Skip Heitzig - 1 Corinthians 15:20-58
1 Corinthians chapter 15. Back in 1922, an author by the name of F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote an interesting idea in a book that he called The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Now, it became a movie, and so some of you thought that's all it really was, was a movie, that Hollywood came up with that idea. But it was an author that came up with that in the 1920s. And the premise of the book, the premise of the story is that a man, who was a septuagenarian, an old guy was born in a old folks home. And he regressed and became younger rather than what is human experience. And that is we are born, and then we grow older. And it was, even as a film, a fascinating film and a fascinating idea, that you start life old, and then you work your way down until birth.
So along those lines, somebody wrote this idea down called my next life. He said, I want to live my next life backwards. I'll start out dead and get that out of the way right off the bat. Then I'll wake up in a nursing home feeling better every day. When I'm kicked out of the home for being too healthy, I'll spend several years enjoying my retirement collecting benefit checks. When I start work, I'll get a gold watch on my first day. I'll work 40 years or so getting younger every day until pretty soon, I'll be too young to work. So then I'll go to high school, play sports, date, and party. As I get younger, I'll become a kid again. I'll go to elementary school, play, and have no responsibilities.
In a few years, I'll become a baby, and everyone will run themselves ragged keeping me happy. I'll spend my last nine months floating peacefully in luxury spa-like conditions with central heating and room service on tap. An interesting idea, but imagine having a body that never wears out. Imagine having a body that can never have a handicap. Imagine having a body that never sags, never droops, never aches, one that never has any kind of a disease, any kind of a problem. We really can't imagine that, especially as we age. We'd have to think back a long time to remember such carefree days. But imagine having something that eternally was like that. Do you know that the Bible promises exactly that? With a resurrected body, your body resurrected in the future. That's what chapter 15 is dealing with. In 1 Corinthians chapter 15, Paul addresses an apparent confusion in the church at Corinth regarding the idea of a future resurrection.
A few years ago, a poll was given to differing Americans. And the poll simply said, if you could change one thing about your life, what would you change? Interesting question. There's a lot of things that I'd like to change about my life. But if you could change one thing about your life, what would you change? Now, you might think that somebody would say, gosh, my short temper. I'm impatient. I'd like to change that. Or I'd like to become a more loving person in this situation. But by and large, most everyone, the answer was a physical answer. I want to change something about my physical body. I wish I was younger. I wish I had a different body shape. I wish my hair was different. I wish I didn't have wrinkles or whatever. It was always physical. When it comes to resurrection, and Paul asserts resurrection here, keep in mind that when he wrote, and again, we did discuss this in 1 Corinthians 15 last time, but that was last month, so I'm going to recap a little bit.
Paul was writing against prevailing ideologies, almost all of which denied physical resurrection. He wrote in a Greek culture. The Greeks thought the idea of a resurrection was ludicrous. When Paul went to Athens and preached the resurrection, they thought he was nuts. These are strange things, they said on the Areopagus, strange ideas that you're bringing to our ears because to the Greeks, the human body was a trap. The idea of death is to release the spirit from the confines of the body. It was something that was looked forward to, not getting your body back again to be trapped all over again. That was ludicrous to the Greek mind.
So Paul was writing against Greek ideology and philosophy. Also, he was writing in a Roman world. And the Romans had no place for a resurrection. They didn't think it was possible. Their belief system, their religious system had no resurrection available, or possible, or written about so much so, You remember when the apostle Paul stood up in Caesarea and he preached to two procurers and one Jewish king, King Agrippa II, that he spoke about Jesus, his death, and his bodily resurrection. And the Roman procurator Festus said, Paul, you're out of your mind. You're much learning has driven you mad. You're insane. You're talking about dead people rising again. That's insanity. So you have two worldly systems that were around at the time of Paul the apostle, neither of which believed in a resurrection, espoused it. So for Paul to speak of not only Jesus' resurrection, but our future resurrection, flew in the face of prevailing ideology.
Number three, within Judaism, and you would say, well, certainly, in that religious background, they believed in the resurrection. Yes and no. Some did. Some didn't. Pharisees did believe in a bodily resurrection. For that matter, they believed in all things supernatural. But Sadducees did not believe in angels, spirits, miracles, nor did they believe in the resurrection. This is why during Jesus' ministry while he was on the Earth, the greatest enemy of Christ in the religious world was from the Pharisees. But post-resurrection, when the disciples in every message in the book of Acts kept the resurrection of Christ at the center of their message, like you would imagine, the number one religious enemy they faced were the Sadducees because they did not hold to the resurrection.
