Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”
© Charles A. Clough 2000
Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003
Part 5: Confrontation with the King
Chapter 5: The Resurrection of the King
Lesson 145 – Resurrection of the King (cont’d)
23 Mar 2000
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD
Turn to 1 John 1 because I want to be sure that we understand the difference between two words. Actually three words, let me write them on here, resurrection, resuscitation …, these are words that if you’re not careful you won’t read Scripture right in certain areas, and people tend to be sloppy about things, so let’s clarify vocabulary a moment. In 1 John 1:1-2 it’s the bodily presence of the Lord Jesus that John insists upon. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we beheld and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—,” and of course this refers to the incarnation but by way of resurrection. It refers to His resurrection body, and it’s observable by all the empirical senses. So when the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Thomas, Thomas could touch Him, Thomas could feel Him, we would say scientifically today His resurrection body had mass that weighed something, it took up space, the body consumed food, and yet the body had this strange ability to disappear and reappear.
We really don’t know what it’s made of, the resurrection body is a new thing, it never happened in history before the Lord Jesus Christ; it’s scheduled to happen again, but what goes on here nobody knows. Nobody’s done a chemical analysis, a physical analysis, electrical analysis, molecular analysis; nobody had the tools to do that. The resurrection body is an unknown in its composition. But at least what is known about it is that it’s open to empirical perception by all the senses. And most importantly it’s indestructible. We’ll get into that theme a little more. The resurrection body is immortal. It’s subject to all of the senses.
Flip over to 1 Corinthians 15 which is the central passage in the New Testament on resurrection, any time you have a question about resurrection remember 1 Corinthians 15, in your mind have this as your key passage. We mentioned last time how Christ appeared to five hundred people, etc. Paul goes on to mention certain things about it. For example, in verse 40, “There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another.”
By the way, this passage, in 1 Corinthians 15 beginning in this section assumes the classification scheme from Genesis, because if you go up a few verses, verse 39, there’s a direct allusion to Genesis 1. Here’s an example why you want to be so careful about disconnecting pieces of the Scripture. You can’t do that. You’ve got to keep the Scriptures as a unit because here Paul clearly says “All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another flesh of fish.” He’s distinguishing what? Kinds. There’s a certain kind he says, there are certain categories, there’s man, there’s animals, there’s all kinds of animals in here. There’s only one kind of man. And you can’t cross these kinds. We live in an age that’s so dominated by evolutionary thinking that people don’t pick this up. The sad thing is that the rest of the passage in 1 Corinthians 15 doesn’t mean too much if you eliminate verse 39. Verse 39 introduces this whole idea of the differences, and he says  “There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies…,  There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon,” so he’s distinguishing the One and the Many that we talked about.
Now he makes a series of assertions that describe this resurrection thing, and in verse 42 he says, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body.” The metaphor there is what? It’s an everyday experience, it’s gardening. He’s talking about sowing a seed and the seed becomes a plant. In the insect world we have the metamorphosis of the caterpillar/butterfly metamorphosis. But there’s continuity there. So God speaking through the Holy Spirit through the apostles is trying to touch something in our experience that we know to tell us something about our not-yet experience that we don’t know. There’s an analogy here. So God says that if you want to think properly about this resurrection, think in terms of a seed, think in terms of planting a seed, a totally different construction. And you watch this amazing situation, this germination of a seed, and all the DNA organized, and it deploys, and you get this plant out of this thing, all out of a seed, all the little blueprint is all in that little, tiny seed. You can have an oak tree out of it, but the seed is still so tiny, the whole program is written there. If that analogy is valid, what does it tell us about the relationship of our future resurrection bodies to our body now? They are related, and each one of us has an individual body, individually distinct. That means everybody will have individually distinct resurrection bodies. Everybody’s resurrection body doesn’t look the same. There’s continuity between our present bodies and our resurrection bodies.
Verse 43 though says there’s a difference, it says one “is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.” So there is a difference between our present bodies and our resurrected bodies. Notice also in the language in verse 42, the first one is perishable, but the second one is not perishable. This is utterly foreign to our experience because we live in a fallen world. In fact, had we been in the garden prior to the fall, Adam and Eve’s body was destructible. It was perishable; it wasn’t perishing yet, but it was perishable, it could have died, but the resurrection body apparently can’t die. This is a very sobering thing because it means there are no more chances, that once we are resurrected, there are no more conversions, there’s no more redemption, everything is fixed from that point on. So it’s a sobering thought that whatever we want to do to shape our lives for eternity has to be done now. Once the resurrection body happens, whatever it is that happens, it locks us in, so that the potential is sort of fixed there. Yes, we have all eternity to worship God, but that resurrection body is a function of the present life that we live.
Verse 44, “It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. [If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.”  So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul.’ [The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.]” A citation from Genesis 2; notice it’s written in the second creation story; he didn’t believe in two creation stories. He didn’t study under the modern universities and didn’t get his PhD so the poor guy didn’t understand that there were two creation stories here.  “However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, then the spiritual.  The first man is from the earth, earthly; the second man is from heaven.” That’s another interesting observation. In Genesis 2 where did the first body come from? God shaped the sand and the dust of the earth. Now he’s saying the resurrection body doesn’t come from the earth. Whatever happens in the resurrection body, it’s coming from above. It’s coming from outside the earth, there’s some power, there’s some shaping force that comes to this planet to build the resurrection body.
