He Is Risen Indeed

The following includes:  The Meaning of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, New Life Through the Resurrection, The Sacred Sources of the Resurrection, The Tomb, The Appearances, Worship Services for the Resurrection, and The New Creation.

 

The true Eastern Branch of the Catholic Church, being Orthodox, celebrate the "Resurrection" of Jesus Christ known as Pascha/Easter... along ancient lines of understanding while the Western branch of the Church, known as the Roman Jurisdiction, celebrates Pascha/Easter on the new calendar.  In order to gain something of an understanding of the differences in part, we can only add the following.

 

When you look at many of the denominations claiming to be “Christian” you will find many, many, people who are indeed of the belief that they are “Christian” out of sincerity of belief.  And, on assessment, one would have to say that according to their nature and degree of understanding, they are!  But the reality of truth is that they are just beginners who have been ‘way-layed’ in their journey, their spiritual journey.  They have been way-layed by wolves in sheep’s clothing to believe a lie as truth, and truth as being a lie.  They go by many different nomenclatured names: Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Church of Christ, Promise Keepers, Evangelical, Charismatic, Baptist, even some who are of the Roman Jurisdiction of the Catholic Church today and now… sadly to say, even some of our Orthodox Catholic brothers who have opted to accept various innovations of the Roman Jurisdiction of the Catholic Church. 

 

Understand that the Roman Jurisdiction has and continues to act as though it is the only true "Catholic" Church when, in fact, it is but a jurisdiction of the West and the sun and moon do not rise and set on who is or is not Catholic in spirit and truth.  But Rome will not admit to their centuries old actions of error in this and other matters of importance.

 

The understandings of our Christian faith rests upon the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ, the Holy Apostles and Patristic Fathers of the ancient faith before the Roman Jurisdiction’s schism (separation) which began in the 800’s A.D. and culminated in 1054 A.D. due to their having made additions and alterations to the ancient teachings to include such that were opposed by the Seven Oecumenical Councils.

 

The Church is actually made up of two primary branches which is the root of Christianity known as the “Orthodox” which existed as the "Eastern" branch with the "Western" branch known today as the "Roman" jurisdiction and it is not a "church" unto itself as often misunderstood.  Many are now called, as above named, with the addition of altered beliefs in the Old Catholic Church, with the addition of such as ‘Reformed Catholic Church,’  ‘Independent Movement’ also known as the ‘Independent Catholic Church International,’ ‘Independent Orthodox,’ and many others who have removed themselves from the roots of the Christian Church of ancient times or have made up new innovations or names which adds to the mix of false wolves in sheep’s clothing even though some of their clergy are indeed properly ordained and even some of their bishops hold valid lines of succession, without the Holy Spirit though. 

 

The understandings of the Resurrection and its purpose is even become attacked by some and replete with errors depending upon who is speaking (that is the so-called denomination). 

 

The Meaning of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

 

The Person of Jesus Christ, His Virgin Birth and His Resurrection are the three unshakeable pillars of Christianity. They supplement one another and are indissoluble. The Virgin Birth of Christ cannot be understood without His Resurrection and His Person. Since Christ was truly the Son of God, His Birth needed to be of a virgin and His mortal Body could not remain in the tomb.

 

David, the prophet and king, 1,000 years earlier prophesied Christ's coming and purpose, as Apostles Peter and Paul quoted: "My heart was glad and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will dwell in hope. For thou wilt not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let the Holy One see corruption", Acts 2:26-27 (cf. Ps. 16:8-11). The Resurrection of Christ is essential because He was to put death to the test for it was not possible that "the Author of Life", as Apostle Peter calls Him, remain chained to the tomb like other men (read: Acts 3:15). Thus, the Christian religion is rooted in the prophecies of the Old Testament and is fulfilled in the New Testament, both being a continuous revelation, with the center being Jesus Christ and His Church. The whole revelation is in the Design of God for the salvation of sinful man.

