Sunday, June 25, 2017

Tremendous Truths Concerning Christ's Burial

The burial of Christ has profound significance that is often overlooked. For example, author Thomas Stegall of Duluth Bible Church admits that the "burial of Christ is important for a variety of reasons"[1] - yet he only cites one importance and goes on to conclude that it's not even part of the Gospel! Such disregard for the Savior's burial is unfortunate. Theologian Lewis Sperry Chafer writes: "Special significance is rightfully attached to the fact that as often as three times, when relating the saving events through which Christ passed, the Scriptures include His burial. . . . The truth now under contemplation is that Christ's burial has been listed as an important factor in each of these three passages cited above [1 Cor. 15:1-4; Col. 2:11-12; Rom. 6:2-4], and as having doctrinal meaning. Regardless of disclosure, too little emphasis has been given this subject by theologians."[2]
The student of Scripture who is to be commended would do well to consider the following tremendous truths concerning Christ's burial:

1.) The burial of Christ is important in fulfilling Old Testament prophecy (Deut. 21:22-23; Psa. 16:9-11, Psa. 22:15; Psa. 40:2; Isa. 53:9).

2.) The burial of Christ is important in fulfilling Old Testament types. What are Old Testament types you may ask? The Old Testament types are the "picture language" in which the doctrines of the New Testament are prefigured. It has been said that, "The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed." Jesus said that the Old Testament Scriptures bear witness to Him (Jn. 5:39; cf. Lk. 24:25-27; Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11). What are some pictures of Christ's burial in the Old Testament? Consider the following examples:
  • Noah in the ark (Gen. 6-8)
  • Joseph in the pit (Gen. 37:18-28)
  • Israel going through the Red Sea (Exodus 14)
  • Scapegoat in the wilderness (Lev. 16:8-10, 26; cf. Jn. 1:29)
  • The High Priest's staff laid in the tabernacle (Num. 17:1-11; cf. Heb. 5:1-5)
  • Israel crossing the Jordan River and the twelve memorial stones (Joshua 4)
  • David in the cave of Adullam (1 Sam. 22:1; 1 Chron. 11:15; cf. Micah 1:15)
  • The Israelite in another man's grave (2 Kings 13:20-21; cf. Lk. 24:5-7)
  • King Hezekiah's sickness and recovery (2 Kings 20)
  • Daniel in the lion's den (Daniel 6)
  • Jonah in the huge fish (Jonah 1:17, 2:10; cf. Matt. 12:38-40; Lk. 11:29-32)
  • Lazarus in the tomb (John 11)

3.) The burial of Christ is important in fulfilling the Old Testament concept of death and resurrection from the grave (Gen. 3:19; Deut. 21:22-23; Psa. 22:15; Eccl. 3:20; Isa. 26:19, 53:9; Dan. 12:2; Jn. 5:28, 12:23-24, 16:16-22; Acts 2:22-32, 13:26-37; 1 Cor. 15:4).

4.) The burial of Christ is important in providing continuity between His physical death and bodily resurrection (1 Cor. 15:3-5, 35-44).

5.) The burial of Christ is important in proving the reality of His physical death and bodily resurrection (Matt. 12:39-40, 27:57-66; Jn. 12:23-24; 1 Cor. 15:3-5).

6.) The burial of Christ is important in fulfilling all righteousness (Isa. 53:9; Matt. 3:15; 1 Cor. 15:4).

7.) The burial of Christ is important in highlighting His humanity (Jn. 12:23-24; Acts 13:26-41; 1 Cor. 15:3-5, 20).

8.) The burial of Christ is important in completing His humiliation (Matt. 12:39-40; Jn. 12:23-24; 1 Cor. 15:43; Eph. 4:8-10).

9.) The burial of Christ is important in His identity as the Last Adam (Gen. 3:19; Psa. 22:15; Jn. 12:24; Rom. 5:14; 1 Cor. 15:20-22, 42-45).

10.) The burial of Christ is important in His identity as the Messiah (Isa. 53:9; Matt. 12:38-42; Acts 2:22-36, 13:23-37; 1 Cor. 15:3-5).

11.)The burial of Christ is important in His identity as the firstborn from the dead (Isa. 26:19; Jn. 16:16-22; Acts 2:24, 13:29, 33; Col. 1:18; Heb. 12:22-23; Rev. 1:5).

12.) The burial of Christ is important in His identity as the begotten Son of God (Psa. 2:7; Acts 13:29, 33; Heb. 1:5, 5:5).

