Since I started doing these videos, I’ve been getting all kinds of questions about the Bible. I’ve noticed that some questions get asked over and over, particularly those relating to the resurrection of the dead. Witnesses leaving the Organization want to know about the nature of the first resurrection, the one they were taught didn’t apply to them. Three questions in particular get asked repeatedly:
- What kind of body will the children of God have when they are resurrected?
- Where will these adopted ones live?
- What will those in the first resurrection be doing while they wait for the second resurrection, the resurrection to judgment?
Let us start with the first question. Paul was also asked the same question by some of the Christians in Corinth. He said,
But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” (1 Corinthians 15:35 NIV)
Almost a half-century later, the question was still on the minds of Christians, because John wrote:
Beloved ones, now we are children of God, but as yet it has not been made manifest what we shall be. We do know that whenever he is made manifest we shall be like him, because we shall see him just as he is. (1 John 3:2)
John clearly states that we cannot know what we will be like, other than that we will be like Jesus when he appears. Of course, there are always some people who think they can figure things out and reveal hidden knowledge. Jehovah’s Witnesses have been doing that since the time of CT Russell: 1925, 1975, the overlapping generation—the list goes on. They can give you specific answers to each of those three questions, but they’re not the only ones who think they can. Whether you’re a Catholic or a Mormon or something in between, chances are your church leaders will tell you they know exactly what Jesus is like now, after his resurrection, where his followers will live and what they’ll be like.
It seems that all these ministers, priests, and Bible scholars know more about this topic than even the apostle John did.
Take, as one example, this extract from GotQuestions.org: www.gotquestions.org/bodily-resurrection-Jesus.html.
Yet, most of the Corinthians understood that Christ’s resurrection was bodily and not spiritual. After all, resurrection means “a rising from the dead”; something comes back to life. They understood that all souls were immortal and at death immediately went to be with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). Thus, a “spiritual” resurrection would make no sense, as the spirit doesn’t die and therefore cannot be resurrected. Additionally, they were aware that the Scriptures, as well as Christ Himself, stated that His body would rise again on the third day. Scripture also made it clear that Christ’s body would see no decay (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:27), a charge that would make no sense if His body was not resurrected. Lastly, Christ emphatically told His disciples it was His body that was resurrected: “A spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have” (Luke 24:39).
The Corinthians understood that “all souls were immortal”? Balderdash! They understood nothing of the kind. The writer is just making this up. Does he quote a single Scripture to prove this? No! Indeed, is there a single Scripture in the entire Bible that states that the soul is immortal? No! If there were, then writers like this one would quote it with gusto. But they never do, because there isn’t one. On the contrary, there are numerous scriptures that indicate the soul is mortal and dies. Here you go. Pause the video and have a look for yourself:
Genesis 19:19, 20; Numbers 23:10; Joshua 2:13, 14; 10:37; Judges 5:18; 16:16, 30; 1 Kings 20:31, 32; Psalm 22:29; Ezekiel 18:4, 20; 33:6; Matthew 2:20; 26:38; Mark 3:4; Acts 3:23; Hebrews 10:39; James 5:20; Revelation 8:9; 16:3
The problem is that these religious scholars are burdened with the need to support the Trinity doctrine. The Trinity would have us accept that Jesus is God. Well, Almighty God cannot die, can he? That’s ridiculous! So how are they to get around the fact that Jesus—that is, God—was resurrected from the dead? This is the dilemma they are saddled with. To get around it, they fall back on another false doctrine, the immortal human soul, and claim that only his body died. Unfortunately, this creates yet another conundrum for them, because now they have Jesus’ soul reuniting with his resurrected human body. Why is that a problem? Well, think about it. Here is Jesus, that is, God Almighty, Creator of the universe, Lord of the angels, sovereign over trillions of galaxies, galivanting around the heavens in a human body. Personally, I see this as a tremendous coup for Satan. Since the days of the idol worshippers of Baal, he has been trying to get men to fashion God into their own human form. Christendom has achieved this feat by convincing billions to worship the God-Man of Jesus Christ. Think about what Paul said to the Athenians: “Seeing, therefore, that we are the progeny of God, we ought not to imagine that the Divine Being is like gold or silver or stone, like something sculptured by the art and contrivance of man. (Acts 17:29)
Well, if the divine being is now in a known human form, one that was seen by hundreds of individuals, then what Paul said in Athens was a falsehood. It would be very easy for them to sculpture the form of God into gold, silver, or stone. They knew exactly what he looked like.
