MY COMMENTARY OF 1 CORINTHIANS 15
Michael F. Blume
© 2009 Rightly Dividing the Word
There is much controversy over the nature of the resurrection taught by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15. This chapter was originally intended to alleviate the controversy in the first century about it, and make it plain as to what will actually occur. Ironically, however, to this day many believers claim quite adamantly that Paul said something very much different than what other believers propose he said. Let us study each and every verse and understand what the resurrection is actually about
1 Corinthians 15:1-58
(1) Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;Paul introduced the topic of Christ's death, burial and physical resurrection. He emphasized physical resurrection by merely mentioning that Jesus was physically seen by Paul.
One man once told me that he believed Paul's sighting of Jesus does not count as that of a physical body because Paul saw a vision. I disagreed. Paul considered his sighting of Jesus to be the same sort of sighting of Jesus that the twelve experienced when they saw Christ's resurrected body that came out of the grave. This means the sighting Paul saw was of the same physical body the disciples saw before the ascension that Paul lists in verses 5-7. Why would Paul speak of a vision in trying to prove Jesus resurrected if that vision was not of Christ's actual resurrected body? It would be pointless.
(9) For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.Paul wrote verses 6-8 in order to refer to himself. Then he continued with the subject at hand: Jesus Christ's physical resurrection made visible to people before the ascension and afterwards by himself.
(12) Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?Paul stated some people claimed there was not a resurrection from the dead that was to occur, although it was a fact that Christ arose from the dead. Paul made an implication here that if Christ rose from the dead, so shall we.
(13) But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:In v. 13 Paul reinforced the implication that if Christ arose then so shall we by saying that a lack of a resurrection for us means Christ did not resurrect, Himself.
(14) And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.Not only does lack of proposing a future resurrection for the church mean Christ that did not resurrect, but that extrapolation, in turn, affects our very salvation to begin with. There is no need to preach Christ if He did not resurrect. There is nothing to have faith in if Christ did not resurrect. So, Paul emphasized that as important as it is to believe Christ actually resurrected from the dead very physically, to the extent that He was visibly seen even by Paul after His ascension, it is important to believe there is a future resurrection for the church. Paul said the very foundation of Christianity - that is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus - is fully in error if there is not resurrection of the church, due to the intrinsic association of Christ's resurrection with the need for the church's future resurrection.
(15) 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.These verses above emphasize and repeat Paul's point.
(18) Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.Verse 18 is where we start getting into the meat of the point Paul made.
Paul referred to people who died as Christians. These were the ones who were "in Christ" and fell asleep (physically died). These folks could no longer so much as exist in any form if there is no future resurrection of the dead. They came to obliteration. They perished. They ceased to exist. They were wiped out of existence forevermore.
If Christ did not resurrect, then salvation for the soul did not come about. This is intrinsically associated with the need for the provision of true atonement. If death was not conquered by Jesus Christ, as evidenced by His resurrection from the dead, then atonement was not provided for. Sin has conquered mankind and nothing occurred to remedy that.
(19) If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.This is what sin leaves mankind with. This mortal life alone. Nothing more. Nothing that has no ending.
(20) But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.But this is not the case, because it is a fact that Christ did resurrect from the grave, and He became the firstfruits of them who died/slept. This means that the experience He had would likewise be shared by the church believers who trusted in His salvation. "Firstfruits" is a word that simply speaks in terms of the concept of a TIMEFRAME to be considered. Christ's resurrection occurs before the church's resurrection. We know that timeframe ALONE is the point in mentioning firstfruits because of the next three verses.
(21) For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.Christ is the "firstfruits" in the sense that His resurrection leads to an inevitable resurrection of the element of mankind who trusted in His salvation. Paul said Christ's resurrection satisfied the need for resurrection to come by man. This is so because it is not only true that man brought death, but it associates Christ's experience of resurrection to our own future experience of resurrection. In the same sense that a member of the human race affected the rest of humanity by causing death to come upon us, another member of the human race is able to resurrected from the dead and thereby affect humanity in this more positive manner. Because Christ was a "firstfruits" of those who died, there is the implied fact that His resurrection affects the rest of the human race to likewise experience resurrection as much as they experienced death due to Adam. However, let it be plainly known that Paul only implied the rest of human beings [who trust in Christ are meant to resurrect, because Romans 5 teaches only those who received the atonement, and we who have received abundance of grace, are blessed with this (Rom 5:11, 17).
