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Preaching by: John J. Malone, Sr - JABSBG*

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“With What Body Do They Come?” - Comments (1)

Printer Friendly Category: Articles,Doctrine
Author: John Malone
Date: 9th January, 2014 @ 04:36:56 AM

The question quoted in {1st Corinthians 15:35|1cor 15:35-38} is from a hypothetical foolish questioner. It is implied the questioner is a skeptic, nevertheless, the apostle Paul, answers him according to his folly.

Our foolish skeptic asks, concerning the resurrection of the dead – apparently mocking – “How are the dead raised, and with what body do they come?”

The answer is deep, extensive, and mysterious.

We can assume that the skeptic comes from the school of the Sadducees, who believed in {neither angels or the resurrection of the dead|Acts 23:8}. There is also no doubt that this school of thought extended to Gentile thinking, as Israel, evil or good, has ever functioned as God’s first born in the world for better or worse. At the forefront of every movement toward or away from God, there will be Jews at the forefront.

1. Paul begins his answer by pointing out what we know of death from the natural world, in the illustration of seeds. He points out the germ of life planted into the ground first dies, and then is embodied by God into a more useful and “glorious” body that he gives it.

A seed does not look like the fruitful plant that follows, and yet it happens persistently, and dependably. Who could argue that one should not plant a seed, because it’s “resurrection” makes no sense? Indeed, the simplest agrarian understands this, and the skeptic depends upon its truth to live. There’s some resurrection right there. Not only does the {seed die when it’s planted|Jo 12:24}, (“seed” truth as taught by the Lord) but a body is given to it that is fitting for its fruit-bearing, as it pleases God.

2. But Paul goes a {on further.|1Cor 15:39-42} to teach things concerning earthly and heavenly bodies. First, he tell us there are four kinds of flesh: man, beats, fish, and birds. Surely this categorization can help us better understand the natural world, but that is not the main point. The main point is that God has invented diverse flesh to embody diverse creatures. This, therefore, allows for yet another sort of flesh for the resurrection body.

Those familiar with Biblical numbers might seize on the fact of four as fitting the natural world as we experience it. The same familiarity would lead to the addition of one other, making five, as evidence of His grace.

There is another kind of flesh {not referenced in this passage, but in Jude|Jude 1:7} that is there translated “strange flesh,” more accurately meaning “flesh of different kind (heteros).” In this passage, the Sodomites who came after the angels visiting Lot, are said to be “departing” after “strange flesh.” They didn’t want Lot. They didn’t want his sons-in-law. They want to “know” the angels. Some would object to this notion, rightly pointing out the truth, {that angels are spirits.|Heb 1:14}

However, the fact that they are spirits does not negate that, when they visit man to minister, as is their function, they are provided with man (not woman) looking bodies that are provided for them. These bodies are called oikoterion. This word is used in {Jude 6, translated “habitation,”|Jude 1:6} as it is in {2 Corinthians 5:2 by Paul to describe his resurrection body,|2Cor 5:2} which is (poorly) translated “house,” even though it is at the root of the word.

This wonderful truth is thereby obscured to us, but it is plain enough to see if we scrutinize it. In short, the “angels that sinned” not only wandered out of their principality in the heavenlies, but set aside the heavenly bodies allocated to them (their oiketerion) for visiting the terrestrial scene. Instead they sought to (and did!) corrupt the genetic code of mankind by mysteriously “knowing” the daughters of Adam 120 years before Adam’s death, and 846 years before the great deluge. Noah, being justified (by faith) AND having been preserved in his genetic code, was therefore qualified to “re-father” the human race, and did so after the deluge.

Therefore, as we read in verse 40, there are both terrestrial (earthly) and celestial (heavenly) bodies. Since the Scriptures were written, stars and planets have been called “heavenly bodies” in the English language. Interestingly, this figure of speech probably arose from a wrong reading of this passage, or, more sinisterly, a twisting of it to obscure the blatant truth that Paul declares unequivocally: there are material, spiritual, heavenly human bodies. And the first human one is Christ Jesus.

