Question: Hey Pastor, I have a question!? For many years I?ve recited the Apostles Creed by heart, but recently, following your suggestion to our congregation, I went over Luther?s Small Catechism again.? (Boy, I sure had forgotten a LOT of what?s there!)? In reading the Catechism, I began to wonder about this phrase:? ?…on the third day He rose again from the dead.?? In particular, the word ?again? made me wonder what?s meant by those words.? Have I missed something?? Was there a ?first rising?? or was His descent into hell considered a ?rising? of sorts?? And when He was finished visiting those in hell, did He return to the grave and become dead a second time to rise AGAIN on Easter Sunday?? Thanks.
Answer: Excellent question.? This very question comes up periodically.? Essentially, we believe that Jesus rose from the dead only once.? Before He came forth from the tomb, He did go to hell to proclaim His victory over sin, death, and the devil, along with the evil spirits under him.? After Jesus had finished His proclamation of victory over Satan in Satan?s ?back yard? (right in hell), Jesus then emerged from the tomb.? In the Apostles Creed, we Christians say that ?He rose again from the dead…? in much the same manner that a football player is described who was knocked to the ground then got back onto his feet:? the player?s getting up from the turf might be described this way:? ?He was knocked down and he got up again and went back to the huddle.?? In this case the use of the word ?again? is more of a way of speaking rather than actually saying that Jesus rose a second time!
Thanks for your question.