Rejoice! Captivity is taken captive

The guards saw a MAN walking right through the huge stone, out of the tomb which still had its seal unbroken.

What does that mean?  Let us follow along the path, the sequence of events with our wonderful Guide Who is God the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is on the Cross.  About noon there is darkness over all the earth and it lasts until about 3 p.m. (Luke 23:44).  Astronomers (nothing to do with astrology) have checked into ancient records and have discovered that on that short day, at that exact time, there was a total lunar eclipse which lasted for 2 hours and 50 minutes.  At 3 p.m. (the time of the Passover), Jesus committed His Spirit to the Father and died.  Ancient records have also revealed to astronomers that every year at the time of Passover, the most predominant figure of the Zodiac is Aries – the sign of the RAM/LAMB.  Jesus was certainly dead.  His Body had been twisted and turned as Joseph (Matthew 27:59) prepared it for burial and placed it in his own new tomb.  There could be no doubt that He was dead.

While His Body was in the tomb, what was Jesus doing Friday night and Saturday?  He had a full calendar.  First He had to keep His promise to the redeemed thief (Luke 23:43) and take him to Paradise.

Then He went to Heaven (Hebrews 9:12) right into the holy place by His own Blood.  By His Blood He had obtained eternal redemption for us.  Now let your imagination soar.  Can we begin to sense the love, adoration and praise of God and all the population of Heaven.  Overjoyed as they were at His victory they would have to wait a little longer to see the MAN CHRIST JESUS in His resurrected, glorified Body.

He also went to preach to the spirits in prison (1 Peter 3:19).  This was not a salvation message or a second chance message.  This was to fallen angels, demons who went beyond gross evil before the Flood (Genesis 6) by trying to create a human race beyond redemption.  Perhaps they foolishly thought that because Jesus was dead, Satan would come and release them.  Now, to their great horror, Jesus shows up and assures them that they will remain in their everlasting chains under darkness (Jude 6) until the judgment of the great Day of the Lord – then they will be cast into the lake of fire.

Other people were also busy on Saturday and very worried.  The priests and Sanhedrin, His enemies, remembered what His disciples forgot – that Jesus said He would rise from the dead on the third day.  So they enlisted Pilate’s help by telling him that if His disciples stole the body (Matthew 27: 62-66) they would all be worse off than before He died.  So a huge stone was rolled across the opening of the tomb, sealed with wax and string so any tampering would be obvious and soldiers were placed on guard duty.  Finally satisfied, they went home to a good night’s sleep –- probably  their last.

Now it is Sunday morning, very early, still quite misty.  Keep your eye on the guards at the tomb.  It has been a long night and they are tired.  Something caught their eye and they saw through the mist – No! that was impossible – but they did see – a MAN walking right through the huge stone, out of the tomb which still had its seal unbroken.  The ground was shaking with a great earthquake (Matthew 28:2) and with the earthquake an angel descended from Heaven.  His face was like lightning and his clothes white as snow.  He rolled back the stone and sat on it.

This was all too much for the guards – they all collapsed in a dead faint.  The angel ignored them and spoke to the women who had come to the tomb.  “Don’t be afraid, He is risen!  Come, see where His Body lay.  I have rolled back the stone so you could see that the tomb is empty.”

On their way to tell the disciples (Matthew 28:9) Jesus met them and they clung to His feet and worshipped Him.  When the guards revived they went and reported to the chief priests everything they had seen.  There was a meeting of the Sanhedrin and a decision was made to bribe the guards to lie.  They were to say that while they were asleep (a crime punishable by death) the disciples stole His Body.  (How could they know that if they were asleep?)  But the money was enough to make them deny truth they had witnessed and spread lies.

                  Were they haunted by that forever?

                  Did any of them eventually repent?

What a fearful responsibility comes with God’s gift of free will, the power to make our own choices.

Don’t think that those religious leaders did not look for His corpse.  They had search parties looking in every conceivable and inconceivable place.  Success in locating His Body would likely bring a huge reward.  Religious Christ-haters to-day who want to destroy Christianity are going about it the wrong way.  All their restrictions, persecution, torture and murder only result in more Christians.  I can tell them how they can crush Christianity like a cracked egg shell instantly all over the world – if they would do one thing ---


Behold!  He is risen and is alive for evermore!!

Jesus had something else to do after His Resurrection, He took captivity captive (Ephesians 4:8) and raised Paradise to the third Heaven.

Why?   Were the believers not happy in Paradise, also called Abraham’s bosom?  Of course, so why was this necessary?  We know (Luke 16:26) that there is a great gulf fixed between the saved in Paradise and the lost in torment.  But both were in Hades, the place of the dead.  Jesus said He was preparing a place for believers (John 14:2) not in Hades but in the Father’s house.  He wanted His precious ones to be with Him where there was no experience or mention of death.  So He took them all with Him to the high and lofty place (Isiah 57:15) where God dwells in eternity.  Death had reigned from Adam but now (Romans 5:14, Romans 5:17) Christ is risen and He conquered the captivity/DEATH which had held all humans captive.  Now we reign in LIFE by One, Christ Jesus.  He abolished death (2 Timothy 1:10) and brought life and immortality to light!!!

Why did Jesus rise from the dead on the third day?  Not the fourth day or the following Friday but the third day.  We learned from Martha (John 11:39) that the stench of decay has begun on the fourth day and we know (Psalms 16:10) Thou wilt not allow Thy holy One to see corruption.  So we can be assured of our physical bodily resurrection.

There could be one other thing that causes us a bit of a question.  Many believers including our loved ones, have been physically dead, not for three days, but for several years.  Certainly they are decayed, some just skeletons.  Is there anything to assure us concerning the resurrection of physical long-dead bodies?  At the time of the earthquake and resurrection of Jesus, the graves were opened (Matthew 27:52-53).  After His resurrection many bodies of dead saints came out of the graves and went into Jerusalem.  They did not go as skeletons or wearing decay.  Many people saw and recognized them.  Did God put that there just for us?


W O W !!!


What Next??


                  He’s coming again, He’s coming again,

                  This very same Jesus, revealed unto men,

                  He’s coming with power and glory to reign,

                  This very same Jesus is coming again.

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