Resurrection of Christ
one of the cardinal facts and doctrines of the gospel. If Christ
be not risen, our faith is vain (1 Cor. 15:14). The whole of the
New Testament revelation rests on this as an historical fact. On
the day of Pentecost Peter argued the necessity of Christ's
resurrection from the prediction in Ps. 16 (Acts 2:24-28). In
his own discourses, also, our Lord clearly intimates his
resurrection (Matt. 20:19; Mark 9:9; 14:28; Luke 18:33; John
The evangelists give circumstantial accounts of the facts
connected with that event, and the apostles, also, in their
public teaching largely insist upon it. Ten different
appearances of our risen Lord are recorded in the New Testament.
They may be arranged as follows:
(1.) To Mary Magdalene at the sepulchre alone. This is
recorded at length only by John (20:11-18), and alluded to by
(2.) To certain women, "the other Mary," Salome, Joanna, and
others, as they returned from the sepulchre. Matthew (28:1-10)
alone gives an account of this. (Comp. Mark 16:1-8, and Luke
(3.) To Simon Peter alone on the day of the resurrection. (See
Luke 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5.)
(4.) To the two disciples on the way to Emmaus on the day of
the resurrection, recorded fully only by Luke (24:13-35. Comp.
Mark 16:12, 13).
(5.) To the ten disciples (Thomas being absent) and others
"with them," at Jerusalem on the evening of the resurrection
day. One of the evangelists gives an account of this appearance,
(6.) To the disciples again (Thomas being present) at
Jerusalem (Mark 16:14-18; Luke 24:33-40; John 20:26-28. See also
1 Cor. 15:5).
(7.) To the disciples when fishing at the Sea of Galilee. Of
this appearance also John (21:1-23) alone gives an account.
(8.) To the eleven, and above 500 brethren at once, at an
appointed place in Galilee (1 Cor. 15:6; comp. Matt. 28:16-20).
(9.) To James, but under what circumstances we are not
informed (1 Cor. 15:7).
(10.) To the apostles immediately before the ascension. They
accompanied him from Jerusalem to Mount Olivet, and there they
saw him ascend "till a cloud received him out of their sight"
(Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-52; Acts 1:4-10).
It is worthy of note that it is distinctly related that on
most of these occasions our Lord afforded his disciples the
amplest opportunity of testing the fact of his resurrection. He
conversed with them face to face. They touched him (Matt. 28:9;
Luke 24:39; John 20:27), and he ate bread with them (Luke 24:42,
43; John 21:12, 13).
(11.) In addition to the above, mention might be made of
Christ's manifestation of himself to Paul at Damascus, who
speaks of it as an appearance of the risen Saviour (Acts 9:3-9,
17; 1 Cor. 15:8; 9:1).
It is implied in the words of Luke (Acts 1:3) that there may
have been other appearances of which we have no record.
The resurrection is spoken of as the act (1) of God the Father
(Ps. 16:10; Acts 2:24; 3:15; Rom. 8:11; Eph. 1:20; Col. 2:12;
Heb. 13:20); (2) of Christ himself (John 2:19; 10:18); and (3)
of the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 3:18).
The resurrection is a public testimony of Christ's release
from his undertaking as surety, and an evidence of the Father's
acceptance of his work of redemption. It is a victory over death
and the grave for all his followers.
The importance of Christ's resurrection will be seen when we
consider that if he rose the gospel is true, and if he rose not
it is false. His resurrection from the dead makes it manifest
that his sacrifice was accepted. Our justification was secured
by his obedience to the death, and therefore he was raised from
the dead (Rom. 4:25). His resurrection is a proof that he made a
full atonement for our sins, that his sacrifice was accepted as
a satisfaction to divine justice, and his blood a ransom for
sinners. It is also a pledge and an earnest of the resurrection
of all believers (Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 6:14; 15:47-49; Phil. 3:21;
1 John 3:2). As he lives, they shall live also.
It proved him to be the Son of God, inasmuch as it
authenticated all his claims (John 2:19; 10:17). "If Christ did
not rise, the whole scheme of redemption is a failure, and all
the predictions and anticipations of its glorious results for
time and for eternity, for men and for angels of every rank and
order, are proved to be chimeras. 'But now is Christ risen from
the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept.'
