Baha'i and the Resurrection of Christ

Baha’i Viewpoint

“The resurrections of the Divine Manifestations are not of the body.  All Their states, Their conditions, Their acts, the things They have established, Their teachings, Their expressions, Their parables and Their instructions have a spiritual and divine signification, and have no connection with material things.”  The resurrection and ascension of Christ are both spiritual and symbolic, but not material.   Baha’is consider  the resurrection of Christ as very important to their faith even though they do not see it as a physical resurrection.

Christian Viewpoint

Non-Christians must remember that Christians believe that without the physical resurrection of Christ we would not have the Christian faith. Here are some passages that deal with the resurrection of Christ.

  1. The Resurrection of Jesus is central to Christianity.
    1. 1 Corinthians 15:12-19: “Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.  Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we witnessed against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.  For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.”  
      1. So this does not show why as Christians why we believe the physical resurrection of Jesus, but it shows why we believe that the resurrection of Jesus is essential to Christianity.
  2. Jesus predicted His death and resurrection.
    1. John 2:19-22: “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’  The Jews therefore said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’  But He was speaking of the temple of His body.  When therefore He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus has spoken,” (cf. Mt. 12:39-40). 
      1. Jesus was prophesizing that He was going to raise physically from the dead three days after His death.
  3. Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus
    1. Matthew 28:1-10: “NOW after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.  And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.  And his appearance was like lightning, and his garment as white as snow; and the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.  And the angel answered and said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.  He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.  Come, see the place where He was lying.  And go quickly and tell His disciples that he has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going before you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.’  And they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples.  And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them.  And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshipped Him.  Then Jesus said, ‘Do not be afraid, go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they shall see me.’” 
      1. So we see four proofs of the physical resurrection of Jesus: the empty tomb, the women saw Jesus, touched Jesus and also heard Him speak.
    2. Luke 24:36-43:  “And while they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst.  But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit.  And He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?  See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.  And while they still could not believe it for joy and were marveling, He said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’  And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; and He took it and ate it before them.” 
      1. We see here that Jesus invited them to touch his wounds, He spoke to them, and He even ate fish.  Jesus even told them that a spirit does not have flesh and bones.
    3. John 20:24-29:  “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.  The other disciples therefore were saying to him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’  But he said to them, ‘Unless I shall see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’  And after eight days again His disciples were inside, and Thomas with them.  Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, ‘Peace be with you.’  Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing.’  Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’  Jesus said to him, ‘Because you have seen Me, have you believed?  Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.’”
      1. This shows us that Thomas not only saw and talked to Jesus, but also touched His wounds.  This shows us that Jesus had a physical body after His resurrection and not a spiritual body.  
    4. John 21:12-14:  “Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’  None of the disciples ventured to question Him, ‘Who are you?’ knowing that it was the Lord.  Jesus came and took the bread, and gave them, and the fish likewise.  This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.” 
      1. The disciples saw and heard Jesus on this occasion and it is implied that Jesus actually ate at this time.  
    5. 1 Corinthians 15:3-8:  “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.  After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all apostles; and last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.” 
      1. This passage shows several accounts of Jesus physically appearing to people after He was raised from the dead.  
    6. Acts 1:1-11:  “The first account I composed Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.  To these He also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.  And gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, ‘Which,’ He said, ‘you heard from Me; for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’  And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, ‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?’  He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.’  And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.  And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold two men in white clothing stood beside them; and they also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky?  This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you watched Him go into heaven.’”
      1. This passage shows us that Jesus appeared to people over a period of forty days and then gathered his disciples together and spoke to them and then finally physically ascended to heaven.  The ascension is seen as physical and not spiritual.