From:  A Torah Commentary on First  Corinthians 15                    Return to Home

By Roland H. Worth, Jr.                               © 2012

 

 

 

[Page 215]

 

 

 

 

Chapter 11:

Socio-Religious Context of Corinthian Doubts

about Individual Resurrection

 

 

 

 

Questions Discussed:

15:12:  The Corinthian disinclination to believe in the possibility of a physical, bodily resurrection:  The Gentile context—Biblical evidence.   

15:12:  The Corinthian disinclination to believe in the possibility of a physical, bodily resurrection:  The Jewish context—Biblical evidence   

            15:12:  The Corinthian disinclination to believe in the possibility of a bodily resurrection:  The Jewish context—Their non-Biblical writings, interpretation of Biblical evidence, and rival views.                                                                

 

 

 

 

 

15:12:  The Corinthian disinclination to believe in the possibility of a physical, bodily resurrection:  The Gentile context.  Paul concedes that only “some among you” took this approach,” but the length of his treatment argues that he considered it a major intellectual temptation with either an existing or potential appeal to many of the members.  Their problem is not with some particular explanation of the resurrection or some particular aspect of what Paul preached that seemed questionable or challengeable:  to them the whole idea is inherently absurd.  Paul describes them as absolutists:  “there is no resurrection of the dead” (15:12).  Period.  They issue the point blank challenge:  “How are the dead raised up?” (15:35) 

Surely the undertone here is not a plea for information but a sneering,[1] “how in the world can any intelligent person believe the dead can be raised up?”  Paul responds in a similar tone of (annoyance bordering on contempt?) that such an individual is a  “foolish one.”  Some translations render it the harsher “You fool” (New American Standard Bible; Today’s English Version; God’s Word; International Standard Version; Darby).  The response surely sounds like one more appropriate to absolute deniers rather [Page 216]   than someone questioning details.[2]

 Alternative views of the timing of the resurrection and its nature (cf. 2 Timothy 2:18) may or may not have had a place in Corinth but the dominant issue, the one he was most concerned with--the only one that we have any direct evidence existed at all--was “there is no resurrection of the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:12).  Period.  That kind of absolutist language seems way out of line if the problem was actually something significantly different.[3] 

On the other hand, if the heretics in 2 Timothy 2 were advocating a non-physical resurrection and this view is what Paul had in mind, then his language represents  an absolute refusal to even dignify the concept with the label “resurrection.”  However Paul’s argumentation makes far more sense as attacking deniers of a physical resurrection than it does as undermining efforts to define the event in other terms.

Paul does not take time to discuss why their doubts or rejections of a bodily resurrection had arisen and when it had occurred.  (After he had left would seem a reasonable assumption.)  A bias against the possibility of a resurrection was a trait of the Sadducees within Judaism (Acts 23:8) and its not impossible that some Jews of that sect (or simply of similar convictions) had made their views known in the city.[4]  On the other hand, the congregation being predominantly Gentile strongly argues that it was most likely something in that particular cultural/philosophical milieu that lies at the root of their challenge.[5]  (With any Jewish input being regarded as confirmation, rather than causing the rejection.) 

The near universal interpretation is that ancient Greek thought reacted with disdain at a new physical life after death, though a few argue that occasional philosophical denunciations have been misinterpreted as a general bias against such an idea.[6]  These denunciations are, however, but intense applications of the objections found across the philosophical spectrum (see Joseph M. Gettys below).  Accepting those premises, the only question would be how strongly one would reject physical resurrection and not whether one would do so.

Various scholars have tackled this problem of explaining underlying rationales and their conclusions provide useful summaries of the assumptions that might lead a first century Christian to question or even deny a personal bodily resurrection.  Peter F. Ellis has summed up the possibilities this way,[7]

 

(1)  Under the influence of Greek philosophical teaching, Corinthian Christians may have affirmed the resurrection of the soul and denied the resurrection of the body, arguing that the body is the prison of the soul and that when the person dies, the soul rises but the body remains in the tomb.

(2) . . .  The Gnostics believed that they were saved and resurrected spiritually, not bodily, through gnosis (knowledge).  In this sense, Gnostics could accept the resurrection of a spiritual element in man but not the resurrection of the materially evil body.

(3)  Corinthian Christians, who were not influenced either by Greek philosophical thinking or by Gnostic thinking, might still have held there was no resurrection on the grounds that the resurrection had already taken place at the time of baptism or at the time when they accepted Christ in faith.  [Cf. 1 Corinthians 4:8; 2 Timothy 2:17-18, RW] . . .

[Page 217]   (4)  Some Corinthian Chrstians may even have denied the resurrection of the dead on the grounds that the Parousia would come before their death and, as a consequence, there would be no need for a resurrection.

           

            Martinus C. de Boer provides a slightly different summary of the interpretive options that could have led the Corinthians to a denial of a physical individual resurrection, though it overlaps much of the previous list,[8]

 

                        (1)  The Corinthian deniers did not believe in life after death. . . .

            (2)  The Corinthian deniers believed that only those alive at the parousia would participate in the life of the new age that would be fully bestowed at the parousia.  Those who died prior to the parousia were thus completely lost.  The first and second theories are similar in that both attribute to the Corinthian deniers the view that “with death everything is over.”

(3)  The Corinthian deniers did not deny a life after death but the notion of a bodily resurrection. . . .  They thus affirmed the immortality of the “soul” . . . or, alternatively, of the “spirit” . . .

(4)  The Corinthian deniers were spiritual enthusiasts with a Gnostic anthropology who believed themselves to have already (cf. 4:8) transferred into the [new] world . . . through baptism.  Like the false teachers of 2 Timothy 2:18 they claimed that “resurrection has already occurred.”  . . . The third and fourth theories have in common the conclusion that the deniers rejected bodily resurrection and believed in the continuing existence of some divine element in the human being.  

 

            Joseph M. Gettys suggests a bit different four alternatives that further flesh out the reasons the Corinthians might have hesitated or rejected the idea of individual bodily resurrection and how they might have arisen from specific forms of Greek philosophical thought:  (1)  Death meant ceasing to exist—the Epicurean theory.  (2)  The divine spark was absorbed “into the divine soul, as it were, and hence lost its identity.  It persisted but not as a distinct self”—a typically Stoic approach.  (3)  Souls were eternal in some fashion but not in a body—a Platonist supposition.  (4)  Flesh was inherently evil because it was material and whatever happened after death would not involve a “body” in the sense that we would understand it.[9]       

            There was also the accompanying belief that a physical resurrection was, inherently, impossible.  It wasn’t merely that it did not happen, it was a matter that it could not happen.  In the days of Augustine this was a hallmark of the philosophers he encountered, “When they come to the resurrection of the flesh, they did not doubt at all, but they openly denied it, declaring it to be absolutely impossible that this earthly flesh can ascend to heaven.”[10] 

At an earlier date, Porphyry illustrated this impossibility by an example:  a fisherman drowns, is eaten by fish, which are themselves eaten by different fishermen.  They were they assaulted, killed, and consumed by ravenous dogs who, upon their death, were feasted upon by vultures.  Where then does this resurrected “body” come from he argued.[11] 

One obvious Christian rebuttal would have been that if they could not believe in [Page 218]   the resurrection of a body that they could see, how could they believe in the survival of a soul which could, by its nature, be neither, touched, weighed, or externally verified as in existence?  A more direct reply would have been that it came down to the power of the God one believed in:  if one believed in a deity capable of creating life, what was so implausible in one that could crate a new body for that surviving soul to abide in?  

With their Greek heritage dominating the thought of Gentile members and providing a not so subtle cultural influence on the Jewish members as well, it would be natural for them to seek analogies within the polytheistic religious environment within which they lived to verify their inclinations to believe or reject the doctrine of human resurrection.  Certainly, in polytheism the “resurrection” (or rough equivalent) of a deity never carried with it the implication that his followers would be similarly blessed.[12]   Hence the ability of certain Corinthians to separate the resurrection of Christ from their own is not all that strange, affirming the first but denying the second.  It did, however, fly in the face of apostolic teaching that should have caused them to permanently modify their preconversion beliefs.  In the absence of the personal presence of Paul, a number had apparently begun to revert to their earlier way of thinking.  

            Paul does not deny the Greek belief that the soul is immortal; he is far more subtle than this.  He argues that the soul must be embodied as well and that “body” can not, by the nature of post-resurrection reality, be a “physical” one like the ones we currently occupy. It would still be describable as temporal and fleshly—but of a dramatically changed nature and essence.  From the Pauline standpoint, the Greeks had half the truth in arguing for an immortal soul; the full picture required the inclusion of the belief in a “body” for that soul as well. 

            Although the various outlines of Greek intellectual hostility to the resurrection concept divides the source of opposition into different categories, we are dealing with genuine human beings in Corinth and not intellectual abstractions.  Hence different individuals may have been influenced by different elements in the Hellenistic philosophical heritage.[13]  For that matter, by more than one of them--mixing them in their individual mind (as we humans do) with a greater emphasis on one aspect than another, but all of them being involved in the ultimate conclusion.

 

 

 

 

15:12:  The Corinthian disinclination to believe in the possibility of a physical, bodily resurrection:  The Jewish context—Biblical evidence

 

A.  Paul before the Sanhedrin (Acts 23).

           

            (Aside:  In part, this will duplicate material already covered in the previous chapter during the follow-up events described in Acts 24.  But since this is a distinct and different incident, it deserves attention in its own right.  Also certain arguments will be encountered that were not covered in the other context.)

Since Corinth gives every appearance of being a Gentile dominated congregation, we would expect the Jewish influence to be numerically minimal.  Even so, any support that could be gained from such a source might be far greater psychologically than mere [Page 219]   numbers:  since Christianity had heavily Jewish roots, this encouragement would be highly useful in reassuring the membership that they weren’t departing from their Jewish spiritual heritage.  (Even when the Hellenized Jews being cited were themselves under the dominant influence of the cultural attitudes of Greek society which we examined in the previous section.) 

Numerically the Sadducees appear to have been a modest sized minority movement who had successfully ensconced themselves into key positions of religious power in Israel but lacked any major support base outside the immediate Jerusalem area.  Hence it is unlikely that the Corinthians had ever come in contact with such individuals.  Which is significantly different from an unwillingness to introduce their beliefs as confirmatory of their own, if the occasion arose and they had knowledge of those beliefs.

