Resurrection: The Power of The Seed – Part II
We have embarked on a journey to understand the resurrection. It is the pinnacle of the Christian faith. It sets Christianity apart from all other religions of the world. The Power of the ‘Seed’ will be the topic of this article. It is presented in the latter half of First Corinthians Chapter 15. It will be an exciting way to end our discussion! We will now present this wonderful message.
But some will say, ‘How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?’ You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body… However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly. Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable (1 Cor. 15: 35-50).
Add together all objections to the resurrection, including science itself. Biology, chemistry, physics all convey the obvious—it is impossible to take a dead body and raise it from the dead. But look around the world. Evidence for the resurrection is irrefutable. It is everywhere to behold. Thus Paul proclaims, “you fool!” It is foolish unbelief that blinds us to the flowers, trees and fruits abounding everywhere. The plant kingdom portrays new fresh bodies—dead seeds having come back to life. Even Jesus made a similar proclamation in John 12:24: “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Only a fool closes his eyes to all this evidence. A dead seed—as dead as the rock lying next to it—springs to new life with a new body through the power of a living God. God created the vast plant kingdom to paint a picture of resurrection to humans of this world. Jesus willingly laid down His own life and powerfully resurrected Himself in a glorious new body to make possible resurrection life for the entire human race.
For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father (John 10:17-18).
The seed of a plant illustrates the miracle of God’s Seed. A plant dies but its seed springs forth into new life. Cycles of life and death in God’s creation are examples He has provided to understand the birth, death, and resurrection of God’s Seed. God has created these examples to help a finite human mind grasp an infinite Truth—that eternal life exists beyond the realm of our present experience. Life cycles bear witness to the reality of God’s purpose, but the reality transcends its earthly portrayal. God’s Seed springs into Life for eternity. He will never die! His wound was not mortal! Christ was the first fruit of those destined for resurrection. (1Cor 15:23). His followers will experience the indescribable joy of eternity in His presence. God’s enemies will suffer the unfathomable horror of eternity in Satan’s presence.
Man’s fall produced corruption and death. All living things must die. God said to Adam in Gen 3:17: “Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
But God also said to Satan on that same occasion: “On your belly you will go, and dust you will eat all the days of your life; and I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel” (Gen 3:14-15)
God implied the hope of a resurrection from the very beginning! Satan would eat the dust of sin and death. The snake is our reminder of that. But ultimately the “Seed” of the woman would return and deliver the mortal blow to the one who brought sin and death into this world. Satan certainly understood the intent of this curse. He fought tooth and nail to destroy “the Seed” from that time forward. But the Seed ultimately came into the world and He prevailed over Satan’s plans.
Death, destruction and dust are reversed in the resurrection. 1Cor 15: 43-44 records: “it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.”
Paul later explains the following in 2Cor 4:18: “We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
God will not only deliver us from sin, sickness and sorrow but even the temptation to sin. Our old body, inherited from Adam, is tempted and driven to sin by the ruler of this world, Satan. This old body, sown in dishonor, will be raised in glory. What a glorious new body we will have—controlled only by our new Master, God! Our old body is sown in weakness and blown in every deviant direction by the breath of the ‘prince of the power of the air’ (Eph 2:2). But our new body will be raised by the power of the resurrection. The Greek word for power is dunamis. Dynamite originates from this Greek word. Even the word is but a meager picture of the power of the resurrection.
The first man, our earthly body, is of the earth—earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven (1Cor 15:47). We will someday bear the image of Christ in our new body. We will not be resurrected to resemble other celestial beings like angels. We will be like Christ! Philippians 3:20-21 tells us:
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
‘Transform’ is the Greek word metamorpheo. One might picture the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly. Their bodies are entirely different. Yet the molecules of the one become the ‘seed’ for the other—the glorious body. Resurrection powers the transformation.
Behold, I will tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will 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 imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1Cor 15: 51-53).
1 Cor 15: 51-53 explains this transformation was a mystery hidden in the mind of God until finally revealed to the Apostle Paul. Why a mystery? Because resurrection power ultimately prevailed over the power of the prince of the air. God kept his battle plans secret until He accomplished the victory through Jesus’ resurrection. Now the secret is revealed to the world. All who believe in Him will partake of the spoils of victory through His resurrection power. This transformation will occur suddenly and completely. In this life, metamorphosis occurs every so slowly for a believer—often imperceptively.
‘We shall not all sleep’ (vs. 51). God will gather one generation of living believers along with all others who have died in Christ ‘at the last trumpet’ of vs. 52. This is analogous to ‘the trumpet of God’ in 1Thess 4:16-17:
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
God revealed His secret of the rapture to the Apostle Paul. God didn’t reveal this mystery earlier because it would reveal His plan to Satan. God had planned the Body of Christ before He created the world. Jesus would build the Body of Christ through His finished work on the cross and the power of His resurrection. God the Spirit would thereafter reach the world through the Body of Christ for an unknown period of time. God will terminate this ‘age of grace’ by a miraculous rapture of the Body of Christ. Subsequently, He will declare war on a wicked world led by the antichrist—possessed by the prince of this world, Satan. The mystery is not yet fully revealed. Only God knows the timing of the rapture. Revealing this would give Satan an advantage in attacking the Body of Christ.
God uses His trumpet (a ram’s horn—shofar) rarely, but at critical moments in history. Old and New Testament Scriptures reveal when and why God sounds His trumpet. God blows His trumpet in two situations: to call His children into His presence (Exodus 19:13-17, et al), and to declare war on His enemies (Joshua 6:8-9, 16; Rev 8:6-9:19, et al). God’s trumpet will sound and the Body of Christ will meet Jesus in the air. Then God will declare war on the world. What a horrendous time it will be for those who remain on this earth! What a glorious time for those who will be with Jesus in heaven!
But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written. ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1Cor 15:54-57).
Romans 3:19 explains that the Law was given by God ‘that every mouth may be stopped, and that all the world may become guilty before God.’ The Law always works for the accuser, Satan. It can never defend the sinner, because the sinner is always guilty. Therefore, death must occur. The old body and its nature must perish. But Jesus Christ achieves the victory in the power of His resurrection. Death has no effect on the new imperishable body. The sting of sin cannot infect the new body. The old body dies once and for all. The new glorious body arises in resurrection power. It is imperishable, eternal, holy and set apart for God. Jesus has eliminated sin and death forevermore from His children. Hallelujah!