fruitage of the spirit's journal

Expressions from the Heart

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ by Julie McAllen

It’s Easter, a time of year when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Traditional Christianity teaches that Jesus’ original body was resurrected; however, some have argued that Christ’s body evaporated and he was given a different body. Others say he was raised as Spirit. Have you ever wondered what the Bible says?

This article endeavors to address some of those questions raised concerning the nature of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Some point to 1 Peter 3:18-19 as proof that Jesus was raised as a Spirit and not flesh, but this is easily disputed by noting that these verses refer to his visitation to the spirits in prison during the 3 days BEFORE his resurrection. Speculating that angels who once forsook their place in heaven also inhabited bodies on earth, some promote that Jesus could have done the same in his appearance (Jude 6; 2 Pe 2:4). Can the Spirit of Jesus inhabit a different body? Why, yes, we are bodies of flesh inhabited by Christ’s Spirit so in that sense I believe he does. The body of Christ on earth today is comprised of many different members, however, upon his appearance to 500 disciples 3 days after his death, it was Jesus Christ himself and not the church. Concerning that resurrection, it was not prophesied that Christ would be given another body and the historical fact that no one ever found the original body of Christ laying somewhere gives me reason to stand on the belief that Christ’s actual body was raised. We also have the example of Lazarus’ body being raised with no indication that there were two separate bodies.

The Greek word for resurrection is “anastasis” and it means a “standing up again,” or “revival of the dead.” Thus, to qualify as a “resurrection,” there must be a real connection between the body that died and the body that was raised. Jesus did not die as a spirit-creature, so logic follows that he could not have been raised as a spirit-creature. “Reincarnation” is the belief that one is “reborn in another body.” To assert that Jesus “took on different bodies” when he appeared to his followers makes it sound more like a reincarnation than a resurrection.

It is evident within scripture that the people of the time were influenced in a belief of some form of continuation after death.

Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was happening; and he was greatly perplexed, because it was said by some that John had risen from the dead, 8 and by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of old had risen again. 9 Herod said, “I myself had John beheaded; but who is this man about whom I hear such things?” And he kept trying to see Him. (Luke 9:7-9)

Herod believed it was possible for John the Baptist to come back in the body of Jesus Christ. Others believed that the dead prophet Elijah was inhabiting the body of Jesus. And Jesus was well aware of this because he questioned his disciples on it a few verses later in Luke 9:18-20

And it happened that while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him, and He questioned them, saying, “Who do the people say that I am?” 19 They answered and said, “John the Baptist, and others say Elijah; but others, that one of the prophets of old has risen again.” 20 And He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.”

So Jesus establishes the common belief, but teaches them it is HE who will suffer and HE that will rise.

“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day.” (Luke 9:22)

Jesus is trying to lay it into their minds that HE will die and HE will rise–meaning in the same body.  When he walked on water in his flesh, the disciples THOUGHT he was a spirit. I wonder, if my husband died and I suddenly saw him, what would my reaction be? Perhaps I’d think I was seeing a spirit and I’d be frightened just like the disciples were. The other reaction would be of disbelief thinking it was not him at all, but someone who looked like him. So Jesus knew they would be too shocked and kept reminding them ahead of time it would be HIM, HIS BODY, HIS FLESH they would see.

 
At John 2:18-22, Jesus answered the Jews who challenged him to show them the sign of his authority. At verse 19, He said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews misunderstood what he was referring to and thought he spoke of the temple in Jerusalem. Then, at verse 21, John explained that Jesus “was speaking of the temple of his body.”

One might make the argument that Jesus could not even walk in his beaten and torn flesh after 3 days in the tomb and in order to appear to the disciples, God gave him a new body. But why would God evaporate the old body, give to Jesus a new body, but then puncture it with holes in the hands? Why not resurrect the original, nail-scarred body and use that? We have the example of Lazarus as a stinking, rotting corpse after four days in the tomb. Was it a different body he came back in? I believe Jesus resurrected the original Lazarus and somehow took care of the stench. I have no doubt God did the same with the body of Jesus.

See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; 43 and He took it and ate it before them.

44 Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, (Luke 24:39-46)

Now, granted, you could argue that the hands and feet and fish-hungry tummy of the Lord was a new substitute flesh, but number one that would indicate reincarnation and number two where is it written in the law of Moses, the Prophets and Psalms that the Christ would die and rise up in someone else’s body?

I had someone pose this question about it. “If Jesus paid with his perfect human life, why would he take it back?” He was implying that Jesus offered up his flesh and and was accusing him of “Indian giving.” The answer is that the Bible doesn’t teach that a sacrifice of FLESH is the atonement for sin. It is the blood (Heb 9:22) His sacrifice was made, yes, his flesh was given, but it was the pouring out of his blood that sealed the covenant and atoned for our sins. He didn’t take that back.

My previous religion had taught me that Jesus’ body evaporated. But which one of those leaders were witnesses to the fact? Which testimony do I accept? Those of men 2,000 years after it happened or those who were there?

Jesus said, My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, (John 17:20)

Seems the message of the disciples for whom Jesus prayed differs from the message of my former religion concerning the bodily resurrection. I choose to believe the message of the first century eye witnesses rather than some latter day speculations.

When I read the New Testament, it’s the resurrection of Jesus the first century disciples proclaimed and were consequently persecuted for believing in. They actually believed the man Jesus had died, was buried and on the third day was raised in the same body because it did not see decay. This is the testimony of those closest to the event.

So, regarding the issue of whether the body of Jesus evaporated and thereby was given a different body to present himself to the disciples, I have to ask why? If the original body would NEVER decay….where is it? The testimony of Peter and Paul is that the body of Jesus never disappeared; it was raised to life and shown to many eye witnesses.