Verse 48, “As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthly; as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.  And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.  Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” This word “resurrection” has to do with an understanding of the thing that we’ve mentioned in Genesis 3, the second great event, which is the fall. Remember the slide that shows the issue of good and evil; we said paganism has no break with good and evil; it’s a position of utter despair. It’s amazing that brilliant, intelligent people are so blinded, not being regenerated, so blinded that they can’t see that this goes on forever. There’s no escape from this thing. You can talk reincarnation and all the wheels you want to, but there’s no escape from this, it just keeps on going.
But the Bible has this thing in history God created the universe good, He tolerates the mix of good and evil for a time, the day of grace, and then He sets it aside right here, and at that point He starts separating the good from the evil. Of course He’s already doing that in sanctification/salvation, but now I want to think in terms of this bifurcation, this split in the road, at the resurrection, because at that point there is no turning back. At that point the split has occurred, and there are no more crossovers. So that’s why resurrection is an extremely powerful and very moving event, and we’ll talk more about that as we go on. But the meaning of the resurrection is this finality, this final thing. It’s the beginning of eternity.
A spirit body would be like an angel. Can angels manifest in physical bodies? Apparently so, they ate food in the Old Testament. Two of the angels moved the grave stone, the tomb. So evidently they could show up here in normal clothes and we would not perceive them to be different. It’s fascinating to speculate about angels appearing as people and then just disappearing. You’ve all heard stories about these strange deliverances of people, Christians delivered from persecution or suffering or something by this person that shows up, and then lo and behold they’re gone, they don’t know where they came from, no tracking of them, no identity. And there’s stories on whether that was a real person or whether it was an angel, we don’t know. Angels can do that, but angels are not the same as resurrection. This is an immortal version of the human body. Angels apparently can metamorphisize, they can change form, because in the Psalms it talks about God giving the Law with His angelic powers as flame, fire, and wind, so the angels can appear as fire and wind, but they can also appear as people. That’s weird, talk about changing the kinds. So the spirits have this transformation ability. That’s not the same as this. So be careful.
This is the issue with Thomas. He thought Christ was just a spirit, this could be an angel or this could be a body, just the soul, like Samuel came up to King Saul in his soul, he didn’t have a body, and this would be the state after death prior to the resurrection. So angels and souls are spiritual bodies, they don’t seem to have mass, touch, you know. But resurrection does.
The third word we want to understand is resuscitation. That would be an example in John 11 with Lazarus. This is a resuscitation. This is not a resurrection; it may be emblematic of the resurrection, it may be an illustration of some things of the resurrection, but by itself this is not resurrection. It’s rather remarkable. This is a miracle, just like the resurrection is a miracle. In John 11:39 Jesus instructs them to go to the grave of Lazarus. “Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, Lord, by this time there will be a stench; for he has been dead four days.” So now we’re talking about a corpse. Verse 40, “Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not say to you, if you believe, you will see the glory of God?’  And so they removed the stone. And Jesus raised His eyes, and said, Father, I thank Thee that Thou heard Me.  And I knew that You hear Me always; but because of the people standing around I said it, that they may believe that Thou didst send Me.’  And when He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth.’  He who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings; and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’ ” A startling example.
The point is that Lazarus would eventually die again because the resuscitated body is still a mortal human body, miraculously changed, and the soul reunited; his soul had separated from his body. If you work at a funeral home I hope you don’t have too many resuscitations, it’d be tough if they’d embalmed the body, then the guy would have to make blood and everything else to get the fluids out and rebuild, reconstruct the whole thing. That’s a resuscitation
So resuscitation, spirit and resurrection; we’re talking about resurrection. We’re not talking about a spirit body; we’re not talking about resuscitation, we’re talking resurrection. On page 101 at the bottom, what we’re talking about is the factuality of the resurrection. The Bible asserts that resurrection happened, it was observed, Jesus walked around, showed Himself alive after many infallible proofs, “it was not a resuscitation,” and I give Old Testament verses, [1 Kings 17-23; 2 Kings 4:18-37; John 11:1-44] so you have those references. “Jesus’ resurrection body could appear and disappear (Luke 24:31; John 20:19, 26),” etc.
We started this by looking at the vocabulary, now we want to concentrate not just on the fact of the resurrection, but we want to deal with more of the meaning and the interpretation of it. So we’re moving now to the meaning of the resurrection, how it is viewed in Scripture. There’s a context, every word has a context, and we’re going to go back into the Old Testament to get the flow, the flavor and the context of resurrection, because unfortunately today many Christians have never heard of the resurrection in terms of the Old Testament. They’ve heard the story of Jesus rising from the dead, it’s told every Easter, they go through the whole New Testament story, which is wonderful, but let’s not forget that the people who lived that story, who did visit the tomb on the third day, who talked to Jesus afterward, were all Jews who knew the Old Testament. Moreover, the Lord Jesus told His disciples, before the resurrection this was going to happen. But He didn’t have any New Testament Scriptures, Jesus didn’t have 1 Corinthians 15, He didn’t have the Gospel of John, He didn’t have the book of Hebrews, He had nothing, He had no New Testament.
