The Resurrection as Dynamite

Yes, this IS the first thing that came into my mind, when I thought of dynamite.

Odd, how the brain works: linking with a show I haven’t seen in 35+ years.

But anyways….


Systematic Theology – Authority
The Power of His Resurrection
R. J. R. Rushdoony

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Our scripture is in Philippians the third chapter verses eight through eleven. Philippians 3:8-11.

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

Our subject this morning is the phrase in verse ten, the power of His resurrection. There are several Greek words in the New Testament which are translated as power. The word used very frequently is dunamis, which we have in the word dynamite. It is found 118 times in the New Testament. Other words used unite the concepts of power and authority, and the New Testament associates both power and authority with Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact when we look at the words that are used in the New Testament, applied to Jesus Christ, they bring together power and authority, dominion, Lordship, freedom of action, strength, and rule. And all these terms are associated with what the resurrection does for us. 

The scriptures tell us that God declares that “he that sinneth against Me wrongs his own soul.” “All they that hate me love death.” The plain implication is that if we are not in Christ we are born losers. If we are in Christ we are re-born victors. Now Paul uses this word “dynamis” or “dunamis” which we have as dynamite, when he speaks with regard to the resurrection in our text. When he says the power of the resurrection he is talking about the explosive world changing power which the resurrection of Jesus Christ wrought. Moreover the word that is in the Greek and is translated as power here means the power to live and act independently of physical or spiritual strength. It refers to an inherent, not a derived power. That Christ has an inherent power that breaks all boundaries, all powers, destroys all restrictions, and it is this power, the power of the resurrection which is ours in Jesus Christ.

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Just for fun, Philippians 8:10 in the Greek (courtesy of Bible Hub)

ΠΡΟΣ ΦΙΛΙΠΠΗΣΙΟΥΣ 3:10 Greek NT: Nestle 1904
τοῦ γνῶναι αὐτὸν καὶ τὴν δύναμιν τῆς ἀναστάσεως αὐτοῦ καὶ κοινωνίαν παθημάτων αὐτοῦ, συμμορφιζόμενος τῷ θανάτῳ αὐτοῦ,

The δύναμιν is the stuff that goes BOOM. The dynamite, the power of His resurrection.

JJ would be pleased, I reckon.

When he says the power of the resurrection he is talking about the explosive world changing power which the resurrection of Jesus Christ wrought. Moreover the word that is in the Greek and is translated as power here means the power to live and act independently of physical or spiritual strength. It refers to an inherent, not a derived power. That Christ has an inherent power that breaks all boundaries, all powers, destroys all restrictions, and it is this power, the power of the resurrection which is ours in Jesus Christ.

Christians should take Jesus seriously.

If – no, WHEN – we do, it will change the world. Well, change it even faster than it is always being changed by the impact of Jesus Christ.

The stronger and more powerful the impact, the better it is.

Just like dynamite.

Which makes me wonder, about all those spiritually and emotionally dead churches out there.

Now, I don’t think that every church should be disorganized, or as freeform as the Charismatics. After all, there was a time when the Establishment hated and despised the renegade Calvinists and the non-conforming Anglicans… before a way was found to break and geld and tame them, at the hands of their Betters, sneering when their backs are turned.

(Nods to the seminaries, and – in Europe – the government checks and pay-offs.)

(Yes, I know that Our Betters sneer openly now. No need to fear neutered dynamite.)

But flavourless, powerless “salt” is soon revealed to be the fraud it is. And I am speaking to those who want the Real Thing.

There should be organizations, outside of the dead hand of the failing religious organizations and the Christian guild-temple complexes, that are serious about the Kingdom of God in time and on earth.

It’s OK if they start small. It’s even OK if they don’t grow to big institutions, but instead split and spread and cover the world.

But it should be done, and it will probably have to be done by skilled and disciplined laymen.