So it was not a popular idea, and it would seem some even within the church were struggling with the idea with all sorts of questions. What's it going to be like? What's the body going to be like? What are we going to be able to do? How do there's going to be a resurrection? Et cetera. So he begins the chapter, as we saw last time, with Jesus' resurrection. And he continues after that with our future resurrection. I did get a letter because I realize that the idea of people having problem with physical resurrection is not just one in antiquity. But people today, even within the church, have problems with the idea of resurrection.
Listen to this letter that I got. Pastor Skip, why does God want to resurrect our body if we will have a new body anyway? Now, apparently, this person believes that when you die, you get a new body. So why on Earth would God want to resurrect this body? At the rapture, those who are dead in Christ, the decomposing bodies, the ashes, et cetera, you hopefully get the idea, God resurrects, pulls back together from the four winds, so to speak. Why? What's up with that? Good question. Honest question. Short answer is this. The resurrection is what completes our salvation. God is interested in saving not just your soul, but also redeeming your body. It's an entire complete process. Why? Because of what happened in the garden when man sinned, when there was original sin.
Remember what the Lord said. In the day that you eat thereof, you shall surely die. And man has died, women have died ever since. They died immediately spiritually. They were separated from God. But immediately, Adam began to deteriorate, as did Eve. And they died. And every generation since has. So to counteract the death principle that was instilled into God's creation at the fall, a resurrection is absolutely necessary. Well, verse 20, even though we brushed down to around verse 30, 31, even down to 34, but we only read it. We left a lot uncovered. I just want to overlap that. He goes, but now Christ is risen from the dead. The resurrection is a fact. Jesus died, was buried, and he rose, meaning he's alive presently. And notice this. , has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Now, do you remember what we said? First fruits was a Jewish feast after the Passover. And the ritual was they would bring a sheaf of the harvest, and they would wave it before the Lord. And the first sheaf, the one sheaf indicated the rest of the harvest is coming as well. We're going to dedicate more than just one sheaf to the Lord, but a whole lot more is coming that we're going to dedicate to the Lord of our produce. So the sheaf was indicative of more to come. Jesus' bodily resurrection was the first fruits. There are more resurrections to come, yours and mine. So Jesus' resurrection is what guarantees our resurrection. That's the principle. He is then the first fruit of those who have fallen asleep. Falling asleep as a metaphor for death because that is how the body appears, number one.
Number two, it's called going to sleep because when you sleep you get up again. And when you die, you're going to get up again. Your body will rise. For since by man came death, that is true Adam, by man, notice in your Bible, at least in my Bible, M is capitalized, the second M for man. So since by man, Adam came death by man, that is Jesus, also came the resurrection from the dead for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ, all shall be made alive. And last, time we mentioned that in the Bible, Adam and Christ are seen as federal heads of two dispensations. Adam brought sin into the world. Jesus brought life into the world. Adam caused the great fall of humanity. Jesus brought redemption. Both acted as federal heads.
See, people think of Adam, and they go, it's not fair that Adam sinned, and I, today, thousands of years later, am suffering the repercussions for it. OK. I'll go along with you. Not fair. But it's also not fair that Jesus died on a cross. You weren't there when that happened. And you get all the benefits just by believing in him. I could, say not fair. You shouldn't have the benefits. But you have them. So both performed an act that has repercussions, like Adam's sin or like Jesus's death on the cross. And we get the bogus results of one, and we get the benefits with the other, the capital M-A-N. By the way, when you work and sweat, when you do something and you pull a muscle, or you strain your back, or you get an ache or a pain, you can blame Adam. When women have pain in childbirth, you can blame Adam. But we're part of that family, so we are part of the Adams family. We're part of humanity.
And so, yes, we can blame Adam, but we can also bless Jesus Christ for his work as federal head, whereas in Adam, we all die. Even so in Christ, we all will be made alive. But each one in his own order, and we talked a little bit about that last time, so I won't rehash the order. Christ the first fruits. Afterward, those who are Christ's at his coming. Then comes the end when he delivers the kingdom to God, the Father when he puts an end to all rule, all authority, and power for he must reign until he has put all enemies under his feet. And the last enemy that will be destroyed is death. So what kind of body will we have in the resurrection? Well, our resurrected body, since Jesus is the first fruits of the resurrection, our resurrected body is going to be very much like Jesus' resurrected body, being able to do some of the things Jesus was able to do.