Verse 22 also emphasized corporate influence over all humanity due to one man's experiences. Adam caused us all to die, and the phrase "In Adam" refers to all humanity affected by Adam's disobedience. "In Christ" refers to those who escape from being "In Adam" and enter instead to be "In Christ." All will be made alive who are IN CHRIST in the resurrection that Christ provided for us through His own resurrection.
Verse 23 emphasized the timeframe aspect of the term firstfruits. It is a matter of "order" in time. That is why the term "afterward" was written, since it speaks of an ORDER OF TIME and not of anything else aside from time. The only reason Christ was called firstfruits was because His resurrection would occur before our resurrection in time. "First" implies time alone in this context. Paul used no other qualifier for the use of the term "firstfruits" as some claim there is. Nothing in Christ's resurrection, therefore, is meant to be any different in our own resurrection to come except for its timing in history. In fact, it is emphasized by the term "firstfruits" to be just the opposite than being anything different.
(24) Then cometh 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.After this resurrection of the church, preceded by Christ's firstfruits resurrection, the end will occur. At the time of this "END" there will be the giving over of Christ's dominion to the Father, causing the Son to cease ruling as He did in the church age. This proves that the resurrection that was mentioned in verse 23, when we read "they that are Christ's" resurrect "at his coming," is as much a future event as is the coming of Christ that was mentioned here. The following words of Paul speak of this in more clear terms quoting actual prophecies from the Old Testament.
(25) For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.Paul quotes from Psalm 110.
Psalms 110:1 <A Psalm of David.> The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.This Psalm stated that Christ will rule until all enemies are his footstool, or are under His feet. This means that while enemies exist, he is King. But when enemies are all subdued beneath His feet, then He steps down from ruling. This prohibits a dispensational idea of a future millennium after the church age, because that teaching proposes the opposite of this scripture. It proposes Christ begins to rule after all enemies are beneath His feet at His coming, rather than ceases to rule after all enemies are put beneath his feet at His coming.
(26) The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.Of the enemies that Psalm 110 said would be put beneath his feet, death is mentioned to be the final one. When death is put under His feet, He ceases to reign as Christ. This means there is no more need for The SON of God to rule, since we enter eternity and the white throne judgment occurs, thus ending all earth history as we know it. This makes the resurrection, which some call "the rapture," to occur in time immediately before the white throne judgment in Rev 20 when death is thrown in the lake of fire. That is how death is the last enemy to be destroyed.
Revelation 20:14 KJV And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.To propose anything other than a future resurrection of the church, at the time when the white throne judgment occurs at the coming of Jesus Christ, is to say that either Christ has already ceased ruling (if this already occurred) or that reality contradicts scripture in proposing Christ does not begin to rule until after he puts all enemies under His feet and comes for the church in resurrection (if this has not yet occurred but is to be followed by a millennnial reign).
(27) For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.Paul emphasized what he already stated about Christ ceasing to rule when He comes and resurrects/raptures the church. Most all false prophetic views contradict this truth.
(29) 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?Here, Paul referred to water baptism by which we are baptized into Christ's death. If Christ did not resurrect from death, then why get baptized into His death? If baptism is supposed to cause us to then resurrect to walk in newness of life (Rom 6:3-5), why get baptized if there really is no resurrection? Christ's resurrection affects us to walk in newness of life. That cannot occur, and there is, therefore, no use for water baptism because of Christ's death, if we likewise do not resurrect with Him in salvation. So, spiritual resurrection of simply getting saved is also endangered, if there is no resurrection that occurred with Jesus Christ.
Romans 6:13 reads that we can present ourselves to God now as though we are alive from the dead, due to baptism into Christ that causes resurrection to occur in us spiritually. Romans 6:9-11 tells us that, as Christ is alive from the dead after His death to sin, we can likewise consider ourselves just as much resurrected from the dead and alive unto God. And Paul attributed all of that to baptism into Christ's death.
This makes the reference to baptism "for the dead" to refer to baptism because of Christ's death, since we are baptized into His death when baptized in water.
