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Jesus Rose Again From the Dead!

What is Meant by AGAIN?


For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
1 Thess 4:14 KJV

Our Lord and Messiah, Jesus, was crucified, died and then raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit on the Feast of Firstfruits. Most Christians refer to that day as Easter.  In referring to this event, the New Testament uses the word "again" many times. This word again would seem to indicate that Jesus died and was raised from the dead before. If "the" resurrection were the only time he was raised from the dead, why would the Scriptures use the word again? Most Christians seem to ignore this word. What could it possible mean in this context?

The concept and phrase "rise again" or "revive again" is used throughout the Scriptures. Paul equates the two in Romans 14:9 (KJV). Let's begin this search by exploring the use of these phrases in the Old Testament.

Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God,
till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.
Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, you who have done great things.
Who, O God, is like you?
Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.
Psalm 71:17-20  NIV

The author of this Psalm has lived a life faithful to God. He is in old age and getting close to death. He has complete faith that God will bring him back to life, i.e. once he is buried in the ground, God will bring him back to life. This is not a reference to a future resurrection, because the author has complete confidence that this has happened before, that he has been buried as dead and come back to life. One may argue that to say God will restore my life again is only a reference to a future resurrection. But to say also that one will be brought up from death again undeniably means it has happened before. Therefore, this is a clear reference to the natural cycle of life, that we return to this earth as we grow and mature. (See also Ps 68:22 KJV.)

The original Hebrew is so clear on this that many translations agree with this wording, as we can see:

... wilt revive me again; from the depths of the earth thou wilt bring me up again.
Psalm 71:20  RSV

... but once more revive me. From the watery depths of the earth once more raise me up.
Psalm 71:20  NAB

... Shall revive me again, And bring me up again from the depths of the earth.
Psalm 71:20 NKJV

Here is the King James Version and the Hebrew below it, according to Strong's Concordance:

... shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.

chayah

shuwb


'alah


shuwb

tehowm


'erets

The key word we are focusing on here is "again". It is not a filled in word. It comes directly from the Hebrew word "shuwb". This word is listed in Strong's as 7725 and its definition is broad:

shuwb: shoob a primitive root; to turn back (hence, away) transitively or intransitively, literally or figuratively (not necessarily with the idea of return to the starting point); generally to retreat; often adverbial, again:--((break, build, circumcise, dig, do anything, do evil, feed, lay down, lie down, lodge, make, rejoice, send, take, weep)) X again, (cause to) answer (+ again), X in any case (wise), X at all, averse, bring (again, back, home again), call (to mind), carry again (back), cease, X certainly, come again (back), X consider, + continually, convert, deliver (again), + deny, draw back, fetch home again, X fro, get (oneself) (back) again, X give (again), go again (back, home), (go) out, hinder, let, (see) more, X needs, be past, X pay, pervert, pull in again, put (again, up again), recall, recompense, recover, refresh, relieve, render (again), requite, rescue, restore, retrieve, (cause to, make to) return, reverse, reward, + say nay, send back, set again, slide back, still, X surely, take back (off), (cause to, make to) turn (again, self again, away, back, back again, backward, from, off), withdraw.

Using the real Bible code, finding other occurrences of the same word or words, brings us to the beginning of Job. Here the Hebrew word "shuwb" is translated as "return". The following is, for me, one of the clearest and most direct statements of the Bible's view that the normal path for most souls is to return to the earth in another body to continue to grow and mature.

Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head,
and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither:
the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
Job 1:20-21 KJV

This same Hebrew word is found twice in Genesis 3:19 where it is also translated as "return" (KJV):

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

When this verse is seen in the light of Job 1:21, and considering the meaning of "again" within the Hebrew word shuwb, this often quoted verse at funerals is actually an affirmation that we will rise again in another life. And so the phrase "dust to dust" carries with it an image of the cycle of life. (See also Ps 104:29-30.)