Therefore the Bible is true from Genesis to Revelation. The
kingdom of darkness has been overthrown, Satan has fallen as
lightning from heaven, and the triumph of truth over error, of
good over evil, of happiness over misery is for ever secured."
With reference to the report which the Roman soldiers were
bribed (Matt. 28:12-14) to circulate concerning Christ's
resurrection, "his disciples came by night and stole him away
while we slept," Matthew Henry in his "Commentary," under John
20:1-10, fittingly remarks, "The grave-clothes in which Christ
had been buried were found in very good order, which serves for
an evidence that his body was not 'stolen away while men slept.'
Robbers of tombs have been known to take away 'the clothes' and
leave the body; but none ever took away 'the body' and left the
clothes, especially when they were 'fine linen' and new (Mark
15:46). Any one would rather choose to carry a dead body in its
clothes than naked. Or if they that were supposed to have stolen
it would have left the grave-clothes behind, yet it cannot be
supposed they would find leisure to 'fold up the linen.'"
a translation of the holy Scriptures. This word is not found in
the Bible, nevertheless, as frequent references are made in this
work to various ancient as well as modern versions, it is
fitting that some brief account should be given of the most
important of these. These versions are important helps to the
right interpretation of the Word. (See SAMARITAN PENTATEUCH
1. The Targums. After the return from the Captivity, the Jews,
no longer familiar with the old Hebrew, required that their
Scriptures should be translated for them into the Chaldaic or
Aramaic language and interpreted. These translations and
paraphrases were at first oral, but they were afterwards reduced
to writing, and thus targums, i.e., "versions" or
"translations", have come down to us. The chief of these are,
(1.) The Onkelos Targum, i.e., the targum of Akelas=Aquila, a
targum so called to give it greater popularity by comparing it
with the Greek translation of Aquila mentioned below. This
targum originated about the second century after Christ. (2.)
The targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel comes next to that of Onkelos
in respect of age and value. It is more a paraphrase on the
Prophets, however, than a translation. Both of these targums
issued from the Jewish school which then flourished at Babylon.
2. The Greek Versions. (1.) The oldest of these is the
Septuagint, usually quoted as the LXX. The origin of this the
most important of all the versions is involved in much
obscurity. It derives its name from the popular notion that
seventy-two translators were employed on it by the direction of
Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt, and that it was
accomplished in seventy-two days, for the use of the Jews
residing in that country. There is no historical warrant for
this notion. It is, however, an established fact that this
version was made at Alexandria; that it was begun about 280
B.C., and finished about 200 or 150 B.C.; that it was the work
of a number of translators who differed greatly both in their
knowledge of Hebrew and of Greek; and that from the earliest
times it has borne the name of "The Septuagint", i.e., The
"This version, with all its defects, must be of the greatest
interest, (a) as preserving evidence for the text far more
ancient than the oldest Hebrew manuscripts; (b) as the means by
which the Greek Language was wedded to Hebrew thought; (c) as
the source of the great majority of quotations from the Old
Testament by writers of the New Testament.
(2.) The New Testament manuscripts fall into two divisions,
Uncials, written in Greek capitals, with no distinction at all
between the different words, and very little even between the
different lines; and Cursives, in small Greek letters, and with
divisions of words and lines. The change between the two kinds
of Greek writing took place about the tenth century. Only five
manuscripts of the New Testament approaching to completeness are
more ancient than this dividing date. The first, numbered A, is
the Alexandrian manuscript. Though brought to this country by
Cyril Lucar, patriarch of Constantinople, as a present to
Charles I., it is believed that it was written, not in that
capital, but in Alexandria; whence its title. It is now dated in
the fifth century A.D. The second, known as B, is the Vatican
manuscript. (See VATICANUS ¯T0003766.) The Third, C, or the
Ephraem manuscript, was so called because it was written over
the writings of Ephraem, a Syrian theological author, a practice
very common in the days when writing materials were scarce and
dear. It is believed that it belongs to the fifth century, and
perhaps a slightly earlier period of it than the manuscript A.