(30) And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?Paul stated that he would not allow himself to stand in jeopardy over his ministry of preaching the gospel, risking his neck due to persecution, if there was no resurrection from the dead. If, in this mortal life only, we have hope, he would be throwing away his only hope any life in such a case. But because he knew there was an IMMORTAL LIFE after this mortal life, he was easily able to make himself stand in jeopardy and continue to preach anyway. He knew there was a better life ahead. He was able to take his mortal life and treat it recklessly due to confidence in the other immortal life to come. Pual knew that immortality that would be given to his body would cause him to never lose his life in the long run.
(31) I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.Here Paul stated something too many believers misunderstand. They think this verse referred to dying to the flesh everyday, and not to Paul's actual point in explaining how he physically exposed himself to death everyday due to the persecutions he knew he would face. Preaching the gospel, as he had been doing, was asking for persecution and the chance for death in his day.
The apostle used the same language in 2 Cor 4 to indicate dying was actually suffering persecutions and risking his neck everyday, which caused him to consider that each day he awoke might be his last day, and, in effect, cause him to say he died every day that he made up his mind to continue to preach the gospel.
2 Corinthians 4:10-12 KJVTo say Paul died daily is to say the same thing he did in 2 Cor 4. He only meant he would suffer physical persecutions and risk his physical neck every day.
His point was that he would not risk his physical life if this mortal life was all we had, due to there not being a future resurrection of the church. Context here states that there must be physical resurrection yet to come, or else preachers who risk their physical necks in preaching the Gospel would be fools for doing so. Live this mortal life to its fullest and forget about risking our lives today, if ther eis no future resurrection. Get as far away from mortal danger due to preaching in a persecuting atmosphere as one is able to get. But Paul only showed his persuasion that a resurrection was to come, by persisting to preach in the midst of physical violence against preachers in that first century.
His words about this apply to everyone even until today, showing the resurrection has not yet come, or else preachers in dangerous areas should cease preaching and live their lives to the fullest.
(32) If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.Paul repeated his words about dying daily by speaking of physical threats to his ministry and mortal life due to his preaching.
(33) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.Doctrines that teach no resurrection of the church affect believers, and we need to cut off such communication lest our good manners of our walk by faith be corrupted, we begin to live it up for today and hope only in this life.
(34) Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.Paul rebuked the Corinthians for evidently entertaining the thought that there is no future resurrection of the church.
(35) But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?This is where things really go into detail about the nature of the chapter's words on resurrection. This verse shows how that the entire discourse from this point on concerns the BODY. Let no one tell you that the BODY is not the point in the remainder of the chapter. This verse introduced that point as the BODY. It is not speaking of a covenantal body of people, as though the body of Christ is the church, although the church is called by that title in other parts of scripture. Paul is not speaking in that context here, though.
In what precise manner are the dead to be resurrected in the resurrection, and what body will they have? This is exactly the very point that causes varying views of this chapter to conflict, and ironically this chapter was meant to resolve that difference and explain the truth.
(36) Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:Paul seemingly directed this statement to the "SOME MAN". If one might think that there was not going to be a resurrection of the church, he referred this "some man" in verse 35, who asked how the dead are raised and with what body do they come up.
Paul said the same thing Jesus said in John 12:24. Jesus said a grain, or kernel, of wheat falls into the ground and dies. What is sown is a seed. That seed is not made alive until it dies first.
(37) And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:The body of the stalk that rises from the ground where the seed has been sown is different in nature than the body of the seed that was sown. You do not sow a stalk of wheat to produce more stalks. You sow a kernel of wheat that is much different in nature than the stalk that results.
Similarly, the body that is buried is not the body that resurrects. As the seed changes, it is transformed into the stalk and comes out. The same seed comes out again, but in another form or body. What happened between the time of the sowing and the growing forth? There was a CHANGE, or ALTERATION, of which Paul speaks later in the chapter. If you were to dig up the stalk to look for the body of the seed, you would not find the seed, for the seed CHANGED INTO the body of the stalk, itself! The resurrection of the body will not leave behind that body, but will be that body changed into the body that came forth. You cannot find the body in the ground after the resurrection any more than you could find the seed in the ground after the stalk has grown from it.
(38) But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.The body that does rise is a body as God designed it to be in order to best be suited to the environment that the body would be involved with. The resurrection will see our mortal bodies change and alter into immortal ones, leaving nothing in the graves due to that change. And the nature of the body is an immortal, physical body required due to what is needed to suit the experiences God designed for us to know after the resurrection. We need only look to Christ's resurrection body to see what capabilities we shall have that our present mortal bodies do not have.
