Interview: Dr. Mike Stallard — The Resurrection
Happy Easter everyone! We are celebrating the resurrection of our Messiah, Jesus! We welcome Dr. Mike Stallard on the program to discuss in depth his article from the March/April issue of Israel My Glory magazine, “Because He Lives: Why future and present blessing depend on Christ’s resurrection from the dead.”
The beginning sentence of the article is an excellent summary of the interview:
“Without the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, believers have not been forgiven, believing loved ones who died are lost forever, and Christians live miserable lives.” We’ll hear how the resurrection affects us today and also in the future.
As we take time to celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, the Messiah we want to ask you, do you know Him? If you wonder who Jesus is, please visit our website http://whoisjesus.foi.org/ to find out why we believe Jesus is the promised Messiah, God’s only Son.
You can read Dr. Stallard’s full article here: https://israelmyglory.org/article/because-he-lives/
Steve Conover: Here at The Friends of Israel, we're excited to be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ this weekend, when Christ defeated death once and for all. This is the Friends of Israel Today, I'm Steve Conover.
Chris Katulka: And I'm Chris Katulka. Today we'll be turning our attention to our award winning magazine, Israel My Glory. Our March/April edition is all about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Now, if you don't already subscribe to Israel My Glory, we want to give you a free year subscription, and we're going to give you a choice, you can either choose print or digital. If you're interested, you can go to FOIradio.org. That's FOI, as in Friends of Israel, FOIradio.org to get your one year free subscription to Israel My Glory. Joining me on the program today will be Dr. Mike Stallard, director of international ministries here at Friends of Israel. Mike oversees our ministry in 13 different countries all around the world, on top of being a scholar and theologian. Today we'll be talking about the resurrection of Jesus, and the history and the hope of the resurrection.
Steve Conover: It's always a joy to have Mike join us on the program, we look forward to that conversation. In the news, as I'm sure most of you have heard by now, in the early morning on April 10th Prime Minister Netanyahu was declared the winner of Israel's election. It was a tight race, supporters of Netanyahu's Likud party experienced an emotional rollercoaster ride when it looked like Netanyahu's greatest threat, Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party, was on the path to victory. However, in the end, Netanyahu was able to pull off yet another win.
Chris Katulka: This is big for Netanyahu, five terms now as prime minister, and this is just unheard of in Israeli politics. Usually politicians don't last that long in Israel, and yet Netanyahu has been able to stick it out for five terms now, and there's a reason for this. It's because the left politics, the left progressive politics in Israel are actually almost like a curse word these days, and so Israelis understand the need for security, and Netanyahu is the one who's always pushing that forward. So, security is always on the mind of Israelis, and Netanyahu knows that's a priority, and I think that's one of the reasons, once again, he is Israel's prime minister.
Today's episode is all about our most recent issue of Israel My Glory, it's all about the resurrection, and that's why I'm excited to have Dr. Mike Stallard, he's the director of international ministries and a bible teacher for the Friends of Israel. Mike served as dean for a Bible Baptist Seminary, and is a graduate of my alma mater, Dallas Theological Seminary. Mike wrote an article in this most recent issue of Israel My Glory called “Because He Lives; Why Future and Present Blessings Depend on Christ's Resurrection From The Dead.” Mike, great to have you.
Mike Stallard: Hey, thanks for having me, Chris. I always enjoy being part of the radio program.
Chris Katulka: You're always a popular person to have on the radio program, a lot of people really appreciated the series that we did, maybe about a year and a half ago or so, on replacement theology, and so I'm really excited to have you here in studio talking about Because He Lives. It's all about the resurrection, and so let's just get right into it. The resurrection, you know when I was growing up, Mike, in my mind the resurrection was something that was invented by Jesus, and the resurrection was only for Jesus, but you know, as I grew in the word I realized resurrection wasn't invented by Jesus. In fact, its roots are in the old testament. Resurrection is really a Jewish belief. Could you highlight that a little bit?
