Thu, Jul 22, 2004
1 Corinthians 15:35-58 by Joe Guglielmo
Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
Series: Thursday Service



            Please turn in your Bibles this evening to I Corinthians chapter 15 as we continue our study through the Word of God and we finish up this chapter dealing with doctrine, and specifically the doctrine of the resurrection.  Last week we looked at the first 34 verses of this chapter and we broke them down like this.  Paul spoke of the assurance we have of Christ rising from the dead, the eyewitness accounts of the risen Lord, the fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures and we saw this in I Corinthians 15:1-11.  Then Paul spoke of why the resurrection is important for if Christ did not rise from the dead then there is no resurrection, there is no forgiveness of sins because death conquered Jesus, He couldn’t be God, and we saw this in I Corinthians 15:12-19.  Then Paul spoke of the resurrection order, Jesus being the Firstfruits and the fruitful harvest that is coming and we saw that in I Corinthians 15:20-28.  From there Paul spoke of the moral implications of the resurrection and how that by not believing it would lead to an immoral lifestyle in I Corinthians 15:29-34.

            This week, as we conclude this chapter, we are going to be looking at the bodily resurrection of the dead in I Corinthians 15:35-50.  And then we will finish up with the bodily resurrection of the living or the translation of the living in I Corinthians 15:51-58. So with that said, let’s begin reading in I Corinthians chapter 15, starting in verse 35 and see what the Lord has for us this evening as we continue looking at this topic of resurrection.




            I believe these questions that Paul was asked by the Corinthians was not something they were interested in knowing, for some of them were denying the bodily resurrection. So this is more of a mocking of Paul and the teaching of the resurrection from the dead.  We saw that with the religious leaders of Jesus day, they weren’t interested in the truth, they were just trying to catch Jesus making a mistake and discredit Him before the people.  Here they are mocking Paul for believing in the resurrection from the dead and if you still doubt that, in verse 36 Paul says of them,Foolish one.  He is calling them fools, someone that has no understanding on a matter!

            Why did they deny the resurrection of the body? It may be because of the Gnostic influence for they believed the body was evil and only the spirit was good so why would you want to resurrect something that is evil?  You wouldn’t, at least that is how they saw it in their mind, that was their thinking.

            Two questions they ask and the reason they ask it is because they do not believe that God is all powerful, they do not believe what Genesis 1:1 says, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  If you believe Genesis 1:1 then everything else is a piece of cake.  I know, there still are those who say “What about those who were eaten by a shark, or blown up, or donated an organ when they died?”  And I am not talking about a musical instrument!  If God created the heavens and the earth and is able to keep them going, do you really think this is going to be too tough for Him?  Of course not and when you think about it, bodies that are embalmed and placed in the earth are going to decompose and still go back to the dust of the earth, it just takes longer than if you were cremated!  In fact, Paul said to Agrippa in Acts 26:8, “Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?  Thus, it should not be incredible that God raises the dead!

VERSES 36-38

            Paul now illustrates this for us by saying the resurrection of our body is like a seed that a farmer plants in the ground and when it dies it brings forth life that looks different than the seed and yet it is related to that seed.  Our bodies are no different, they go back to the dust of the earth and one day, at the rapture, God will raise them up, like our physical bodies and yet different!  We see this in Jesus as He died and was buried and His earthly life came to an end, the body was dead and after the death there was life in the new body, the resurrection body and that is also true for us, this life will give way to a new life in our resurrection bodies!

            Spurgeon put it this way, “Truly it is never a pleasant sound, that rattle of the clay upon the coffin-lid, ‘earth to earth, dust to dust, ashes to ashes.’ Nor to the farmer, for its own sake, would it be a very pleasant thing to put his grain into the dull cold earth; and yet I know no farmer ever weeps when he sows his seed.”

            As I have said already, some people freak out over cremation or donating organs or dying at sea and being eaten by fish or whatever. But think about this, how much of us does God need to make for us a new body, a glorified body?  You see, every cell of my body, every cell of your body contains the DNA blueprint to make a new me, to make a new you.  I think that is sufficient for God, don’t you!  And if you still are having doubts listen to what Paul says next about God and what he can do.

VERSES 39-41

            As we move on Paul is going to tell us that these bodies of flesh can’t enter the kingdom of God, they need to be changed and God will do just that.  Jesus said in John 14:1-3, Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.  I don’t believe Jesus is speaking of a physical mansion as some teach with doors and windows, but He is speaking of our glorified body and when He comes we will be changed!