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The stoics took that word and equated it with God quite logically. Because they concluded that that word could not be associated with anything other than a supreme being. Paul says this power is the cause of our salvation. This power is the power in all faithful preaching, this power is something the world does not know. The natural man, the fallen man does not have this power, cannot please God and cannot keep God’s law. This power which the resurrection unleashed into the world, the Holy Spirit brings into our lives and makes us in Christ a new creation, a continuing power so that we represent a force, and an authority, and a dominion in this world which is not of this world. To be without this power of God and salvation is, in terms of the words used in the New Testament, to be powerless; but more literally, impotent. Impotent, the person who is not in Christ is an impotent person. Whatever the plans they make for themselves in their future, there is a frustration that overtakes all their thinking, their planning, their hoping, and their dreaming because they bear within themselves the seeds of destruction, sin and death. 

But the great manifestation of God’s power, the resurrection, is an authoritative expression of power because it destroys the power of sin and death, and it reveals the true power in all creation is the Creator who is now also our redeemer; the power of His resurrection. This power is a contradiction of all humanism because humanism believes in naturalistic powers, in the power of man, of man’s logic, of man’s planning, man’s thinking. And the whole point of Paul’s gospel is that it is the power of His resurrection which has been unleashed upon the world, and that power alone is efficacious. And so his goal is that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection. And this is his ministry Paul says, and it is the heart of His preaching, and it has to be the ministry of the church. This is why a Christian reconstruction is an inescapable concept. Can you believe in such a power being unleashed on the world without changing men and nations, institutions, everything? Can such an explosive power, a word which we’ve taken over into the English almost letter for letter “dynamite” be unleashed upon the world, come into our lives, without making us motivated with a tremendous force, to go out and bring all things into captivity to Christ? To go out and undo all injustice and to establish God’s justice, God’s righteousness here upon earth? The power of His resurrection is a contradiction to all humanism.

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“Can you believe in such a power being unleashed on the world without changing men and nations, institutions, everything?

Lots of Churchmen can: Conservatives and Liberals alike prefer a neutered Gospel, for different reasons.

Satan doesn’t mind, of course. “Worship whatever you like… just keep your mystery religions in your temple precincts, and leave justice, law, and public behaviour to the State-certified professionals and philosophers.”

A good reason to shove the lot aside as we get to work in building the Kingdom.

Can such an explosive power, a word which we’ve taken over into the English almost letter for letter “dynamite” be unleashed upon the world, come into our lives, without making us motivated with a tremendous force, to go out and bring all things into captivity to Christ? To go out and undo all injustice and to establish God’s justice, God’s righteousness here upon earth? The power of His resurrection is a contradiction to all humanism.”

Which is why all humanists hate the Resurrection.

(Yes, I am placing Muslims in the humanist camp: their trust is in armies and leaders, stability and the collective. The Mighty Arm of Man, not the Word of Truth.

And sadly, the Jews have been humanistic ever since they decided that the Traditions of Men outweigh the Law of God. It will be a good day when they change their way, but we need to prove the comprehensive superiority of Christ, in every way, if there’s going to be a change in the next few generations.

That won’t happen if we Christians keep on doing substandard work on the job, because “God will forgive us if we bring Him our fourth-best work.”

Don’t forget what God said would be the wages awarded to worthless servants.)

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The justification of Christianity is not in its social utility, its social usefulness. It can be argued that our faith is good for people, it makes life better. That it’s good for society, it makes people more law abiding and happier, it is good for the family- it promotes family life and unity, it is good for the society, for the state – it provides better citizens. That it makes for better living in every realm, but we cannot do that because the justification is not because it does something for men. The power of His resurrection is that it serves God’s purpose, establishes His kingdom, and the welfare of man and of society is a byproduct of that. Humanism’s basic test is social utility, and that’s why humanism can justify anything; homosexuality, euthanasia, abortion in terms of social utility. But we say God’s will must be done and the power of His resurrection must be unleashed in history because that transforming power, that social dynamite, must accomplish God’s purpose. In this process of accomplishing it the fallout is better life for us, our families, and society at large. But the primary purpose is the kingdom of God. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things that the Gentiles seek will then be added unto you; the power of His resurrection. No religion outside of our faith knows that power. 

The word religion come from a Latin word meaning “to bind” and the purpose of religions, basically, have been to provide social cement, to bring people together because without religion they fall apart. Within the state, within the society, within the family, within marriages, they fall apart. But no religion succeeds at that, except without coercion. But the power of His resurrection brings new life into people so that this binding takes place. It takes place supernaturally.

