In the Form of God
Many in the religious world claim that Jesus, while being a great prophet, was just a man. Even some that profess to be christians believe this. The Jehovah Witnesses believe that Jesus was the archangel Michael come down in human form, and having completed his mission he returned to Heaven to resume his identity of Michael. Does not Hebrews 1:13, 14 tell us that Jesus was not, is not, an angel? The Bible tells us that Jesus was not a created being at all, but deity. Before Jesus left Heaven to come to Earth he was in the form of God and equal to God (Philippians 2:5-8). In John Chapter 1, we find a concept that is hard for us to understand, but is nonetheless truth. Jesus was with God from the beginning. Jesus was the part of the "us" in Genesis 1:26 and 3:22 (see John 1:2, 3 and Colossians 1:13-17). Now here is the really hard part, while Jesus was a separate personality who was with God from the beginning, he was God (John 1:1, 2). Jesus tried to explain this to his apostles in John 14:8-11.
Son of Man
Jesus became flesh and dwelt among man (John 1:14-18). Born of the virgin Mary, conceived of the Holy Ghost, he was the only begotten son of God (Matthew 1:18-23; Luke 1:26-35; John 1:14). He was of the lineage of David (Matthew 1:1-16). He had four half brothers (James, Joses, Simon, and Jude) and half sisters (Mark 6:3).
He was flesh, blood, and bone just like us. No longer in the form of God (Philippians 2:8-7) and not of angelic form (Hebrews 2:9, 16), he came in the flesh to die on the cross. To be born of the flesh (not just taking on the form of the flesh like we read about angels doing) was necessary for Jesus to die and thus redeem us from our sin. Consider the great sacrifice of Jesus giving up the form of deity and leaving the glory of heaven so that he would be able to offer himself as a sacrifice for our sins. Being in the flesh he was tempted just as we are, but he did not sin (Hebrews 4:14, 16). He suffered hunger, fatigue, and pain just like we do. Understanding what it is like to suffer and be tempted, he can sustain us through our trials and temptations (Hebrews 2:17, 18).
A Disembodied Spirit in Paradise
Death is where the spirit leaves the body (James 2:26). Once the spirit is free of the body, it returns to God (Ecclesiastes 12:7). The spirit is held in Hades until the final judgment, the saints in comfort or paradise, and the wicked in torment (Luke 16:19-31). Jesus died on the cross, his spirit leaving his body and going to be with God (Matthew 27:50; Luke 23:46). Jesus' spirit was in Hades until his resurrection (Psalms 16:10, Acts 2:27-32). Jesus would be in paradise from the time of his death on Friday until the morning of his resurrection on Sunday (Luke 23:39-43).
Many religious people claim that Jesus was a great prophet, but was no more than that. They claim that Mohammed, Confucius, and Buddha, were as great. They will probably even claim that the author of the particular religion that they follow is greater than Jesus. The thing that sets Jesus apart from the others is this, although a tomb in Medina (Hejaz region, western Saudi Arabia) holds the bones of Mohammed, another in Chufu, Shantung Province China holds the bones of Confucius, and a yet another in Nepal holds the bones of Buddha, Jesus' tomb is empty.
Some claim that Jesus did not die on the cross, but fell into some sort of a coma from which he awoke after being interred. They believe that he some how freed himself from the tomb, and some even believe that he went to live in India where he died of old age. The soldiers that guarded Jesus' tomb were paid off and told to say that his disciples had stolen his body that night (Matthew 28:11-14). Regardless of what men may say, the scriptures teach us that on the third day after Jesus death, he arose from the dead as he had promised (Matthew 16:21, 17:22, 23; 20:18-19; 27:63-64). He did not cheat death, he conquered it (Romans 6:9; Hebrews 2:14, 15). Early Sunday morning (Matthew 28:1, Luke 24:1; John 20:1), God resurrected Jesus from the dead (Acts 2:34). An angel rolled away the stone that sealed the tomb (Matthew 28:2-7). Notice that the stone was not rolled away until after Jesus had arisen from the tomb. The tomb was opened to allow all to see that Jesus was risen, not to facilitate his resurrection. The shroud that Joseph and Nicodemus had wrapped the Lord's body (John 19:38-42) was lying folded in one place and the cloth that had covered his head in another (John 20:6, 7). They were left because the living have no need of a shroud.
