With What Body Do They Come?

A Look at the Resurrection

Kurt Simmons


Preterists believe the general Resurrection occurred in AD 70, in connection with Christ’s kingdom coming in power against the Romans and Jews to put His enemies beneath His feet (Dan 12:2; Matt 16:27, 28; John 5:28m 29; Heb 10:13). This corresponded with the destruction of Hadean death, which was the last enemy (1 Cor 15:26, 55; Isa 25:8). Although all Preterists agree the eschatological resurrection occurred in AD 70, there is disagreement about the type of body received in the resurrection. Three views exist: 1) individual, physical bodies; 2) individual, spiritual (immaterial) bodies; and 3) a collective, mystical, covenantal body.

In this article, we will argue that the individual, spiritual body view is the only scripturally defensible view.

The Intermediate State of the Dead

No discussion of the Resurrection would be complete without touching upon the intermediate place and state of the dead. Indeed, raising the dead from the realm of the deceased unto their respective eternal rewards and punishments is the very essence of the eschatological Resurrection.  

Scripture teaches that the “wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23). God warned our first ancestors that death would ensue the day they ate of the forbidden fruit.

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen 2:17)

However, God was merciful to the couple and instituted a law of substitutes, which allowed the blood of another to take their place and atone for their sin. An animal was sacrificed instead, and the couple clothed with its skin (Gen 3:21). But the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins (Heb 10:4). Animal sacrifice was therefore merely provisional, standing as a prophetic type pointing to the sacrifice of Christ. Since the blood of animals could not take away sins, the saints could not enter heaven until the death of Jesus and the general resurrection. Hence, the spirits of the departed dead were “gathered unto their people” in Sheol (Hebrew) or Hades (Greek) (Gen 25:8, 17; 35:29; 49:29, 33).  

The picture of Sheol in the Old Testament is somewhat murky, but the dead are portrayed as living and conscious (Isa 14:9, 10; cf. 1 Sam 28:15-20). The picture is more complete in the New Testament, where the term Hades is used instead. Hades had two divisions: a place of torment for the lost, and a place of comfort for the saved. The place of the lost was called Tartarus (2 Pet 2:4); the place of the saved was called Abraham’s bosom, or, more commonly, Paradise (Luke 24:43; 2Cor 12:4). A picture of the state of the dead pending the general resurrection occurs in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus as well as several passages in Revelation (Luke 16:19-31; cf. Rev 6:9-11; 14:13; 20:4). On the last day of the pre-messianic age, Christ, seated upon the throne of His glory, began the judgment of the quick and the dead (Matt 25:31-46; 2 Tim 4:1). Death surrendered up its dead: the just inherited eternal life in heaven; the unjust suffered eternal destruction in Gehenna.  

Gehenna (ge-enna) is Greek for the Valley of Hinnom outside of Jerusalem (also called Tophet, Isa 30:33). The Valley of Hinnom is where 185,000 Assyrians smitten by the angel of the Lord were buried and cremated (Isa 30:31-33; 37:36). During periods of idolatry, it was also used by the children of Israel to sacrifice their children to Molech (2 Chron 28:3; 33:6; Jer 7:31); Josiah later defiled the place so that it might never again be used for that purpose (2 Kings 23:10). In the time of Christ, the Valley of Hinnom served as the city dump for Jerusalem. It is there that the bodies of over 600,000 Jews who starved to death in the Roman siege of Jerusalem were cast. The phrase “where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched” takes its source from here (Isa 66:24; Mark 9:44, 46, 48), and refers to the maggots and endless fires that fed upon the dead. The imagery is applied by extension to the eternal fate of the lost in the next world (Matt 5:22; 18:8, 9; James 3:6). In Revelation, Christ’s enemies—the beast, the kings of the earth, the false prophet, and the dragon—are cast directly into Gehenna upon their defeat (there called the lake of fire), indicating that the judgment of the quick and the dead was then underway (Rev 19:20; 20:10; 2 Tim 4:1). This should be compared to the Old Testament, where upon defeat God’s enemies were cast into the “pit,” or Sheol (Ezek 31:14-17). John portrays the judgment and eschatological Resurrection:

