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The Epistles of Paul - 1 Corinthians Part 18: Eternal Life through the Spirit
In the first portion of chapter 15 of his first epistle to the Corinthians Paul of Tarsus discussed several basic but important and foundational Christian concepts. Firstly, he explained the reality of the resurrection of Christ as it was attested by so many witnesses. Then he illustrated the fact that if Christ was resurrected then the children of Israel could also be fully assured of such a resurrection, since Christ had been slain for the sins of the children of Israel so that they may indeed share in such a resurrection, as promised by the Scriptures. Saying these things, Paul also interjected that if one is outside of these promises then one's faith is vain, and we illustrated how the King James Version and other translations of the New Testament ignore Paul's language in this regard.
Paul also asserted that not only the children of Israel, but also the entire Adamic race shall be resurrected, where in verse 22 he wrote that “Just as in Adam all die, then in that manner in Christ all shall be produced alive.” This assertion summarizes the same things which Paul had explained at length a couple of years later in chapter 5 of his epistle to the Romans. The children of Israel have a promise not only of eternal life, but also of justification. This promise is expressed in many places in scripture where the Word of God assures that all of the sins of the children of Israel shall indeed be cleansed. This promise is also expressed explicitly in Isaiah chapter 45 where it says that “In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” However the rest of the Adamic race shall also be resurrected, and they too shall face the judgment of Christ in regard to their works.
In relation to this resurrection and judgment, we quoted the words of Christ from the King James Version of John chapter 5, where that translation calls the judgment which the Adamic race faces at the end of days a damnation. The Greek word, however, is κρίσις (Strong's # 2920), which is judgment, and judgment does not necessarily imply damnation. But it is the translators who have apparently made God's mind up for Him. Since the implication of the word damnation is quite foreboding, many Christians come to false conclusions when they read John chapter 5. Rather, Christ had said in another place, which is recorded in Matthew chapter 12 and in Luke chapter 11, that the men of Nineveh and the Queen of the South would arise in the judgment and condemn “this race”, by which He refers to His enemies in Jerusalem. For that reason, speaking of the race of Adam Paul had said in Romans 5, as the King James Version has it, that “18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” Life is guaranteed to the entire Adamic race, and the reward in the judgment for one's works is another matter entirely. Paul had already explained that in 1 Corinthians chapter 3.
If the Book of Life is the Word of God, as Christ is the Word made Flesh, and if those written into the Book of Life, who are called “the nations of them which are saved”, have access to the Kingdom of God as it says in Revelation chapter 21, then the nations of Genesis chapter 10 are all written into the Book of Life because they are found in the Word of God. While no bastard can enter into the congregation of Yahweh, the men of Nineveh were Assyrians, descendants of Shem through Asshur, just as the Queen of the South was an Adamic descendant of Ham. These Genesis 10 nations are all “born from above” as Adam was “born from above”, and therefore if the works of the devil are to be done away with in Christ as the apostle John had explained, then they shall all be part of the ultimate restoration of our race. The Adamic race has this promise at Genesis 3:22, where it says of Adam “lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever”. This was in order to make reparation for the man's having taken of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, representing those with whom he had committed fornication. As it says in the Wisdom of Solomon, “For God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity.” Men should not imagine that the purpose of Yahweh God as He designed His Creation can fail.
Another concept which Paul illustrated was the abolition of all rule, license and power by Yahshua Christ at the end of the age, and this was where we left off in verse 24, in the middle of Paul's illustration.
There is a “big picture” which the Bible illustrates that can be broken down to one very basic concept: men have a choice to follow Yahweh their God as King or to have the rule of man as their king. But men really have no choice at all because only Yahweh their God can be King, and they will learn that difficult lesson one way or another. Adam rejected God for his own worldly desires, choosing to depart from the Law of God and follow after his wife. Nimrod was singled out from among men because he asserted his own power to rule over others. Later, the children of Israel rejected the rule of Yahweh outright in exchange for a worldly king. The Bible depicts each of these events at the relative beginning of a new age in the history of man, and also depicts these events as a departure from God on the part of man. Therefore Yahweh Himself took on the form of man so that He would indeed be their King, and Yahshua Christ alone is the King of Kings. Paul understood this concept and he expresses it here in his own words, although he wrote this epistle 40 years before John had recorded the words of Christ in the Revelation where Yahshua Himself illustrates it at length.
