Jesus Christ: Resurrected for Eternity
As the first day of the new week was approaching, a large rumble began, sounding and feeling like an earthquake. However, there was no earthquake, only a miracle in progress. An angel descended from Heaven and removed the stone from the sepulcher, and then sat on it. Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James and Salome, approached the tomb where the Lord Jesus Christ had been placed after his crucifixion. The guards were frightened away, but women coming to the tomb spoke with the angel and were told Jesus was no longer dead, as promised in the prophecies. Mary passed along the information to the apostles, who initially were skeptical, but they quickly learned it was true.
In the years since, many modern day people have also expressed skepticism of Jesus’ resurrection. They think of desperate explanations as to why His body was no longer in the tomb, but the events of the Bible, other scriptures, and modern events prove He was indeed resurrected.
Mormons have an additional witness of Jesus’ resurrection. They accept the Bible as the word of God, perfect as it came from the original writers (but subject to imperfect scribes and translators), and also accept the Book of Mormon as the word of God. When one accepts the Book of Mormon, one cannot deny the validity of the Bible, nor can one deny the divinity and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the most perfect witness of the resurrection.
The arguments against the resurrection of Jesus Christ are based on an assumption that if He was seen at all, it was only by people who lived in the local area, which opponents then say saw a man who was never really dead to begin with. However, Jesus taught that He had other sheep to visit, followers not of His own area:
“And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (John 10:16).
Some of these other sheep lived on what is now the American continent and were known as Nephites. Their ministry is detailed in the Book of Mormon. They originally came from Jerusalem and the head of the primary group was a prophet. They brought with them the scriptures available to them at that time and also received continuing revelation from God. They knew of Jesus Christ, His future birth and ministry, and that He would atone for their sins and be crucified. When Jesus was born and when He died, they knew. After His resurrection and return to His own people, He visited the Nephite people as well, teaching the gospel and helping them to organize their church.
Because He lived an ocean away, there is no question that Jesus Christ lived, died, and was resurrected. The Book of Mormon proves, to anyone who has asked God to verify the teachings of the book, that Jesus Christ was resurrected, because there is no other way He made it to the American continent in a few days if He is not divine.
We know His resurrection was permanent because Jesus Christ has continued, from time to time, to appear to people after His death through visions. In the Bible, we learn that Stephen saw Him in a vision, standing on the right hand of God—both physical, visible with a humanlike form, and completely separate.
In the 1800s, Jesus Christ and God similarly appeared to Joseph Smith, the first prophet of the restoration. Joseph Smith testified to His reality and His resurrection. This vision demonstrates that Jesus Christ was resurrected, retained His body, which is now in a perfected form, and that He lives today. His death made it possible for all of us to be resurrected in just the same way.