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Hebrews 5:7:

7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; [KJV]
7 who in the days of his flesh both prayers and supplications unto Him who was able to save him from death -- with strong crying and tears -- having offered up, and having been heard in respect to that which he feared, [YLT]
7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. [ESV]

For me, the phrase "the days of his flesh" has the implication that Jesus, at some point, had a fleshless form of existence. The question is: when? We have two options: either (1) prior to his birth or (2) after his death and resurrection. In order to decide between the two, let's consider the light shed by Luke 24:39 (ESV):

39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

Luke 24:39 is telling us that, after his resurrection, Jesus was still in the flesh, or at least that he still retained his physical body of flesh and bones. Does this mean that we should rule out option (2) in favor of option (1): that Jesus had a fleshless pre-existence?

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  • The expression contains 'days' and 'flesh' which would denote Jesus' lifetime from birth to death. I don't think this expression can be used to prove anything about pre-existence, myself. It brackets his time in flesh during 'days'. His bodily resurrection and ascension place him in the heaven of heavens, no longer subject to 'days'. – Nigel J Apr 18 at 21:22
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Yes.

Is Jesus currently in the flesh?

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (1 Cor 15:53-54)

The word rendered "incorruptible" is ἀφθαρσία (from ἄφθαρτος), which connotes: indestructible, imperishable, undecaying, unending existence. (see here & here). If Jesus’ resurrected body later decayed, were discarded, or ceased to exist, it wouldn’t be incorruptible.

Bodily resurrection is an absolutely central piece of the Biblical message. God redeems what He created (my thoughts in more detail here). Easter and the Christian message do not work without the empty tomb.

This place of central importance is emphasized by the fact that the key detail of the resurrection narrative found in all four Gospels—with no divergence whatsoever—is the fact that the tomb was empty.

Yes, Jesus rose bodily from the dead, He took back His body from death, and the victory was permanent.

The syllogism in the OP

Technically there is an option 3--the interval between death and the resurrection--but this does not appear to be what the author of Hebrews has in mind.

"In the days of his flesh" is an unnecessary distinction if all of his days were in the flesh. The author of Hebrews doesn't have much to say about the interval between Jesus' death and resurrection, but does speak of Jesus' actions prior to His birth. Thus, "the days of his flesh" distinguishes from what was discussed earlier in the epistle:

[God] Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (Hebrews 1:2)

Jesus' creation of the worlds indicates He existed prior to His mortal sojourn on one of those worlds.

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The expression contains 'days' and 'flesh' which would denote Jesus' lifetime from birth to death.

I don't think this expression can be used to prove anything about pre-existence, myself.

It brackets his time in flesh during 'days'.

His bodily resurrection and ascension place him in the heaven of heavens, no longer subject to 'days'.

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