The Resurrection Body of the Believer (1 Corinthians 15:35-58)


As a New Covenant believer have you ever considered what your resurrection body will be like? In God’s Word the apostle Paul writes, “Our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus the Anointed Messiah, who, by the power that enables Him to subject all things to Himself, will transform our lowly bodies to be like His glorious body” (Philippians 3:20-21).

The apostle John also writes, “Behold what manner of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Beloved, we are now children of God, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when the Anointed Messiah appears, we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as the Anointed Messiah is pure” (1 John 3:1-3).

As a bride adorned for her husband

All of us, who have been born again, justified, redeemed and cleansed by the Messiah’s blood and having received the Holy Spirit, will have a new immortal and indestructible body as the Lord Jesus has Himself. To share in the glorious resurrection of our bodies we must be diligent to prepare ourselves to meet the Lord when He comes back, as a bride would prepare herself for her husband having kept herself pure for Him. The Lord Jesus is not coming back for a spiritually careless, lazy and dirty bride that could not really keep herself pure in heart and tainted by the world.

Conformed to the image of His Son

Purity of heart and lifestyle can only be given by walking in the Holy Spirit moment by moment, by a faith that works by love, and by striving with God’s help to keep ourselves under the cleansing power of the Messiah’s blood and to please Him and to keep ourselves unspotted by the world. Of course all of us are being changed from glory to glory by the Spirit of God and although we are conscious of the battle between the old nature with the new nature in the Messiah, the desire of our inner spirit man where God resides by His Spirit is to become more like the Lord Jesus having been predestined by God to be conformed to the image of His Son.

We will all be changed!

The apostle Paul writing to the assembly of New Covenant believers at Corinth writes about the resurrection body that we will have as New Covenant believers at the second Coming of the Lord Jesus to earth. Instantly, when He appears, we will all be changed! And so some at Corinth were curious as to how the dead are raised, not that they did not believe it would happen, but they wanted to know more about what their bodies would look like at the resurrection. Now let’s look at what Paul writes. How then are the dead raised?

(1 Corinthians 15:35-58)


(35-38) “But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?” 36 You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.

Now Paul was not calling a believer who asks this question a fool in a derogatory manner which is forbidden in the Torah and something that could end up sending the one who used this term into hellfire (Matthew 25:22b). No Paul is using this in the sense that the question itself is difficult to understand because we are still in our fallen human bodies and for now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face. Now we know in part; but then shall we know, even as also we are known by God (1 Corinthians 13:12).

So then Paul had already addressed this matter in part earlier in this first letter to them all at Corinth. However, led by the Spirit he explains what the resurrection body will be like. He explains that logically for something to be resurrected it must first die, in other words physical death must come before physical resurrection. A seed goes into the ground and when the outer shell comes apart the plant works its way up through the soil and what comes up is not the same as what went down into the soil. In its outward form and in its molecular structure it is different yet it is the same seed that was planted.

God the creator of everything causes the rain to fall on the soil and as a result new life springs up out of the seed that has effectively died. God has already designed how it will look when it comes up out of the ground. Each seed is unique in itself and no plant or flower is exactly the same. In our resurrected bodies we will not all look the same and yet we will all know each other. We will look different than we do now but be able to recognise each other. And then we read…

(Vs.39) “All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish.

Whether it is a human being, or an animal, or a bird or a fish, each is a unique and an individual creation as we will be at the resurrection.

(Vs.40-41) “There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.”

Everything in the heavens, on earth and under the earth were all created by God and each has its unique form and purpose in the universe that God created by the command of His spoken word (Psalm 33:9). Man was created to radiate the glory of God but through the fall God’s life was forfeited in man and man became subject to death. When a person is spiritually reborn from above by the blessed Holy Spirit their inner spirit man is filled with God’s life and light whereas previously that inner spirit man was dark and unresponsive to God being dead through sin. As Paul writes, “When you were dead in your trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with the Anointed Messiah. He forgave us all our trespasses, having cancelled the debt ascribed to us in the decrees that stood against us. He took it away, nailing it to the cross!” (Colossians 2:13-14). Every believer is different and must continue to grow and develop in faith and in holiness.