We're going to have, that is, in our resurrected body, an earthly body glorified, an earthly body glorified. Jesus rose from the dead, and he was fully man, but glorified. He said, touch me, and see a spirit does not have flesh and bones like you see me. He was able to eat meals with his disciples. And then he ascended into heaven. So today, at the throne of God, there's a man, a physical, real man, Jesus in his glorified resurrected body in heaven at the throne of his father. He's the first fruit. So what is your body going to be like? It's going to be very much like that. You're going to have your earthly body. You're going, well, I hope it's not going to look quite like this. Hold that thought. Hold that thought. But it is going to be an earthly body glorified, not a new body. Your old body renewed. Your old body renewed. Not a new body, per se.
There's a one to one correspondence in the resurrection. Do you follow me? Jesus died, and was buried. A new body didn't come up. His body that was on the cross and died is the same body that resurrected. So it's not like your body goes in the ground while you get a new body. Now you've got two bodies. That's a problem, especially if that thing ever gets raised up. Are you going to be two you's talking to each other in heaven? No. There's a one to one correspondence. The body that goes into the ground at death is the body that gets raised from the dead at resurrection. But your body is going to have advanced properties. It's interesting. When Jesus rose from the dead and was in his glorified physical body, the same one that was on the cross, but now glorified renewed, what he was able to do, he would just appear and then vanish. It's like he could go through walls. There, the disciples are in the upper room. The doors are locked. And all of a sudden, Jesus just poof. Shalom. Hello. Peace. Whoa. How'd you do that?
And then he vanished from their sight. And then he was able to be in Jerusalem. And then suddenly, when the disciples were in Galilee, just be transported to Galilee instantly on the shores of Galilee for a fish breakfast. Then he was also, that body was able to move not just horizontally, but vertically. He ascended up into heaven. The disciples stood on the Mount of Olives as Jesus went heavenward, up, up, up. So think of that. In your new physical body, and the reason I talk about your vertical body is because if you remember when I taught on Revelation, and we talked about the new Jerusalem, and we gave its dimensions, we see that it is a 1,300-mile cube. The city is not just 1,300 miles across, but you have the ability, or you have places vertically as well as horizontally.
And the only way you could really appreciate something like the New Jerusalem would be in a glorified body that could move instantly from place to place and go vertically as well as horizontally. You can have a lot of fun with this. But I don't want to go too far because we only have certain things revealed. But you'll have advanced properties. The last enemy, verse 26, that will be destroyed, is death. Remember what Revelations chapter 20 says, that death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. Verse 27:4, he has put all things under his feet. Paul is now quoting Psalm 8. He has put all things under his feet. But when he says all things are put under him, it is evident that he, who put all things under him, that is God, the father, is accepted.
Now, when all things are made subject to him, then the son himself will also be subject to him who put all things under him that God may be all in all. In the millennial kingdom, 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ upon the Earth, that for 1,000 years, Jesus will reign and rule as king. Revelations 19 says that he will rule all the nations with a rod of iron. It will be an ironclad rule. He will be dominant, but any rebellion that would be springy enough on the Earth will be put down immediately. He'll rule with a rod of iron. So during that millennium, Christ will be the one bringing righteousness over all the Earth, will rule and reign with him, but he'll rule with a rod of iron.
Now, the idea of everything under his feet is an old metaphor of a general or a king vanquishing another general or a king. When you would win a battle and you were the king, you would have the other king of the nation you just defeated placed on the ground. And that new king would place his foot on the neck of the king that he conquered as if to say, I'm now in charge. You are under my authority under my dominion. And it was an ironclad kind of a rule. So all things will be placed during the millennial kingdom under Christ rule and reign. After the millennial kingdom, so there's the rapture of the church, the tribulation period, the second coming of Jesus Christ, the 1,000-year reign of Christ upon the Earth in the millennium. After the millennium comes what is called what Bible scholars call the eternal state. And in the eternal state, it will be God and the glory of the lamb that lights the new Jerusalem, we are told, and the throne of God. We'll worship God face to face. We will see his face. His name, it says, was written on our foreheads. So it will be an immediate direct kind of a fellowship.
Now the only way you can ever get to God is through a mediator. There's one God and one mediator. And that is Jesus Christ. In the eternal state, you will have direct access to God the Father. You will see him face to face. You will be like Jesus. You will be like him, or you will see him as he is. But it says you will see God's face, and there will be a direct intimacy with him. Now we have verse 29. And we just left that dangling last time. Didn't explain it, just read it. And now we need to get into it because it's an odd verse. Otherwise, Paul continues, otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead do not rise at all, why then are they baptized for the dead? It is this scripture that has caused consternation for 2,000 years, argument, debate, interpretation, more argument, more debate, weird practices, et cetera, et cetera.
