Did you ever really think about the resurrection? I mean the concept that one day your spirit will leave the perfect bliss of being in the eternal, incomprehensible joy of God’s presence in heaven, and suddenly come back to earth where the molecules of billions of people from all of history are reassembled into physical, albeit new, form? Suddenly graves will break open to the terrifying stares of unsuspecting people. It is called the resurrection, or at least a version of how the story goes.
Are you willing to re-think the resurrection? Did you ever wonder what the purpose of that event would be? Supposedly it is so that we can reign and rule with Christ over the planet and a handful of unbelievers left over from the tribulation. It is taught that Christ will reign in natural Jerusalem, which of course means that every resurrected saint would then only have access to him by appointment. Maybe once or twice over that period of history. Wouldn’t that be a step backwards in so many ways?
Of course, there might be a different view, an alternative perspective that takes all the scriptures into account, looks boldly and honestly at the text, and says, “wait a minute!”
Before you throw rocks at me and break your computer screen, let’s dispel a myth for a moment. Some will quote 2 Timothy 2:17-18 saying, “Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.”
I imagine we all agree in the resurrection of Christ, agreed? But Paul was writing about a group of people who were saying the resurrection of the dead had already taken place after the resurrection of Christ. How is that possible if the resurrection of the dead was to be a world-wide event in which graves were opened and spirits came into reassembled bodies? Wouldn’t that have been obvious? Not if the resurrection of the dead was supposed to be a spiritual event instead of a physical one.
Secondly, no one here is denying the resurrection, I am simply presenting you with a perspective in which the TIMING and NATURE of the resurrection is different. So this view affirms the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of the dead, but it differs with the so-called traditional view.
What I DO find fascinating is that some will read this article and then dismiss it because it doesn't fit their existing paradigm. It can't be true because they believe something different. But take the time to look at each passage on its own accord rather from the images that are already painted in your heart. You will discover that there are no scriptures that teach a physical resurrection in our future. Instead, the scriptures teach that when we die we will be raised into a spiritual body, into heaven, to be with the Lord forever. Let's look...
The Hope of Israel:
Let’s not forget that the resurrection is an old covenant promise to Israel, through which Christ would bless the world. This is important because it was THEIR promise fulfilled at the end of the old covenant age, and we were incorporated into its outworking. In other words the resurrection was to occur (spiritually) in a corporate sense out of Hades in AD 70, as a promise to Israel, through which we were incorporated in an ongoing individual experience at the moment of our death. Therefore, we must look at what the Hebrew scriptures promised in conjunction with Paul's text to determine the nature and the timing of the resurrection. Charles Meek says,
“At the Second Coming to occur during the lifetime of Paul’s contemporaries, there would be a culmination of the eschatological hope of the world. God’s Suffering Servant would bring salvation to Israel and to the world (Isaiah 42: 1-9; 49: 1-7; 52: 13-53: 12; 56: 1-8; Luke 21:28; Romans 13:11; Ephesians 1:13-14; Hebrews 1:14; 9:28; 1 Peter 1:3-9). The promised new heavens and earth would include the gathering of the elect and of all nations into the covenant as promised in Isaiah 40:5; 49:5-6; 56:8, by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:31; 25:32), and reiterated by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:1. Israel would be reborn and restored, and this would include immortal-body resurrection of the righteous — and ultimately eternal life in heaven as promised to believers in Christ’s own resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 19). Meek, Charles S. (2014-11-24). Christian Hope through Fulfilled Prophecy: An Exposition of Evangelical Preterism (Kindle Locations 4141-4147). BookBaby. Kindle Edition.
The Timing of the Resurrection:
Contrary to popular opinion, the references to the resurrection are not in some far off future from the NT writers. Stop for a moment and carefully consider this. Daniel affirmed that the resurrection would be at the time when the “power of the holy people is shattered” referring to the temple and the system of Law, after saying it would be at the end of the “times, time and half a time.” This was in AD 70 when the Jerusalem was trampled by the Roman-Gentiles for 3 ½ years and the temple was destroyed. Does an angelic being SWEARING this to be true help? (See Daniel 12:7).
