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The nature of the Resurrection body

The nature of the Resurrection body

The nature of the Resurrection body

By John Chopores



Some opening comments about the Resurrection.

It is a very good thing, to want to know what happens after body death and what happens to the human body. The Bible has a very great amount of information on this subject!


Having proved the fact of the resurrection, the apostle comes to illustrate its nature, or to teach with what kind of bodies the dead are to rise. It seems that the great objection against the doctrine in the minds of his readers rested on the assumption that our future bodies are to be of the same nature with those which we now have; that is, natural bodies consisting of flesh and blood, and sustained by air, food and sleep. Paul says this is a foolish assumption. Our future bodies may be material and identical with our present bodies, and yet organized in a very different way. You plant a seed; it does not come up a seek, but a flower. Why then

may not the future be to the present body what the flower is to the seed?

vs. 35-37. Matter admits of indefinite varieties in organization. There is not only immense diversity in the vegetable productions of the earth, but even flesh is variously modified in the different orders of animals, vs. 38, 39. This is true not only as to the earth, for there are heavenly as well as earthly bodies. And even the sun, moon and stars differ from each other in glory; why then may not our future differ from our present bodies in glory? vs. 40, 41. Such not only may be, but will be the case. The body deposited in the grave is corruptible, mean, weak, and, in a word, natural; as raised from the grave, it will be incorruptible, glorious, powerful, and spiritual, vs. 42-44. This is according to Scripture. Adam was created with a natural body, adapted to an earthly state of existence; Christ, as a life-giving spirit, has a spiritual body. As Adam was before Christ, so our early tabernacles are before our heavenly ones. As we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall bear the image of the heavenly, vs. 45-49. It is freely admitted that flesh and blood, i.e. bodies organized as our now are, are unfit for heaven. Corruption cannot inherit incorruption, morality shall put on immortality, vs. 51-53. When this is done, the original promise that death shall be swallowed up in victory, will be fully accomplished, v. 54.

Death, therefore, to the believer, has lost its sting, and the grave is conquered. Death has no sting but sin; sin has no strength but from the law; the law has no power over those who are in Christ Jesus, therefore thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through Christ Jesus our

Lord! vs. 55-57. Seeing then that we have such a glorious hereafter, we should be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, v. 58." [HODGE].


Some Bible verses on the subject, with comments.

1 Cor. 15: 35 ¶ But someone will say, "How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?"

36  Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies.

"Thou fool. The idea is,  slow of understanding. Why cannot you learn the lesson nature teaches? The grain that thou sowest has to die and be dissolved before it comes forth in a new life. So the body must die and be dissolved." [PNT].


37  And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain----perhaps wheat or some other grain.

"That is, you do not sow the plant, but the bare grain, i.e. the simple, naked grain — it

may be of wheat, or of some other grain. The point of the illustration is, that what comes up is very different from that which is deposited in the ground. You sow a seed, a plant appears. You sow a natural, corruptible body; a spiritual, incorruptible body appears. Nature itself therefore

teaches that the objection that the future body must be like the present, is of no force." [HODGE].

" Made-alive, die: appropriately chosen to suggest the analogy between the dead Christian and the seed hidden from sight in the ground and there perishing as a seed that it may pass into a more abundant life. This analogy teaches that there may be a continuity and a development of life in spite of

the dissolution of its outward form; and that death may itself be the only possible way to a higher life. Thus in the very plants under our feet we have a pattern and a prophecy of our own resurrection, and a rebuke to those who deny its possibility.

1 Corinthians 15:37 adds to the analogy pointed out in 1 Corinthians 15:36 a proof from it that continuity of life does not imply continuity of bodily form.

Naked grain: in contrast to the beautifully clothed plant which will grow

from it. " [BEET].

38  But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body.

"The point of this is, if God thus gives to all the products of the earth each its own form, why may he not determine the form in which the body is to appear at the resurrection? You cannot infer from looking at a seed what the plant is to be; it is very foolish, therefore, to attempt to determine

from our present bodies what is to be the nature of our bodies hereafter." [HODGE]. A good point! However, I will add, that we can get some idea of what a Resurrection body will look like, by studying what Christ looked like after his Resurrection!

39  All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.

40  There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.

" There is no limit to be set to the possible or actual modifications of matter. We not only see it in all the diversified forms of animal and vegetable life, but in the still greater diversities of heavenly and earthly bodies." [HODGE].

41  There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.

" What Paul here means by bodies celestial, is doubtful.

1. Many suppose the reference is to angels, either on the assumption that they too have bodies, or that the apostle refers to the forms in which they appear to men. When they become visible they must assume some material vehicle, which was always luminous or glorious.

Of the angel who appeared at the sepulchre of Christ it is said, “His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow,” Matthew 28:3. There is a great contrast between the bodies of these celestial beings and those of men.

2. Others suppose that the reference is to the bodies of the saints in heaven. There are many kinds of bodies here on earth, and there are also celestial as well as terrestrial bodies. The one differing from the other in glory.

3. The common opinion is that the apostle means what is now generally meant by “the heavenly bodies,” viz., the sun, moon and stars. To this it is objected that it is to make the apostle use the

language of modern astronomy." [HODGE].