(39) 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.Here, Paul emphasized that even bodies in nature differ from one another as the resurrection body differs from the buried body, in the same sense that bodies of men, birds, beasts and fishes differ in body.
(40) There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.Not only is there a difference between the bodies of earthly creatures, but there is also a difference between celestial bodies and the whole lot of terrestrial bodies. Some claim Enoch experienced a celestial body when God took him. You would not be able to find Enoch had you looked for his dead body after God took him. He was changed. Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus on the mountain in bodies that were seen. Compared to the new celestial body, the terrestrial one we presently possess is humiliating. Hence the literal reference in Phil 3:21 to our "body of humiliation" ("vile body" in Greek is translated as "body of humiliation") that shall be fashioned to be like Christ's resurrected body.
(41) There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.Paul spoke of GLORIES varying in bodies. The sun has greater glory than the moon. But the moon has its unique glory. Paul compared the lesser glory of the mortal body that dies from the greater glory of the resurrected body.
(42) So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:This proved the claim made about verse 41. It is comparing the glory of the resurrected body from the mortal one.
(43) It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:Note the emphasis placed upon the same "IT" being sown to be the "IT" that is raised, removing the possibility that at resurrection the mortal body remains in the ground while a different body resurrects.
By sheer virtue of the term "RESURRECT", there is no chance for a buried body to remain in the grave when the resurrected body comes out. Resurrection literally comes from the term "resurgence". Resurgence occurs when something lived, died, and lives a second time. Only when the same body that was alive, and then dead, and alive again in a changed state, can it be said that an actual "resurrection" of the body occurred. To claim the body remains in the grave and something else resurrects, is to say nothing actually "resurrects". The body that is claimed to resurrect must previously have lived and died in order to to re-surge with life -- or live a second time.
(45) And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.Paul quoted Gen 2:7 where Adam was created a living soul. Christ is the last Adam who is made a LIFE-GIVING spirit. This spoke of the post-resurrection Christ, not the Christ who was born in the stable with a mortal body. Jesus WAS MADE a life-giving Spirit through the work of the cross in the same manner Hebrews 5 said he was made the author of eternal salvation through the things which he suffered. As much as there is a difference between bodies of the terrestrial (such as fishes and beasts and man), and celestial and terrestrial, there is a difference between Adam and Christ.
This is associated with Paul's former contrast in this chapter between all humanity dying in Adam and all resurrecting in Christ.
ADAM was GIVEN life, for the reference that stated Adam was made a living soul was said in association with the explanation that God breathed life into him. But Christ GIVES LIFE.
Christ's resurrected body is immortal.
I agree with John Gill's assessment of this verse that says:
... it is to be understood of it as raised from the dead, when it was made a spiritual body, for which reason it is called a "spirit": not that it was changed into a spirit, for it still remained flesh and blood; but because it was no more supported in an animal way; nor subject to those weaknesses that animal bodies are, but lives as spirits, or angels do; and a quickening one, not only because it has life itself, but because by virtue of the saints' union to it, as it subsists in the divine person of the Son of God, their bodies will be quickened at the last day, and made like unto it, spiritual bodies. (From E-Sword, www.e-sword.net, John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, Notes on 1 Corinthians 15:45, Dr. John Gill (1690-1771))
(46) Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.Just as Adam was natural in contrast to Christ's resurrected state wherein His body was spiritual, the body that is sown is natural, and the body raised is spiritual.
Paul previously noted how there is a difference between natural and spiritual bodies. But here is furthermore a difference of ORDER for the two. As Adam came before Christ's resurrection, the mortal state of body must occur before the immortal state. It is an issue of time. Even Christ's mortal body existed before His spiritual one did. It is not a contrast of one body being visible and the second invisible. One is simply mortal and the second immortal, but both are very physical.
I am amazed at how many people assume that the term "spiritual" is a contrast of physical. Paul did not use the term "physical" in this entire chapter. He did not say that a physical and visible body shall change into an invisible body, as though spiritual means invisible and not physical. The actual contrast is between a "natural" body and a "spiritual" body. The Greek terms for natural and spiritual are ψυχικο�ς (psuchikos - natural) and πνευματικο�ς (pneumatikos - spiritual). Notice the Greek suffix "ikos". Greek scholars say this suffix does not speak of compositional material. Words that refer to the compositional material of something use the suffix "inos" instead. So, we are not intended to think of something that is physical or non-physical when we read the terms natural and spiritual. We are to think of what drives the body when a body is called a natural body. The natural instincts and desires that relate to the animal part of our flesh is what Paul intended us to understand when we read the phrase "natural body". It has nothing to do with what material our bodies are made of. This one clarification will remove a lot of false teaching concerning the nature of the resurrection in this chapter.