So in teaching about the resurrection what Bible did Jesus have to use to teach about it? He had to teach out of the Old Testament. Gee, I never saw the resurrection in the Old Testament. A lot of people never saw it, it’s not too obvious in the Old Testament. So we’re going to take some time to move to the meaning of the resurrection, and to do that we’re going to go back to the Old Testament. We want to understand how Jesus understood this, and how He wanted His disciples to understand it.
Luke 20:27 is a central passage on the resurrection prior to the resurrection. Jesus is still operating under the dispensation of the Law, the Church Age hasn’t started, resurrection hasn’t occurred. “Now there came to Him some of the Sadducees (who say that there is no resurrection).” Now if you’re reading along in a text and you see something like that written, what does that tell you about the Jewish community and the doctrine of the resurrection? If someone were to come to you and tell you that, well, Judaism didn’t know any resurrection, that’s a figment of the Christian imagination. What does this verse tell you why that’s wrong? It says “the Sadducees (who did not believe in the resurrection),” well what does that mean? It means that some Jews did believe in the resurrection. When did they believe, before or after the resurrection of Jesus? They believed it before the resurrection of Jesus. Judaism had a resurrection, so it’s not true that the resurrection is something new that happened in the New Testament. It’s embedded into the Old Testament. The Sadducees were just one subset of Jews that happened to deny the resurrection. Verse 28, “and they questioned Him, saying, ‘Teacher, Moses wrote us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife, and he’s childless, his brother should take the wife and raise up offspring to his brother.  Now there were seven brothers; and the first took a wife, and died childless,” I mean, these guys had to spend two or three weeks thinking this one up;  “and the second  and the third took her; and in the same way the seven also died, leaving no children.” By the time you were number seven you’d be wondering about marrying that lady.  “Finally the woman died also.  In the resurrection therefore, which one’s wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.” That’s the chaos of history.
Verse 34, “And Jesus said to them, ‘The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage,  but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age,” that’s the future age to come, “and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage;  for neither can they die any more, for they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” So the first thing Jesus said, and see what He’s doing, let’s follow His logic. His logic is deep here. This is not an easy passage to go through, and it’s mind blowing and boggling to think how the Lord Jesus Christ handled Old Testament Scripture. The stuff that He got out of that text would probably embarrass us, we’d walk away thinking boy, I never even started my Bible study, look what this guy is pulling out of the text.
First of all, He’s challenging the method of the Sadducees, here’s Mr. Sadducee, and what he has done is he has taken the natural world, here’s the natural world from creation to his moment in time, and he’s learned certain things about it, things like marriage, things like reproduction. In fact, he’s learned all about the natural body, he’s learned all about reproduction, he’s learned all about marriage. Now here’s the fallacy in the reasoning. He has automatically assumed that all of that stuff is the same across this resurrection barrier, that it’s the same on the other side of the barrier as it is on this side. Danger! On what basis do you make that assumption? That was the underlying assumption to the whole argument, so notice how Jesus handles the arguments here.
What He does, He looks at the whole argument that’s been built on this assumption, and He pulls out the rug. He denies the very method of the Sadduceean argument, because the Sadduceean argument is an extrapolation argument. Just like today we extrapolate present processes backward into history and claim the universe is millions and billions of years old because radioactive [can’t understand word] right now are very high. So, the first thing He does is He undercuts the logic. Now let’s see what He does. Verse 37, “But that the dead are raised,” now He comes to the doctrine of resurrection, “But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the burning bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Let’s stop there and go back to that text, Exodus 3:6 and let’s put ourselves back there. This is something the Lord sees here, of course, He was there. But in this text He’s pointing out something. Here’s the benefit of allowing God to teach us about His own Scriptures, because who was in the burning bush? The Son of God. And who was the Lord Jesus Christ? The Son of God. Think He knows how to interpret what happened in Exodus 3? He was there.
Exodus 3:4, “When the LORD saw that he turned aside,” remember the burning bush, verse 3, “So Moses said, ‘I must turn aside now, and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.” “When the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush, and said, ‘Moses, Moses!’ and he said, ‘Here I am.’  Then He said, ‘Don’t come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’  He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.  And the LORD said, ‘I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings,” etc.
In verse 6 is a clause that Jesus picks up on, and it’s this clause, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” I’m sure most of us would read that, I would, as a historical reference to the past. In other words, when God is saying “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, we would think of it, straightforward reading, that what He meant to say is “I am the God of the man who lived centuries ago, I am the God of his son, Isaac, who also lived centuries ago, I am the God of Jacob, who lived centuries ago,” much like we might say I am the God of George Washington, I am the God of Abraham Lincoln, and we would all accept that and we would say that’s a historical reference, you know, He’s the God of that person back there.
