The following article was written by Brother CC Walker, editor of The Christadelphian Magazine for 39 years (1898 to 1937). It was the twelfth article in a series that focussed on various aspects of Christ under the title “Immanuel”. The seventeen articles in this series formed part of a collection of articles written by him and published in 1943 as a book entitled “Witness for Christ” by Brother John Carter, following his death on April 3rd, 1940. It is commended to our readers as most appropriate to the theme of our feature on the subject of the Resurrection.

Without resurrection the sacrifice of Christ would be unavailing, and all would be “vanity and vexation of spirit”. “If there be no resurrection of the dead,” says Paul, “then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain,… ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.”

Here was a clear issue between the hope of Israel and the philosophy of the Greeks. The hope of Israel was the hope of the resurrection of the dead; the philosophy of the Greeks was the hope of the immortality of the soul, apart from the resurrection of the body, and was “foolishness”. “Christ crucified” was “unto the Greeks foolishness”, and they themselves with their philosophy were foolishness unto God.

The philosophy of the Greeks is still current, and at a premium, while the hope of Israel is obscured, and everywhere at a discount. But Israel is with us, and he was there before the Greeks, and will be when they and their philosophy are forgotten. The holy oracles of Israel had from the beginning proclaimed the resurrection of the body, as against the fables of the Babylonian apostasy, which later became incorporated in the philosophy of the Greeks. Some of the modern professors of the name of Christ have made the egregious mistake of declaring that “the resurrection is not taught in the Old Testament Scriptures”.

True, the word resurrection is not there, but the idea is, both in doctrine and practice. This is the direct testimony of Christ and the apostles in the New Testament. “The Queen of the South shall rise up in the judgment”. “Even Moses showed that the dead are raised” (Luke 20:37). Thus Christ spoke, and he said much else besides. When he had risen from the dead the disciples were astonished, for, says John, “as yet they knew not the Scripture that he must rise again from the dead” (John 20:9). “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and was buried, and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” So said Paul (1 Cor 15:3-4). After the resurrection, when the Lord Jesus met his disciples, “then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures; and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day” (Luke 24:46). And when Paul was before Agrippa, he made this affirmation, easily verified, “Moses and the prophets did say… that Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead” (Acts 26:22).

Death in the Old Testament Scriptures is the cessation of life, and terminates in bodily dissolution. And resurrection is the remedy provided by God, and is resumption of life by a bodily synthesis and change to immortality or incorruptibility. The vision of the prophet Ezekiel (ch 37) may be taken as a suggestive indication, and likewise the allusions of Psalm 139:15, 16, considered in relation to the case of Christ himself and the “members” of his multitudinous body.

“Christ as the Resurrection”, was a divine idea set forth with more or less clearness and emphasis from the beginning-from the foundation of the world. It was enigmatically conveyed in the promise that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head (Gen 3:15). The sacrifice of “righteous Abel”, for which he was slain by Cain, implied resurrection through death, and he became the type of Christ, whose blood “speaketh better things than that of Abel” (Heb 12:24). The promise to Abraham of “all the land, for ever, to thee and to thy seed” (Gen 13:15) necessitated at once “Christ as the Resurrection”, and Abraham raised to eternal life by him. And this was emphasised by the “covenant” described in Genesis 15. That Abraham had faith in the resurrection of the dead is evidenced by the history of the offering of Isaac (Gen 22), read in conjunction with the apostolic comment in Hebrews 11:19. Abraham believed “that God was able to raise Isaac up even from the dead, whence also he received him in a figure”. And Isaac “the child of promise”, “born after the spirit”, “the only begotten” of his father, thus offered for a sacrifice and typically raised from the dead, became a striking type of God’s “only begotten Son”, in short, of “Christ as the Resurrection”. Isaac and Jacob followed in the faith of Abraham, Jacob, in Egypt, directing his sons to bury him in the cave of Machpelah at Hebron. And Joseph, likewise dying in Egypt, in full faith of the resurrection of the dead, “gave commandment concerning his bones” (Gen 50:25).