So Paul professes that Christ is the first fruit of the resurrection, and that the Anointed, His people, would be resurrected on His arrival. By the phrase “His arrival” Paul referred to the promised return of Christ. Sadly, this is something which even many Identity Christians refuse to accept literally. However in Acts chapter 1 we see this recorded in a conversation between certain messengers of God and the apostles themselves where we read: “9 And when he [meaning Christ] had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
Paul then says that the Consummation would occur, “when He should hand over the kingdom to Yahweh who is also the Father; when He shall abolish all rule and all license and power.” With this we see Paul's profession that all of the worldly systems and governments of man shall be abolished at the end of the age. Understanding that the systems and governments of men are the result of the sins of men, Christians should seek to conform themselves to Christ and to the Law of God now, preparing themselves for their one true King as He admonishes them where He said “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” This is the true Gospel of the Kingdom. [That was the entire theme of the recent episode of Walking the Walk with Brother Ryan this past Saturday.]
With this Paul of Tarsus continues to explain things relating to the return of the Christ:
25 Indeed it is necessary for Him to reign, until He should place all of the [A has “His”] enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy abolished is death, 27 therefore “all are subjected under His feet.”
The last enemy abolished is death, and in the Revelation in chapter 21 we read “14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” There are many who would make excuses for those not written into the Book of Life, which are ostensibly all of those so-called races and nations who have no promises in the Scripture, and they claim (as Wesley Swift so wrongly claimed) that the Lake of Fire represents some sort of cleansing force. Rather, the Lake of Fire must be a destructive force, because Hell, Death, the beast and the False Prophet certainly cannot ever be cleansed.
God created the Adamic Man to be immortal, and although, as Paul says in Hebrews chapter 9 that “27 … it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”, that judgment for the Adamic race is a judgment of life, as Paul wrote in Romans chapter 5 “18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” The Adamic man, while he perceives death in this life, is truly immortal, the purpose of this life being the experience of sin so that man may better serve God in the life to come. As Paul had also said in Romans chapter 8, “18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
In verse 27 Paul quotes from Psalms 8:6. The Psalm itself refers to the creation of the Adamic Man in Genesis chapter 1: “4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: 7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; 8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. 9 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” The Adamic Man had fallen from the purpose which Yahweh intended for him, as it is described in Genesis chapter 3. A thousand years being a day to God, the last 7,500 years have all been a part of the process of correction.
Paul reiterated this subject in subsequent letters. In his epistle to the Ephesians written much later from Rome Paul spoke of the process as if it was completed. There (in chapter 1) he prayed, speaking of the sovereignty of Christ, that He is “21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” This does not mean it was actually completed, but is only a reflection of Paul's Christian expectation.
In his epistle to the Hebrews, which was evidently written from Caesareia not long after his arrest, Paul wrote more pragmatically, quoting this Psalm again (in chapter 2) that “6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? 7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: 8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.” This sanctification was also a matter of prophecy for the children of Israel, which Paul explains in Hebrews chapter 13. So we see Paul profess in Hebrews, speaking of Christ, “But now we see not yet all things put under him”, which agrees with what he has written here.
The connection of Yahshua Christ to the dominion mandate of Genesis chapter 1 by Paul is ostensibly because man can only have that dominion with obedience to God, and only Christ has been obedient: all other men have sinned.
Continuing verse 27:
Now until it may be said that it is evident that all things have been subjected, (because outside of the subjecting of all things to Himself 28 and until all things are in subjection to Him,) then also [B and D want “also”] the Son Himself will be subjected in the subjecting of all things to Himself, in order that Yahweh may be all things among all.
As far as this translator is concerned, the King James Version has garbled these verses, and other translations do not do any better. Admittedly, the language of the passage is difficult. However Paul is explaining that Christ, who is the Word made Flesh, is subject to His Own word until that word is fulfilled. In His word He had ordained a seven-times period of punishment for the children of Israel. He had also ordained the prophesied “time of Jacob's trouble”. He had given license to His adversaries and the wicked world system which is called in the Revelation “Mystery Babylon”, that it would rule “wheresoever the children of men dwell” until all of those times of punishment are completed. Now we await the fall of Babylon as it is described in Revelation chapter 18. It would be foolish of us, if we can understand the fulfillment of prophecy concerning the development of all these things, that we would disregard the certainty of their culmination. Babylon shall indeed fall, and for that those of the children of God who love Him must be prepared, as Paul says in 2 Corinthians chapter 10 that they should be “5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”
The return of Christ, where all things shall indeed be subjected under His feet, is described as occurring after the fall of Mystery Babylon, in Revelation chapter 19 where the apostle says “11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. 17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. 19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.”