Mike Stallard: Yes, it's relatively easy to show that the old testament itself actually teaches the resurrection. We begin in Job, which may be one of the earliest books written in the bible, and Job, Job in the midst of his sorrow and torture made this statement, "As for me," I'm in Job 19 Verse 25, "As for me, I know that my redeemer lives, and at the last he will take his stand on the earth." Interesting, an earthly concrete understanding of the end times. "Even after my skin is flayed, yet without my flesh," one translation, "apart from my flesh, I shall see God." So, in his soul, "But then whom myself shall behold, and whom my eyes," I take it physical eyes, "shall see and not another." So implication there is physical resurrection.
Chris Katulka: So even in Job's suffering-
Mike Stallard: Even in Job's suffering.
Chris Katulka: He's seeing that I could die here in my suffering, but I know that one day, even after I die, in my flesh I will see my redeemer, essentially he's saying.
Mike Stallard: Yes, I think so. Then you have the Daniel 12 passage, which is at the end of the tribulation period. This statement, "And many of those who sleep in the dust to the ground will awake. These to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt." So, old testament teaching, clear resurrection from the dead. And then in the new testament we have the battle, Matthew 22 Pharisees versus Sadducees over the resurrection. Sadducees didn't believe in the resurrection but Pharisees did, and then later the apostle Paul uses that idea to show to the Romans, he's just following a Jewish belief for the Pharisees, and he was put on trial for the resurrection. So, the resurrection was a Jewish belief. Of course, Jesus was a Jewish man, a God-man, and he believed that track of Judaism that was believing in the resurrection.
Chris Katulka: That one day, this idea of resurrection is the belief that one day we will come out of our graves, the flesh ... our bodies will come out of the grave and we will take on flesh again and spirit again, we will be human again in many ways. And that's why I want to ask you another question. In your article, we're talking about the resurrection, and you open up with this idea that really everything rises and falls on the resurrection of Jesus. From the authority of the scriptures, to the life of a believer today. Where would we be without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and what would you say about the authority of the scriptures at that point? Where would we be without the resurrection?
Mike Stallard: Well, the bible makes it clear, in 1 Corinthians 15, that believers have not been forgiven, they're leaving loved ones who died are lost forever, and Christians live miserable lives if there's been no resurrection. That's 1 Corinthians 15 17-19. That's clear statement. Chuck Swindoll said if Jesus didn't come back alive from the dead, or if his resurrection was a hoax, then nothing, absolutely nothing has any meaning at all, and I think he's right, and those of us who believe the scriptures, who are followers of Jesus, Jesus believed the scriptures, and that's enough authority for me to believe the scriptures. Thy word is truth. We understand what the bible says there, and the bible itself says a lot hangs on the resurrection, basically everything hangs on the resurrection. In the sense that, if it didn't happen, then we have no hope.
Chris Katulka: We have no hope. That 1 Corinthians 15 passage, that we'd be miserable.
Mike Stallard: Right.
Chris Katulka: You and I were talking about that earlier, we'd be in misery, but I love that actually that Paul uses that word, because the opposite of misery is joy, and so we have joy in Jesus' resurrection.
Mike Stallard: Right.
Chris Katulka: Now, in your article you start with the idea of what our future blessings will be with the resurrection, but I want to hold off on that, we'll pick that up in a little bit. I want to talk about our current blessings that we have with Jesus' resurrection. One of my favorite bible verses from the book of Romans, Romans 6:4, "Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead," that's resurrection, "just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life, or live in newness of life." How has Jesus' resurrection given us a new life today, Mike?
Mike Stallard: Yeah. I say four things in the article on that point, and the new life, I think that comprehends both justification and sanctification, and I start out with justification, just a couple chapters earlier in Romans 4:25. "He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification." So the resurrection was necessary, I take it, so that we would be justified, that is declared innocent of all of our sins. So, the starting point of the Christian life, the starting point of newness depends on the resurrection.
