Creation of the earth and man #22 Man in the image and likeness of the Elohim #6 Spirits, spiritual bodies and illusory perception

When the Lord Jesus said,

“A spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have”,

he did not mean to say that a spiritual body had not; but a spirit such as they thought they saw.

“They supposed they had seen a spirit.”

In the received reading the same word, πνευ̂μα, is used here as in the text which speaks of Jesus as “the Lord the Spirit”; but evidently, not in the same sense. Indeed, the reading in Griesbach’s edition of the original text is clearly the correct one. The word rendered spirit is properly φάντασμα, a phantom or mere optical illusion; and not πνευ̂μα, spirit.* When Jesus walked upon the sea both Matthew {a Matthew 14:26} and Mark {b Mark 6:49} make use of the same phrase as Luke, and say that the disciples when they saw him, “supposed they had seen a spirit, and they cried out for fear”. In both these places the word is phantasma, and not pneuma.

File:Christ Walking on the Waters, Julius Sergius Von Klever.jpg

Having affirmed that man stands related to two kinds of body, the apostle gives us to understand, that in the arrangements of God the spiritual system of things is elaborated out of the animal, and not the animal out of the spiritual. The natural world is the raw material, as it were, of the spiritual; the bricks and mortar, so to speak, of the mansion which is to endure for ever. In relation to human nature, two men are presented as its types in the two phases it is to assume. These Paul styles “the First Adam”, and “the Last Adam”, or “the first man”, and “the second man”. The former, he terms “earthy”; because he came from the ground, and goes thither again: and, the latter, “the Lord from heaven”; because, being “known no more after the flesh”, he is expected from heaven as the place of his final manifestation in “the body of his glory”. Then, says John, “we shall be like him”. If, therefore, we have been successful in depicting the Lord as he is now, while seated at the right hand of God; namely, an incorruptible, honourable, powerful, living person, substantial and tangible, shining as the sun, and able to eat and drink, and to display all mental and other phenomena in perfection: if the reader be able to comprehend such an “Image of the invisible God”, he can understand what they are to be, who are accounted worthy to inherit His kingdom. Therefore, says Paul,

“As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly”, {c  1 Corinthians 15:49}

or, Lord from heaven.

This corporeal change of those, who have first been morally

“renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that hath created them” {d Colossians 3:10}

from “sinful flesh” into spirit, is an absolute necessity, before they can inherit the Kingdom of God. When we come to understand the nature of this Kingdom, which has to be exhibited in these pages, we shall see that it is a necessity which cannot be dispensed with.

“That which is corruptible cannot inherit incorruptibility”,

says the apostle. This is the reason why animal men must die, or be transformed. Our animal nature is corruptible; but the Kingdom of God is indestructible, as the prophet testifies, saying,

“It shall never be destroyed, nor left to other people; but shall stand for ever”. {e Daniel 2:44}

Because, therefore, of the nature of this Kingdom, “flesh and blood cannot inherit it”; and hence the necessity of a man being “born of the spirit”, or “he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God”. {f  John 3:5, 6; 1 Corinthians 15:50}He must be “changed into spirit”, put on incorruptibility and immortality of body, or he will be physically incapable of retaining the honour, glory, and power of the Kingdom for ever, or even for a thousand years.

But, before the apostle concludes his interesting exposition of

“the kind of body for which the dead come”,

he makes known a secret which was previously concealed from the disciples at Corinth. It would probably have occurred to them, that if flesh and blood could not inherit the Kingdom of God, then those who were living at the epoch of its establishment, being men in the flesh, could have no part in it. But to remove this difficulty, the apostle wrote, saying,

“Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep (χοιμηθησόμεθα, met. to die, be dead), but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for it (the seventh trumpet) {g Revelation 11:15, 18; 15:8; 20:4} shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible (ἱσάγγελοι, equal to the angels) {h Luke 20:36}, and we shall be changed (ἐς πνευ̂μα, into spirit). {i  1 Corinthians 15:45}For this corruptible (body) must put on incorruptibility (ἀφθορσίαν), and this mortal (body) must put on immortality (ἀθανασίαν). Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory”. {j Isaiah 25:8}

But, that the saints might not misapprehend the matter, especially those of them who may be contemporary with the seventh trumpet-period, he gave further particulars of the secret in another letter.
The disciples at Thessalonica were deeply sorrowing for the loss of some of their body who had fallen asleep in death; probably victims to persecution. The apostle wrote to comfort them, and exhorted them

“not to sorrow as the others (οἱ λοιποί, i.e., the unbelievers), who have no hope. For if we (the disciples) believe that Jesus died and rose again”;and be not like those, who, by saying, “There is no resurrection of the dead”, in effect deny it; “even so”, as he rose, “them also who sleep in Jesus will God bring forth (ἄξει, lead out, or produce), with him.” {k  2 Corinthians 4:14}

He then proceeds to show the “order” {l 1 Corinthians 15:23} in which the saints are changed into spirit, or immortalized, by the Son of Man. {m  John 5:21, 25, 26, 28, 29}.

“For”

says he,

“this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we, the living, who remain at the Lord’s coming, shall not anticipate them who are asleep. For the Lord himself shall come down from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise FIRST: after that we, the living, who remain, shall be snatched away together with them in clouds to a meeting of the Lord in the air: and thus we shall be with the Lord at all times. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” {n 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18.}

– Thomas, D. J. ; Elpis Israel: an exposition of the Kingdom of God (electronic ed., pp. 43–45). Birmingham, UK: The Christadelphian.

*

Notes & quotes

* The R.V. retains pneuma, spirit; but in Matthew and Mark renders phantasma, apparition.

a Matthew 14:26 (ESV): 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear.

b Mark 6:49 (ESV): 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out,

c 1 Corinthians 15:49 (ESV): 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

d Colossians 3:10 (ESV): 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

e Daniel 2:44 (ESV) : 44 And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever,

f1 John 3:5 (ESV): Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

f2 John 3:6 (ESV): That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

f3 1 Corinthians 15:50 (ESV): Mystery and Victory  50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

g. Rev. 11:15, 18; 15:8; 20:4.

g1 Revelation 11:15 (ESV): The Seventh Trumpet 15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”

g2 Revelation 11:18 (ESV): 18  The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”

g3 Revelation 15:8 (ESV): and the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.

g4 Revelation 20:4 (ESV): Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

h Luke 20:36 (ESV): 36 for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

i 1 Corinthians 15:45 (ESV): 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

j Isaiah 25:8 (ESV): He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.

k 2 Corinthians 4:14 (ESV): 14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.

l 1 Corinthians 15:23 (ESV): 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.

m John 5:21, 25-29 (ESV): 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. … 25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

n 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 (ESV): The Coming of the Lord 13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

 

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Preceding

Creation of the earth and man #21 Man in the image and likeness of the Elohim #5 Spiritual and animal body

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Further reading

  1. Which Life?
  2. Thousand Deaths
  3. Bible study: Was the resurrection body of Jesus spiritual or physical?
  4. The Filling Of The Holy Spirit
  5. Life Series Part I
  6. John 3:5-8 (Spirit Wind)
  7. Sermon: Pentecost 2015
  8. Was Jesus a Yogi?
  9. The Spirit speaks from the depths to the deep…
  10. This same Breath
  11. The Breath of God
  12. That’s the Spirit!
  13. What if God Were One of Us?
  14. Pneumosophy: The Breathing Blog
  15. Pneuma: Breath of Life, Sigorta+Akbil Tam Zamanlı Tanrı

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