Ostensibly, it is at this as-of-yet unfulfilled point in history which is described in Revelation chapter 19 that all things shall indeed be subjected under Christ. This is the Wedding Supper of the Lamb, when all of those nations which are described as being gathered against the children of Israel shall be destroyed, as it is also related in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39, in Revelation chapter 20 and elsewhere. There is no disparity between the Word of God in Ezekiel and the Word made Flesh in the Revelation, or the promise in Jeremiah where Yahweh said to Israel “11 For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.”
Understanding how so many nations could be destroyed while at the same time the promise of Christ is to subject all things to Himself requires an understanding of world history within the context of the Bible, and what things are part of God's creation contrasted with what things are a part of the Satanic corruption of God's creation, which had been perpetrated through the sins of both men and angels. That is the study of what we may call Christian Identity.
29 Otherwise what else would they who are immersing themselves on behalf of the dead be doing, if the dead are not raised at all? Why are they even immersed on behalf of them [The MT has “on behalf of the dead”]?
The text of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, in both the 27th and 28th editions, punctuates this verse a little differently: “Otherwise what else would they who are immersing themselves on behalf of the dead be doing? If the dead are not raised at all, why are they then immersed on behalf of them?” This also seems to be the way in which the early Christian writer Tertullian understood Paul's words. Tertullian commented on this passage in a couple of places in his writings. However in his comments it is evident that he did not know of this practice historically, and was not even certain of a literal interpretation of these words of Paul's in connection with the water baptism ritual. In his works entitled The Five Books Against Marcion, in Book 5 Chapter 10 Tertullian writes against Marcion because, among other things, Marcion rejected the notion of an actual resurrection of the body. In reference to this very passage here in 1 Corinthians, Tertullian writes “'What,' asks he [meaning Paul], 'shall they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not?'” and then Tertullian says “Now, never mind that practice, (whatever it may have been.)” But he continues to use this passage of 1 Corinthians in support of the Christian notion of resurrection. This is mentioned in order to elucidate the fact that Tertullian, one of the earliest notable Christian writers, did not know exactly what Paul meant by referring to people who were baptized for the dead.
On the surface, if one has a denominational church worldview, it appears that Paul is describing people who undergo water baptism on behalf of the dead, in the fashion of that ritual which the Mormons have today. However that is not necessarily what Paul is describing, and no such ritual is known historically to have been practiced by early Christians. Even Tertullian did not know exactly what it was to which Paul was referring. However in Romans chapter 6 Paul says “3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” It is more plausible that Paul is making an enigmatic reference to the many Christian martyrs being made at the time, or perhaps also to those devoting themselves to Christ in other ways, which his next statement seems to infer:
30 And why do we risk every moment? 31 Daily I am slain; yea, your [A has “our”] reason to boast, brethren, [P46, D, and the MT want “brethren”; the text follows א, A, and B.] which I have in Christ Yahshua our Prince.
I must opine that the rendering of 15:31 in the Christogenea New Testament is very literal, word for word with the Greek, and comparing it to the King James Version it is difficult to conjecture as to how those translators arrived at such a rendering of the text.
The Greek word for risk is a verb, κινδυνεύω (Strong's # 2793), which means “to be daring, to make a venture, take the risk, do a daring thing...” (Liddell & Scott), and therefore it is risk here. Saying this, Paul corroborates our interpretation of his statement at 1 Corinthians 7:26 where speaking in reference to virginity he said “26, Really then I suppose that to be such is good, because of the present violence, that it is well for a man to be so.” However it must also be understood that being persecuted, Paul was not persecuted as a passive victim. Rather, in his effort to spread the Gospel of Christ, he saw himself as openly risking his life. Therefore he accounted himself as being slain daily in the threats and other obstacles which he faced from the enemies of Christ.
