eschatology

The Resurrection – The Nature of the Resurrection – #6

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the resurrection
Christ’s resurrection was the guarantee of the resurrection, but, what is the nature of the resurrection that his physical resurrection pointed to?

The Resurrection – The Nature of the Resurrection – Holger Neubauer – #6

1 Corinthians 15:27 says, “For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, All things are put under him, it is manifest he is excepted, which did put all things under him.” The rule of Christ declares all things under his feet. This same language is found in Ephesians 1:22,23, “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him head over all things to the church.” The reign which was inaugurated at Pentecost would be consummated at the fall of Jerusalem, for the kingdom would be completed (Luke 21:31). The “excepted” of this passage is connected with being manifest. Jesus would be “excepted” in that he would be “outside” or a set apart for his mission of ruling. This is the time He would “sit” on his throne” (Matthew 25:31). Jesus promised he would be manifest or be revealed in the destruction of Jerusalem, “Even thus shall it be in the day the son of man is revealed. In that day he which shall be upon the housetop and his stuff in the house….”(Luke 17:30,31). The word “revealed” is the Greek word “apokalupsis” which is the same word translated “appear” (1 Peter 1:13) and is the basis for the title for the book of “Revelation.”

The revealing of Christ would bring about the completed work of salvation and the Word from eternity would sit forever upon his throne, making intercession for his saints for “he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). This is the meaning of 1 Corinthians 15:28, “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” The finality of the plan of God was to bring “all in all” which references both Jew and Gentile being brought into one body (Ephesians 2:14-17). The is the time that Zechariah foretold, “And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day there shall be one Lord, and his name one.” Zechariah refers not to Pentecost, but to the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and its ongoing results (Zechariah 14:1,2,5,9). The Saviour is now subject to the Father as our prayers address the Father through Christ (John 16:23). 1 Corinthians 15:29 has already been dealt with earlier as the “dead ones” references Old Covenant Israel who died before Christ. Today, we are baptized to share in their hope. There is only “one hope” (Ephesians 4:5). That hope is “eternal life” (Titus 1:2).

1 Corinthians 15:30-34, speaks of further consequences that denied the resurrection of the “dead ones.” If we (Christians) cannot be raised without them (Israel), then Paul argues that there would be no reason to stand in jeopardy, die daily, contend with the beasts at Ephesus, etc.. The sharing with these false teachers that denied Israel’s hope was doing damage to their spiritual lives. The knowledge of God included Israel’s hope. This knowledge was indispensable then as it is now (Hosea 13:14; Isaiah 26:19,20).

1 Corinthians 15:35-50 speaks of the nature of the resurrection and the body that was to be raised. Some at Corinth asked, “how are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come” (15:35). The question revolved around the Jews being raised and the nature of their resurrection. If the body of Christ would be raised, how then would the Jews be raised? The singular “body” and the plural “they” point to a corporate resurrection of a singular kind. The argument centered around “their body” as opposed to “our body.” This implies that the Corinthians understood the corporate nature of the resurrection, that it belonged to the body of Christ. Isaiah’s words remind us that it was God’s intention to raise Old Covenant Israel, “Thy dead men shall live together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust” (Isaiah 26:19). Paul begins to argue the case for the type of body in which Old Covenant saints would be raised.

The first point Paul makes is that before a body is raised it has to die. This is so obvious that Paul states the truth in the most forceful way, “Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die” (1 Corinthians 15:36).

Paul’s next point is that the body that they were presently sowing was not the body that “shall be.” The body that the Corinthians were sowing was not yet seen, just as a grain of seed, “may chance of wheat, or of some other grain” (1 Corinthians 15:37). The seed was still so small, it could not be discerned as to what the final outcome would produce. Paul said earlier, “For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). This spiritual face to face meeting would come at the end of the revelation and end of the law. 1 John 3:2 echoes the same teaching, “Beloved, now we are the sons of God, and it doth not appear what we shall be: but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

John is not emphasizing a physical transformation but a spiritual one. The vestiges of the law were still apparent to the early church as the elders of Jerusalem informed to Paul, “many of thousands of Jews there are which believe and they are all zealous of the law”(Acts 21:20). The law, with its new moons and Sabbaths, Paul said, “are a shadow of things to come” (Colossians 2:17). The law was a shadow of the church which in its true and complete spiritual sense was still to come. Paul used the word (ARE) “eimi” which has no past tense in the Greek. The law still possessed its shadows, even as Paul wrote, that would be taken away at the revelation of Christ. Hebrews 8:13 taught the same truth, “a new covenant, he hath made the first old, that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” The perfect man and the unity of the faith were just around the corner (Ephesians 4:11-13).
More to come!