Above five hundred brethren at once - This was probably in Galilee, where our Lord had many disciples. See Matthew 28:16. What a remarkable testimony is this to the truth of our Lord's resurrection! Five hundred persons saw him at one time; the greater part of whom were alive when the apostle wrote, and he might have been confronted by many if he had dared to assert a falsity.
Above five hundred brethren at once - More than 500 Christians or followers of Jesus at one time. This was probably in Galilee, where the Lord Jesus had spent the greater part of his public ministry, and where he had made most disciples. The place, however, is not designated, and, of course, cannot be known. It is remarkable that this fact is omitted by all the evangelists; but why they should have omitted so remarkable a proof of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, is unknown. There is a slight circumstance hinted at in Matthew 28:10, which may throw some light on this passage. After his resurrection, Jesus said to the women who were at the sepulchre, “Go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.” And in 1 Corinthians 15:16 it is said, “The eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.” Jesus had spent most of his public life in Galilee. He had made most of his disciples there.
It was proper, therefore, that those disciples, who would, of course, hear of his death, should have some public confirmation of the fact that he had risen. It is very probable, also, that the eleven who went down into Galilee after he rose would apprize the brethren there of what had been said to them, that Jesus would meet them on a certain mountain; and it is morally certain that they who had followed him in so great numbers in Galilee would be drawn together by the report that the Lord Jesus, who had been put to death, was about to be seen there again alive. Such is human nature, and such was the attachment of these disciples to the Lord Jesus, that it is morally certain a large concourse would assemble on the slightest rumor that such an occurrence was to happen. Nothing more would be necessary anywhere to draw a concourse of people than a rumor that one who was dead would appear again; and in this instance, where they ardently loved him, and when, perhaps, many believed that he would rise, they would naturally assemble in great numbers to see him once more. One thing is proved by this, that the Lord Jesus had many more disciples than is generally supposed. If there were five hundred who could be assembled at once in a single part of the land where he had preached, there is every reason to suppose that there were many more in other parts of Judea.
The greater part remain unto this present - Are now alive, and can be appealed to, in proof that they saw him. What more conclusive argument for the truth of his resurrection could there be than that 500 persons had seen him, who had been intimately acquainted with him in his life, and who had become his followers? If the testimony of 500 could not avail to prove his resurrection, no number of witnesses could. And if 500 people could thus be deceived, any number could; and it would be impossible to substantiate any simple matter of fact by the testimony of eye-witnesses.
But some are fallen asleep - Have died. This is the usual expression employed in the Scripture to describe the death of saints. It denotes:
(1)The calmness and peace with which, they die, like sinking into a gentle sleep;
I was shown the work of Satan in first blinding the eyes of the Jews so that they would not receive Jesus as their Saviour; and next in leading them, through envy because of His mighty works, to desire His life. Satan entered one of Christ's own followers and led him on to betray Him into the hands of His enemies, that they might crucify the Lord of life and glory. EW 208.1
After Jesus arose from the dead, the Jews added sin to sin as they sought to hide the fact of His resurrection by hiring the Roman guard to testify to a falsehood. But the resurrection of Jesus was made doubly sure by the resurrection of a multitude of witnesses at the same time. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples, and to above five hundred at once, while those whom He brought up with Him appeared unto many, declaring that Jesus had risen. EW 208.2
Satan had caused the Jews to rebel against God by refusing to receive His Son, and by staining their hands with His most precious blood. No matter how powerful the evidence now produced that Jesus was the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world, they had murdered Him, and would not receive any evidence in His favor. Their only hope and consolation, like that of Satan after his fall, was in trying to prevail against the Son of God. They therefore continued their rebellion by persecuting the disciples of Christ, and putting them to death. Nothing fell so harshly on their ears as the name of Jesus whom they had crucified; and they were determined not to listen to any evidence in His favor. As when the Holy Spirit through Stephen declared the mighty evidence of Jesus’ being the Son of God, they stopped their ears lest they should be convinced. Satan had the murderers of Jesus fast in his grasp. By wicked works they had yielded themselves his willing subjects, and through them he was at work to trouble and annoy the believers in Christ. He worked through the Jews to stir up the Gentiles against Jesus and against those who followed Him. But God sent His angels to strengthen the disciples for their work, that they might testify of the things they had seen and heard, and at last by their steadfastness, seal their testimony with their blood. EW 208.3Read in context »
This chapter is based on Matthew 28:16-20.
