Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Fifth Article of the Creed.

And He arose again on the third day according to the Scriptures.

The fifth article of the Creed speaks about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after His death.

Since in the writings of the prophets of the Old Testament there were clear predictions about the suffering, death, burial of the Saviour, and His Resurrection, it is stated "according to the Scriptures." The words, "according to the Scriptures," pertain not only to the fifth, but also to the fourth article of the Creed.

Jesus Christ died on Great Friday about three o’clock in the afternoon and rose after midnight of the following Saturday, on the first day of the week, called from that time the Christian Sabbath, the day of the Resurrection of Christ. But in those days, a part of a day belonged to the whole day, so it is said that He was in the tomb three days.

The circumstances of Jesus Christ from the time of His death until the Resurrection are expressed in the Orthodox Christian Church by the following words," In the grave bodily, but in hades with Thy soul as God; in paradise with the thief, and on the throne with the Father and the Spirit wast thou Who fillest all things, O Christ the Inexpressible."

We know that in the Old and New Testaments several people rose from the dead, but there the dead were raised by someone else, and the resurrected rose in their former earthly corruptible bodies, and therefore, had to die again. Jesus Christ rose from the dead by Himself, by the power of His own Divinity; He rose and was changed in His body, which became immortal and eternal. He came forth from the tomb, not disturbing the Sanhedrin’s seal, not rolling away the stone, and invisible to the guards.

The Lord revealed His Resurrection to people first through an angel, who rolled the stone away from the entrance to the tomb. The Resurrection was witnessed by soldiers guarding the tomb, who dispersed in fright. Then the angel announced the Resurrection of Jesus Christ to the Myrrhbearing women. Finally, Jesus Christ Himself, over the course of forty days, repeatedly appeared to His disciples, with many tangible demonstrations of His Resurrection. He allowed the disciples to touch His wounds from the nails and the lance, He ate before them, and spoke with them about the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.

On the day of the Resurrection of Christ we sing: "Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and on those in the tomb bestowing life."

By death, the Lord conquered death, and to all in the graves, that is, all the dead, He gave life. Now the Lord abides in this new, resurrected body forever. Also in the new body of the resurrection lives the Mother of God, Whom the Lord resurrected after Her death. All people will receive a new, changed body at the second coming of the Saviour, when there will be a general resurrection, which the eleventh article of the Creed speaks about.

Thus is fulfilled the prophecy spoken through the Prophet Hosea: I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death (Hosea 13:14). O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (I Cor. 15:55).
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