Then the second thing of sanctification, and in my article I mention Philippians 3:10, Paul was talking about that, "That I may know him and the power of his resurrection." Now, Paul was already saved, he was already justified. He was longing for something more, even in a growth direction, knowing more and more the power of the resurrection. So, the resurrection as a truth, and the resurrection as a fact, and the new life that's given to us when we are justified, it develops into sanctification, a power that we have, and can invest in and use to walk in this newness that God has given us.
But then I also suggest that courage is part of that, and I took us back to the early Christians who face lions, and how could they have done that without believing firmly in the resurrection. So, the resurrection does give us courage, and it gives us courage even to witness to people. If we didn't have that, where would the courage come from? And then I talk about victory over death. We live in newness of life, we can live unafraid of death, which is the great obscene enemy. Death is obscene, but we have victory through Christ, and because we know in the resurrection, we can live a life, live this newness of life without fear. And people who don't understand that will struggle and always have the veil of fear over them.
Chris Katulka: So, you're saying resurrection, number one, it positionally gives us a sense that we, not even a sense, a truth that positionally God sees us as right because of Jesus' resurrection. It also gives us a hope and sanctification that here on earth we are growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the way that we grow in this relationship is we're conformed into his image, is through the power of the resurrection. That also the hope that we have, the way that we walk today, the courage that we can have is based in the fact that just as Jesus suffered and died and resurrected, we will suffer, we will die, but we will find resurrection, and that changes everything about how we see death. Of course, death can be fearful, and in one sense when a Christian dies, we have a different understanding of what death is. It's not the end, really it's just the beginning.
Mike Stallard: Yeah, that's excellent, Chris. Maybe you should have written this article.
Chris Katulka: Well, you taught me everything I know, there you go. Listen, friends, I'm sitting here with Dr. Mike Stallard, we're going through our most recent issue of Israel My Glory, if you don't get Israel My Glory, we're going to give you a link in a little bit that you can go to, so that you can sign up and get a one year free subscription, so you want to stick around for that. Mike's going to stick around with us, we're going to talk about what the future blessings are, the future blessings for a Christian who believes in Jesus and the resurrection, so be sure to stick around.
Steve Conover: If you're familiar with our ministry, you know that we emphasize the need for solid biblical teaching, and accurate analysis on the news of the day. One of the best resources for great biblical teaching that I know is the Friends of Israel's magazine, Israel My Glory. Chris, some may not realize that Israel My Glory has been around since 1942 and is well over 150,000 subscribers.
Chris Katulka: Yeah, I'll tell you, I travel the country speaking in churches. Churches in big cities and small rural towns, and no matter where I go I always meet people who read our magazine and trust it as a resource for Middle East news and great biblical teaching.
Steve Conover: To order your free one year trial subscription to Israel My Glory magazine, visit FOIradio.org. Again, that's FOIradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Welcome back everyone, we are speaking with Dr. Mike Stallard, the director of international ministries, and bible teacher for the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We're going through our most recent issue of Israel My Glory, and we are looking at his article “Because He Lives; Why Future and Present Blessings Depend on Christ's Resurrection From The Dead.” We looked previously, really at the present blessings, what are the present blessings of the resurrection for a believer, and now we're going to transition here for a moment and we're going to look at the future, prophetic blessings. And Mike, in your article you say that there are future prophetic blessings for a Christian because of Jesus' resurrection. Can you explain what you mean when you say that?
Mike Stallard: Yes, in fact I list several different things that are things we can anticipate in the future because of the resurrection, and the first one is, I get a brand new body, and that's maybe my favorite thing-
Chris Katulka: I like that one too.
Mike Stallard: Because there's a lot of things about my old body that I really would like to change.
Chris Katulka: You know, a lot of people when they see me after hearing me on the radio they say, "You sound a lot taller than you look." So maybe in my future body I'll gain a few inches.