Secondly, did you know that Paul preached that the resurrection was near in his lifetime? In Acts 24:15 he said, "And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust." Translators, for theological reasons instead of translation reasons, avoid translating this accurately. The words "shall be" come from the Greek Strongs #3195 méllō – properly, at the very point of acting; ready, "about to happen." (Helps Word Studies; Analytical Greek Lexicon, p. 262; Arndt, p. 500; Thayer, p. 396).
Paul uses this same word tense méllō, in 2 Timothy 4:1, "I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who (is about to) judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom."
Again in a similar context in Mt. 16:27-28, "For the Son of Man is [about] to come in the glory of His Father with His angels..."
To throw the corporate resurrection into the future is to miss the power of their message!
Paul’s Doctrine of the Resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15.
If there was any text considered THE proof text for a future resurrection it is this passage. But, in fact, it seems to teach us a view completely contrary to our confusing modern picture. So let’s mine out these passages a section at a time.
15 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
We see that Jesus after his resurrection revealed himself to only a few people. It is a fact that Jesus told his disciples, “Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more; but ye will see me; because I live, you shall live also” (John 14: 19).
So he made a promise to them that the “world”, the kosmos, (Greek-inhabited world) would never see him again. How can this be if he is coming back to raise people from the dead and every eye will “see” him?
When John in Revelation 1:7 quotes Christ’s words, 1) he was speaking of their generation (even those who pierced him, the time is near), and 2), the word for “see” there is not with physical eyes, but with spiritual perception [Strongs 3708 horáō – properly, see, often with metaphorical meaning: "to see with the mind" (i.e. spiritually see), i.e. perceive (with inward spiritual perception).]
12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
Pay close attention to verse 19 because it is very telling. He speaks of this life (earthly) vs the next life (heaven-spiritual). He doesn’t speak of this life, and then a life in heaven, and then another life on the earth in a resurrected body, and then at the end of a 1000 years another kind of existence. He only points to the earthly and the heavenly. He is very clear and it is that contrast and comparison that continues throughout his discussion. Do you see it?
The Last Enemy Destroyed
20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For “He has put all things under His feet.”
Let’s briefly address these one at a time.
The resurrection was to take place AT HIS COMING. I am writing primarily to those who already have a basic understanding of the parousia. Unfortunately, a lot of confusion happens because bible translators in many instances do a poor job of accurately communicating the text. I tend to believe it is because many translating organizations have a pre-existing theology which will not allow for anything else. In this case the text says τῇ παρουσίᾳ αὐτοῦ (THE coming-presence of him). Paul doesn’t suppose this is “a” coming of the Lord, but “THE” coming, as if there is only one and it is the singular one that all the other NT writers affirm was to happen in their generation.
After his coming is the END.
The “end”. It cannot mean the end of the world. Why? Because there is no scripture in the Bible that speaks of the world coming to an end. The new covenant age, the age of the gospel and the everlasting kingdom is one that never ends. Therefore that means that if one places the resurrection at some time at the end of history instead of at the end of the old covenant age, then there would NEVER be a resurrection because there are no scriptures that speak of the end of the entire cosmos. For example:
Ephesians 3:21, “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
Isaiah 9:7, “Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end…”
Psalm 148:4-6, “Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, And you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord, For He commanded and they were created. He also established them forever and ever; He made a decree which shall not pass away.”
Ecclesiastes 1:4, “One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever.”
Mary heard the angel say, “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1: 32-35).
Daniel 2:44, “And in the days of these kings [Roman Empire] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” (also see Daniel 7:13f)
How then can there be a resurrection at the end of the world if the world doesn't end?
Then he delivers the kingdom to the Father.