“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hades delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Rev 20:11-15)

The “sea” in Revelation is associated with the Gentiles (the four Gentile world powers in Daniel’s seventh chapter rise from the Great Sea; the Roman “beast,” whose number is 666, also rises from the sea). The sea, or deep, is also associated with Hades (Luke 8:31; Rom 10:7). Therefore, the sea in this passage probably refers to Tartarus and those outside of covenant relationship with God. However, questions of this sort aside, we see that the very essence of the eschatological Resurrection involved Hades and raising the dead unto their respective rewards. Paul summed it all up in his chapter on the Resurrection when he said “O death, where is thy sting? O Hades, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor 15:55). With the destruction of Hades (that is, Hadean death), the saints now go directly to heaven upon physical death (cf. Rev 14:13), the unsaved go to Gehenna. 

With this overview of Hades and the Resurrection behind us, we are prepared to discuss the type of body received.

The Corporate Body View

We find traces of the Corporate Body View (CBV) doctrine expressed as early as 1845, when Robert Townley wrote his book The Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ a Past Event (London, 1845).[1] A modern proponent of this view is Max King, who made it popular during the 1970-80s. At one time, the majority of Preterists likely embraced the CBV, but numbers have dramatically declined in recent years. Both Townley and King were led into Universalism by this view, which has brought it under increased scrutiny and criticism, causing many to seek alternatives.

Briefly stated, the CBV interprets the Resurrection mystically. Where the rest of Christendom teaches that the “natural body” refers to man’s physical body and the “spiritual body” refers to the incorruptible body received in the Resurrection, the CBV holds that the natural and spiritual bodies refer instead to Judaism and Christianity, respectively. According to King:

“Resurrection has reference many times to the change from the Jewish system to the Christian system, where the material body of Judaism is put off in death and the spiritual body of Christianity is resurrected in life.[2]
“The natural body that was sown . . . answers to the fleshly or carnal system of Judaism . . . out of the decay of Judaism arose the spiritual body of Christianity . . . this is the primary meaning of Paul’s statement, “it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body. There is a spiritual body.”[3]

The CBV holds that the Old Testament law was valid and held Christians in bondage to sin until AD 70. Justification from sin (the Christian’s “resurrection”) would come only with the destruction of Jerusalem. According to King:

“Judaism was the metaphorical grave of the spiritual dead out of which the resurrection took place.”[4]

“One must look to the Jewish system as the state and power of death to be destroyed by the reign of Christ.”[5]

“Paul wanted to attain unto the resurrection of the dead . . . as represented in the Jewish system”.[6]

“The last enemy to be destroyed was death (1 Cor 15:26), and Israel was that ministration of death (2 Cor 3:7)”.[7]

“Paul said it was then that “death was swallowed up in victory” . . . But how was death swallowed up in victory? The answer is obvious. Where was death resident? Did it not reign in the mortal or natural body of Judaism . . . But when that body died, and from it arose a spiritual body clothed with incorruption and immortality, death was defeated”.[8] 

Reduced to its essential elements, the CBV rests upon three pillars, each of which we believe to be objectively false. These are:

1)       The Old Testament law was valid, binding, and obligatory until AD 70;

2)       Atonement was incomplete and the saints remained under the debt of sin until AD 70; and

3)       Grace and justification from sin arrived only in AD 70 at the fall of Jerusalem.

These are logical corollaries of each other. If one is shown to be wrong, the others will be wrong as well. For example, if it is shown that the Old Testament legally terminated at the cross, then grace and justification will have arrived at the cross, and so forth. So, what does Scripture say? When did the old law end and the gospel of grace begin? Here there can be no doubt: The Old Testament ended at Calvary. 