The fourth, D, or the manuscript of Beza, was so called because
it belonged to the reformer Beza, who found it in the monastery
of St. Irenaeus at Lyons in 1562 A.D. It is imperfect, and is
dated in the sixth century. The fifth (called Aleph) is the
Sinaitic manuscript. (See SINAITICUS ¯T0003443.)
3. The Syriac Versions. (See SYRIAC ¯T0003549.)
4. The Latin Versions. A Latin version of the Scriptures,
called the "Old Latin," which originated in North Africa, was in
common use in the time of Tertullian (A.D. 150). Of this there
appear to have been various copies or recensions made. That made
in Italy, and called the Itala, was reckoned the most accurate.
This translation of the Old Testament seems to have been made
not from the original Hebrew but from the LXX.
This version became greatly corrupted by repeated
transcription, and to remedy the evil Jerome (A.D. 329-420) was
requested by Damasus, the bishop of Rome, to undertake a
complete revision of it. It met with opposition at first, but
was at length, in the seventh century, recognized as the
"Vulgate" version. It appeared in a printed from about A.D.
1455, the first book that ever issued from the press. The
Council of Trent (1546) declared it "authentic." It subsequently
underwent various revisions, but that which was executed (1592)
under the sanction of Pope Clement VIII. was adopted as the
basis of all subsequent editions. It is regarded as the sacred
original in the Roman Catholic Church. All modern European
versions have been more or less influenced by the Vulgate. This
version reads _ipsa_ instead of _ipse_ in Gen. 3:15, "She shall
bruise thy head."
5. There are several other ancient versions which are of
importance for Biblical critics, but which we need not mention
particularly, such as the Ethiopic, in the fourth century, from
the LXX.; two Egyptian versions, about the fourth century, the
Memphitic, circulated in Lower Egypt, and the Thebaic, designed
for Upper Egypt, both from the Greek; the Gothic, written in the
German language, but with the Greek alphabet, by Ulphilas (died
A.D. 388), of which only fragments of the Old Testament remain;
the Armenian, about A.D. 400; and the Slavonic, in the ninth
century, for ancient Moravia. Other ancient versions, as the
Arabic, the Persian, and the Anglo-Saxon, may be mentioned.
6. The history of the English versions begins properly with
Wyckliffe. Portions, however, of the Scriptures were rendered
into Saxon (as the Gospel according to John, by Bede, A.D. 735),
and also into English (by Orme, called the "Ormulum," a portion
of the Gospels and of the Acts in the form of a metrical
paraphrase, toward the close of the seventh century), long
before Wyckliffe; but it is to him that the honour belongs of
having first rendered the whole Bible into English (A.D. 1380).
This version was made from the Vulgate, and renders Gen. 3:15
after that Version, "She shall trede thy head."
This was followed by Tyndale's translation (1525-1531); Miles
Coverdale's (1535-1553); Thomas Matthew's (1537), really,
however, the work of John Rogers, the first martyr under the
reign of Queen Mary. This was properly the first Authorized
Version, Henry VIII. having ordered a copy of it to be got for
every church. This took place in less than a year after Tyndale
was martyred for the crime of translating the Scriptures. In
1539 Richard Taverner published a revised edition of Matthew's
Bible. The Great Bible, so called from its great size, called
also Cranmer's Bible, was published in 1539 and 1568. In the
strict sense, the "Great Bible" is "the only authorized version;
for the Bishops' Bible and the present Bible [the A.V.] never
had the formal sanction of royal authority." Next in order was
the Geneva version (1557-1560); the Bishops' Bible (1568); the
Rheims and Douai versions, under Roman Catholic auspices (1582,
1609); the Authorized Version (1611); and the Revised Version of
the New Testament in 1880 and of the Old Testament in 1884.