Revelations from the Word

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A spirit is neither flesh nor bone

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, Peace to you. But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have. When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. But while they still did not believe for joy, and marvelled, He said to them, Have you any food here? So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence" (Luke 24:36-43).

God formed man from the dust of the earth, He breathed into his nostrils a breath of life, and the man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). Then after the Fall, He said to the man, "You are dust, and to dust you shall return" (Genesis 3:19). All men therefore were condemned to die and to see their bodies return to dust except Enoch (Genesis 5:24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:11) who were taken up. The Jews thought that the soul and the spirit of everyone who died, righteous or wicked went to the place of the dead [Sheol in Hebrew, Hades in Greek] (Ecclesiastes 9:3,10). But Jesus corrected this thought by telling the story of the rich man and the poor man Lazarus, "The poor man died, and he was carried by the angels into the bosom of Abraham. The rich man died too, and he was buried. In the place of the departed spirits [Hades], he looked up; and, while he was prey to torments, he saw Abraham far off, and Lazarus in his care" (Luke 16:22-23).

Just before dying on the cross, Jesus announced a change for those who believed in Him, as did the criminal crucified beside Him, "Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise" (Luke 23:43), then He committed His spirit into His Father's hands (Luke 23:46). God the Father had a plan for His Son Jesus, "It was the resurrection of the Christ that He foresaw and announced, by saying that He would not be abandoned in the place of the departed spirits [Hades] and that His flesh would not see corruption" (Acts 2:31). The body of the Son of God was not to return to dust, that is why God raised Him on the third day. He also raised Him so that He would be the first-born from the dead (Colossians 1:18). When Mary Magdalene saw Jesus on the morning of the resurrection, He said to her, "Do not touch [Me]; for I have not yet ascended to My Father" (John 20:17). But the same evening, He appeared in the midst of His disciples in the complete fullness of His being, body soul and spirit.

Those who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour see, when they die, their body return to dust, and their soul and spirit remain close to Him waiting for the first resurrection. And those who die without having Jesus Christ see their soul go to a place of torment, Hades, waiting for the second resurrection. At the time of the Coming of Jesus Christ, the Christians, "the dead in Christ" will be raised and clothe their glorious body in order to join Him, and the Christians, "those who are alive in Christ" will see their body put on incorruption as they are taken up (1 Corinthians 15:42,51-53) conforming to His resurrection (Romans 6:5). This will be the first resurrection, reserved for those who belong to Christ. The second resurrection will be carried out at the end of the Millennium, when the judgement of all the other dead, that is all those who have not been part of the first resurrection (Revelation 20:11-15).