So we were taught this verse as if there will be a period of history in our future, after Jesus has supposedly defeated physical death, and after the world has completely crumbled because of the devil and the tribulation, that THEN (apparently after a failed effort on the part of Jesus through his church to affect any real lasting change in the world) and ONLY then… Jesus gives the Father the kingdom and he abdicates it himself.
Is that really what this text says? Did we not just read that his kingdom is an everlasting one? Did we not see that of the increase of his kingdom there would be no end? How could Jesus kingdom end then?
This same word is used in verse 3 when Paul said he delivered the gospel to them. It doesn’t mean he abdicated the gospel. It doesn’t mean he abandoned it. It doesn’t mean that he had no connection to it. In some cases the word does mean that, but not here.
This word “delivers” is [3860 paradídōmi (from 3844 /pará, "from close-beside" and 1325 /dídōmi, "give") – properly, to give (turn) over; "hand over from," i.e. to deliver over with a sense of close (personal) involvement.] Remember Jesus was given the task of judging (Jn. 5:22) and at the end of that task, it simply means that he no longer has that task/job/responsibility anymore. In Isaiah 54, we discover that after “a little wrath” he swore an oath, with the same one-sided commitment that he did regarding Noah and the flood, that he would never be angry again, nor rebuke (speak harshly) nor remove his covenant of peace. So the meaning of the word itself here indicates not an abdication of the throne, but the completion of a task and an affirmation of partnership. Otherwise the eternally advancing kingdom isn’t!
Which brings us to Paul’s comment that he must reign in that capacity until he puts his enemies, particularly death, under his feet. I know, I know… people still die right? There are a couple of insights here that I think you ought to know. First of all we assume that he is speaking of physical death because we have been told that the death that Adam brought was physical death. But why then did they have food to eat in the Garden of Eden? Just for the sake of using their mouths for something other than talking? And if physical death was the result of Adam’s sin, then why do we still die when we believe in Christ? Why did those Jesus raised from the dead still die again? No, God said that on the VERY DAY that you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you will SURELY die (Genesis 2:17).
But he didn’t. In fact, he didn’t die for hundreds of years. So what is the death of Adam that happened the very day he ate of the tree? It was a sin-death, a blindness, a spiritual thing! This is confirmed by the fact that (again) the translators left out the definite article “the” before “death.” This is not physical death, but THE death that Adam brought!
Acts 2:31; 13:35 reveals that Jesus’ physical body was the only one promised not to see decay.
It is interesting to me that he says that the last enemy destroyed is death, but the Greek is katargeó: (a) to render inoperative, abolish, idle down, make idle (inactive), make of no effect, annul, abolish, bring to naught, (b) I discharge, sever, separate from. The tense of this word means that it was ALREADY BEING destroyed AS he wrote this. Has he been working on this for 2000 years, or was it near in his generation… at the cusp?
In some way it was “death” that was keeping those in Hades-Sheol from entering the glory of heaven.
Persecution and the Hope of the Resurrection
29 Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead? 30 And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? 31 I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32 If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
While I am not going to try to tackle those who were “baptized for the dead” here, (I never want to make a doctrine out of one single verse in the Bible) I DO want you to notice the context and reference Paul uses. Paul was experiencing such persecution from the Jews in every place (1 Thes. 2:14-16) that the only thing that gave him hope was that even if they destroyed his physical body… he had confidence that God would raise him up.
Notice his quote from Isaiah 22:13 (invoking particularly the context of 12-14). It is a prophetic word against Jerusalem itself and their stubborn disregard for the coming destruction of the city. It is no coincidence that he quotes it here:
12 And in that day the Lord God of hosts
Called for weeping and for mourning,
For baldness and for girding with sackcloth.
