In April of this year at our Dutch conference many of us were ‘in the Spirit’ during a time of worship. The phrase ‘in the Spirit’ was used by the apostle John in Revelation 1:10 and 4:2 to describe the condition in which his eyes were opened to the realm of the Spirit and He saw the Lord.
In our time of worship several were in the Spirit and saw and heard angels and the Lord, who was walking around talking to people. The way that works is that if they didn’t hear directly, His words became a deposit in their spirit, something He can pull up later, or affecting them from the inside out. But then He turned to me and said: “Have you noticed it says ‘is risen’? Why not check into that.” The suggestion seemed odd and my immediate reaction was to be more curious about why He suggested it than His observation about ‘is risen’.
But quite honestly
There was a lot going on during that worship time at the conference and my days and evenings were non-stop and I never pursued it, in fact I forgot it. I don’t like admitting that, but it is true.
Our lives are like a line where we start at ‘A’ at birth and end at ‘Z’ with our death, and once we pass point ‘C’ there is no way to carry C into our season of D, E, or M except in our memories. We can’t carry a favorite moment with us through life to enter that moment whenever we want…if only that were possible…
But there is 1 event in human history where the Father has made a single moment in time stay in that moment. That moment is stated as ‘is risen’, not ‘has risen’.
2 months later – on a day in June I was repenting for things I saw in my heart
I was talking to the Lord, not the Father, for the simple reason Jesus can relate to human shortcomings since He is human. The Father has always been ‘in the Spirit’ and as James 1:13 says, isn’t tempted, tested, nor tried by evil nor does He tempt, test, nor try anyone with evil. James goes on to say don’t be deceived, for only every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights, and there is never any change nor variableness to the goodness of His character and nature.
The Father doesn’t know what it is like to be tempted, to be tired, to be hungry, nor to have experienced sin.
But Jesus was tempted, tested and tried by the devil. So I was talking to Jesus upon seeing things in my heart I knew needed to get cleaned up. I wasn’t liking myself very much that morning and was rather ‘down’.
It was in that context He interrupted my groveling (I didn’t see Him, He just spoke to me) saying, “Have you noticed it says ‘is risen’? Why not check into that.” When He said that the memory of April’s identical statement 2 months earlier came flooding back to me and I repented for not following up on that.
This time it was a healthy repentance for forgetting and ignoring His request from April. I found it amazing that in the midst of seeing things in myself I absolutely hated and telling Him I would deal with it, that He inserted this instruction. I knew it had to be related to me being so negatively focused on myself that day.
Is risen, not ‘has risen’
I immediately got up and began studying why Matthew 28:6-7, Mark 16:6, and Luke 24:6, 34 each record the angels at the now empty tomb that resurrection morning tell the women “He is risen” in the King James and some other versions.
Paul used that same phrase in Romans 8:34: “It is Christ that died, yes rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God , who also makes intercession for us.”
And also in I Corinthians 15:20 “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.”
Why not, ‘He has risen’, using past tense because obviously they were at the tomb precisely because He had risen and was no longer there. But it is more than the poetic sound of the King James English. But there is a clue – in English ‘is risen’ is present tense. Not past, but present tense. Jesus is risen…present tense, but it is more than that.
The angels’ words established the initial understanding that is equally valid to this day; He is risen. The phrase ‘is risen’ was written in the ‘gnomic aorist’, which communicates the fact of the event without assigning time to it. It isn’t only present tense, but perpetually present, perpetually unchanged over time.
In other words, ‘is risen’ is a state of being that exists forever. ‘Is risen’ is an eternal state of being Jesus lives in – that power, that glory, that life makes Him exist perpetually in that moment of resurrection power and glory.
It isn’t something that happened in the past except on a calendar in the context of history. Spiritually speaking, Jesus ‘is risen’. Heaven doesn’t see it as a past event, but continual and perpetual. The Lord of glory exists in a perpetual state of resurrection power and glory that began that Resurrection morning.
The reason Paul linked our new life in Christ to Jesus’ resurrection is more than symbolism, he recognizes the fact Jesus exists in a perpetual state of resurrection. Paul used ‘is risen’ when speaking of Christ’s place with the Father and as a guarantee of our own resurrection – because He ‘is risen’ that same ‘is risen’ is the condition of our born again spirit. We are in Him and He in us, in our spirits living forever in ‘is risen’, in our perpetual state of being.
Death has no hold on us because Jesus lives perpetually in ‘is risen’. Sin has no hold in our spirit because our born again experience brought us into a perpetual state of ‘is risen’ in our spirit – that same power, that same glory, resides in us and is what our spirit is now made of - perpetually, eternally, forever in ‘is risen’.
Restrained for now to merely empower our lives but one day to be released to change our mortal bodies into immortal, for now ‘is risen’ resides in us to help us live free of sin and condemnation. We exist in the same resurrection power that caused the angels to correctly state, He is risen!
‘Is risen’ resides in our spirit to flow outward to our minds which are to start thinking like that and seeing life through those eyes, and then outward to our bodies which we retrain to flow in the things of God rather than the lower nature and things of lower man…flowing spirit to soul to body, from the reality that we are timeless, having entered eternity already, living perpetually in the power of ‘is risen’!
And that is why…
Back in April when the Lord told me, “Have you noticed it says ‘is risen’? Why not check into that.” He was looking forward 2 months into June and my morning of repentance and self-disgust and made provision to teach me something. He snapped me out of it with His kindness and grace and brought me back to resurrection power that overcame sin and the limits of human nature. By telling me to study ‘is risen’ He saw that day 2 months later as the key to getting my eyes off self, off sin, and onto His resurrection life.
I’ve not forgotten that lesson, and now share it with you. I am still exploring the depths of ‘is risen’, and now understand more clearly the phrase. I’m studying how and why the authors of the New Testament would use ‘has risen’ and ‘is risen’ depending on what they were trying to communicate.
I’m endeavoring to live in the power of that resurrection, and when I sin or see something in me I don’t like and know I have to deal with it, be it thought or action, I don’t slide into condemnation and self-disgust, but bring up to myself the fact He is risen, and I live in that Life as well.
I hope sharing this sliver of my life and heart has been a blessing to you – may the Father open the eyes of our understanding by giving us the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge in Him, that we may live in the reality of ‘is risen’. Another random thought, related to this, next week.
Until then, blessings,