There are no less than 40 different interpretations of verse 29, just to let the kind of trouble it has caused. It is this verse that the Mormon church has used since 1840 for proxy baptism. And the whole reason they are so into genealogy and have probably the world's greatest bank of genealogical records is because they want to identify people who have died, so that a living Mormon can stand for those who have died by proxy baptism, vicarious baptism. So it's an odd scripture, and you're thinking, man, was Paul endorsing it? No, he wasn't, but he is mentioning it. And I say he's not endorsing it because if he was endorsing it, you would see it in other places in the New Testament. You would expect Jesus, perhaps, to introduce the idea. You certainly would see Paul explaining this to other churches, but he doesn't.
In fact, he doesn't even make baptism a big deal. He said to the Corinthians, I thank God that I baptized none of you, except Crispus, and Gaius, and the household of Stephanas because Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel. So what's up with this baptizing for the dead? Well, throughout history a little bit after this letter was written in several decades and, really, the next century, there were different groups that did baptize for the dead. The followers of Marcion, who denied the humanity of Jesus, the Gnostics, who denied a lot of stuff, as we mentioned Sunday, they got involved in a practice for vicarious or proxy baptism. But when Paul writes 1 Corinthians, there was a temple in a town next to Corinth, one of the mystery religions in Greece that practiced proxy baptism. They baptized people for the dead.
So it could be that that belief system of that neighboring worldly town had worked its way into the church. That wouldn't surprise us because a lot of weird worldly ideas have worked their way into the Corinthian church, right? We have noted that from the beginning of this letter. They're borrowing all sorts of weird things that Paul as a polemic letter has to write against. So it wouldn't be unusual that a few people at Corinth in the church, like the pagans next door, got involved in proxy baptism. Paul is not endorsing it. Paul is just saying, what would the point of that be if there were no resurrection? Even the dumb Pagans believe in a resurrection, at least some of them. They're baptizing people for the dead because they believe in a resurrection. So he's going through the list of proofs.
Jesus rose from the dead, et cetera, et cetera. Now he comes to this practice that he does not endorse, the Bible does not say we should do, but he makes note of it as if to say, even they do it. And what would be the point of them doing it? The point is they believe in a resurrection. You followers of Christ certainly should believe in a resurrection. That is what I think the point of verse 29 is. So I'm adding my interpretation, at least, to those 40. He continues, verse 30, and why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? I affirm by the boasting in you, which I have in Christ Jesus, our Lord, I die daily. That is, I face the possibility of death daily. Wherever Paul went, we've made note on several occasions, he was always persecuted, often thrown in prison. He was beaten on a number of times. He was shipwrecked. I mean, he suffered for his faith probably greater than any Christian in the ancient world.
And so when he says, I die daily, he's simply pointing to the fact, you can read it in 2 Corinthians chapter 11 a whole list of the things that he faced. And so he says, if there's no resurrection, why would I do that? If this life is all there is, if my body doesn't have a future resurrection, why would I place my body in jeopardy every single day? Why would any Christian go through the persecution and facing of death over and over again if there is no resurrection? I die daily. If, verse 32, in the manner of men I have fought with the beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me if the dead do not rise? Let us eat and drink for tomorrow, we die.
Now, Paul mentions that he faced the beasts at Ephesus. And so some have supposed maybe that means Paul faced the gladiatorial fights where Christians were exposed to animals like they were in Rome at the Coliseum, and it was for the sport, the entertainment of people who would watch that. I don't think he's referring to that. Why? Because there's no record of gladiatorial fights as such taking place in Ephesus. I think he's referring to human beasts. I think you could go back and just simply read Acts 19, not right now, but later on, and discover what he's talking about. When Paul was in Ephesus, he faced the persecution by a leader of a trade in that city by the name of Demetrius, a silversmith. And Paul preached Jesus' death and resurrection and just belief in him changes the life.
And there was a guy named Demetrius who said to his fellow workers, In that silver trade, they made little gods of the goddess Diana, little replicas that they would sell. And people would buy this little statue. And they put the statue in their house of the goddess Diana. And so Demetrius got his fellow workers together and said, look, this Paul the apostle is preaching something that is going to make our occupation in jeopardy. People aren't going to buy our stupid little statues anymore. People aren't going to buy our dumb little idols anymore. If they believe in this Jesus and resurrection stuff, we're going to go out of business. And this city is going to get sidelined because we are the great gatekeepers for the temple, the temple of Diana, which is worshiped throughout all the Roman world. And the center of it is right here. So they drug Paul, Demetrius and a guy by the name of Alexander drug Paul into the theater in Ephesus.
