Risen from the Dust
We are given various descriptions of spiritual bodies throughout the bible. By comparing them to our own flesh bodies, we can better perceive the differences between the two distinct forms.
One of the more notable examples of a spiritual body, is when Ezekiel sees the veiled likeness and glory of God at the river Chebar, "Then I noticed from the appearance of His loins and upward something like glowing metal that looked like fire all around within it, and from the appearance of His loins and downward I saw something like fire; and there was a radiance around Him. As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD" (Ezekiel 1.27-28 NASB bible), (see also Ezekiel 8.2). Ezekiel's description of God is that of a radiant spiritual form, having the likeness of man, but being fundamentally different from flesh and blood.
Angels have spiritual bodies, and while they have often disguised themselves as normal flesh humans (Hebrews 13.2), their natural form is revealed in scripture. In Daniel 10, we are given a clear description of an angelic spiritual body, "I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult" (Daniel 10.5-6 NASB bible). Daniel is even overwhelmed by this encounter, becoming stunned and faint.
Ezekiel also witnesses the natural form of a spiritual body. In one of his visions from God, he describes speaking with an individual who's appearance is like gleaming bronze, "And he brought me thither, and, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate" (Ezekiel 40.3 KJV bible). In the New Testament, there is a similar angelic visitation mentioned in Matthew's gospel, "His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow" (Matthew 28.3 KJV bible). There is also a description of an angelic spiritual body given in Revelation 10.1, "And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire" (Revelation 10.1 KJV bible). We see from these passages, that angels in their natural form are uniquely different from flesh and blood creatures, and have glory and power on a spiritual level.
We know that man is made in the image of God and his angels, but man is not made of the same substance. In these depictions, God and his angels appear as luminous beings with a bright radiance surrounding them, as if they are made of glowing metal. They appear to defy explanation, and are representations of the eternal form that people will be changed into at the Resurrection of the Dead (see ch.15 Resurrection of the Body).
This is one of the mysteries that Jesus reveals to his apostles on the Mount of Transfiguration, "And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him" (Matthew 17.1-3 KJV bible). Transfiguration, or metamorphoo in the Greek, means to change or transform. Jesus temporarily transfigures himself into a spiritual body, with his face shining like the sun. He does this to demonstrate to his apostles the form in which the Son of Man (and those that are with him in heaven) will return to the earth.
Any true Christian understands that Jesus physically resurrected from the grave. As recorded in the gospels, his flesh body was resuscitated, and he came forth from the tomb after three-and-a-half days. However, few realize that after he resurrected physically, he also resurrected spiritually. When Jesus ascended into heaven to take his place at the right hand of God, he transfigured into a spiritual body.
When Jesus first came forth out of the tomb he had resurrected physically, but not spiritually. This is why he appears to his disciples in a flesh body, still bearing the wounds of crucifixion, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have" (Luke 24.39 KJV bible). "Then saith he to Thomas, reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing" (John 20.27 KJV bible). Compare that description of Jesus to the one given in Revelation 1, which is after he had ascended into heaven, and took his place at the right hand of God, "I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man" (Revelation 1.13-17 NASB bible). His spiritual body is mentioned again in Revelation 2.18, "These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass" (Revelation 2.18 KJV bible). Clearly, Jesus has already taken on his eternal form, being transfigured at his departure from the world, and ascension into heaven, "when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high: Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they" (Hebrews 1.3-4 KJV bible).
While Christ has already transfigured into a spiritual body, no one else has yet been resurrected into the eternal form. None of the departed souls, who are currently abiding in heaven (see ch.4 Souls in Heaven), have yet been resurrected into spiritual bodies. Abraham, Moses, Paul, and all of the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles, will have to wait until the first resurrection to bear the image of the second man, the Lord from heaven.
