Who raised Jesus from the dead? Jesus said He raised Himself. But read through Acts and those New Testament epistles, and guess what? Jesus’ disciples say that Yahweh was the One who brought Jesus back to life. Is this a problem? It’s an enormous problem.
Here’s something you need to understand about the writers of those New Testament epistles that you’re taught to cling to so fiercely: they were all written by Jewish men who grew up under the Old Covenant. The Old Covenant can be summed up as 1450 years during which Yahweh claimed to be the only God in existence. The belief in only one God is called monotheism. The belief in multiple Gods is called polytheism. While the Old Covenant was in effect Yahweh demanded monotheism from the Jews. He said that anyone who even suggested worshiping any god other than Him should be immediately executed. How did the Jews respond to Yahweh’s demands for monotheism? They chose polytheism instead. Read through the Old Testament and you’ll note that the Jews were never worshiping just Yahweh—instead, they were constantly worshiping a whole pantheon of gods that they had picked up from their pagan neighbors. So much for revering Yahweh.
When you don’t know your Old Testament, you totally miss what a shock it is to see the Jewish leaders in Jesus’ day promoting monotheism. Really? So after 1450 years of spitting in Yahweh’s face, the Jews finally decide to get serious about worshiping Him alone? Well, not really. It’s more like they pretended to worship Him, but Jesus said they were only putting on phony airs. Then came the real irony: Yahweh picked then to change Covenants. Now that Israel was finally on the monotheism page, Yahweh suddenly demanded that everyone change over to polytheism. He said the Jews now had to go from one God to three by recognizing Jesus and the Holy Spirit as two additional and distinct Gods. How did the Jews respond to this shocker? Not very well. Even though they didn’t honestly give a flip about honoring Yahweh, the religious preachers and teachers of the day used the blasphemous concept of polytheism as a great excuse to crucify Jesus. After all, Jesus claimed to be a second God. We can’t be having any of that. It says right there in the Torah that anyone who promotes polytheism must be executed.
When you’re brainwashed with Trinity baloney and you grow up thinking your Creators are a single Being with a multiple personality problem, you end up thinking the New Testament writers were a whole lot smarter than they were. In real life, these guys are constantly taking potshots at Christ because they are still totally offended by the notion of anyone being equal to the magnificent Yahweh. Guys like Peter and Paul will promote Christ as being some kind of great, but when it comes to acknowledging one of Jesus’ most critical proofs of His Divinity, they flatly reject it. Here’s where we come to the resurrection issue.
Jesus came back from the dead: we all grasp this. But who raised Him? This is a critical question. You see, there’s nothing new about guys resurrecting. Lazarus came strolling out of his tomb after four days. In the Old Testament we find Elijah and Elisha raising up the dead. Guess who is credited as being the power Source behind all of these miracles? Yahweh. Oh, but Jesus was standing right there and He is the One who called Lazarus out of the grave. It doesn’t matter. The Jews viewed Jesus as some kind of super impressive Elijah. In their minds, Yahweh was the only God, and God was the only One with the power to bring people back from the realm of the dead that they all believed in. So as far as they were concerned, Jesus didn’t raise anyone. Yahweh raised people through Jesus—see the difference? It’s huge.
Here’s another important thing to grasp about ancient Jews. They based the proof of their faith in miraculous signs. Just as many modern day scientists consider logic to be their ultimate guide in life, the ancient Jews were all about miracles. They were used to thinking of Yahweh as proving the reality of His Presence and power by performing miracles. Shadrach and the fiery furnace. The statue of Dagon getting knocked over and busted in front of Yahweh’s Ark of the Covenant. Daniel in the lions’ den. The parting of the Red Sea. The ten plagues on Egypt. The manna raining down from the sky. Miracles were the proof of God’s reality and supremacy as far as the Jews were concerned. But of course the problem with this logic is that the demon gods were cranking out miracles as well. Sorcerers also turned water into blood during that first plague on Egypt. Sorcerers were wowing the Jews with miracles all throughout the Old Testament, which kept the Jews enticed with idol gods. When miracles are your only proofs in life, you end up in a mess.