Now, I've been to that theater. It seats 24,000 people. And the people of Ephesus flooded into the city. And for two hours, they shouted, great is Diana of the Ephesians. Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And they thought Paul is going to be pulled apart by this crowd. And so they brought him out. And he escaped, went to a nearby town, came back. He spent a total, as I mentioned Sunday, of three years in Ephesus. But he dealt with these beastly-like representatives of a false God like Demetrius over and over again. And then notice how he closes out verse 32. If the dead do not rise, let us eat, drink, and drink for tomorrow, we die.
So if there's no resurrection, then let's just eat and drink for tomorrow, we die. Now, that's a quote from the scriptures, by the way. That's a quote from Isaiah chapter 22. It's what the people in Jerusalem were saying when the Babylonians encircled them and we're going to destroy the city. They said, well, the Babylonians are going to destroy us and take us captive. Let's eat and drink, man, for tomorrow, we die. Let's just party hearty because the captivity is coming. So Paul says, if there's no bodily resurrection, we're no better off than backslidden and Jews before the Babylonian captivity. Let us eat and drink for tomorrow, we die. And then verse 33, do not be deceived. Evil company corrupts good habits. Now, that's an interesting thing that he writes there because that happens to be also a quote, but not from the scriptures.
Paul is quoting a Greek author named Menander. And Menander wrote a play, a comedy in which he wrote, evil company corrupts good habits. It was so famous an entertainment piece that it became proverbial. Everybody knew this proverb. Just like we would say, every cloud has a silver lining or if you can't beat them, join them, we all have our sayings in every culture. That was a saying from a secular source. So here, you have Paul quoting a secular entertainment piece that had become a proverb. And he throws that in as if to just use all of these different arguments for the resurrection. But it's interesting that he throw this throws this in. Don't be deceived. Evil company corrupts good habits as if to say, hey, Corinthians, if you keep hanging out with people who deny the resurrection, it's going to turn out bad for you.
It's going to corrupt you even further. And they were hanging out with those who either were involved in proxy baptism, vicarious baptism, or those who denied the resurrection altogether. So he says, awake to righteousness, and do not sin for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. Verse 35. But someone will say, how are the dead raised up, and with what body do they come? Now, that's really two questions. How are the dead raised up? How is that even possible that dead people get up again? I mean, in the history of humanity, every generation has the display of proof that dead people, as a general rule, stay dead. I've never seen a resurrection. I've seen plenty of funerals. I've buried a lot of people. I have never had one person I've done a funeral for sit up in the casket and go, hey, what's up? I'm back?
Now, that would be cool if that happened, but it hasn't happened. No, actually, it would be pretty frightening if that happened. The question is, how are the dead raised? How is that possible? Now, that's what the Greek would ask. That's what the Roman would ask. That's what the Sadducees would ask. But Christians have, also to this day, similar questions. A resurrection? Well, what about the person who's at war and his body gets blown to smithereens. What about a person who's out in the ocean and he drowns, and a shark bites off an arm and swims in that direction, and another shark bites off a leg and swims in that direction. And now you've got parts of this guy all throughout the world in the gut of a shark. And then the shark dies and gets eaten by this. How is that possible? Or boy, they cremated my grandpa, and they put part of him on Sandia Mountain and part of him in the Lake down there in the river. I mean, he's all over the place.
How is that going to happen? And then the second question, and with what body do they come? So if a person dies with a stroke, and when he dies he is incapacitated, is that how he's going to come back in the resurrection? Or if a person has lost a limb and he's an amputee, will that amputee be an amputee in a resurrected body? If an infant is born, will that person always be an infant forever and ever? If an older person dies at 104 and just is decrepit, is that how they'll live? So with what body do they come? Really two questions, how is it possible that dead people are raised, and with what body do they come? And notice how wonderfully gracious Paul is in answering that. He says verse 36, foolish one, dummy, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. Certain things have to go dormant for life to come. And what you sow, you do not sow that body.
Now, let's go back to that question, that second question in verse 35. With what body do they come? Now, we've touched on that, but let me give you the short answer to that. The short answer to what body you will have in the resurrection is found in Philippians chapter 2, or Philippians chapter 3. Paul writes in verse 20, our citizenship is in heaven from which we also eagerly wait for the savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, now, get this, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to his glorious body according to the working by which he is able even to subdue all things to himself. So the short answer is your body is going to be like Jesus' body, a real human body but limitless. He'll transform it into a glorious body.
