1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. My Comment:
In the “Islam and Christianity Debate Group” one of the Muslim participants has asked that I provide a logical explanation of several texts of Scripture. Below is the discussion response I just now gave to him.
Here is my careful, logical answer to your excellent question, asking me to carefully consider 1 Corinthians 15:50, Luke 24:39, Ecclesiastes 12:7, Psalm 104:29, and Genesis 3:19.
Since your question is necessarily complex and refers to several different passages of Scripture, I trust you will forgive the length of my response, and will find it possible to read this response carefully:
Muhammad Jahid, I like your willingness to appeal to logic in this discussion.
It is ironic, and possibly illogical, for you to quote the writings of Paul (1 Corinthians 15:50) to support your argument against what Bible believing Christians believe about the resurrection body of Jesus Christ! Logically, this by itself is sufficient to show a careful thinker that the argument you have employed is false or mistaken.
But to answer your challenge:
Luke 24:39 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.
Why would Jesus show his hands and his feet at this time in the narrative?
Jesus himself tells us that he did this to show them “that it is I myself.”
As the common saying says, “Seeing is believing.”
But Jesus did more than just let them see his resurrected body. He asked them, “Handle me, and see.” He appealed to their sense of touch to prove to them that he was not merely a spirit. He showed them that he had actual flesh and bones. He was not an apparition. He was not a ghost. He was alive again by bodily resurrection, the same person in the same but resurrected and perfected body that they had known before his crucifixion.
On this important occasion Jesus did more than show them his wounded hands and feet. He did more than let them touch him. He asked if they had any food handy, and they brought him a piece of a broiled fish, and a piece of honeycomb, and he took the food “and did eat before them” (Luke 24:43).
Can you suggest a stronger proof that Jesus could have given that this was he, himself, in his very own body that had been placed in the tomb, now risen from the dead? I don’t think so.
So, the answer to your repeated question (now fully answered), “Where is his flesh?” The answer clearly is that his flesh and his body as a whole was not left to moulder in the tomb.
The tomb was empty. He took his flesh with him when he exited the tomb. That is logical, and accords with all the written testimony from the eye witnesses who were present when these events took place. It is clear from the historical record that Jesus Christ arose bodily from the dead.
Now, you asked before, as being the “burning issue,” about “where is the flesh and where did Jesus leave it before his ascension to Paradise?”
Please do read my answer carefully and in full. Almost all Christians and Christian churches get this wrong!
This question is based upon flawed assumptions.
First, you assume, contrary to the written evidence in the Bible, that Jesus must have left his flesh somewhere. That is wrong. The Bible emphatically teaches the resurrection of the body. Jesus Christ proved that it was he himself who returned from the dead in his resurrected body which the disciples saw, handled, and observed him in the act of eating fish and honeycomb.
The second flawed assumption is that an ascension to Paradise could not involve his physical, now resurrected, body. What took place when Christ returned to heaven could not be termed an ascension unless he was in a visible, physical body when he ascended back to heaven as the disciples watched stedfastly (Acts 1:10, 11). Note very carefully this fact: The term “ascension” always has reference to the body, never the soul or spirit. See Acts 2:34, for example. The departure of the spirit to God is never in the Bible reckoned as or called an “ascension.”
So in answer to your question, “Where is the flesh of Jesus” now, the answer is, Jesus is even now, even yet, still very much alive in his human body. That Jesus is still a man is clearly declared in 1 Timothy 2:5,
1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
This statement was written many years after Jesus rose from the dead and ascended bodily into heaven, so it is very clear that the Bible teaches that Jesus is still a man.
The body of Jesus Christ was transformed for all time from a perishable body to an imperishable body, what may properly be called an immortal body. The Bible in Philippians 3:21 expresses it this way:
Php 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven — and we also await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
Php 3:21 who will transform these humble bodies of ours into the likeness of his glorious body by means of that power by which he is able to subject all things to himself.
Notice the physical body of Christ as it now exists in heaven is called “his glorious body,” often spoken of in theological terms as his glorified body. The promise here is that those who are truly believers in Christ will upon their resurrection or rapture also possess a glorified, immortal, imperishable, yet tangible body like Jesus Christ now does.
Knowing and understanding these facts from the Bible will logically make it very clear that any reference made to 1 Corinthians 15:50 to deny the Bible teaching I just shared that Jesus Christ is present in heaven itself in his tangible, resurrected, but glorified physical body is mistaken.
Notice the Bible states that Jesus now has his own glorious body. This means that in the process of being resurrected from the dead, his body was transformed into a glorified body, a body no longer subject to pain, sickness, death. But it is still a body, not merely spirit. It is a tangible body: it can be seen, felt, handled, and in that glorified body Jesus could eat food, which is just what he did immediately and right before their eyes.
In the light of this evidence, your sincere question about where is the flesh of Jesus now that he has gone to heaven, is a bit mistaken in its premise. Jesus still has a body, the same body he had, but it is now resurrected and transformed into a glorious, a glorified, body.
In the light of this established Bible FACT, the question about “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,” so where is the flesh? is not relevant whatsoever, but mistaken in its assumptions.
First of all, “the kingdom of God” is not heaven. Therefore, the kingdom of God cannot be where Jesus is now. The kingdom of God is still future to us, and will be established here upon this earth, and will last forever.
Take careful note: When the Bible declares that flesh and blood will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:50), the Bible declares that only the transformed, glorified believers in the Lord Jesus Christ will inherit that Kingdom when Jesus Christ returns for them (see 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52, 53, 54, 57, 58). Flesh and blood human beings will continue upon this earth forever (Psalm 72:5). They will not be the inheritors, but the subjects of the kingdom of God.
You also bring up three additional problem passages from the Bible:
Ecc 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
When anyone dies in this time, the body of course turns to dust. The spirit returns to God who gave it. But this verse does not deny the idea of bodily resurrection, for bodily resurrection is taught elsewhere in the Bible in the Old Testament and the New Testament. This text therefore has no bearing upon the question of where is the flesh of Jesus now, for Jesus Christ is the first to be resurrected from the dead.
Psa 104:29 Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.
This passage is not about the future resurrection which everyone will experience (John 5:28, 29). It only describes the obvious physical fact that once a body no longer breathes, it dies, and ultimately decays into the dust of which it is made.
Gen 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
The ordinary lot of all human beings is to die, and for their physical bodies to return to the dust of which they were made. Once again, texts of Scripture like this one do not have any connection to the Bible’s teaching about future resurrection. It has no connection to the question of where is the flesh of Jesus Christ now.
It was predicted of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, as a provision of the Davidic Covenant, that the Messiah (1) would be a direct physical descendant of David himself; (2) that the Messiah, though he must die, would not suffer corruption or decay (Psalm 16:8-10).
Psa 16:8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Psa 16:9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.
Psa 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
This very passage of Scripture is carefully explained by Peter in his sermon recorded at Acts 2:29-32.
Act 2:29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
Act 2:30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
Act 2:31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
Act 2:32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.