The Resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 –
Be sure to read the previous installment in this series on the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15.
1 Corinthians 15:39-41 points out the difference between fleshly bodies and heavenly bodies. There is a “flesh of men” and of “beasts.” These earthly animals have earthly bodies. There are bodies that are “celestial” (heavenly) and bodies “terrestrial”(earthly). The resurrection is more like the (heavenly) celestial than the (earthly) terrestrial. Paul points to heavenly bodies of the sun, moon and stars. Daniel 12, which speaks of resurrection contains parallel thoughts. Daniel 12:3 says, “And they that shall be wise shall shine as the firmament.” Jesus quoted from this passage when speaking about the “end of the age” (Matthew 13:39), when He said, “then the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of God (Matthew 13:43).” Both the dead in Christ that were transported out of Hades and presented before God, and the living that would experience the resurrection would shine to varying degrees are the subject. Jesus said, “So let your light so shine before men” (Matthew 5:16), as Paul affirmed, “among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life” (Philippians 2:15). To varying degrees, subjects of the eternal life are the ones that allow the gospel to shine forth in the darkness of the unsaved. This fits 1 Corinthians 15:42, “So also is the resurrection of the dead.”
1 Corinthians 15:42 b finishes the thought, “It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.” The Old Covenant body, which was transitioning, was sown in weakness. It was weak because it could not save. The false teachers of Peter’s day who denied the coming of Christ and argued, “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:3) promised “liberty but were servants of corruption” (2 Peter 2:19). The natural body was corruptible because when it sinned it died. Paul affirmed, “when the commandment came, sin revived and I died” (Romans 7:9).
In 1 Corinthians 15:43, Paul does not change subject, “It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power:” The body was raised in power because sin was destroyed in the new body. Paul affirms the blessing for those exclusively in Christ, “For in Adam, all men die, so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). The transitional body of suffering and humiliation was constantly being transformed so that it might be “fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things to himself” (Philippians 3:16). This is a picture of the church, not a picture of flesh and blood as the futurist avers. Paul said, “hath put all thing under his feet and gave him to be the head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:23). The spiritual domain in which Christ was to rule, was already in progress. This again, is the “already, but not yet” of scripture. The verb “raised” (egeiretai) is a present tense and indicative mood verb which tells us the action of the verb was taking place at the time Paul wrote. Literally, they were being raised in power.