This brings us to the question of what the pre-existing Jewish beliefs were at the time in both its majority and various dissenting forms.

Religious opinion in Palestine was divided in the days of Jesus and Paul between two major groups, the Sadducees and the Pharisees.  The Essenes regarded the religious “establishment”--as embodied in these two groups--as fundamentally misguided and refused to have anything to do with them.  Likewise the Jerusalem Temple was regarded as fundamentally corrupted.  Because of their self-imposed isolationism and limited numbers, we read in the New Testament only of the first two groups.

            In Acts 23, we have a vivid scene in which the fundamental differences between the Sadducees (who dominated Temple operations) and their Pharisee foes differed and how Paul utilized it to his benefit,

6 But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, "Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!"   7 And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided.   8 For Sadducees say that there is no resurrection--and no angel or spirit; but the Pharisees confess both.  9 Then there arose a loud outcry.  And the scribes of the Pharisees' party arose and protested, saying, "We find no evil in this man; but if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God."  (Acts 23:6-9).

            (Aside:  One would have thought that Paul would automatically been aware that the Sanhedrin would have both groups present.  The fact that he became aware of it only during the discussion, confirms the general evaluation that the Sadducees considered it uniquely their institution and were used to “running over” opponents who hindered their decisions.  Paul’s discovering their presence argues that their attendance was far from certain or inevitable in such official actions as sending a delegation to prosecute.)

            This incident is often interpreted to mean that the Sadducees denied both survival of death in any form (no “spirit”)[14] as well as the providing of a new body for that spirit (“no resurrection”).  They even went beyond denying human survival—in a body or not—to repudiating the existence of the “angel” world on top of it.  In short, extreme materialists. 

On the other side, the Pharisees accepted the reality of such and Paul emphatically embraces that viewpoint. 

[Page 220]   As to the difference between “spirit” and “angel” in the text there has been much divided opinion.  In a well documented and argued article, Floyd Parker writes:[15]

 

Four broad positions have emerged in an attempt to account for the meaning of "angel" and "spirit" in this passage. These views are that the Sadducees rejected: 1) belief in the existence of angels and spirits altogether; 2) excessive speculation in the area of angelology, but not the existence of angels and spirits; 3) belief in the existence of the righteous dead in the form of an angel or spirit in the interim between death and resurrection; and 4) belief that humans would be resurrected in the form of either an angel or a spirit.

 

“Excessive speculation” seems unlikely:  the passage is worded as if an absolute denial is under consideration, not a rejection of strange speculations on the subject.  On the other hand an absolute denial of the existence of angels seems odd indeed.  The Sadducees did accept the authority of the Mosaical Law—however much they repudiated the remainder of the Hebrew Bible—and the Torah itself repeatedly describes the intervention of angels.  On the other hand, one could easily imagine them as arguing that angels no longer intervened in human affairs either in miracles (actions influencing human events) or in a revelatory (message giving) vein, thereby removing the claims of such as a challenge to their authority.   

Furthermore, neither “spirit” nor “angel” have an obvious direct connection with the core issue involved:  the resurrection, to which these other two items are added almost as an aside (i.e., “they also don’t believe in spirits and angels”).  The two most obvious conjectural reconstructions--assuming that all three are linked together with the resurrection doctrine rather than being distinct and separate subjects—would seem to be:

(a)  They denied that a spirit/soul survived either in spirit or angelic form to ultimately be reunited with the physical body.  This is a challenge as to fact:  it simply doesn’t happen; there would not be a reunification.  There couldn’t be.  Hence no resurrection.

(b)  They denied that the human, now dead, could possibly continue to exist in “spirit” or “angelic” form.  This would mean there is nothing to come back to be “within” a resurrected human body.  This is a challenge as to possibility:  resurrection is beyond rational human conception for it is inherently impossible for “nothing” to be reunited with a dead body and have anything other than a reanimated, useless “living corpse.”

These two approaches vary only in regard to whether the emphasis is on fact (“it doesn’t happen”) or possibility (“it can’t happen”); verbally and in result they are close to the same.  From our standpoint, they virtually merge into one.    

From the standpoint of what is center to us—the resurrection—how we judge which course they took is of marginal concern.  But the differences as to the reason for mention of “spirit” and “angels” in our text are still wise to be aware of. 

 

            Before Totally Fulfilled Eschatology, few would have questioned that the “resurrection” under consideration was the physical one of the human body.  Today the denial is still a minority movement, but it still has a number of fine minds accepting it.  So, though it will be tiresome to some readers, yet more definitely needs to be said. 

            To take the resurrection as a physical one has several things in its favor:

[Page 221]            (1)  It represents the most natural reading of the resurrection text references in the New Testament; TFE emphatically denies it is the correct one.  Indeed, to convince others of their alternative approach requires considerable re-education as to what is “really” meant in passage after passage after passage.  In other words, it is not an interpretation that would normally occur to the casual, new, or even advanced student’s mind—the same is true here in Acts 23.  That automatically puts the concept under a cloud. 

            (2)  A physical resurrection being discussed best fits with what is known from non-Biblical ancient sources as to Sadducee, Pharisee, and Rabbinic thought and teaching.  (The question of whether the Pharisees believed in only the resurrection of the just rather than the resurrection of both the just and unjust we dealt with when discussing Acts 24.  The belief in the physical resurrection of either would be a fundamental repudiation of the Full Preterist denial of such happening to anyone.) 

            Floyd Parker presents this concise analysis of modern scholarship on ancient Jewish beliefs about what comes after physical death and provides useful documentation for it from contemporary resources of that era:[16]

Wright’s comments are representative of the views of many modern writers who maintain a distinction between spiritual immortality and resurrection in their classification of Jewish beliefs about afterlife. Although the terminology employed to classify various types of afterlife may vary somewhat, "resurrection" is usually reserved for embodied afterlife (in either tangible or less tangible form), whereas disembodied afterlife is usually referred to by terms such as the "immortality of the soul alone" or "spiritual immortality".

These distinctions are not a modern construct, for many in the ancient world used similar categories. Josephus distinguishes between those who believe in no afterlife (i.e. Sadducees; BJ 2.165), in the immortality of the soul apart from the body (i.e. Essenes; BJ 2.154-158), and in the immortality of the soul in a body (i.e. Pharisees; BJ 2.163).

The early church fathers also distinguished between the immortality of the soul and resurrection of the body. Justin Martyr mentions those "who say that there is no resurrection from the dead, but that immediately at death their souls would ascend to heaven" (Dial., 80). Augustine wrote that while, "on the immortality of the soul many gentile philosophers have disputed at great length and in many books they have left it written that the soul is immortal, when they came to the resurrection of the flesh, they doubt not indeed, but they most openly deny it, describing it to be absolutely impossible that this earthly flesh can ascend to heaven" (Enarr. in Psalm 88,5).

Even Luke distinguished between a resurrection body which had "flesh and bone" and a spirit that had none (Luke 24,37-39). Thus, there is ample justification for making a distinction between immortality of the soul and the resurrection based on ancient literature.

[Page 222]           Whether one went directly to one’s rewards immediately after death or whether it was postponed until 70 A.D., neither would have fit the ancient understanding of what resurrection involved.  At the moment, it is the Jewish context of the language that we are concerned with, but this documentation effectively shows it was found in both Gentile and Christian sources as well.

            (3)  A bodily, physical resurrection fits the meaning Sadducees gave to “resurrection” in their disputation with Jesus (see below).  In other words, we have textual evidence not just of what they believed but the meaning of the words as they understood them.  It was not that Paul used it in a different sense from the Sadducees; they agreed on the definition of physicality and individual participation.  What they disagreed on was whether it would happen.

 

            Attempts of Totally Fulfilled Eschatology to work the dispute in Acts 23 into conformity with Full Preterist theology. 

 

1.  What the Sadducees denied was survival of death; denial of the resurrection was simply another way to insist that one did not exist beyond this current life.  Hence denial of the resurrection—in the traditional sense of the term—was not really involved in what they were saying at all.[17] 

In the traditional triune interpretation of the text the response would be something along this line:  Unfortunately 23:8 makes this part of a trio of beliefs:  they said “there is no resurrection—and no angel or spirit.”  Since there was no human “spirit” or soul, man ceased to exist at death—thought the Sadducees.  But the Pharisees saw there was a way around this:  if man could be restored to physical life, then that inner “spirit” could be restored to it for the being to become the full resurrected entity it had been previously.

(Aside:  The so-often favored translations of Full Preterists concur in a triune reference:

 

(Rotherham:  For, Sadducees, say, there is no rising again, nor messenger, nor spirit, whereas, Pharisees, confess them both.

(Weymouth:   For the Sadducees maintain that there is no resurrection, and neither angel nor spirit; but the Pharisees acknowledge the existence of both.
            Young:  For Sadducees, indeed, say there is no rising again, nor messenger, nor spirit, but Pharisees confess both.)

 

Even accepting that the second two items are, in some form, an allusion to the resurrection, the fact remains that the Sadducees still had to deny two things to make their doctrine “stick:”  the fact that the inner being survives death and that God will bring the dead back to temporal life, either of which would mean the ultimate survival of death.  In one we survive with only a “spirit” body (i.e., the “spirit” itself constituting the body); in the other restored to a temporal one. 

So even if Acts 23:8’s mention of three items tells us nothing directly as to Sadducee belief on the survival of the spirit, the fact remains that their utter mortality doctrine required a dual denial.  So long as soul or the soul in body combination survived physical demise, the person survived.  

           

[Page 223]           2.  “Resurrection” meant different things to the Pharisees than to Paul.   Some choose to deal with Acts 23 by taking the controversy from the standpoint of the Pharisees rather than the Sadducees:  The fact that the Pharisees later would not accept Paul’s teaching on the resurrection shows that he was using the term with a drastically different meaning than in their doctrine of the physical body restored to life. 

It is hard not to regard this with amusement:  Their intervention was actually motivated due to Paul’s having a still unknown meaning for “resurrection.”  Had they learned nothing of what the Christian “sect” believed by now?  Were they that ignorant when the Christ followers were such a nuisance and any tool that could be used against them would be embraced as an instrument provided by God?  The odds are minimal. 

If they weren’t convinced that the definition was the same as Paul’s—in opposition to the Sadducees—they would surely not have wasted their time saying a word.

