Lesson 38: "So Also is the Resurrection of the Dead." (I Corinthians 15:42)
I Corinthians 15:21-44
Paul's Missionary Journey Epistles. Welcome again! I am appalled at how many people today, members of the church who say: "It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if you use instrumental music...It doesn't matter how you believe...It doesn't matter as long as you believe in Jesus" they say. Can you imagine that some at Corinth were saying, "It doesn't matter if you believe in the resurrection; as long as you believe in Jesus." Today some think IT DOESN'T MATTER, if you attend worship or not, as long as you believe in Jesus. When people start thinking like that; they are trying to set the standard; yea, they are changing the standard. Paul said, back in 14:36, "What! Came the word of God out from you? Or came it unto you only?: They in v.38, he continued, if any man insists on being ignorant; we simply have to let him be ignorant. If some one insists on using instrumental music, that attendance at the worship service is not important or that it's not necessary to believe in the resurrection; we can't force them to comply with God's word. Do you remember ch. 13? Wemustbe compelled to follow God's standard and King Jesus's instruction out of love or charity. You can't force people to obey. Jesus said, "Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." Matt. 15:14). We are obligated to obey and to try to teach. Paul was a persuader of men. We must follow Paul's example. In v.20, where we ended our last lesson, Paul said, "Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.? That's a very positive and definite statement. Paul said, that's the way it is! And you have learned enough about Paul's teaching style to know that when Paul laid down and axiom like this he usually illustrated it. He tries to show this statements are reasonable; so, most of what follows, the rest of ch. 15, is Paul's illustration. V.21-28 amplifies Paul's statement in v. 20, "Now is Christ risen from the dead." Then beginning in v.29, notice that Paul began to sprinkle in several questions to simply make us think. Let's read v.21-28. Please read! Here we go.
"For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. 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. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 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. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all."
Alright, "Now is Christ risen from the dead." First, Paul takes us back to Gen. Ch. 1-2-3, the garden of Eden, where physical death first came into being as a result of Adam's sin hi the Garden. When we connect this up, the apostle shows Jesus's resurrection and triumph over Satan is simply one more step in God's plan. Physical death was more or less imposed at the time of Adam as a way of limiting the realm of sin. If you study the Genesis account and what happened hi the garden; god made other physical changes in man or mankind also. There was a change in childbearing or means of human reproduction. Mankind henceforth had to work and earn his bread by the sweat of his brow and there were other changes. Physical death was only one of these changes and that change came as the result of the disobedience of one man, Adam, who walked with God.
Paul says the other side of the coin is that physical death and those things that curb us into the physical realm(we know) that began with Adam, will also be removed by the obedience of one man, Jesus Christ. And with the "first fruits" idea, (v.23) Paul says in effect; the genesis of that removal has already happened, when Jesus arose from the dead. Just as physical death was imposed upon all mankind at one time; it will be removed from all mankind at the same time, i.e. at the general resurrection which has not occurred yet; but, will occur with Christ's second coming. With Adam a change was made; with Christ that change will be corrected and ended. Now, let me add just one comment here: God made some changes at the tune of Adam and Eve in the garden, changes beyond my comprehension. At that tune physical death (among other things) came upon all mankind. Every man since Adam and Eve has lived within the environmental limitations that God imposed at that time. But, here's the bottom line and the reason for my comment: mankind, i.e. all of us who have lived since Adam DID NOT (I repeat: DID NOT) inherit Adams sin. You were not born with the guilt of Adam's sin! You have lived and all have lived under the environmental limitations (including physical death) that God imposed at the time of Adam; but Adam's sin will not be held against you at the judgment. We do not inherit Adam's sin or the sin of our parents or anybody else. You will answer for your sins ONLY. I know some teach little babies are born with the sin of their parents and sins of Adam and Eve; but, that is a false doctrine. So, get it straight. Don't contuse our sins with physical death and the other environmental limitations we have mentioned. Two different ball games!
Now look at v. 23, 24, 25! The process has begun. When Christ arose from the dead, that was the down payment, earnest money so-to-speak; sufficient to develop our faith. Then, v. 24, the end will come next, i.e. the next item of business will be Christ';s second coming and the general resurrection. Then, the full payment will be made, you see. Then Christ will deliver up his kingdom, i.e. he will deliver the church (composed of Christian) to God, the Father. Certain changes will be made in rule, authority and power. Then, v.26, at that time; at that time the Lord Jesus delivers up the church to the Father, death will be destroyed. That which began with Adam will be removed. At the general resurrection, all that are in the grave shall come forth (John 5:28-29). "They that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." Now, please notice, there was nothing said there and there is nothing said any place else that there will be two resurrections. The righteous and the unrighteous will all arise at the same time. Paul in his discussion with the Corinthians, with the Thessalonians, etc., puts the emphasis upon the resurrection of the righteous, naturally, you would expect that: he was talking to Christians. But, both the righteous and the unrighteous will arise at the same time; just one resurrection. Read it close and digest every phrase. Don't let someone hoodwink you into that two resurrection bit; that's false doctrine. A thousand years, forget it! The Bible simply does not teach two different resurrections. You cannot even find the word resurrection with an "s" on it in the whole Bible. Get your concordance and look! Everything pertaining to it is singular, one trumpet will sound, not trumpets. Check it out. Jesus said in Matt. 25: 31-32, "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then [THEN, look at it close, "then"] shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations: (are you listening?, "all nations:" and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats..." Have you got it? Tuck it in good! Learn what the bible teaches! When you learn what the bible teaches; you can sort out all that manmade doctrine stuff like a chicken picking up corn in a pebble box. A chicken's head can work like a sewing machine. Did you ever see it? The corn disappears, the pebbles fly all over the place; and you can't fool him. He can spit out a pebble as fast as he can pick up a grain of corn. Do you know why a chicken can do that? He knows what's corn and what's not corn. He learned the difference. As you learn the bible, you'll also learn to spit out the debris. So, learn it now! One resurrection! It';s all the bible teaches. Just that simple.