Now, some of you don't like Paul's language, perhaps, because he just called your body lowly. And you're going, my body isn't lowly. Man, I worked on that baby. I lift weights. I'm looking pretty good. Or I've gotten some procedures, and I've worked really hard. And my body isn't lowly. Just wait. Just hold that thought. Just buckle your seatbelt. Give it time. Let gravity take its course. Pretty soon, as you age, you will just start nodding more and more and more with this, and you will look for the transformation, say, lowly body waiting to be transformed, want the extreme makeover. Thank you. I want my heavenly botox. You'll get it in a resurrection.
Now, what Paul does in, back to 1 Corinthians 15, is he gives you some illustrations from the biological world, the plant world, the terrestrial world as well as the heavens, the celestial world. And what you sow, verse 37, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain, perhaps, wheat or some other grain. But God gives it a body as he pleases and to each seed, its own body. You take a seed. Effectively, it's dead, of course. Technically, it's just dormant. But you place it in the ground. It decomposes. The point is you bury it, and something comes up that is related to it, but different from it, right? It has the same genetic code, the same DNA, of an oak tree is in an acorn. This summer, if you spit watermelon seeds over the fence, that little black seed has a code within it. And it gets spit over the fence, gets buried in the ground. It'll rain a little bit. Something's going to come up. And a big, juicy watermelon will come from that seed. They don't look anything alike, but they are related.
So there's a relationship genetically, but they're vastly different from one another. So it is with our body. The body that shall be is related to this one, same DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid, same genetic code, but vastly different and unlimited in its capacity compared to what you have now. I used to love tulips. And it's just this perfect little flower. If you were to look at a bunch of tulips and go, oh, man, I'd like to grow one, I'd like to grow a bunch of those things, and you go by a bulb, you'd say, I didn't want that. That's ugly. That's lowly. Yeah, but put it in the ground, and wait and watch what happens. If I were to say, all you do is take that brown ugly thing and stick it in the ground, and life and beauty will come from it, you might say, that's insane. That's impossible. From that old thing? Yes.
Now we know that by common knowledge, but Paul said, it's the same way, physically, it's like a seed. Your body is like a seed going in the ground. It's sewn. But what will come up, related, but vastly different and more beautiful. And you've noticed that with plants, or grain, or flowers, what goes into the ground, the sowing is lowly compared to the glory of what comes out from it, what is produced. The harvest is more beautiful. All flesh, verse 39, is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another of flesh of beasts, another of fish, another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, that is heavenly bodies, and terrestrial bodies on the Earth. But the glory of the celestial is one. The glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, another glory of the stars for one star differs from another star in glory.
Even as you look up into the sky at the stars, especially in on a December evening, a clear December evening, if you look up and you have a telescope, and somebody can show you the star Aldebaran, it will have a pink, rosy hue. If you look at another star, Rigel, it will have a bluish tint. If you look at another star, Betelgeuse, it'll be yellowish in color. Different intensities, different temperatures, different Kelvin temperatures. So they're all beautiful, but they're all different in their beauty. They're shining with different intensities. So there's different kinds of bodies with different kinds of intensities. I have a thought that could deter us from finishing the chapter, so I'm going to keep going. Maybe I'll pick it up as we go. So, also verse 42, is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption. It is raised in incorruption.
Now, you have discovered this is not a news flash. Our body deteriorates. Your body reaches its peak around 20 years of age, or in your 20s, and goes downhill after that. Proven fact. I have a friend who said that he was with a group of kids, young people, in a venue. And he noticed a bunch of kids, his kids included, down on the hallway. And then he noticed this older rotund man with graying hair next to him, next to them, standing. And he thought to himself, he says, I had this thought. Who's that old fat man next to all those kids? And then he discovered what he was looking at. There was a set of mirrors at the end of the room. And there were his kids and the reflection. And it was his reflection that he was looking at. So when he said, who's that old fat man next to the kids, it's like, oh, it's me. The body is sown in corruption. It is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor.
There's nothing majestic about a dead person. The event itself, if you could be awake to look and experience it, you're not. You're dead. But when you die, if you were conscious, you would be embarrassed. It's why we cover up a corpse when they die. There's a dishonor to that event, the way they look. When a person dies, they lose all muscle control, all of it. And so a person will empty his bladder, and bowels, et cetera. Sorry to get so graphic. That's just what happens at death. I've witnessed it a number of times. There's nothing that is, if you were, oh my good, I mean, some of us are so afraid to get out of the house without our makeup. When you die, they're going to see it all. It's sown in dishonor. It is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness. It is raised in power. It is sewn a natural body. It is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body. There is a spiritual body.
