Thursday, May 7, 2009

He is risen on the third day

Spiritual Whispers
By His Grace Bishop Raphaeil

He is risen on the third day

As much as Christ's Resurrection was a unique marvelous event, as the holy inspiration preceded to get His people's minds ready to accept the fact of this Holy Resurrection… There are many prophecies all along the Holy Bible books explaining resurrection with all its details… Let's navigate together in the profoundness of the prophets so as to discover the undisclosed secret that has been now proclaimed…

1- Resurrection in the book of the Psalms:
Especially the book of the Psalms includes many of the prophetic signs to Christ's Resurrection; here are some of those verses:
† "I lay down and slept (slept as a symbol to death and burial); I awoke (resurrection), for the LORD sustained me (by the power of His divinity)." (Ps. 3: 5).
† "Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone (the devils); You have broken the teeth of the ungodly (as a symbol to His victory over Satan's kingdom and all his soldiers)." (Ps. 3: 7).
† "But God (the Father) will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol (hell), for He shall receive me." (Ps. 49: 15).
† "For You have delivered my soul from death (by resurrection)." (Ps. 56: 13).
† "For you have delivered my soul from death." (Ps. 116: 8).
† "For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy (the needy fallen humankind), now I will arise, says the Lord; I will set them in salvation, and I will be revealed in it." (Ps. 12: 5).
Saint Cyril of Jerusalem comments on the resurrection prophecies throughout the Psalms saying: Let's go through the fifteenth psalm that says clearly: "PRESERVE me, O God, for in You I put my trust.", then he says: "Their drink offerings of blood I will not offer, nor take up their names on my lips." For they refused me saying: "We have no king but Caesar!" (Jn. 19: 15)… He also says: "Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption", he did not say: "Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see death", unless the meaning that He did not die, but he said: "nor to see corruption", meaning that he would not remain in the tomb till corrupted, then he says: "You have made known to me the ways of life;", this is a clear sign to His live resurrection after death, and Saint Cyril of Jerusalem proceeds to explain the thirtieth psalm "I WILL exalt You, O LORD, for You have lifted me up, and have not let my enemies rejoice over me." Answering clearly "O LORD, You have brought my soul up from Hades;" for in the previous psalm, he predicts saying: "For You will not leave my soul in Hades," as for here, He is talking about actually achieving this prophecy, so he says: "O LORD, You have brought my soul up from Hades; You have delivered me from the hands of those who will go down to the pit." and when was this? "Weeping shall be for the evening, but joy comes in the morning." For the disciples were sad in the evening and rejoiced in the morning through Resurrection.

2- Resurrection in the book of the Song of Songs (Song of Solomon):
Saint Cyril of Jerusalem did not miss discovering resurrection through the book of the Song of Songs, for he views in the verse "I have gathered my myrrh with my spice;" "Myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices.", that it is a symbol to burial, and the spices prepared by the women carrying fragrance, then the verse "I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey;" that it has been fulfilled as the master ate a piece of broiled fish, and some honeycomb in the presence of his disciples after His Resurrection (review Lc. 24: 39-42) as he says: "He ate myrrh before death and honey after resurrection."
When the Song spouse was looking industriously for her missing groom, she was a shadow and an example of the Mary's who came courageously looking for the Heavenly Bridegroom.
"Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark." (Jn. 20: 1), the same as the spouse chanted "by night on my bed I sought the one I love;" (Song 3: 1) "I sought him, but I did not find him.", as if she was saying with Mary Magdalene: "they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." (Jn. 20: 13). The same as if Mary asks the angels by the tomb "So is my beloved among the sons." (Song 2: 3), then the angels answer saying: "Why do you seek the living among the dead?" (Lc. 24: 5), "Scarcely had I passed by them, when I found the one I love. I held him and would not let him go." (Song 3: 4), "So they came and held Him by the feet." (Mt. 28: 9).

3- Resurrection according to the Prophets:
We were raised with Christ and within Him, Hosea the prophet prophesies about this saying: "After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight." (Hos. 6: 2), "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day," (Lk. 24: 46)… It is not just Him Who rises, but we are raised with and within Him "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God." (Col.3:1).

† How are we raised with Him?

Our master Paul explains this: "buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead." (Col.2:12), accordingly Ezekiel the prophet prophesies about our resurrection saying: "Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel." (Ezek.37:12), Hosea the prophet comments on this saying: "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death." (Hos.13:14).

Christ has trampled death underfoot by means of His death; as for us then death became powerless, its dread and influence are gone for good … Isaiah the prophet prophesies about this saying: "He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces; the rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; for the LORD has spoken." (Is. 25: 8), "O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your destruction!" (Hos. 13: 14).
That is the praise that our master Paul the apostle chanted proclaiming his joy about the power of resurrection and its impact: "Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" (1Cor.15:54-55).

4- Resurrection of the dead in the Old Testament:
Elijah revived the son of the widow of Zarephath (which belongs to Sidon) (1 Kgs. 17: 22), and Elisha revived the son of the Shunammite woman (2Kgs. 4: 35)… The raising of those was a tribute to Christ's resurrection, a prophecy preceding and proclaiming the chances of the resurrection from among the dead … Also the story of Jonah the prophet and his burial for three days in the belly of the great fish was a symbol to Christ's burial and resurrection: "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Mt.12:40).

So all along the Old Testament, God wanted to make His people's minds ready to accept Christ the Lord's resurrection from among the dead … A tribute to our own resurrection … Now through baptism and in eternity indeed.

His Grace Bishop Raphaeil – Cairo Downtown Churches


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