Paul of Tarsus saw himself as a servant to the assemblies of Christ, and therefore he accounted his sacrifices as being made on their behalf. Therefore his trials were their reason to boast, as if they had undergone such things themselves even if they had not. Paul relates this explicitly in chapter 1 of his epistle to the Colossians, where he says: “24 Now, I rejoice in these sufferings on your behalf, and I substitute for those deficiencies of the afflictions of the Anointed with my flesh on behalf of the body itself, which is the assembly; 25 of which I have become a servant in accordance with the administration of the household of Yahweh which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of Yahweh...”
32 If like a man I have fought with beasts in Ephesos, what good is it to me if the dead are not raised? “We should eat and we should drink, since tomorrow we may die.”
The Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece punctuates this verse: “If like a man I have fought with beasts in Ephesos, what good is it to me? If the dead are not raised ‘We should eat and we should drink, since tomorrow we may die.’” This is an acceptable alternative.
Paul “fought with beasts in Ephesus”, ostensibly referring to the problems which he had with the silversmiths as they are described in Acts chapter 19. He calls those who oppose Christ beasts just as the apostle Peter describes those “false prophets among the people” who “privily shall bring in damnable heresies” and who deny Christ as “natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed”. Peter describes them further as being infiltrators among Christians, “cursed children” who are distinct from Christians he relates them to the “angels that sinned … to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.” Therefore they must be a part of the corruption of God's creation, rather than being of the Creation itself, because clearly they are not accounted as candidates for conversion to Christ. As Paul said of the Jews in 1 Thessalonians chapter 2, referring to “those who killed both Prince Yahshua and the prophets, and banished us, and are not pleasing to Yahweh, and contrary to all men.” From the epistle of Jude, from John chapter 8, Luke chapter 11, Revelation 2:9 and 3:9 and from Romans chapter 9 it is realized that these things are meant to describe the Edomite and Canaanite enemies of God, and not merely apostate Israelites.
The statement here which Paul uses to portray the attitude of those who have no hope in a resurrection, where he says “we should eat and we should drink, since tomorrow we may die”, is a quotation from Isaiah 22:13 in a statement made to portray the apostasy of the children of Israel for which they were going to be carried off into the Assyrian captivity. If there is no hope in a resurrection, if man is not immortal, then our trials are pointless and we may as well reduce ourselves to reveling in worldly lusts since nothing else would matter. Paul then refutes this idea by saying:
33 Do not be deceived, “bad associations corrupt good character.”
This is commonly known to have been a quote by Paul taken directly from the Greek poet Menander from his famous play, Thais, the title character of which was a prostitute who had a passion for younger men. In turn, a certain fragment of the plays of Euripides is cited as a possible source for the quotation by Menander. A very similar adage is found again in Diodorus Siculus' Library of History (16.54.4). Diodorus Siculus used the phrase of King Philip of Makedon, father of Alexander the Great, describing Philip’s bribery of those traitors who had helped him subdue the cities of Greece. This quotation from Menander is yet another demonstration of the fact that Paul of Tarsus was well versed in the Classical literature of the Greeks.
Paul is warning his readers that Christian character is corrupted by those who do not share in the same Christian hope. Those who have no share in the Christian hope of resurrection from the dead do not have much use for Christian morals.
34 You should be sober with reason, and do not commit error. Indeed some have ignorance of Yahweh. I speak from respect to you.
The Greek noun ἐντροπή (Strong's # 1791), is “respect” here, and again where it appears in 1 Corinthians 6:5. There is a related verb, ἐντρέπω, for which at times the King James Version has reverence and at times regard, but on some occasions to shame or to be ashamed, depending upon the context. Paul is not necessarily using the word in such a negative context here.
