Our Resurrection Bodies
Posted by Job on August 22, 2010
One of the reasons why Bible believing and living Christians should anticipate with hope and joy is the fact of the coming resurrection. At this resurrection, we will receive glorified bodies like that of Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:52 tells us that these bodies will be incorruptible. This means immortal, indestructible, will not decay. These bodies will not be subject to injury, disease, wear and tear, nothing! Keep in mind that one of the things that causes destruction, death and corruption is sin. As these bodies will be incorruptible, it is logical that sin and its effects will no longer be in the picture. So while in this life we have to contend with the “old man”, the flesh, the body of sin, or the sinful nature, and we have to resist Satan so that he will flee from us, and we also have to die to self daily, be crucified with Christ etc. in our new bodies those things will not be necessary. The day of perfection will have been attained for us on our behalf, we will abide in Christ and keep His commandments by definition, so all that will be left will be to worship Jesus Christ for eternity in bodies that will be well-suited for the task. And as the mind is part of the body, even things like “wandering eyes”, “short attention spans”, fears, anxieties, frustrations, temptations, divisions and other mental and emotional issues that plague Christians in this life will be overcome. Since our minds will be perfected along with our bodies, the “battle for the mind”, the contending over our will and emotions, will be over. Our inheritance will include clean hearts and purified souls for eternity.
What else do we know about our resurrected bodies? Again, return to the words and example of Jesus Christ. Consider, for instance, when He stated that there will be no marriage after the resurrection in response to the foolish carnal Hellenistic philosophizing of the Sadducees who denied the resurrection in Matthew 22:23-33. (Please note that where the Pharisees fellowshipped with the Sadducees in those days, Christians are not to have religious company with heretics that peddle in strange doctrines yet lay claim to our faith.) Instead, as Jesus Christ said, we will become as the angels. This does not mean that we will become angels. It may mean that our resurrected bodies will be similar in some way to those of angels. As for marriage no longer existing, this refers to the fact that the purpose for this institution will have passed. Just as there was no purpose for the institution of marriage to exist among angels, when this age ends and we go from temporal earthly existences in our current bodies to eternal ones, the purpose for marriage in the new age will not exist. Therefore, we can presume that marriage was created to suit God’s purposes, not man’s, and so when God’s purposes are fulfilled in this age concerning marriage, there will be no reason for it to continue.
There are other examples. It is possible, for instance, that a hint of the glory of our resurrection bodies was revealed when Jesus Christ was transfigured as recounted in Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:2-8 and Luke 9:28-36. During this transfiguration, His appearance changed, His face shined like the sun, and His clothes became white. This reminds us of Revelation 1’s description of the resurrected Jesus Christ, the first begotten of the dead.
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
Now of course it is not fit that we attain the glory and brilliance of our God and Lord Jesus Christ, but if our resurrected incorruptible bodies take on a mere fraction of what is described here. I Corinthians 15:49-50 states that we WILL bear the image of the heavenly, which is none other than Jesus Christ, and that this must happen because our current flawed conditions cannot inherit the perfection of the kingdom of God in all its fulness. While we are in this life, we can only inherit a portion, a down payment or deposit if you will, of our inheritance. So we will resemble the firstborn Jesus Christ, the one who preceded us in being raised from the dead to eternal life.
Still more evidence on our resurrected bodies comes from the gospel narratives that describe the resurrected Lord. Please recall that Jesus Christ while He was in His earthly condition, kenosis, where He emptied Himself of His heavenly glory and full powers and privileges as deity (see Philemon 2:7) and functioned as a human empowered by – and totally reliant upon – the Holy Spirit and the will of God the Father, and thus Jesus Christ was fully, completely human just as are we. Indeed, even regarding His miracles and mighty works, Jesus Christ told His apostles that they would exceed them.
But when He was resurrected from the dead, it was at that point that He received a body that was “as the angels” according to His own description to the naturalistic Sadducee syncretists that mixed the Greek pagan worldview with Judaism to come up something that was to their own liking, something that they could use in order to conform to the world rather than to be sanctified and separate from it. (In this Sadducees of old are not dissimilar from so many professed Christians today.) Where before Jesus Christ was physically subject to the same limitations as Holy Spirit led and empowered humanity, after His resurrection, afterward in His appearances to His disciples He was able to change His appearance and come and go as He pleased. Yet, He was no “ghost” or spirit as He ate fish among His disciples on at least two occasions. Yet it appears that He ate not to fill some physical need, but rather to prove that He had indeed resurrected from the dead as opposed to merely coming back as a spirit or ghost, and also for fellowship purposes. How amazing, then, if in our resurrected bodies we will be able to eat but not need to! Will the redeemed eat manna in heaven just as did the children of Israel? Will the redeemed eat from the tree of life? These are fascinating things to ponder!
How wonderful these resurrection bodies of the saints shall be! It is something that should fill us with joy, gladness, comfort and expectation while we suffer through the griefs, pains, infirmities, deprivations etc. of our current life. The glory of our new bodies are not even worthy to be compared to our current states, even those of us who in this life enjoy peak physical condition and the financial status and medical care needed to maintain it. The many of us who lack such a physical body, then, should not envy those that we see in athletes and entertainers, for their bodies are temporal and corruptible, and the incorruptible resurrection bodies of the saints will exceed them immeasurably in every good way and in no evil way, including in their capacity to reflect and enjoy the radiant brilliance of our God and worship our God forever. We will never know the joyous, rapturous wondrous illuminating light of the Savior, the pleasure of the indwelling Holy Spirit, or the glorification of God the Father until we experience these things in our new bodies. Though we can partake of and enjoy these things in our current lives when we pray, study our Word, participate in evangelism and discipleship, gather for fellowship and worship, do good works, and grow in faith and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, these pleasures now cannot compare with what is to come. Even so, come Lord Jesus Christ!
And yet, there is indeed another side. Those who are outside of Jesus Christ will also be resurrected and receive indestructible bodies. However, where the bodies of the saints will know unrestrained glory and joy in the presence of Jesus Christ, the indestructible bodies of the lost will be cast into eternal torment, the lake of fire. Do not be deceived, those who go into eternal perdition will be resurrected also and as such receive new bodies. This is described in Revelation 20. Revelation 14:11 states that “the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night.” It is of those that Jesus Christ frequently taught will have weeping and gnashing of teeth. Do not receive the false comfort of the many that are promoting the man-centered and man-pleasing doctrine of annihilationism in these last days, because the words of Revelation and Jesus Christ refute it. Everyone who has had a temporal body during this temporal age will receive an indestructible, resurrection body in the eternal age to come. The only question is whether the fate of this resurrection body is eternal life and joy with Jesus Christ or eternal torment apart from Him.
Please, make eternal life with Jesus Christ in your resurrection body your fate today.