Spiritual Body

1Corinthians 15:39-44 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. 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: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 

‘All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.’ No two species of animals have the same flesh or flavour. This is also true of vegetables, grain, and other things in nature.

‘Celestial bodies’ [Greek: epouranios]. There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies which have different glories even as the sun, moon, and stars differ in glory (15:40-41).

‘Terrestrial’ [Greek: epigeios] that which pertains to the earth.

‘So also is the resurrection of the dead’-  All resurrected bodies will be immortal, but they will possess different degrees of glory. Our bodies are sown in corruption (15:21-22); raised in incorruption (15:51-54); sown in dishonor (Gen. 3:19); raised in glory (Php. 3:21; Col. 3:4); sown in weakness (Jas. 1:10-11); raised in power (15:53-56; 2Cor. 5:4); and sown as natural bodies (John 5:28-29; Dan. 12:2); raised as spiritual bodies (15:44; Php. 3:21).

‘Corruption’ [Greek: phthora] moral corruption, decay, ruin, depravity, wickedness (15:42, 50; Rom. 8:21; Gal. 6:8; 2Pet. 1:4; 2:12, 19). Also translated “perish” (Col. 2:22) and “be destroyed” (2Pet. 2:12).

‘Incorruption’ [Greek: aphtharsia] incorruption (referring to resurrected bodies, 1Cor. 15:42, 50, 53, 54); and immortality (referring to the life people get through the gospel, Rom. 2:7; 2Tim. 1:10).

‘Spiritual body’ [Greek: pneumatikos]. By this is meant the body will become of immortal substance. It has no reference to becoming immaterial, intangible, and without flesh and bones, for our resurrected bodies will still be flesh and bone, though not flesh and blood. Spirit bodies are as real as can be, but of a higher substance than natural bodies. God and angels have spirit bodies, and yet they are real tangible and materialized bodies, as proved by hundreds of passages describing them and many personal acts.

‘Natural body’ [Greek: psuchikos] soulish (2:14; 15:44-46; Jas. 3:15; Jude 1:19). This is man living under the control of the fleshly passions, the sensual and depraved part of man in contrast with the rational part (6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21; Rom. 1:29-32; Col. 3:5-10). He is the animal man as opposed to the spiritual man. He has no sense of spiritual values and no relish for them. He counts it the highest wisdom to live for this world and carnal pleasures. Spiritual things are foolishness to him. He cannot see their supreme excellence due to animal appetites and being spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1-9).

God Gives It a Body

1Corinthians 15:35-38 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowed is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowed, thou sowed not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God gives it a body as it has pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 

‘But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? …’ This is the 13th and last New Testament prophecy in 1Corinthians (15:35-56) that will be fulfilled at the rapture.

‘How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?’ What kind of bodies will people have in the resurrection?

‘But God gives it a body as it has pleased him.’ The resurrection is illustrated and proved by a grain of wheat and other grains: New bodies of grain are not reproduced without death (15:36; John 12:24). Bodies of grain that die are not the same bodies as those produced, but like them (15:37; John 12:24). Grain must see corruption before reproducing new bodies (John 12:24). Grain that does not die remains the same as long as it exists. Marred and wrinkled grains reproduce perfect bodies in normal reproduction. Parts of grain could be cut off and not sown, and yet perfect bodies produced. There is no difference in the appearance of original and reproduced grain. All grains reproduce their own size, shape, and individual characteristics. Small and undeveloped grain, providing the life germ is there, will reproduce normal-sized grain. Reproduced grains are just as real, tangible, and material as those sown.

‘His own body’ – Every man will have his own body, not that of another. He will have his own color, appearance, size, shape, features, and characteristics, and be exactly like himself in the resurrection. Men will be men and women will be women. Such bodies will be like Christ only in the sense of immortality (15:39-54; Php. 3:21). God gives every person his own body.

Be Not Deceived

1Corinthians 15:30-34 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die. Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. 

‘I die daily’ – this refers to the outward man perishing day by day, as in 2Corinthians 4:16, not to die to sin daily. That he did not teach. He argued that we should become dead to sin once and then stay dead to sin always (Rom. 6:6-11; Gal. 2:20). It could also refer to Paul’s being in constant danger of death daily for the gospel – even every hour (15:30, 32). At least it refers to the body, for the whole chapter is on the death and resurrection of the body.

‘Fought with beasts at Ephesus’ – Perhaps referring to his fight with the beastly men at Ephesus (Acts 19:28-31). Such men are called beasts (Tit. 1:12; 2Pet. 2:12; Jude 1:10). In his list of sufferings in 2Corinthians 11:23-28, Paul does not refer to having been in combat with wild beasts in an arena, when naming all his hardships.

