, was a reminder that believers were buried with Messiah and raised with Him:
Significant For Us Too
"In Him you were also ... buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through emunah (faith) in the working of Elohim (God), who raised Him from the dead" (Col.2:11-12, NKJV).
The resurrection had significance to all those first believers and should have exactly the same for us today too.
The Future Resurrection of Believers
Not only did Yah'shua (Jesus) rise at Yom haBikkurim on the third day if the Passover Season (Aviv 16), but one day all men and women will rise too. Yah'shua (Jesus) refuted the scepticism of the Sadducees on this point with an interesting argument from Scripture (Mt.22:31-32) - and you will remember the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection at all, unlike the Pharisees who did. The Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) teaches clearly that the resurrection of Messiah carries with it the resurrection of believers. Yah'shua (Jesus) said:
All Shall Rise
"I am the resurrection and the chayim (life). He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die" (John 11:25-26, NKJV).
Several time He spoke of raising believers at the last day (Jn.6:39-40,44,54) which caused the Sadducees no small amount of grief (Ac.4:2). Paul tells us:
No Isolated Phenomenon
"For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Messiah all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Messiah the bikkurim (firstfruits), afterward those who are Messiah's at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to Elohim (God) the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death" (1 Cor.15:21-26, NKJV).
"For if we believe that Yah'shua (Jesus) died and rose again, even so Elohim (God) will bring with Him those who sleep in Yah'shua (Jesus)" (1 Thess.4:14, NKJV).
Likewise Peter says that Yahweh "has begotten us again to a living tiqvah (hope) through the resurrection of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away" (1 Peter 1:3-4, NKJV). So it is perfectly clear that the writers of the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) did not think of Messiah's resurrection as an isolated phenomenon. It was a great divine act, and one fraught with consequence for men. Because Yahweh raised Messiah He set His seal on the atoning work wrought on the cross. He demonstrated His divine power in the face of sin and death, and at the same time His will to save men. Thus the resurrection of believers follows immediately from that of their Saviour. So characteristic of them is resurrection that Yah'shua (Jesus) could speak of them as "sons of the resurrection" (Luke 20:36, NKJV).
Two Kinds of Resurrection
This does not mean that all who rise will rise to blessing. Yah'shua (Jesus) speaks of "the resurrection of chayim (life)" but also of "the resurrection of damnation (judgment)" (Jn.5:29). The plain teaching of the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) is that all will rise, but that those who have rejected Messiah will find the resurrection a serious and terrible matter indeed. For believers the fact that their resurrection is connected with that of the Saviour transforms the situation. In the light of His atoning work for them they face the resurrection with calmness and simcha (joy).
There is simply no comparision between this mortal body, described by Paul as a "lowly (vile - KJV) body" that will be transformed to be like "His glorious body" (Phil.3:21, NKJV) for as John tells us, "we shall be like Him" (1 Jn.2:2, NKJV). This is no thaumaturgy - it is complete transformation. And though it certainly resembles our physical body, at least in outward appearance, it is also different, as is evidenced by the fact that the resurrected Yah'shua (Jesus) was sometimes recognised immediately (Mt.29:9; Jn.20:19ff.) and sometimes not at all (Lk.24:16; Jn.21).
No Evangelism Possible Without the Resurrection
Evidently the resurrection is of monumental importance to everyone. It is of cardinal importance and must therefore be given prominence in preaching, evangelising and witnessing in general:
"And if Messiah is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your emunah (faith) is also empty ... And if Messiah is not risen, your emunah (faith) is futile; you are still in your sins!" (1 Cor.15:14,17, NKJV).
The point is that Christianity is a besorah or gospel, it is good news about how Yahweh sent His Son to be our Deliverer and Saviour. But if Messiah did not really rise, then we have no assurance that our salvation has been accomplished. The reality of the resurrection of Messiah is thus of deep significance. The resurrection of believers is also important. Paul's view is that if the dead do not rise we might as well adopt the motto, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!" (1 Cor.15:32, NKJV). Believers are not men and women for whom this life is all. Our tiqvah (hope) lies elsewhere (1 Cor.15:19). Our tiqvah (hope) gives us perspective and makes for depth in living.
Experience the Resurrection Power Now
But there is more to it than that. Paul speaks of His desire to know Messiah "and the power of His resurrection" (Phil.3:10) as something to be experienced and lived now, and he exhorts the Colossians:
An Ongoing Thing
"If then you were raised with Messiah, seek those things which are above, where Messiah is, sitting at the right hand of Elohim (God). Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Messiah in Elohim (God). When Messiah who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry" (Col.3:1-5, NKJV).
He has already reminded them that they were buried with Messiah in baptism, and in the same sacrament were raised with Him (Col.2:12). In other words, the apostle sees the same power that brought Messiah back from the dead as operative within those who are Messiah's. The resurrection is an ongoing thing.
This, then, is what we are here to remember each Yom haBikkurim. The resurrection is integral to, and pre-eminent in, our emunah (faith), and any preaching or witnessing is defective and useless without it. The resurrection is what makes everything else possible. Praise Yah! Amen.
Continued in Part 4
 See, for example, the Apoc.Baruch 1:2
 One of my favourites by Sir Norman Anderson, Jesus Christ: The Witness of History (Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester, England: 1985), former Professor of Oriental Laws and Director of the Institude of Advanced Legal Studies in the University of London, is one of my favourites and high on the list of my recommended books to be studied. The reader will find this most throrough and compelling from a legal point-of-view