13.) The burial of Christ is important in highlighting His sinlessness (Isa. 53:1, 9; Rom. 1:1-2, 10:16).

14.) The burial of Christ is important in making all things new (Isa. 53:9; Matt. 27:57-60; Lk. 23:53; Jn. 19:41-42; Rev. 21:5-6).

15.) The burial of Christ is important in refuting Gnostic type heresies and human philosophies (1 Cor. 15:3-5; Col. 2:8-12).

16.) The burial of Christ is important in order for Him to conquer death (Hosea 13:13-14; Acts 2:24-31; 13:29-37; 1 Cor. 15:3-5, 36, 54-57; Rev. 1:8).

17.) The burial of Christ is important in "the reverberating witness of the empty tomb" (Matt. 27:57-28:10; Mk. 15:42-16:7; Lk. 23:50-24:49; Jn. 19:31-20:31; Acts 2:22-32, 13:29-30; 1 Cor. 15:3-5).

18.) The burial of Christ is important in emphasizing the power of His resurrection (Acts 2:24; Rom. 1:4; 1 Cor. 15:43).

19.) The burial of Christ is important in His resurrection on the third day (Matt. 12:38-42, 27:57-66; Acts 10:40; 1 Cor. 15:4).

20.) The burial of Christ is important in order for Him to be the first fruits (Matt. 27:52-54; 1 Cor. 15:3-5, 20-23, 35-44). 

21.) The burial of Christ is important in order for Him to bear much fruit (Isa. 26:19; Dan. 12:2, 13; Matt. 27:52-53; Jn. 5:25-29, 12:23-24; 1 Cor. 15:3-5, 20-23, 35-45; Heb. 12:22-23). Commenting on Matthew 27:52, Dr. C. I. Scofield affirms: "That these bodies returned to their graves is not said and may not be inferred. The wave-sheaf (Lev. 23.10-12) typifies the resurrection of Christ, but a sheaf implies plurality. It was a single 'corn of wheat' that fell into the ground in the crucifixion and entombment of Christ (John 12.24); it was a sheaf which came forth in resurrection. The inference is that these saints, with the spirits of 'just men made perfect' (Heb. 12.23) from Paradise, went with Jesus (Eph. 4.8-10) into heaven." (Scofield, The Scofield Reference Bible [New York: Oxford University Press, 1917], p. 1042.)

22.) The burial of Christ is important in demonstrating that His sacrifice on the cross had ended; i.e. Christ was taken down off the cross and buried as the Scriptures required (Deut. 21:22-23; Gal. 3:13).

23.) The burial of Christ is important in picturing sin's complete removal out of sight (Lev. 16:8, 10, 26; Psa. 103:12; Micah 7:19; Matt. 12:39-40; Jn. 1:29).

24.) The burial of Christ is important in revealing God's saving power (Isa. 53:1, 9; Rom. 1:1-2, 1:16, 10:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-5).

25.) The burial of Christ is important when witnessing to sinners (Isa. 53:1-12; Matt. 12:39-40, 26:1-13; Acts 2:22-32, 13:26-41; Rom. 10:16; 1 Cor. 1:17, 15:4).

26.) The burial of Christ is important in the Gospel (Isa. 53:1-12; Matt. 26:1-13, 27:57-66; Mk. 15:42-47; Lk. 23:50-56; Jn. 19:31-42; Acts 2:22-32; 13:26-41; Rom. 10:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-5).

27.) The burial of Christ is important in providing eternal salvation (Isa. 53:1-12; Jonah 2:9-10; Matt. 12:39-42; Jn. 12:23-24; Acts 2:22-32, 13:26-41; Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-5).

28.) The burial of Christ important to believe in order to receive forgiveness of sins (Isa. 53:1, 9; Matt. 12:39-42; Acts 13:26-41; Rom. 1:16, 10:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-5).

29.) The burial of Christ is important in the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 6:3-4, 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:12-13; Col. 2:12).

30.) The burial of Christ is important in a believer's water baptism by immersion as a public testimony of identification with Christ in His death, burial, resurrection, and manifestation (Acts 8:36-39; cf. 1 Cor. 15:3-5).