This explains why it is written that Christ is the firstborn from among the dead, "And he [Jesus] is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence" (Colossians 1.18 KJV bible), "and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth" (Revelation 1.5 NASB bible). He is the firstborn among many brethren, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8.29 KJV bible). This is also why Jesus is referred to as the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep, which is to say the firstfruits of those who have passed on, "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept" (1st Corinthians 15.20 KJV bible).
The firstfruits are the first part of a harvest to ripen. Christ is the firstfruits of mankind, and the firstborn from the dead, because he has been fully reconciled back to God as the appointed heir of all things. He alone has resurrected spiritually, conquering spiritual death, and becoming alive forevermore as the King of kings and Lord of lords, "the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only [alone] hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting" (1st Timothy 6.15-16 KJV bible).
Damian Gerock 28 Dec 2009, 19:13so what do angels look like then?
Doug Buckley 30 Dec 2009, 02:49Hi Damian,
jeffrey 11 Aug 2010, 06:45Hi doug,
Damian 14 Aug 2010, 18:36will we have hair..
Doug Buckley 14 Aug 2010, 18:37Hi Jeffrey,
Doug Buckley 14 Aug 2010, 18:51Hi Damian,
mary 15 Aug 2010, 18:51Will our earthly bodies stay in the grave forever and spiritual bodies from spirit raise from grave ? In the Bible it said flesh and blood can't go to Heaven !
Doug Buckley 17 Aug 2010, 03:39Hi Mary,
Damian 09 Sep 2010, 18:17Hi Doug..
Doug Buckley 10 Sep 2010, 18:20Hi Damian,
naomi 08 Mar 2011, 21:46so are you saying we will be taken up to heaven before judgment day? will we be there when the world ends or already in heaven? so if we are alive will our bodies turn into spiritual ones when we go up? how will it feel?
Doug Buckley 09 Mar 2011, 11:01Hi Naomi, the world as we know it will change drastically at Christ's return, and Judgment Day is after he returns. Christians who die before his return go to heaven, and will return with him. At his return all the faithful will meet him in the air and be changed in spiritual bodies, and then reign with him. Its often hard to imagine things that are completely different from our normal lives, so we'll have to wait and see what spiritual bodies are like.
Judy 05 May 2011, 16:26Scripture tells us that we will receive our new body after Jesus returns. When we die before this...only our soul goes to heaven. Often when someone dies people will say they are now without pain...have a new body...and are dancing with the Lord. If our new bodies do not come until Jesus does...then what are we like as a soul in heaven?! Would souls recognize other souls?! When someone dear to us dies...what are we supposed to believe has happened to them that will bring us comfort?!
Doug Buckley 07 May 2011, 01:13Hi Judy, all good questions. Believers do go to heaven to be with Jesus as bodiless souls. They don't yet have spiritual bodies like the angels have. In the first resurrection, which is when Christ returns, believers will receive spiritual bodies and reign with him. Nonbelievers don't go to heaven but will be judged by their works on judgment day (Matthew 25.31-46, Revelation 20.12).
Tremaine 11 Jul 2011, 21:36Hi um so when Jesus returns and we go into the air or something like that haha but if were inside how will we go into the air? like will we go through the ceiling or something? (sorry if i didn't make sense but i hope i made somewhat of sense) [:
Doug Buckley 12 Jul 2011, 12:59The world and buildings are destroyed at this time, but God's elect are changed into spiritual bodies so probably they'd go through even mountains.
Shibu George 10 Aug 2011, 16:48I have the opinion, that when people have died, the soul sleeps till Christ returns back and the martyrs with the living Christly people who stood against the antiChrist would join him and live for a peaceful 1000 years. Here also it says people would die of old age but the life span has been increased as it was in the generation of Adam. After 1000 years later all the dead are bought up from land and sea (as it is said it will be like a morning after a night spend for the dead) and judged by the Book of Life. Please describe the body one would have in these 1000 years? Could you also please describe what it means when the Bible describes "Michael had fought for the body of Moses" in the book of Romans?
