How is Satan attacking the truth of the doctrine of Jesus' Resurrection?
One of our guest speakers was Dr. Ron Rhodes, the founder and director of Reasoning From the Scriptures Ministries. With nearly 50 books penned and decades of public teaching, he is an expert on the Bible. As a former "Bible Answer Man," he specializes in easy to understand answers to the really tough questions about the Bible and the defense of the Scriptures.
Dr. Rhodes's topic at our conference was "The Truth of the Resurrection" (watch). He did a remarkable in the following segment of explaining the various attacks by Satan against the doctrine of Jesus' Resurrection.
The Battle Ground
I need to tell you that today the Resurrection is a theological battle ground. I am not going to spend a lot of time on this, but I do want to make you aware of what is going on.
The Jesus Seminar says the Resurrection is pure fiction and wishful thinking. They say that the body of Jesus was torn apart and eaten by dogs according to John Croissant. Well, let me tell you, John Croissant is going to be torn apart at the Great White Throne Judgment! That is not a good place to be, not a good place to be at all.
Liberal Christianity denies not just that the Bible is the Word of God but also denies all miracles, especially of course it denies the Resurrection. One liberal by the name of Rudolf Bultmann said, "What of the Resurrection? Is it not a mythical event pure and simple? Obviously it is not an event of past history. And then we read both the legend of the empty tomb and the appearances insist on the physical reality of the risen Lord, but these are most certainly later embellishments." In other words, according to Bultmann the disciples made it up and stuck it in the Bible. They lied and they were dishonest. These guys who were brought up under the Ten Commandments and were trained not to bear false witness and not to tell a lie, well these guys lied and stuck this stuff in the New Testament, so it is not really true. That is what Liberal Christianity teaches.
You may not have heard of the Unitarian Universalist Church, but their influence is massive. If you have ever heard of the idea that truth is relative, well these guys are one of the main promoters of it. They teach that science proves that dead men stay dead, that miracles are impossible, and that the Resurrection is simply a symbol of new life emerging from suffering. According to their teachings, when you look at Jesus suffering on the cross and then dying, well that is just symbolic. Also, His rising from the dead is just symbolic of modern times when something good happens out of something bad. That is all the Resurrection is to them.
Islam says that Jesus was not crucified and that Judas was crucified in his place. Allah stuck the face of Jesus onto Judas so they thought they were crucifying Jesus. Jesus was actually caught up to Allah and one day Jesus is going to come again and lead all people into submission to Allah. One thing is certain to their faith, they say Jesus did not resurrect from the dead.
What about the Jehovah's Witnesses? I have written many books about the Jehovah's Witnesses. Did you know they have written about me, too? One of their books that came out almost one-third of the book deals with yours truly. You want to know why? Because thousands upon thousands of Jehovah's Witnesses had become Christians as a result of my books on the Jehovah's Witnesses. So, they are attacking me. By the way, glory goes to God on that. You see, we are just witnesses. God is the one who does the converting. Those conversions are to God's glory.
Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus was raised to life as an invisible spirit, an angel creature. He did not take up again that body in which He had been killed as a human sacrifice to God. They say Jesus appeared to His disciples on different occasions in various fleshly bodies just as angels appeared to men of ancient times.
What about the Baha'i Faith? The Baha'i teach that Jesus was just a manifestation of God. There was no physical resurrection from the dead. It just happened in the minds of the disciples. In fact, let me just read to you what they say. "The disciples were troubled and agitated after the martyrdom of Christ. The cause of Christ was like a lifeless body and when after three days the disciples became assured and steadfast, His religion found life and his teachings and his admonitions became evident and visible." What a bunch of bologna! This is the idea that the faith or the belief system of the Christians was kind of like a lifeless body, but then they became renewed in their faith even though that body was still in the grave rotting. That is crazy! How can you have faith without a resurrected Jesus? Unless there is a Jesus who is sovereign over death, how can you really have faith? That is why I say it is bologna.
I like the cartoon where a soldier makes a big mistake. He pulls the pin out of the grenade and with fervor he throws the pin. Just like that guy, with fervor they argue for their positions, but they make a big mistake. Only, they've made a worse mistake. The soldier is going to lose his physical life, but these guys that I just spoke to you about they are going to lose eternal life and that is much worse.
If you believe in a Jesus Christ that is a counterfeit Jesus who preaches a counterfeit gospel, you have got yourself a counterfeit salvation and there are no exceptions to that rule. That is a big, big mistake.
Can you understand why Satan's attacking the doctrine of Jesus' resurrection? He wants to keep people out of the Kingdom of God. And I thank God for people who are standing up for truth against this demonic attack and assault against the church on the front lines of apologetics.
In the next segment of Dr. Rhodes sermon on "The Truth of the Resurrection," we'll look at the scriptural evidence for Christ's Resurrection.