13 But instead, joy and gladness,
Slaying oxen and killing sheep,
Eating meat and drinking wine:
“Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”14 Then it was revealed in my hearing by the Lord of hosts, “Surely for this iniquity there will be no atonement for you, Even to your death,” says the Lord God of hosts. (12-14)
Throughout the Prophets, the resurrection was taught as associated with and coinciding with the destruction of the entire Law system. (See Daniel 12:1-7). Paul is not throwing this teaching into some 2000 year future world-wide event. This is smack dab right in the heart of his contemporary struggle. It is his HOPE! Even if he loses his life to his persecutors, there is a promise to him of resurrection!
The Nature of the Resurrection Body
33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” 34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.
35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” 36 Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies.37 And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain—perhaps wheat or some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body.
39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.
40 There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.
How are the dead raised up? We don’t have to look to contemporary scholars, steeped in fear, for the answer to the question about the nature of the resurrection body. Paul already addressed it right here! What will surprise you is that there is nothing here about a physical resurrection for each of us. On the contrary, it is without contradiction, a spiritual invisible body raised (as we will see) at the coming of Christ in AD70, then repeated as each of us pass through physical death in our future.
Like a seed of wheat or grain which possesses an outer shell, when it falls to the ground, the outer shell dies and erodes, yet a plant filled with life emerges, so too is the resurrection. For every seed is embodied in its shell, and then another form/body emerges. Note it is not at some far distant date, but immediately.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
Notice there is not time separation. It is sown in corruption, dishonor, weakness and a natural body then raised in incorruption, glory, power, and a spiritual body. Again he doesn’t give us three forms-states that we will experience. It is not a natural body before we die, then a spiritual body when we go to heaven, and then a mixture of some hybrid of the two at the resurrection.
Let’s be honest here. The word for “spiritual” body is pneumatikos: spiritual
Original Word: πνευματικός, ή, όν
Part of Speech: Adjective
Phonetic Spelling: (pnyoo-mat-ik-os')
Short Definition: spiritual
Helps Word-Studies: 4152 pneumatikós (an adjective, derived from 4151 /pneúma, "spirit") – spiritual; relating to the realm of spirit, i.e. the invisible sphere in which the Holy Spirit imparts faith, reveals Christ, etc.
This is the INVISIBLE body, just like the Holy Spirit is invisible. He is real, a person, but he cannot be seen with the naked eye! Your resurrection body is spiritual, invisible and real… but not some hybrid mix of spiritual and resurrected flesh. Paul is speaking of the house not made with hands as opposed to this tent we live in now (2 Cor. 5:1-4)
45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
Now Paul makes the connection for us. Jesus Christ, the Last of the ADAMIC RACE (see Romans 5), became a life-giving spirit, same word. Spiritual, invisible, but real. Jesus resurrection from the dead was very real, physical, and unique. He alone was promised that his physical body would not see corruption. BUT this passage tells us that after his ascension, his “body” is in a “life-giving spirit” form. Still real, still tangible, still “man” but spiritual in nature. Otherwise, he might be spotted by the Hubble Space Telescope one day right? That has to be a possibility if he is still in that exact physical form. No, this passage is very clear that his body-form, though very real is now in some way a spiritual body, a life-giving spirit. (Mark 16: 19; Luke 24: 50-51; Acts 1: 9-11; Ephesians 4: 8-10; Colossians 2: 9)
Are WE not the “body” of Christ in the earth?
46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man Is the Lord from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.
The order of this again is very clear. It is not natural, then spiritual, then a hybrid natural/spiritual body later. He mentions only two… a natural body first, and then a spiritual body last. No intermediate state of any kind! This is unavoidably clear.
This is nothing new as seen in many other passages revealing shadow and reality. There is the natural Jerusalem, and the Jerusalem which is above (Gal. 4:26 ). Christ came in the flesh, but his second coming was to be spiritual-in the clouds (Mt. 16:27-28). There was Elijah and then the “spirit of Elijah” (Luke 1:16-18). The natural first, and then the spiritual. Our lives? The natural body first, then the spiritual.