35 But some will say, ‘How are the dead raised?’ and ‘With what sort of body will they come?’
Evidently these questions which are still asked by Christians today were being asked of Paul at the very beginning of the spread of the Gospel. Paul compares the body with other things in nature and scoffs at such questions, as if the answers should be readily known. The promise of a restoration of the physical body after death is of course found in the Old Testament, but it is not found frequently, nor is it described in great detail. We see in chapter 19 of the Book of Job the profession that “25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” In Psalm 49 we read an admonition against the wealthy, that it is not wealth which can save a dead man from corruption. Then we see the affirmation, “15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.” Likewise Christ in the Gospel warned men to store up treasure in heaven rather than on the earth, since the heavenly rewards are eternal and wealth gained here is temporal. All of the Adamic race is indeed resurrected, but according to the Gospel of Christ it is their eternal reward which is determined by their earthly walk. From Luke chapter 18: “22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. 23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. 24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? 27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”
Just as we find in the Hebrew Scriptures, in Greek and Roman pagan literature the souls of the dead dwelt in the underworld, and the possibility of returning from the dead was expressed in legends and poetry such as Euripides' play Alcestis. In the Odyssey of Homer an entire chapter describes the visit which Odysseus made to Tartaros and his communication with the souls of the dead. Likewise the ancient Sumerians, Assyrians and Babylonians all had similar beliefs and stories about people dwelling in and even returning from the underworld, the home of the dead later called Hades by the Greeks and Sheol by the Hebrews. The Greeks saw eternal life in the Isles of the Blest in the western sea, or in the halls of Olympus as the Germanic tribes did for their heroes in Valhalla. The underworld was called Niflheim in the early Germanic sagas. In the Germanic poetry, after the great battle Ragnarök is fought at the end of the age the dead gods would live once again and be reunited in a renewed earth, much like the City of God in Revelation chapter 22 promises a new habitation for the children of Adam. All of these myths and legends recall various aspects of a faith quite similar to that expressed by Scripture, even if they are given a worldly and pagan perspective, borne through time by the various branches of the White Adamic race.
Paul replies to the questions posed concerning resurrection, and his use of the adjective which means foolish is in response to the question, but was not meant to label those who asked it:
36 Foolish! That which you sow, is it not made alive even if it may die?
Other versions read the verse as a plain statement rather than as a rhetorical question, however the meaning is the same. The dead body is being compared allegorically by Paul to a seed which is planted in the ground. The seed appears dead and buried, but nevertheless it eventually springs to life.
37 And that which you sow, it is not the body that you sow that will be producing itself, but a bare grain, whether for example of wheat or of any of the rest; 38 And Yahweh gives to it a body just as He has willed, and to each one of those seeds its own body.
Paul makes the analogy that only a tiny part of the plant, the bare grain which by itself does not even closely resemble the rest of the plant, is nevertheless able to reproduce the entire plant. The design of God ensures which sort of plant each seed produces.
39 Not all flesh is the same flesh, but one flesh of man, and another flesh of beasts, and another of birds, and another of fish.
This is obviously an allegorical comparison, and all of the various types of flesh are not limited to these categories. By man Paul must mean the Adamic man, or race-mixing would not be considered as fornication in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 and Jude 7. Beasts
40 And bodies in heaven, and bodies on earth: but different is the effulgence of the heavenly, and different is that of the earthly: 41 one effulgence of the sun, and another effulgence of the moon, and another effulgence of the stars; a star differs in effulgence from stars.
Paul appears to be saying that the earthly body of a man does not have the same effulgence as the spiritual body, and even different spiritual bodies may have a greater glory than others.
42 In this way also is the restoration of the dead. It is sown is decay, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in honor. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body; if there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual.
According to the notes published along with George Ricker Berry's Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, the 16th century manuscript of Stephanus along with the 17th century manuscript of Elzevir (these two according to Berry representing the so-called Textus Receptus), and also Griesbach’s manuscript of 1805, are all wanting the word for if at the beginning of the last clause in verse 44, as the King James Version has it: “There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” This is an important difference, because in that manner the one would not infer the existence of the other. Yet the texts of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece in both the 27th and 28th editions offer no evidence of any such variation in any of the manuscripts it represents, including those of the Majority Text. In Greek, the word “body” only appears once in this clause, but twice in the King James Version as well as the manuscripts of Stephanus, Elzevir, and Griesbach (see Berry). None of the ancient codices or papyri, and apparently none of the manuscripts of the Majority Text, support the reading of the King James Version for verse 44.
If there is a natural body, there is a spiritual body. Every Adamic man has an eternal spirit from Yahweh God. Paul is telling us that the existence of one does indeed infer the existence of the other. Paul is of course speaking of the resurrection of Adamic man, and in reference to Adamic man in accordance with the Biblical description of the creation of the Adamic man, and not of fish or birds or even of people of other races, who are outside of the promises and thusly even if they claimed to be of the faith, their faith would be in vain.