 

The Christian religion has two characteristics which present it as unique among religions. These characteristics should be considered both as presuppositions and as the very content of its faith and teaching. These two characteristics of the Christian religion are its historical facts and its being instituted by a Person of divine authority. It is not merely a series of ideas and philosophies put together in such a way to constitute a system of logical premises. It is not a system planned by one man, or a group of men involved in mythology. The Christian religion recognizes as its Founder the specific Person Who created the Church for His followers, established its teachings, order and rules and still remains as its Head. He is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

 

The basic teaching of the Christian Church is that which has been revealed to it by God in the Person of Christ, Who is the God-Man, from the same Essence of His Father and the Holy Spirit. These three Persons constitute one Godhead — the Holy Trinity. This teaching is not a discovery of one individual, but a revelation by God Himself, Who proclaimed this truth to the people through His only-begotten Son, this truth to be the people through His only-begotten Son, Who was born in time, established His Church and henceforth keeps it alive through the Holy Spirit and His Grace. The main teaching of God to man is the Resurrection of Jesus and His life that follows in His Church. The whole teaching of Christ depends upon the faith that He was resurrected from the dead and that Christians also will arise from the dead at a given time in the future. Christ is both the Creator of the Universe and the One Who will resurrect the dead bodies.

 

If belief in the Resurrection of Christ ceases to be, the entire mission and work of Christ fades away. Neither the miracles of Christ nor the ethical teaching of the Gospel have any significance without the Resurrection. This is why Apostle Paul declared: "If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain," 1 Cor. 15:14. In general, everything in the Gospel has life and significance when faith in the Resurrection of Christ is taken as the foundation and presupposition of the whole work and teaching of Christ. If belief in the Resurrection of Christ is rejected, then the resurrection of the dead bodies is also rejected, and thus, the whole teaching of Christianity is rejected as well. If there is no resurrection of the dead, the Christian faith and character are undermined. Apostle Paul, in accepting the Resurrection of Christ as a fact, also accepts the resurrection of the dead bodies. Paul says that our new life in Christ which comes from our communion and faith in Christ is participation in the life of Christ. If the heavenly life in which the Risen Christ entered presupposes a body resurrected and glorified, such will be the destiny of our bodies as well.

 

Apostle Paul in his first epistle to the Corinthians (chapter 15) refers to both the Resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of the dead. He reminds us of the prime importance of the fact that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, raised from the dead the third day according to the Scriptures, and appeared to Peter, then to the Twelve. Then Christ appeared to more than 500 at one time, then to James, then to all the Apostles. Last of all, He appeared to Paul himself. Paul says that if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some people say that there is no resurrection of the dead. But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and our faith is in vain.

 

But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead and all His followers also will be raised from the dead. For as if by one man came death, by a man has come the resurrection of the dead. For as in the first man, Adam, all died, so also in Christ all have been made alive. If the dead are not raised, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die" (v. 15:32). Paul is asked by some people, how are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they be raised? He tells them that even a grain of wheat must die and grow up again. For God provides that seed with a body that He wishes, and to every seed a proper body. Paul also points out that there are earthly and heavenly bodies, each with its own beauty. When the body is buried, it is mortal; when it is raised, it will be immortal; when buried, it is a physical body; when raised, it will be a spiritual body. Paul declares that when the last trumpet sounds, the dead bodies will be raised as immortal beings and all shall be changed. Death will be destroyed by victory. Thus, the Resurrection of Christ assures the resurrection of the dead bodies (read 1 Cor. ch. 15).

 

NEW LIFE THROUGH THE RESURRECTION

 

The Resurrection of Christ is a unique event which redeems the human race from the state of sinfulness, dating from Adam and continuing henceforth. "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive", 1 Cor. 15:22 (read: Rom. 5:17-20). Apostle Paul makes a clear distinction between Christ and Adam: "Thus it is written, the first man Adam became a living being (read: Gen. 2:7); the last Adam (Christ) became a life-giving spirit. . . . The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven", 1 Cor. 15:45, 47. And again: "If because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ", Rom. 5:17. Adam derived life from God; Christ is the Founder of life, and gave that life to others (read John 1:1-5; 5:21; 10:10, 12:24). The creation of Adam is flesh in contrast to the new creation of man, which is spirit: "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit . . . You must be born anew", John 3:5-7. Thus, the new life of man is made possible by the Resurrection of Christ as the Savior.

 

The newness of life of man emanates from the Gospel of Christ, His teaching, which should be applied in everyday living. The Resurrection of Christ is not merely an historical event. It is especially the power which is given to the faithful to follow His teaching and to gain eternal life, because the resurrection means that Christ is alive always. This power is lost without belief in the Resurrection of Christ, and the unbeliever must fight the difficulties of his life alone. Faith in the Resurrection of Christ is difficult, and demands a very strong will and prayers to establish itself as a unique, daily functioning conviction. This conviction in the Resurrection of Christ is a gift from God for that person who desires to become a partaker of faith in God. If many demands of religion require this kind of conviction to sustain faith, much more effort is needed to believe and live the Resurrection of Christ.