Just before His crucifixion, Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, saying, “This is my blood of the New Testament which is shed for many the remission of sins” (Matt 26:28). Jesus’ blood inaugurated the New Testament (cf. Heb 9:20). It is a fundamental maxim of law that there can be only one will or testament in force at a time. The last or latest will revokes all earlier ones. The epistle to the Hebrews says “a testament is of force after men are dead” (Heb 9:17; cf. Heb 10:9). Therefore, the New Testament came into effect upon Jesus’ death. Since there cannot be two Testaments in force at one time, the Old Testament necessarily ended at the cross.  

At Jesus’ death, the veil of the temple, representing our separation from God, was “rent in twain,” showing that the way into God’s presence was now open through the death of Christ (Matt 27:51). The temple service and blood sacrifices were a prophetic foreshadow of good things to come (Col 2:17; Heb 10:1). A shadow ends where the body begins. Paul says the body (substance) of our faith is the cross of Christ (Col 2:17; 1 Cor 2:2; Gal 6:14). Therefore, the shadow of the law ended at the cross. Paul states that Christ “abolished in his flesh . . . the law of commandments contained in ordinances” (Eph 2:15). The verb here is in the perfect tense, showing completed action in the past: Christ abolished the law in His flesh (viz., at the cross).

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.(Col 2:13, 14) 

Again, the perfect tense (“having forgiven”) is used. If the apostle wanted to say that the Mosaic Law was abolished and Christians had forgiveness of sins, what words could he use to make it clearer than those recorded here? Notice also that Paul says the saints were already “quickened” and had experienced spiritual resurrection at conversion (faith, repentance, and baptism) (cf. Eph 2:1, 6; Rom. 6:3-6). Thus, the CBV’s insistence that the saints were dead in sin until AD 70 is wide of the mark. 

Two entire epistles (Galatians and Hebrews) are devoted to the proposition that the law was no longer valid and need not be kept. A special counsel held in Jerusalem by the apostles concluded there was no need to keep the ceremonial law (Acts 15:24-29). We thus read that the dietary laws and law against Jews keeping table fellowship with Gentiles were revoked (Acts 10; Gal 2:11, 12; 1 Tim 4:4); the law segregating Gentiles from Jews in the temple was revoked (Eph 2:14, 15); the feast days and Sabbath days were revoked (Gal 4:10; Col 2:16); and circumcision, the very epitome of the Old Testament law, was revoked (Gal 2:2-5; 6:15). If all these are revoked, what part of the law does the CBV argue was still valid after the crucifixion of Jesus, keeping the saints under the debt of sin?  

The epistle to the Romans states, “Sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Rom 6:14; cf Gal 5:2). Not under the law. How can proponents of the CBV deny simple and direct statements like these and maintain credibility? At His ascension Christ became our high priest (Heb 9:11, 24). The epistle to the Hebrews says “for the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law” (Heb 7:12). A change of the law! Christ’s sacrifice and priesthood revoked the Aaronic priesthood and temple sacrifices. As for atonement being already complete, we have Paul’s testimony, saying, “We have now received the atonement” (Rom 5:11). As well, the author of Hebrews declares, “For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified” (Heb 10:14; perfect tense, showing completed action in the past). 

Thus, all three essential tenants of the CBV are directly contradicted by numerous passages of Scripture: The law was revoked at the cross, atonement was complete, grace had entered, and men were justified in spiritual resurrection—all before AD 70. Arguments that there was a collective body resurrection of the saints out of the grave of Judaism in AD 70 must therefore be dismissed.

The Individual, Physical Body View

The idea that the Resurrection involves physical bodies has a long tradition in the church. The Nicene Creed (AD 325) speaks merely of the “resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come,” but many later creeds speak of the resurrection of “the body,” and several creeds and confessions speak expressly of the resurrection of “the flesh.”[9] This seems to have come about in opposition to Origenism.  