From Psalm 17:15, a glimpse of what is more evident in the Wisdom of Solomon chapter 2: “15 As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” As the Wisdom of Solomon says in its second chapter: “23 For God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity.” If the Adamic man was made in the image and likeness of God, then the Adamic man has an immortal spirit, which God certainly is.
In verse 44 the word for natural is ψυχικός (Strong's # 5591), and the word for spiritual is πνευματικός (Strong's # 4152). These are adjectives from the corresponding nouns ψυχή and πνεῦμα, which are usually translated as soul and spirit as they are here in verse 45. While they both may mean spirit, in the New Testament the word ψυχή was generally used to describe the life force within the body, while πνεῦμα was used to describe the spirit of man within or apart from the body.
45 And just as it is written, “The first man [B wants the word for “man”] Adam came into a living soul,” the last Adam [P46 wants this second occurrence of “Adam”] into a life producing Spirit.
Here in verse 45 Paul paraphrases from Genesis 2:7 where it says “and man [Adam] became a living soul.” This statement is actually true of both Adam and Christ. But one is an analogy for the first, and the other is an analogy for the second. Neither is Christ the last Adamic man, in the sense that there were no others born into this world after Him. But rather, He is the “last Adam” because only two Adamic men were ever created with the direct and personal intervention of Yahweh God, even though Christ Himself was God, and every other Adamic man is merely a copy of the first.
In Christian Identity circles, Genesis 2:7 has long been interpreted as the act by which Yahweh imparted His Spirit into the Adamic man. However if Yahweh is a Spirit, then His image is spiritual, and the imparting of the Spirit is therefore represented in Genesis 1:26 and Genesis 5:3 as well. All three of these are different accounts of the creation of the same Adamic race, beginning with the first man Adam. That is why the Wisdom of Solomon says that “God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity.”
46 But the spiritual was not first; rather the natural, then the spiritual: 47 the first man from out of earth, of soil; the second man from out of heaven.
The Codex Alexandrinus (A) and the Majority Text have “the second man the Lord from out of heaven” while the 3rd century papyrus P46 has “the second man spiritual from out of heaven”. Here the text of the Christogenea New Testament follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Vaticanus (B), Ephraemi Syri (C), and Claromontanus (D). These are the first significant variations among the ancient manuscripts for this portion of Paul's epistle, since verse 31 where some manuscripts want the word for brethren.
Paul is not referring to Christ alone where he refers to the second man, but rather he is making an analogy which refers to the dual nature of the Adamic man, who bears the flesh of the earthly but whose body contains the Spirit of Yahweh from heaven. Adam had the gift of the Spirit of Yahweh but here Paul is using him as a type for the fleshly man. Christ is Yahweh incarnate, who took upon Himself the seed of Abraham (Hebrews 2:16) so that He could be first-born among many brethren (Romans 8:29), a claim which only God can make, and Paul is using the essence of Christ as a type for the spiritual aspect of Adamic man.
There is a rather heretical viewpoint to address here, which has permeated some Christian Identity circles from an early time. This appears to have at first been an assertion of Wesley Swift, who did some wonderful work but who had also, being human like the rest of us, made some mistakes. Swift believed that the spirit of a man existed before the body, and was somehow implanted into the womb along with the body prior to birth. Swift based this belief on certain scriptures which may be read as if to imply things that can lead to such a conclusion, but which must not necessarily be understood in that manner. The Scripture tells us that God knows men before they were born, and that is doubtless. But that does not mean that men know God, or that men even yet exist. As Paul says in Romans, Yahweh call things not yet existing as existing. He knows both men and nations before they ever exist.