‘Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die’ quoted from Isaiah 22:13 – this is the attitude of the ungodly who have no hope of a life to come, for the idea of a short life only made men want to live in sinful pleasure as long as possible (Isa. 22:12-14).

‘Communications’ [Greek: homilia] associations. Evil ones will corrupt good morals. A quotation from the Thais of Menander, an Athenian poet. Good is always influenced, corrupted, and spoiled by bad because faith comes through hearing (Rom. 10:17) and by hearing comes faith. No one is immune against this form of corruption, so for a Christian that thinks he/she will not be defiled by bad conversation or company, a rude awakening will follow when Scripture slowly but surely becomes uninteresting, hard to understand and our standards drop to worldly ones (1Jn. 2:15-17); hence so-called Christians today walk and talk like all others and never follow in the example set for born-again Christians as stated in 1Peter 2:21-23 and 1John 3. ‘Awake to righteousness, and sin not’ – return to sobriety and righteousness and quit sin in view of the resurrection.

All in All

1Corinthians 15:27-29 For he has put all things under his feet. But when he said all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 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. Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

‘He has put all things under his feet’ – the purpose of the first 1,000 years of the eternal reign of Christ is to put all enemies down and rid the earth of all rebellion (15:24-28; Eph. 1:10; Heb. 2:8; Rev. 20:1-15).

‘He is excepted’ – the Father is the excepted one.

‘Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him.’ The Son and His millennial earthly kingdom do not cease to exist for both are eternal. The Son will continue to reign under the Father forever after the earth is rid of all rebellion (Isa. 9:6-7; Dan. 2:44-45; 7:13-14, 18, 27; Zech. 14:1-21; Luke 1:32-33; Rev. 5:10; 11:15; 22:5).

‘That God may be all in all’ – The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit will reign together throughout all eternity, as before the rebellion which made it necessary for them to take separate parts in the creation and redemption of all things.

‘Why are they then baptized for the dead?’ Baptism for the Dead – Unscriptural for 7 reasons: It is a law of Scripture that every doctrine must be proved by two or more scriptures (2Cor. 13:1; Matt. 18:16; Deut. 19:15-18) but this verse is the only one casually mentioning the subject. The Corinthians were involved in many errors and heresies (11:19). Baptism for the dead was only one of them. Baptism in water does not save a living man who repents and meets the gospel conditions of salvation. Therefore, it could not save a dead man who did not meet conditions while he was alive (Luke 13:1-5; Rom. 10:9-10; Eph. 2:8-9; 1Jn. 1:9). Salvation is a personal matter and cannot be obtained by proxy (Mark 16:16; Luke 13:1-5; John 3:16-20; Acts 3:19; Rom. 1:16; 10:9-10; Eph. 2:8-9; Rev. 22:17). There is no command or example of baptism for the dead in Scripture. The simple truth is that Paul is here showing the inconsistency of false teachers at Corinth in denying the doctrine of the resurrection and yet accepting the fallacy of baptism for the dead. He does not sanction such a doctrine or practice just because he makes one passing reference to this error. One might as well believe there is no resurrection of the dead on the basis of false teachers saying there is none (15:12), as to believe in their practice of baptism for the dead (15:29).

Then Comes the End

1Corinthians 15:24-26 Then comes the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 

‘Then comes the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.’ At the end of the Millennium. This is proved by the fact Christ must reign 1,000 years to put down all rebellion and then deliver the kingdom to God that He may be “all in all” as before rebellion started (15:24-28; Rev. 20:1-10; 21:1 – 22:5).

‘End’ [Greek: telos] is not the same end as in 1Corinthians 1:8. Christ’s coming brings that end, but this end will not be until 1,000 years later when all rebellion has been put down and the earth made new (Rev. 20:1-10; 21:1-22:5). Five things will happen before the End: The millennial kingdom must be delivered to God (15:24; Rev. 21:1-22:5). All rebellious rule, authority, and power must be put down (15:24; Eph. 1:23; Heb. 2:6-9; Rev. 20:7-10). Death must be destroyed (15:26; Rev. 20:7-15; 21:3-5). Christ’s work of ridding the earth of rebellion must be accomplished and accepted by the Father (15:27-28; Rev. 20:1-15; Eph. 1:10). This is the purpose of the 1,000 years reign of Christ on earth. When it is completed the kingdom of heaven will be received by the Father as part of the universal kingdom of God, as before rebellion started. Rebellion by Lucifer and Adam made it necessary to send Christ to re-establish the kingdom of God over all again. The Father and the Son will come to earth with an army large enough to take the kingdoms of this world in one day (Zech. 14:1-21; Rev. 19:11-21). The Son is authorized to reign the first 1,000 years of the eternal reign to rid the earth of all rebellion. Afterward, the Father will move His capital city, the New Jerusalem, from the heaven to the earth to be among people forever, then accepting the work of the Son and receiving the earth again as part of the universal kingdom of God (Rev. 21:1-22:5). God becomes “all in all” again, as before a rebellion came by Lucifer in the pre-Adamite world, and by Adam in the Adamite world (15:28; Rev. 21:1-22:5).

