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The Gospel


The Resurrection

as explained by the apostle Paul in the first letter to

the people of Corinth


1 Corinthians Chapter 15

The text from the KJV has been modernised for easier reading.

The headings have been added.

A Reminder

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand; 2 by which also you are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached to you, unless you have believed in vain.

3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. 4 And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.

5 And that He was seen of Cephas [Simon Peter], then of the twelve [at the same time].

6 After that, He was seen of above [more than] five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain to this present, but some are fallen asleep [in death].

7 After that, He was seen of James; then of all the apostles [again].

8 And last of all He was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet [fit] to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so you believed.

The proof of the resurrection

12 Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching [in] vain, and your faith is also vain.

15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: [consider also John 10:17-18 to see HOW God did this] whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins [for you were saved by the same power]. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable [just look at our experiences!].

Because of sin there must be a resurrection

20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by Man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in [because of] Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when [or after] He [Jesus] shall have put down all rule and all authority and power [of the rebellion].

25 For He [Christ] must reign, till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. [Note this last statement with care – death is no friend of ours or God’s].

Eventually all will come under the Father

27 For He [the Father] has put all things under His [or Christ’s] feet [for the moment]. But when He says all things are put under Him [i.e. Christ], it is manifest [or should be very clear] that He [the Father] is excepted, which did put all things under Him. 28 And when all things shall be subdued to Him [or, when all recognise the Father’s position], then shall the Son also Himself be subject to Him that put all things under Him, that God [the Father] may be all in all.

29 Else what shall they do which are baptised for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptised for the dead? 30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? 31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily [or, continuously and was one of the dead].

Consider the following verses as an explanation of what you have just read:-

Romans 7:8-9

But sin, taking occasion by the [absence of the] commandment [the Ten Commandments], wrought in me all manner of concupiscence [or lusts]. For without the law [the knowledge of] sin was dead [in me]. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came [into my mind], sin revived, and I died [or, I found that I was spiritually dead].

Ephesians 2:1-6

And you has He quickened [or made alive], who were dead in trespasses and sins: wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [a fancy name for Satan], the spirit that now [still] works in the children of disobedience. Among whom also we all had our conversation [i.e. conduct] in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as [the] others [are].

But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ [or changed our nature in Christ], (by grace you are saved;) and has raised us up together [with Him], and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus…[and you were baptised to show this].

Colossians 2:12-13

Buried with Him in baptism [Romans 6:3-4], wherein also you are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised Him from the dead. And you, being [once] dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, has He [now] quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses…

Luke 9:23

And He said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily [i.e. continuously], and follow Me.

Mark 8:34-35

And when He had called the people to Him with His disciples also, He said to them, Whoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever will save his life shall lose it; but whoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel's [by forgetting his own desires], the same shall save it.

32 If after the manner of men [or, as men say] I have fought with beasts [wild men] at Ephesus, what advantages it me, if the dead rise not? [Rather] let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die [forever!].

33 Be not deceived: evil communications [wrong thoughts] corrupt good manners [change our behaviour]. 34 Awake to righteousness [the correct truth of this], and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God [and/or the resurrection]: I speak this to your shame.

Nature shows how it works

35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?

36 You fool [or ignorant one], that which you sow [or plant] is not quickened [or grows into a plant], except it die [first]: 37 and that which you sow, you sow not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: 38 but God gives it a body as it has pleased Him, and to every seed his own body [or distinctive plant form].

39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds [to suit their needs and environment]. 40 There are also celestial [heavenly] bodies, and bodies terrestrial [earthly]: but the glory [or characteristic] of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differs from another star in glory [or power].

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead.

It [the body] is sown [or buried] in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 it is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [Jesus] was made a quickening Spirit.

46 However that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

The contrast

47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy [our present physical bodies], we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

50 Now this I say, brethren, that [earthy] flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption [that which is subject to death or decay] inherit incorruption [eternal life].

Not all will die

51 Behold, I show you a mystery [a little understood or thought of truth];

We shall not all sleep [or die], but we shall all be changed, 52 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 [who are alive at that time] shall be changed [at the second coming, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18]. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. [Isaiah 25:8]

55 O death, where [then] is your sting? O grave, where [then] is your victory? 56 [At the moment] the sting [or cause] of death is sin; and the strength of [or, the power behind] sin is the law [See Romans 6:23]. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory [over death] through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be you steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for [now] you know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.



A few other Scriptures on the subject....

Genesis 2:7 The origin of the soul

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.

We should see two different objects in this verse – the dust (or earth) and the breath of God. One formed the body and the other gave the life which made the body into a "living" soul. Thus the third object, the "living" soul, did not exist without the combination of the other two. It is called a "living" soul to distinguish it from a "dead" soul, for God says "the soul that sins, it shall die". Ezekiel 18:4. This happens when the combination is broken. The word "soul" in the Bible is used to describe a living being, human, animal or insect.

Genesis 7:21-22 It is said of the Flood victims

And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth, and every man: all in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.