Apparently the Lord Jesus Christ says that’s not how we should have taken this, we should have seen something else about this passage. When the Lord picks up on this, turn back to Luke, now He’s going to tell us what we should have seen in that passage. He says, notice in verse 37 He’s teaching about the resurrection, He says, “but that the dead are raised,” so the fact that resurrection occurs, “even Moses shows,” well now how the heck did Moses show, he never even talked about the resurrection in Exodus 3:6, but Jesus said if you read the passage right you have to believe in the resurrection. Why Lord? Why do I have to believe in the resurrection based on that verse, that doesn’t look straightforward to me? Well it must have been straightforward to Him because that’s what He’s saying. We can’t say Jesus’ argument here in verse 37 is wrong, the logic is faulty. He says that the resurrection “Moses showed,” where, He quotes just that part of the verse, He doesn’t even say “the God of your Father,” notice, Jesus cuts the verse down and he slices out that clause. “… the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”
Then He explains Himself in verse 38, “Now He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to Him.” That’s hard to think about, there’s an awful lot of embedded argument there. This is the kind of argument that I remember when I took a few courses in theoretical math, the guy put step one of the proof on the board, and it was our job to do the 52½ steps to get down to the last step, and he’d say “and it can be shown that,” boom, and you knew that yea, it can be shown, I don’t know how to do it but you can go from step one to 63. That’s what the Lord’s doing here, He doesn’t go over all the individual steps in the logic chain, but He says if you understand what I’m saying in Exodus 3:6 you will believe in the resurrection.
So the challenge to us is can we reconstruct the logic that the Lord Jesus Christ is using here to get this deduction. It appears that His logic is something like this. He starts out, step one, God, let’s just say God of Abraham, and it is present tense, God is, He is the God of Abraham. It doesn’t say He was the God of Abraham. It says He is the God of Abraham. Now every once in a while you run into people and they say we can’t trust the Bible because there’s a lot of different variations in the text. Do you notice that this argument is constructed on one verb tense? So when you see this slightly little argument about well we can’t really trust the Bible because there’s all different readings and variables, well then how come the Lord Jesus Christ is building an argument out of the syntax of a sentence. In His day at least people knew what a present tense was, you have to have a few more steps of explanation today. But the God of Abraham is, and apparently the logic of this is that if God is the God of Abraham, that this Abraham who’s dead must not be in a proper relationship to this God until He’s raised from the dead, because Abraham isn’t resurrected here.
In Exodus 3 Abraham is not yet resurrected, so all we can conclude by looking at the conclusion of the argument is that Jesus Christ is saying, if God, God of X implies that X must be immortal, and must exist forever and ever, and the reason we say that He’s arguing that he must be immortal because if he’s not immortal, then he can sin and fall away, and therefore to be immortal means when the road bifurcates between good and evil, that he will go on the good road and be immortally saved, imperishably saved. But there’s more to the argument than even this, because this by itself doesn’t say that the life or existence of immortality is necessarily resurrection.
So the Lord Jesus Christ also has to add that this immortality is a resurrected immortality, it’s not eternal existence. How would He make that argument? Why couldn’t a person say well, God of X, X must be immortal, he could be a soul. Why isn’t that sufficient for God to be a God of X, it’d be just simply okay, he lost his body at death and now he perpetuates. So let’s draw another picture. Here’s a picture of the person in this life; the person dies, his body goes away, and he has this thing called soul left. The implication Jesus reads into Exodus 3:6 is that this state cannot satisfy the relationship with God, that this relationship with God requires a body. So that if the person’s out of the body, due to death, here’s death, here’s the soul, the body is gone, this cannot be the final state of affairs but rather the body must be rejoined, there must be a resurrection body that is immortal, and only that can satisfy the relationship with God.
So Jesus is arguing that the body also must be eternally saved, you can’t just save the soul, you have to save the body or you do not have the full orbed relationship with God. There are forty or fifty fine points of argument in this whole thing, and He just flips right to the end in verse 38, “Now He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to Him.” Verse 39, “And some of the scribes,” by the way, caught the argument and they “answered and said, ‘Teacher, You have spoken well.’” And the others didn’t dare raise any more questions. [40, “For they did not have courage to question Him any longer about anything.”] That ended that discussion that afternoon.
Let’s see what we can tie together. What did we learn about the resurrection body? What do we learn about the first body? When God created in Genesis, what was the picture in Genesis 2? Go back to that picture, what does God do? He prepares a body and then what does He do to the clay that He’s prepared? Whhooo, He gives breathe, He breathes into that body. And what does it say? And the person “became a living soul.” So you have a formula that body plus spirit equals soul. Therefore can the soul be complete without the body? There’s a completeness sub argument to Jesus’ larger argument. And He appears to be arguing that salvation is incomplete unless it also includes the body; you’ve got to deal with the body. And His logic must be built on the original creation design that man isn’t really man without a body. Angels can be angels without bodies, but men and women cannot be true men and women in relationship to God without bodies.