            Paul also spoke of this in II Corinthians 5:1-5 as he tells us, For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.  Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

            These bodies our spirit and soul dwell in are only temporary, they are like a tent.  Now if any of you own a tent you know very well that they wear out, zippers break, holes appear and the same is true with these tents, these bodies we now have, these bodies of flesh.  Thus, God is preparing for us, not another tent, but a mansion, a new body that will be fit for heaven, fit for eternity that will never fade away, never wear out, never break down!  Praise the Lord for that!

            Paul then speaks of God’s creation and the variety of life, the variety of things that He has created and thus, can it be that hard for God to create for us new bodies for our spirit and soul to dwell in? Of course not!  Of this variety of life, John MacArthur tells us, “I have read that there are some six hundred octodecillion combinations of amino acids.  An octodecillion is 10 to the 108thpower, or 1 followed by 108 zeros.  Amino acids are the building blocks of all life.  Not only does each type of plant and animal life have a distinct pattern of amino acids, but each individual plant, animal, and human beings has its own unique grouping of them.  No two flowers, snowflakes, seeds, blades of grass, or human beings – even identical twins – are exactly alike. Yet each is completely identified with its own species or kind.”  That is impressive to say the least and to hear some people say that life just happened, life arose from nothing and evolved into what we see today – how foolish!  Thus, if God has done all this, He can and will transform these bodies to glory!

VERSES 42-44

            Let me see if you can answer this question, it is not very hard.  What is the death rate? Think about it, one per person, we are all going to die one day. Yes, there are those few exceptions of people who have been raised from the dead but they eventually died once again. There are those who will be alive when the Lord returns for His bride, the church. But those are the exceptions, not the rule.  You see, from the time we are born we are in the process of dying.  I know, not to uplifting, but it is true.

            Someone has written, “There is a preacher of the old school but he speaks as boldly as ever. He is not popular, though the world is his parish and he travels every part of the globe and speaks in every language.  He visits the poor, calls upon the rich, preaches to people of every religion and no religion, and the subject of his sermon is always the same.  He is an eloquent preacher, often stirring feelings, which no other preacher could, and bringing tears to eyes that never weep.  His arguments none are able to refute, nor is there any heart that has remained unmoved by the force of this appeals.  He shatters life with his message.  Most people hate him; everyone fears him. His name?  Death. Every tombstone is his pulpit, every newspaper prints his text, and someday every one of you will be his sermon.”  This is Paul’s first point, we are moving from that which is perishable to the imperishable, from corruption to incorruption.

            So what we try to do is stop this from happening, at least make it look like we are not wearing down, sagging, finding our chest now in our drawers!  Plastic surgery is a multi-billion dollar industry and for what?  To show people we are not getting old but if you have enough face-lifts, eventually everyone will know because your bellybutton will be on your forehead, you can only pull the skin so far!  It is as Psalm 103:14-16 tells us, For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.   As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.  For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more.”  And Peter tells us in I Peter 1:3-4, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.

            Paul also tells us that this body was sown in dishonor, it was born with the inherited sin nature of Adam. David said in Psalm 51:5, Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.  But God does not leave us there for as Paul said in Romans chapter 5,Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.  For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.  And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.  Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned . . . For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous.  Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Romans 5:9-12, 19-21.

            Thus, we were sown in dishonor but because of what Christ has done for us, because of our faith in Him, we will raised in glory!  Yes, these bodies are imperfect, we still drag around that stinking, rotting flesh nature but one day it will be raised in glory!

            Next Paul speaks of these bodies being weak, frail. Think about this, these bodies not only succumb to being tired but to diseases also, they are weak!  But our new bodies will not get tired, they will not succumb to diseases, they will not fade away or wear out but they will be raised in power!

            These earthly bodies, of course, are natural, they are equipped for living on this planet. But one day we will have new bodies, spiritual bodies that will be able to live in heaven, to move about freely without limitations, it will be glorious!  It is as Paul said in Colossians 3:1-4, If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.  For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.  Praise the Lord!

VERSES 45-49

            Notice the contrast here.  When Adam was created he became a living  being.  He was perfect and yet he disobeyed God, he sinned and through Adam the sin nature has come to all men and with it the death process.  Thus, God removed Adam from the Garden of Eden and placed Cherubim with flaming swords to guard the entrance to the Garden of Eden, not to keep Satan out, but to keep Adam and Eve out so they would not partake of the tree of life and live in that condition forever!  But the second Adam, Christ has come to give to us life.  But, without believing and receiving Jesus Christ into your life as Lord and Savior you are only a natural man, you must be born again, born of the Spirit to enter into heaven!