The understanding that the normal process is to return to earth is expressed in the following Psalm where it is asked that God not allow the truly evil to rise again. (This same idea is expressed in Deut 33:11 KJV.)

O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.
Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked:
further not his wicked device; lest they exalt themselves. Selah.
As for the head of those that compass me about, let the mischief of their own lips cover them.
Let burning coals fall upon them:
let them be cast into the fire; into deep pits, that they rise not up again.
Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth: evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him.
Psalm 140:7-11 KJV

The Hebrew word shuwb is again used in Job where he asks:

O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past,
that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!
If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.
Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: ...
Job 14:13-15 KJV

Job is confident that there will be a time when he will live again. The context is as a physical person, which echoes Job's statement in 1:20. At the end of the book, God says to Job's friend Eliphaz in 42:7 that His "wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath".

Another theme in the Bible that shows the cycle of life is the harvest. The seed is planted in the earth. The rain comes from heaven to make the plants grow. The crop matures and the harvest is ripe, so the fruit is gathered. The remains die and are cut away. The following year the cycle of life begins all over again. In the following Psalms our lives are compared to the cycle of the plant life upon the land.

Lord ... You turn men back to dust, saying, "Return to dust, O sons of men."
For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.
You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning-
though in the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered.
Psalm 90:1-6 NIV

As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field;
Psalm 103:15 NIV

Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.
Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Psalm 37:1-3 NIV

This same idea begins the passage in Job cited above:

Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.
He springs up like a flower and withers away;
like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure.
Job 14:1-2 NIV

Baptism is also symbolic of burial and the cycle of the harvest. Please refer to Romans 6:3-5.

I believe one of the many layers of meaning in God's Holy Feast days is to remind us of the cycle of life. If our soul has not matured enough to be like Christ by the time we come to stand before God, then we will continue to have opportunities to grow and learn as we return again to the earth.

Psalm 85 is another that talks of "reviving" God's people.

You showed favor to your land, O LORD; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins. Selah
You set aside all your wrath and turned from your fierce anger.
Restore us again, O God our Savior, and put away your displeasure toward us.
Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger through all generations?
Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your unfailing love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.
Psalm 85:1-7 NIV

On some level this is referring to personal salvation, but it is also referring to national salvation. It is sin that brings judgment on the people or the nation, and turning away from sin restores our life or the life of the nation. Some have come to see the restoration to life as one time at the end of the age. However, when we reflect upon the life of the nation of Israel, we see it was brought back to life more than once. First was the original life of Israel that came to its height under David and Solomon. Later, due to sin, the nation was lost and the people carried into Babylonian captivity. Eventually, the time of punishment ended, as Jeremiah predicted, and the nation of Israel came back and built another temple. After the coming of Messiah and his crucifixion, the nation and the temple were destroyed again. After almost 2,000 years, the nation of Israel has returned. So when we reflect on the national model, it is not about one future resurrection but about a more general return to life after repentance.

Another key word from Psalm 71:20 is "quicken", which means revive. The Hebrew word behind this is chayah. Both Hebrew words shuwb (return) and chayah (revive) come up in verse 7 of the following from Hosea:

I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.
His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon.
They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine:
the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.
Hosea 14:5-7 KJV

Here Hosea compares the process of coming back to life, reviving, as like the corn, the harvest. There are several layers of meaning here. First and foremost is to repent and return to the Lord. Turning away from the Lord in sin is the main reason Israel lost its nation. There are other layers of meaning, the restoration of the nation and the resurrection of its people, as alluded to in Hosea 6:2, where we see "revive" again.

Focusing on the issue of whether or not "revive" is a reference to a cycle or to one and only one future resurrection, I believe the definitive answer was given by Jesus when he raised Lazarus from the dead.

On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
"Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."
Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."
Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
"Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."
...
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go."
John 11:17-27, 43-44 NIV

Martha said there was to be a future resurrection at the end of the age where she knew she would she her brother. This is correct because Jesus did not say she was in error; however, that does not mean it is the only resurrection. The very fact that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead means we have other lives before the end of the age. If we are to be raised only once at the end of the age, then Jesus would NOT have been able to raise Lazarus! So while what Martha said was true, what Jesus did was also true!