In the first letter of John he writes to those who are fathers in the faith, to those who are young men and to those who are children or babes in the Messiah. Every individual believer is at a different stage of spiritual growth. It has nothing to do with physical age but everything to do with spiritual growth. Some will exhibit more of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives than others. Of course humans are not the same as the constellations which differ from each other. Even the stars differ and do not shine with the same radiance.

The sun is at the centre of the universe and the moon and the stars reflect the light of the sun. Metaphorically, (Using Midrash) the sun can represent the Lord Jesus the “sun of righteousness” that shines into and upon all of creation. The moon reflects the light of the sun and metaphorically the moon can represent the corporate Body of the Messiah that reflects the radiance of the Son. As for the stars they all reflect the light of the sun, some shine more brightly than others do. While every believer will have a new resurrected body that shines with the radiance of the Son, some will have the capacity to shine more than others. In the Bible stars represent believers in both Testaments (Genesis 15:5; 26:4) (Philippians 2:15). Now let’s continue…

(Vs.42-44) “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 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. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.”

When we physically die and are buried it is a perishable body that decays in the dust being made from dust and returning to the dust. However when we are raised to life at the rapture and resurrection and receive new bodies they will be immortal and will never age or die or be sick ever again. The dishonour is that we physically die because of sin which affects the body as well, and it decays and becomes smelly and rotten. However, when it is raised by the same Spirit that raised our Lord Jesus from the dead, like His glorious body the metabolism and DNA of our bodies will be different as His was, and yet we will be recognisable as human but with immortal bodies, it will be the same body but a glorified one!

This is exactly what happened to the Lord Jesus when He was physically raised to life by the blessed Holy Spirit. In His resurrection body He could walk through a wall as He did in the upper room where the disciples were gathered and the door was locked, yet He had a solid human body and was able to eat food. (John 20:26-27) (Luke 24:36-43). The Lord Jesus in his resurrected body was able to eat fish with the disciples in that locked room showing to them that He was still fully human but now had a glorified human body. In the age to come, being the Messianic kingdom, in our glorified bodies we will enjoy the great feast where all the saints of all the ages will be present (Matthew 8:11).

The kingdom of heaven will also be present on earth and the harbinger of the New Jerusalem that will come down out of heaven at the end of the millennial reign of the Messiah on earth. When the New Jerusalem comes down to earth everything in the heavens and on earth will be made completely new! (Revelation 21:5). The only thing that will not change will be the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels but also filled with those who followed him in their previous life on earth. When we die physically we are buried in weakness physically but when we are resurrected we will have a body full of God’s immortal and indestructible power, strength and life! There is to be a natural body first before there can a spiritual body. It is the same body but in the resurrected body the molecular structure of it will be different. In effect it becomes an eternal body as its spirit is eternal. And then we read…

(Vs.45-49) “So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.”

When God created Adam He created his body out of the dust on earth and once He had finished shaping Adam’s body God breathed physical life into Adam’s body while at the same time breathing spiritual life into Adam’s inner spirit man. As long as Adam walked with God in the Garden of Eden his body never wore out or aged or started to diel. However, when Adam fell into sin his soul and its soul power remained but his inner spirit became spiritually dead and unresponsive to God’s life and power and at that point Adam’s body began to age and to die. God had withdrawn His spiritual life from Adam’s spirit.

This is why we must be spiritually reborn from above in our spirit man because when we are regenerated our human spirit becomes light in the Lord and one in spirit with God as Adam was before the fall. As it is written; “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him” (1 Corinthians 6:17). We become a new spiritual creation deep down on the inside which affects what we feel, what we think, what we say and what we do (2 Corinthians 5:17). Before we were spiritually reborn we bore the likeness of Adam’s fallen nature in our soul and body, consequently being aliens and strangers to God and cut off from His divine life. In this way we bore the image of Adam who had fallen away from God. When we were spiritually reborn from above we still bore the image of Adam having the old nature (the flesh), but also received the new divine nature of God and became partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

At present we still have the body that is dying and subject to decay, but when  we receive the resurrection life of the Lord Jesus it guarantees the resurrection of our earthly body the same as He now has, having also risen from the dead. His resurrection is our resurrection! He is the first fruits of the resurrection being the first man to die, to be resurrected as a man, and to never physically die again. He is the resurrection and the life for all who believe and keep on believing in Him for salvation (John 11:25). The Lord Jesus became a life-giving spirit in that through His resurrection life He was able to guarantee not only the spiritual resurrection of all who believe but also the physical resurrection which as believers in Him we will experience when He returns at His Second Coming.