31.) The burial of Christ is important in the believer's sanctification (Rom. 6:3-4; 1 Cor. 15:2; Col. 2:9-12).[3]

32.) The burial of Christ is important so that Jesus is not dishonored (Gen. 23:4, 25:9; Deut. 10:6, 21:22-23, 28:26, 34:6; 2 Sam. 21:10-14; 1 Kings 14:10-14, 16:4; 2 Kings 9:34-37; Psa. 79:1-4; Eccl. 6:3; Isa. 53:9; Jer. 7:33, 8:1-2, 16:4, 6, 22:19; Ezek. 29:5; Rev. 11:9).

33.) The burial of Christ is important in honoring Him (Matt. 26:1-13; Jn. 19:38-42).


[1] Thomas Stegall, Proposed Change to the Word of Grace Bible Church Doctrinal Statement titled: "SOLE CONDITION FOR SALVATION".

[2] Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, 8 Volumes (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1976), Vol. 7, pages 63-64.

[3] Although I don't agree with his interpretation of the Gospel, Pastor Dennis Rokser of Duluth Bible Church is correct to point out: "The Gospel offers the good news of SALVATION to us. (1 Cor. 15:2a) which also you are saved...The present tense of 'saved' may be viewed in two possible ways. First, Paul may be communicating that these Corinthians via the Gospel were being presently saved from the POWER OF SIN in their Christian lives as long as they remained steadfast to the Gospel, just like they had been saved from the PENALTY OF SIN (Hell) when they had trusted in Christ. In other words, the Gospel they had received would continue to have saving effects from spiritual damage upon their lives 'if you hold fast the word which I preached to you.' In the second view, the apostle may be indicating that the Gospel continues to bear fruit in Corinth by various [unsaved] sinners continuing to receive it, and as a result being 'saved'. Both views are presented by Dr. S. Lewis Johnson in his comments on 1 Corinthians in The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, p. 1255." (Rokser, Let's Preach the Gospel [Duluth: Duluth Bible Church], p. 23.)
     The comment of Dr. S. Lewis Johnson on 1 Corinthians 15:2 is as follows: "Ye are saved (Gr., present tense) may refer to continual salvation from the power of sin in the lives of believers, or it may refer to the day-by-day salvation of the inhabitants of Corinth as they received the message and formed part of the church of Jesus Christ." (Johnson, Charles F. Pfeiffer and Everett F. Harrison, Editors, The Wycliffe Bible Commentary [Chicago: Moody Press, 1990], p. 1255.)

Friday, June 9, 2017

An Understanding of Sheep in the New Testament

"Christ...the great Shepherd of the sheep. After all, both Israel and the church are called His sheep." - J. Vernon McGee

     I was talking to a man at a church I was visiting last Sunday and he made a statement that surprised me because I've never heard it before. He said, "We are not under the Law, we are in the age of grace. And in the age of grace, God never calls the church His sheep." 
     I'm not sure where this man was coming from or what his point was. Perhaps I should have asked, but I didn't. I just kept listening. From other statements he made, it sounded like he believed in Calvinism and Lordship Salvation. Anyway, after we got done talking, I kept thinking about his comment, and if it was true that "God never calls the church His sheep"? 
     Almost immediately I remembered the portion of Scripture that says that God "brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep" (Hebrews 13:20). Another Bible verse that I thought of is when Jesus says in John 10:16, "I have other sheep, which are not of this fold." I have always understood that statement as Jesus looking ahead in time and making reference to the church in distinction to the nation of Israel (compare Matthew 16:18). Can you think of any other Bible verses where the church in this age of grace is referred to as God's sheep? 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Charles Ryrie on How Not to Interpret the Gospel

     Several years ago I came across an interesting video online called "Dr. Charles Ryrie on the Gospel". In the video Ryrie says, “I don’t know how to label this [gospel]. I think I’ll label it a ‘cut up’ gospel. A gospel according to scissors. Where people are taking a portion of the Scripture, and getting their soteriology out of that portion only."[1]
     Ryrie goes on to describe this gospel as “a gospel that is dissected – cut up, because of the raw material you used to draw your theological conclusions”.[2]
     Although Ryrie is specifically referring to those who isolate the Synoptic Gospels to teach a works approach to salvation, his insights on the hermeneutics of the gospel are true in general: you can’t isolate one portion of Scripture to the exclusion of the others and you can’t cut and paste the gospel.


[1] Ryrie, “Dr. Charles Ryrie on the Gospel,” Also see the video: "FGA Banquet 2008, Dr. Charles C. Ryrie," [15:50 minutes -18:25 minutes]. 

[2] Ibid.