Jesus was seen of more than five hundred and was among the living for forty days after his resurrection until his ascension (Acts 1:3; I Corinthians 15:3-8). During that time he proved himself very much alive (Acts 1:2, 3). He first appeared to the women that had come to anoint his corpse (Matthew 28:1-9). They went and told the apostles, but they did not believe them (Luke 2410, 11) save for John (John 20:2-8):. He then appeared in another form to two of his disciples (one of whom was Cleopas whose wife stood with Mary at the cross) as they traveled the road to Emmaus, and even broke bread with them (Mark 16:12; Luke 24:13-35). He also appeared to Peter during this time, then to more than five hundred at once, and then James (Luke 24:34. I Corinthians 15:5-7). When the two disciples that had seen Jesus on the way to Emmaus went back to Jerusalem and stood before the eleven apostles to tell them of their meeting, Jesus appeared in the midst of them (Luke 24:35, 36). Jesus literally appeared in the midst of them. The doors were shut for fear of the Jews, so that was the only way he could have entered the room (John 20:19). His disbelieving disciples were terrified and thought him to be a ghost (Luke 24:37), but he assured them that he was not. He told them that he was flesh and bone and showed to them the scars in his hands and feet and invited them to touch him (Luke 24:38-40). They still wondered (it seem too good to believe - Luke 24:41). To further convince them, he asked for something to eat and they brought him some broiled fish and honeycomb which he ate in front of them (Luke 24:41-43). When he appeared to his apostle the third time, he would have breakfast with them on the banks of the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1-14). By this time, they were convinced.
What form was Jesus in after his resurrection? Well, we just read that he was in bodily form. He had flesh and bones, his body contained the scars from his crucifixion, and he ate and drank. Was it the same body that was put into the tomb? No. First of all, it was a body that would never die (Romans 6:9). In the Fifteenth Chapter of I Corinthians, Paul writes about the resurrection of the dead of which we have hope through Jesus' resurrection. We find that the dead will be raised up in incorruption, glory, and power (I Corinthians 15:42, 43). We will have a "spiritual body" after the resurrection (I Corinthians 15:44). "Spiritual body" sounds like a contradiction of terms now, but one day we will understand it. Even those who are alive will be changed thus (I Corinthians 15:51-53). We will not go to heaven in the same form that we had while we were living or as we had in the Hadean World. We will be immortal like the angels (Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25; Luke 20:34-36). What does this have to do with Jesus? As he is now, so will we be after the resurrection (I John 3:1-3). Jesus was raised up in this spiritual body. He was raised up incorruptible and immortal like the angels. If Jesus had this "spiritual body" after he was raised from the dead, how do you explain how he had flesh and bones, his body contained the scars from his crucifixion, and he ate and drank? I can't, other than this way. Being raised in a form equal to the angels, he would therefore have the same characteristics as the angels. Angels could take on bodily form and visit with man and eat with them (Genesis 19:1-9; Hebrews 13:2). The Lord even came in the form of man to converse face-to-face with Abraham, and he also sat down and ate with him (Genesis 18:1-8). It is difficult understand, but as the old song says, "we will understand it better by and by".
Sometime following their meeting at Galilee, Jesus would lead the eleven as far as Bethany (Luke 24:50). He blessed them, and then was taken up into heaven (Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9). There he reigns exalted above all, sitting at the right hand of God (Acts 2:33-36; 5:30, 31; Ephesians 1:19-23; Philippians 2:9-11). He will reign until we are resurrected, then having subdued all things (including death), he shall return the kingdom to The Father (I Corinthians 15:24-28). Christ will return the same way that he left here (Acts 1:11). He will come and we all shall be raised or changed (depending on whether your dead or alive I Thessalonians 4:14-18). Not all will be raised unto everlasting life, some will be raised unto everlasting damnation (John 5:28, 29). Which resurrection is in you future?Back to the Bible Page