This Site Is No Longer Active

Check out RESTITUTIO.org for new blog entries and podcasts. Feel free to browse through our content here, but we are no longer adding new posts.


He is Risen!Easter Sunday is tomorrow. And as such we must clearly focus on “the reason for the season” (to borrow a line from Christmas time) – that it is really all about the resurrection of Jesus.  This was THE proof that he was indeed God’s Messiah.  This was the proof that he was who he said he was. The sign of Jonah was fullfilled.  After three days and three nights in the belly of the earth, God would not allow his holy one to see corruption and raised Jesus back to life.  And not just mortal life, but to eternal life. Just as those of us who follow Jesus will also be elgible for at Jesus’ return in power one future day (I Corinthians 6:14).

But there are some who in believing that Jesus is God believe that Jesus raised himself from the dead.  But is this Scriptural?  The folowing article by Ivan Maddox of West End Bible Fellowship in Atlanta, GA provides an excellent answer to this question.



By Ivan Maddox

Atlanta, GA


Did Jesus Christ raise himself from the dead? Was his resurrection a proof of his own identity, or was it evidence of the power of God, evidence that he was the man God chose and marked out as the Messiah?

How we answer this question will depend on what our standard for truth is. If the Word of God is our standard for truth, then what it says will determine what we believe. If, instead, the traditions of men hold greater sway over our hearts than the testimony of scripture, we will hold fast to whatever we happen to believe on the subject, regardless of whether that puts us in agreement with, or disagreement with, the scriptures.

Two passages of scripture are sometimes used to argue that Jesus Christ raised himself from the dead, and thus exhibited powers far beyond the abilities of mortal men. They argue that this constitutes a proof that Jesus was not a mere man, but was, in fact, God or a superhuman being in the flesh.

The first of these passages is found in the second chapter of the gospel of John.

John 2:19-21.

19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
21 But he spake of the temple of his body.

On the surface, this looks like a clear statement that Jesus said he would raise himself from the dead. But is it?

First, we need to notice that Jesus is not speaking literally. He is speaking in a figure. Verse 21 makes it clear that the temple he is speaking of is his body, so there is no question that he is referring to his resurrection. But is he prophesying that he will raise himself from the dead?

Two things make it especially important that we understand this prophecy correctly. First, in verse 18 of this chapter we are informed that Jesus offered this as a sign to the Jews.

John 2:18-19.
18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?
19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

Jesus had just cleansed the temple of merchants and merchandise. The Jews challenged him, asking him for a sign in light of what he had done. Jesus responded with this prophecy about his resurrection.

In Deuteronomy 18, the seriousness of this is explained.

Deuteronomy 18:18-22.
18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?
22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

Since this was presented as a sign, the integrity of Jesus’ mission depends on whether or not it was completely and accurately fulfilled. If, for instance, Jesus meant that he would raise himself from the dead, but in fact someone else raised him from the dead, his sign would have failed to come to pass completely and accurately. In that case, the Jews would have been justified in rejecting his ministry, based on the failure of the sign he gave to be accurately fulfilled.

Second, there is not one single passage of scripture that teaches that this prophecy was fulfilled the way Jesus said it. This is a serious problem. If scripture were silent about how the prophecy was fulfilled, there might be some justification for arguing that it had to be fulfilled the way he said it. But the explicit testimony of scripture is that it was NOT fulfilled this way.

The apostle Peter was present when Jesus made this prophecy. At the time he, like the others present, did not understand what Jesus was talking about.

John 2:21-22.
21 But he spake of the temple of his body.
22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

It was only after Jesus was raised from the dead that they understood what he had been saying to them. How, then, did Peter understand his Master’s words, in light of his resurrection?

On the day of Pentecost, when he preached the first sermon of the Christian age, Peter testified that God raised Jesus from the dead.

Acts 2:22-24.
22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Acts 2:32.
32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

Throughout his ministry, as detailed in the Book of Acts, Peter continued to teach the same thing.

Acts 3:14-15.
14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;
15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.

Acts 4:10.
10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

Acts 10:37-40
37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:
40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;

At the end of his ministry, when he wrote his epistles, Peter was still teaching the same thing.

I Peter 1:18-21.
18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

The apostle Paul consistently taught the same thing during his ministry.

Romans 10:9.
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Ephesians 1:17-20.
17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

Acts 13:30-37.
30 But God raised him from the dead:
31 And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.
32 And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,
33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
34 And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.
35 Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:
37 But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.

I Corinthians 15:15.
15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

Acts 17:31.
…he hath raised him from the dead.

Romans 4:24.
…if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead

Romans 6:4.
…Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father

Romans 8:11.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

I Corinthians 6:14.
14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.

Galatians 1:1.
1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead😉

Colossians 2:12.
…God, who hath raised him from the dead

I Thessalonians 1:9-10.
And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus…

But the most damaging witness against this interpretation of Jesus’ words in John 2:19 may be the quietest: John himself.

John 2:22.
22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

This passage looks somewhat ambiguous in the King James Version. It is not ambiguous in the New American Standard Version.

John 2:22 (NASV)
22 So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.

The New American Standard correctly and clearly translates the verb tense used here, and reveals a critical truth: John himself, in the very passage we are discussing testified that Jesus did not raise himself from the dead!

The testimony of scripture is clear and unanimous in testifying that Jesus did not raise himself from the dead. But what did Jesus mean when he said he would raise the temple, meaning his body, in three days?

Before we consider this, we need to look at another passage of scripture which refers to resurrection.