There are other instances in the Old Testament of a belief that something like this had to happen. Turn to Genesis 17, now we’re going to pick up some specific references in the Old Testament that, if I was going to prove the resurrection I think I would feel more comfortable with these verses than Exodus 3. That’s because I don’t yet fully appreciate everything that’s contained in Exodus 3. Genesis 17:7, notice what word is used of the Abrahamic Covenant? It says “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.” Again we hurriedly read this like it means He will be the covenant of this guy, and then he dies, and then He’s going to be the covenant of this descendant, and he dies, and the covenant of this descendant and he dies, covenant of this descendant and he dies, etc. whereas the meaning of the text seems to be that the covenant keeps on going to the guy over here, not just Isaac and Jacob and all the descendants, yeah, that’s true, but it remains a covenant for Abraham. Somehow Abraham’s existence is guaranteed in a relationship with God by this covenant, and he can’t have a complete relationship with God without a body; the implication is that he has a body.
Abraham recognized that something had to be implied by this, remember in Genesis 22 the sacrifice of Isaac, they go up to sacrifice, and he tells the people that he leaves behind that my son and I are going to come back to you. So he had to believe in something. You could argue well, that’s just a belief in resuscitation, not resurrection. But I think the Lord would argue with us about that, based on the way He’s handling Exodus 3:5-6, that I meant more when I said to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob I’m going to be your God forever; I mean that I’m going to raise you up from the dead and I’m going to be your God forever; I’m not going to leave you naked without your body, I haven’t saved you completely, I haven’t saved you fully and completely until I’ve given you your resurrection body, My job is undone until then.
On page 102, J. Barton Payne, who was for many years the Old Testament professor at Wheaton, the old Wheaton, says: “The Old Testament had already presented the fact of the dichotomy of the human nature: a body, that returns to dust, and of the soul or spirit, that at death returns to God. But at the same time, the Old Testament also teaches” here it is “the unity of man’s whole person, and it was by means of this latter truth that God seems to have led the thinking of His people toward an appreciation of an eventual restoration of the entire man, body and spirit reunited.”
On page 103 I give you examples out of the Old Testament where you have some resuscitation, but then you have the strange case in Genesis 5:24 of Enoch who was raptured. You have the strange case of Elijah. What’s their state? Are they resurrected? There’s something strange going on there. It’s like they’re raptured and whether they’re given a resuscitated body or something in the interim or what goes on, but there’s some strange thing going on here. We don’t have to solve the whole mystery to appreciate the fact of what’s going on here. If God calls Elijah and Enoch to Himself, He calls them while they’re yet living, before they died, in their mortal bodies, so there’s a transformation going on here. It’s like death is kind of an unnecessary thing; that God bypasses that if He chooses, which He will at the Rapture of the church, a lot of people are going to bypass. So death isn’t necessarily always the death of the human body, but whether it is or it isn’t, the body we have, while we’re wearing it, or after we’ve discarded it, that body is going to be changed. It’s got to be changed because for some reason, and it gets back to creation design, God designed us for bodies, unlike angels.
There are two passages in the Old Testament that you would have thought Jesus would have gone to because these two verses do mention something that makes resurrection explicit. The first one is Isaiah 26:19. Remember when Isaiah ministered. Here’s where the Biblical Framework in the sense of the history of these books help you understand sort of the innuendos here, the implications. If we go to the time of Isaiah’s writing, what events were taking place? Let’s read Isaiah in the light of the history in which that man lived, prayed and ministered the Word of God. He lived in the time when the two kingdoms, the north and the south kingdom were in decline. There was an immediate disaster facing the nation Israel. They were going to go, basically, out of history for a while, [they were going to] disappear from history. And the prophets in this period of time are preparing the nation for its demise.
Isaiah 26 is a passage where he’s talking about all this stuff that’s going to happen, and it gets down and he makes this statement in verse 19, he says “Your dead will live; their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, for your dew is as the dew of the dawn, and the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.” That is a very strong pro-resurrection verse, and it’s coming at a time when they needed hope because they saw everything collapsing around them.
[blank spot] Another passage is found in Daniel 12:2, this is quite clear, nobody argues this. Liberals however believe that Daniel was written late, and it was written just prior to the New Testament so the resurrection doctrine had already happened, etc. We don’t believe that, we believe Daniel is Daniel and that he wrote during the exile. “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.” That introduces another sobering thing that one usually doesn’t hear about when the resurrection doctrine is taught, that all men will receive resurrected bodies. That’s the destiny of all men. When we go back to this good/evil diagram, when God chooses to separate, all men will receive resurrection bodies, and that’s what’s so chilling about the resurrection.
We’re going to see that more and more, the resurrection is a very scary doctrine, because the resurrection says that once you’re resurrected you can’t die again. You are now forever locked in concrete, as it were, into the destiny that you have chosen. Those who have received Christ, those who have believed on Him will be in the resurrection of the just, because they have given up good works and they’ve said that if I’m ever going to attain righteousness, it’s going to be Christ’s righteousness. For those who have said I’m going to do it myself thank you, God will say fine, do it yourself, and will be faced with a horror of living in a resurrected body forever and ever and ever, that can never be destroyed, but can feel pain, etc. You know when people feel pain, and you’ve seen death scenes and read it in books, maybe you’ve personally seen it, when people are dying, after a while they just want to die to get rid of the pain. It may be psychological pain, it may be physical pain, but there’s a relief in death.
