry. We'll pay you, we'll cover it. And that's how they got that false testimony.

But you know what? I think some of the soldiers couldn't keep it to themselves. They said, yeah, we got paid. But yeah, we saw the angels. How could you forget that? What evidence would you accept? Some people just refuse to believe. The seed falls on the stony ground and they just don't realize that there is evidence for your faith.

I remember reading a story about a missionary in Brazil, and he was working with this remote tribe in the Amazon, and many of them were struggling with illness, and they had a clinic not too far away from this river, but they would not cross the river, because-- and it's not that they were afraid of rivers. They crossed many rivers, but this one river that went between them and where the clinic was, they believed it was filled with evil spirits. And a plague started going through the whole tribe and many were dying. And the missionary begged them to follow him across the river and he said all will be well. He said you go to the hospital, they'll give you medicine. They said we can't go in there, there's evil spirits. And so the missionary went down by the edge of the river and he put his feet in the river. They said, look nothing's happening to me come. They said no, no, no, no. And he got down knee deep and he splashed in the water and they looked at him waiting for something bad to happen to him. And he said, you can make it. And they said no, evil spirits.

Finally, he realized his only hope was he dove in the river, he's a good swimmer, he disappeared, and he swam as far as he could underwater and he came up on the other side, and then he waved at them and they all jumped on the shore and they cheered, and they were then willing when they saw that he had gone across to the other side to take the plunge of faith.

Now, we have someone that has gone before us, and he came up alive on the other side. This life is not it. This life is preparation for the life that really matters. Death is not the end for the Christian. Because He lives, we can live a new life then, but we can live a new life now because of the Resurrection. That same power and Spirit that brought Him back to life can change your heart. It can give you a new heart. It can give you victory over your sins and the devil, just like it gave victory to Jesus over death. If you believe, all things are possible.

Doug: Don't go anywhere, friends. We'll be back in just a moment with the rest of today's presentation. No, the Bible never says that Eve ate an apple, nor does it say that three wise men came to see Jesus in the manger. Neither does the Bible say that God made a devil. So how well do you know your Bible? And what does it really say about heaven and hell, the origin of the devil, and the Second Coming of Jesus?

There are so many common misunderstandings about the Word of God. That's why Amazing Facts wants to send you a special free resource called "The Hidden Truth Magazine." It'll expose some of the most common misconceptions about the Bible. It's packed with colorful graphics, fascinating facts, and compelling Bible truths that present seven of the most misunderstood Bible subjects in a direct and captivating way. I guarantee it will become one of your favorite witnessing tools. To get your free copy, call the phone number on the screen and ask for offer number 832, or visit the web address. And after you read this incredible resource, be sure and share it with a friend.

Doug: God is offering you peace and eternal life. How? Well, it all begins by simply turning towards the Lord. The Bible promises that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. You can turn to Him right now and ask for forgiveness in a new heart, and He's ready to forgive and receive you. That's why Jesus came. Whether you know it or not, He's always been your best friend. A new life is only a prayer away. Just ask Him now.

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