Job 12:9-10 This has always been known

Who knows not in all these that the hand of the LORD has wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.

Genesis 12:5 How the Bible sees souls

And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

Think of an electric light bulb. The glass and wires represent the body, the earthly material. The electric power corresponds to the life or power of God. They both exist independently of each other and are normally separated by a switch and therefore there is no light. However, make the connection by turning on the switch and the light appears effortlessly. So long as both power and globe are connected the light remains, but let the current fail, the glass break, or the wires burn out, and the light disappears. It has no life of its own, the other two must remain connected for the light to exist.

So each creature throughout the universe is connected to the Source of all power. Under normal circumstances that connection will never be broken. But let sin enter, the desire to be separate and self-fulfilling arise, and the stage is set for death, and this is what The Spirit is refering to when He says, "The wages of sin is death". Romans 6:23. A loose connection produces sickness - a total disconnection brings death.

Acts 17:28 And in another place

For in Him we live, and move, and have our being…

Ecclesiastes 3:18-20 The wise man tells us

I said in my heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them [to themselves], and that they might see that they themselves are beasts [created beings]. For that which befalls the sons of men befalls beasts; even one thing befalls them: as the one dies, so dies the other; yes, they have all one breath; so that a man has no pre-eminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

Ecclesiastes 9:5-10 The dead are in a long sleep

For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, where you go.

Ecclesiastes 12:6-7 A picturesque description of death

Or ever [whenever] the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.

John 11:11-14 Jesus tells us the truth

These things said He: and after that He said to them, Our friend Lazarus sleeps; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said His disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. However Jesus spoke of his death: but they thought that He had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus to them plainly, Lazarus is dead [so He went and resurrected him].

Lazarus tells us nothing of what it was like to be dead for the simple reason that he does not remember being in the grave any more than we remember being asleep. He was present at the feast in Simon's house when Mary washed the feet of Jesus just before the crucifixion and had noting to say.

Back to Notes for The Revelation chapter 2


John 10:17-18

"Therefore does My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment [or power] have I received of My Father."

Back to 1 Corinthians 15

Romans 6:3-6

Know you not, that so many of us as were baptised into Jesus Christ were baptised into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Back to 1 Corinthians 15

Romans 6:23

"For the wages [or result] of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Back to 1 Corinthians 15

Comment on verse 20

It is written that Christ was the first-fruits of them that slept. It was to the glory of God that the Prince of life should be the first-fruits, the antitype of the wave-sheaf.

Leviticus 23:9-11 The first of all the harvests

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, When you be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest: and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath [Sunday, the first working day of the week] the priest shall wave it.

Romans 8:29

"For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren."

This very scene, the resurrection of Christ from the dead, had been celebrated in type by the Jews for hundreds of years. When the first heads of grain ripened in the field, they were carefully gathered; and when the people went up to Jerusalem for the feast of unleavened bread, these were presented to the Lord as a thank-offering. The people gave the ripened sheaf to be waved before God on the second day of the feast, acknowledging Him as the Lord of the harvest. Not until after this ceremony could the sickle be put to the wheat, and all the harvest gathered.

So those who had been raised with Christ were to be presented to the universe as a pledge of the resurrection of all who believe in Christ as their personal Saviour. The same power that raised Christ from the dead will raise His church, and glorify it with Christ, as His bride, above all principalities, above all powers, above every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in the heavenly courts, the world above. The victory of the sleeping saints will be glorious on the morning of the resurrection. Satan's triumph will end, while Christ will triumph in glory and honor. The Life-giver will crown with immortality all who come forth from the grave.

Back to verse 20

A comment on verse 35

The resurrection of Jesus was a sample of the final resurrection of all who sleep in Him. The risen body of the Saviour, His behavior, the accents of His speech, were all familiar to His followers. In like manner will those who sleep in Jesus rise again. We shall know our friends even as the disciples knew Jesus. Though they may have been deformed, diseased, or disfigured in this mortal life, yet in their resurrected and glorified body their individual identity will be perfectly preserved, and we shall recognize, in the face radiant with the light shining from the face of Jesus, the features of those we love.

Back to verse 35

Comment on verses 36-38

Our personal identity is preserved in the resurrection, though not the same particles of matter or material substance as went into the grave. The wondrous works of God are a mystery to man. The spirit, the character of man, is returned to God, there to be preserved. In the resurrection every man will have his own character. God in His own time will bring forth the dead, giving again the breath of life, and bidding the dry bones live. The same form will come forth, but it will be free from disease and every defect. It lives again bearing the same individuality of features, so that friend will recognise friend. There is no law of God in nature which shows that God gives back the same identical particles of matter which composed the body before death. God will give the righteous dead a body that will please Him.

Paul illustrates this subject by the kernel of grain sown in the field. The planted kernel decays, but there comes forth a new kernel. The natural substance in the grain that decays is never raised as before, but God gives it a body as it pleases Him. A much finer material will compose the human body, for it is a new creation, a new birth. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

Back to verse 36

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