There’s no relief in this resurrection because there’s no way to get back out of the resurrection body. That’s why it’s called a horror. It’s a resurrection to life and a resurrection of condemnation. This is why the gospel is so tremendously important, and Daniel is speaking, he mentions both resurrections, he says “these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.” Notice the word “everlasting” is used for both.
There’s one other passage, and you might have to write this one down because I didn’t put it in the notes, but on page 103, Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2, and Job 19:25, this is familiar from Handel’s Messiah, the choir and orchestra plays the big crescendo music and then the singing. “And as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.  Even after my skin is flayed, yet without my flesh I shall see God;  whom I myself shall behold, and whom my eyes shall see and not another. My heart faints within me.” In verse 26, “from my flesh I shall see God.” There are three verses that show the resurrection in the Old Testament: Job 19; Isaiah 26; Daniel 12. So it’s not new with the New Testament. And Jesus inference is that underlying all the covenant of the Old Testament, the resurrection is implicit and explicit.
Go to the culmination of this section of the notes. We talked about the fact of the resurrection, what we’re doing now is developing the significance or the meaning of the resurrection. I’m quoting, page 103, a passage from Dr. Ladd who is one of the prominent evangelical New Testament theologians for many, many years. He wrote one of the top evangelical theologies of the New Testament. “Jesus’ resurrection is not an isolated event that gives to men the warm confidence and hope of a future resurrection,” he’s saying it’s not an isolated event, it’s not an isolated event, it’s part of a bigger plan, you’ve got to see the resurrection in light of the bigger plan, so it is not an isolated event, “it is the beginning of the eschatological resurrection itself. If we may use crude terms to try to describe sublime realities, we might say that a piece of the eschatological resurrection has been split off and planted in the midst of history. The first act of the drama of the Last day has taken place before the Day of the Lord.”
So with the resurrection we now have something that is quite amazing and this becomes the basis, actually, for the Christian life and exchanged life and all the rest of the stuff that follows out from this. This is our first glimpse in this series of this truth, and that is that if this is the line of history and we have the end of history here with the eternal state, what has happened with the resurrection is that one person, Jesus Christ, has personally gone through this last moment of history and inside time has had it happen to Himself. He is the leader; He is the one who will become the King of kings of the eternal state. So He is resurrected now and He’s all done, He’s finished the race, He’s arrived, and He’s been the first member of the human race to make it. The fact is that He made it means that the resurrection is coming off as scheduled. It isn’t going to be thwarted now because the key guy is in place. He’s already, as it were, He’s at the finish line and He’s proven that humanity is going to get there because He’s gotten there. This produces a rather awesome view of history. On the bottom of page 103 I followed that up and you the New Testament passages where the New Testament authors are hungrily lapping up this truth and it’s under girding all those great promises in the New Testament.
I want you to pause for a moment and just reflect that when you see the resurrection not just as an isolated event, but you see it in its cosmic setting, that the very end of the universe has occurred already with Jesus Christ, that He has inaugurated the next universe. He’s the first part that exists of this new coming, the new heavens and the new earth that’s yet to come; it already exists in at least one human body right now, tonight. There’s no question about the new heavens and the new earth ever coming to pass; they’ve already begun to come to pass.
“What is the significance, then of Jesus’ resurrection within biblical thought? It is the presence of the ultimate goal of history within history today. … No other religion or philosophy of history can point man to what the final goal of history looks like. Communism, for example, makes stupendous claims of the future ‘redeemed’ classless society, but it cannot offer today an actual concrete example of the kind of person who will live in that society.” Nobody has a prototype. “Biblical Christianity, on the contrary, can point to the resurrected God-man King as the kind of person who will inhabit the Kingdom of God forever,” and John picks this up.
Turn to 1 John 3:2 it’s explicitly stated in this language, but it’s usually missed because we don’t see the resurrection in its proper biblical context. 1 John 3:2 is a great summary and it shows the apostles were right on track; this is exactly the way the apostles were thinking. “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, if He should appear, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.” Obviously he’s talking about coming back in the resurrected body. We will be like Him at that point, we will be raptured, we will be the same with Him. He ties it in to the whole plan of salvation because the previous verse, 3:1, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God,” we sing this, and that’s nice, but it loses its power if you never in the first place understand the context of the Apostle John’s thinking, “and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” But [v.2] “now we are the children of God,” now, present, “and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be.”
So John says there are a lot of things, I don’t know all the details, but that’s the incomprehensible deity. That’s omniscience, I’m not omniscient, the apostles were not omniscient, they had to trust just like we have to. But we know one thing, that when He appears, we’re going to be like Him. We’re going to share in this eschatological end of history mode of existence. We started this chapter by pointing out that Buddha didn’t rise from the dead, Confucius didn’t rise from the dead, Mohammed didn’t rise from the dead, and no one in Judaism rose from the dead. Jesus Christ is the only person on the face of world history that ever rose from the dead. Ever! There’s been resuscitations, there’s been the mythical god-men walking the planet but show me where there’s been a resurrection. Show me where there’s the claim of a resurrection. It’s absolutely unique because only in Christianity is history finished in the person of Jesus Christ.