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The Christian Church does not exist to serve the State.

The Christian Church does not exist to serve Society.

The Christian Church exists to serve God.

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Paul in this text, in these verses which we read earlier, Philippians 3:8-11 weighs two concerns, the one against the other. On the humanistic side, the humanistic assets include a righteousness, or a justice, of his own. And people all over the world have their own idea of what constitutes justice. And every civil government tries to enforce its idea of justice. But mans justice is injustice in the sight of God. Out of these humanistic ideas of justice or righteousness comes self-righteousness, self-salvation, an attempt also to use the law to be saved. But all this Paul says is dung. 

Now the word that is translated as “dung” has two meanings. One is not a very pleasant one and scholars are divided over which usage Paul gave to it. One usage is for human excrement which was fed to dogs, the other was for table garbage fed to dogs also. Paul stresses the repulsiveness of the dung, and he says “this on the one side is the world of humanism, the world of man trying to get happiness or gain wealth or gain prosperity, or gain justice on his own.” The whole realm of humanistic values Paul rejects, and against all this he sets forth God’s righteousness or justice, which is holy and which is known only by faith which is the gift of God unto salvation. At the apex of God’s power, of Christ’s power, is the resurrection. Linked to this by Paul is our resurrection again and again Paul makes that point. Because Jesus Christ rose from the dead we are now the people of the resurrection. We have been resurrected out of the death of sin into the life of righteousness or justice, and we have the promise that at the end the power of death and the grave will be mocked by the power that is in us and that we shall know a life without the limitations of this, and a freedom in our service of God, and a glorious life eternally because of the power of His resurrection. 

Because of that we are now, Paul says in II Corinthians 5:17, a new creation, a new creature but more literally a new creation. We are raised with Christ and the living power which is ours from His resurrection makes us alive and powerful and authoritative. At the heart of the doctrine of authority is the doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We have a power, a authority which is supernatural which is not of this world.

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Spiritual dynamite is more powerful than physical dynamite.

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Thus the power of His resurrection is the power that then comes to us in and through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit at work in our lives is the continuation of the power of the resurrection. The last Adam we are told is made a quickening spirit, or life giving spirit. The Holy Spirit is referred to. We are thus a new humanity in Christ. It is significant that in the early church and for several centuries thereafter if you were a Christian you did not say, unless you were rather retrograde Christian, that “I’m a Greek” or “I’m a Roman” or “I’m an Egyptian” you said “I belong to the Christian race, to the Christian race. As a matter of fact for several centuries some of the prayers of the early church actually Sunday by Sunday were prayers for this Christian race, because the believer saw himself separated from the old humanity of Adam, separated from the nationality and the race that he was born into, he was now a member of the Christian race, and it was taken very seriously. [22”27]

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The new race of Christ, being a living spiritual brotherhood, is infinitely more important than any man’s genetics.

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Concerning the relationship of the Holy Spirit to Christ’s new human race Calvin said in commenting on I Corinthians 15:45, and I quote “It must be observed however that Christ did also like us become a living soul. But beside the soul the Spirit of the Lord was also poured out upon Him, that by His power He might rise again from the dead and raise up others. This therefore must be observed in order that no-one may imagine that the Spirit was in Christ in place of a soul. And independently of this the interpretation of this passage may be taken from the eighth chapter of Roman, where Paul the apostle declares that the body indeed is dead on account of sin, and we carry in us the element of death. But that the Spirit of Christ who raised Him up from the dead dwelleth also in us, and that He is life to raise us also one day from the dead. From this you see that we have living souls, in as much as we are men but that we have the life giving spirit of Christ now poured out upon us by the grace of regeneration. In short, Christ is greatly superior to the lot of the first man; because a living soul was conferred upon Adam in his own name, and in that of his posterity. But Christ has procured for us the Spirit who is life.”

Therefore the power of the resurrection is the power of the spirit, as indwelling within us, as assuring us that we are children of the resurrection. 

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Real power is the power to break the back of Death himself.

That is the power of Jesus Christ, King of Kings.