Origen (184 – 254) was the greatest of the early Christian writers.  Jerome says that he wrote more than any individual could read. Epiphanius related that his works amounted to 6,000 writings. His magnum opus was the Hexapala, a critical edition of the Greek and Hebrew scriptures set in six columns, including versions of the 1) Hebrew, 2) Hebrew transliterated into Greek, 3) Aquila of Sinope, 4) Symmachus the Ebionite, 5) a recension of the Septuagint, 6) Theodotion. Eusebius devoted almost the entire sixth book of his "Ecclesiastical History" to Origen and, in collaboration with the martyr Pamphilius, composed the "Apology for Origen." His works published in the Ante-Nicene Fathers include De Principiis, A Letter to Africanus about the History of Susanna, A Letter to Gregory, and Contra Celsus.

Origen, who was also a Preterist, believed that in the resurrection the body would be changed from one that is animal, made of earth and soil, into one that is spiritual and ethereal: “”What at first was flesh (formed) out of earthly soil, and was afterwards dissolved by death, and again reduced to dust and ashes will…advance to the glory of a spiritual body…” “With respect to the state of the body, we are to hold that his very body which now, on account of its service to the soul, is styled an animal body, will...attain to a spiritual condition and quality.”[10]

After Origen’s death, opposition grew against his doctrine of the resurrection, first by Methodius (circa 300 A.D.), then Epiphanius (375 A.D.), then Jerome in his anti-Origenist quarrel with Rufinus (c. 393–402). In the sixth century, Justinian issued an edict denouncing Origen (543 A.D.), and, finally, the fifth ecumenical counsel at Constantinople anathematized him (553 A.D.). The doctrine of the resurrection of physical bodies has been firmly planted in the church ever since, with almost no scriptural warrant whatever.

>Jesus’ Teaching about the Resurrection

The resurrection of individual, physical bodies was the view of the Pharisees in Jesus’ day. We learn this from the hypothetical scenario propounded by the Sadducees to Jesus, asking whose wife the widow of seven husbands would be in the Resurrection. The Sadducees did not believe in the Resurrection (Matt 22:23; Acts 23:8), whereas the Pharisees did. Thus, it is clear that the Sadducees’ question was based upon the Pharisees’ conception of the Resurrection, and was put to Jesus as an indissoluble problem refuting the Resurrection. Jesus’ response affirmed the fact of the Resurrection, but denied that it was physical in nature.

“Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” (Matt 29-32)

Three points emerge from this: 

1)       The resurrection is in heaven, not on earth (cf. Matt 5:10, 12; Heb 11:13-16). The body received, therefore, must be suited to the spiritual realm above, not the material realm here below.

2)       Angels by definition are spirits—immaterial, intangible, and invisible. Since in the Resurrection we will be like the angels, it follows that we, too, will be spirits whose bodies are immaterial, intangible, and invisible.

3)       Abraham and the patriarchs had in some form or manner already experienced a resurrection (viz., the first resurrection of the soul or spirit in Hades, Rev 6:9-11; 14:13; 20:4). But if the first resurrection involved the spirit of man, what basis is there to assume the Hadean resurrection would involve physical bodies? So far as we can tell, there is none.

Paul’s Analogy of the Seed

We may add to Jesus’ instruction about the Resurrection the words of Paul:

“That which thou sowest, thou sowest not the body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body . . . . So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. . . . flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.”(1 Cor 15:37-50)

It is commonly supposed that the “seed” in Paul’s analogy is the dead body buried in the earth, but this is mistaken. That which is sown is the human soul, encased in the “seed hull” of earthly form. This is what Paul means when he says “It is sown a natural body . . . . And so it was written, The first man Adam was made a living soul.” These parallels make clear that our souls are first “sown” in flesh via human birth. But that which is sown is not quickened (resurrected) unless it die (1 Cor 15:36). That is, we must put off these mortal bodies in physical death, if we are to be raised to heavenly life (absent from the body is present with the Lord; cf. 2 Cor 5:6-8). The seed of our human nature bears the germ (the spirit) that comes forth at death clothed upon with a body suited to heavenly life. Hence, Jesus’ physical resurrection is not the pattern of our own. Rather, Jesus’ glorified body in heaven is the pattern of our resurrection. This is clear from Paul’s statement “the last Adam was made a quickening spirit . . . And as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Cor 15:45, 49). God is a spirit (John 4:24). Our destiny is to become spirits with bodies suited for glory like Christ’s (Rom 8:29. 30).

