AND THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST
Jehovah's Witnesses ant their official organization, the
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, have historically denied the
bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ and have maintained that His
was a "spirit" or "spiritual" resurrection to quote the
"The King, Christ Jesus, was put to death in the flesh and was
resurrected an invisible spirit creature."1
Further developing their teaching, the Witnesses proclaim: "In
His resurrection He was no more human. He was raised as a spirit
In addition to this, the Watchtower has even suggested that
Christ's body was "dissolved into gases" or "preserved somewhere
as the grand memorial of God's love."3
IN order to understand the true teaching of the resurrection, it
is necessary to review briefly the Biblical position, which is at
considerable odds with the Watchtower.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is quite literally the
historical bedrock upon which the Christian faith rests. The
Apostle Paul indeed tells us that "if Christ be not risen, then
is our preaching in vain, and your faith is also vain" (1
Corinthians 15:14). He also declares, "If Christ be not raised,
your faith is vain, ye are yet in your sins" (verse 17).
From these two statements in the Word of God, we can see the
resurrection of our Lord determines the validity of our faith and
even our salvation, for without His resurrection our faith is
"vain" and we are "yet in our sins."
In this connection, it must also be remembered that every verse
in the Bible which deals with the resurrection of the dead, and
the Lord particularly, refers exclusively to the human body;
i.e., a bodily resuscitation; never a spirit or spiritual
resurrection. In fact the word "resurrection" is never applied
to the soul or spirit of man. This fact is born out in the
original Hebrew and Greek. Beyond this, our Lord specifically
prophesied that His resurrection would be bodily; that is, in a
glorified form of the body He then possessed. When speaking to
the unbelieving Jews, as recorded in the second chapter of John's
Gospel, Christ stated "Destroy this temple, and inn three days I
will raise it up" (verse 19).
The Jews, however, thought he was referring to the temple in
Jerusalem but the Apostle John clearly declares our Lord's
meaning: "But he spake of the temple of his body" (verse 21).
The Greek word soma is translated "body" throughout the New
Testament, so it is an inescapable fact that Christ was referring
to his own physical form - hence a bodily resurrection.
Two classic New Testament references which corroborate our Lord's
prophecy of His bodily resurrection are in the 20th chapter of
John and 24th chapter of Luke. In John 20 when our Lord appeared
to the doubting Thomas, the same body in which He died upon the
cross is evidenced by His own words:
"Reach hither thy finger, and behold by hands, and reach hither
thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but
believing" (verse 27).
In Luke 24, we again see how the words of Christ refute the
spirit resurrection idea of Jehovah's Witnesses.
"And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of
them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were
terrified and affrightend, and supposed that they had seen a
spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do
thoughts arise in your heart? Behold my hands and my feet, that
it is I myself: handle me, and see, for a spirit hath not flesh
and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he
showed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed
not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any
meat? And they gave him a piece of broiled fish, and of an
honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them" (verses
Not only, then, did our Lord have "flesh and bones," but he
showed them the same hands and feet which bore the wounds of
Calvary (verses 39, 40). The fact that He also ate broiled fish
and a honeycomb (verse 42 and 43) proves that He was not a
"spirit creature" as Jehovah's Witnesses contend. Moreover our
Lord's words, "It is I myself...a spirit hath not flesh and
bones, as ye see me have" (verse 39) was uttered according to
verse 37 and 38 because the disciples thought He was a spirit.
Jesus, however absolutely disproved that by offering His body as
tangible evidence (verse 39, 40).
Sometimes Jehovah's Witnesses attempt to explain away these
appearances of Christ by asserting that He had a "spiritual body"
(1 Corinthians 15:44) or that He merely assumed different bodies
to encourage His disciples, which the Witnesses say accounts for
the fact that those who knew Him the best in life did not
recognize Him after His resurrection (John 20:11-16; Luke
The Witnesses also argue that 1 Peter 3:18, which refers to
Christ's resurrection and states that He was "made alive in
spirit" (literal Greek), establishes their theory, but they are
While it is true that Paul speaks of "a spiritual body" he
nevertheless calls it a "body" (Greek "soma") and we have already
seen how Christ possessed "flesh and bones" (Luke 24:39). A
spiritual body then is not "a spirit" as the Witnesses make our,
but a glorified, immortal, physical form possessing certain
spiritual characteristics or attributes (i.e., the ability to
pass through locked doors or vanish at will. John 20:19, 26;
Again, Jehovah's Witnesses' idea that because Mary Magdalene and
the disciples could not recognize Christ on three occasions
"proves" that He had assumed "different bodies" other than the
one in which He died upon the cross, is disposed of by Luke
24:16. Luke there tells us that when the disciples encountered
Jesus their eyes were kept from recognizing Him as a direct act
of Christ's will. When He finished His conversation, He allowed
their sense of vision to perceive who He really was; thus "their
eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their
sight" (verse 31).
Finally, 1 Peter 3:18, far from "proving" that Jesus was raised a
spirit as the Witnesses insist, only proves that He was raised in
or by the Spirit of God as the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans
8:11. The main objections, then, that Jehovah's Witnesses raise
against the bodily resurrection of our Lord are all thoroughly
answered by the Scriptures themselves and represent no real
threat to historic Christian doctrine of the resurrection.
The Bible, therefore, does have mush to say about the
resurrection of Christ as we have seen, and nowhere supports the
spirit-resurrection theory of Jehovah's Witnesses. In fact, all
of it contradicts their teaching.
To the sincere, zealous, yet misled members of Jehovah's
Witnesses, the Christian church must repeat the statement of our
Lord Himself: "Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in
your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself:
handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye
see me have" (Luke 24:38, 39).
The true teaching concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ
does indeed determine a person's eternal destiny (1 Corinthians
15:14, 17). For "If you will confess with your mouth that Jesus
is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised him from
among the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9, Literal Greek).
1. Let God Be True, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, p. 122,
2. The Kingdom is at Hand, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society,
3. Studies in the Scripture, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society,
p. 129, Vol 2.
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