At His Coming

1Corinthians 15:23  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 

‘Order’ [Greek: tagma] rank or company. There are 5 raptures in the first resurrection: [1] Christ and the many saints that were resurrected after His resurrection (15:20, 15:23; Matt. 27:52-53; Eph. 4:8-10). [2] “Afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming” (15:23, 51-54; John 14:1-3; Luke 21:34-36; 2Cor. 5:1-8; Eph. 5:27; Php. 3:11, 20-21; 1Thess. 2:19; 3:13; 4:13-17; 5:9, 23; 2Thess. 2:1, 7; Col. 3:4; Jas. 5:7-8; 1Jn. 2:28; 3:2; 1Pet. 5:4). Everyone in Christ, dead or alive, will be translated at this time. Not one person will be left on earth who is in Christ (1Thess. 4:16-17). [3] The 144,000 Jews saved in the first 3 1/2 years of Daniel’s 70th week (Rev. 7:1-8). They will be caught up as the man-child in the middle of this week or 3 1/2 years before the second coming (Rev. 12:5; 14:1-5; Isa. 66:7-8; Dan. 12:1). [4] The great multitude of tribulation saints who are saved after rapture 2, above and during the whole of Daniel’s 70th week (Rev. 6:1-19:21). The first martyrs of this period are told to rest until the rest of them are killed (Rev. 6:9-11) when vengeance will be taken and all raptured in time for the marriage supper (Rev. 7:9-17; 15:2-4; 20:4-6). Even those killed by the beast in the last 3 1/2 years of this week have a part in the first resurrection (Rev. 20:4-6). This proves their rapture in time for the marriage supper (Rev. 19:1-10) and in time to come back with Christ (Rev. 19:11-21; Jude 1:14; Zech. 14:5). [5] The rapture of the two witnesses, ending the first resurrection which began with the resurrection of Christ (Rev. 11:7-11). The fact and manner of the rapture are clearly revealed in this verse as well as verses 51-58 and the following Scriptures: “Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21:34-36), “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3), “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27), “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1Thess. 4:13-17), “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him…. For the mystery of iniquity does already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (2Thess. 2:1, 7, 8). See the other passages on the rapture (2Cor. 5:1-8; Php. 3:11, 20-21; 1Thess. 2:19; 3:13; 5:9, 23; Col. 3:4; Jas. 5:7, 8; 1Jn 2:28; 3:2; 1Pet. 5:4).

Be Made Alive

1Corinthians 15:20-22 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 

‘Now is Christ risen from the dead’ Christ’s resurrection is a fact and the guarantee of the resurrection of all other people (15:20-22).

‘Firstfruits’ [Greek: aparche] firstfruits; the beginning of a thing. Here it simply means that Christ is the first to be resurrected from the dead to enter into immortality of body (15:51-54).

‘Slept’ is a term used for death (15:6, 18, 51; 11:30; John 11:11; 1Thess. 4:13-17; 2Pet. 3:4). It is not a soul-sleep, but a body-sleep. The body only dies at physical death, going back to dust (Jas. 2:26; Gen. 3:19). The soul and spirit are immortal (1Pet. 3:4).

‘By man came death’ – by Adam came physical death, which is a result of the eternal-death penalty of sin (15:22). This death passed upon all people (Rom. 5:12-21). The body only will be resurrected in the future resurrection of the dead (15:35-54; Dan. 12:2; John 5:28-29). The only time spiritual and eternal deaths can be canceled, resurrecting one from death in trespasses and sin is in this life (Eph. 2:1-9; 1Jn. 1:9). After death, comes the judgment without any chance to be saved, if one dies unsaved (Heb. 9:27).

‘By man came also the resurrection of the dead …’ this is the 12th New Testament prophecy in 1 Corinthians (15:21-28). By Jesus Christ, will come the physical resurrection of all people (15:22; John 5:25-29; 11:22-26; Rev. 1:18).