After the resurrection, no more death, v.26. In v.27-28, Paul re-said it again. Re-read it! Then, let's read v.29-30, two verses. Are you ready! V.29-V.30, let's read. "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? And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?" Let me ask you a question! Why were you baptized into Christ? You like water and you wanted to get wet? Why? To please your mom and the preacher? Why were you baptized? You know that those are not scriptural reasons. Why were you baptized? Because Jesus said to and because you will meet Jesus after the resurrection. So, if you were scripturally baptized; you were baptized for what comes after death. It won't help you any here! But, remember, some at Corinth said: "there is not resurrection of the dead." (Back in v.12!). Now, look at Paul's questions again: "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all?" Why be baptized? Baptism is a waste of time, if there's not resurrection of the dead. Do you agree? Do you see why Paul asked that question? I trust you are aware that our Mormon friends go around searching old records and being baptized by proxy for people who have been dead for years. V.29 here is then-scriptural authority, they say. Can you read that into v.29" Baptism here is side light, not some mysterious new command. So, spit out the debris! Let's read some more! Paul is discussing the resurrection; he is not discussing baptism. If there is no resurrection, (now that's the question tucked right into the middle of v.29) if there is no resurrection, why be baptized? Why do a lot fo other things? Why stand in jeopardy of anything imposed by the Christian life (v.30), if there is no resurrection of the dead?
Now, v.31, 32, 33, 34, are you ready? Let's read it! Beginning in v.31, here we go. "I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 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 tomorrow we die. Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.? O.K. don't forget, Paul wrote this letter from Ephesus. Paul compares his struggle in trying to teach the people of ephesus to fighting with wild beasts. Paul was in jeopardy every hour, you see. Most of the Ephesians appreciated what Paul was doing about like Jesus' proverbial swine appreciates a pearl, Matt. 7:6. Jesus said, they "turn again and rend you." Paul was saying, If there is no resurrection of the dead; I'm sure subjecting myself to a lot of unnecessary danger. Now, look at v.33. To teach that there is no resurrection is an evil communication; it's a lie, it is not the truth. To teach such things corrupts. Those at Corinth that said there is no resurrection were a great corrupting influence, you see. Get away from that business, v.34: "Awake to righteousness, and sin not..." Thus, to teach such a false doctrine, Paul said was a sin. It corrupts! Some didn't have a knowledge of God, i.e. they had not yet evangelized Corinth by any means and instead of getting the job done; they were teaching a false doctrine. Paul said, "I speak this to your shame." (End of v.34). Do you think false doctrines of today will be looked upon any more favorably at the judgment: Of course not!
Then in v.35, Paul got down to specifics of what some Corinthians were saying and arguing. Here's their argument, v.35 Are you ready? "But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?" Thus, some were saying in effect, it's impossible after a person dies, decays, feeds the worms, and the bacteria breaks our bodies down into foul smells and leaves a little pile of dust, for it to ever be put back together again. How can that be? We might call it the Humpty-Dumpty argument, all the kings men and all the kings horses can't put a simple egg back together again after it's been broken. So, how could human beings be resurrected from the dead? "With what body do they come?" See that, end of v.35? Do you sense a tad bit of Greek science and philosophy that strutted its onions around Corinth? How can that be/ That's impossible! The resurrection of the dead just can't be! But, how can a chicken eat yellow corn, a few blades of green grass, some worms and insects, drink a little clear water and make a Humpty-Dumpty egg to start with? That impossible too, isn't it? Their thinking was, if I can't understand it, it can't be done? For me that would eliminate television, how an egg can hatch into a chicken and about a gillion other things. How did Paul answer that question? Get a eyeball on v.36. Are you ready? We'll read down through v.44. Starting in v.36, let's read.
"Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or some other grain: but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 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. There are also celestial bodies and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body, it is raise a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." Did you know that? The resurrection of the dead may not be as incredible as it may seem at first. Look at v.42, "So also is the resurrection of the dead." Is the resurrection of the dead any more incredible than these other things? Electrons, protons, and neutrons make up atoms. There are only about a hundred kinds of atoms. Those atoms combine to make molecules. Some protein molecules contain more than a million atoms. Genes and chromosomes are made of very complex protein molecules that contain the pattern for making an individual. How can that be? The human body contains millions of cells. Each of those cells has a nucleus with genes enough to guide development of an entire individual. If the God of heaven who made man to start with and engineered a genetic process that's still doing it's job; is it an incredible thing to believe that the same God could reconstruct a resurrected body by the same process? He's got my vote! Would you give a little thought to Paul's argument in v. 36-44? Its worth you time! We'll get back to this in our next lesson. In the mean time, have a good day.