Furthermore, Paul’s invoking of their intervention presents us with a profound ethical problem—if the scenario be true.  Did Paul mislead them?  Was Paul guilty of big league misrepresentation?  How do we avoid calling it anything but an outright lie?[18]

What else was it, if he knew they believed differently?  (And with a personal background in Phariseeism how could he escape from knowing?) 

Their problem ultimately—and it doesn’t even arise in the current context--was with one particular resurrection—that of Jesus, after three days in the grave.  As part of a general resurrection they would have had no logical trouble accepting that even He would be present, but to admit Paul’s claims about this resurrection as a past and accomplished event?  Impossible! 

That would admit His claims had been true and they had to bend their knees to the true Lord.  Their split with the Christians was not over the fact of bodily resurrection but that the spiritual leader of the latter had already arisen, as He had promised to.  (Not to mention His other claims that went along with that one.)  

 

 

            B.  Jesus’ dispute with the Sadducees during His ministry.   

 

All accounts (Matthew [22:23], Mark [12:18], and Luke [20:27]) introduce the discussion as coming from those who deny the reality of “resurrection.”  The seamless shift from the Bible writers’ use of the term, to the Sadducees’ use of it, to Jesus’ own argues that all take it to mean the same thing.  Where they differ, of course, is whether it really happens.

            In other words, it was not a matter of the “manner” of the resurrection or its “proper meaning.”  They shared the same definition.  Being humans, perhaps with modest quibbles here and there as to exact or preferred wording, but in agreement what the central thrust of the idea was—being restored to life in a tangible, physical body.  Hence the issue at dispute was whether the human dead would be brought back into a living, breathing, viable, active bodily form such as they had before passing away.  Jesus, the Pharisees, and Paul said yes; the Sadducees said no.  As do the advocates of Covenant Eschatology.

            Note that in the discussion the Sadducees make no effort to find a different definition of the term:  they simply challenge it, try to refute it.  They do so by an

[Page 224]   example they regarded as so ridiculous[19] and ludicrous that it made the doctrine improbable to the point of impossibility, if not outright irrationality.  Matthew’s account presents it this way,

 

23 The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him,   24 saying: "Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother.    25 Now there were with us seven brothers.  The first died after he had married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother.   26 Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh.   27 "Last of all the woman died also.   28 Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be?  For they all had her."  

29 Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.   30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.  31 But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying,   32 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'?  God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."   33 And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.  (Matthew 22)

 

            (Aside:  The “multitudes” being “astonished” (22:33) did not come from Jesus teaching a resurrection.  That was well known enough among the Pharisees to be nothing new to them.  What was astonishing were at least two things:  (1) He had beat their argument into the ground when they clearly thought they had a decisive argument; (2) He had dared take on the Sadducees publicly.  These were the religious power brokers of the time.  They controlled the Sanhedrin.  Confronting them so forcefully and publicly was like taking on the Roman Curia about 1400 A.D.  Both groups controlled the “levers” of the religious power structure of the day.  Both possessed the official or de facto power to declare you a “heretic.”  And both, given the right set of circumstances, could arrange for your demise.) 

            Jesus’ Biblical proof of the resurrection comes from the Torah rather than the Prophets or Writings since the Sadducees denied the authority of either of the latter (22:31-32):  “But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'?  God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.’ "

If God now is their God then they must still be alive.  He can’t be the God of them unless they are still available for Him to be God for.[20]  The threefold reference was first used after all three were dead (Exodus 3:6, 15, 16).  Yet Jesus regards it as not only true when originally spoken, but still true in His own age.  Meaning that they were still alive 1,300-1,500 or so years after the expression was first used.  (The exact duration hinges on when you date the Exodus.)        

            They weren’t currently alive in the flesh, however.  How then can it be proof of the subject under discussion, whether the physical resurrection occurs?  It was on that issue that Jesus was being openly challenged!  It could be an answer only if those who once worshipped God while in the flesh must ultimately be restored to physical bodily form to do so once again.  Hence survival of death is not the end in itself, but a means to [Page 225]   an end—restoration to the original state.

In other words, their non-bodily form is intended only to be a temporary departure from the outward appearance that is intended to be the norm.  Without such a necessary implication, Jesus has only stuck at what they haven’t introduced in their argument (survival of death) while leaving untouched what they have introduced, the impossibility of bodily resurrection.

            Hence, Jesus is denying both prongs of their no survival of death doctrine by His answer:  (1) the soul does survive death; (2) it is ultimately reunited with its physical body.  Not one but both claims are wrong.  They can not be permitted to stay dead; if that is permitted, the Divine patriarch-Yahweh pledge of a permanent relationship—“I am the God of”—would be violated.

Note that the Sadducees root their argument in a physical resurrection—the whole question of marriage, that a man and woman would enjoy the same type of intimate relationship they do in this life, require physicality.  Jesus could just as easily burst their bubble by denying that there would be a physical resurrection and asserting the Totally Fulfilled Eschatology concept of an alternative--appropriately adapted to the understanding of His current listeners of course. 

Rather than say the bodily resurrection doesn’t happen but consists of something else entirely, he challenges, instead, the nature of the body in that resurrection:  They will be “like angels of God in heaven” (22:30).  He doesn’t teach that they will be “angels” but that they will be “like” angels—the distinction between human and the distinctly different angelic creatures will be retained.[21]  

Why?  How?  Because “the power of God” will have been unleashed on them (22:29).  Yet to be like angels—who are clearly depicted as having bodies in their earthly interactions with humans and in their descriptions in the book of Revelation[22]--they would have to be changed, altered by the power of God. 

            Or as Paul worded it, “. . .  [W]e shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:51-22).  It certainly does sound like the human is made into an angel like being by the miracle working “power of God,” does it not?   

            Jesus called it the resurrection.  Paul called it the resurrection.  Jesus accepted that it would be the individual human body transformed (the various brothers and the wife mentioned were individuals—not some mystical collective entity) and the unmassaged words of Paul would lead us to the same conclusion in 1 Corinthians 15. 

            Jesus’ remarks on the “resurrection” in Matthew 22 powerfully argue several related points:

 

1.      That He believed that the coming resurrection would be a physical one;

2.      That when the Sadducees denied a resurrection they specifically had in mind a physical one.

3.      That when Paul sided with the Pharisees in their argument with the Sadducees on the same issue of “resurrection” in Acts 23, he was also coming down on the side of belief in a physical resurrection, arguing powerfully that when he utilizes such language in 1 Corinthians 15 he still has bodily resurrection in [Page 226]   mind.     

4.      If the one and only promised “resurrection” was in 70 A.D., there is no reason or right for marrying and giving in marriage to continue among believers.  Jesus emphatically indicated it was to cease at that point.[23]  For “resurrected” believers to do so, can only be counted as insurrection against His will.

5.      Individual, personal resurrection is discussed, not some type of collectivity resurrection.  Individuals are cited as the ones to be resurrected—not some group.[24] 

 

 

Attempts of Covenant Eschatology to fit Jesus’ denial of marriage in the resurrection with their claim that the resurrection occurred at the fall of Jerusalem. 

 

1.  The dual sense argument:  As Christians, believers possess the promised resurrection qualities; as humans, they continue to exist as formerly.   After quoting Galatians 3:28, Ward Fenley attempts to answer why marriage is still continuing even though the resurrection is now far in our past,[25]

 

There is neither male nor female, for they are all one in Christ. This corresponds perfectly with Christ's statement that there is no marriage in the kingdom of heaven. We are all one in Christ and there is neither male nor female. His kingdom has nothing to do with this world, for His kingdom is not of this world. Therefore, the fact that there is still marriage in this physical life does not negate the fact that there is not marriage in the kingdom anymore than the fact that there are males and females in this physical life does not negate the fact that there are not males or females in the kingdom.

Also, remember that they are like the angels.  The angels are spirits and in Christ we are spirits just like Christ was raised a life-giving Spirit.  Peter says Christ was put to death in the flesh and made alive in the spirit.

 

I have quoted this at length to avoid the accusation that in hostility to this approach that I made it up, unintentionally misrepresented it, or might have exaggerated what the author said.  As I read this, the point clearly seems to be that  we are somehow simultaneously (1) within God’s kingdom:  spirits, like angels, no longer are males and females, and no longer marry; (2) while in the outside world we continue to be physical, male/female, and marry. 

In spite of the temptation to do otherwise, let’s attempt to give this some serious analysis rather than just dismiss it out of hand.  Paul’s statements about being one in Christ and being neither male nor female were written before the “resurrection of A.D. 70” and describe the church members in the “pre-resurrection era.”  In other words such status occurs too early to be a description of what happens only in the 70 A.D. resurrection event.

Furthermore Paul is describing the unity the church should have and that the normal barriers of human existence are to be overlooked and overcome:  “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).  In the church, in God’s people.

[Page 227]          But this isn’t Jesus’ point at all in Matthew 22.  Jesus is being challenged on the basis of marriage—and I’m confident all will agree--with the implication of sexual function and the sexual relationship continuing in the resurrection:  In the example given by the Sadducees, there had not yet been any children produced by the woman’s marriages.  Hence the need for her to be married to one of those men she had been married to and to bear children.

It is in that context of sexual  / physical and not status differences that He makes His claim about being transformed into angel like beings.  To interpret Jesus in light of the context in which He speaks, no Christian should have been capable of having children after the “70 A.D. resurrection.”  If they could, Jesus was either wrong on the results of the resurrection or the resurrection He spoke of simply did not happen at that time.

Furthermore, can we read 1 Corinthians and its teaching on “women’s roles verses male roles” and believe that the kind of revolutionary removal of gender differences implied by Jesus had already occurred?  If the apostle had trouble with women prophets what would he have said about those of today who are “women preachers?”  If these were just temporary restrictions “until the kingdom came in 70 A.D.” (per Covenant Eschatology’s dating of the event), isn’t it odd that the apostle didn’t caution the readers that a reversal of such things was coming within their lifetimes? 

And that those of today who vigorously oppose women preachers don’t recant and embrace the concept?  “There is no male or female in the church/kingdom” of today, we are told.  Why then the prohibition?          

By the way, Jesus uses the language of “angel” and not “spirit” to describe the resurrected beings; to validate Fenley’s argument Jesus conspicuously avoids the language he needs.  So Fenley transforms “angels” into “spirits” but if the “spirit” nature of “angels” is what Jesus really had in mind, isn’t it rather odd that He doesn’t simply use the term Himself? 