 

For one to believe in the Resurrection of Christ, one needs the grace and help of God. He should pray and read the Gospel in which God reveals the facts of the Resurrection. Fortunately, the sacred source — the Gospel — has been preserved by the Church, handed down in written form from generation to generation. This unique Event is given to us not only as an historical fact, but especially as the fundamental content of worship and prayer. It is necessary, then, for the faithful to study very carefully the sources to discover the meaning of this glorious Event and to make this faith in the Resurrection the object of worship. Thus, one's faith in the Resurrection will become more steadfast and meaningful in one's personal life. A believer has already opened the channel of communion with God and has God's abundance to help and protect him. The life of this person is enriched by this knowledge and worship of the Resurrection of Christ.

 

Thus, the "newness of life" of each of the faithful is a matter of belief in the Resurrection of Christ, Who rose from the dead to save him. The faith in the Resurrection is also a conviction about one's own bodily resurrection at the Second Coming of Christ. Then Christ will make a new creation of each one of us by giving us a glorified body, which will be related to our original body, but uncorruptible. Also, the belief in the Resurrection is the only assurance of the immortality of the soul, which is the main reward the faithful one awaits as a gift of God. Belief in immortality depends on one's belief in the Resurrection of Christ. With such a belief the Christian does not merely pass his time on this earth, but, as Apostle Paul said: "it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me", Gal. 2:20.

 

The Sacred Sources of the Resurrection

 

According to the belief of the Christian Church, Jesus Christ was begotten by God the Father and was Incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary Theotokos. After the completion of His official ministry, He was crucified and buried, and was resurrected on the third day according to the Scriptures and ascended into Heaven. And He will return in glory to judge the living and the dead, at which time the Resurrection of the dead bodies will take place. According to the Design of God, Christ was crucified, pierced and died on the Cross. The Body was removed from the Cross, with the permission of Pilate, after he was assured that Christ had died on the Cross. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus "wrapped it (body) in a linen shroud, and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb, where no one had ever yet been laid," Luke 23:53. The tomb was located outside of Jerusalem in a garden; it was Friday evening when Christ's Body was buried in it, and subsequently the entrance to the tomb was closed by a large stone and sealed. In order to assure no one would steal the Body and have His disciples claim that He had risen from the dead, Pilate permitted Jewish authorities to station soldiers at the door of the tomb to secure it.

 

The chronological order of events of and around the Resurrection of Christ have been preserved by the sacred writers. They did not try to prove the Resurrection from a rational point of view, but simply recorded the events as they actually happened, and reflecting their attitudes at the beginning, starting with Christ's arrest and continuing to His ascension into Heaven. One of the most important facts of the Resurrection is the tomb, which remains intact in Jerusalem today.

THE TOMB

 

The empty tomb is the unshakeable witness of the Resurrection of Christ. The two men mentioned in the Gospels, Joseph and Nicodemus, rushed to remove the Body from the Cross, after getting permission from Pilate, and prepared It for burial. Then they sealed the entrance of the tomb with a large stone already prepared for this purpose. Their rush to bury the Body was because it was late Friday afternoon, with only a few hours remaining before the beginning of the Day of Preparation of the Passover of the Jewish people, with its period of rest from work lasting to the dawn of Sunday, according to the Jewish Law. The women of Galilee followed them and saw where they buried the Body of Christ. At dawn of Sunday the women returned to the tomb, taking with them spices they had prepared for anointing Christ's Body. On their way to the tomb they wondered how they would roll back the stone from the entrance, for it was very large. On arriving at the tomb, they were amazed to see the stone already had been rolled back. They entered the tomb and saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe. The young man asked them why they were seeking Jesus of Nazareth, for He had risen, and is not there.

 

The women left the tomb in terror and great joy, and ran to tell the disciples. However, the disciples did not believe them, and thought it was nonsense. But Peter and another disciple arose and ran to the tomb. The other disciple had run ahead of Peter and stood outside the tomb. He saw the linen cloth, but did not enter. When Peter arrived, he entered the tomb and saw the linen cloth. He saw that the handkerchief which had been laid over His head and face was not lying with the cloth, but folded in a place by itself. The other disciple then entered the tomb behind Peter. At this point the disciples had not fully understood the Scriptural prophecy that Christ must rise from the dead. Therefore, they returned to their home, wondering to themselves what had come to pass.

