“If Chapter 13 is the great ‘love chapter’ of the New Testament, [Chapter 15] is its great ‘resurrection chapter.’”[i] Last week I said that we would be talking about the difference between the resurrection of Scripture and the fakes that the world has to offer. We will be talking about How we will be resurrected, What it will look like and What do we do with this information?[Read 1 Cor. 15:20-58] [ii]
(Vs. 20-28) There are three resurrections spoken of in Scripture. This passage speaks of how Yeshua is the “firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” Yeshua’s resurrection is the model that we can look to, and the hope that we all have for a physical resurrection. The second resurrection is for all who “belong to Messiah.” And the third resurrection is at the end, after Yeshua has conquered the entire earth, and brought “all things in subjection under [Adonai’s] feet.”
This passage aligns with [Revelation 20:4-6] John records that those who participate in the resurrection at Messiah’s return, will rule with Yeshua for 1000 years. The second death has no power over these who rise at Messiah’s return. The third and final resurrection occurs at the end of the 1000-year rule and directly before the great white throne judgement (Rev. 20:11). “How fortunate and holy is the one who has a share in the …resurrection” at Messiah’s return!!
Practical Arguments for the Resurrection
(Vs. 29-34) The first verse here is strange, because nowhere else in Sha’ul’s writings or in the rest of Scripture is there any reference to vicarious immersion or being baptised on behalf of another. It is possible that Sha’ul is referring to being spiritually dead. When we are immersed in water, we are “immersed in to [Yeshua’s] death.” (Rom 6:1) We are buried together with him through immersion in water so that we might also participate with him in the resurrection of life. If this is what Sha’ul is referring to, then the question to the congregation in Corinth would be, “Why do you even get immersed into Yeshua’s death, expecting to be a part of His resurrection, if there is no resurrection at all?”
Sha’ul moves on and reminds the people, that it is because of the preaching of Yeshua rising from the dead, that he has suffered persecution. If there is not resurrection, then there is no difference between Yeshua and any other good teacher. In verse 33, Sha’ul quotes a Greek poet called Menander[iii] to warn those in Corinth about their heretical doctrine of there being no resurrection. I find this interesting, because Sha’ul uses literature from all sorts of sources to snap is audience out of their delusion.
The Nature of Our Resurrected Body
(Vs. 35-49) This section starts with two questions, “How are the dead raised? And, with what kind of body do they come?” Based upon the response of Sha’ul, we can see that these questions have been asked in a mocking way. Sha’ul responds by calling the questioners, “Fools!” This is the same as the Proverbs, and particularly (Psalms 92:6-8), that refers this way to evildoers and unbelievers as those who have no knowledge of Adonai or His ways.[iv] Sha’ul’s answer points to a picture from nature, seeds and plants. We all know instinctively that when we plant a seed of any kind, we expect a plant to grow in its place. We do not expect simply another seed, in other words, the plant looks nothing like the seed. The plant is greater than the seed; the plant is more beautiful than the seed; the plant has more life, more vibrancy, than the seed. What we do expect, however, is that we will always get a tomato plant when we plant a tomato seed. Sha’ul then points to the differences between human bodies, animal bodies, fish bodies and bird bodies, to make a point that we should expect differences between earthly bodies and heavenly bodies.
In (vs. 42-44) we see Sha’ul bringing the answer to the questions asked. The natural body is full of corruption, decay, dishonour and weakness. Dr. John Sandford, a population geneticist, in his book called Genetic Entropy[v] shows that from the moment of our conception, our cells do not perfectly replicate. These imperfections, called mutations, are like photo copying errors. They accumulate so that by the time we are only 15 years old, we have on average 50,000 genetic errors, and by my age they number in the hundreds of thousands. In essence, this is why our bodies age. The Scriptures point our that it is “appointed unto man, once to die, and then the judgement.” Even though evolutionists claim that we are the result of positive mutations, and leaps in positive genetic information, the reality is that there has never been a single observable, positive mutation, ever!
(Vs. 45 -49) However, Sha’ul points out that just like Yeshua’s new heavenly body, our new bodies will no longer fall apart. Our bodies will be strong, powerful and glorious! No longer will we have the perishing qualities of our ancestor Adam. We will have the same sort of body that Yeshua had after His resurrection. He could eat, and yet was not recognised (Luke 24). Yeshua’s body had similarities in that he kept the scars of the nails and the spear, and yet there was no corruption, no decay, complete health and wholeness. As a side note, I think that Yeshua kept these scars deliberately as evidence of the fulfilled prophesies in Isaiah 53 and Zechariah 12 that we talked about last week. And while, Yeshua was not always recognised by his talmidim, he was recognizable. I want to read to you a page from C.S. Lewis’s book “The Last Battle.” I think this describes it better than I can. [Read Ch 12 when Tirian meets the 7 kings and queens][vi]
The Timing of Our Resurrection
Sha’ul now explains a mystery, a “previously concealed truth now revealed.”[vii] “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.” This is a known fact for all new mothers and their babies. …. But on a serious note, the timing of the resurrection coincides with the return of our Messiah Yeshua. The sounding of the great shofar is a reference back to Mt. Sinai when Adonai descended on the mountain. It says, “In the morning of the third day, there was thundering and lightning, a thick cloud on the mountain, and the blast of an exceedingly loud shofar. All the people in the camp trembled.” (Ex. 19:16) It also points to Isaiah where he refers to the last days saying, “It will also come about in that day, a great shofar will be blown. Those perishing in the land of Assyria and the exiles in the land of Egypt will come and worship Adonai on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.”
Yeshua explained to His talmidim, that, “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the land will mourn, and they will see ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory. He will send out His angels with a great shofar, and they will gather together His chosen from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matt. 24:30-31)
Sha’ul, himself, wrote to the congregation in Thessalonica, [read 1 Thess. 4:13-18]
What Shall we do with this Information?
This is the Good News! Brothers and Sisters, our future is glorious, our bodies will be incorruptible, and death will no longer hold its power over us! All thanks and praise be to our Lord Yeshua the Messiah who has given and keeps giving us the victory! Let us go out and proclaim this good news to every creature, making disciples as we go!
[i] Jewish New Testament Commentary, David Stern, pg. 484.
[ii] All Scripture quotations are taken from the Tree of Life (TLV) version unless otherwise noted.
[iii] The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Rev. Ed., Vol 11, Verlyn Verbrugge, pg. 400.
[iv] Ibid, pg. 401.
[v][v] Genetic Entropy, John Sandford.
[vi] The Last Battle, The Chronicles of Narnia, C. S. Lewis, pg. 152.
[vii] Stern, pg. 489.