This is part three in a series by William Bell of Allthingsfulfilled ministry, with whom I am co-host of the popular radio show “Two Guys and the Bible” (www.fulfilledradio.com) which can be heard every Tuesday evening at 6 PM central time.
William’s insights into 1 Corinthians 15 should dispel much of the misunderstanding surrounding 1 Corinthians 15 and the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. Be sure to read part one and part two.
Be sure to read my book, Seventy Weeks Are Determined…For the Resurrection, for more on the resurrection doctrine.
Flesh and Blood Cannot Inherit the Kingdom
It is true that the Bible teaches that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. However, we find the kingdom being inherited by those who “biologically speaking” are flesh and blood!
How is this possible?
It is a blatant contradiction, if and only if, by “flesh and blood” in 1 Corinthians 15:50, we mean biological cells and DNA. However, that is not what is meant. But before we address that point, let us note that some were inheriting the kingdom.
In Hebrews 12:28, the Bible says, “For we receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”
Several points should be noted here.
First, the word, paralambonontes, a present participle cannot mean individuals receiving their individual kingdoms at separate times. Some have argued that the present passive verbs used in 1 Corinthians 15 refer to individual bodily resurrections throughout the redemptive era, such as with the widow of Nain’s son, Lazarus, Dorcas, etc. This view, according to Greek authorities, cannot be sustained from the Greek language. Such a concept is not the meaning expressed in the present passive in 1 Cor. 15. Rather, the present passive expresses a single progressive action with a beginning and ending. The action may focus on the beginning, intermediate or the consummation, but the idea is that it is one progressive continuous action, not multiple scattered or intermittent actions occurring over different times throughout history.
Therefore, the receiving of the kingdom represents one continuous process for the saints, from the inception of their salvation to its consummation. See the parable in Mark 4:26-29, where the kingdom is shown to be one continuous process of sowing and growing until the harvest.
Secondly, the receiving of the kingdom equates with the inheriting of the kingdom. They mean one and the same. One who is receiving the kingdom is inheriting the kingdom. One who inherited the kingdom has received it. Can there be an inheriting without receiving? If not, neither can there be a receiving without inheriting.
In Luke 19:12, the Bible speaks of the nobleman’s son, who went into a far country to “receive” for himself a kingdom and to return. This is a parable taken from a real world example but which Christ applies to himself. In the parable the Bible clearly teaches that Christ, as did Archelaus, inherited the kingdom.
Thirdly, Abraham receives the inheritance. “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance….”(Heb. 11:8)
Fourthly, the saints who are receiving the kingdom, [an ongoing present action pointing to a consummation], are simultaneously inheriting the kingdom. But these saints are “flesh and blood” biologically speaking. Thus, when “flesh and blood” is made to refer to biology, it forces the Bible to teach the very opposite of 1 Corinthians 15, thereby making the texts contradict with a 180 degree spin!
Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, 1 Cor. 15:50. But flesh and blood was at that very time inheriting the kingdom, Hebrews 12:28. How does that work with the Individual Body at Death (IBD) view who take ‘flesh and blood’ in the Corinthians text to mean the physical body?
To the contrary, not only is “flesh and blood” per Hebrews 12:28, used in the covenantal sense of receiving/inheriting/entering the kingdom of God, the saints begin receiving it in advance of the parousia or with a view to its arrival upon the shaking of the Old Covenant heaven and earth! This further identifies this transition as covenantal, spiritual and progressively consummating the eschatological event.