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The Spiritual Body

  • We've established that in the Resurrection of the Dead people will be raised up spiritually, not physically.
  • At this time, they will receive eternal spiritual bodies.
  • There is much scriptural precedent with which to understand these "spiritual bodies".

There are many passages in the bible that depict the form of a spiritual body.

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.

Jesus has already taken on his eternal form, transfiguring into a spiritual body at his ascension into heaven.

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).

Comments

Damian Gerock      28 Dec 2009, 19:13

so what do angels look like then?
do they have human features?
Do they have wings?
thankyou

Doug Buckley      30 Dec 2009, 02:49

Hi Damian,
Angels have the ability to disguise themselves as regular people, as in the case of Genesis 18 and 19. However, their true form is that of a spiritual body.

These spiritual bodies are human-like in form and image, but not made of earthly substance. They are described as having a dazzling radiance to them, similar to the appearance of molten metal (Daniel 10.6 and Revelation 10.1).

Angels do not have wings per se, but there are mysterious angel-like beings called Cherubim and Seraphim that are described as being winged (see Isaiah 6 and Ezekiel 10). These creatures also have spiritual bodies, and their wings seem to serve in their role of guarding or covering holy places as much as instruments of flight.

jeffrey      11 Aug 2010, 06:45

Hi doug,
will we have wings when we go meet the Lord in the air?

Damian      14 Aug 2010, 18:36

will we have hair..

will we be the same height? weird questions but one worth investigating

Doug Buckley      14 Aug 2010, 18:37

Hi Jeffrey,
We will go to meet the Lord in the air in the first resurrection, when we are all changed into spiritual bodies (1st Corinthians 15.51-52). To my knowledge, there is no mention of these spiritual bodies having wings.

Doug Buckley      14 Aug 2010, 18:51

Hi Damian,
We will have have bodies, but they will not be made of flesh and blood. Hair is a kind of protein secreted by our bodies, so we will not have literal hair. There will be differences between our spiritual bodies, but I don't think things like height and weight will be relevant on that spiritual level. It's like saying what is the mass of a soundwave?

mary      15 Aug 2010, 18:51

Will 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, 03:39

Hi Mary,
Your question is an interesting one. Many people feel that our spiritual bodies will rise up from the remains our flesh bodies. In other words, a small fragment of the flesh body turns into the spiritual body, and the soul is joined to it. I wouldn't say that this is an uninformed view, but my opinion is that the bodiless soul is transformed into a spiritual body, and the process has nothing to do with the original flesh body. The souls will be changed into spiritual bodies from wherever they are, and raised up in a spiritual, not literal, sense (maybe also see ch.21).

"...flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption" (1st Corinthians 15.50 KJV bible). This verse tells us that we will receive spiritual bodies.

Damian      09 Sep 2010, 18:17

Hi Doug..

I have been reading lots of testimony's about peoples claim that they have seen heaven etc..
Such as that is Richard Sigmund(you can do a google search on him he has written a book) and he claims to have seen angels with beards and wearing jeans etc.. This to me just seems fake.. I dont know but i picture angels to be fiery beings full full of light and different than human bodies..what is your take on this ..it just doesn't seem to match up with scripture thats all and this is only about the angels..i haven't even read anything else about what he saw in heaven..Thank you

Damian

Doug Buckley      10 Sep 2010, 18:20

Hi Damian,
Yeah, angels in jeans sounds kind of silly to me also. They have radiant spiritual bodies, but they also do appear as regular people at times in the Old Testament. Jesus says many are called, but few are chosen. Most people won't make it to heaven before Judgment Day. Therefore, I tend to believe the accounts of people who went to hell (hades), and then turned to Christ, more than I believe the ones that claim to have seen heaven. Howard Storm and Howard Pittman are two people who describe going to hell. However, there's alot of people looking for their 15 minutes of fame, so we should be skeptical of all such claims.

naomi      08 Mar 2011, 21:46

so 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, 11:01

Hi 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, 16:26

Scripture 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, 01:13

Hi 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).

I believe that bodiless souls are conscious and able to communicate, but also incomplete and perhaps even wraithlike. Moses and Elijah talk with Jesus on the mount, and can certainly recognize other people.

Tremaine      11 Jul 2011, 21:36

Hi 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, 12:59

The 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, 16:48

I 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, 16:55

Hi 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, 15:01

To 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, 16:50

Acts 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, 08:59

Hi 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.