(47) The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.This verse contrasted the created body of Adam from the resurrected body of Jesus Christ.
Adherents to the "Divine-flesh" doctrine think the reference to the Lord from Heaven is referring to the body with which Jesus was born. That is error. It actually refers to the resurrected body that once was the former animal body, and was changed into the spiritual body. Jesus' body from Mary was as much from the earth as was Adam's, since it was formed from the basis of Mary's body. The Bible says Mary "conceived." Conception requires the egg of the woman to be fertilized by the male seed. Although there was no human male seed involved due to the virgin birth, Mary was said to have "conceived." In fact, Mary undertook the ceremonial cleansing required by women who "conceived", indicating she indeed did conceive! This means that part of her flesh was involved in the formation of the human body of Jesus Christ. But that mortal body changed into a spiritual body from Heaven in His resurrection.
Paul spoke of Adam and Jesus like they were the only two men in the world because they were the federal heads of the human race.
As much as Heaven and earth are contrasted, the Lord is from Heaven and Adam is from earth. This shows even more contrasts between mortal and immortal bodies.
(48) As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly."This earthy" referred to Adam. As Adam was earth, those who descended from him are of the earth, earthy and mortal. But as is the Heavenly, referring to Jesus, those who are resurrected will likewise have bodies JUST LIKE HIS, which was most physical and visible, in the resurrection. The heavenly BODY we shall have is identical to Jesus Christ's body. This verse proves we cannot say the bodies we will have are to be different than Christ's risen, physical and visible body.
The reference to the risen body as being heavenly is also used by Paul in 2 Cor 5.
2 Corinthians 5:1-2 KJVThe body from heaven is what Jesus had, according to 1 Cor 15:47-48. And in 2 Cor 5 we read that we, likewise, will have a body from heaven. So if Christ's was visible and physical, then so will ours be visible and physical. Otherwise, Paul was in error in writing 1 Cor 15:47-48 indicating that our bodies of resurrection will be like Christ's heavenly body.
(49) And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.This proves the point moreso. Just as Christ had a heavenly body that was visible and physical and immortal, we shall bear the exact same kind of body in the resurrection. Phil 3:21 agrees. We who are members of the citizenry of heaven, will see our vile body fashioned like unto Jesus' glorious body.
(50) Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.Paul stated here that the present form and nature of our bodies cannot inherit God's Kingdom. The term "Now this I say then" actually means that everything he said up to this point is summed up as a requirement that must occur because of the following information. Since flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom, there is of necessity this entire understanding spoken up to this point. A resurrection is required because our present flesh and blood is not suited to the realm in which God intends to involve us after resurrection. Our present body cannot hold the glory we require in order to physically be involved in the Kingdom of God. Only our souls and spirits were changed to inherit the Kingdom up to this point. Our bodies were not born of the Spirit, but our spirits were born again. Our souls are presently being made new now. But our bodies shall also be made new in the resurrection.
This brings out another proof for physical and visible resurrection of the same body we presently carry, that will be changed into an immortal one. God did not exchange our human spirits with another immortal human spirit, but changed them and then put HIS SPIRIT inside them. He likewise did not exchange souls or minds for new ones in us, but CHANGES or RENEWS our present minds to become spiritual minds. Just consider how God CHANGES our minds in order to understand how our bodies will be changed.
1 Corinthians 2:14-15 KJVThe natural man is changed to become a spiritual man. Nothing is abandoned as though the natural man is left behind and God recreates each of us as new souls and spirits, but rather the old is MADE NEW. Same with resurrection of the body. So, we see a pattern between what Paul already stated in this book and what he now states in chapter 15. And this proves the interpretation to be correct that states the resurrected body is both visible and physical and is our present body changed into an immortal version of itself.
(51) Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,The reason there will be a CHANGE, not an EXchange, is due to the fact that the present body left unchanged cannot inherit the kingdom. Again, Paul talked about BODIES in this entire chapter, as is stressed in verse 35. WITH WHAT BODY DO THEY COME?