We’ll conclude by looking at some of the New Testament references. Turn to Colossians we’ll get into this more a little bit when we get into the doctrine side but right now we’re just kind of warming up and looking at some of the flavor of how the resurrection comes off in the New Testament epistles, which aren’t really concerned with the fact of the resurrection so much as they’re concerned with the conclusions of it. Colossians 1:15, this passage is Christology, he’s teaching the depth of the person of Christ, “And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation.” Jehovah’s Witnesses take this “first-born” to mean that Jesus Christ is first-born of creation and we were all going to be created so He was created because He’s first-born. That misses the point. The point of verse 15 is that He is the One who is over the creation, He is the One who inherits the creation, He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords over all creation, “for by Him are all things created,” etc. If they’d just read one more verse, verse 16, “For by Him all things were created,” all things, a-l-l, ALL things are created.
Verse 17, “And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  He is also the head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead,” notice this. What is Paul doing in verse 18? He’s picking up the resurrection. Jesus Christ is “the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.” Who gets there first? Jesus does.
In Colossians 3:1 is a practical exhortation, it says: “If then you have been raised up with Christ,” and that’s the mystery in the epistles, there is a spiritual resurrection that happens at regeneration that is preparatory to our physical resurrection, and it’s already past tense, it’s already happened, it happened at the time you trusted Christ. The problem is that we live in a sinful world, a fallen world, Satan is the blinder of our minds, and he blinds us to this great truth. You’ve heard it some times expressed [can’t understand phrase] but this is where it’s rooted, right here, it’s rooted in the resurrection, that somehow spiritually comes into our soul. The life of the Lord Jesus Christ now in His resurrection body somehow gets transferred at the moment of regeneration to us. “If then (and you are) have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” So he insists that our focal point is on this eschatological end of history, that we are to keep in mind, not only the Lord, but the Lord in His resurrection body, that He’s already arrived and making a place for us.
Next week we’re going to go on to some of the unbelieving responses, and some of these are real dousers. I apologize for having big long quotes but you wouldn’t believe me if I just quoted two or three sentences, you’ve got to see this perversity in all of its glory. Just driving to class my wife was telling me she heard on the radio now someone has come up with a new theory to explain away the resurrection, Jesus Christ had a twin brother who just showed up on the scene, identical to Him, and they reversed roles. Anything except what the Scripture says. It gets back to what I always say, everybody says oh we don’t know, we’re so humble, we’re so intellectual, we don’t know everything, but one thing we do know, the Bible isn’t true.
Question asked: Clough replies: The Shroud of Turin is a very interesting thing. I have never had the chance to my own satisfaction read enough about it, but your observation is, I think, the important thing, that even if it isn’t that it’s the idea that when Jesus’ natural body was transformed into a resurrection body, that it wasn’t just a spiritual thing but it left physical evidences. That is amazing, but that thought about the resurrection body leaving physical residue, leaving maybe a flashed energy fossil, fossilized evidence of a flash of energy of some sort, I think is very intriguing. I wouldn’t be surprised, based on the fact that the resurrection body is a body, after all, and it’s just a mysterious thing, and I think it’s profoundly threatening.
If you peek ahead in the notes, I’m going to cover this later, but there’s a wonderful quote in here that I found several years ago by a friend of mine that I went to seminary with, page 109, I’ll go into it later. It’s the second quote on the page, Dr. Pilkey has just been in the context of his book talking about C. S. Lewis and what a powerful influence C. S. Lewis has had in church history, but he notes the fact that as society becomes more and more corrupt and paganized, it takes a more shocking apologetic. And in the context, previous to this he’s been talking about Sigmund Freud and tying it in. He’s a literature professor; he’s been tying it in with Gothic literature. By the way, when he wrote this we didn’t have kids walking through high school with black fingernails, etc. But the Gothic fad is a symptom of this whole thing.
“Lewis’ apologetic approach, grounded in reason, is not well adapted to those parts of the world where apostasy has advanced so far that anarchy reigns and Freud’s ‘dark power of the Id’ vies for immediate social supremacy.” That’s the idea you give in to your sexual predilections or anything else that happens to come out of your depraved human heart. “Confrontation with such satanic power was the specialty of Charles Williams.” He’s referring here to a Christian author. “The final form of apologetics is supernaturalistic, apocalyptic, and judgmental. It threatens the enemies of Christianity with the consequences of unrepentant death, requiring them to choose heaven or hell today and experience one or the other tomorrow …. Although most apostates are infuriated by threats of judgment, the human conscience remains open to this very elemental sort of conviction ….”
“In Christian apologetics, the greatest of all doctrines is the resurrection of the dead, an idea so powerful that it, rather than sex, holds the key to the mystery of human existence.” Watch this, this is classic. “Wherever it is clearly conceived as a metaphysical reality,” by that he means that all men are going to be involved in this, it’s not just Jesus in the tomb out at Jerusalem, “wherever it is clearly conceived as a metaphysical reality, resurrection annihilates every premise and every conclusion of the Marxist, Freudian, and Darwinian schools of thought. It erases the premise of Marxism by positing a version of humanity independent of the natural food chain,” what does he mean by that? What is Karl Marx’s whole philosophy? Why was he for revolution? Because it cured poverty, that man basically is materialist. The highest aspirations of man are material fulfillment, and what is the most material fulfillment? It’s food. So that’s what he’s getting at, in resurrection you don’t necessarily apparently have to eat, maybe you do but you know what he’s getting at, that you’re not dependent on the material world of the present. So he says “It erases the premise of Marxism by positing a version of humanity independent of the natural food chain; it cancels the premise of Freudianism by furnishing a degree of vitality so absolute that temporary sexual euphoria loses all meaning; and it destroys the whole point of evolution by bringing mankind to absolute physical perfection in an instant of transformation.”