Standing but a step from His heavenly throne, Christ gave the commission to His disciples. “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth,” He said. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations.” “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15. Again and again the words were repeated, that the disciples might grasp their significance. Upon all the inhabitants of the earth, high and low, rich and poor, was the light of heaven to shine in clear, strong rays. The disciples were to be colaborers with their Redeemer in the work of saving the world. DA 818.1Read in context »
6. Sacred Facts Immortalized—After His resurrection, Christ did not show Himself to any save His followers, but testimony in regard to His resurrection was not wanting. It came from various sources, from the five hundred who assembled in Galilee to see their risen Lord. This testimony could not be quenched. The sacred facts of Christ's resurrection were immortalized (Manuscript 115, 1897). 6BC 1092.1
Countenance as the Face of God—After His resurrection, Christ met with His disciples in Galilee. At the time appointed, about five hundred disciples were assembled on the mountainside. Suddenly Jesus stood among them. No one could tell whence or how He came. Many who were present had never before seen Him; but in His hands and feet they beheld the marks of the crucifixion; His countenance was as the face of God, and when they saw Him they worshiped Him (Letter 115, 1904). 6BC 1092.2
20 (Leviticus 23:10, 11). Christ the Antitypical Wave-Sheaf—It was to the glory of God that the Prince of life should be the first fruits, the antitype of the typical wavesheaf. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” ... 6BC 1092.4
Christ was the first fruits of them that slept. This very scene, the resurrection of Christ from the dead, was observed in type by the Jews at one of their sacred feasts.... They came up to the Temple when the first fruits had been gathered in, and held a feast of thanksgiving. The first fruits of the harvest crop were sacredly dedicated to the Lord. That crop was not to be appropriated for the benefit of man. The first ripe fruit was dedicated as a thank offering to God. He was acknowledged as the Lord of the harvest. When the first heads of grain ripened in the field, they were carefully gathered, and when the people went up to Jerusalem, they were presented to the Lord, waving the ripened sheaf before Him as a thank offering. After this ceremony the sickle could be put to the wheat, and it could be gathered into sheaves (Manuscript 115, 1897). 6BC 1092.5
20, 42-52 (ch. 13:12; Romans 8:11). A Sample of the Final Resurrection—The resurrection of Jesus was a sample of the final resurrection of all who sleep in Him. The risen body of the Saviour, His deportment, the accents of His speech, were all familiar to His followers. In like manner will those who sleep in Jesus rise again. We shall know our friends even as the disciples knew Jesus. Though they may have been deformed, diseased, or disfigured in this mortal life, yet in their resurrected and glorified body their individual identity will be perfectly preserved, and we shall recognize, in the face radiant with the light shining from the face of Jesus, the lineaments of those we love (The Spirit of Prophecy 3:219). 6BC 1092.6
22, 45 (Romans 5:12-19; see EGW on John 1:1-3, 14). Sinner Given a Second Trial—As representative of the fallen race, Christ passed over the same ground on which Adam stumbled and fell. By a life of perfect obedience to God's law, Christ redeemed man from the penalty of Adam's disgraceful fall. Man has violated God's law. Only for those who return to their allegiance to God, only for those who obey the law that they have violated, will the blood of Christ avail. Christ will never become a party to sin. Bearing the penalty of the law, He gives the sinner another chance, a second trial. He opens a way whereby the sinner can be reinstated in God's favor. Christ bears the penalty of man's past transgressions, and by imparting to man His righteousness, makes it possible for man to keep God's holy law (Manuscript 126, 1901). 6BC 1092.7
(Revelation 1:8; 22:13.) The Alpha and Omega—When the students of prophecy shall set their hearts to know the truths of Revelation, they will realize what an importance is attached to this search. Christ Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the Genesis of the Old Testament, and the Revelation of the New. Both meet together in Christ. Adam and God are reconciled by the obedience of the second Adam, who accomplished the work of overcoming the temptations of Satan and redeeming Adam's disgraceful failure and fall. 6BC 1092.8Read in context »