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But didn't Jesus have heavenly flesh?

Submitted: 10/30/2010
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Question: Thanks, but there is no need at all for your concern. Gnostics believe something quite different - that Jesus did not have real flesh at all, but was more like a ghost, which is a complete heresy. This is not what I believe, so please do not misrepresent my position. Lets not digress anymore and stay with the topic at hand. You have now stated that according to you the flesh of Jesus was corruptible, like a human body. I find this shockingly unbiblical. By your standards Jesus could not even enter heaven. Is this what you really believe? That He had to change nature to be able to enter heaven? By espousing this kind of interpretation of 1 Cor 15, you are in fact claiming that the body of Jesus was 'sown in dishonour and corruption' as the text says. Do you really believe that Christ was like that? If so you are contradicting all the verses that clearly teach that Jesus was incorrupt and holy: 'For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners'(Heb 7:26). Nowhere does the Bible speak of Jesus as having a corruptible body. The words of the apostle Paul in 1Cor 15 are directed at the Corinth saints and reflect upon our own resurrection, not Christs. That is why he uses this phraseology to explain the future plan of God. Our body will change from corruptible to incorruptible because of the very fact that Christ's flesh is incorruptible. The flesh of Jesus is a covering for sin put on in baptism (Gal 3:27). The Bible says this flesh was the same, yesterday, today, forever. Not from Mary or Joseph, but from the Word, and called the bread from heaven (not dust). God bless, Br. Johannes from Den Haag.

Answer: Gnosticism was a broad and diverse set of beliefs, all wrapped a round the core concept that Jesus was not the Father, but only the Logos, which served as an intermediary between the Father and man. It is true that the docetic gnostics believed that Jesus only appeared to be flesh, but that was not the only gnostic belief. Others believed that Jesus was really flesh but was the Logos who had come down from heaven; that is, that Jesus possessed 'heavenly flesh.' So you may say that you do not hold a gnostic belief, but if fact you do, just not docetic.

I think I have adequately demonstrated by the Scriptures that Jesus was mortal like every other man and that His body would have decayed had it not been for the resurrection. As for Paul's statement that 'flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,' you are pulling it out of context. The whole proposition here is that a change must take place, Jesus Himself being the forerunner of this change. Paul goes on to say, 'Nor does corruption inherit incorruption' (1 Corinthians 15:50). By placing these parallel assertions side by side, we see that flesh and blood/corruption (that which is subject to corruption) cannot inherit the kingdom of God/incorruption, which is spiritual and therefore not subjection to corruption. Before any human being can enter the incorruptible kingdom, there must be a death and resurrection (i.e. a radical change).

Paul goes on immediately to describe how this change will take place, saying, 'Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall 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 incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality' (vs.51-53).

Just as it was for Jesus, at the resuurection of the dead, all true believers will be changed, the natural body being left behind, having been overtaken by the spiritual body. 'But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep' (1 Corinthians 15:20). Just as the firstfruits had to rise, so must all who fall asleep in Him.