Yes, the term can be applied to them (Hebrews 1:13-14), but it isn’t a synonym but an additional description.  Furthermore, Jesus describes the resurrected as “like angels” (Matthew 22:30), not as angels.  Turning those who are “angels” into “spirits,” one at least has a text to work with.  But to transform those who are merely “like angels” into “spirits,” where does one go? 

They likely are such (for lack of alternatives), but to actually prove it?  Even if one can, it is the “angelic” type nature that Jesus specifies and thereby tells us to stress--and not the (hypothetical) “spirit” nature.  In short, don’t change the subject!

To most of the unconvinced, this type of analysis is far more likely to breed the conclusion that Covenant Eschatology is fundamentally unsound and indefensible.  We have an old human adage that appears quite applicable here:  the one about the impossibility of riding two horses at the same time; that seems quite applicable in this context in which everything Jesus claims will be changed has both happened and hasn’t—depending upon whether you look at it through “church centered” eyes or “visible appearance” eyes.  Maybe.  But the term “interpretive stretch” seems the mildest label that could be applied.

 

2.  Collectively, the church was resurrected in 70 A.D.; individually, the resurrection body is obtained only at death.  Walt Hibbard takes this approach in [Page 228]    response to a challenger who has invoked the problems posed by Matthew 22 and its parallels,[26]

 

Ken's comments about why Christians still marry and are given in marriage in this life if they have already been resurrected fails to make the distinction between the here and now compared to when Christians go to be with Christ in their resurrection bodies.  He apparently does not grasp the difference between the corporate and individual aspects of the resurrection, the latter made possible by the reality of the former.

 

In other words, there were really two resurrections for Christians alive in 70 A.D.:  that of them collectively in the church and that of them individually when they died.  Odd, Jesus speaks of “resurrection” (singular) and not “resurrections” (plural).

Likewise Paul in 1 Corinthians. 

Furthermore Paul speaks of how the resurrection is for the physically dead.  But the transformation into a new form is for living believers as well, “Behold, I tell you a mystery:  We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed” (15:51).  This is to occur “at the last trumpet” (15:52), not years later.  That is the time of the resurrection of the physically dead is it not?  The event that occurred in 70 A.D., we are told? 

Then at that very time all living Christians were to be similarly transformed.  They weren’t.  They continued, going about their daily business just like we do.  Living, walking, breathing evidence that the resurrection and revolutionary change in bodily nature promised by Jesus and Paul—as contrasted with that claimed by Covenant Eschatology—did not occur at the fall of Jerusalem.     

Yet we are still to believe that though dead Christians were “resurrected” and turned into their new form at the fall of Jerusalem, the living believers didn’t get their new bodies till they died.  So you have a resurrection without what was supposed to come immediately afterwards—a new body.  For one and all believers.  After all, that universality and immediacy seem the unavoidable implication of Paul’s prose in 1 Corinthians 15—obtaining a new, transformed body as soon as the resurrection occurs. 

In fact the scriptures provide not one iota of evidence of a time gap between the final resurrection and getting that body.  It is hard to imagine anyone reading 1 Corinthians 15 who would imagine anything but both happening simultaneously.

Until you have Full Preterism and you have the need to explain a text that is incompatible with the clear intent of the passage.

Furthermore, if that living generation received their new bodies years or decades after the resurrection, why should anyone today expect to receive one since none of us went through the prerequisite of living through the time of the destruction of the Jewish Temple?  Resurrection and resurrection body go hand in hand; one who hasn’t gone through the first could hardly receive the second!  (And all Christians, in their collectivity, had been resurrected we are told.)  Again, nothing there for you or me as twenty-first century believers.

One can still insist, of course, that, “we too will share in the blessing!”  Why?  Where is the text that says you will be resurrected without living through the one, the only, the “final” resurrection of 70 A.D.?  No text.  No evidence.  Hence no resurrection for you or me.  Whether we are damned to hell or cease to exist are the only options.  [Page 229]   Entry into heaven is not, for that was only promised to those who lived through the resurrection at the fall of Jerusalem.

Most readers will find little spiritually or intellectually appetizing in the arguments we have examined; to them it will continue to read as “excuses” to get out of the difficulties imposed by embracing a first century resurrection.  To those who embrace Full Preterism it will seem like necessary exegesis.  But convincing the rest of us that it is anything but protecting one’s unjustified premises, will be a heavy task indeed.  

(With that we have to move on.  Hundreds, probably tens of thousands more words, could be written on Acts 23 and Matthew 22, but, in our current context, they seem to be clearly unneeded if our study is to be kept anywhere close to a reasonable length.  We are attempting to provide a fair and equitable overview and not an infinitely detailed analysis.  Interesting through that might turn out to be.)

           

 

15:12:  The Corinthian disinclination to believe in the possibility of a bodily resurrection:  The Jewish context—Their non-Biblical writings, interpretation of Biblical evidence, and rival views.

            Although we are most interested in what early Christians believed, the earliest ones were Jewish and it is within that societal-religious context in which “the resurrection” is first brought to our attention.  Hence, barring extremely good evidence, we would expect the two religious movements to share the same basic definition of how they defined it, however much one group or the other might “dot the i’s and cross the t’s differently.” 

We would never expect the Christian movement to have adopted a dramatically different and contradictory definition and explanation of what the term meant and implied without the evidence surviving for us.  If nothing else, the differences would have arisen in religious controversy between the two groups and would surely have been embraced by the Judaizers to further their intra-church agenda.  (Paul’s argumentation against them, remember, is about whether observing the Torah is obligatory for Gentiles and never about the resurrection.)   

 

            A.  Surviving physical death:  Resurrection and other alternatives.

 

Secondary groups and factions existed, of course, not to mention individuals whose writings have survived but whose factional loyalties are uncertain or outright unknown.[27]  Yet, the two central Palestinian Jewish groups—and the ones emphasized in the New Testament--were the Sadducees and the Pharisees and there is no evidence that the two sides differed on the definition of the issue at dispute—whether the physical body would be restored to life. 

When Claudia Setzer documents the resurrection belief of the Pharisees by evidence found in the New Testament, Josephus (who called himself a Pharisee), as well as rabbinic writings—and latter develops these sources in more detail[28]—she is simply indicating what scholars typically take for granted:  They were all talking about the same thing.  Rarely do the scholars even bother to state that “the resurrection” believed in was a physical or temporal/bodily one; they simply take it as a given.[29] 

Joost Holleman summarizes the other alternatives that were discussed,

[Page 230]      

Besides the concept of a bodily resurrection at the end of time, there is, for instance the idea of (the soul) receiving a new (different) body on the last day (Josephus, Bell. Jud. II. 163; III. 374).  Also frequently found is the idea that the souls of dead are kept in storehouses until the day of resurrection (1 Enoch 22; 4 Ezra 7:32).  At times it is said that only the souls will rise (1 Enoch 102:4-5; 103:3-4).  One also finds the idea that the souls will live on immortally directly after death (Josephus, Bell. Jud.  II. 154-158).  Often two or more concepts are mixed (Ps.-Phoc. 97-115).[30] 

 

Holleman “fudges” the data at least a little.  (On spiritual resurrection, see the next section.)  One may believe both that the soul lives on forever after death and that it will ultimately be reunited with its former body.  It’s not an either/or situation. 

Likewise the concept of souls being “stored” can mean nothing more than being set apart in a shared place for later retrieval—a place like the beggar and Lazarus were in (Luke 16).  1 Enoch 22, for example, which is cited by Holleman, has Abel praying after death, which argues awareness and continued activity until resurrection day.  Not that there is no resurrection.  In short, he demands exclusionary categories when the texts need not be read that way.

In all fairness, however, in 22:13, we clearly do encounter an either/or situation:  in that passage we learn that not all will be “raised.”  This was in contradiction of Pauline and Pharisee belief that “there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust” (Acts 24:15).  So far as 1 Corinthians 15, however, that is irrelevant for all under consideration there are just the righteous.  

Even in Holleman’s categorization plan that makes sharp distinctions that aren’t always there, references to the concept of a bodily, physical resurrection at the end of time are still numerically far more common than any other, as he documents at length.[31]  To limit ourselves to one citation (and that from a different source than Holleman), we go to the writings of Rabbi Judah ha-Nassi.  He was the most prominent rabbi of his day and the individual who compiled the Mishnah, the earliest and core segment of the Talmud.[32] 

Either he personally--or by his authority--in Mishnah Sanhedrin 10:1 provided a list of six sins that would keep the individual Jew from receiving the rewards from God that others would obtain, “And these are they that have no share in the world to come:  he that says there is no resurrection from the dead [prescribed in the Law—words not found in all manuscripts], and he that says the Law is not from Heaven, and an Epicurean [= rejecter of restraint, especially rabbinic].”  (The explanations in italics are from the quoter, Richard N. Longenecker, though expressed in my own words.)  Putting the bodily resurrection at the very beginning of his six point list testifies to how vital Rabbi Judah and those of that generation of rabbis regarded it.[33]  

 

B.  A spiritual resurrection in First Enoch?

 

According to Holleman (above), “At times it is said that only the souls will rise (1 Enoch 102:4-5; 103:3-4).”[34]  This sounds like a Jewish variant of today’s Covenant Eschatology--a rising of souls and not bodies.  Because it’s relevant to our study—and because I have a special affection for the book[35]—let us examine the evidence to see [Page 231]   whether it quite says what Holleman claims.

1 Enoch 102:4-5 actually reads (R. H. Charles translation both here and in those that follow of First Enoch):[36]  “4.  Fear ye not, ye souls of the righteous, and be hopeful ye that have died in righteousness.  5.  And grieve not if your soul into Sheol has descended in grief, and that in your life your body fared not according to your goodness, but wait for the day of judgment of sinners and for the day of cursing and chastisement.”

The depiction of Sheol is one in which conversation and arguments can take place:  individuals continue to exist with full conversational ability and memory of what has happened in the past.  Sinners are depicted in this chapter as scorning the righteous who have joined them among the dead:  102:8 speaks of them gloating that the righteous will “see no light” of this life ever again, while 102:5 comforts them by stressing that a day of judgment is coming that will affect “all the earth” (102:2) and even angels (102:3).