Nevertheless, some will still argue, “But Jesus said he would raise his body, and he also said he wasn’t a spirit but flesh and bone.” Yes, he did. But these people are also aware that Paul, under inspiration, tells us that Jesus was resurrected as a spirit, not a human, and that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of the heavens, so which is it? Both Jesus and Paul must be right for both spoke the truth. How do we resolve the apparent contradiction? Not by trying to make one passage fit with our personal beliefs, but by setting aside our bias, by ceasing to look at Scripture with preconceived notions, and by letting the Bible speak for itself.
Since we are asking the very same question that the Corinthians asked Paul, his answer gives us an excellent place to start. I know people who believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus will have a problem if I use the New World Translation, so instead I’ll use the Berean Standard Version for all the quotations from 1 Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 15:35, 36 reads: “But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” You fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.”
It is rather harsh of Paul, don’t you think? I mean, this person is just asking a simple question. Why is Paul getting so bent out of shape and calling the questioner a fool?
It would appear that this is not a simple question at all. It would appear that this, along with other questions that Paul is answering in his response to the initial letter from Corinth, is an indication of dangerous ideas that these men and women—but let’s be fair, it was probably mostly the men—were trying to introduce into the Christian congregation. Some have suggested that Paul’s answer was intended to address the problem of Gnosticism, but I doubt that. Gnostic thought didn’t really take hold until much later, around the time John wrote his letter, long after Paul had passed. No, I think what we’re seeing here is very much the same thing we see today with this doctrine of the glorified spiritual body of flesh and bone that they say Jesus came back with. I think the rest of Paul’s argument justifies this conclusion, because after he starts out with this sharp rebuke, he continues with an analogy intended to defeat the idea of a bodily resurrection.
“And what you sow is not the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or something else. But God gives it a body as He has designed, and to each kind of seed He gives its own body.” (1 Corinthians 15:37, 38)
Here’s a picture of an acorn. Here’s another picture of an oak tree. If you look into the root system of an oak tree you will not find that acorn. It has to die, so to speak, for the oak tree to be born. The fleshly body must die before the body that God gives can come into being. If we believe that Jesus was resurrected in exactly the same body that he died with, then Paul’s analogy makes no sense. The body that Jesus showed to his disciples even had the holes in the hands and feet and a gash in the side where a spear had cut into the pericardium sack around the heart. The analogy of a seed dying, disappearing completely, to be replaced with something radically different simply doesn’t fit if Jesus came back in the exact same body, which is what these people believe and promote. To make Paul’s explanation fit, we need to find another explanation for the body that Jesus showed his disciples, one that is consistent and harmonious with the rest of Scripture, not some made-up excuse. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Paul continues to build his case:
“Not all flesh is the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another, and fish another. There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. But the splendor of the heavenly bodies is of one degree, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is of another. The sun has one degree of splendor, the moon another, and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.” (1 Corinthians 15:39-41)
This isn’t a science treatise. Paul is merely trying to illustrate a point to his readers. What he apparently is trying to get across to them, and by extension, to us, is that there is a difference between all these things. They are not all the same. So, the body we die with is not the body we are resurrected with. That is exactly opposite of what the promotors of a bodily resurrection of Jesus say happened.
“Agreed,” some will say, “the body we are resurrected with will look the same but it isn’t the same because it is a glorified body.” These ones will claim that even though Jesus came back in the same body, it wasn’t exactly the same, because now it was glorified. What does that mean and where’s that to be found in scripture? What Paul actually says is found at 1 Corinthians 15:42-45:
“So will it be with the resurrection of the dead: What is sown is perishable; it is raised imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being;” the last Adam a life-giving spirit.” (1 Corinthians 15:42-45)
What is a natural body? It is a body of nature, of the natural world. It is a body of flesh; a physical body. What is a spiritual body? It is not a fleshly physical natural body imbued with some spirituality. Either you are in a natural body—a body of this realm of nature—or you are in a spiritual body—a body of the spirit realm. Paul makes it very clear what it is. “The last Adam” was changed into “a life-giving spirit.” God made the first Adam a living human being, but he made the last Adam into a life-giving spirit.
Paul continues to make the contrast:
The spiritual, however, was not first, but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so also are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so also shall we bear the likeness of the heavenly man.” (1 Corinthians 15:46-49)
The second man, Jesus, was from heaven. Was he a spirit in heaven or a man? Did he have a spiritual body in heaven or a fleshly body? The Bible tells us that [Jesus], who, being in the form of God, thought [it] not something to be seized to be equal to God (Philippians 2:6 Literal Standard Version) Now, being in God’s form isn’t the same as being God. You and I are in the form of man, or human form. We are talking about a quality not an identity. My form is human, but my identity is Eric. So, you and I share the same form, but a different identity. We are not two persons in one human. Anyway, I’m getting off topic, so let’s get back on track.
