In looking to show there is a spiritual resurrection body that humans have:
(Note: Highlighting of some verses are from other studies and are context for myself during this study as well. I may or may not create a key for readers in time.)
(Note: There is a distinction to be made between physical resurrection and spiritual resurrection. This study focuses on spiritual resurrection)
(Note: All passages used are from KJV translation)
Within the full context of 1 Corinthians 15 verses 35-49 are where it is definitively stated that we have a natural, earthly body as well as a spiritual, resurrection body. (It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 1 Corin 15:44) This spiritual body is the answer to the earlier questions of ‘”How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?”‘ (1 Corin 15:35)
To understand the spiritual body we have to also understand the spiritual resurrection of the dead. This resurrection is the main context of 1 Corinthians 15. There are places in the Bible that speak of a literal physical resurrection of a dead body. This can be seen with the resurrection of Lazarus (1 John 11) and Hannah’s prayer where she talks about how God has the power to kill the living and raise the dead (1 Samuel 2:6) to name a couple. For this study however we will be looking at the spiritual resurrection in Christ. For Christians this resurrection is the eternal life that we are promised in Christ which we believe by faith.
20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
21For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. (1 Corinth 15:20-21)
Keep in mind there is also a spiritual resurrection for those who are not justified through Christ. This is the judgement and eternal death within Hell. This defense is made by Paul to Felix while he is being questioned about his beliefs and worship within Jerusalem.
And [I] have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. (Acts 24:15)
Continuing, the belief of the resurrection of the dead was taught by Paul to the churches and unbelievers alike. (Php 3:11Believers, Rom 1:4Believers, Acts 17:32Unbelievers, Acts 23:6Unbelievers/Jews)
It is also part of the “milk” that is talked about in Hebrews. It seems that at the time of writing this was a commonly accepted belief among the believers, just as was baptism and miracles were. (Hebrews 5:11-6:12)
And, of course, Christ himself spoke of the resurrection of the dead during his ministry on Earth. In Luke, Christ talks about how those who do things not to serve themselves or for profit will be rewarded in the resurrection of the justified. (Luke 14:14)
When prompted by the Sadducees (who did not believe that there would be a resurrection of the dead unlike the Pharisees) about the resurrected dead, Christ responded 31But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,
32I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. (Matt 22:31-32) This story is also told again in Mark 12:18-27 and Luke 20:27-40. This response to the Sadducees shows that is not only a New Testament belief but was also shown throughout the Old Testament as well, which they would have studied and known.
In Daniel, it speaks of “them who sleep in the dust of the earth” waking up in either everlasting life or everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2)
In Isaiah, he speaks of the dead that will rise, in an awakening, with him in a world of dust. (Isaiah 26:19) Isaiah uses the same use of the word “awaken” as Daniel when referring to those that will die and be raised with him.
In Psalms 17, David is in prayer which he concludes with the satisfaction he will have at his awakening and seeing the Lord’s righteousness and face. Once again, this awakening is the same usage as in Daniel and Isaiah.
Job also understood that his redeemer would live again and in that he would be raised up from his death that was to come (Job 19:25-26) In this passage Job speaks of seeing God in his “flesh” but the word usage here is that of his spiritual being and not a physical flesh.
Ezekiel 37 is one of the most definitive places in the Old Testament where God shows what this resurrection looks like. Here God uses a vison of a valley of dry bones coming together and forming life upon receiving God’s Word. He then says that the dead shall be brought to life in one land. The land stated here is referred to as Israel but the word “Israel” is being used symbolically as a heritage. It is also important to note that this chapter is speaking prophetically of the New Covenant to come as clearly stated in verse 26. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. (Ezekiel 37:26) A deeper study of this covenant, place, multitude, and sanctuary and how it relates to Revelation is to come soon.
An Incorruptible Spiritual Body:
Now we look back to 1 Corinthians 15 where we began. From verses 45-54 we can see that once again there is a distinction between having an earthly body and a spiritual body. The earthly body is that which we have while we are here upon Earth, and the spiritual is that which is inside of us and translates to heaven upon our deaths.
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
51Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corin 15:50-53)
This is the mystery in which Christ is the revelation. “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.” Those who had faith before Christ were asleep, but are now awakened because the last trump has sounded. We cannot fall asleep because the last trump has already sounded and we are changed. We have the spiritual body that is incorruptible and immortal and it is the body that we have eternally in Heaven.
The characteristics of this spiritual body can also be seen within this chapter as well as other parts of Scripture.
“It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power” (1 Corinthians 15:42-43)
Whoever is born of God, a child of God, is incorruptible and cannot commit sin. (1 John 3:9) This is not referring to a physical body. Our physical selves are still affected by the sin nature that surrounds it on Earth. John is referring to our spiritual bodies, our souls, which have been made perfect and righteous through Christ. This is not to be used as an excuse to sin.We are perfected through Christ and having that spiritual body and Holy Spirit within us is what then produces the fruit. If one claims to be of Christ but shows no fruit then a true salvation from sin is now in question. We will still mess up and stumble because of sin nature in the world. We will still be hurt and feel the consequences of others’ mistakes because of sin nature in the world. But how much more peace then should we have knowing that our spiritual bodies are incorruptible and cannot be harmed by sin nature of the world? Glory should be given to God for giving us this new body that is everlasting. We are to die to ourselves and live for Christ. (Rom 6, Gal 5:22-26, Eph 4:22, Col 3:5)
A deeper study of our Spiritual Bodies in relationship to the Church/Building/Bride/New Jerusalem and Revelation is also to come soon.