  “I know a mystery and have read the heavenly tablets” (103:2) the author claims and then reveals the contents in the second text cited by Holleman, 103:3-4 (R. H. Charles translation again):[37] 

 

3.  That all goodness and joy and glory are prepared for them, and written down for the spirits of those who have died in righteousness, and that manifold good shall be given to you in recompense for your labors, and that your lot is abundantly beyond the lot of the living.  4.  And the spirits of you who have died in righteousness shall live and rejoice, and their spirits shall not perish, nor their memorial from before the face of the Great One unto all the generations of the world:  wherefore no longer fear their contumely.

 

At the very least, these texts teach that the spirits of individuals both enter Sheol still alive and that their spirits will stay alive.  They will not cease to exist.  This sets the theology far apart from the Sadducee belief that when this earthly life ends, it is the termination of all existence.

Yet more “freight” seems to be carried by the words than just this obvious deduction.  After all, they were already “alive” in Sheol since we read the mockery made of them by the evil doers for landing in the same place as them and their own implicit discomfort at the jibes (chapter 102). 

Hence the future “shall live” could easily point to something not yet being enjoyed.  They are to be made to “live” in some other sense.  Presumably brought back to this life / world.  What other option is there, other than being content with what they already have?

Yes, “shall live” could just mean “continue to exist in Sheol” and only that  interpretive framework is in mind.  Although that might be the case two factors argue strongly against it: 

(1)  They are conspicuously not pictured as pleased with being in Sheol; it is a reality, but not one that brings joy to them.  Hence continued life there would hardly be counted by them as a great blessing!  Better than nothing, of course, but that’s faint joy.  Hence, from their standpoint, it is of little or no reassurance and could even be considered a slap in the face at their discontent. 

(2)  Other texts in the same division of the book point to a resurrection:  91:10:  “And the righteous shall arise from their sleep.”  92:3:  “And the righteous one shall arise [Page 232]   from sleep.”  A resurrectionary escape from Sheol—well, that is the kind of “shall live” that they would rejoice over.

But is it to be in “spirit” form?  If “shall live” carries a future connotation, then that implies that in some significant form they currently do not “live” even though they are still in existence, conscious, and alert.  Is not the undercurrent this:  Being disembodied, has removed part of what being alive meant to them.  Does not the resurrection then have to involve being brought out of Sheol and being put back in a body so they can again truly “live?”

In favor of the resurrected retaining their spirit form after the return from death and Sheol, is that neither chapter 102 nor 103 explicitly mention a restoration to the body.  But the train of reasoning we’ve presented—and it does seem to be that of the “Enochian” author—would impel the assumption that a return to a physical body is involved whether it is explicitly stated or not.

David (as quoted in Acts) took the two being together as automatic:  “Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.  For You will not leave my soul in Hades” (Acts 2:26-27).  Did the Enochian writer think differently? 

This much we can be sure of:  The pseudo-Enoch foresaw a great transformation in that resurrected being.  In the next chapter we read:  “Be hopeful and cast not away your hopes for ye shall have great joy as the angels of heaven” (104:4).  Do angels have bodies?  Then he saw the souls of mortals as re-embodied and transformed into angels.  (Note the “shall have”—evidence that the “shall live” we were discussing also referred to a future event that would not occur while they remained in Sheol.)

Being made “as the angels of heaven” (104:4) might itself be considered as being made to “live” again in an exalted state without a temporal re-embodiment  being involved.  On the other hand, it would still not be without a body, just in whatever kind of bodies angels have.  

 

Other evidence from the same division of the book.  First Enoch is typically given a five-fold division:

 

Book of Watchers (chapters 1-36)

Book of Similitudes/Parables (37-71)

Astronomical Book (72-82)

Book of Dream Visions (83-90)

Epistle of Enoch (91-108)

 

Hence we can gain an idea of what the wording in chapters 102 and 103 mean by consulting other statements made in the same section (91-108).  Even though the individual segments of even this final division of the book may themselves come from varied authors, this approach still permits us to make a responsible evaluation of what theology the final redactor intended the material to have.  It is hardly likely that he knowingly or intentionally left blatantly discordant materials within it.  At least in his mind, there was a fundamental cohesion and we approach our efforts to understand his thinking with that in mind. 

Going back to earlier within the “Epistle” section, we find the description of evil as reaching its peak:  “All the deeds of unrighteousness and of violence and transgression [Page 233]   shall prevail in a twofold degree” (91:6) and in all types of forms (91:7).  At that point “the holy Lord will come forth with wrath and chastisement to execute judgment on earth” (91:7), which includes the destruction of all idols and pagan temples (91:8).

With this comes the ultimate Divine reckoning:  “9.  And they (i.e., the heathen--R. H. Charles) shall be cast into the judgment of fire and shall perish in wrath and in grievous judgment forever.  10.  And the righteous shall arise from their sleep and wisdom shall arise and be given unto them.”

That certainly sounds like a resurrection.  The “sleep” of the dead being broken.  From the visible standpoint you have a body last seen as if it were in a deep sleep and now quite up and about its business.  In other words a bodily resurrection seems inherent in the imagery.  Certainly not “soul sleep,” for chapters 102-103 describe the spirits as if alert and conscious—in their post death, new world of Sheol.

The time of Divine reckoning is also dealt with in chapter 92:

 

2.  Let not your spirit be troubled on account of the times; for the Holy and Great One has appointed days for all things.  3.  And the righteous one shall arise from sleep, [shall arise] and walk in the paths of righteousness, and all his path and conversation shall be in eternal goodness and grace.  4.  He will be gracious to the righteous and give him eternal uprightness, and He will give him power so that he shall be (endowed) with goodness and righteousness.  And he shall walk in eternal light.  5.  And sin shall perish in darkness forever and shall no more be seen from that day evermore.

 

Again, what sounds like the resurrection.  There is nothing that specifies a “bodily / physical” or a “spirit” one, however.  Only that they will be given Divine strength to live ethically above and beyond what they had previously:  “He will give them power so that he shall be (endowed) with goodness and righteousness” (92:104).   

Yet there seems something totally incompatible between embodied individuals being given these blessings because they happen to be still alive and disembodied “spirits” being given the same and identical blessings as well.  How could the terms mean, be, or function the same with two such fundamentally different groups envolved? 

In all fairness, the living are not discussed—but wouldn’t it be nothing short of bizarre if the living righteous were denied the blessing of the deceased ones?  And, since they are not mentioned—even exterminated from existence?   

Hence we have to face this question:  in First Enoch’s view, is eternity populated by a mixture of bodied and non-bodied individuals?  Or are the disembodied re-embodied or the embodied turned into spirit form?  Perhaps it is merely some limitation on my part, but all embodied, none embodied, or both forms of existence dwelling together simultaneously in eternity seems clearly required.

One could make the argument that since only the spirit “rising” is mentioned earlier, then it must be that a spirit resurrection is intended here.  Yet either that spirit will be re-embodied or we create the kind of situation just described. 

This doesn’t prove that the spirits are considered as re-embodied, but the fact that two forms of existence will cohabit eternity—embodied and disembodied—would surely have produced at least some remark by “Enoch” if this were the case, would it not?  Or, [Page 234]   for that matter, if the living were stripped of their human shell and turned into spirit form.

As written, wouldn’t the normal interpretation be that the dead reassumed a bodily form such as they had left?  The one option that would have needed no mention in antiquity was exactly that—embodiment back into a human frame.  For those who believed in resurrection at all, that was the concept that would most commonly and most immediately come into their minds.  Indeed, its tempting to just flat out say that would have been the universal reaction—to be applauded by some and to be vigorously rejected by others.  But all would have agreed what was under discussion.

 

The teaching on resurrection of other divisions of First Enoch.  Going to other parts of the work, we find further evidence of an embodied resurrection, not a disembodied one in the Book of Similitudes/Parables (chapters 37-71).

To return to a theme mentioned earlier, these chapters were written at drastically different points in time than the section we have examined (note the plural “points in time;” even intra-section multiple segments are believed to exist and to have been composed at different dates).  Even so we, once again, have to assume that the final redactors of each of the five major divisions viewed their materials as fundamentally consistent.  For that matter, whoever compiled the Enochian materials into a final work. 

Would a rational redactor include materials he recognized as fundamentally in conflict?  That seems improbable since if a person claims the authority to redact, he is also implicitly claiming the authority to mold it into a shape consistent with his convictions as to its “true,” fundamental intent.  

“Redaction” is not mere copying:  it is revising, editing, piecing together, omitting, adding to, adjusting varied original materials.  This role carries with it the inherent claim of a greater freedom of creativity than a mere copyist.  Indeed, for some, probably the assumption of a supernatural Divine oversight to assure that the results are as they should be.

In Chapter 51:1-5 we read of how “Sheol also shall give back that which it has received, and hell shall give back that which it owes” (5:1), as if the righteous go Sheol and the unrighteous to hell.  “In those days the Elect One shall arise” (51:2).  In the context of others arising, it certainly sounds like a Messianic arising from the dead.  But what will the Elect One’s role be when that happens?  “And the Elect One shall in those days sit on My throne” (51:3).  Hence the idea of a messianic earthly reign after His resurrection.

51:5 speaks of how “the earth shall rejoice, and the righteous shall dwell upon it, and the elect shall walk thereon.”  “Dwelling upon” seems to suggest temporal embodiment and “walk” certainly does.  How could a disembodied spirit possibly be described as “walking”—especially on the earth?

Indeed, the Elect One also rises from the dead.  If the righteous have enjoyed just a resurrection of the spirit, does that not require that the Messianic Leader do so as well—and nothing more?  So He should have the same “shape” as the righteous dead.  Yet if this Messianic figure was to rule in disembodied form over the earth—who would see it?  Would not even the righteous non-dead be oblivious to His presence?      

First Enoch 61:5 makes what is clearly intended as a resurrection describe the destiny of even those whose physical body parts do not exist any longer, “And these [Page 235]   measures shall reveal all the secrets of the depths of the earth, and those who have been destroyed by the desert, and those who have been devoured by the beasts, and those who have been devoured by the fish of the sea, that they may return and stay themselves on the day of the Elect One; for none shall be destroyed before the Lord of Spirits, and none can be destroyed.” 

The fact that physicality is clearly restored and that the divine Ruler is pictured—as their leader and sovereign--as “Lord of Spirits,” surely argues that it should really be a lower case “s:”  The human spirits have been re-embodied in flesh.  This assertion can be taken two ways. 