Think about the power, it’s more than just an Easter story. The resurrection has all these implications and ramifications, and one of them is this last one, which I love that quote, “an instant of transformation.” Not a million years, not even a second, but all of a sudden a tremendous discontinuity in our time flow, and you step from one moment into the next and there’s a radical shift and change. There’s been a transformation, and it’s so totally beyond us in the physics and the biochemistry, in the whole… everything we know falls to the ground before the resurrection.
What that does for us intellectually is it says what Hebrews 11:3 says that the things which we see all around us, touch, taste, feel, all these things that we feel, like the Sadducees, always extrapolate into the future, use it as a basis of reasoning … wait a minute, whoa, Hebrews 11:3 says that all these things come about not from the things which appear, but from those things which do not appear, from the living Word of God. So it goes back to the fact, God speaks … think of it this way, one day He actually calls for the resurrection. What happens to the DNA, the biochemistry of our blood system? What happens to all the molecules, the diseases, the cancers, bacteria, viruses that might be indwelling in a body and bam, resurrection happens. It makes it all trivial, doesn’t it? A glimpse of that power of the resurrection is what stimulates, and that’s what Pilkey is trying to get at here. It is a complete and utter refutation of all natural thought, because no natural thought, no matter how brilliant it is today can predict the resurrection. The resurrection is not going to be caused by something inside the space/time matrix that we’re living in.
It’s something that comes from outside, and if that comes from outside then we’re not living in a closed universe. And if we’re not living in a closed universe, then of course prayer makes sense, because we’re praying to have these other spiritual forces move into history as a result of prayer. You see, the resurrection is all part of this enveloping frame of reference again. It becomes one more brick, one more vital truth, to surround the perversions, surround them and make them impotent. It cuts them off because it cuts off their premise. What Jesus did to the Sadducees, we saw in that text, that’s what the resurrection does. It utterly annihilates the methodologies that are being used, cuts them right off.
When you see the Shroud of Turin or something like that, we may debate whether that particular shroud was due to the resurrection, it might have been something else, but the point is that sort of thing should not be considered unbiblical because it’s exactly what you’d expect. Can you image, an you dream, can you in the fantasies of your mind, visualize what it would have been like if you had a video camera and you were pointing it into the tomb when the resurrection happened. Talk about capturing an event, I would hold and I would defend the idea that the video camera would have captured something. It wasn’t some spiritual thing invisible to the camera; it’s no more invisible to the camera than the swat team going into that house on TV. It was all captured and the resurrection is that sort of thing, capturable on video, real and it’s stunning because it’s absolutely unlike anything ever in all of history; even all of biblical history has never seen a resurrection. That’s the first time the real thing actually happened.
Question asked: Clough replies: The relationship of the resurrection body to the natural body, the only help on that is the analogy that we see Jesus using, the seed and the plant. Somehow the resurrection body is that which flows out of our present bodies. So the identity we have, our personal identity is not erased in the resurrection body. And on the plus side that’s why the Scriptures are so adamant about we were created for good works, and that’s why the Bible talks about rewards, etc., because what we do in this present body is important to that future body. But having said that, our natural body has two things, first it always was mortal, potentially mortal. Adam and Eve before the fall their bodies were potentially mortal. And you know, it could have gone both ways, but after the fall, all of us, we’ve never known bodies that were even potentially mortal, ours are really mortal. Every time you look in the mirror you see more of your immortality showing.
So we don’t know, and that’s what Pilkey is trying to point out here when he says the ecstasy of the resurrection body surpasses anything that we would have today by way of ecstasy, because the idea of having a release into a body that can do all kinds of things must be amazing, truly amazing. No aches, no pain, none of the things that weigh us down today. It’s just an ecstatic thing to think about, the resurrection body, as a real thing, not just as a religious symbol or something like that, nice thought for religious people. That’s not what we’re talking about.
We don’t know the exact [can’t understand word]. We know that Jesus’ body in His resurrection, from all the evidence we have in the New Testament it was similar but wasn’t identical and it was enough difference so guys who knew Him real well didn’t recognize Him right away. Now people have argued that the reason they didn’t recognize Him wasn’t that the resurrection body was so different, it was that they were so stunned to think that He’d be walking around because in their minds He died. So it might have been their shock and their trauma of losing Him, they thought, just blinded them to the fact that well, that couldn’t be Him, it had to be somebody else. Or was it due to the fact that His body looked a little different? There’s certainly a lot of people that met Him had a little difficulty in recognizing Him. But once they recognized Him it seemed to be no problem, they went on talking and everything else. All it is is speculation at this point.
Next week we’ll keep moving through the resurrection.