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Christ Crucified Dead and Resurrected
Harold Smith. Lawyer.
As edited by Yury Kalashnikov,
Keywords: Christ Crucified, Dead and Resurrected, the Savior, the Life-giving Cross.
died for all,
Christ Savior came, was crucified, died and resurrected according to the Scriptures – this is the foundation of our Orthodox faith and life, and it is predicted by the prophets in the Old Testament and it is attested to in the New (Luke 24:7,46; 1 Cor.15:3-4). This faith strengthens us to understand and fulfill God's truth, makes us happy and always victorious in Christ. However, the Old Testament was written and kept by the Jewish community, and its people at the time of Jesus’ coming did not expect that the Messiah would be crucified. Even the apostles only understood this prophecy when Jesus "opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures" (Luk.24: 45). Also today there are those who deny that the Old Testament contains prophecies about the death and resurrection of the Messiah.
Is this true?
Let us pray to the Lord and not be left without an answer by reverently searching of the Scriptures.
“I will set up your seed after you, who will be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son; and I will not take My mercy away from him, as I took it from him who was before you. And I will establish him in My house and in My kingdom forever; and his throne shall be established forever”(1 Chron.17:11-14), the prophet Nathan, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said to King David, pointing to his descendant in the flesh, the Messiah of the eternal King of Kings. This shows that earthly kingdoms and rulers are very short-lived, in contrast to the Kingdom of Heaven. The prophet Ezekiel in the early 6th century BC, when the Jews were under Babylonian captivity, announced their liberation and return to the Holy Land. With his lips, the Lord promises to those captive to sin and to their enemies: "Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out." (Ezek.34: 11). And if the Heavenly Father searches out those who strayed he will never leave them in trouble. Solely ungodly sinners perish due to thy hardness evil heart.
After the people’s return to their home by God’s strong hand, at the end of the 6th century BC prophet Zechariah sees that those who returned neglected the God’s truth and Law, sincerity and devotion. He says "When you fasted and mourned… did you really fast for Me – for Me? When you eat and when you drink, do you not eat and drink for yourselves? … [But] they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the Lord of hosts" (Zech.7:5-6,12). Zechariah also sees the coming of the wicked shepherds, the bad soul of each of them. Those bad shepherds “[which] shall not visit those that be cut off, neither shall seek the young one, nor heal that that is broken, nor feed that that standeth still: but he shall eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces” (Zech.11:16). And about the scattering of the people prophet says: "And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein."(Zech.13: 8). Zechariah predicts their troubles and believes that the days of the people’s loyalty to God and the coming of the Messiah is still ahead.
Living in different times but inspired by the same Spirit, Zechariah and Ezekiel speak of the same thing. They describe the Jewish people as sheep with unworthy shepherds who do not protect them, and who, moreover, destroy the sheep (Ezek.34:2-6; Zech.11:3-5). Ezekiel gives hope to the people that the Lord Himself will save them from the evil rulers: "I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God." (Ezek.34:15). That is, the Savior may be only the one Lord God, who says: "I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour" (Is.43:11). And He appears as He that is confessed by the Orthodox faith. Christ is in fullness God, and also in fullness man. "I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd" (Ezek.34 23). Christ Jesus the Son of God and Son of Man is the eternal Shepherd of His people the Church of Christ, teaching Holy Orthodoxy and leading to life eternal.
On the coming of the fullness of time, God the Divine Son in the Holy Trinity took on human flesh and the image of the good shepherd, reveals Himself to the world, saying: " I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep" (John 10:11). The Words of the Lord Christ match what was predicted about Him by the prophet Isaiah:
And he made his
grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death;
Not only the death, but also the resurrection of the Messiah, and with Him all the faithful, was predicted by Ezekiel, to whom the Lord opened the miraculous vision of the field full of dry bones enlivened by God’s Word, sounding in the mouth of the soul faithful to God. These bones are the people, dead in sin, but is saving by the Cross of Christ, His death and resurrection. Which the Lord in His love for us, "when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ" (Eph.2:5). He saves in Christ with every soul humbled to God with His miraculous grace of the Divine Providence.
The Righteous Job says to the Creator about own formation: "Thou hast made me as the clay… Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese? Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews."(Job 10:9-11). And of his future condition in the present worldly era and in the heavenly future Job says: "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God" (Job 19:25). Inspired by the Holy Spirit, and Job’s, and Ezekiel’s prophecy, all Holy Scripture and Tradition Christ’s Church bring to mind the story of how God created Adam from "the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life" (Gen.2:7; cf. Ezek.37), and how He now, with the Holy Spirit, creates and regenerates in Christ every soul in to incorruption and life eternal.
As a result of even a brief look at the Old Testament’s prophets we see the answer to the questions we raised, that the Messiah would have been crucified, died and resurrected. And with Him all his faithful, ready to give their lives into the hands of Christ to take their lives on again anew in the spiritual revival, at present in freedom from sin, and in the future age in eternal incorruption, acquired from the everlasting Holy Spirit and God’s Word, into our salvation to the Lord’s glory.