First as a solemn promise for the future after they have been re-embodied:  Flesh that never again “shall be destroyed before the Lord of Spirits, and none can be destroyed” again.  Stressing it twice for emphasis.  Alternatively—and more likely--the point would be:  “none shall be destroyed permanently before the Lord of Spirits, and none can be destroyed forever,” explaining why they have been returned to temporal bodies. 

The remarks about the “Spirits” being not divine Spirits but human ones, also applies in chapter 62 where they are brought back from the dead to bear a new form:

13 And the righteous and elect shall be saved on that day, and they shall never thenceforward see the face of the sinners and unrighteous.  14 And the Lord of Spirits will abide over them, and with that Son of Man shall they eat and lie down and rise up for ever and ever.  15 And the righteous and elect shall have risen from the earth, and ceased to be of downcast countenance. And they shall have been clothed with garments of glory.  16 And these shall be the garments of life from the Lord of Spirits:  And your garments shall not grow old, nor your glory pass away before the Lord of Spirits.

One might interpret this merely as angelic glory given to their spirits.  Since a restoration to life is under consideration, it seems more likely that the concept is of the new body being given angelic style glory—a human style body, though, but beyond anything a human had ever possessed previously.  The references to “eating” with the Messiah surely tilts one decisively toward the latter interpretation.  A disembodied spirit could hardly be described in such a manner, could it?

 

Conclusion.  In spite of coming from different authors and time frames, there is no necessary contradiction with chapters 102 and 103:  just as some of these passages conspicuously do not mention the faithful existing in “spirit” form after death and before restoration to this world--though others clearly point toward that reality--neither do 102-103 mention a temporal body being given after revival.  Does this mean that the respective authors intend to exclude the other idea entirely?

This would require that the author(s) of these other texts believed that the inner nature had (1) to be recreated or (2) duplicated or (3) that the revived physical entity would exist without it.  We would be extremely hesitant to go those routes, wouldn’t we?  Why then should we be any less hesitant to believe that chapters 102-103 intend to convey a bodiless resurrection?  It’s not an impossibility, but its probability level seems very low.      

[Page 236]

Disembodied spirits having bodies?  In all fairness, the objections we have made to whether a spirit can literally “walk” and “speak” both in regard to First Enoch and the following rabbinic arguments, may reflect our own unjust inclination to view disembodied spirits as being without even a spirit body.  If it has that, then such phrases could appropriately apply to it. 

At least as they function in the next life rather than our own.  That massive difference would still exist.  For example:  How could a spirit body eat physical food?  How could a spirit body walk on physical earth?

In this context we need to consider the story of Lazarus and the rich man.  My personal conviction is that people insist on calling it a “parable” because this allows them to disassociate it from the “real world.”  Unfortunately for this approach, parables are either based on real events or, at least, events we could imagine actually happening.  There may be one or two exceptions but certainly not more.  Hence caution must be exercised in taking the threat out of parables because they aren’t “literal.”  Be that as it may, this is the way Jesus tells the story (Luke 16):

 

19  There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.   20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate,   21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table.  Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.  

22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom.  The rich man also died and was buried.   23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.   24 Then he cried and said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.”  

25 But Abraham said, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.   26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.”  

27 Then he said, “I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house,   28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.”  

29 Abraham said to him, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.”   30 And he said, “No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.”   31 But he said to him, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.”

 

The ability to speak is engaged in by both the rich man and Abraham.  Hence they have tongues, lips, and the ability to speak for we read that “he cried and said” (16:24) and that Abraham verbally responded (16:25ff).  They have eyes (“saw Abraham afar off,” [16:23]) and can see great distances (“a great gulf fixed” between the redeemed and the lost, 16:26, and yet they saw each other). 

[Page 237]           Senses continue to exist:  “I am tormented in this flame” (16:24).  Taste ability continues:  he wishes “water” to “cool my tongue” (16:24).  The ability to reason continues for the previously unconcerned wealthy man wishes for Lazarus to be sent to warn his brothers (16:17-28).     

All these imply that they have bodies even though they are in spirit form.  Of course the text might only mean that they have equivalent abilities that fit their (bodiless?) spirit nature.  That would make a great deal of sense for the world of the unseen is clearly far different than ours, necessitating a different set of perception, pleasure, and communication abilities and capabilities—would it not? 

You could light a literal fire as big as you wish but how could it harm a spirit and how could “water” in the form we know it solve any of the anguish?  Hence we must be dealing with spirit world “equivalencies” (for lack of a better term).  It should also be remembered that if a literal fire were intended, the man might well be going through hideous agonies—but a literal fire burns you down into nonexistence.  This “fire” clearly doesn’t!   

But let us say that there is such a thing as spirit bodies for the spirits, how in the world could such entities function simultaneously with the non-dead in the current physical world, as depicted in First Enoch?  Hence the spirit body approach would still not resolve all of the difficulties of such a concept—at least as we normally understand reality.

We lay aside with just a mention those texts that seem to argue that a spirit by inherent nature has no body.  We simply cite two for your consideration, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26).  “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself.  Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” 

Hence whatever means they have to “see, feel, touch, eat” are by substitute means or of a drastically different nature than what such words would imply in our current world.  The nature and function must be dramatically different because the spirit and physical body are dramatically different. 

 

 

C.  Jewish proof texts in defense of a bodily resurrection.

 

Biblical proof texts introduced by rabbis in the 90-130 A.D. to prove a physical resurrection include these (earlier citations apparently do not exist):

Deuteronomy 31:16 (Jewish Publication Society, 1917):  “And the Lord said unto Moses:  ‘Behold, thou art about to sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go astray after the foreign gods of the land. . . .” 

Rabbis quoted this as either, “Behold you will sleep with your fathers, and rise up again; and this people shall go awhoring” (distinguishing between what would happen to Moses and what the people would do in the short term) and an even shorter version leaving off the embarrassing closing words about the masses, “Behold you shall sleep with your fathers and rise again.”[38]  One rabbi quoted it as, “Behold you will sleep with your fathers and rise up [again]”--adopting the Mosaical resurrection interpretation--while questioners wondered whether the following words “and the people shall rise up” might also be an applicable proof text of the same coming event.[39]

[Page 238]           The closing words of Psalm 72:16 were quoted by Queen Cleopatra (no, not that one) as a proof text and the rabbi she is speaking with does not challenge it:  “May he be as a rich cornfield in the land upon the top of the mountains; may his fruit rustle like Lebanon; and may they blossom out of the city like grass of the earth” (JPS 1917).  The “may they blossom” is taken as a specific reference to the righteous, the “blossom” to an indefinite date in the future, and “the city” to be Jerusalem.[40]

Exodus 6:4 is quoted, “And I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan . . .” (JPS, 1917).  In a hard to follow logic, Rabbi Simai notes, “ ‘[to give] you’ is not said, but ‘to give them.’  Thus resurrection is proved from the Torah.”  Immediately after this come the seemingly irrelevant to the text comment, “The just man, surely his body shall rise.”[41]  In most of these examples, we can grasp at least how one gets from text to interpretation—especially when the text has been altered--whether we agree with the linkage or not.  Here there seems none at all unless “the land of Canaan” was taken as a prophetic euphemism of the earth in the days of the Messianic reign or some equivalent of our idea of Heaven.

A similar argument is based on Deuteronomy 11:21:  “But he did not satisfy them until he said this verse:  ‘[in the land] which the Lord swore unto your fathers to give them.’  Not ‘to you’ it is said, but ‘to them’ [it is said].  Hence, resurrection is derived from the Torah.”[42]  Although this is said to finally “satisfy” their quest for a proof text, just how it is supposed to prove the point is neither self-evident nor spelled out.  Again, the unstated idea could well be that this is a prophetic foreshadowing of “the land” in the Messianic era.  It would be useful for later readers, if someone had just come out and said it, however.

In regard to two additional texts, we also have the challenge of listeners but, in these cases, no reply that was made to them--indicating the speaker recognized his arguments were far from conclusive?  Or that he regarded it as simply not needing a response?

One of these texts is from the Song of Solomon (7:9), “And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine, that glideth down smoothly for my beloved, moving gently the lips of those that are asleep” (JPS, 1917).  The odd objection comes from a school of thought that believed the living could have at least limited control over a dead body, “But perhaps it means only that their lips will move, even as R. Johanan said:  If a halakah is said in any person’s name in this world, his lips speak in the grave, as it is written, ‘causing the lips of those who are asleep to speak.’ ”[43] 

Nit-picking is likely the term we would apply to the objection:  how could the lips move if the body were not alive—or does a disembodied person still have lips?  More obvious (to us at least) is that the verse seems clearly talking about natural sleep and not the sleep of death.      

There was also a text from Isaiah that garnered responses (26:19), “Your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise.  Awake and sing, you who will dwell in dust; for your dew is like the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead” (JPS, 1917; the final word is “dust” in the Talmudic text).  An objection suggests, “But perhaps this refers to the dead whom Ezekiel resurrected?”[44]  How one gets from an Isaiah text speaking of resurrection—in some sense—to a specific act of Ezekiel is not explained nor does there appear to be any obvious explanation except, perhaps, the need to find some incident—any incident?—that might be regarded as its fulfillment.

[Page 239]

What is especially interesting to us as Christians is that Paul’s proof texts in 1 Corinthians 15--Isaiah 25:8 and Hosea 13:14--are not mentioned.

Perhaps by the 90-130 A.D. period, traditionalist rabbis tended to stay away from Christian proof texts no matter how appealing they might be.  One would think that arguments from which a physical resurrection can so easily be argued, would be absorbed regardless of who they ultimately came from.  On the other hand, there have been always been those afraid to embrace a powerful argument from a “heretic” even when they knew it was full right and they happened to agree on this particular subject.  (The reader of this volume may well have noticed that I suffer no such inhibitions!) 

Another possibility is that the lack of such references may be due to the fact that only limited data has survived.  The editing of the Mishnah included decisions both as to what to include and what to omit.  Though Isaiah 25:8 and Hosea 13:14 are clearly about death (unlike some of the above), the rabbinic consensus might have been that these other passages were actually stronger ones by the exegetical standards they had come to prefer.

For that matter, ancient post-Biblical Christians may have used one or more of these rabbinic examples and the literature on their side has simply not survived.  (I would prefer to think that their exegesis was better than this, however.)  Unquestionably much literature simply perished by ill fortune or simply did not maintain sufficient interest in later generations to be preserved.