Doug Buckley 12 Aug 2011, 16:55Hi Shibu. There's so many things here I can't really address them all. In the first resurrection when Christ returns the elect (saints) will be transformed into spiritual bodies (1st Corinthians 15 and 1st Thessalonians 4). They will reign with Christ for a thousand years over the dead (see millennium chapters). Then the dead are released from death and Hades for Judgment. Hades is a spiritual place, (Luke 16) and not simply the grave. The body of Moses is in the book of Jude. perhaps God did not let his body decay. Your on the right track with some things.
Jimmy carney 23 May 2012, 15:01To me the physical body and the spirtiual body are totally different in make up and structure, upon death and burial the physical body is planted in the ground(maybe seed, etc) but did anyone ever wonder why the skeleton is still in the ground? A skeleton bone can last for hundreds of years and so on,in my opinion the spiritual bodies don't need a structure like a skeleton, so the spirit body is made up of another type of material (non skeleton), mind, blood, flesh, it dont need a stucture like a bone structure, apparently the spiritual body can move through sold walls, concrete, matter etc, so this to me simply means we have spiritual bodies after we die, immediately or otherwise(power of God)
Jack 28 Dec 2012, 16:50Acts and Colossians talk about the restitution of the original order of things. I assume this to mean a restoration to the way the world was before the fall. This would line up with the new heavens and the new earth so often spoken of that God will restore at the beginning of eternity. In this pre-fallen world I assume that we will live in an Eden-like environment in the new earth the way Adam and Eve lived. Would that mean that in our new bodies we will have mates and cohabit the way Adam and Eve did. I know Jesus said no marriage but Adam and Eve were not married; they were simply paired. I'm looking forward to having a mate and carrying on my existence the way Adam and Eve would have if they had not sinned. What are your thoughts.
Doug Buckley 30 Dec 2012, 08:59Hi Jack, that's an interesting theory, that I've considered, and there's been a few people on here who share this view. The new heavens and earth will have some similarities and differences to Eden (see last chapter of Revelation). The restitution also relates to all kingdoms and powers being put back into subjection to Christ.
Stephen 05 Feb 2013, 10:56Did Adam and Eve have spiritual bodies before SIN? What made them realize there nakedness? Was there an actual physical change?
Doug Buckley 06 Feb 2013, 16:59hi Stephen, that's a theory that I've often thought about, that Adam and Eve had spiritual bodies and were created like the angels. There's alot of details that might suggest they had spiritual bodies, because they had "eternal life". However, Genesis 2 says Adam was formed of the dust of the earth and also the name adam is based on the Hebrew word "adamah" which means ground, so they were likely flesh.
Robert 13 Feb 2013, 05:27Genesis 2:7 "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Animated body). " We see then that a person has 3 parts: body (dust) , soul (the real personality which will live forever) , and spirit (breath of life or breath from God) When the breath of God (spirit) is withdrawn, then the body returns to dust, but the soul (the real person or personality lives on forever). When man dies the spirit has left the body. The body returns unto the earth from whence it came and the spirit returns to the God who gave it. Ecc 12;7. The separation of the two is death, sometimes the scripture calls the inner man the soul, and sometimes it is called the spirit. So sometimes they are used interchangeably and sometimes they are described separately. (Zech 12;1) ( Job 33;4)
Jack 13 Feb 2013, 12:11>>>>>>We can be assured that our heavenly bodies will be as solid and real as Christ's resurrected body, because "when Christ appears, we shall be like him" (1 John 3:2).
Doug Buckley 15 Feb 2013, 03:19I do believe that when Jesus returns the saints will be resurrected into spiritual bodies. According to Paul, this is what will happen in the resurrection, "It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body" (1Co 15:44 KJV bible).
Jack 15 Feb 2013, 12:41So then if I can pursue this one more step and then we'll leave it alone:
Doug Buckley 15 Feb 2013, 18:19Yes that's what I believe. I would just add that he first went to heaven in his flesh body, then comes back, and when he goes to heaven the 2nd time he takes on his spiritual body.
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