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Home > Weekly Columns > Greek Thoughts > Archives >
Article for May 17, 2009

Greek Thoughts Archives
First available on May 17, 2009

ANASTASIS* - Resurrection

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Author Bio

Bill Klein has been a pastor, counselor, and educator for the past 36 years. He has had extensive training and education in biblical languages, and has authored a Biblical Greek course.

He is currently serving as Professor of Biblical Greek at Master's Graduate School of Divinity, and president of BTE Ministries - The Bible Translation and Exegesis Institute of America, a non-profit organization located in California that provides Bible study tapes and Greek study materials through their website BTEMinistries.org.

 

Please note that all Biblical quotes, in this and all other lessons posted to Greek Thoughts, are from The Literal English Translation of the Bible produced by BTE Ministries - The Bible Translation and Exegesis Institute of America.


This week, with people around the world gathering to remember and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we want to study some aspects of the meaning of ana/stasiv (Strong's #386, pronounced ns t sēs**), which is the Greek word most commonly used in the New Testament for His Resurrection. It is compounded from ana/ (Strong's #303, pronounced n**) meaning "up" and isthmi (Strong's #2476, pronounced hēs tā mē**) meaning "to stand." Ana/stasiv is used primarily for the resurrection of Jesus Christ Himself; as opposed to egei/rw (Strong's #1453, pronounced ĕ ga rō**), which is used for the resurrection of believers and means "to raise someone or to wake up."

The use of different Greek words to contrast the Resurrection of Jesus and the resurrection of believers is important to note. Before Jesus goes to the cross, He establishes the special use of ana/stasiv to represent His resurrection. This is found in Chapter 11 of the gospel of John, which tells of Jesus being summoned to heal His friend Lazarus. However, Jesus purposely waits for Lazarus to die before making the journey to his home. Lazarus' sister Martha meets Jesus as He comes into the village. She says to Him, "If you had been here my brother would not have died." (John 11:21). Jesus responds, "Your brother will rise again." (John 11:23). Martha says that she knows her brother will rise again in the resurrection in the last day (John 11:24). At that point, Jesus makes one of the most profound statements in the entire Bible:

John 11:25-26

25)
Jesus said to her, I am the Resurrection (ana/stasiv) and the Life. The one believing toward Me, even if he should die, he will live.

26)
And everyone living and believing toward Me should never die. Do you believe this?

As recorded in these two verses, Jesus establishes that the Resurrection is not an event, but is rather Himselfthe resurrection is the very person of Jesus Christ. Additionally, after His resurrection, He is known as The Resurrected One. Jesus' pronouncement is the scriptural basis for salvation, empowerment, and hope for everyone who ever believes toward Him.

Paul, in , presents the various phases a person experiencing salvation in Jesus Christ goes through:

Ephesians 2:5-6

5)
And we being dead in trespasses, He made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved),

6) And He raised us up together, and seated us together in the spirit realm in Christ Jesus.

In verse 5, using the word "dead" to represent the spiritual state of every person prior to salvation in Christ, Paul establishes that when the Lord moves to save and transform someone, He does so while that person is still in a state of spiritual deadness because of his or her trespasses.

In verse 6, Paul teaches that we, while being dead in our trespasses, are raised up by God, together in Christ. The Greek word used here for "raised up" is not ana/stasiv which is, as we stated earlier, the word used primarily for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Instead, the word used is another Greek compound, sunegei/rw (Strong's #4891, pronounced s nĕ gā rō**), which means "to be raised together." It is from su/n (Strong's #4862, pronounced sn**) meaning "with" and egei/rw (Strong's #1453, pronounced ĕ gā rō**) meaning "to raise someone or to wake up." Egei/rw is the root word for all of Paul's teaching on the raising of believers from the dead; and he is using this resurrection terminology here to state that while one is dead in sin, that one is raised up by the Lord from out of the spiritual dead and is then seated in the spirit realm in Christ Jesus.

We also find Paul using resurrection terminology in the latter part of Ephesians, Chapter 1, to establish his teaching on daily living. In this section of scripture, Paul is expressing that he is praying that the eyes of their understanding be enlightened to know three things: the hope that is part of their calling; the riches of the glory of His inheritance that He has in the saints; and the third expressed in Ephesians 1:19-20:

Ephesians 1:19-20

19)
And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us, the ones believing according to the working of the power of His might,

20)
which He worked in the Christ, when he raised (egei/rw) Him from out of the dead, and seated Him in His right in the spirit realm,

Paul prayed that God would enlighten every believer to know that the exceeding greatness of God's power toward us is the same power that worked in Jesus Christ when He was raised from the dead. This power is continuously working in a person's spirit after that person has been raised by Christ from the spiritual dead.

Paul also used resurrection terminology in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 to establish the future hope of the believer.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52

51)
Behold I speak a mystery to you; we all will not sleep, but we will be changed,

52)
In an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, in the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised (egei/rw) incorruptible, and we will be changed.

The Word of God teaches that one day, when Christ returns, a trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised up in resurrection, each person incorruptible and changed. A reading of the surrounding text, not listed here, makes clear that Paul is speaking of the spiritual body each believer will receive at that time.

Every year millions of people crowd churches to remember events in the life of Jesus Christ. They go to church at Christmas to remember His birth; and they go to church at Easter to remember His resurrection, not understanding that the presentation of the Bible is that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is more than an event; it is a person. Jesus Christ Himself is the Resurrection; and the significance of His resurrection is not in the happening of an outside event (something outside of and apart from us); it is significant because it is experienced within us. We are spiritually dead, dead in our trespasses and sins, until Christ comes into our spirits and raises us from the dead. When we are saved, we are resurrected from the spiritual dead. The resurrected Jesus Christ not only saves us, but lives in us as well; and His resurrection power is continuously ministering in every believer. So, as millions of people fill churches to celebrate the event of the resurrection, there will be multitudes who do not know The Resurrected One. Pray that God, in His mercy, will take many out of spiritual death and make them alive together with us in Jesus Christ.

*ANASTASIS is the English font spelling of the Greek word ana/stasiv.

**English pronunciation of vowel sounds & accented syllables: āle, ăm, fther; ēve, ĕnd; īce, ǐll; ōld, ǒdd, wh; oi as in oil; ow as in cow; ūse, ŭp, rde. Bold type indicates an accented syllable.


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