In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul encounters one of the most pressing questions of his day: “What about our resurrection?” He stood between two streams of thought that deeply influenced the first urban believers. Those with Jewish influence in their backgrounds, the belief in resurrection was tied to “the end of the age.” When the Lord comes back, resurrection will occur. This was repeated by Mary and Martha to Jesus when He came to the tomb of Lazarus to bring him back to life. “We know he will rise again at the resurrection of the dead.” But no resurrection was possible before that… it would mean the world was ending as far as they were concerned.
On the other side, the Greek Hellenistic influence over the Roman Empire brought to the argument that, since matter was evil and bodies are made of matter therefore, bodies are evil. How then, could God take a ‘body’ to Heaven if it’s evil? It was normally believed that death was the release from this prison of a body.
Oddly this spawned two different and opposing reactions from the Greek-influenced people of Paul’s day… one group taught that the body didn’t matter since it was going to be destroyed anyway. So do what you like while you’re in it… since it really doesn’t matter. The other reaction was that since the body was evil, it needed to be constantly brought into restraint and control… therefore, deny it and don’t give it rein.
Against these arguments, Paul brought the truth of 1 Corinthians 15, that there will be a resurrection of the body; that Christ had already been raised in a glorified body that is like the one we will receive at our resurrection… and that death was necessary before resurrection could occur.
He taught the contrast of heavenly and earthly bodies in 1 Corinthians 15:35-56. After telling us in verse 20 that Christ is the “firstfruits” (meaning that we are the remainder of the harvest) we know that our resurrection body will be like His. The first tenth of a harvest doesn’t differ in kind from the other 90 percent but only in order. “There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, ” we read, “as there is one glory of the sun, one of the moon, another of stars.” The resurrection body is powerful, the earthly is weak. The resurrection body is imperishable, while the earthly one is perishable. The resurrection body is glorious while the earthly one is dishonorable.
All of this to say, IT WILL BE DIFFERENT and yet in many respects the same. We do not become angels in our resurrected form. That is another class of created beings. Since we will rule with Christ, we will have responsibility for leading them as well. So wings won’t spout and halos won’t grow on our resurrected bodies.
We will however, be like Christ… “for we will see Him as He is!” (1 John 3:2)
FOR MEMORIZATION: Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 1 Cor 15:50
FOR REFLECTION: Death, disease, decay will be no more in our new bodies. Pain will have passed away and all things become new. All of this will happen “in a moment… in the twinkling of an eye.” The day is coming. In this our hope is secure.