In fact, Jesus, in speaking to Nicodemus said in John 3:3-6, “ . . . ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?’  Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’

            Do you ever wonder what God is doing with us?  He is not here to make us happy, to live a life of ease but He is preparing us for Heaven!  He is molding and shaping us down here so we will fit in up there!  Paul, in Philippians 3:17-21 tells us, Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.  For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame -- who set their mind on earthly things.  For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

            What are these resurrection bodies going to be like?  Look at Jesus resurrected body for ours will be like His.  In Luke 24:39-43 we are told, ‘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 marveled, 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.  His resurrected body was not like a ghost, you could touch Jesus, you could feel Him.  He also ate food, I like that!  Also, in Luke 24:31, 36-37 we are told, Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight . . . 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.  Also, in John 20:19 we are told, Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’  The laws of nature Jesus was not affected by.  Thus, we get a glimpse of what these new bodies will be like, similar to these and yet with no physical handicaps or limitations, they are heavenly bound!


            Paul is speaking of these present bodies, the ones we have now can not inherit the kingdom of God. These bodies will be material but not flesh and blood!  Folks, this is a glorious truth, not that we are all going to die one day, but we will be raised up in glory.  It is the hope of ever Christian.  We see this expressed in the epitaph Benjamin Franklin wrote for himself and is engraved on his tombstone in the cemetery of Christ’s Church in Philadelphia.  It reads: “The body of Franklin, printer, like the cover of an old book its contents torn out and stripped of its lettering and gilding, lies here food for worms.  But the work will not be lost, for it will appear once more in a new and more elegant edition, revised and corrected by the Author.”

            Now in I Corinthians 15:51-58 Paul is going to speak of the bodily resurrection or the translation of the living to glory.

VERSES 51-53

            Paul speaks of a mystery and he uses the Greek word MUSTERION (moos-tay’-ree-on) which speaks of something that was once hidden and is now revealed. It is not something that Paul came to know through his learning but a revelation from God that Paul wants the Corinthian believers and us to know.

            The question here that Paul is going to answer may just be something that Paul himself was anticipating they would ask, “Okay, so the dead will receive glorified bodies but what about the living when the Lord returns?”  Paul tells us that some will not have to die or as the Bibles says regarding believers, sleep,” but we will receive our resurrection bodies when the Lord returns for His bride, the church.  Thus, those who have died in the Lord  and those who are alive will all be changed and he uses the Greek word ALLASSO (al-las’-so) which speaks of making different!

            How will this take place?  When will this take place?  Why will this take place?  Paul is going to answer those questions for us.  Paul tells us in verse 52 what we need to know.  This will take place in a moment which is the Greek word ATOMOS (at’-om-os) which is the smallest conceivable quantity. You can’t divide it any further.  Not only will this occur in a moment but also in the twinkling of an eye!”  Think of it like this.  The twinkling of an eye can be the time it takes for light to hit the surface of the eye till it hits the retina.  How fast is that?  Let me put it into perspective for you.  Light travels at 186,000 miles per second, which means it would take 1.5 seconds for light to travel from the earth to the moon.  The moon is some 239,000 miles away from the earth!  So then, in the twinkling of an eye the light would reach only one foot off the surface of the earth.  Thus, no one will see it happen, it will be instantaneous, but they will feel the affects of the rapture!

            When does the rapture take place?  Prior to the start of the 7 year tribulation period at the last trumpet.  In Revelation 1:19 Jesus divides for us the book of Revelation as He says, Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.  First of all the things that John has seen are in Revelation chapter 1. Then the things which are relate to the seven letters to the seven churches in Asia Minor which are found in Revelation chapters 2 & 3.  This also gives to us a picture of church history with the last days church being Laodicea or the lukewarm church.

            The last division of the book, which covers chapters 4-22 deal with the things that will happen after this or META TAUTA in the Greek.  This speaks of what will take place after the church age comes to an end and the Lord comes to rapture His bride, the church to Him. Interestingly enough, in Revelation chapter 4, as Jesus finished speaking of the church age, we are told, After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.’  Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.  Revelation 4:1-2.

            John is a picture of the church and as he looks up he sees a door open in heaven and a voice like a trumpet calling for him to Come up here.  And we are told that he is immediately before the throne of God, it is the Rapture!

            In I Thessalonians 4:13-18 Paul again speaks of the rapture of the church, But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.  For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.  Therefore comfort one another with these words.

