The Resurrection


A Body Like Christ's Glorious Body




John Hoole - June 26, 2011






Earlier, I mentioned that the last two thirds of the Book of First Corinthians, finds Paul addressing questions the Corinthian church members had written to him.  And in the second to  last chapter – chapter 15 – we find one of the best passages in the Bible, covering the subject of the resurrection.


Look at a short section of this great chapter.  Again you will notice, like he did in chapter 6 that we read in an earlier lesson, he links our resurrection to that of Christ himself.


1 Cor 15:17-22 NIV


17     And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.

18     Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.

19     If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.  

20     But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

21     For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.

22     For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.


Then in verse 35, Paul seems to anticipate further questions from the Corinthian congregation.


1 Corinthians 15:35 NIV


35     But someone may ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?"


Paul raises two questions, and I have had these questions asked of me dozens of time. 


         1.      How, or by what process & power, are the dead raised?


         2.      What kind of bodies will we have?


In our last lesson, we answered the first question.  We will be raised from the dead with the same power that Christ was.  For some these may be very perplexing questions, when you think of the different ways people have died.  Some have been shredded to bits,  blown to smithereens, and aborted in the womb.  Others have been devoured by beast….or eaten by cannibals.  Still others have been burned at the stake, or cremated, having their ashes scattered to the winds.  Will their bodily atoms be re-assembled?  Will there be male and female?  With our new bodies, will we recognize one another?  Will we look young, or old?  Some of these and many other related questions will be answered when we discuss Heaven.


Many agnostic critics suggest that the bodily resurrection of the saints is impossible if the body is destroyed.  Some have questioned how a body could be physically resurrected after a person had been eaten by a shark, and had become part of the food chain.


A famous example of this curious criticism of the idea of a resurrection is found in the writings of the French atheistic philosopher Voltaire.  He ridiculed the doctrine of resurrection.  He proposed a hypothetical situation where a starving soldier was forced by circumstances to eat an Iroquois Indian he had killed who himself had fed recently on some Jesuit priests.


Voltaire contemptuously asked:


         “How is each to take again precisely what belongs to him? 

           And what part belongs to each?”


The French philosopher Rousseau wrote a letter disputing this argument, saying,


         “All the subtleties of metaphysics will never make me doubt for a moment the immortality of the soul and a beneficent providence………I feel it, I believe it, I want it, I hope for it.  I will defend it to my last breath.”


While Voltaire and other atheists and agnostics may see this issue as an insolvable problem, God is not subject to the finite limitation of their human minds.  God is quite capable of resurrecting a body of a man as He was in creating that body the first time in his mother’s womb.


The quick response to this dilemma is if God is God, He can easily resurrect the humans He created.  If someone can explain to me how God constructed man out of dust in the first place, I will tell you how He can reconstruct us out of it.  To put together someone who has disintegrated might be a problem for us, but not for God.


When we grasp the fact that nothing is impossible with God, resurrection then become simple.  Absolutely nothing, including raising the dead, is too difficult for God.  We used to sing a chorus that comes from a Bible verse that echoes this thought.


Jeremiah 32:17 NKJV


17     'Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.


                   Absolutely nothing is impossible with God.


Of course, not everyone will accept this biblical argument.  And, actually, Paul anticipates the objection of someone arguing against the idea of a bodily resurrection.  But, in 1 Corinthians 15:36, Paul calls such a person a "fool."


The Bible, in Psalm 14:1, defines a fool as anyone who fails to take God into account.  Such a person excludes God from consideration.  Remember, if God is God, bodily resurrection is absolutely no problem.  The apostle Paul would definitely argue: "When a believer dies, we have truly only then begun to live."


God created each of us as very unique creatures.  No two of us are exactly alike.  Every one of our bodies’ 50 trillion cells, even the smallest cell of our hair or skin, contains the complete DNA genetic code required to reconstruct our complete body.  All that is needed is one cell.  It contains the code to your whole physical body, down to our particular tastes in music and food.


Besides that, Biologists tell us that our physical body constantly renews itself at the cellular level.  Every seven years or so, almost every one of these 50 trillion cells has been completely replaced by new cells.  Therefore, in the natural course of life, our body will use and discard trillions of cells and they are scattered throughout your home and work place, etc.


The enormous quantity of discarded cells would be enough to make up our body several times over.  God would only need one single cell of our body, with its DNA code, in order to recreate our complete body.  There really is no difficulty in God locating one single cell, regardless of what happens to our body.






                   1.      Firstly, our bodies will be our own bodies.


                   2.      Secondly, our bodies will be changed to like Christ’s glorified body.


                                     Let’s look at what the Bible says about this question.


