The other night I put out a video called “Resurrection Talk” wherein I sought to explain with clarity the Corporate Body View (CBV) and the differentiation between what happened to the living, the asleep, and the dead ones at the coming of the Lord. You can watch that video at the following link, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMUhZ2_BI5M&t=450s
In that video I explained the following points:
- Properly frame discussion by looking at what the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:1 – 11, in regards to the exodus event being recorded as an “example” upon those whom them ends of the age had come (I use past tense to point back to the 1st century). So looking back to the exodus, and having a familiarity with the “Law and the Prophets” as mentioned by the Apostle Paul to be the very source of his preaching the “resurrection of the dead” (cf. Acts 24:14-15; Acts 26:22-23)
- In this video we will specifically focus on two texts – 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 and 1 Corinthians chapter 15.
- As we go through the texts keep in mind the distinctions – the living (being those alive during the time of the coming of the Lord (cf. Matthew 16:27-28; Hebrews 8:13; Romans 8: 18-19, the asleep (cf. those who cannot die because they put faith in Jesus Christ but had biologically died during the time of transition. See, John 11:11, 25-26; 1 John 3:4), and the dead ones (cf. those who died prior to the birth of the Messiah; Hebrews 11:1 – 40).
- We must maintain a corporate understanding of these things. This would have been already in the mind of the original Believers, yet due to the rise of Hellenism, individualist notions, secular humanism, and so much more, we have moved far away from necessary understating. Looking back to the exodus event, we note that the Israelites saw it as important to take Joseph’s bones with them (cf. Exodus 13:19). Also, 1 Corinthians 14:36 and Hebrews 11:39-40 are texts that reinforce the understanding that whatever was happening to a certain people (living), it was always important to consider from whom it originally came, and to know that whatever happens now (especially in regards to God’s covenant relationships) will bless those who have come before us (dead ones). This is all speaking about how the different groups of people would be effected by the transition of the covenants (Old to New Covenant).
- In regards to 1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 18, I made the point that this text is informing the living how they should have hope regarding those who “had fallen asleep” (v.13). As per the text, the asleep will come with the Lord at His coming (v. 14), then those who are living will be gathered together (Greek word – harpazo – means to seize, the directional word “up” is an interpreter’s addition) to meet the Lord in the Spirit (Greek word aer means spirit or breathe, not the sky). This was the meeting with the Lord(Greek word – apantesis – usually used to depict a people going out to meet a king and follow him to his enthronement). The summation is the victory words, “…and so shall we ever be with the Lord (v. 17). I had mentioned that this Apostolic teaching seems to be directed toward a heresy that seemingly began in Thessalonica to disrupt the Gospel efforts, namely that “those who had fallen asleep” would miss out on the coming rewards to be given at the coming of the Lord.
- In regards to 1 Corinthians 15:1- 58, I marked out the point of the text to be saying there will and must be a “resurrection of the dead” (Greek – “anastatis nekroi – a standing again of the dead ones”) and then discussion regarding how, or as the text says “with what kind of body will they come?” (v.35). We note that there were many teaching false doctrines regarding how the goal of the ages was being revealed and seeking to corrupt the minds of those who had put their faith in Christ Jesus. In 2 Timothy 2:14-18, we read of two men particularly who went about teaching that the resurrection had already occurred (prior to the destruction of the Temple) which was marked out as a false teaching that disrupted the faith of many. The “resurrection of the dead” was vital to the fulfillment of the things because of what we marked out above about the necessary corporate understanding and that is exactly why the Apostle quotes two Old Testament passages right from the start of this chapter (v. 3 cf. Isaiah 52:14; Isaiah 53:1-12; v. 4 cf. Hosea 6:2). This becomes evident when we become immersed in the Biblical narrative. The point of the Apostolic teaching in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 is to highlight that if there was to be no “resurrection of the dead” (which points back those who died under the Law and the Prophets) than those who had “fallen asleep” have no hope (v.18), those who preach and believe are doing so in vain (v.17-19). God subjected the Old Covenant to death to produce life, a beautiful reality we see in nature. There was a natural body (Old Covenant people) and there is a Spiritual body (New Covenant). Both had their glory (v.38-44) but flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (v. 50). Jesus Christ was the revealing of the mystery of which the Apostle speaks about in verse 51. At the coming the Lord, some would be alive and not sleep (cf. Matthew 16:27-28; 1 Thessalonians 4:17), and would be changed (Greek word – Alasso – meaning to go from one mind to another; full clearing of conscience) and the dead would be raised incorruptible and immortal by way of the victory we have through Jesus Christ (v. 57). The dead would be raised in Christ Jesus and would be in the “one new man” (cf. Ephesians 2:15; 3:4-12; 4:22-24). It was this hope, the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets (two texts specifically cited in verses 54-55 are Isaiah 25:8 and Hosea 13:14), being fulfilled, that should cause us to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the word of the Lord, knowing that we do not labor in vain (v.12). He is faithful to His promises indeed!
A few last remarks. I am putting my crazy drawing below (lol) of how I see all of this “resurrection talk” taking place at the destruction of the Temple in AD 70. Surely study and discussion should continue in these regards to work out and further explain details, even leaving room for corrections. However, in my estimation, this is a clear and concise foundational understanding of the things we see herein and need not be disturbed or mis-characterized by those who unfortunately take pride in doing such. May we find unity in the positive remarks found in both texts regarding encouraging and comforting one another and being steadfast and abounding in our work in the Lord.
Blessings in the Lord,
“At the core of the individual resurrection (which is passed off as a doctrinal matter by Christians) is a Greek dualistic anthropology and Western individualism”. – William Bell