The Prophecy of the Temple and the Resurrection
Herod’s Temple during the time of Jesus on the earth. Why is it significant? Because this temple, the second temple, started by Ezra and Nehemiah during the Persian Empire, fulfills the prophecy of Haggai 2:9, that God’s glory will fill this temple and that God will make peace with mankind here. That is to say, the Messiah had to come before the destruction of this Temple, or He could never come. The only Messianic candidate for being God in this temple and making peace with humanity is Jesus.
Christianity is the only religion that claims another religion, Judaism, is true. But if Christianity is not true, then Judaism cannot be true. Without Jesus, Haggai’s prophecy did not come to pass. Of course there are many more Messianic promises in the Old Testament that Jesus fulfilled, but as we approach Easter, I think Haggai stands out.
The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead is so important that the Apostle Paul declared in 1 Corinthians 15:14-17 that if Jesus did not rise, our faith is vain, the Apostles are liars, and we are still condemned in our sin.
Not surprisingly, God has given us an abundance of evidence that Jesus did rise from the dead. Even without the New Testament, nearly all historians of all stripes agree that Jesus was a real person, a first century Jewish Rabbi who claimed Deity, was crucified by Pontius Pilate, and whose tomb was found empty. Moreover, they agree that the disciples of Jesus really believed that Jesus was raised bodily from the dead. It is unbelievable that they would make up a lie and then die for it. Liars make very poor martyrs!
There is no natural explanation for these historical facts other than the Resurrection! If the disciples had stolen the body, they would have known they were preaching a lie, not willing to die for what they knew to be untrue.
I think many Christians believe in the resurrection, but may not understand its significance. But remember that Paul said if Jesus is not raised, we are still in our sins.
If I’m arrested and found guilty for a crime, when my debt is paid and justice is served, I get out of prison. I am free! If Jesus was bearing our sin debt, and His payment is really complete, He must be set free from the prison of death.
And so He was. And because He is raised from the dead, so will His children be freed from death. We worship together on Sunday because Jesus was raised from the dead on the first day of the week!