            Why do the dead and the living in the Lord need to be changed?  Because these bodies can not enter the kingdom of Heaven.  You can not enter in without the new body! Now what happens to those who have died in the Lord before they receive their new bodies?  Some say they go into soul sleep but that is not what the Scriptures teach.  We are told in II Corinthians 5:8, We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.  The spirit and soul of those who have died in the Lord are with the Lord right now and they are awaiting their new bodies, there is no soul sleep!  If you doubt that then read the story, not the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16!

VERSES 54-57

            Freud, the father of psychology and the father of messing with peoples heads, said this, “And finally there is the painful riddle of death, for which no remedy at all has yet been found, nor probably ever will be.”  Paul tells us that Freud is wrong, he is not all there because we have victory over death in Christ, the sting is gone!  Jesus has taken the stinger out of death and Paul tells us in Galatians 3:13, and this is from The Amplified Bible, Christ purchased our freedom [redeeming us] from the curse (doom) of the Law [and its condemnation] by [Himself] becoming a curse for us, for it is written [in the Scriptures], Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree (is crucified); [Deut 21:23.].  Jesus has taken the sting of death for us and in doing so removed it so that we can live with Him for eternity!  Let me show you what I mean with this illustration.  We are told:

            “A little girl was having a picnic with her daddy.  Deathly allergic to bee stings, she became terrified as a bumblebee buzzed overhead.  Seeing the bee, her father caught it and held it in his hand for a few seconds before letting it go. As it buzzed around once more, the little girl cried, ‘Daddy, Daddy, why did you let the bee go.’  Rather than explain it, the father chose to simply open his hand to show his daughter the stinger embedded in his palm.”

            Death for the Christian is not the end of life but just the beginning. You see, we are no longer under the Law and its penalty of death – we have been freed in Christ!  Now for those who are outside of Christ there is a resurrection and eternal life for them also, but unto damnation! Thus, the choice is ours, to live eternally with the Lord or apart from Him in the Lake of Fire!


            Listen to the encouragement that Paul gives to us believers.  Death is defeated, these bodies will be raised in glory as was the Lord’s, and thus, don’t be moved from the course that God has set for you.  Now I do understand it can be discouraging at times, but you are looking at the outward things and you can’t see what God is doing in people’s hearts until it is manifested in their life. You may just be breaking up the hard ground and another will come and there will be fruit, praise the Lord!  Thus, don’t give up or be discouraged because what you do for the Lord is not in vain, it is not empty!  I remember hearing the story of a gold miner who kept digging and digging and nothing really impressive happened so he finally sold his property and the new owner began to dig and he immediately hit the biggest gold mine ever!  Don’t give up, you don’t know how close you are to bearing much fruit!

            I like the way the Gordon Clark paraphrases this verse.  He says, “Therefore we should mortify emotion, be steadfast, unchangeable, not erratic and scatterbrained, easily discouraged, and should multiply our good works in the knowledge that the Lord will make them profitable.”  I like that!  Stay on course, don’t be moved and the Lord will bring forth the fruit.

            Think about this for a minute.  There are people all around us dead in their sins and headed for Hell and we sit back and say things like, “I did my part now it is time for someone else!”  Or “I am too tired!”  Or whatever excuse we might have, we are not here to rest but to serve and in heaven we will have our rest, here our rest is in Jesus but there is much work to do.  Of this John MacAruthur tells us:

            “Some of God’s most faithful and fruitful saints have lived to old age and been active and productive in His service to the end.  Many others, however, have seen their lives shortened for the very reason that they were abounding, overflowing and untiring, in service to Christ.  Henry Martyn, the British missionary to India and Persia, determined ‘to burn out for God,’ which he did before he was thirty-five.  David Brainerd, one of the earliest missionaries to American Indians, died before he was thirty . . . Until the Lord returns there are souls to reach and ministries of every sort to be accomplished.  Every Christian should work uncompromisingly as the Lord has gifted and leads.  Our money, time, energy, talents, gifts, bodies, minds, and spirits should be invested in nothing that does not in some way contribute to the work of the Lord.  Our praise and thanksgiving must be given hands and feet . . . Our work for the Lord, if it is truly for Him and done in His power, cannot fail to accomplish what He wants accomplished . . .”

            We have this glorious promise to us, and God says be faithful in your service, don’t be moved off course, and in the end we will hear those beautiful words from the Lord, Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.  Matthew 25:21.  Let me leave you tonight with the words of Paul as he was encouraging the Corinthians, may I encourage you, Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”  I Corinthians 15:58.  May we believe it and then may we live it!