It should also be remembered that when Jesus was dealing with Sadducees in Matthew 22 (and its parallels), he was confronting those who looked only upon the five books of Moses as authoritative.  Hence Jesus deals from a text from within those books. 

What passages from the prophetic literature He would have introduced is unknown.  On the other hand if an “inspired apostle” such as Paul introduced texts from Isaiah and Hosea to prove resurrection, we have every reason to assume that Jesus would have utilized the same texts if asked about the subject.  (Which would not exclude additional ones as well.)

This assumption can be denied (1) if Paul’s “inspiration” be made subjective in nature rather than explicitly revelatory of exact facts and information or, (2)  closely related to that approach, if we contend that there was a drastic disconnect between how Jesus interpreted scripture and how Paul did.  Neither seems likely.

Furthermore, if the text Jesus does introduce does not seem the most obvious way to prove the resurrection, it was because of the limited selection within the books the Sadducees accepted as authoritative.  There weren’t exactly a whole lot to go to that would fit the theme.

Furthermore, since Paul uses does use language that has an obvious verbal application to physical resurrection—whether originally written of such or not—does it not seem inescapable that Jesus either used or would have been happy to use those exact texts Himself to prove the identical point when dealing with non-Sadducees?  And since resurrection, to Him, was personal, physical, bodily (such as He Himself was to go through)—then as proof of such.              

 

 

D.  Jewish differences on what was to be involved in the personal, physical resurrection. 

[Page 240]

Having examined evidence that the resurrection anticipated by Jews—both traditionalist and Christian—involved a physical one and having surveyed surviving proof texts that were introduced by Jewish traditionalists to vindicate that approach, that leaves us with one broad subject still to consider:  Yes, there will be a bodily resurrection, but what will be involved in that physical resurrection? 

True, we have a major area of consensus, but what were the differences among those who embraced it?  Those differences were a subject of major discussion among rabbis of the post-New Testament period and presumably that of the New Testament era as well.  Raymond F. Collins explains,[45]

 

Belief in corporeal resurrection readily leads to speculation as to the kind of body that will appear at the resurrection of the dead.  Rabbis raised questions as to whether the bodies of those who are raised from the dead will be perfect bodies or the imperfect bodies of ordinary humans.  Will the raised bodies have clothes or will they be naked?  How will the bodies of those pious Jews who have died in the Diaspora travel to the land of Israel?  Speculation on questions such as these appear in b. Ketub. 11a; b. Sanh. 90b; y. Kil. 9:3; y. Ketub. 12:3; Qoh. Rab. 1:4; 2 Apoc. Bar. 49; and elsewhere.

 

            Paul essentially avoids such matters in his discussion beyond stressing how the nature of the physical body will be changed in such a fundamental manner that it will be incorruptible and will be outright “glorious.”  Vague language, true, but with the clear implication of splendor and the unimaginable.  He leaves it for the event to show the reality rather than to be diverted into secondary questions that will take care of themselves when the event occurs. 

             Richard N. Longnecker argues that three things clearly distinguish Pauline teaching on resurrection from contemporary Jewish thought.  Two involve the fundamental distinction between Judaism and Christianity—the role of Christ:  (1) His resurrection is the grounds for hope and (2) the basis for its credibility.  The third difference is that Christ’s parousia is the specific temporal time-event that determines when it will take place.[46]  (Though there would seem to be a conceptual parallel with the appearance of the messianic Elect One in First Enoch.)  Yet laying that aside and considering only the idea of the resurrection itself, he stresses that Paul emphasizes like none of these other sources the element of change involved,[47]

             

. . . [T]he resurrection of believers in Jesus will not be simply a revivification or reanimation of dead persons, as seems to have been widely thought by many in his day, but that it is to do primarily with transformation.  This teaching he introduced in 15:51 by the declaration:  “Listen, I tell you a mystery.”  And he goes on in 15:51-52 to twice emphasize the point:  “We will [all] be transformed.” 

This is a transformation not like that alluded to in 2 Baruch 51:1-16, which was only so that resurrected bodies might be better suited to their places of final destination.  Rather, Paul viewed it, as he says in Philippians 3:21, as a transformation that will be effected by “the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform [Page 241]   our lowly bodies,” whose purpose and result will be “so that they will be like his glorious body.”     

           

            2 Baruch is also known as the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch because the work only survives in one full manuscript and that happens to be in that particular language.  Fragments exist in the Greek and Latin and the original language probably was either Aramaic or Hebrew.  This book can is typically dated c. 100 A.D., with individual scholars putting it up to twenty years earlier or later[48]—within the mid-range of the rabbinic material we have referred to previously or just prior to it. 

            This pseudepigraphal work, obviously, does not attribute the resurrection change to Christ or that it will make us like Him, but it does picture a transformation that is quite dramatic.  D. E. H. Whiteley quotes these extracts, “For the earth shall then assuredly restore the dead. . . .   But as it has received them, so it shall restore them. . . .  For then it will be necessary to show to the living that the dead have come to life again. . . .  They shall respectively be transformed, the latter (i.e., the righteous) into the splendour of angels.[49]  Like First Enoch chapter 104, they have been changed into something different than they were in this life, angels.

Jesus spoke of how “in the resurrection” believers “are like angels of God in heaven” (Matthew 22:30).  (Not changed into, but resembling, being “like” them.)  Jesus doesn’t use the word “splendor” but one can easily imagine that deduction being made from the term “angel” itself.  Especially in light of the language Paul uses of the resurrected body:  having a distinctive “glory” [15:43], “raised in power” [15:43], “bear[ing] the image of the heavenly Man” [15:49], “incorruptible” [15:52].
  

 

            E.  The Views of the Essenes. 

 

There are two unchallenged ancient testimonials related to the Essenes, the fascinating group that apparently created Qumran and preserved so many ancient manuscripts for a latter age.

            As Josephus writes, “For this opinion is strongly held among them, that bodies are corruptible, and their material impermanent, but that souls will endure immortal forever.”[50]  He neither claims or rejects that they believe in physical resurrection but it is the intensity of their “strongly held” belief in soul immortality that has clearly caught his attention as the best “Reader’s Digest” summary of their views. 

            In contrast, the Christian Hippolytus of Rome uses similar language of the intensity of their beliefs—but as combining immortality and resurrection, “Also the doctrine or resurrection is strongly held among them.  For they confess that the flesh also will rise, and that it will be immortal, just as the soul is already  immortal.”[51] 

Since Hippolytus was known to be on the prowl for whatever he could brand as heresy, it would hardly seem likely for him to attempt to salvage their  reputation; if there was the least for him to grab on to, he would be far more likely to magnify its significance—especially when dealing with traditionalist Jews who refused to embrace the Jesus movement.  Hence he either represents them accurately--and Josephus must be interpreted as presenting only the part of their belief that, in his eyes, they put the most emphasis on--or that Hippolytus’ sources were in error on the subject.

[Page 242]          Assuming that the Dead Sea Scrolls originated with the Essenes (a minority of dissenters still challenge that probability), those texts may refer to the resurrection as well.  They clearly refer to eternal life, “And as for the visitation of all who walk in this spirit, it shall be healing, great peace in a long life, and fruitfulness, together with every everlasting blessing and eternal joy in life without end.  A crown of glory and a garment of majesty in unending light.”[52] 

Since “a long life” is distinguished from “eternal joy in life without end,” one could take this as implying either a transition at physical death or a transition at resurrection.  The latter seems more likely since there is no hint of survival—either before or after the transition--in a non-bodily form.

            Another possibly relevant text reads, “For he will heal the wounded, and revive the dead and bring good news to the poor.”[53]   This is interpreted by some as a reference to the final resurrection.[54] 

The words sound Messianic and, in two Biblical passages cited but not quoted by one such interpreter, they are used in a messianic ministry manner and not as a reference to the end of the world:[55]  Jesus tells people to inform John the Baptist that “the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them” (Luke 11:22; cf. the parallel Matthew 11:5). 

The Essenes’ belief that the one being described would “heal the wounded” sounds like a concise summary of what Jesus preceded the above words with:  “the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear.”  On balance, this particular Qumran text, seems to better fit the raising of the dead during a messianic ministry rather than an advocacy of an ultimate physical resurrection. 

Of course, the Essenes could have anticipated some drastically different setting.  Yet the wording so well describes a miracle working Messiah’s ministry, that such hardly seems necessary.  Not that they found Jesus the fulfillment of their prediction, of course, but that what He actually did matched at least this part of their expectations.

            Yet a third source of evidence?  To add potential further confusion, let us consider the Therapeutae —an ascetic group based near Lake Mareotis outside Alexandria and described by Philo.  For some, this appears to be a definite Essene community,[56] while others consider the differences sufficiently profound that we must regard it as a different Jewish ascetic sect rather than the same one. 

At the least they are close kin:  Philo unquestionably does “slide” from a mention of the Essenes into discussing this group.[57]  Essenes he discussed as an explicitly Judaean phenomena; these he discusses as an Egyptian one.  The Judean ones are involved in manual labor all day; the Egyptian ones are centered on intellectual / philosophical / spiritual development.  The Judaeans count all they have as available to all others; the Egyptians accumulate enough of their own resources to provide an inheritance—not to the group but to whomever they deem best.  For such reasons they are certainly an Essenic-like group, but perhaps nothing more.[58]

If we are to apply traditional Christian terminology to them, some would say they believed in a variant of the doctrine referred to in 2 Timothy 2:16 that the resurrection was already past.  As Philo described the group, “Thus, because of their longing for the immortal and blessed life, thinking that their mortal life has already ended . . .”[59]  The quoter of these words argues from them that they “believed that they were already participating in the eschatological life.”[60]

[Page 243]           This is the text as I typed it in my notes so I must assume that this is where the quoter stopped—especially in light of the interpretation the scholar put upon it.  Unfortunately for a resurrection interpretation, it doesn’t quite fit the context one actually finds when going to Philo’s context,[61]

 

Then, because of their anxious desire for an immortal and blessed existence, thinking that their mortal life has already come to an end, they leave their possessions to their sons or daughters, or perhaps to other relations, giving them up their inheritance with willing cheerfulness; and those who know no relations give their property to their companions or friends, for it followed of necessity that those who have acquired the wealth which sees, as if ready prepared for them, should be willing to surrender that wealth which is blind to those who themselves also are still blind in their minds.             

