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ROMANS 10 - THE RISEN JESUS WAS NOT A TANGIBLE BEING

 

Paul in Romans 10 says that the righteousness of the Law of Moses comes from works. He said that the righteousness of faith does not come from works. That is the Reformed doctrine of salvation or being put in a right relationship with God by faith alone.


He said works not earnings which means he rejects the Roman Catholic doctrine that he was not denying salvation by works but salvation by attempts to earn salvation.

 

Paul had to be clear for his letters were given to be read to the congregations and it is hard enough to get people to follow long readings at the best of times.

Then he says that the righteousness of faith forbids us to ask who will ascend to Heaven for that is to bring Christ down to earth again. And forbids us to say who will descend under the earth for that would be to demand that Jesus rise again from the dead. What is sought is the word of God, God’s truth. Paul concludes that the word rather is in the heart of the believer because of the preachers of the gospel putting it there so there is no need to look to go to Heaven or to under the earth to get it.

This is a very strange chapter. Whatever can it mean?
 
Let us break it up.
 
He said that if we could get faith and the truth in Heaven and could go there we would be bringing Jesus Christ down to earth again.
 
Why would Christ have to come back to earth if we could go to Heaven to find the word? It must be to teach but why would he need to if we get the word there? Plainly then God will not give the word of God without Christ and will send Christ back to earth before he lets anybody go to Heaven to find the truth. Paul is being hypothetical. He doesn’t think anybody can actually do that.  But he is clear that there is no truth without Christ.
 
He said that if we could get the word of God in the underworld and look there we would be making Christ rise up from the dead anew.
 
Again Paul is being hypothetical.
 
Why would looking for the word in the underworld make Christ rise up again from the dead? How could he rise more than once? God will raise Christ from the dead again before he lets anybody go to the abyss to find the truth if that is where it is. But why should Jesus have to rise again? If he rose once how can he be raised once more? Why doesn’t Paul say Jesus will be made to appear, as opposed to rise, again before anybody would be allowed to get the truth in the abyss? Why can’t God send an angel if there is a difficulty? He says only Jesus risen can give us the truth. Jesus has to rise not just appear.  
 
The answer is that if Jesus hasn’t brought us truth so that we need to get it ourselves then Jesus is dead and needs to rise again after meeting God so he can tell us what God revealed. There is hyperbole in this: you can’t get God’s truth in Heaven or in the abyss unless God gives you the power to so Paul is saying that even if God does that we should decline and go to Jesus. Its exaggeration to make a point, don’t accept truth even from God if he wants to give it to you, go to Jesus and only the resurrected Jesus. And the point is that nothing should make up our minds for us but Jesus and the word he brought. Obviously it is no good if somebody else has the truth from Jesus and you go to them. You have to go to Jesus himself – he has to appear to you and tell you. Listening to somebody telling you what Jesus told them is as bad as not going directly to Jesus for many misinterpret and lie about his teaching.
  
Clearly, nobody can be trusted to teach the word accurately without having visions of the Lord Jesus as a resurrected being. They need to be guided by visions all the time. This is a clear denial of the value of focusing on the earthly life of Jesus. Even Jesus has no authority unless he has risen from the dead. Paul’s Jesus didn’t do miracles in his pre-resurrection life. Paul’s preachers can only be trusted if they repeat parrot fashion what he hears in his visions and get confirmation from Jesus in visions that its all accurate. If Jesus had an earthly life only what he says about it in visions counts now. This attitude condemns gospels as heretical for you need the living prophet, not books and also implies that the second coming of Jesus and the resurrection of the dead and judgement would have to take place before the apostles die if Christianity is true. These events would be necessary to prevent pollution of the faith. We know the early Church did teach that all these happenings were to be expected any day back then.
 
Paul would then have dismissed the gospels as heretical nonsense or dubious at best. Their authors didn’t claim to be guided by apparitions. Paul’s Christianity is totally antithetical to the four gospels we have. The earliest Christian authorities didn’t approve of attempts to make gospels and the gospels are lies and cannot be contemplated as evidence for a historical Jesus.
 
If Jesus as a man taught us by his life and example and miracles and teachings none of what Paul wrote in the chapter would make any sense.
 
Because Jesus came back from the dead and went to God, he knows what God’s truth is. If we didn’t have the truth from the risen Jesus and wanted to go to the abyss for it that would mean God would have to raise him again to stop us. This indicates that God raised Jesus from the dead so that Jesus would be able to reveal God’s truth. Jesus did not do that when he was a man. He did it after he died and rose again.
 