Who was the first man of the earth’s dust? Adam. But the second MAN is Jesus FROM heaven. That is his origin right? His origin is of the heavenly state before incarnation.
As we have borne the image of Adam and his physical nature, so we shall bear the image of the HEAVENLY man. Remember we are speaking of resurrection here. The resurrection we are to bear resembles the one who is from heaven.
The heavenly image we are to experience? The word heaven is epouranios: which means of heaven or fit for heaven.
Original Word: ἐπουράνιος, ον
Part of Speech: Adjective
Phonetic Spelling: (ep-oo-ran'-ee-os)
Short Definition: heavenly, celestial
Definition: heavenly, celestial, in the heavenly sphere, the sphere of spiritual activities; met: divine, spiritual.
HELPS Word-studies: 2032 epouránios (an adjective, derived from 1909 /epí, "on, fitting," which intensifies 3772 /ouranós, "heaven") [The prefix (epi) shows this always "fits" – from the standpoint of heaven.]
So do you see it? Our resurrection is of the kind of body that Jesus had in heaven BEFORE he came to earth, a body that is fit for heaven’s life, not another earthly life. Let me say it again, your resurrection body is not made for dust, and earth, and the natural realm. It is the very body that emerges out of your being immediately at death as you are raised into heaven! It is a glorious body like what the disciples only glimpsed at the Transfiguration when the light within Jesus shone gloriously bright! (Mt. 17:1-2 )
Jesus was physically raised from the dead, his body wasn't allowed to see corruption, and that raised body still had scars. That was unique to Christ and was't yet his glorious body. That wasn't the brilliant glorious light of the transfiguration. Do you want your resurrected body to look like it did when you died? Talk about a Zombie apocalypse! It is the glorified body, invisible and spiritual that you will receive.
When you look at the instances where this word is used, we discover that it can be no other kind except a heavenly body. Look at how this same word is used…
Philippians 2:10 Adj-GMP
GRK: γόνυ κάμψῃ ἐπουρανίων καὶ ἐπιγείων
NAS: WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth
KJV: should bow, of [things] in heaven, and
INT: knee should bow in heaven and on earth
There is an argument that the word “natural” compared to spiritual, doesn’t mean natural-physical because the word is (psuchikos). [Helps Word Study: 5591 psyxikós (an adjective, derived from 5590 /psyxḗ, "soul, natural identity") – properly, soulish, i.e. what is natural, as it relates to physical (tangible) life alone.] It CAN mean physical, i.e., the human physical life. Besides, it is irrelevant because the contrast is to the “heavenly” life that is fit for heaven in an immortal, imperishable and glorified existence (2 Corinthians 4:17; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Timothy 3:16). All we have to do is look at his previous definition of that body as "dust" to see he parallels dust with natural.
The words of Charles Meek answer many of our questions:
“It is obvious to even the casual reader of scripture that the resurrection of Jesus is different in kind than our resurrection, since he appeared on earth three days after his death, and not some thousands of years after his death. So any claim that a human resurrection should be in the exact same form as Jesus is absurd, since people who have been dead for thousands of years have returned to dust and their atoms have been scattered to the ends of the world. So obviously it never had the potential to be the SAME kind of resurrection regardless of where the rhetoric leads. Unless we are raised after only three days in the grave, our resurrection would be physically different from that of Jesus even in your futurist account! 156 Futurists often argue that because Christ rose physically, so must we. That notion is as false as saying that because Christ was literally crucified, we must also be literally crucified (Galatians 2: 20) in order to have eternal life. The physical work of Christ (crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection) was spiritually reproduced in his people. There are other legitimate questions when comparing Christ’s resurrection and subsequent ascension and our own resurrection. Christ was raised with all wounds and scars intact. Must we necessarily assume by this fact that a blind or lame person would be resurrected blind or lame? Most Christians assume the opposite; the infirmities of this life will not appear in the afterlife. So there are clear differences between the resurrection of Jesus and our own resurrection body! Upon reflection, most will admit that Paul is not teaching that our resurrection will be physically identical to that of Jesus.” Meek, Charles S. (2014-11-24). Christian Hope through Fulfilled Prophecy: An Exposition of Evangelical Preterism (Kindle Locations 4018-4032). BookBaby. Kindle Edition.