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The persistent goal of the human race has from the fall of man been power; power over others, power over things, power of the world generally. And the most common ways men have sought to gain that power is through the state and through personal force, but especially though the state. This has been the persistent goal of humanistic man. Men believe in and they fear and are subservient to power. But power for them is humanistic, naturalistic. But our life is now grounded in a non-human power. So that greater is he that is in us then he that is in the world, and in Christ we are more than conquerors. Paul tells us there is nothing in life nor in death, in heaven and in earth that is able to separate us from the love and the care of Christ. And so the power of his resurrection is a power that overcomes the powers of this world.

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The statism of Europe – and of Asia – points to its sterility and failure. They are a people of the past, not the future.

Let’s not imitate them, and make our own journey to sterility, failure… and, in time, to hell.

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If you look at history you find that statism and all the attendant evils rise when men’s faith in Christ wanes; and overthrow the powers of statism we have only to revive Christian faith and apply it to every sphere of life and thought. All believers have here and now the power of Christ’s resurrection in their lives through the Spirit. It is an earth shattering, a life shattering power. The Easter hymns have long celebrated that power. For example the hymn of Charles Wesley written in 1739 Christ the Lord is Risen today declares in part “vain the stone, the watch, the seal, alleluia. Christ has burst the gates of hell, alleluia. Death in vain forbids his rise, alleluia. Christ hath opened paradise, alleluia.” Another hymn of John Mason Neale, 1854 Lift Up, Lift Up Your Voices Now reads in four of its verses “lift up, lift up your voices now, the whole wide world rejoices now. The Lord hath triumphed gloriously, the Lord shall rein victoriously. In vain with stone the cave they barred, in vain the watch kept watch and ward. Majestic from the spoiled tomb in pomp of triumph Christ has come. He binds in chains the ancient foe, a countless host he frees from woe. And heavens portals open fly for Christ is risen and man shall rise. And all he did, and all he bared he gives us as our own to share. And hope and joy and peace begin for Christ has won and man shall win.” 

The power of His resurrection makes us more than conquers through Him that loved us; and in that power we are sent forth by Him to whom all powers given in heaven and in earth; to bring all the world into and under His salvation, His word, and His dominion. We are sent forth as sheep in the midst of wolves, but we are sent forth at the same time in the power of the Spirit, so that while there is and will be conflict ours is the earth shattering power; for Christ is risen and the power of His resurrection is our power. Let us pray.

Oh Lord our God we thank Thee for the resurrection and for the power of the resurrection. We pray our Father that through our Spirit we may be instruments of that power. So the power may go forth in all the world, bringing men, woman and children, institutions, schools, homes, all things, civil governments within the province of the kingdom and the power of His resurrection. Bless us to this purpose, fill us ever with the joy of the resurrection, make us ever mindful that we are more than conquerors in Christ our Lord; in His name we pray, amen.

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“If you look at history you find that statism and all the attendant evils rise when men’s faith in Christ wanes; and overthrow the powers of statism we have only to revive Christian faith and apply it to every sphere of life and thought.”

Our Loving Masters understand this far better than most Christians do: ergo, their infinite and total contempt for Christ, His Resurrection, and His People.

No matter. They are still as much vicious failures as the devils they have chosen to follow. Losers are losers are losers, regardless of how much they shout about their pride and power, their intelligence and strength. Or how many innocent people they kill in their various explosions of loudly justified sadism, or oppress with their prison-society gulags and lockdowns.

Only be careful not to follow their walk, to respond to evil by being evil yourself. Christ did not walk down that road; neither should we.

Christ loved the truth, and loved to heal, and loved justice and righteousness, compassion for the weakest and public rebukes to the mighty and lawless, all with the power of His word. A piercing sword in His mouth, not in His hand.

We are to follow His example, reserving physical violence only in the defence of our lives and of the lives of the innocent, and using the Word of Truth as our offensive weapon against the wicked, the power-worshipper, and the lawless.

The dynamic power of Christ’s Resurrection gives us the drive to expand the Kingdom of God and break apart the oppressive Empire of Man… and the death-speaking serpent the First Adam chose to kneel to, and obey.

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