‘All be made alive’ – All will be made alive physically but not spiritually (Dan. 12:2; John 5:28-29; Rev. 20:4-6, 11-15). One must choose to repent and be made alive spiritually (John 3:16-20; 1Tim. 2:4; 2Pet. 3:9; Rev. 22:17), but all will be made alive physically regardless of repentance and surrender to God (John 5:28-29).

All is Then Vain

1Corinthians 15:12-19 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 

‘Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?’ Some false apostles at Corinth denied the resurrection of the dead, that of Christ which was fully proven by these eyewitnesses and the first resurrection of the dead which takes place at the rapture (11:13-15;). Most believers today believes in Christ’s resurrection but has no idea what the first resurrection is and that refers to the rapture (15:35-58). There are many proofs of the resurrection: from Scripture (15:1-4; Job 19:25; Ps. 16:10; Dan. 12:2; Matt. 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-20; Luke 24:1-53; John 20-21; Acts 2:27); from fact (15:5-8; John 21:14; Eph. 1:20; Rev. 1:12-18); proved by the absurdity of unbelief in the resurrection (15:12-19); proved by declaration of fact (15:20-22); proved by prediction (15:23-56); proved by the inconsistency of those who deny it (15:29); proved by faith and consecration in sacrificing all for it (15:30-34); proved by nature (15:33-49); proved by the absolute necessity of immortality of body in order to inherit the kingdom and other promises (15:50-54); proved by fulfillment of prophecy in the final victory over death (15:54-57). ‘And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.’ Twelve calamities “if Christ be not risen”: We have no guarantee of the resurrection [rapture] (15:12-13, 20-23); our gospel is then in vain (15:14). our faith is then in vain (15:14, 17); the apostles then were false witnesses because they have preached such a doctrine (15:15); we are then all yet in our sins (15:17); all the dead are then perished (15:18); we then have no hope (15:19); we are then most miserable (15:19); we are then plain fools (15:30-32); nature is then a farce (15:35-49); all promises are then lies (15:50-54), and all prophecies are then false (15:55-56).

The Least of the Apostles

1Corinthians 15:9-11 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so you believed. 

‘For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.’ This is true in reference to his being chosen last and after the 12 apostles. As a preacher he was greater than any of the other apostles, hence the fourteen New Testament books he wrote through Holy Spirit inspiration. Paul always considered himself the least and not worthy to be an apostle because of his past persecution of Christ’s followers (1Tim. 1:11-16). The sixfold former state of Paul: Blasphemer of Christ (1Tim. 1:13); persecutor of Christians (Acts 8:1-3); injurious – killed saints (Acts 9:1); ignorant of the gospel (1Tim. 1:13); an unbeliever in Christianity (1Tim. 1:13); chief of sinners (1Tim. 1:15).

‘But I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.’ 2Corinthians 11:16-28 list all the sufferings Paul endured in labour. He laboured, yet not him, but he acknowledges God’s grace that enabled him.

He Was Seen

1Corinthians 15:4c-8  And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 

‘Seen’ – Over 514 witnesses saw Christ after the resurrection, we have 12 appearances of Christ: firstly to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9; John 20:15-16); to the women at the tomb (Matt. 28:9); to two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-31); to Peter (15:5; Luke 24:34); to ten of the apostles (John 20:19); to eleven of the apostles (John 20:26); to seven of the apostles (John 21:1-22; this was after the second Sunday); to eleven of the apostles on a certain mountain in Galilee (Matt. 28:16); to all twelve apostles, which including Matthias (15:5; Acts 1:26); to five hundred brethren (15:6); to James, the Lord’s brother (15:7; Gal. 1:19); to all the apostles again (15:7; Mark 16:19-20; Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:3-12, 26).

‘Cephas’ this was Peter (Luke 24:34; Mark 16:14).

‘The twelve’ – the term is used here officially, including Matthias (Acts 1:26) and excluding Paul (15:7-8).

‘He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.’ This could be the same as in Matthew 28:16.

‘He was seen of James; then of all the apostles.’ This is James, the half-brother of Jesus (Gal. 1:19).

‘And last of all he was seen of me also’ – This is proof that Paul did not class himself as one of the 12 apostles (15:5-8). They were chosen because they had been eyewitnesses from the beginning.

‘One born out of due time’ [Greek: ektroma] a child untimely born; an abortion. Paul referred to being born out of the season when the 12 apostles were chosen (Isa. 66:6-7; Rom. 11:25-29; Zech. 12:10-13:1).