I Thessalonians 4:16.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

If we were to try to force a literal interpretation here, the same way many try to do in John 2:19, we would be forced to conclude that those who are dead in Christ when he returns will RAISE THEMSELVES from the dead; for this verse does not say that they will BE RAISED, but rather that they SHALL RISE. However, we understand correctly from other scripture on the same subject that this is not the case. Therefore, even though the words in the verse say that the dead “shall rise”, we understand the verse to mean that the dead will be raised. We understand that the writer was using vivid language to make his point; but we do not confuse ourselves about what the point is.

So how are we to understand John 2:19? In the Old Testament, prophets are sometimes represented as performing things which they were commissioned by God merely to reveal.* In Isaiah 6:10, God instructs Isaiah to: Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

Does this mean that Isaiah has the power to close men’s hearts, cover their ears or shut their eyes? No. But what God was going to allow to happen he transferred to Isaiah by a figure.

God told Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 1:9a-10.
9a. Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.

Did Jeremiah pull down or destroy or build even one nation? Not at all. God transferred what He Himself was going to do to the nations to Jeremiah, in a figure.

This is the same thing God is doing in John 2:19 with Jesus. Though the text literally says that Jesus would raise up the temple, which was his body, in three days, it is clear from this and every other scripture on the subject that God Himself raised Jesus from the dead. This passage must be understood in this light. Otherwise, honesty requires that we explain each and every single passage of scripture that testifies that God raised Jesus from the dead, and reconcile it with the OPPOSITE teaching allegedly found in John 2:19. We must also explain why Paul and the other apostles were not, in Paul’s words, “false witnesses of God” when they testified that God raised Jesus from the dead, if, as some allege, that is not at all what happened.

There is one other verse of scripture that is sometimes used to teach that Jesus raised himself from the dead. This verse also is found in the gospel of John.

John 10:17-18.
17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

The King James Version makes it appear that Jesus is talking about his own ability here. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The New American Standard Version has a better translation of this verse.

John 10:18 (NASV).
18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.

Here it is clear that the issue is not ability, but rather authority. And the source of that authority was Jesus’ Father, from whom he received the commandment to lay down his life, that he might take it again.

Does the fact that Jesus was to “take… up again” his life mean that he was to do this by his own power, or on his own initiative?

Not at all. This is made clearer when we look at a passage of scripture dealing with our own resurrection.

Matthew 16:24-27.
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.

Here finding one’s life in verse 25 is tied in verse 27 to receiving your reward for what you have done. This makes it clear that finding your life is not something you do, but rather something that is to be done for you – even though an ACTIVE verb is used to describe what is happening.

In the same way, though an active verb – “take up” – is used in John 10:18, it must be understood in light of other scripture on this same subject. The use of an active verb is not conclusive evidence that personal activity is meant.

The Greek word translated “receive” in John 10:18 is LAMBANO. This word is used 263 times in the New Testament, and is translated in the King James Version “receive” 133 times, “take” 106 times, and various other ways 24 times. It can legitimately mean both “take” and “receive.” It’s meaning must be determined by the context. Here, if we translate it “take”, this one verse disagrees with every other passage of scripture in the Bible concerning who raised Christ from the dead. If we translate it “receive,” it is in agreement with all other scripture on the subject.

How do you think LAMBANO should be translated in this verse?

If we choose to translate it “take” in this verse, honesty requires that we explain each instance where scripture seems to testify THE OPPOSITE of what this verse seems to say, just as I have taken the time here to explain the two verses that seem to stand in opposition to every other passage of scripture on this subject. I know of no one who believes that Jesus Christ raised himself from the dead who has attempted to do this. I look forward to seeing the fruit of their efforts.

What is your conclusion? Did God raise Jesus from the dead? Or did Jesus raise himself?

Hebrews 5:7-9.
7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.

3 Responses to “Did Jesus Christ raise himself from the dead?”

  1. on 04 Apr 2010 at 2:39 pmRay

    I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead.

    The evidence from the Bible at the grave site (Luke 24:12)
    seems to indicate that Jesus did in fact raise up his body, after God gave it life again.

  2. […] Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work." Review the following: Did Jesus Christ raise himself from the dead? Quasar92 Reply With […]

  3. on 12 Jun 2018 at 11:44 pmDr.Howard

    V.19 to end.Dr.Robertson was the greatest Greek scholars and Greek grammarian which is vital to lock down meanings.His massive book on Greek grammar is stil used even in universities. I have read it many times. Boring and difficult many are not willing to study grammar and it shows in their writings.

    Verse 19 “l will raise it [His body] up.” This is first person singular future indicative Active.in the Greek. Jesus is predicting if His body dies He will raise it up from death.
    Then we read where it says the Holy Spirit (who is called the Spirit of Jesus;the Spirit of Christ; the Spirit of Jesus Christ) raised Jesus from the dead and the “Eternal Spirit “with Jesus offered Him up to death and later life.Rom.8:11;Heb.9:14
    And it says God raised up Jesus.Acts 4:10
    And it says in “…Christ is constantly dwelling all the complete fullness of the state of being God bodily. “Col.2:9 It also says “in Christ all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge reside.”2:3

    All three Father,Son,and Holy Spirit. were involved in the resurrection.
    This involves more scripture but my focus here is Jesus initiated His own resurrection through the Father and Spirit.
    No person had ever raised Himself from the dead as He was the “Resurrection and the Life.” Jn.11:25 Since He was the Resurrection He could and did through the Eternal Spirit and the Father.


Leave a Reply