So it is written, the first man, Adam, became a living being. The last Adam, Jesus, became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural and afterward, the spiritual. So he compares the natural man, or the natural body, the human physical body when he says there is a natural body. And he compares that to a spiritual body. Now, that does not mean that the resurrected body will be nonmaterial. That is just a spirit being. It does not mean it will be a noncorporeal, same sort of meaning as non, material. Don't focus on the adjective so much as the noun, not the spiritual as much as the body. It's going to be a real body. A better translation, I believe, is a supernatural body. There is a physical body, a natural body. But you're going to get a supernatural body, a physical body, but without the limitations that you have because you're going to be in a place in an environment that demands different capacities.
If you wanted to go to the moon, you couldn't go to the moon unless you had a contraption. You have to have a spacesuit. It has to be pressurized. You have to have the oxygen you breathe on Earth transported with you to take to the moon. You couldn't live otherwise. Well, heaven isn't going to be like that. I don't want to live for eternity in a spacesuit where I'm taking one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind. I want no limitation. But I can't survive in this body that I have. I can't survive on the moon, I can't survive in the water unless I have something that adjusts my environment. So God is going to give your body that is suited for the environment of heaven because you'll be in a glorified body to be able to enjoy a glorified state. It will be a body, but a supernatural body, not a noncorporeal body or a nonmaterial body. It will be a real physical body. You're just going to get a makeover.
So people ask, back to this question, what is my body going to look like? What if I have a relative who's an amputee comes to Christ? What will their body be like, or an infant, or an old person, et cetera? Well, let me answer the question by going back to Genesis. When Adam was created by God, he was created as an adult. He had an apparent age, even though he had also a technical age. So when God created Adam, on day one, how old was he? He was a day old. He didn't look like a day old. He looked probably like a 20-year-old, 18-year-old, I don't know, 25. It's hard to know exactly. But a full functioning adult with adult capabilities. But he had an apparent age.
Now, I mentioned that peak human development, peak development in your genetic structure, is somewhere in your 20s. They say between 20 and 30. I remember when I was going through medical training, they said 19. Maybe it's right in your early 20s, somewhere around there. And then after that, you start going downhill. So Henry David Thoreau, the author, said, every man ripens until he reaches age 20. And then he begins to rot. So that's the author, poets way of saying what science told me years ago. So I believe your resurrected body will have your peak age capacity. So if you were born an infant, or for that matter, aborted in a womb, you won't be an embryo in heaven. You'll be a 20,22-year-old full functioning adult. If you died at 104 and drooled on the way out, you won't be like that in eternity. You'll be in your 20s, full functioning adult with incredible capability.
So it's interesting. Jesus, when he raised from the dead, was unrecognizable by a lot of people at first until he did or said certain things. Oh, my goodness. It's the Lord. So yes, he bore uniquely the marks of crucifixion, and yet he had capabilities. So he was recognizable in one hand, but in other instances, he was not. It's sort of hard to tell exactly what it's going to be like, but it's going to be something like that, something like that. Verse 47. Let's finish this up. The first man, Adam, the first man was of the Earth, made of dust. The second man is the Lord from heaven as was the man of dust so also are those who are made of dust as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are heavenly, just comparing the two bodies, the natural body and the supernatural body. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly man.
So Adam was a prototype. Jesus was a prototype in his resurrection. We all know what physical bodies are like. We have one. That's a prototype from Adam. But our resurrected body, the prototype, is Jesus' resurrected body. He's comparing, once again, what Adam did and what the last Adam, the second Adam, Jesus, did. So Adam sinned, brought corruption, degradation, decay. He bombed out. It was the Adam bomb. He bombed out. Jesus, and we've been radioactive ever since, every human being in every generation. Jesus restored that, and the full restoration demands a physical restoration. That's why Paul belabors the idea of the physical resurrection, the heavenly man.
Now, this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit in corruption. Behold. I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. I think we should put that verse in the nursery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. That'd be a good, perfect scripture for that. In a moment, he's not talking about that. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, not the blinking of an eye. The blinking of an eye is a 30th of a second. The twinkling of an eye, about 1/10,000 of a second, it's really the time it takes for light traveling at 186,000 miles per second to hit an eye and bounce back for somebody else to notice it. That's a twinkling of an eye, instantaneous. 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 corruption must put on incorruption. This mortal must put on immortality.