42  So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.

The Greek word used here for "corruption" is "phthora", it means; "corruption, destruction, the bringing into a worse state".[ See BULLINGER PAGE 188].

43  It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.

The Greek word for "dishonor" is " atimia", it means; " dishonour, ignominy, disgrace" and "insult".

44  It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

" The apostle contemplates the body as at the moment of interment, and therefore these predicates are to be understood with special reference to its condition at that time. It is the dead body that is sown in dishonor, despoiled of the short-lived attractiveness which it had while living. It is raised in glory, i.e. in that resplendent brightness which diffuses light and awakens admiration. It is to be fashioned like unto the glorious body of the Son of God,

Philippians 3:21. It is sown in weakness Nothing is more absolutely powerless than a corpse — it can do nothing and it can resist nothing. The weakness which belonged to it in life, is perfected in death. It is raised in power. The future body will be instinct with energy, endowed, it may be, with faculties of which we have now no conception. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. This comprehends all that has been said.

…. We know from experience what a natural body is.

It is a body which has essentially the same properties as those of brutes.

A natural body consists of flesh and blood; is susceptible of pain and decay; and needs air, food, and rest. It is a mere animal body, adapted to the conditions of an earthly existence. What a spiritual body is, we know only from Paul’s description, and from the manifestation of Christ in his

glorified body. We know that it is incorruptible, glorious, and powerful,

we have certain attributes, considered as living creatures, in common with irrational animals, so we have now a body suited to those attributes; and, on the other hand, as we have attributes unspeakably higher than those which belong to brutes, we shall hereafter possess bodies adapted to those higher attributes. " [HODGE].

45  And so it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

" The lower precedes the higher; the imperfect the perfect. This is true in all the works of God, in

which there is a development. Adam’s earthly state was to be preparatory to a heavenly one. The present life is like a seed time, the harvest is hereafter. The natural comes before the spiritual; as Calvin says, we are born before we are regenerated, we live before we rise." [HODGE].

46  However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.

47  The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven.

" The general principle stated in the preceding verse, that the natural precedes the spiritual, is here illustrated by the fact that Adam came before Christ. The first man was of the earth, i.e. formed out of the earth, and therefore earthy. The second man is the Lord from heaven." [HODGE].

48  As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly.

" The earthy is of course Adam; they that are earthy are his descendants. The

heavenly is Christ; they that are heavenly are his risen people. The descendants of Adam derive from him an earthly body like his. Those who are Christ’s are to have a body fashioned like unto his glorious body, Philippians 3:21." [HODGE].

49  And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.

50  Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.

" Flesh and blood means our body as now constituted, not sinful human nature. The phrase never has this latter sense. In Hebrews 2:14, it is said, “Inasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he (Christ) also himself likewise took part of the same,”

Matthew 16:17. Galatians 1:16. Ephesians 6:12. It is indeed true, that our unsanctified

nature, or unrenewed man, cannot inherit the kingdom of God. But that is not what the apostle is speaking about. He is speaking of the body and of its state after the resurrection. It is of the body as now constituted that he says, it cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven, i.e. the kingdom of Christ as it is to exist after the resurrection, Matthew 8:11. Luke 13:28; 1 Corinthians 6:9.;

Galatians 5:21; 2 Timothy 4:18. The same idea is repeated in abstract terms and as a general proposition in the next clause,

neither can corruption inherit incorruption. The mortal cannot be immortal; the perishable imperishable. Incorruption cannot be an attribute of corruption. Our bodies, therefore, if they are to be immortal and imperishable must be changed. And this the apostle in the next verse

announces on the authority of a direct revelation, is actually to occur." [HODGE].

51 ¶ Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed----

52  in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

" The change in question is to be instantaneous; in a moment, literally, an atom, i.e. in a portion of time so short as to be incapable of further division. It is to take place at the last trump, i.e. on the last day. As the trumpet was used for assembling the people or marshaling a host, it

became the symbol for expressing the idea of the gathering of a multitude.

So, in Matthew 24:31, Christ says, “He will send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet; and they shall gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to another.” Comp. Isaiah 27:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:16. This trumpet is called the last, not because several trumpets (the Jews say seven) are to sound in succession, but because it is the last that ever is to sound. In other words, the resurrection is to take place on the last day. For the trumpet shall sound. This is a confirmation of the preceding. That day shall surely come — the voice of the archangel, the trump of God, shall certainly resound as it did from Sinai, Exodus 19:16. And, i.e. and then, in consequence of the summons of God, the dead shall be raised in the manner described in vs. 42, 43, incorruptible, glorious and powerful. And we shall be changed This is in exact accordance with 1 Thessalonians 4:15. Those who are alive when Christ comes “shall not prevent them which are asleep.” The dead in Christ shall rise first, and then the living shall undergo their instantaneous change." [HODGE].

53  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.


54  So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."

55  "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"

56  The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.

57  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 ¶ Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. [NKJV].


Let us take a look, at the body of Jesus after His Resurrection.

Luke 24: 15  15  So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them.

 16  But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. [NKJV].

 The fact that their eyes had to be "restrained" shows that he looked a lot like he did before His Resurrection!

John 20: 14  And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

15  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

16  Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

We see here that the voice of Jesus was understandable and sounded like before His Resurrection. For Mary knew who he was, after he spoke to her.

17  Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

… 19 ¶ Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.