Establishing Himself as the fulfillment of all that was hoped for, Jesus Christ said:
“I am the Resurrection and the Life: he that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet he shall live: and whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this (John 11:25)”.
The Christian believes Jesus Christ to be the fulfillment of all that Israel longed for. The Apostle Paul explained the “hope of resurrection” best when he testified before governor Felix in Acts chapter 24:14-15:
“But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and the Prophets: having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked”.
When we go back to the beginning of the Biblical story we read that Adam suffered death because of disobedience and this “death” was manifested as his being cut off from the garden of Eden and accessing the Tree of Life (essentially the true life manifested in the presence of God), as well as a return to dust. This “death” effected him while he was alive, as well as after he biologically died. His progeny, Israel, began to have a hope for resurrection after they “like Adam transgressed the covenant (cf. Hosea 6:7)”. The Law of Moses was given to Israel as an “atonement” (a covering that provided life when they walked in obedience – cf. Deuteronomy 30:15). However, instead of walking in obedience, Israel walked in disobedience and reaped death. Like the death of Adam, this death effected Israel while they were alive, as well as after biological death. This death was a covenant reality for all of Israel as they failed to walk in obedience to the Law of Moses, however the Law and the Prophets hoped for the “resurrection of the dead”.
“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law (1 Corinthians 15:56)”
When we begin to examine the “hope of Israel” otherwise known as the “resurrection of the dead” through Scripture we arrive at an understanding of the corporate “bodily hope”. Understanding the focal point of this “bodily hope” as a “corporate reality” which establishes eternal life for the dead and the living, is referred to as the Corporate Body View (Salvation in the Body of Christ). This view is in contrast to what is often referred to as the IBV (Individual Body View), which demands that the doctrine of the “resurrection of the dead” involves an individual body that the saints receive – an Individual Body at Death (IBD). CBV advocates demonstrate that the “resurrection passages” found throughout the Bible are speaking about the “change” (alasso in the Greek) of the living saints and the making stand upright (apantesis in the Greek) of the “dead ones” into one immortal “corporate body” (the glorified Body of Christ). CBV advocates also assert that none of the “resurrection passages” found throughout Scripture, nor the “hope of Israel” otherwise known as the doctrine of the “resurrection of the dead”, pertain to any kind of individual body that the saints received or will receive. This is simply a false notion regarding the goal of eschatology that has been passed on throughout Church History, and is built upon faulty presuppositions as well as assumptions (Futurism, the Immortality of the Soul, the Resurrection of the Flesh, to name a few).
“He is the Head of the Body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything (Colossians 1:18)”.
A simple reading through the context of the Apostles Paul’s hope and his writings, say for example reading through the Book of Romans, will show that the “bodily hope” is detailing the death to one body and “newness of life” found in another. This is the Body of which Christ is the Head. It is important to note how Israel under the Law of Moses was understood to be a corporate people, and the Greeks are well known for their great “assemblies” or “bodies” (soma in the Greek) which they boasted in regards to. It was dying to these assemblies/bodies of identification and the being raised into the Body of Christ which would have been readily understood by people inclusively focused as the original audience was. This is what much of the “bodily talk” in the New Testament pertains to. This is a concept that a Hellenized spirituality (a spirituality based upon otherworldly notions that come from the imaginations of men as seen and passed on through Greco-Roman culture), or a 21st century mindset is not necessarily predisposed to.
Also, a Biblical consistency is revealed when we understand the narrative and the context of the “hope of Israel”. The death being defeated through Jesus Christ and the life being offered as represented through baptism begins to make sense. The resurrection of which Colossians 1:8 says that which is first in surely couldn’t be physical biological resurrection since we see this happen many times throughout the Scriptures. Also, as we study the Law and the Prophets, we see how unnecessary discussion about individual realities becomes and instead we develop the a prophetic imagination and get brought into the corporate reality fulfilled through Jesus Christ.
As we continue to see reformation happen within the Body of Christ, especially pertaining to eschatological details (which the “resurrection of the dead” is involved with), we need to move away from these strange notions of and focuses on individual realities, and instead cling to what we might call “resurrection realities”. Consider two texts that pointed to the hope of resurrection and what the outcome would be:
“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever (Daniel 12:2-3)”.
“And the Lord God will save them in that day as the flock of His people; for they are as the stones of a crown, sparkling in His land. For what comeliness and beauty will be theirs! Grain will make the young men flourish, and new wine the virgins (Zechariah 9:16-17)”.
The “resurrection of the dead” is the ultimate conclusion of fulfilled Bible prophecy. The fulfillment of the every joy and tittle of the Law and the Prophets it all that the prophets longed and hoped for. In and through that fulfillment the Mystery of the Ages would be revealed The living and the dead would and were raised into a new “bodily experience” when the Messiah fulfilled all that was necessary for the restitution of all things. The Apostle Paul detailed the overcoming of the covenantal death, which was lamented through the Prophets in this manner:
“But when this perishable will have put on the 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”.
Praise God for the Corporate Body Resurrection! The Glorified Immortal Body of Christ where Resurrection and Life is found.
MORE ARTICLES OF PASTOR MICHAEL MIANO’S ON THE CBV VIEW: