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THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
I. QUAR., LESSON XII., MAR. 25, HEB. 11:1-20
Golden Text—”I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”—Matt. 22:32
“Now is Christ risen from the dead.”—1 Cor. 15:20
The term “Easter” occurs but one place in the Bible (Acts 12:4), where it signifies the passover. There is no precedent in the Scriptures for the Easter festivals which have been celebrated with pomp and ceremony in the Roman and Greek Catholic churches, where, it is said, it was introduced to displace a pagan festival, the only change being in name. But, while avoiding the multiplying of the forms of godliness, whose tendency is to impoverish its spirit, it is quite in place for Christians to reverently and joyfully call to mind the Lord’s resurrection on its anniversary. The birth, death and resurrection of our Lord are the three circumstances of his first advent which should be remembered by every child of God with reverent thanksgiving and praise. His birth was the dawn of hope for our race, as Simeon said, “Now … mine eyes have seen thy salvation;” his death was the seal of pardon and peace to every believer in his precious blood; and his resurrection was the assurance which God gave to all
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men of the efficacy of his precious blood and of their consequent privilege of sharing the ransom blessing of restitution by faith and obedience.
The resurrection of Jesus is the guarantee of God’s expressed purpose to restore to life and to all the blessings of his favor all of the human race who come unto God by him. And it is in view of this fact, that God declares himself the God of the living, and not of the dead, for they all live unto him (Luke 20:37,38)—in his purpose. And, because of this also, our Lord spoke of death as a sleep,—in view of the awakening in the morning of the resurrection.
Death implies extinction; for if once condemned by God as unworthy of life, there being no chance for reform or change in death (“In death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks!”) it follows that there could be no hope in death. But what man could not do for himself God has done for him through Christ,—He has redeemed man from the death sentence and provided for the reawakening of all. Therefore God does not think of us as dead (annihilated), but as sleeping until the Millennial morning.
It is interesting to note with what carefulness the important facts of the death and resurrection of the Lord are noted in the Scriptures: that so our faith and hope might be firmly established; for, said the Apostle, “If Christ be not risen, your hope is vain.” The precautions, too, were taken not by the Lord’s friends, but by his enemies.—Matt. 27:62-66; John 19:34,35.
For a full treatment of the subject of resurrection, see our issues of April 1 and October 15, 1893.
— March 1, 1894 —