 

THE APPEARANCES

 

Mary Magdalene returned to the tomb weeping and saw two angels where the Body of Christ had lain. They asked her why she was weeping, and she told them because someone had taken her Lord away. She turned to leave the tomb and heard someone else ask why she was weeping. She thought that it was the gardener, and asked if he knew where they had laid Him. It was Jesus Himself, and He called her by name: "Mary!" When she turned to see Him, Mary cried out, "Master!" Jesus told her not to touch Him, for He had not yet ascended to His Father. Mary Magdalene rushed to tell the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and repeated what He had told her.

 

That very day, Sunday evening, two of Christ's disciples were on the road to Emmaus, talking of these things on the way. Suddenly, there appeared beside them, Christ, the unrecognized, Who asked them what they were discussing. He told them that according to Moses and the Prophets Christ had to suffer these things before entering into His glory. The two disciples invited Christ to stay at their house in Emmaus. On arriving, they sat down to eat, and Christ took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them as He had always done. Their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He then vanished from their side.

 

In astonishment, they described to each other, how their hearts had burned within them as Christ spoke to them. In great excitement they left immediately for Jerusalem, where they found the 11 Apostles (Thomas not being there) in an upper room, and told them that Christ had risen indeed, and related to them the details of Christ's appearance. Even then, the Apostles did not really believe that Christ had risen. While they were talking about these things late that same day, Christ appeared and stood in their midst, offering peace unto them. Christ asked the Apostles why they were disturbed and why they had doubts, showing them His hands and His side where the spear had pierced Him. He then asked them for something to eat, and they brought Him fish. He blessed them again and told them to receive the Holy Spirit.

 

The following Sunday, Thomas, who was not present the previous Sunday, and did not believe that Christ had risen was present with the other Apostles when Christ reappeared to them. He asked Thomas to put his finger in the wounds in His hands and on His side. Thomas immediately recognized Him and said, "My Lord and my God!" Christ said to him that he was blessed because he saw and believed, but more blessed are they who do not see, yet believe.

 

Christ appeared to the Apostles and other disciples on a number of occasions, including at the Sea of Galilee while some were fishing, but had not caught any fish. Christ, appearing for the third time, said to them to place their net back into the sea, and, on so doing, they caught many fish. Christ then directed the 11 Apostles to a mountain in Galilee, where he told them that all power and authority had been given to Him. He then commissioned them to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Holy Trinity.

 

After His last instruction to His Apostles, Christ led them to Bethany for His blessing. As He was blessing them, He departed from their midst as a cloud took Him out of their sight, ascending into Heaven. There then appeared to the astonished Apostles two men who asked them why they were standing there looking up to Heaven, and who assured them that this Jesus Who had been taken from them into Heaven would come again in the same manner. The Apostles returned to Jerusalem with great joy, blessing God continuously.

 

Following are references from the Gospels on the Resurrection of Christ which one should read for spiritual uplifting: Matthew 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-20; Luke 24:1-53; John 20:1-20; 21: 1-23; Acts 1:9-12.

 

Worship Services for the Resurrection

 

It is natural for people who believe in a Divine Being to worship Him. Faith and worship go hand in hand. The more explicit the faith, the more vivid the worship. The worship of man reflects his deep belief. It was also natural, then, that from the very beginning of the Christian era the belief of the people in the Resurrection of Christ was reflected in the basic expression of worship. This is why from the beginning, Christians have expressed their worship in Jesus Christ through the Resurrection, which was the main Event of His life. They worshipped a living Person Who had risen from the dead and Who was the only begotten Son of God. It was the same Person Who was Incarnate through the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary Theotokos, when the fullness of time had come. Christ came to earth to save the world, and when He was crucified, He paid a ransom for man's sins with His own life. Christ underwent this humiliation to reconcile man with God.

 

In so doing, He was resurrected and ascended into Heaven again, entering the era of His glorification. The resurrected Christ is still Head of the Church, the body of Christians. Therefore, they worship Him continuously.

 

Sunday is dedicated to Christ because it was the day on which He was Resurrected. It is called the Lord's Day, kyriake, and became the main day of worship for the offering of the Eucharist, because the Resurrection occurred on this day. Christians dedicate themselves to Christ every day, but especially on Sunday, when they partake of Holy Communion, read the Scriptures and give alms for the needy. Justin the Martyr (second century) describes the order of the Divine Liturgy followed from the beginning of Christianity. Apostle Paul also relates the Eucharist to Christ's Resurrection. In the course of time, the Church set forth the yearly celebration of the Resurrection, not only as an historical fact, but as a fact which is the center of worship, as well as the Feast of Feasts. In arriving at a time, for the yearly celebration of the Resurrection of Christ, the Church took into account the events that existed when the Resurrection occurred.