When the Lord Jesus was on earth He imparted eternal life into the human spirit and even raised some physically from the dead but they still died physically. Now through His life-giving spirit He is imparting spiritual life to those who believe in Him and guaranteeing their physical resurrection when He comes again. In fact everyone will be physically raised again. Some will be clothed with their new immortal spiritual bodies but others who are not saved will still have their old bodies but terribly corrupted and decayed and the body they will have in the lake of fire forever and ever and remaining there in conscious torment. This is why we must be born again through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus to save us, and by faith in his atoning blood to cleanse us and redeem us. Unless we are born again from above we will never be able to perceive the things pertaining to or enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3). Now let’s continue…

(Vs.50- 52) “Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”

No one can enter God’s eternal kingdom by their own will power, good works or by human effort. It takes the unmerited and unearned favour of God to bring us into His everlasting kingdom and to be able to accomplish the works in His foreknowledge He has ordained for us to do from all eternity before we were born. As it is written; “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

We cannot enter God’s kingdom on earth still in our fallen bodies. When we physically die we fall asleep meaning that our bodies will be raised again. This is not soul sleep because when we are absent from the body we are present with the Lord in spirit (2 Corinthians 5:8). As it is also written; “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect” (Hebrews 12:22-23),

Those of us who sleep and those of us who are still living in our physical bodies will be raised together and at the same time all receive our glorified immortal bodies. Not one child of God will be left behind but all will be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and when that last trumpet sounds announcing the arrival of the Lord Jesus, we will all be changed! This last trumpet is also mentioned in Matthew 24:31 and in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 and in Revelation 11:15. The rapture and resurrection are the one and the same event and will occur immediately after the time of Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:29). The transformation of our bodies is coming! When that last trumpet sounds we will be instantly changed completely by Him “who gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Galatians 1:4-5). And then we read…

(Vs.53-56) “For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law”

When we put our complete trust in the Lord Jesus to save us from the power and the penalty of sin we were delivered from the fear of death and even though we die physically we will never experience the second death which is the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14). Even though at times we are apprehensive concerning what it will be like when we die its power to control us by fear is greatly diminished and we have the assurance in our spirit man, where God’s Spirit lives, that we will see the light of life after we physically die. The sting of death will be eliminated at the hour of our death when we are about to leave this life here on earth because we have already passed from death to life! (John 5:24) (1 John 3:14) (John 11:25-26).  

The sting of death is only for the unbeliever and at the hour of their death their sins will rise up like a spectre creating fear in their hearts knowing full well that they are heading for judgement and an eternity in hell (Luke 16:23). At the moment their spirit leaves their body they will meet Satan and his demons who will by force convey their spirit into the dark dungeon that is hell to be tormented until they appear for sentencing at the Great White throne judgement where they will appear for sentencing and then be thrown alive and bodily into the lake of fire where they will stay in conscious torment forever where there will be no reprieve! (Revelation 20:11-15).

The power of sin is the law by which the unsaved will be judged and condemned as they will be weighed in God’s balancing scales of life and be found wanting. However, we who have the law of God written in our heart by the Spirit of God will not be judged because we have accepted that our sins were judged at the cross and atoned for by the blood of the Messiah our Lord Jesus, our Passover Lamb who has been sacrificed for us (1 Corinthians 5:7). And so we read…

(Vs.57-58) “…but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed Messiah. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”

There is only one victor over the world, the flesh and over the devil and sin and that is the Messiah our Lord Jesus, who said; “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33). As the apostle John writes; “You, little children, are from God and have overcome them, because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). As the apostle Paul also writes, “When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He (the Lord Jesus) made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having cancelled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through the cross” (Colossians 2:13-15). The blood of Jesus settles everything in regards to our sin, its penalty and its power, and at the resurrection from its very presence!

In light of what lies ahead and knowing that we are accepted in the beloved Jesus, and knowing our resurrection is coming, lets continue with due spiritual diligence to be steadfast, and immovable from our strong position in the Messiah, and always abounding in the Lord’s work, knowing that our toil is not in vain in the Lord but will be amply rewarded in the life to come through and by Him “who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that is at work within us!” (Ephesians 3:20-21).