1.      Firstly, our bodies will be our own bodies.


When we are resurrected, we will not be clones of each other.  The Bible tells us that we are individual human beings, now and forever.  We shall stand in the Last Day as individuals to meet Jesus Christ either as our Judge or our Savior.


Each body will still retain the unique imprint given to us by our Creator.  The Book of Job clearly teaches that we will be resurrected in the last days in our own restored yet physical body


Job 19:25-27 NKJV


25     For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth;

26     And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God,

27     Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!


This kind of verse stirs up a classroom of thoughts or questions.  I’m going to stand before him in this body?  If so, why this body.  I don’t even like my body.  Why don’t we just start over on a new model?


As we continue, we will try to answer these questions.  In 1 Cor. 15, -- That great resurrection chapter – Paul speaks briefly about a seed being put in the ground.  He likens that seed to our bodies.  He says, “When you sow a seed, it must die in the ground before it can live and grow.”  He is saying, “You can’t have a new body without the death of the old one.”


Paul would like us to change the way we think about the burial process.  To kind of paraphrase Paul he is saying, The graveside service is not a burial – but a planting.  The cemetery is not the resting place, but rather the transformation place.”  Yes, as Job stated, it will be our body, but a fantastic transformation will have taken place.


See how Paul describes it in 1 Cor 15:37-38 NKJV


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

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


Just as the buried seed sprouts new life, so our body will blossom into a new body.  To translate – just as you can’t envision the full plant by looking at the seed before it is sown, you can’t envision the new body by looking at the old body.


Yes, it is our body, but it is changed.  That takes us to point #2.


2.      Our bodies will be changed to like Christ’s glorified body.


Christianity is a resurrection religion.  The Scriptures tell us that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead supplies both the proof and the pattern of the resurrection of our body at His coming.


1 Cor 15:45-49 NIV


45     So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam [Christ], a life-giving spirit.

46     The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.


Paul continues for the next couple of verses to describe this comparison between the first man, Adam, and the last Adam, Jesus Christ.  Finally, in verse 49, he concludes:


49     And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man [Adam], so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven [Christ].


Our bodies will be changed to be very much like the body Christ had after his resurrection.  We call that his “glorified body.”


We actually find that mentioned in Philippians 3:20-21  (NIV).


20     But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

21     who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.


The clearest indication of what our future resurrected body will be like, is to be seen in what kind of body Jesus had after his resurrection and glorification.  The passage we just read promises that our body will be like His.


The apostle John echoes this thought in 1 John 3:2.


2       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.


David realized this way back when he was writing Psalm 17.


Psalm 17:15 NKJV


15     As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.


Regardless of the wording, the promise is the same.  Your body will be changed.  You will not receive a different body – you will receive a renewed body.


Just as God can make an oak out of a kernel, or a tulip out of a bulb, He will make new body out of the old one.  But this time, it will be a body without corruption -- a body without weakness, and without dishonor -- a body like the body of Christ.


All I have said about our future resurrection is predicated on the fact of the resurrection of Christ.  The historical truth about the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ is the bedrock upon which the entire Christian faith stands.


The apostle Paul declared, in 1 Corinthians 15:14: (NIV)


14     And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.




         WHAT WAS IT LIKE?


1.      Firstly, the resurrected body of Christ was a REAL body.


Jesus didn’t come as a mist or a wind or a ghostly specter.  What came out of the now empty tomb was a physical body.  A body that maintained a substantial connection with the body he originally had.  His body was real enough to walk on the Road to Emmaus.  (Luke 24:15)  A body that had flesh and bones.  Also, later in Luke 24, we find the disciples all very frightened when Jesus first appeared to them.  They could not really believe what had happened.  Let's read the event.


Jesus told the disciples, in Luke 24:38-39 NKJV


38     And He said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?

39     Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have."


Then in John 20 there is a further record of the resurrection body of Jesus.


John 20:19-20 NKJV


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, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you."

20     When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.


When Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to His disciples physically.  His resurrected body was tangible.  They could actually touch it.  Following His resurrection, the Lord was no phantom or ghost or hallucination.  He was real.


To prove his body was real, he sat down with his disciple is Galilee to eat breakfast.


         Luke 24:42-43 NIV


42     They gave him a piece of broiled fish,

43     and he took it and ate it in their presence.


Just remember that He did not have to eat for sustenance, like He did before, because now He had an incorruptible, immortal body.


Our resurrected body will be like the body of Jesus following His resurrection.  We observe in the record of the gospels that He was not limited in where He could go.  He could ascend to heaven and down again.  He could enter a room with all the doors being closed.  He could appear in one form to one person and another form to another person.  He had, shall we say, a transformable body.  And the Bible tells us we will have a body like His.