Keep in mind that Christ is the new Adam, as a new spiritual man. I believe that Adam being created in the flesh could never have remained close to God and was doomed to sin. However, in Christ we can be pleasing to God as new beings in him. Paul says that as believers are flesh bodies are not for fornication but for serving the Lord (1st Cor 6.13).

So then looking forward to the resurrection of the dead, Paul describes it as a non flesh existence in a spiritual body, through the last Adam (Christ) "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven" (1 Corinthians 15:45-47 KJV bible).

So in the resurrection we will have new spiritual bodies, and become like the angels. Christ undid and overcame the sins of Adam so that we can move onto something new and better, and be married to him spiritually. No more flesh seems to be what Jesus is saying in Mark 12.25, when he says they will be like the angels. Some believe that angels have immortal flesh bodies, but even then there are no female angels, so such relationships aren't possible.

Stephen      05 Feb 2013, 10:56

Did 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, 16:59

hi 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, 05:27

Genesis 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)
Jesus body went to the grave. His spirit went to paradise which is a part of Hades. But his soul did not stay in paradise,(for he went to heaven) and his body did not stay in the grave, it was resurrected. When the body and spirit is separated one is dead. When they reunite, it is resurrection.
"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."(Philippians 3:20, 21) (1 Corinthians 15: 44)
New Bodies (2 Corinthians 5:1-10) 1 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.
Jesus had a real body; He invited the disciples to touch Him (John 20:27). On this occasion Jesus walked into a real house, talked to real people, and ate real food (Luke 24:43). 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). Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears,we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
The Bible does not tell us everything we would like to know about life after death. That lack of information is our own inability to understand the answer. Heaven by definition is a realm unlike the world in which we live. God could tell us everything we wanted to know but the answers wouldn't make sense to us. It's like trying to explain the color green to a blind man. Heaven will make perfect sense to us once we get there. (I have to much info to post, but you can ask for my email if you like)

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).

But then Doug if we have physical solid bodies like Christ's resurrected body then we cannot be like the angels in this respect for angels are incorporeal spirits who only assume physical bodies under God's direction for a mission or purpose. If Jesus said we are like the angels He must have been referring to the issue of immortality or something else but certainly not being like the angels' physical bodies as opposed to spiritual (spirits, as in sitting on a cloud strumming a harp as the stereotype goes, which is what angels are).

Doug Buckley      15 Feb 2013, 03:19

I 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).

The saints are changed into spiritual bodies at the last trumpet, "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption...In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (1Co 15:50-52 KJV bible).

So people are changed into spiritual bodies. But then why does it say we will be like unto Christ (1 John 3:2)? Because Christ will return in his spiritual body, and the saints will be like him as Sons of God.

He is the man of heaven, not in a flesh body, "And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly (1Co 15:49 KJV bible).

This is also why Jesus transfigures himself on the Mt, showing how he will return, "And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them" (Mark 9:2 KJV bible).

So then why does Christ have a flesh body at his resurrection, complete with his wounds? Because he went into heaven to fulfill the Old Testament law, cleanse the temple, and present his body as a sacrifice unto God, as explained in Hebrews 9.

"It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these" (Heb 9:23 KJV bible).

This was his work alone, because his body is a sacrifice for us. He didn't first resurrect into a spiritual body so that the law was fulfilled. This is why no one could touch him until he ascended, and only after does he come back to the apostles touch him. Then he ascends again, to take his spiritual place at the right hand of God (Acts 1.11), no longer as the sacrificial offering.

I do believe that angels have spiritual bodies as well, and so we we will be like them in the resurrection, at least in respect to marriage. I agree that they can take on human form, but they also often depicted in powerful spiritual bodies. I don't see how they could do the things they are depicted as doing, because a bodiless spirit is a somewhat miserable condition.

Jack      15 Feb 2013, 12:41

So then if I can pursue this one more step and then we'll leave it alone:

Jesus' resurrected body = flesh, bone and no blood.
After Jesus ascended His flesh/bone body became a spiritual body, substance unknown but no flesh or bone like He had on earth
Angels' bodies the same as Jesus' spiritual body right now
At the resurrection we are turned into spiritual bodies which will not have flesh and bone like Jesus had on earth after His resurrection, but the bodies will be like He has now.

Is that a fair assessment?

Doug Buckley      15 Feb 2013, 18:19

Yes 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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