Jesus told the Samaritan woman that God is a spirit. (John 4:24) He is not made of flesh and blood. So, Jesus was likewise a spirit, in the form of God. He had a spiritual body. He was in the form of God, but gave it up to receive from God a human body.
Therefore, when Christ came into the world, He said: Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You prepared for Me. (Hebrews 10:5 Berean Study Bible)
Would it not make sense that upon his resurrection, God would give him back the body he had before? Indeed, he did, except that now this spirit body had the ability to give life. If there is a physical body with arms and legs and a head, there is also a spiritual body. What that body looks like, who can say?
Just to drive the last nail into the coffin of those who promote the resurrection of Jesus’ fleshly body, Paul adds:
Now I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. (1 Corinthians 15:50)
I remember many years ago using this Scripture to try to prove to a Mormon that we don’t go to heaven with our physical bodies to be appointed to rule over some other planet as its god—something they teach. I said to him, “You see that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; it cannot go to heaven.”
Without skipping a beat, he replied, “Yes, but flesh and bone can.”
I was at a loss for words! This was such a ridiculous concept that I didn’t know how to reply without insulting him. Apparently, he believed that if you took out the blood from the body, then it could go to heaven. The blood kept it earthbound. I guess the gods that rule over other planets as a reward for being faithful Latter-Day Saints are all very pale since there is no blood coursing through their veins. Would they need a heart? Would they need lungs?
It is very hard to talk about these things without being mocking, isn’t it?
There is still the question of Jesus raising his body.
The word “raise” can mean resurrect. We know that God raised or resurrected Jesus. Jesus didn’t raise Jesus. God raised Jesus. The apostle Peter told the Jewish leaders, “let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well.” (Acts 4:10 ESV)
Once God raised Jesus from the dead, he gave him a spirit body and Jesus became a life-giving spirit. As a spirit, Jesus could now raise his former human body just as he promised he would do. But raise doesn’t always mean resurrect. Raise can also mean, well, raise.
Are Angels spirits? Yes, the Bible says so at Psalm 104:4. Can angels raise up a body of flesh? Of course, otherwise, they could not appear to men because a man cannot see a spirit.
At Genesis 18, we learn that three men came to visit Abraham. One of them is called “Jehovah.” This man stays with Abraham while the other two journey on to Sodom. In chapter 19 verse 1 they are described as angels. So, is the Bible lying by calling them men in one place and angels in another? At John 1:18 we are told that no man has seen God. Yet here we find Abraham talking to and sharing a meal with Jehovah. Again, is the Bible lying?
Obviously, an angel, though a spirit, can take on the flesh and when in the flesh can rightly be called a man and not a spirit. An angel can be addressed as Jehovah when he is acting as God’s spokesman even though he continues being an angel and not God Almighty. How foolish of us it would be to try to take issue with any of this as if we were reading some legal document, looking for a loophole. “Jesus, you said you were not a spirit, so you can’t be one now.” How silly. It is quite logical to say that Jesus raised up his body just as the angels took on human flesh. That does not mean Jesus is stuck with that body. Likewise, when Jesus said I am not a spirit and invited them to feel his flesh, he was not lying any more than calling the angels that visited Abraham men is lying. Jesus could put on that body as easily as you and I put on a suit, and he could take it off just as easily. While in the flesh, he would be flesh and not a spirit, yet his fundamental nature, that of a life-giving spirit, would remain unchanged.
When he was walking with two of his disciples and they failed to recognize him, Mark 16:12 explains the reason was that he took on a different form. The same word used here as in Philippians where it talks about existing in the form of God.
Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. (Mark 16:12 NIV)
So, Jesus wasn’t stuck with the one body. He could assume a different form if he chose to. Why did he raise up the body he had with all its wounds intact? Obviously, as the account of doubting Thomas shows, to prove beyond any doubt that he had indeed been resurrected. Yet, the disciples didn’t believe Jesus existed in a fleshly form, in part because he came and went as no fleshly person can. He appears inside a locked room and then vanishes before their very eyes. If they believed that the form they saw was his actual resurrected form, his body, then none of what Paul and John wrote would make any sense.
That is why John tells us that we don’t know what we will be like, only that whatever it is, we will be like Jesus is now.
However, as my encounter with the “flesh and bone” Mormon taught me, people will believe what they want to believe despite any amount of evidence you wish to present. So, in one final effort, let us accept the rationale that Jesus returned in his own glorified physical human body capable of living out beyond space, in heaven, wherever it is.