Jesus needed to die and rise again after meeting God so he can tell us what God revealed. This makes philosophy a sin for it questions all things to gain understanding and wisdom. You don’t go to philosophy you go to dogma, Jesus’ dogma. Or rather the dogma of those who claim to be in touch with him!
 
If you can’t go to Heaven itself to find the truth but have to have Christ then Paul is being totally insane. He is saying it is better to listen to hearsay from an appearance of the resurrected Jesus than to see and hear the truth yourself in God’s own home place Heaven! This is extreme dogmatism. It calls into question the sincerity and reliability of Paul as an alleged apostle of Christ.
 
Some reply that there is hyperbole in what Paul wrote: you can’t get God’s truth in Heaven or in the abyss unless God gives you the power to so Paul is saying that even if God does that we should decline and go to Jesus. It’s exaggeration to make a point. It’s just like when Paul said one time that an angel from Heaven is to be ignored if it comes preaching a different gospel from his. And the point is, not “don’t accept truth even from God if he wants to give it to you. Go to the risen Jesus and the point is that nothing should make up our minds for us but Jesus and the word he brought.” That is the exaggeration.  The point is, “Go to the risen Jesus only and disregard all communications from God – they cannot be genuine when they are not from Jesus risen.” The charge of extreme dogmatism still stands. Obviously it is no good if somebody else has the truth from Jesus and you go to them. You have to go to Jesus himself – he has to appear to you and tell you. Listening to somebody telling you what Jesus told them is as bad as not going directly to Jesus for many misinterpret and lie about his teaching.
 
The gospel Jesus then was a pack of lies, perhaps good ones and perhaps based on the lives and teachings of some Jewish saints to make them look real but lies all the same.
 
Now if you search in the underworld for the gospel, meaning if you have to learn it from spirits for corpses can’t teach it, then you need Jesus to rise again anew to get it for he is the only being in the next world that can be trusted in religion. He must be a spirit or a resurrected being. Resurrected bodies don’t live in the underworld so spirit is the only option. .
 
He has to be raised up again to teach you because you weren’t satisfied with what he already revealed and if you don’t accept what he revealed to you when he rose to teach you, you need him to rise again and again and again. It seems that Jesus appearing to people is referred to as a resurrection just like the Old Testament referred to the dead Samuel as being raised though Samuel complains about being disturbed as if he were alive already. Now Samuel was a ghost.
 
This eliminates any possibility of the Jesus resurrection having being a bodily one for a body can only rise once so the later doctrine of a bodily resurrection was a pack of lies. It was a spiritual resurrection though perhaps a seed was taken from the old body for the sake of continuity. Jesus could have more than one risen spiritualised body so he can teach many people at a time. The empty tomb was being denied. Jesus’ resurrection was spiritual because Paul is on about needing spirits to teach the gospel and so Jesus would be irrelevant if he were not just a phantom. Jesus has to rise anew to teach you if you reject the teaching of Paul as his word and are searching for his word.

 

If we cannot go to the underworld for the truth can we get it on earth?  No.  The underworld is under the earth so by implication if you cannot get it there you will not get it on earth either.  Paul is hinting that if Jesus lived on earth that life does not matter and should not matter. 
 
Why would Jesus have to rise anew if you need the word and can go to the underworld for it? The shocking answer is that Paul means you have to become like a spiritualist medium and induce visions to make Jesus appear. Jesus was raised in the early Church allegedly by the power of God the same way Samuel was raised by the witch of Endor in the Old Testament. You can’t get the word from people who knew Jesus as a man for they don’t exist. You have to get it by becoming an occultist. Spiritism, communication with the dead, was strictly forbidden by the Law of Moses under pain of death. Paul would have had his excuses for getting around that prohibition. The usual one is that mediumistic powers are gifts from God. But the trouble with that is that any medium could justify her or his disobedience of the Law of Moses which was inspired by Yahweh with that excuse. But how could Paul say that Jesus would need to rise again all over again to appear to other people to bring them the word of God? The answer is that only a resurrected being like Jesus has the authority and knowledge to inform you about the things of God.

 

To summarise, Paul in Romans 10 says that nobody should want to go to Heaven to learn spiritual truth or to go to the underworld for we have the risen Jesus to give it to us.  He rose for the truth so go to Heaven or under the earth for it is to force him to rise another time.  If God's messengers in Heaven or elsewhere do not give you the truth and you need direct contact then Paul is saying the only people of God are those who have visions or experiences of the risen Jesus.