Our Final Victory
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
Are you seeing a pattern… there is no intermediate state from the time of resurrection forward. Corruption- the material fleshy bodily existence- cannot inherit the incorruptible eternal glorious bodily state of existence. (See 1 Pet. 1:3,4). It was an invisible, heavenly, spiritual experience of resurrection.
The last trumpet will have to be a topic for a different post, nevertheless, this trumpet call was a promise not of some new revelation, but of the Law and Prophets themselves. And Jesus was very clear that not one jot or tittle could pass from the Law until the whole entirety of the Law and Prophets were fulfilled. Resurrection was a part of the Law and the prophets, therefore unless you believe that every single part of the Law and Prophets are still valid and in operation today (not even the slightest part could be changed) in the Law and Prophet form, including sacrifices, the natural temple, the Levitical priesthood, etc, then the resurrection had of necessity to be fulfilled by AD 70.
Paul says, “we shall all be changed”. Does he mean that at Christ’s coming in AD 70 whether they are alive or dead, that there would be a change of some kind? Well, there are a number of opinions that I won’t explore here, just let me suggest that Paul knew his own death was imminent (2 Tim. 4:6-18) and that he was going to be included in that change. It is also true that every one of us, each at our death will experience this change as well.
The word for “changed” is Original Word: ἀλλάσσω
Part of Speech: Verb
Phonetic Spelling: (al-las'-so)
Short Definition: I change, alter
Definition: I change, alter, exchange, transform.
Once more, consistent with his previous explanation, an “exchange” would take place.
The Death of Death and Hades
54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”
Now Paul gives us another TIME statement, “when” this exchange happens at the resurrection in AD 70 from corruptible, mortal bodies, to immortality, then will be the fulfillment of Isaiah 25:8, and Hosea 13:14:
Isaiah 25:8, “He will swallow up death forever, And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; For the Lord has spoken.”
The context of Isaiah 25 is the destruction of Jerusalem, when God would turn over the city to strangers (vs 1-3). Chapter 27 reveals that it would be when the altar would be turned into chalk stone (27:9), fulfilled in the fires of AD 70. Is. 25 is also the time in history when the Law would be removed. Paul called the Law a veil that hindered people from perceiving who God really was in Christ. Isaiah prophesied, “And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples, Even the veil which is stretched over all nations.”
In addition he quotes Hosea 13:14, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave [Hades-Sheol], I will be your destruction! Pity is hidden from My eyes.”
The only intermediate state was the one that all experienced in Hades-Sheol until AD 70. Finally, Hades-Sheol would be emptied and destroyed. Never again would there be a separation or an intermediate state of any kind.
Hades-Sheol is not hell, as many believe.
Sheol- is many times translated grave, pit or abode of the dead. It is not the tomb like we think of grave. It is where the soul/spirit is after death. It is the underworld of darkness to which all the dead go, both the righteous and the unrighteous, regardless of the moral choices made in life, a place of stillness and darkness cut off from God. (Rainwater, Robert (1990). "Sheol". In Watson E. Mills (General Editor). Mercer Dictionary of the Bible. Mercer University Press)
The inhabitants of Sheol were called “shades” (rephaim) because they were but a shade of their former self without their bodies and they were in a place of darkness. God’s judgment upon the wicked does not cease when they died.
Keil and Delitzsch state that “Sheol denotes the place where departed souls are gathered after death; it is an infinitive form from sha-al, to demand, the demanding, applied to the place which inexorably summons all men into its shade.”