 

The Church determined, based on the actual events of the time, a calculation for the date each year. The four conditions that the Church set forth are: the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the Spring Equinox (March 21), but always after the Jewish Passover. The Church formulated this celebration during the First Ecumenical Synod in 325. From early times, the celebration was held at midnight, Saturday, when in darkness the priest calls the people to come forth and take the light from the Light that never fades. The people, holding their lighted candles, illuminate the darkness and sing: "Christ is Risen from the dead! He has crushed death by His death and bestowed life upon those who lay in the tomb". The people repeat this hymn many times to express their faith and joy in the Resurrection of Christ. Many other meaningful and beautiful hymns follow.

 

Such is the importance of the Resurrection of Christ that the Church has dedicated 10 weeks before Easter and 7 after for full observance of the Feast. The first 10 weeks are for preparation — fasting, prayers, alms-giving — to participate in the celebration of the "Feast of Feasts", with the 7 weeks that follow, intended for enjoying the fruits of the Resurrection, especially faith in and love of God and one's fellow man. A beautiful hymn of the Resurrection day that depicts this is: "Behold, today is the day of resurrection: Let us glory in the feast, let us embrace one another in joy and say: O brothers and enemies, too, we forgive everything on resurrection day. And let us sing together, Christ is Risen from the dead!" The key to the real understanding of the Resurrection service is to love one's neighbors and to forgive them if they have hurt you. The Christians greet one another for 40 days saying: "Christ is Risen" and "Truly He is Risen".

 

THE NEW CREATION

 

The Resurrection of Christ inaugurates the Messianic era, the new creation. The Apostles are able to go forth and proclaim in Christ "the resurrection of the dead, by being the first to rise from the dead; He is the beginning." In Christ the Resurrection, which belongs to the ages to come, has begun; He is now the resurrection of life. The link between the Resurrection of Christ and the future resurrection of those who believe in Him is strongly emphasized: "For if we have been united with him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His . ... If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through the Spirit which dwells in you", Romans 6:5; 8:11.

 

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                                                                               --An Elder

A Curse or a Blessing?  Depending on to whom it may...

 

    Yes, our Metropolitan Archbishop, +Joseph Thaddeus, SSJt., Ph.D. strongly defends the Seals of the Confessional for such leads to true Repentance in thought, word and deed whereby the penitent is required to make amends, where possible, to seek forgiveness of those harmed by his actions whether real or imagined, and to give his forgiveness to those who have harmed him before taking the Holy Body and Blood in the Eucharist, Jesus the Christ.  The reality of this understanding is bound up in and with the findings for which cause he, himself, had been character assassinated by his detractors who claim the courts prevented him from breaking the Seals of the Confessional which is not the truth at all.... Click here to see what another bishop's findings are...

 

    The workings of Holy Spirit will not be daunted by those who attempt to cause disruption!  It is for these and other reasons that you are urged to read what true repentance and forgiveness means for real "Christians".

 

   "It would be better to have ten (10) true repentant X-felons who ask for and give true forgiveness than it would be to have one (1) non-x-felon or common person whose self-righteousness exceeds even the Pharisees, Sadducees, the gossip mongers, slanderers and un-repentant; for the repentant x-felon understands the true meaning of the Church's purpose as being the spiritual hospital." (siq) +Joseph Thaddeus, OSB, SSJt., Ph.D., Metropolitan Archbishop, Archabbot, Primate

 

Yes... "Prejudice Makes Prisoners of the Hated and the Hater..." (1992-Fr. Alan Stanford)

 

One can ask, "What part of 'Prejudice' and 'hate' do you not understand?  Are you a complacent person?  In light of the saying, examine yourself!  You may be surprised if you are honest with yourself for your soul may convict you before Jesus Christ convicts you in the times to come!

 

"When tested by some trial you should try to find out not why or through whom it came, but only how to endure it gratefully, without distress or rancor."

St. Mark the Ascetic.

"
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit." Psalms 32:1-2
 

    For further information about how spammers, hackers and those who are angry with you can or will attempt to do damage, we offer the following link as regards some of the computer - internet problems:

 

http://msn.pcworld.com/howto/article/0,aid,116258,00.asp

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Is Christianity At The Cross Roads?

 

As The World Goes, So Goes The Church

 

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Attempts at Coming to An Understanding of Orthodox Catholic Christianity

 

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