 

            It sounds to this researcher like they thought their life “had ended,” in the same sense that a dedicated medieval monk would have—everything they had been was in the past:  they had begun a new life; by their new goals they had begun again, been “born again” (so to speak).  To live in the “eschatological life,” no; to have been given the promised resurrection, no.  To begin a second life, while still in the current world, yes.

 

 

 

 

Notes

 



[1] Cf. Steve Zeisler, “Physical Fitness Forever,” 1, 3.

 

[2] Joseph S. Park, Conceptions of Afterlife in Jewish Inscriptions, with Special Reference to Pauline Literature (Tubingen, Germany:  Mohr Siebeck, 20000, 179-180, develops such arguments at length.

 

[3] Thiselton, Hermeneutics of Doctrine, 555.

 

[4] Cf. Proctor, 987.

 

[5] Park, 180.

 

[6] Endsjo, ix.  In his book, he provides a variety of examples of the physical conquest over death to support his assertion.

 

[7] Peter F. Ellis, 104-105.  He adds to this a fifth option, that in a sense Paul himself denies the resurrection, i.e., of the same physical body, by saying that it will be changed in the act of resurrection (105).   Yet the idea of a “changed” body still carries with it (contrary to Ellis’s contention) the idea of a continuity, since it is “changed” rather than [Page 244]   “totally replaced with something that never existed.”  I find it hard to see how this could be considered a denial of the resurrection and, as Ellis himself concedes, this kind of reasoning seems clearly not a factor in the Corinthian hostility to a future resurrection.  Indeed, if it were, the nature of Paul’s argument would have had to be considerably restructured to have dealt with it.   

 

[8] Martinus C. de Boer, The Defeat of Death:  Apocalyptic Eschatology in 1 Corinthians 15 and Romans 5,  Volume 22 of the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series (Sheffield, England:  JSOT Press, 1988), 96-97.

 

[9] Gettys, 111.   

 

[10] As quoted by Jeffrey R. Asher, Polarity and Change in 1 Corinthians 15:  A Study of Metaphysics, Rhetoric, and Resurrection (Tubingen, Germany:  Mohr Siebeck, 2000), 119-120.    

 

[11] Ibid., n. 52, 119.

  

[12] Dale B. Martin, 121.    

 

[13] Thiselton, Hermeneutics of Doctrine, 556.

 

[14] For example, “the survival of the human spirit after death:”   Roger T. Beckwith, Calendar and Chronology, Jewish and Christian:  Biblical, Intertestamental and Patristic Studies (Leiden, Netherlands:  Brill, 1996), 173.

 

[15] Floyd Parker, “The Terms ‘Angel’ and ‘Spirit’ in Acts 23:8.”  Part of the Biblical Studies Russian-English website.  At:  http://www.biblicalstudies.ru/NT/60.html [October 2011].  This is a reprint of his article, “The Terms ‘Angel’ and ‘Spirit’ in Acts 23:8,” Biblica Vol 84 (2003), 344-365.  At:  http://www.bsw.org/Biblica/Vol-84-2003/The-Terms-Angel-And-Spirit-In-Acts-23-8/207/article-p350.html.  [October 2011.]

 

[16] Ibid.  

 

[17] Edwards, “Preterists Do NOT Deny the Resurrection.”  This was what his argument essentially boils down to and he sees this to be the real issue—not resurrection—in their challenge to Jesus as to whose wife a woman would be in the resurrection.

 

[18] Schwertley, “Full Preterism Refuted, Part 2.”

 

[19] Jeffrey S. Siker, The Jews:  Abraham in Early Christian Controversy (Louisville, Kentucky:  Westminster/John Knox Press, 1991), 85.

 

[Page 245]   [20] Ibid.  After, in essence, presenting this line of reasoning, Siker  strangely trips over his own feet by immediately insisting that, “Abraham is already alive in the resurrection life” (page 85).  Alive, yes, resurrected no:  both sides are discussing a future event of resurrection.  That won’t fit the patriarchs’ current status.  It does, however, play havoc with the prerequisite for the denial of the resurrection:  the lack of anything to be resurrected.

 

[21] Chesterton observes, at least in regard to Canadian usage, “There is an almost universal view today that when someone dies ‘there’s another angel in heaven’.  But this is totally unbiblical.  Human beings who die do not become angels.  Angels, in the Bible, are seen as a completely different order of creation from humans, existing before us; they are God’s messengers and occasionally even God’s warriors, but they are not and have never been human.”  Tim Chesteron, “Preliminary Explorations in Matthew 22:23-33.”  Part of the Faith, Folk and Charity website; posted:  October 19, 2011.  At:  http://tachesterton.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/preliminary-explorations-in-matthew-2223-33/  [October 2011].

 

[22] Hebrews 1:13-14 describes angels as “spirits” and this has led some to argue that angels do not have bodies.  Yet even here the image of angelic “spirits” having the capacity to sit next to God (1:13) implies bodily form.  Similarly the bodily appearance of angels described in their interactions with humans.  However we deal with this, Matthew 22 is not claiming that believers “would be like angels in that they would have no physical bodies. . . . Rather, they would be like angels in that they would not marry”—not in regard to other aspects of their nature (Geisler, Battle, 126).

 

[23] Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., “A Brief Analysis of Full Preterism or Hyper Preterism.”  At:  http://fide-o.com/2009/05/full-preterism/ [February 2011], citing Luke 20:35 instead.

 

[24] Jackson, The A.D. 70 Theory, 65.

 

[25] Fenley, “Why Are People Still Given in Marriage?”

 

[26] Walt Hibbard, “A Response to Ken Gentry’s ‘A Brief Theological Analysis of Hyper-Preterism.’ ”  From the International Preterist Association website.  At https://www.preterist.org/articles/gentry/walt_hibbard_response.asp [February 2011]. 

 

[27] For a fine concise summary of varying Jewish approaches from 2nd century B.C. to 1st-2nd century A.D.—views which include various options from literal physical resurrection to ambiguity of intent to statements within the same work that may reveal tensions within the author as to whether he believes in physical resurrection and/or something a bit different, see Claudia Setzer, Resurrection of the Body in Early Judaism and Early Christianity:  Doctrine, Community, and Self-Definiton (Boston:  Brill Academic Publishers, Inc., 2004), 11-18.

  

[28] Ibid., 22; for a concise summary of the evidence from the three sources, see 23-36. 

 

[29] An exception is Schep, 184.

 

[Page 246]   [30] Joost Holleman, Resurrection and Parousia:  A Tradition-Historical Study of Paul’s Eschatology in 1 Corinthians 15 (Leiden:  E. J. Brill, 1996), n. 1, 85.  For a discussion of other Jewish texts--both resurrectionary and not--see Richard N. Longnecker, Studies in Paul, Exegetical and Theological (Sheffield, England:  Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2004), 197-200.

 

[31] For his list see Holleman, 87.  Also see the summary and quotes in Longnecker, 194-200, and the grave inscriptions on the pages that follow.

 

[32] Ibid., 212.

[33] Ibid., 213.

 

[34] Holleman, n. 1, 85.

 

[35] Somewhere in my old files from the late 1960s (most likely) I have an 80-100 page typed commentary I wrote on the book.  Nothing profound, I’m sure, but the book intrigued me even at that early stage in my life.

 

[36] [Anonymous],  Book of Enoch, translated by R. H. Charles; from:  The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament (Oxford:  Clarendon Press).  Part of the Wesley Center Online.  At:  http://wesley.nnu.edu/sermons-essays-books/noncanonical-literature/book-of-enoch [October, November 2011].

 

[37] Ibid.

 

[38] For the quotes and interpretation in context, see Francis Martin, Narrative Parallels to the New Testament (Atlanta, Georgia:  Scholars Press, 1988), 121.

 

[39] For quote and context, see Ibid., 120.

 

[40] For quote and context, see Ibid., 121

 

[41] For quote and context see Ibid., 120.  The closing quote is typically taken as a memory aid (121) but its function in the current context seems inexplicable.

 

[42] As quoted by Ibid.

 

[43] As quoted by Ibid.

 

[44] As quoted by Ibid.

 

[45] Raymond F. Collins, First Corinthians, 563. 

 

[Page 247]   [46] Longnecker, 210.  We have “fleshed out” a little his bare bones remarks but these appear to be a fair summation of what he is driving at.

 

[47] Ibid., 211.

 

[48] See the citations in Daniel M. Gurtner and Ian W. Scott, “Introduction,” 2 Baruch (edition 2.0).  In The Online Critical Pseudepigrapha, edited by Ken M. Penner, David M. Miller, and Ian W. Scott (Atlanta, Georgia: Society of Biblical Literature, 2007).  At:  http://www.mystfx.ca/academic/religious-studies/ocp/documents/ Pages/2Bar.html [March 2011].

 

[49] Whiteley, 196.

 

[50] J.W. 2:154 (8:11), as quoted by George W. E. Nickelsburg, Resurrection, Immortality, and Eternal Life in Intertestamental Judaism and Early Christianity.  Expanded Edition; Harvard Theological Studies 56 (New Haven, Connecticut:  Harvard University Press, 2006), 207.

 

[51] Ref. IX.27, as quoted by Ibid.

 

[52] lQS iv 6-8, translated by Vermes, as quoted by Joseph Sievers, “Did the Essenes Believe in Some Form of Reincarnation?”  Part of the Spiritual Wholeness website.  At:  http://www.spiritual-wholeness.org/faqs/reincgen/essrein.htm [June 2011].  Sievers is part of the Pontificial Biblical Institute.    

 

[53] 4Q52 1 2 ii 12, translated by Vermes, as quoted by Ibid.

 

[54] Joseph Sievers, Ibid. 

 

[55] Ibid. 

 

[56] Nickelsburg, 209.

 

[57] Philo of Alexandria, On the Contemplative Life I.1.  At: http://www.early christianwritings.com/yonge/book34.html [June 2011].

 

[58] For the Egyptian group see Philo of Alexandria, On the Contemplative Life II.13, at Ibid.  For the Judaeans see Philo of Alexandria, Every Good Man is Free (Quod Omnis Probus Liber Sit).  At:  http://catholicgnosis.wordpress.com/2009/01/01/the-essenes-philo-quod-omnis-probus-liber-sit/ [June 2011].

 

[59] Philo, De Vita Contemplativa 13, as quoted by Nickelsburg, 209. 

 

[60] Ibid. 

 

[Page 248]   [61] Philo of Alexandria. On the Contemplative Life II.13.