The physicality of the resurrection body is one of the first things the Lord addressed with his disciples. I used to walk about in public parks and other thoroughfares when I was in my late 20’s and early 30’s, to attempt to talk to strangers about the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, sometimes I think people prefer talking about some things to total strangers, people they think they will never see again. I would get around to asking them if they believed Jesus Christ was alive today, having been raised from the dead.

Religious people, especially Roman Catholics, would almost always agree He is alive, having been raised. Then I would ask, “In a body, that you could touch and feel?” Almost invariably, they would say no, that He was raised spiritually, whatever that meant, but they would deny his physical presence. (No wonder, with the ridiculous hokem they and others, such as Lutherans, are taught about a wafer becoming human.)

At that point I will take them to {Luke 24:39 where the Lord tells|Lu 24:39} them clearly that he is material, able to be handled, and not a mere spirit. In Greek thinking, “spiritual” is opposite of “material.” In the Scriptures, “spiritual” is either the opposite of “natural” or “carnal” – sin impacted. Therefore, there is no conflict when talking about material spiritual bodies, which do exist, and which will exist more by an order of magnitude sometime in the relatively near future, after the resurrection of the dead.

Lastly to this point, Paul gives an analogy. The glory of the heaven is greater than the glory of the earth. Furthermore, just as the light emitting from the sun, moon and stars vary in intensity (glory) – indeed even stars differ from one another in that very way – there will be varying glories of resurrection bodies in resurrection.

3. Finally, the apostle {writes his coup de grace concerning this grand subject|1Cor 15:42-49}, the resurrection of the body. As the seed is planted in it’s form, and a body pleasing to God given to it, so is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption: a seed is buried in the ground and corrupts, as does the body once dead. And just as that seed is embodied by a plant in newness of life, so shall resurrection be. Sown in dishonor. The frailty and decomposition of our elemental bodies if sad and fast. Yet, raised in glory!

Sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body. You see, there are two kinds. Natural, corresponding to the earthly, in contrast to a spiritual body, corresponding to the heavenly. There IS a spiritual body.

There two bodies correspond to their progenitors: the natural, to Adam, who was composed from the earth and made alive, and the spiritual to the LAST (not second, as some say) Adam, Who gives life. One the object of life, the other the Giver. The natural man came first, then the spiritual. The order is important, and prophetic. The natural comes first, then the spiritual. This macro fact of Adam and Jesus Christ is presented to us to understand that so shall it be in the life of every believer. It is the natural that is sown or planted, and the spiritual that is reaped. This is the applicable microcosm for every believer, and Paul teaches it {with more detail, from a different perspective, elsewhere.|Gal 6:7-8}

And what is exactly is reaped? Resurrection bodies that differ in glory, just as the sun, moon, and stars differ in glory. As we have once, now, borne the earthly (Adamic) image, we shall, in resurrection, bear the image of the heavenly, the image of our Lord Jesus. As John the apostle writes, {we shall be like Him.|1jo 3:2}

4. Paul closes {disclosing a mystery|1cor 15:50-57}. Mysteries are replete in the New Testament, and whenever one is referenced we do well to pay special heed. A “mystery” is not at all as some would teach: an inscrutable truth that one cannot comprehend. It is very different as a matter of fact: it is a secret that is revealed. There is a natural tendency by all of us to want to know a secret, and yet, strangely, when they are revealed in Scripture, somehow we pay little or no attention.

This particular mystery is that is revealed herein is the great mystery of what is now commonly referred to as the “Resurrection and Rapture” of the blessed dead. It is also sometimes known as the “First Resurrection.” The revealed secret here is that death is not necessarily required for the translation into a spiritual body, because not only must corruption put on incorruption, but mortal must put on immortality.

Therefore, the resurrection of the dead will also be accompanied by the translation of the living. In a moment, the twinkling of an eye, the smallest noticeable particle of time. Death’s sting will be conquered by those remaining alive and being translated into directly into glorified resurrection bodies, and death’s victory will be conquered by those who have died, and are resurrected in the same glorious, spiritual, heavenly bodies.

This same truth is declared more {particularly in 1st Thessalonians 4:16-18|1Th 4:16-18}


Comment by Marita » 12th July, 2014 @ 07:12:49 PM

It’s difficult to find knowledgeable people for this subject, however,
you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

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