We live in the age of science, logic, and information when many spiritual beliefs that cannot be rationally explained are questioned and dismissed. There is one particular belief that lies at the core of Jewish and Christian faiths that is often doubted by skeptics from both sides. Yes, more and more Jews do not buy into the idea of resurrection easily anymore, and more and more who affiliate with Christianity are doubtful of this notion well. A sad state of affairs. We could peek at many verses from the NT that firmly establish resurrection as a cornerstone hope (Matt 22:29-33, Luke 14:13-14, John 5:28-29), but since there is a growing skepticism for both Jews and Christians, I will cite an example of this belief that goes all the way to the BCE era, when neither Christianity nor Judaism as we know them today existed.
The Books of Maccabees were authored in Greek in the second century BCE by a Jewish writer we know as Jason of Cyrene. This excerpt I am offering is a narrative that describes the martyrdom of a pious Jew named Razis brought on by Syrian general Nicanor. In the moment of Razis’ gruesome death, he hurls his inner organs at the enemy and prays to “the master of life and spirit” (τὸν δεσπόζοντα τῆς ζωῆς καὶ τοῦ πνεύματος) to restore those body parts to him at a later time, thus expressing his firm trust in the physical resurrection of the dead.
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