Since the body he died in is the body he has now, and since we know that that body came back with holes in its hands and holes in its feet and a big gash in its side, then we must assume that it continues that way. Since we are going to be resurrected in the likeness of Jesus, we cannot expect anything better than Jesus himself got. Since he was resurrected with his wounds intact, then we will be too. Are you bald? Don’t expect to come back with hair. Are you an amputee, missing a leg perhaps? Don’t expect to have two legs. Why should you have them, if Jesus’ body couldn’t be repaired from its wounds? Does this glorified human body have a digestive system? Surely it does. It’s a human body. I assume there are toilets in heaven. I mean, why have a digestive system if you’re not going to use it. The same goes for all the other parts of the human body. Think about that.
I’m just taking this to its logical ridiculous conclusion. Can we now see why Paul called this idea foolish and responded to the questioner, “You Fool!”
The need to defend the Trinity doctrine forces this interpretation and obliges those promoting it to jump through some pretty silly linguist hoops to explain away Paul’s clear explanation found at 1 Corinthians chapter 15.
I know I am going to get comments at the end of this video trying to dismiss all this reasoning and evidence by smearing me with the label, “Jehovah’s Witness.” They will say, “Ah, you still haven’t left the organization. You’re still stuck with all that old JW doctrine.” This is a logical fallacy called “poisoning the well”. It is a form of ad hominem attack much like Witnesses use when they label someone an apostate, and is the result of an inability to deal with the evidence head on. I believe it is often born out of a sense of insecurity about one’s own beliefs. People make such attacks as much to convince themselves as anyone else that their beliefs are still valid.
Don’t fall for that tactic. Instead, just look at the evidence. Don’t reject a truth merely because a religion you disagree with happens to believe it as well. I don’t agree with most of what the Catholic Church teaches, but if I dismissed everything that they believe in—the “Guilt by Association” fallacy—I couldn’t believe in Jesus Christ as my savior, could I? Now, wouldn’t that be stupid!
So, can we answer the question, what will we be like? Yes, and no. Returning to John’s remarks:
Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is. (1 John 3:2 Holman Christian Standard Bible)
We know Jesus was raised by God and given the body of a life-giving spirit. We also know that in that spiritual form, with that – as Paul called it – spiritual body, Jesus could assume human form, and more than one. He assumed whatever form would suit his purpose. When he needed to convince his disciples that it was he who had been resurrected and not some imposter, he assumed the form of his slaughtered body. When he wanted to focus on the hope without revealing his true identity, he took on a different form so that he could speak with them without overwhelming them. I believe we will be able to do the same thing upon our resurrection.
The other two questions we asked at the beginning were: Where will we be and what will we do? I’m deep into speculation answering these two questions because there is not much written about it in the Bible so take it with a grain of salt, please. I believe this ability that Jesus had will be given to us as well: the ability to assume human form for the purpose of interacting with mankind both to act as rulers as well as priests for the reconciliation of all back into the family of God. We will be able to assume the form we need so as to reach hearts and sway minds to the course of righteousness. If that is the case, then that answers the second question: where will we be?
It makes no sense for us to be in some distant heaven where we cannot interact with our subjects. When Jesus left, he left the slave in place to take care of the feeding of the flock because he was absent. When he returns, he will again be able to assume the role of feeding the flock, doing so with the rest of the children of God he counts as his brothers (and sisters). Hebrews 12:23; Romans 8:17 will throw some light on that.
When the Bible uses the word “heavens”, it often refers to areas above mankind: powers and rulerships. Our hope is nicely expressed in Paul’s letter to the Philippians:
As for us, our citizenship exists in the heavens, from which place also we are eagerly waiting for a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will refashion our humiliated body to be conformed to his glorious body according to the operation of the power that he has, even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20, 21)
Our hope is to be part of the first resurrection. It is what we pray for. Whatever place Jesus has prepared for us will be splendid. We will have no complaint. But our desire is to help Mankind return to a state of grace with God, to become once again, his earthly, human children. To do that, we must be able to work with them, as Jesus worked one on one, face to face with his disciples. How our Lord will make that happen, as I’ve said, is just conjecture at this time. But as John says, “we will see him just as he is and we ourselves shall be in his likeness.” Now that is something worth fighting for. That is something worth dying for.
Thank you so much for listening. I would also like to thank everyone for the support they provide for this work. Fellow Christians contribute their valuable time to translate this information into other languages, to support us in the production of videos and printed material, and with much needed funding. Thank you all.