Writings by George Burgess (1829-1905)
Did the dead body of Jesus rise again, and live?
The New Testament witnesses do not give sure and certain proof of the resurrection of Jesus. After his death, the belief that his resurrection had really occurred originated mainly from one incident, and that visit first of Mary Magdalene, and other women to the sepulchre. Mary Magdalene was one out of whom Jesus said to have “cast even devils”. A woman whose constitution and Nerve System had been worn, and torn, by several devils, does not seem to be the kind of witness that the Great Living God, and Ruler of millions of Suns and Worlds, would choose to announce His temporary suspension of His mighty law of Death! A law which consigns every dead thing to eternal dissolution!!
Yet from her report, of her vision, the belief afterwards, spread, or revived among the disciples! It is a disadvantage without and records, in that we has no, written words by Jesus himself concerning his teachings, or concerning himself, in any way.
However, Luke 20-37, writes that Jesus said “Now, that the dead are raised, even Moses shivaed at the burning bush”. But, at that bush, Exo 3-6, neither God, nor Moses, speaks of any kind of resurrection.
Matthew 26-32, “After I am ridden, I will go before you, into Galilee”. Matthew did not write these words until long after the death of Jesus. And the disciples did not know of them or had forgotten all about them at the time of the death and burial of Jesus (John).
John 11-25, “I am the resurrection and the life”. The bodily life and death of Lazarus was the question here! No other kind of life and death was mentioned. And Jesus said “Whosoever liveth, and believeth in me shall never die”. Yet Lazarus, and Matthew, and Jesus himself, and that whole generation, and all the worlds millions since that far off time, believers, and others alike, all, are dead and all their bodies have dissolved and returned to the earth forever, from which they came.
Luke 9-22, “The son of man must be slain, and be raised the third day”. So according to St. Luke, St. John, and others, Jesus did teach that he should rise again after he was dead!
It is possible, and may be probable, that the body of Jesus was not in the sepulchre, that his dead body should rise again the third day, it is nature, to believe that a good multitude of those faithful followers would assemble at the sepulchre to witness the amazing event. But, not one, of them was there!! Besides, the public and open daylight rising of the dead body of Jesus to life again would have converted the whole Jewish Race to a belief in him as their “Messiah”. Was it done in the Dark?
Afterwards, when Peter and John were influenced to visit the sepulchre, it was out of curiosity, for Mary’s words “seemed to the, as idle tales”, “they believed them not” (Luke, 24-11). Not one of the disciples saw the body rise, or saw it removed or knew what had become of it. And, if removed, who removed it, no being during these last nineteen hundred years could tell. It is not possible that the dead body of Jesus could remove itself. And if the “great stone” was rolled away to let the body pass out, then it is only reasonable to conclude that those who removed the stone would also remove the body.
No angels were ever allowed to descent from God’s Heaven to roll stones from graves and to talk with, good-meaning, but credulous women, about the missing dead. Such casual ideas, and easy farces, usually the delusions of disordered natures, like Mary’s would naturally be after being “possessed” by and of “seven devils” or seven evil diseases.
Still, many of he disciples seem to have revived their belief in the resurrection; and Jesus, with his natural body, is said to have “appeared among them” several times (without their knowing him, at first) and then vanished out of their sight! The disciples however, continued preaching the resurrection of Jesus. And so also, did Paul, Paul had never seen Jesus himself, but had been the disciples’ recent, most bitter persecutor “even unto death” (Acts 22). He was now, a disciple himself, having been convinced, apparently through a restless dream-vision; having fallen to the earth tired, exhausted, worn out and frenzied!!!; when, for a desperate mission, he was on his way to Damascus.
Of course, the believers in the resurrection of Jesus were all good-living, and conscientious men and women, but, Superstition, reigned within them! Dreams, trances, and visions do sometimes, but not often, teach real, sound and natural truths.
The clear knowledge of nature and of life and Death developed during the later generations, and especially during the present generation, has dispersed the mists and vain imaginations of nervous erratic minks, which come into collision with Natural law. And now, the spirits of sound and right minds will only assent to theories, and beliefs, that are in harmony with the workings o f the accurately exact, just, sure, universal fascinating, and benevolent laws of life and Existence, which Rule changeless, and supreme, among all beings, and in all worlds.
According to God’s Natural Law – His all-good, and divine law, for a dead body to rise to life again is an Impossibility. God has set His Divine Seal upon that all, beneficent Truth, during all the Ages, that Life and Death have existed on this Earth. The very moment that a body is dead, the Forces of Nature begin to pull it all to pieces. The very moment the body begins to vitally move and breathe, Construction begins to build up the man. And the exact moment the body ceases to breathe – Destruction sets to work, and swiftly pulls down man’s body into dust.
No living thing, plant, animal, or man ever has, or ever will escape this necessary, universal, and divine process. All sayings, and beliefs, that mean exceptional escapes form this all-wise, and changeless Law, reaching from Adam, to the end of all Time on earth, arise form defective knowledge of God’s Laws of Life an Death – and from Superstition!!!
There are no escapes from the Natural, and complete Law of Death. The unchanging “God” is no respecter of persons. Death serve all alike. And once the body of any man is dead, it is dead forever. It will never rise again. It will never live again. Bit, “it shall return to the Earth, as it was – and the SPIRIT shall return unto God who gave it”. Eccl 12-7
George Burgess, February 1901