The Patriarchal dispensation closed, and Israel settled down in bondage in the midst of Egyptian oppression and superstition. But the centuries rolled on, and “the time of the promise drew nigh”, and Moses was raised up to deliver Israel. Forty years’ exile, after a like period covered by youth and the life of Pharaoh’s court, prepared him to become a faithful servant in God’s house, and to establish a testimony to Christ as the Resurrection. When the long silence of God was suddenly broken by the angel at the bush, and the proclamation, “I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob” (Exod 3), it was a renewal of the divine promise of Christ as the Resurrection. It is Christ who says so (Mark 12:26). It is true that he does not in this place obtrude his own name upon the attention of the foolish Sadducean deniers of the resurrection. They erred greatly, and did not approach him to receive instruction. But his name is involved in the divine proclamation, as was afterwards made manifest.

Moses proclaimed the Name of God in Egypt, and the faith of the resurrection of the dead, discarding and opposing “the wisdom of the Egyptians”, whose monuments have come down to our own day to illustrate the fabulous character of their theology. Moses, by the commandment of God, gave Israel the Law and ordinances which in several features indicated and memorialised “Christ as the Resurrection”. Prominent among these is the ritual appointed for the day of Atonement, when the Scapegoat represented the living Sin-bearer of Israel “presented alive before the Lord to make atonement”, after the death of the goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell (Lev 16). “The goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land of separation” (v 22). “My Righteous Servant shall bear their iniquities” (Isa 53:11). It was a type of Christ as the Resurrection. So also was “the living bird” appointed for the cleansing of the leper (Lev 14:6, 7, 51, 53), and for the cleansing of the leprous house.

And as a matter of tangible example, the resurrection of the dead appears in the Old Testament in the histories of Elijah and Elisha, both of whom raised from the dead the sons of women who had ministered unto them.

And the Psalms and the Prophets are full of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead in a way that time and space would fail to illustrate. David, by the Spirit, spoke concerning the resurrection of Christ in Psalms 16 and 110. Isaiah declared that God’s dead should live, and the dwellers in dust awake and sing (ch 26). Jeremiah foretold that Israel’s Governor should “approach unto the Lord” (30:21), and in view of the return of the captivity of Israel the prophet himself was the subject of a kind of typical resurrection: “Upon this I awaked and beheld; and my sleep was sweet unto me” (31:26). In the resurrection he will really awake and behold, and his sleep will have been sweet unto him. Ezekiel, in the dramatic vision of the dry bones of “the whole house of Israel” (ch 37), very strikingly personifies Christ as the Resurrection, when as “Son of man” he calls the dry bones into life. Daniel is informed by the angel that in the time of the end “many that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake” (ch 12); and he, like Jeremiah, is the subject of a typical resurrection from the dead. Hosea (6:2) likewise speaks of the resurrection of Israel “in the third day,” and declares (13:14) that God will “ransom them from the power of the grave”. Jonah supplies “the sign” by which the Messiah was to be known. Habakkuk tells of the sudden awakening and rising up of the children of the resurrection in the time of the end (2:7); and Zechariah couples the entry of Zion’s king into Jerusalem, meek and lowly and riding upon an ass, with his salvation through the blood of the everlasting covenant by which he was brought again from the dead, and by which God would thereafter bring forth his prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water (ch 9). And Malachi closes the testimony of the prophets with the assurance of God, that the day cometh when to those who fear God’s name, the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings (4:2).

Such are some of the scriptures which the disciples knew not as yet when they had the glad experience of meeting the Lord Jesus after his resurrection from the dead.

And Christ himself took up and proclaimed the doctrine of the resurrection both in precept and example. “The Son of man must… be slain, and be raised the third day” (Luke 9:22); “the Son quickeneth whom he will… All that are in the graves shall hear his voice and come forth” (John 5:21, 28). “This is the Father’s will, that I should raise them up again at the last day” (6:39). “I AM THE RESURRECTION and the life” (11:25). And as to the proof of so extraordinary a claim, it was not lacking. He raised the widow’s son at Nain, in the country of Elijah and Elisha; he raised Jairus’ daughter, and lastly Lazarus, on whose account “many believed on him”.

And then he was crucified and was raised from the dead himself. It can be, and is, denied, but his Name remains. And there is no other adequate explanation of the triumph of his Name over Imperial Rome and the gods of a vanished superstition than the truth of the apostolic testimony to the resurrection of Christ. We pin our faith on a hundred things without a tithe of the evidence that there is for the resurrection of Christ. Man is mortal, but Christ rose. Christ is the Resurrection, and he is coming, and will reign on earth. We shall lose nothing if we go down to the dust with the prophets of old, if only we have held fast his name, and not denied his faith in the land of the living”.