The Resurrected Body--Personal and National
Apr 01, 2009
1 Cor. 15:35 says,
"But someone will say, How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?"
Paul's answer to the question above brings in the analogy of seeds sown in the ground. "You do not sow the body which is to be," Paul says in verse 37. In other words, that type of body that is sown in the ground is not the same kind of "body which is to be," that is, the resurrected body. "But God gives it a body just as He wishes" (vs. 38).
Just as there are different kinds of seeds, so also there are various kinds of bodies sown in the ground. Paul's point is given in verses 42-44,
" (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."
A change of body is necessary in order to inherit the kingdom of God. Verse 50 says,
"Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable."
Those of past ages, Paul says, will be "raised imperishable," while those who are alive at the time of the resurrection will simply be "changed" without having to experience the grave.
While there are a few examples in Scripture of people being raised from the dead, all were raised into the same kind of mortal body that they had before they died. Only Jesus Himself was raised in glory in an imperishable body. So He is our only example that we may examine to see the type of body that we ourselves will have in that day.
In Luke 24 Jesus suddenly appeared in the locked room with His disciples. They thought he was a spirit (Luke 24:37). Jesus went out of His way to correct their thinking. In verse 39 He says,
"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."
In other words, Jesus was saying, "I am not a spirit; I am flesh and bones." Then He asked for something to eat, not because He was hungry, but because it was further proof that He was not a spirit.
Earlier, He had accompanied two men on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. In their conversation, they did not notice anything peculiar about Him, other than His knowledge of the Scriptures. He looked like any other man with a natural body.
The point is that after Jesus' resurrection, He was able to appear in a "flesh and bone" body and mingle among men without any supernatural appearance. And yet He was different, because He could also leave the earthly realm and go into the heavenly at will. He had authority in heaven and in earth, because He had the genetics of both as the Son of Man as well as the Son of God.
There are differing glories that we will possess in the resurrection, just as there are differing glories of the stars, Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:41. Jesus will always have the highest glory. Yet we too will have the same type of body that He had after His resurrection. Like Him, we have been begotten by the Holy Spirit. We have a heavenly Father and an earthly "mother." So in the end we will have authority in both heaven and in earth, and we will be able to minister to those remaining in the earthly realm--those unqualified for the first resurrection.
Those overcomers who qualify for the first resurrection will be "priests of God and of Christ" (Rev. 20:6), not the old Levitical Order, but Melchizedek, of which Order Jesus is the High Priest. The type and shadow of this priestly order is found in the sons of Zadok, who replaced the priests of Phineas (and Eli) in the days of Solomon, the Prince of Peace.
The prophecy in Ezekiel 44 is that the sons of Zadok would be allowed to minister to God in the heavenly Sanctuary, as well as to those in the "outer court" (earthly, fleshly realm). This honor is not given to the previous priestly order, called the "idolatrous priests" of the line of Eli. Eli's priestly dynasty serves as the prophetic type of the Levitical Order itself, which was disqualified in the New Testament.
The idolatrous priests were given duties that were limited to the "outer court," while the sons of Zadok were given the privilege of ministering to God directly in the Sanctuary.
In Ezekiel's prophecy, the sons of Zadok could minister to God in their linens (spiritual garments), but they had to change clothes in order to minister to the people in the earthly realm, "outer court." It prophesies that the Melchizedek priests in that day will have equal access to heaven and earth, but to minister to men on earth, they will have to lay aside their spiritual garments and appear to the people in a physical form.
This is why it was important that Jesus not come to the disciples as a spirit. To fulfill Ezekiel's prophecy (44:19), He had to "change clothes" in order to walk among men and minister to the disciples who were yet in the outer court realm.
So we see that a resurrected body is indeed different from what we have today. The difference is NOT that one is physical and the other spiritual. The difference is that the present body is limited to the physical, while the resurrected body has authority in both heaven and earth and can access either realm at will.
Nor is that resurrected body limited in the manner of its earthly appearance. After Jesus' resurrection, no one ever recognized Him until He did something or said something. So even though He changed clothing and put on physical form, He could appear in whatever physical form He wished. Rearranging atoms was no problem.
I have taught on this topic many times in books and tapes. My main point, however, is to show that the same principle holds true with the resurrection of Israel from the "valley of dry bones" (Ezekiel 37). Israel was sown a natural body, and it is being raised in a spiritual body. The restoration of Israel is not designed to restore it to the same form it had when it was buried in the ground. God has something better in mind, something suitable to the incorruptible and imperishable Kingdom.
The resurrection and restoration of the house of Israel is not the Jewish state, nor will the Israel Kingdom revert to Old Covenant rituals and sacrifices in a physical temple in the old Jerusalem (Hagar). No, the resurrected house of Israel will be ruled by a Melchizedek Order of priests who will rule by a New Covenant with a better Sacrifice in a temple made of living stones in a New Jerusalem.
Whereas the old Israel was imperfect and limited in its carnal manifestation, the new Israel does not have those physical limitations, even though it manifests on the earth. Like its priests, this new nation has its origin in heaven but manifests on the earth as well, in order to minister to those who are yet to come into the fulness of God at the next harvest (resurrection).
In our next study we will examine the nature of this new nation of Israel and see how it differs from the old order under the Old Covenant.
Dr. Stephen Jones