The Book of Revelation teaches that every one of God’s resurrected children will participate in the glorious marriage supper of the Lamb.  This event takes place in Heaven following the Rapture.  We will eat and drink with our Lord Jesus Christ and all the other saints who are there.  Yes, Christ’s glorified body was real, and so will ours be real as well.


While it was a real body, it was not simply a clone of his earthly body.


Mark 16:12  (NIV) tells us……


12     Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country.


Although Jesus’ body was like His body’s appearance prior to His death, there was, at times, an indefinable and ethereal quality about his appearance.  While He was the same, he was different.  Mary Magdalene, along with the two disciples on the road, and his disciples on the sea initially failed to recognize him when they first met Him.  Mary did not know Jesus when He first appeared to her outside the empty tomb.


Neither did the two walking on the road to Emmaus.  This could partly be explained by the fact that they had not really expected him to be alive.  And yet, to all of them, recognition did come eventually.  Ultimately, more than five hundred individuals recognized Jesus, and knew that Jesus had been raised (1 Corinthians 15:6).


Also note that in one of the verses we read earlier, He said He had a body of “flesh and bones.”  He did not say He had a body of “Flesh and blood.”


Hebrews 2:14 tells us that in His humanity, Jesus partook of “flesh and blood.”  And according to Leviticus 17:11, “The life of the flesh is in the blood.”  But Jesus shed his blood on Calvary!  This is because, according to the same Leviticus 17:11, “it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”


In his death, Christ poured out His blood to redeem us from our sins.  And in His resurrected body there was not a drop of that blood.  His body was “flesh and bones.”


According to 1 Corinthians 15:50, Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.  But flesh and bones can.  So the first thing we learn about Christ’s glorified body, is that it was a real body….one that was physical and touchable.


2.      The Resurrected body of Christ is a SPIRITUAL Body


Some might ask:  Isn't that a contradiction?  You might wonder, “How can it be both a real physical body, yet a spiritual body?”  Doesn’t “spiritual” mean something like a ghost, not physical?


Most of you will probably recall that when Christ met with the disciples following his resurrection, Thomas was not with them.  The rest of them tried to convince Thomas, and we find him saying, in John 20:25-26, NKJV


25     "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."

26     And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!"


His body was real and physical, and although he invited Thomas to touch his body, Jesus was able to pass through a closed door without opening it to be in the presence of Thomas.


1 Corinthians 15 also speak of this “spiritual body” we will be given at the resurrection.


1 Corinthians 15:42, 44 NKJV


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


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


Paul does not say that the body will be a spirit, but says we will have a spiritual body.  By this, it means our new body will be of immortal substance.  He is making no reference to becoming immaterial, intangible or without flesh and bones.


Today, by and large, you and I are governed by our physical body.  My spirit could not have come to the church this morning without my body.  As a general rule, wherever my body goes, there goes my spirit.  But after I am resurrected, my spirit will govern my body.  My spirit will take my new body wherever it wills.


Thus far, when considering what our new bodies are going to be like, and knowing that they will be like Christ’s “glorious body”, we have learned that:


                   1.      The body will be a real body.


                   2.      The body will be a spiritual body


3.      The resurrected body of Christ is an INCORRUPTIBLE and IMMORTAL body.


1 Corinthians 15:51-53 NKJV


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.

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


Gone forever will be any physical defects, bruises or ailments.


Romans 8:11 NKJV


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


And then in 1 Corinthians 5:4, we read:


4       For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.


Any weaknesses or frailty we may have now, will be replaced by strength and power.  1 Cor. 15:43 says our body “will be sown in weakness; it is raised in power.”  We will not have to continue bearing the scars from the pains of life.  Neither will be have the disfigurement of disease or the wounds of violence.


For the first time in our life we will no longer be subject to physical death, disease or decay, nor will we ever again suffer pain.  We will possess “perfect” bodies that will be incorruptible and immortal.


In heaven’s accounting, only one wound is worthy to be remembered.  And that is the wound of Jesus  Our wounds will be no more.


I like what Joni Eareckson Tada, a Christian paraplegic, write, in her book Heaven: Your Real Home 


“Somewhere in my broken, paralyzed body is the seed of what I shall become.  The paralysis makes what I am to become all the more grand when you contrast atrophied, useless legs against splendorous resurrected legs.  I’m convinced that if there are mirrors in heaven (and why not?), the image I’ll see will be unmistakably “Joni,” although a much better, brighter Joni.  So much so, that it’s not worth comparing……I will bear the likeness of Jesus, the man from Heaven.”


To that, I say a big “AMEN!”