Paul was speaking to the “men of Israel” and some Gentiles gathered in Acts 13. He reminds them all of the history of God’s people. He uses this to establish that Jesus whom they crucified is the promised Messiah written about in their scrolls. Notice what he brings up …

As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: ‘I WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY and SURE blessings OF DAVID.’ 35 Therefore He also says in another Psalm, ‘YOU WILL NOT ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.’ (Acts 13:34-35)

Paul is clearly saying Jesus was raised from the dead and he adds “no longer to return to decay.” What else could this mean but his body? And what could “never decay” mean but that his body would never rot? If there is any doubt we’re talking about his flesh, Paul goes on to compare it with the man David….

For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay; 37 but He whom God raised did not undergo decay. (Acts 13:36-37)

It’s easy for us to accept that David died, was buried, and his body rotted away. It’s not easy to accept that Jesus died, was buried, raised from the dead and his body did not rot. But that is what is being proclaimed by Paul and others closest to the event.

In fact, Peter said the same thing and I trust his words over any religious leader today who was not there. Peter was there!

“Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, 31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY. 32 This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. (Acts 2:29-32)

Both Peter and Paul validate the physical resurrection of Jesus’ body. His body did not decay or evaporate. It was raised to life and as Peter put it among his generation, “we are all witnesses” to the fact.

Adding to that, when John was given a vision of the risen Lord in heaven, he saw Jesus’ body still scarred. Yes, his body still had the wounds.

6 And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. (Rev. 5:6)

What does this mean for us?

But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?” 36 You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; 37 and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. 39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. (1 Cor 15:35-44)

No doubt there are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies having different splendor. I believe I have strictly an earthly body at present. This body is perishable. It is a seed that will be planted and grow a new body from its original material. Notice that Paul says when IT is raised” imperishable (v.42). It sounds to me like “same body raised, made different.” The new body that comes forth from the same body is now “heavenly.” I believe Jesus was clothed with his heavenly body, one which could walk through locked doors and eat fish. His same (perishable) body was raised imperishable. “it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.”

Remember what the disciples said upon seeing the empty tomb. One account says,
He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. (Matt 28:6)

He has risen, just as he said. What did Jesus say? Did Jesus say “I will evaporate but the Father will produce a different body?”

What did Jesus SAY???
“Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” (John 2:19)

It sounds like he’s talking about the SAME body being raised. He is risen, just as he said.

So what’s interesting about that is what it also says of the resurrection of people.

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:44)

Do we have any reason to assert that our resurrection would be like that of Jesus?

By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? (1 Cor 6:14-15)

because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. (2 Cor 4:14)

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)

Christ was raised a perfect spiritual body, and the hope of every follower of Christ is the same. We currently dwell in our perishable bodies, but will be clothed with our perfect spirit bodies.

Jesus Christ entered heaven in his resurrected spirit body as the perfect man in heaven.

For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim 2:5)

John understood the spiritual dimension of his being a new creation by saying “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.” (1 John 3:14) However, he also understood there was more to it which is why he began with “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” (1 John 3:2)

John wrote his letters to correct a falsehood that had crept into the congregation. Among other things, I believe the notion of a strictly “spiritual resurrection” had crept in causing some to think there was no further physical resurrection. So John agrees that yes, they had crossed over from death to life meaning their HOPE was secure, but this was not to be confused with the promises backed by Paul’s address to the Corinthians.

Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. (1 Cor 15:1-8)

Paul first sums up the gospel (which concerns the PHYSICAL resurrection of Jesus) before he goes on to correct their thinking also. Notice how he establishes the resurrection of Christ in 1 Cor 15:1-8 saying it was by this witness they were already saved. This church had received his witness of the resurrected Christ. This laid the groundwork for Paul’s correction toward them beginning with these words, “Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” (1 Cor 15:12)

Caution should be taken when anyone denies the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Though the New Testament is filled with spiritual language, attributing spiritual fulfillments to prophesy is in no way discrediting the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ or the hope of our own new bodies given upon our individual deaths. Both Paul and John knew they had crossed over from death to life but they also addressed the future hope of their own resurrections.

And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:11-13)

Beloved, we have crossed over from death to life, but like John at the time of his writing this, we await more. As Paul put it, “Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.” (1 Cor 15:49) I personally believe these men have been given what they awaited–their spiritual bodies and now live among the angels as “the spirits of the righteous made perfect” (Heb 12:23). Likewise, we can only expect to be made perfect upon the shedding of our perishable, imperfect flesh. However, we are made righteous right here and now by the blood of Christ. His spirit-born church upon earth is righteous, which is why they are mentioned separately in Hebrews 12 as part of the spiritual Mt. Zion. There is “the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven” (made righteous by the blood of Christ) and then there is “the spirits of the righteous made perfect” (perfected upon earthly death). –Hebrews 12:23

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Ro 8:11)

By the indwelling Spirit of God, we have the witness that we already have eternal life and we have the future hope that our mortal bodies will also be raised from the dead. We have this assurance because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Happy Easter.

Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie

If you are interested in more articles relating to the Easter season, in 2009 I wrote a two part series showing how the lamb of the Jewish Passover became the Christ of our Easter celebration. Those articles can be read here.

https://fruitageofthespirit.wordpress.com/2009/04/05/christ-our-passover-part-one/

https://fruitageofthespirit.wordpress.com/2009/04/09/christ-our-passover-part-two/

In 2010, I exposed how one religious sect interprets the sacrifice Jesus made as only having significance for a limited number of people in another article titled In Remembrance https://fruitageofthespirit.wordpress.com/2010/03/30/in-remembrance/.

 

March 26, 2012 Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

   

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