Verses Relied Upon by the PBV

Let us survey briefly the verses relied upon by adherents of the PBV.

“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.”(Job 19:25, 26)

This is the only verse in the Bible that makes reference to the flesh in apparent connection with the Resurrection. However, the Hebrew of this verse is so obscure and ambiguous that scholars cannot decide how it is to be translated. The marginal reading gives the rendering, “After I shall awake, though this body be destroyed, yet out of my flesh . . .” etc. In other words, two renderings, exactly opposite in meaning, can be sustained by the original tongue. Thus, it cannot be determined with certainty what Job actually meant. Given that this is the only place in Scripture referring to the flesh in the context of the Resurrection, we would be well advised to opt for the alternate rendering. At the very least, standing as it does alone, and more especially in view of the poetic nature of the book, no essential doctrine of Scripture ought to be built upon it.

Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. (Isa 26:19)

This passage does not teach a general physical resurrection of believers. Jesus’ “dead body” is the only body expressly mentioned in the passage. Those that “dwell in dust” refer to the spirits of the dead in Sheol/Hades, which was conceived as a cavernous realm beneath earth’s surface. The earth casting out its dead therefore does not speak to the bodies of the dead, but rather their spirits in Hades. Assuming, however, that physical bodies are intended, the better view is that the reference is to certain physical resurrections, recorded by Matthew (27:52-53), in which actual bodies rose in association with Jesus’ resurrection, and not to the general Resurrection of the last day predicted to occur some forty years later.

“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”(John 5:28-29)

As with Isaiah 26:19, no physical bodies are mentioned in this text. All Jesus says is that those in the graves will come forth. Jesus did not say they would come forth on this side of eternity. Daniel made the like statement, saying, “many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan 12:2). This language is obviously poetic: The dead do not “sleep” in the earth; their spirits go to Hades (Luke 24:43; cf. 16:19-31). Hence, the idea of “waking” from the dust is merely accommodative; it points to a coming day of salvation when death would be vanquished and man goes to his long-awaited home with God and Christ in heaven.

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Rom 8:11)

“Quickening” our mortal bodies does not refer to the resurrection of the physical body, but the regenerative effects of God’s Spirit in man by the mortification of the flesh. “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Rom 8:13; cf. Gal 5:24). This is all the more apparent from the verse immediately preceding, where Paul writes, “the body is dead because of sin” (Rom 8:10). The saints at Rome were not dead and neither were their bodies; the apostle is merely using a figure of speech. As the source of fleshly lusts, the body is spiritually “dead.” But by being brought into subjection to the Spirit, the body is figuratively quickened and made an instrument of righteousness.

“And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” (Rom 8:23)

This passage may be likened to Jeremiah’s purchase (redemption) of his uncle’s field just before the nation went into captivity. The ownership of the land was witnessed and sealed unto Jeremiah, but its possession and enjoyment were postponed until the nation returned out of captivity (Jer 32:10-44). In the same way, our inheritance has been purchased for us by Christ, and we have the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts, whereby we cry “Abba, Father,” showing that we are putative heirs of eternal life (Rom 8:15-17). The “redemption of our body” is the point at which we come into possession of eternal life and receive our immortal bodies. There is no mention of physical bodies in the passage.

The Individual, Spiritual Body View

The phrase Individual Body View (IBV) was coined to distinguish it from the CBV, rather than as a stand-alone name to describe the eschatological Resurrection. It is suitable for the one-by-one resurrection experienced as men die today, but it is not really suitable for the eschatological Resurrection. The essence of the eschatological Resurrection was Hades surrendering up the spirits of the dead, beginning with Abel until the last day of the pre-messianic age. Therefore, I prefer the phrases Hadean Resurrection or the resurrection from Hades as more descript. Since we have already surveyed the Hadean Resurrection, let us look at a few verses demonstrating the nature of the resurrection body itself.

“Deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Cor 5:5)

“Destruction” of the flesh here is best understood in terms of its mortification by denying its affections and lusts. By excommunicating unrepentant members overtaken in sin, they may be brought to shame and repentance, leading to the denial and destruction of the flesh. By thus “crucifying the flesh” (Gal 5:24), the spirit is restored to purity, suitable unto salvation. The flesh is expressly excluded from the spirit’s salvation.

“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor 4:16-18)

The material is visible and temporal; the immaterial is invisible and eternal. Although the outward and material man perishes, the inward, immaterial man is renewed day by day. The body will perish, but the spirit will inherit eternal life.

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Cor 5:1)

Our “earthly house” refers to our mortal bodies of flesh; “this tabernacle” also refers to our physical bodies (2 Pet 1:14). Dissolution of our earthly house speaks to putting off the body in death. The “building of God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” speaks to our immortal, immaterial, and spiritual bodies. These are received and enjoyed in heaven.

“For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven. If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked”. (2 Cor 5:2, 3)

In the Resurrection, we are clothed with our immaterial and immortal house from heaven, not our fleshly, mortal bodies of earth. “Naked” speaks to putting off the body of flesh in death; “clothed” speaks to putting on the spiritual body in the resurrection of life.

“Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith not by sight:)  We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Cor 5:6-8)

Could the apostle have made it plainer? We would be absent from the body of flesh that we might be at home with the Lord. If, in the Resurrection we are reunited with the body, we will be at home in the body and absent from the Lord! Clearly, that is no part of the Christian’s hope.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Cor 5:10)

This verse, following hard upon the heels of those going before, which so clearly proclaim that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, makes clear that in the Judgment men will not be clothed with houses of clay. That they are to receive the things done while in the body clearly implies that at the Judgment they would be in the physical body no more. They have passed from this life and put off their bodies of clay and gone to be judged for the things done while still in the flesh.


The eschatological Resurrection of the last day consisted in the spirits in Hades receiving individual, spiritual, immaterial, immortal, and invisible bodies suited to the ethereal realm above. Other views are unsound, and should be rejected.

[1] "The mystical body of Christ, say we, was a natural body, at that time, as far as its ordinances, its officers, its gifts, prophesying, tongues, healing, helps, and governments were concerned.  All these were, if the expression may be allowed, borrowed from the Jewish body of worship…That body was to give way to a spiritual body…the old covenant administration of death, which in Paul’s day was shaken and ready to vanish, should entirely disappear – then should be brought to pass the saying that was written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.”  Robert Townley, The Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ a Past Event (London, 1845), 120

[2] Max R. King, The Spirit of Prophecy (1971, Warren, OH), 191

[3] Ibid, 200

[4] Ibid, 220

[5] Ibid, 144

[6] Ibid, 194

[7] Ibid, 173

[8] Ibid, 202

[9] The Interrogatory Creed of Hippolytus (c. 215 A.D.) asks, “Do you believe…in the resurrection of the body?” Similarly, the Creed of Marcellus (340 A.D.) as well as the Apostles’ Creed (390 A.D.) and the Athanasian Creed (450-670 A.D.) declare “I believe in…the resurrection of the body,” The Creed of Rufinus (c. 404 A.D.) is more explicit and declares “I believe in the resurrection of the flesh.”  The Westminster Confession (1646) (Reformed) and the second London Confession (1689) (Baptist), declare: “At the last day, such as are found alive shall not die, but be changed: and all the dead shall be raised up, with the selfsame bodies, and none other (although with different qualities), which shall be united again to their souls forever.”

[10] Origen, De Pincipiis, 3.6.5,6, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 346, 347


To receive Kurt Simmons’ e-mail newsletter, The Sword & The Plow, click the Subscribe link:



All rights reserved.