The Bodily Resurrection of Christ
The historicity of Christ’s bodily resurrection has been studied extensively by many scholars. There is no trustworthy historical evidence that exists which would authenticate anything other than His literal bodily resurrection.
Jehovah Witnesses teach that Jesus did not rise from the dead in the same body he died in (You Can Live Forever on Paradise Earth, pp. 143-44). They teach that Christ rose as a spirit creature and that God the Father took away His physical body. But the Bible confirms that Jesus resurrected with a physical body. Let’s look at the evidence:
1-Jesus Himself predicted, before His death, that He will raise His own “body” from the dead when He said to the Jews, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews therefore said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body” (John 2:19-21). Here, Jesus referred to His “body” not to a “spirit” form.
2-Jehovah’s Witnesses quote 1 Corinthians 15:44-50 to teach that Jesus didn’t have a physical resurrection. But Jesus Himself affirmed, after His resurrection, that He had a physical body when He said to His disciples, “Touch me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have” (Luke 24:39). Jesus offered the disciples three kinds of sensory evidences in order to convince them that He had a real, physical body – sight, hearing, and the sense of touch.
3-Jehovah’s Witnesses quote 1 Peter 3:18 which says that Christ was “put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit” to show that Jesus was not raised physically but as a kind of spirit creature. But this verse is simply saying that incarnate Christ after the resurrection though retaining His human nature, He became again essentially a spirit being (John 4:24).
4-Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Jesus manifested Himself in “different forms” after the resurrection. But Jesus would never contradict Himself and tell His disciples in one place that He has a real physical body and then in another place that He is a spirit.
5-The Scripture predicted that Christ’s physical “body” not spirit would see no decay: “For You will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption” (Acts 2:27; Psalm 16:10).
6-Christ’s resurrected “body” is the first fruits for the resurrected “bodies” of the believers (Colossians 1:18). Paul wrote, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:20-22). The first fruit is certainly of the same kind of fruit of the later harvest. Thus, the physical nature of the resurrected body of Christ is similar to the physical nature of the body of believers (1 Corinthians 15:49; Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:42-44).
7- If Christ’s physical “body” was not resurrected, then the believers would have no future hope that their “bodies” will be resurrected. “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14). Therefore, the doctrine of the bodily resurrection of Jesus is a fundamental and essential doctrine in the Christian faith.
In His service,