Mike Stallard: Yeah, and you can dunk a basketball. But, it's quite a serious thing that we're going to have these new bodies that can't sin, that can't die. So we're going to have a glorified body fashioned like Jesus, and I take that as a strong moral sense. Then second, I think it's a corollary to that, that even if it's before the resurrection, if I die before we get to the rapture of the church, I know I'm going to be in heaven with the Lord, he's going to bring me back at the rapture to be resurrected, and I'm going to go to heaven when I die, and that's a confidence I have knowing God's ultimate plan for me is resurrection. And then if I do make it to the rapture, I won't experience death, but I'll experience glorification.
So, there's a chance, because of God's plan I won't experience resurrection, but I'll get the glorification that's part of the resurrection package, and then because of the resurrection, because of my future with God, when Jesus comes back at the end of the trip and I come with him in the full person, body, soul, and spirit, I will be part, I will inherit in my flesh the future kingdom. So, I have this concrete understanding of my future, I'm not floating on a cloud somewhere, I'm not just singing a song, holding hands, singing kumbaya, it's a real concrete future.
Chris Katulka: I don't think a lot of Christians understand that concept though Mike, is that your hope as a Christian is the physical resurrection of your body, and I love what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15, "Jesus was merely the first fruits of the resurrection." That means he's the first one resurrected, but there's a whole harvest coming of people resurrected. That's the hope we have as Christians, wouldn't you say?
Mike Stallard: Yes, and I think the church over the centuries has imbibed too much of platonic thinking, and so a spiritual kingdom in the heart, a motif, or things like that, we tend to think in vague and general categories, instead of concrete real Jewish categories.
Chris Katulka: That's right.
Mike Stallard: And the kingdom that's coming is a very earthly one, and our bodies are an important part of that. Then, I would say that probably the most emotional part of looking ahead is seeing my loved ones again who have died, and knowing because of the resurrection, if they're in Christ and I am in Christ, I will hug their neck again, and that's a physical thing. In body, I will hug their ... it won't be just ghosts or spirits hugging each other, it's in bodily form. That's God's plan. The body is not a throwaway container for God.
Chris Katulka: What you're saying there was important for me. I lost my father at a young age, and I can remember, I had been teaching on the resurrection for many years, and then I lost my dad and I had to really come to grips, I had to move theology into practical real life, and you know what? The resurrection gave me hope that, I haven't seen my dad for almost 10 years now, but I will see him again, that changed everything. I will hug him, like you said, I will hug him again. That changes everything, how prophecy becomes very, very applicable to one's life.
Mike Stallard: Yeah. Last year, as you know, I had to preach my twin brother's funeral, and the idea of seeing him again in the flesh meant everything at that moment.
Chris Katulka: Yes.
Mike Stallard: There was nothing more important at that moment for me. But then, because of that, what does that lead to? That means we're looking forward to the grandest, glorious, most superlative fellowship and joy that we can't even envision it, it's so big.
Chris Katulka: Yeah.
Mike Stallard: And the bible promises that. And part of that is, God's going to have some wonderful projects for us to do. When I was a young boy and be at the doctor's office I'd read a bible story book or something that a doctor had out for kids, and I'd read it and I thought, "Oh, when I get to heaven I'm going to wear these shepherd's uniforms and I'll just tend sheep all day." And I go, "That's awful boring. I don't have any desire to do that. Where's baseball, and football, and all those things?" So I came away with the wrong concept, that it's a boring, blasé thing. And people express it today on a cloud with a harp, and that's their view of the coming kingdom, and that's not at all what it's going to be. We don't know all the details, God describes it in terms of administration, but it's an important thing to understand, there's going to be the greatest adventure for all of us, in our flesh, because the resurrection, when we get to God's glorious kingdom.
Chris Katulka: Folks, we've been talking with Dr. Mike Stallard, and listen, he has an amazing article; “Because He Lives, Why Future and Present Blessings Depend on Christ's Resurrection From The Dead.” You can find it in our most recent issue of Israel My Glory magazine. If you're not a subscriber to Israel My Glory, we want to give you a one year free subscription, you just have to go to FOIradio.org, that's FOIradio.org, and right there you can sign up and receive your one year free subscription to Israel My Glory, and read more about Jesus' resurrection from our most recent issue, Up From The Grave He Arose. Mike, thanks for joining us today, I really appreciate it.