The spirits of men do not come first: they do not preexist outside of the mind of God, as Paul explains here that first comes the fleshly, or natural man, and then the spiritual man. That at the first a man is of the flesh, and then a man is of the spirit, means that the spirit does not exist until the fleshly man is brought into existence. Paul says that the spiritual body is sown in corruption, which is a natural body that comes from a fleshly seed, but it is raised in incorruption because it is immortal even after the natural body dies off, because “all flesh is as grass”. So we see that the same Adamic seed which produces the natural body also produces the spiritual body. Furthermore, if there is a natural Adamic body, there is a spiritual Adamic body. But only Yahshua Christ, who is Yahweh God incarnate in the flesh, preceded the Adamic man apart from the natural body. That each Adamic man or woman is born from above is only evident because, as the apostle John says in chapter 3 of his first epistle, “9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” The Spirit which is from above is transmitted through the seed at conception in the lawful union of an Adamic man and an Adamic woman. In this regard the apostle Peter in his first epistle described “being engendered [meaning bred] from above not from corruptible parentage, but from incorruptible, by the Word of Yahweh who lives and abides”.
If the Adamic man is to maintain the integrity of the Creation of God then he is to maintain his own racial integrity, because only the Adamic race was imparted this incorruptible Spirit as a component of his genetic seed. Therefore when Cain was expelled from the Garden of God, Adam bore a son whom he called Seth as a replacement for Abel, and the Scripture makes certain to tell us that Seth was “a son in his own likeness, after his image” in Genesis 5:3. The other so-called races do not have this Spirit, and neither do bastards, who are therefore broken cisterns born of corruptible parentage because not all of their ancestors were kind after kind with Adam, flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone according to the Word of God. That is what Peter means where he describes being born from incorruptible parentage by the Word of God.
48 As he of soil, such as those also who are of soil; and as He in heaven, such as those also who are in heaven.
Adam is of soil, and Christ is of heaven, He being the fleshly incarnation of Yahweh. These represent the two natures of the Adamic man, first the fleshly, and then the spiritual. It is not the other way around, as Wesley Swift and others have imagined. Here Paul of Tarsus is only teaching the plain facts of Scripture, for this is the order of Creation as it is explained in the Book of Genesis.
49 And just as we have borne the likeness of that of soil, we shall also bear the likeness of that of heaven.
If there is a natural Adamic body, rest assured that there is a spiritual Adamic body. Another and related heresy which permeates Christian Identity is that there are Adamic men who do not have the Spirit, where it is also insisted that somehow there were multiple creations called Adam. In Part 1 of our recent Pragmatic Genesis series, we have proven beyond argument that Genesis chapters 1, 2 and 5 all relate the creation of one and the same Adamic race from varying perspectives. The proofs offered there are far too detailed and voluminous to repeat here. In all the rest of Scripture, there are no historical or Biblical Genesis chapter 1 Adamites as opposed to Genesis chapter 2 Adamites. The Scripture says in many places that in six days, not in eight, did Yahweh make the heaven and earth, and all that is in them.
50 But this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood are not be able to inherit the kingdom of Yahweh, nor does decay inherit incorruption.
Without the Spirit which Yahweh imparted to the Adamic race alone out of all the beings of His Creation one will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. For this reason did Christ tell Nicodemus that “unless a man should be born from above, he is not able to see the Kingdom of Yahweh”, as it is recorded in John chapter 3. As Paul describes here, the Adamic race bears the flesh of the earthly, but also has the Spirit from heaven, and each and every Adamic man and woman will therefore bear the image of the heavenly, being born from above. The apostle John wrote of Christ in the opening chapter of his Gospel, and he said “12 But as many who received Him, He gave to them the authority which the children of Yahweh are to attain, to those believing in His Name: 13 not those from of mixed origin [literally bloods] nor from of desire of the flesh nor from of the will of man, but they who have been born from Yahweh.”
51 Behold I tell you a mystery, we shall not all fall asleep, but we shall all be changed.
The Codices Sinaiticus (א) and Ephraemi Syri (C) have “we shall sleep, but not all shall be changed”; the Codex Alexandrinus (A) has “we shall all sleep, but all shall be changed”, which in part may be attributed to a scribal error; the 3rd century papyrus P46 has “we shall not all sleep, and not all shall be changed”; the Codex Claromontanus (D) has “we shall all be resurrected, but not all shall be changed”; in this instance our text follows the Codex Vaticanus (B), and the Majority Text, which agree most closely with verse 52 where there are no significant variations in meaning among these ancient manuscripts.