Now when everyone’s doing miracles, the meaning of the miracles quickly becomes lost. If both Moses and the evil worshiping sorcerers can turn their staffs into snakes, whose god is greater? Here’s where we end up with miracle wars: Yahweh causes Moses’ snake to eat the other sorcerer’s snakes. Miracle wars are all fine and well, but with so many miracles flying around, how can we possibly use them to verify the concept of a supreme God? Here’s where Yahweh carved out a little niche for Himself which the Jews recognized. It was only Yahweh who could bring souls back from the underworld. Demon worshiping mediums could call up the ghosts of dead people (or so everyone thought), but only the magnificent Yahweh could cause soul and body to reunite and resume normal physical activities. Resurrection was Yahweh’s signature miracle that had become strongly associated with the Supreme God in Jewish minds by the time of the Gospels.
So now Jesus shows up, and He’s claiming to be not only a God, but equal to the magnificent Yahweh. Well, that’s more than a little crazy. No one is equal to the magnificent Yahweh. Jesus knew His claims were blowing fuses in the minds of sincere Yahweh followers, and that’s why He came up with the resurrection proof. Before He died, Jesus not only prophesied His death and said He was giving up His life voluntarily (which eliminated the concept of a God being overridden by His own creatures), but He also declared that He would raise Himself.
“No one can take my life from Me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again.” (John 10:18)
“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19)
Whoa. Hold on. Only an Almighty God has the power to resurrect the dead, and there’s only one of those kind around: the magnificent Yahweh. Well, no, Jesus claimed that He was a second Almighty God, which is why He has the power to resurrect Himself. You see, when He was going around healing people, Jesus wasn’t teaching people to view Him as a mere channel of Yahweh’s power. That’s how people did view Him, but Jesus promoted Himself as the Source of the power. To help His spiritually slow disciples start grasping the point that He was His own power source, He taught them to start performing miracles in His Name instead of using Yahweh’s Name. This was big stuff, but you just can’t convince Old Covenant Jews that anyone is truly equal to the magnificent Yahweh. That is a leap that they just aren’t willing to take. Jesus can be great, Jesus can be Yahweh’s right hand Guy, but Jesus cannot be a second Almighty God. Well, yes, that’s exactly who Jesus is. He isn’t just some supernatural entity who got super lucky one day and received some mega promotion from Yahweh. Jesus is Yahweh’s equal and to make that point explicitly clear to the close minded Jews, He declared that He would raise Himself. He would come back to life after three days and Yahweh wouldn’t have anything to do with it. Jesus presented the entire resurrection moment as His miracle which was performed by only His power. So how did Jesus’ Jewish disciples handle this theological bomb? Not very reverently.
Today you’re taught that Peter and Paul are these great spiritual role models. Not so much. Anyone who rejects Jesus’ identity as a second Almighty God who is equal to the magnificent Yahweh can hardly be accepted as a great spiritual role model for Christians. Christians follow Christ. Christians are polytheists because they acknowledge and worship three Gods: Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Of course most Christians are in denial about their polytheistic beliefs and they get all squirmy and agitated when you try to pin them to the wall about this issue. They prefer to hide behind the old “God is three in one” motto and not commit to really embracing who Jesus said He was. But the fact remains that Jesus is God Almighty, and He proved this beyond all doubt by bringing Himself back from the dead.
Now every good Old Covenant Jew knew that you just can’t wriggle out of acknowledging that God Almighty was involved if someone comes walking out of their grave after three days. But guys like Peter and Paul just don’t want to accept this idea that Jesus is Yahweh’s equal. So when they teach others about the resurrection, they totally reverse what Jesus said. They both reject Jesus’ claims to have raised Himself and intentionally demote Him as being a lesser Deity by saying that Yahweh raised Jesus.
Here’s Peter: “The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed Him by hanging Him on a cross.” (Acts 5:3)
Here’s Paul: If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that Yahweh raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom. 10:9)
So Jesus said He raised Himself, but Peter and Paul say that Yahweh raised Jesus. And once they’ve knocked Jesus back down to a not-quite-as-great-as-Yahweh position, they feel free to further minimize who He is and widen the power gap between Him and Yahweh. So this is what they do. Paul bashes on Christ all over the place in his epistles. You’re taught not to notice it because you’re taught that Paul is brilliant. No, anyone who comes along blatantly rejecting what Jesus said about His own resurrection is not brilliant. Jesus raised Himself. His early followers refused to accept this because of their Old Covenant background. Guess what? The Old Covenant is long over, and you’re not going to acquire eternal salvation by minimizing who Christ is. We have three Gods who are equal in every way: Yahweh, Jesus, and the magnificent Holy Spirit. There’s no room for playing games with the identity of our Creators. Don’t let the theological hang-ups of others mess you up in your own relationship with your Gods.