Mike Stallard: Thanks for having me.
Chris Katulka: As we close out this episode today on the resurrection of Jesus, I want to take a look back for a moment at his death. Every time I go to Israel I visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, it's the place that many people believe Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected. And when you climb up the steps that literally take you up Golgotha, you begin to see these mosaic pictures on the wall, and these mosaics make up the gospel throughout all of biblical history. The mosaics go from Abraham binding Isaac, all the way to Jesus being nailed to the cross, and when you zoom in on the mosaic of Jesus being nailed on the cross you see something that just isn't right biblically. Standing around Jesus are Roman guards in their typical Roman uniform, however, when you zoom in on the person nailing Jesus to the cross you realize, through the type of clothes the person is wearing, that the artist is depicting a Jewish person nailing Jesus to the cross.
And I can tell you this much, the Jewish people were guilty of condemning Jesus, and lying about him, and urging for his death, but they weren't the ones to put the nails in his hands. This mosaic depicts just blatant antisemitism, and even up to the mid 20th century, kids were taught in churches that Jewish people killed Jesus. Jewish people were often called Christ killers, and this outlook is just plain wrong. First, it was a roman who nailed Jesus to the cross, not a Jewish person. The Jewish community would have nothing to do with Roman crucifixion. The Roman participation in Jesus' death displays to all of us that it was a joint effort between the Jewish people and the gentiles. Really, this tells us that everyone is guilty of putting Jesus on the cross, and yet, at the same time it was nobody who put Jesus on the cross.
Ty Perry, who wrote in this issue of Israel My Glory says, "Consequently, it is theologically accurate to say no one killed Jesus." Jesus himself said, "No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from my Father." That comes from John Chapter 10, Verse 18. And then again in John Chapter 19 it says, "When Pilot declared, 'I have power to crucify you and power to release you', Jesus replied, 'You could have no power at all against me unless it had been given to you from above.'" There's a lot of forces, my friends, at work to get Jesus on the cross from a human perspective, but once again, Jesus reminds us in the gospels it was his life to give. His obedience to the Father is our righteousness. Thanks be to God.
Steve Conover: Chris, it was a real joy hearing you and Mike Stallard discuss the significance of the resurrection, my heart has been encouraged. So, let me ask you this as we close. We as Christians, of course celebrate the resurrection every Sunday. Is there anything different or special that you do personally for Easter?
Chris Katulka: Well, in Jewish ministry one of the benefits is that I get to often lead a Passover. So Passovers gear me up for the Easter weekend. So, if you've never been to a Passover before, I hope that maybe your church could lead one, or maybe you could find one. That's a great way to prepare yourself for Easter. But personally, what I like to do as well is I like to just take a moment. It's busy, Easter is a busy time. I like to take a moment and just reflect and I like to read the passion passages, and just reflect for a moment on what Chris did for us. When he died, he willingly went to the cross, he was buried, and then he resurrected, coming out of the grave defeating death once and for all.
Steve Conover: Thank you Chris. A reminder as we close; we rely on the support of our listeners to keep this program on the air. Please consider going to FOIradio.org and supporting us with a donation. Chris Katulka is our host and teacher, Tom Gallione produced today's program. It was co written by Sarah Fern, Jeremy Strong composed our theme, and I'm Steve Conover, executive producer. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide Christian ministry communicating biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, while fostering solidarity with the Jewish people.
Israel My Glory Magazine
Hard-hitting, accurate, up-to-date analysis of Israel and the Middle East. Thought-provoking examination of God’s Word. Answers about the end-times. The truth behind today’s headlines. Immediate access to the latest books and resources. People who want to be informed—and have a heart for God’s Chosen People—rely on Israel My Glory.
The Friends of Israel Today and Apples of Gold theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.