Most Christian faith groups teach that Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus Christ) was
resurrected about a day and a half after his execution by the occupying Roman
army circa 33 CE. By "resurrection" they believe that he
returned to life in the same body in which he had died.
However, not everybody accepts Jesus' bodily resurrection as literally true.
Most public opinion polls ask whether the subjects believe in the resurrection
or not. However, a Beliefnet poll -- current as of 2008-OCT -- went into further
depth. They found that:
72% of its visitors believe that Jesus was bodily resurrected.
20% believe that he was raised from the dead, but only spiritually.
8% do not believe that Jesus was raised from the dead.
Beliefs taught by various faith groups:
The Baha'i Faith teaches that Jesus conquered death and
triumphed over the grave. But these are understood in a spiritual, not physical sense.
Walter Martin recorded an interview with a teacher at the Baha'i temple in
Illinois. The teacher explained:
"The alleged Resurrection of Jesus and His Ascension into heaven may or may
not be true depending upon your point of view. As I said before, we are
concerned with Baha'u'llah and the new era or age, and while we reverence
Jesus as we do the great prophets of other religions, we do not believe that
it is necessarily important that the Baha'i faith recognizes every tenet of
a specific religion. We believe that Jesus conquered death, that he
triumphed over the grave, but these are things which are in the realm of the
spirit and must receive spiritual interpretations." 9
Christian Science teaches that Jesus did not die on the cross.
Mary Baker Eddy wrote:
"His disciples believed Jesus to be dead while he was
hidden in the sepulcher, whereas he was alive...Jesus' students...saw him after his
crucifixion and learned that he had not died." 5
Muslims, who constitute almost 20% of mankind believe that Jesus did not die on the
cross; he was not crucified. Most believe that he ascended bodily into heaven without having first died. They
believe that God would not have allowed his prophet to die an ignoble death by
crucifixion. Various traditions within Islam hold different beliefs. Two are: that Jesus
substituted Judas Iscariot for himself on the cross, or that God intervened and removed
Jesus from Roman captivity before the crucifixion took place.
The Jehovah's Witnesses teach that Jesus "was raised
from the grave not a human creature, but a spirit." They reject the
concept of bodily resurrection.
6,7 In support of this belief, they note
Mary Magdalene beside the garden tomb (John
Peter and six other disciples by the Sea of
Tiberias (John 21:4-7), and
Two unnamed disciples on the road to from Jerusalem
to Emmaus (Luke
did not recognize Jesus at first.
These are a strong indicators that Jesus looked quite different. That is, he was
not raised in his original body.
Also, Jesus allegedly passed through the walls of a locked room in John 20:19 and John 20:26. 5 This suggests that Jesus was resurrected as a spirit.
Followers of Ascended Master Teachings organizations within
Theosophy believe that Jesus resurrected and later ascended to
heaven with his original physical body. Neo-Theosophists Alice A. Bailey, and
Benjamin Creme taught that Jesus of Nazareth re-incarnated as Apollonius of Tyana
(16-97 CE). In that subsequent incarnation, he became an Ascended Master and resurrected at
the time of his death. 10
The Unification Church teaches that after Jesus' crucifixion,
he was spiritually resurrected, although his body remained in the grave.
"We believe the dissolution of
spirit, soul and body, caused by death, is annulled by rebirth of the same spirit and soul
in another body here on earth. We believe the repeated reincarnations of man are the
merciful provision of our loving Father to the end that all may come to obtain immortality
through regeneration, as did Jesus."
The World Wide Church of God, under Herbert Armstrong, taught
that Jesus' "resurrected body was no longer human...", and that Jesus was
resurrected as a spirit. After Armstrong's death, the church altered its teaching and
aligned itself with conventional Evangelical Christian beliefs which are
that Jesus was bodily resurrected.