The question is still posed today, as to what the children of God shall be like in the restoration. Traditionally, Identity Christians refer to the so-called shekinah glory in relation to this. This is evident in the Gospel in the event known as the Transfiguration on the Mount, here in part from Luke chapter 9: “28 And there came to pass after those words about eight days, taking Petros and Iohannes and Iakobos He [Christ] went up into the mountain to pray. 29 And it happened upon His praying that the image of His face was different, and His garment gleaming white. 30 And behold, two men were speaking with Him, which were Moses and Elijah, 31 who appearing with effulgence had spoke of His departure which was about to be fulfilled in Jerusalem.” This event seems to have been for a purpose greater than what was immediately evident to the apostles, and perhaps it was meant to be some sort of glimpse into the future. However we prefer to be more pragmatic in this regard, following the words of the apostle John who stated in (chapter 3 of) his first epistle: “2 Beloved, now we are children of Yahweh, and not yet has it been made manifest what we shall be. We know that if He is made manifest, we shall be like Him, since we shall see Him just as He is.”
52 In an instant, in a dart of an eye, with the last trumpet; for it shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
The Codices Alexandrinus (A) and Claromontanus (D) have “and the dead shall be resurrected incorruptible” the text follows the 3rd century papyrus P46 and the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Vaticanus (B), Ephraemi Syri (C) and the Majority Text.
From 1 Enoch, chapter 49, from Richard Laurence's translation: “1 In those days the saints and the chosen shall undergo a change. The light of day shall rest upon them; and the splendor and glory of the saints shall be changed.”
The Revelation of Yahshua Christ was not yet given to John when Paul wrote this epistle, and it was still nearly 40 years until it was recorded by the apostle. Here Paul seems to be interpreting a prophecy from Isaiah chapter 27: “12 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. 13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.” The outcasts in Egypt and those ready to perish in Assyria are references to the children of Israel, who had once suffered these captivities.
53 This decay wants to be clothed in incorruptibility, and this mortal to be clothed in immortality.
From Psalm 63: “1 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; 2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. 3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. 4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: 6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.”
54 And when this decay shall have put on incorruptibility, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then the word that has been written shall come to pass: “Death has been swallowed in victory.” 55 "Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?”
The Codex Alexandrinus transposes most of the first two clauses of verse 54. The 3rd century papyrus P46 and the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Ephraemi Syri (C) and the 5th or 6th century codex known only as 088 are wanting the clause “this decay shall have put on incorruptibility”. The text follows the Codices Vaticanus (B), Claromontanus (D) and the Majority Text.
In verse 55 the Codex Claromontanus (D) transposes the words “victory” and “sting”, as does the Majority Text which also has Hades (Grave in the King James Version) in place of the second occurrence of the word for Death. There the text follows the 3rd century papyrus P46 and the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Vaticanus (B), Ephraemi Syri (C) and 088.
At the end of verse 54 Paul quotes from Isaiah 25:8, and we have already identified a passage from Isaiah chapter 27 as the likely inspiration for Paul's words in verse 52. Here in verse 55 Paul offers a quote from Hosea 13:14.
In Isaiah chapter 25 we read: “5 Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; even the heat with the shadow of a cloud: the branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low. 6 And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. 7 And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. 8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.” Then from where Paul quotes Hosea chapter 13, within a condemnation of the sin of the northern tribes of Israel: “12 The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid.... 14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.”
Similarly we read in Revelation chapter 21: “1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
The promise of overcoming death is related to the immortality of the Spirit of Yahweh God within man, and in that sense death has always been overcome, although we in this life do not perceive it. The serpent told Eve “Ye shall not surely die”, but when she transgressed she faced death, and both she and Adam did die in their flesh. However in Christ the works of the devil are destroyed (1 John 3:8) because our Adamic race is indeed eternal, for that is how God created it to be.
56 Now the sting of death is guilt, and the power of guilt is the law; 57 but gratitude is to Yahweh, in whom we are being given the victory through our Prince, Yahshua Christ.
Knowing this, our Christian faith should indeed be steadfast.
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, you become steadfast, immovable, at all times being abundant in the work of the Prince, knowing that your toil is not empty with the Prince.
If we have seen so many Biblical prophecies unfold throughout history, we should be certain that the remainder of Scripture is also true, and we patiently await their culmination as well. In the face of death, the Christian should therefore be at peace knowing that he shall indeed overcome death through the Spirit of God within him.