The term ALL includes those living saints and dead saints. To say "not all shall sleep" is to say not everyone in the group considered will die. Of the group comprised of some dead and others still alive, some of those others still alive will never die. But when we read ALL SHALL BE CHANGED, it means that both living and dead saints shall be changed in order to satisfy the fact that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom. Both the flesh and blood of the dead and of the living cannot inherit the Kingdom. Both the flesh and blood of the dead and living must be changed. When shall this occur? The next verse tells us...
(52) In 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.The last phrase repeated what was said in the previous verse. We shall all be changed. All will be changed, both living and dead saints, in one and the same moment -- not in moments separated by years -- but simultaneously at the same moment when the trumpet sounds. The passage then stated both dead saints and the saints alive who shall not die shall experience in the one and the same moment a change of both groups' bodies. This is the resurrection. Not that the dead will change in one moment that is apart from the living changing in different moments. All bodies are changed in one and the same moment so as to allow the flesh and blood body that could not inherit the Kingdom to be altered so that it then does inherit the kingdom.
I agree with John Gill's explanation:
...witness the human nature, or body of Christ, the bodies of the saints that rose after his resurrection, and those of Enoch and Elijah, who were translated body and soul to heaven; so that this passage makes nothing for those that deny the resurrection of the same body, and plead for a new and an aerial one:
The same body is resurrected, but is also changed in order to inherit the Kingdom, in the process.
(53) For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.This corruptible flesh and blood body actually will put on incorruption, so that this present visible body changes into an immortal one. This will allow it to inherit the Kingdom.
There must be an alteration of the present frail and mortal body. When something is altered (whcih is the the literal meaning of CHANGE here), that something is changed. Its qualities are manipulated to become different qualities. There is no "change" of the body unless the same frail body is altered to be able to inherit the Kingdom.
(54) So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.This does not refer to spiritual resurrection that defeats spiritual death outside any concept of the physical body actually rising again, because spiritual death was already defeated at one's salvation. Paul said he spiritually resurrected when He was saved, and taught that after salvation each of us are meant to present ourselves before God as those alive from the dead. Romans 6:13, which stated we should present ourselves as those alive from the dead, was not speaking of physical resurrection that Paul had not yet experienced. If so, then nobody could present themselves to God as those physically resurrected. But Paul wrote of being spiritually resurrected there. Spiritual death is separation from God. This was remedied the moment we were saved.
Romans 6:9-13 KJVThe dominion death had over Christ was ended once Christ died. He merely had to die ONCE. And when He resurrected, He has no need to die any more. Death has NO MORE dominion over Him. Likewise, Paul taught, we need to consider ourselves just as victorious over death as Jesus now is. And we have not yet died physically. Now, physical death has not yet been conquered completely, although the work to provide for that has already been accomplished since the resurrection of Jesus. That is why we read earlier in this chapter that there is a resurrection of our bodies because Christ resurrected in body. We can say Christ conquered sin and death through the cross, but we all know saints lived and died after the time of the cross. So, PHYSICAL death is totally conquered when Jesus comes again and the resurrection of 1 Cor 15 occurs. Spiritual death does not occur at His coming, because that already occurred when people were saved, were able present themselves as being alive from the dead to God. If they were not alive from the dead physically, then in what way were they alive from the dead? It can only be spiritually. So the resurrection of 1 Cor 15 is not spiritual resurrection from spiritual death. This victory in 1 Cor. 15 is over physical death.
Death is truly conquered forevermore at this point, because sinners will have been cast into the lake of fire, and saints will all have been changed to have immortal, physical bodies, and no one is ever to be born afterwards with the ability to die. Nobody will ever be born, anyway, after this point.
(55) O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?The sting of sin is the law, because Law said that SIN brings PHYSICAL DEATH, which is why men physically died and why sacrificial physical death had to occur. Paul stated that grace actually confirms the law in agreeing that physical death resolves the problem of sin, which is the reason Grace demanded that Christ physically died to make atonement.
(58) Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.Paul summarized all of his words and said they should retain their hope, for he wrote earlier that there is no need to think there is hope only in this life. While they work and labour and suffer, as he did in risking his neck daily, when he said he died daily, that labour was not in vain. There IS a resurrection of the body coming. They CAN risk their lives amidst their persecutions, for this is not the only life there is. There is a physical immortal life coming!
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