We have established here that just as the harvest and the plant life of this planet experience a cycle of life, we also experience this same cycle of life. The seed is planted in the earth and we spring forth. We grow and mature, wither and die. We are swept away by the winds of time and return again to the dust from which we came. But the seed remains and we are revived to repeat the process again. Life is a gift to enjoy, but we are expected to grow in love and guard our hearts, so that we mature in the way of Christ. Unfortunately, many come simply to live and not to learn.

It is God’s earnest desire that we grow and mature, that we prepare for the harvest. For there is a harvest to a higher level of existence, a greater dimension of love sustained by those who reflect the love of the Almighty. It is a level where we no longer forget who we were, where the person we were no longer sleeps but we remain awake to who we are and who we were. In this earthly world, if we lose the love of Christ and allow the root of bitterness to grow within our souls, then we get trapped in an endless cycle of blame and resentment. The goal is to escape this cycle, as alluded to in the following passages:

In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.
Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline thine ear unto me, and save me.
Psalm 71:1-2 KJV

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:2-11 NIV

This last passage speaks of the road to sanctification. (See also 2 Tim 2:20-26.) As people in covenant relationship with God the Father, we are called to be like Christ, to be a nation of priests (Ex 19:6; 1 Pet 2:9). The only way for us to actually walk in the righteousness of Christ is to be willingly led by God's Spirit, the Holy Spirit. This is achieved by following the covenant of daily sacrifice (explained in various ways at this web site), which keeps one's heart from being weighed down by the stones of life, keeps us in communication with God and each other, and most importantly, keeps our hearts open to the guidance of God's spirit.

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. ... And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
Romans 8:9-11 NIV

Given this entire context, we are now ready to address the question raised at the top of this web page.

Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.
Matthew 20:18-19 KJV  (Repeated in Mk 10:33-34 and Lk 18:31-33)

The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. "Sir," they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise again.'"
Matthew 27:62-63 NIV

He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.
Mark 8:31 NIV

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' "
Luke 24:1-7 NIV

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 KJV

For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 NIV

We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
1 Thessalonians 4:14 NIV

This simple word "again" is a subtle but solid affirmation of several things. First and foremost it is an affirmation of the cycle of life. If Jesus was raised again, then he had previous lives. And since he had previous lives, this is also an affirmation that he is a fellow created being. Thereby, it is an affirmation of the cycle of life for us and what is our potential. It is also a statement that Jesus has graduated from the cycle of life, living the way of love, and thereby given power and authority to be our Lord and God.

This may be a little challenging at first, to accept how this could be so and that he is still our God. With a little help from the Edgar Cayce material, the short version is as follows. After creating all souls, we had great power in our original state and created many things. Eventually souls got caught up in their own creations, to the point they totally forgot God. The Father tried to reach them, but they remained in their sin. He was reluctantly going to destroy the lost souls when the Son came to the Father with an idea. The Son created the Adamic body and karmic cycle to help souls understand the relationship between our choices and the world we create. He also volunteered to be the first one through to help show the way. So he entered the world as Adam, but like all other souls he also got tangled in this world. But being the Son and true to the Father, he found his way back and was perfected in the seventh generation as Enoch and taken back up to God the Father. He then came into and out of this world at his own will and discretion as Melchizedek. He had bread and wine with Abraham. This was the beginning of guiding the nation of Israel. Later, the Father sent him into the world as Jesus on a special mission as Messiah with a special body empowered by the Holy Spirit.

We are called to follow our elder brother, called to the same level of righteousness, which can only be obtained in a willing marriage with God's Spirit of Love. (Hebrews 2:9-11; Romans 8:18-27)

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©2008, 2009 Collins Hamblen
First Posted: 6/09/08
Last Updated: 2/27/09