Hades: When the Septuagint was complied, which is the Greek version of the Hebrew scriptures, they used the Greek word Hades to describe Sheol. So Hades is the same abode of the dead, abyss, place of darkness that was described in the Hebrew Scriptures. The Lord said he would have no pity on Sheol-Hades, but would remove it altogether.
I apologize for repeating myself over and over again, but it is Paul’s repetition not mine. Paul never says that there is an intermediate state in heaven. He says resurrection was to be at the destruction of Hades-Sheol. It WAS an intermediate state until the resurrection of AD 70. Otherwise, one must hold to a view that the resurrection is at the end of time, which means that NO ONE goes to heaven UNTIL the end of time… an idea that probably no one adheres to. Yet to be consistent with an end of the world resurrection one must hold to that idea too.
The old covenant promise to Israel was that a time was coming in which the abode of the dead would no longer be Sheol-Hades. This coinciding with the resurrection was a promise of the Law and Prophets, a promise that had to be fulfilled before the Law could collapse Mt. 5:17-18, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law UNTIL all is accomplished.”
Acts 24:21, “other than for this one statement which I shouted out while standing among them, ‘For the resurrection of the dead I am on trial before you today.’”
Acts 26:22, “So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating NOTHING but what the Prophets and Moses said was ABOUT TO HAPPEN…” (http://biblehub.com/text/acts/26-22.htm)
Paul said the resurrection was a message from the Law and Prophets and was near in his lifetime...after the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
The Resurrection Coincides with the Removal of the Law:
56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Remember, this whole chapter is about resurrection, its timing and nature. Finally Paul ties the Law to death after saying that sin-death was being removed. This is not a law, but THE Law, the old covenant. While Jesus made it obsolete at the cross, as we have seen, all the promises of the Law had to be fulfilled in order for it to be rendered fully passed away. The Law was gasping its death-rattle and finally vanished in AD 70 when the temple, Levitical priesthood, and city was removed as the center of God’s covenant dealings.
“Thus, resurrection would be when the Old Covenant was removed. Those who posit the resurrection at the end of the Christian age must view the gospel of Christ is the strength of sin, since resurrection is when “the Law” (the strength of sin), will be removed. Thus, if the resurrection is at the end of this (gospel) age and the strength of sin (the law) is removed at the end of the age, this means the gospel is called the strength of sin.” Preston (D. Div.), Don K. (2014-10-19). The Hymenaean Heresy: Reverse the Charges!: A Response to the Charge that the Full Preterist View of Eschatogy Is the Revival of An Ancient Heresy (Kindle Locations 2683-2689). JaDon Management Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Positionally, we were all included in Christ’s resurrection so that Paul could say in Ephesians that we are “seated together with Christ in heavenly places.” But until “the resurrection of the dead”, no one could enter heaven including king David: Acts 2:29,34, “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day...For David IS not ascended into the heavens..." (KJV).
The author of Hebrews explains that while the Old Covenant temple and services were still standing, no one had access to the holy of holies:
Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the FIRST PART of the tabernacle, performing the services. But into the SECOND PART the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance; the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. It was SYMBOLIC for the PRESENT TIME in which both gifts and sacrifices ARE offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience— concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed UNTIL THE TIME OF REFORMATION. (9:6-10)
There is certainly much more that could be said, but suffice to say that Paul was not as confused as we are about the nature and timing of the resurrection. He understood it to be within his lifetime, in fulfillment of the Law and Prophets, at the destruction of the city of Jerusalem when the old covenant breathed it’s last breath. He understood it to be when Hades was emptied and destroyed along with “sin-death”. He also explained that there would never again be an intermediate state, but that from then forward we receive a resurrection invisible spiritual body that is fit for heaven itself at the point of death.
Jesus IS the RESURRECTION and the LIFE! He was raised. He raised you together with him, and when you die you receive a resurrection, invisible, glorious body fit for heaven.
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Plus here is a great primer to understanding the timing of the tribulation.