What Paul is getting at here is the exception because everybody's saying, look, everybody dies. We don't see people coming back to life. Paul says, yeah, but there's a resurrection coming. The natural next question would be, well, when that event takes place, the resurrection, what if there's living people on Earth at that time? So Paul says, behold. And behold is a word to grab your attention. Behold. I want to tell you a, musterion is the Greek word, a mystery. And a mystery in the New Testament is something that was concealed in the Old Testament, but revealed in the New Testament. And the mystery is of the coming of the Lord, what we typically call the rapture of the church.
So 1 Thessalonians chapter four. Paul says, I don't want you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning those who have fallen asleep dead, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope for if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, God will bring those with him who have fallen asleep. For this, I declare to you by the word of the Lord that we, who are alive and remain, until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who have fallen asleep for the Lord himself will descend from heaven with the shout. With the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God, the dead in Christ will rise first, that's bodily resurrection. That's what he's been talking about, rise first. And then we who are alive and remain, people who are alive, living on the Earth at the time, will be caught up together with them, those who have been raised, the dead people, Christians raised. We will be caught up together with him, raptured, caught up, taken by force.
And so shall we always be with the Lord. And he concludes that by saying, Yes, he concludes that by saying, therefore, comfort one another with these words. So Paul's been speaking about people who are dead getting back to life. Now he's talking about people who are alive when that event happens. So to events, when Jesus comes back, will take place. The bodies of living saints will be transformed because this corruption must put on incorruption. And the bodies of the dead saints will be glorified. The seed that has been sown in the ground will be glorified simultaneously. Dead and Christ will rise first. We who are alive will be caught up, raptured, to meet the Lord in the air. So shall we always be with the Lord.
So verse 54, let's close this chapter off. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory. Oh, death, where is your sting? Oh, Hades, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin. The strength of sin is the law. The law just accentuates the problem. The wages of sin is death. You read the law, all the thou shalt nots, and the only thing you can say is, oops, I'm in trouble because reading the law reminds you that you have not kept it. And so that just makes the sin problem even worse. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
I'm going to close. You say, well, that's the end of the chapter. You're done. Not yet. I'm going to close with Daniel, chapter 12, just a couple of verses. Why? Because I want you to know, Paul wants you to know, I believe, that the resurrection is not a new brand new thing. It's been spoken about from the Old Testament onward. Even Daniel the prophet believed in, and taught, and spoke on, and predicted a bodily physical resurrection. Daniel, chapter 12, he says, those who sleep in the dust of the Earth shall awake some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine, notice this, like the brightness of the firmament and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. Could it be, just a thought.
When Paul talked about there's different luminaries in the sky, different stars with different glories, they shine with different brightnesses and different colors, that he was thinking of this when he wrote that, that we will shine like the stars forever. And could it be that he had in his mind that in heaven, we're all going to shine because we'll have glorified bodies, but we're going to shine with different capacities, different intensities depending on how faithful we were to the Lord's calling and work on this Earth?
Now, I hope you know I'm not introducing some new foreign concept. We're all saved by grace through faith, not of works lest any man should boast. But I also hope you know that your reward eternally is dependent upon the work that you do for the Lord on Earth. And we're all going to be shining. John Lennon said we all shine on. I don't think he had this in mind. Paul had this in mind. And I believe he is hinting, at least in part, what he elucidates in other places in the New Testament that in eternity, we're all going to have certain rewards depending on how faithful we were to the Lord's calling in our lives and how we led people to Christ or not.
And so once again, let me just close. You keep saying that you're going to close, and you don't close. Yeah, Paul did that a lot. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. Keep serving the Lord. Put some elbow grease into it. Put some labor into it. You're not saved by works, but for goodness sakes, if you have faith, it should work. Your faith should work, should produce fruit. So give it all you've got to the finish line. Reach, press for the prize of the high calling in Christ, Jesus. Be steadfast, so that you might shine like the stars in heaven.
Father, thank you that those who lead many to righteousness will shine forever like the stars. I pray, Father, that we, your people, your church, in this age in this short period of time we call our life while we are in these natural bodies, would always be thinking of and planning for what our eternal reward's going to be, what our heavenly body is going to be like, the things we're going to do, what we're going to enjoy. It's what Paul said ought to happen. It's what Jesus said ought to happen when he said we should think about our rewards in the future, that we would lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust cannot corrupt. Strengthen your body, your church to do your work. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.