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1 Corinthians 15:50,53

50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality

Here Paul makes the case that our physical bodies, as mortal as they are, are not fit for the kingdom of God and so our bodies must be changed.

What's very interesting about this verse is that it is a very practical argument. If you want to fully participate in the imperishable even your physical body must be made imperishable.

Now let us consider that Jesus was made flesh and blood just like the rest of us:

Hebrews 2:14

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,

Hebrews 2:17

Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Granting that he became human to save humanity and that his perfect life combined with his death burial and resurrection are the means by which we are saved,
once Jesus became flesh and blood like the rest of us, did he personally need his body to change in order for him to fully participate in the heavenly kingdom, for the same practical reasons that Paul discussed in 1 Corinthians 15:50?

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7 Answers 7

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Op; asks "once Jesus became flesh and blood like the rest of us, did he personally need his body to change in order for him to fully participate in the heavenly kingdom, for the same practical reasons that Paul discussed in 1 Corinthians 15:50?"

Absolutely yes, As Son of God he came and took on the form of the son of man. That is how he conquered death for man and being raised out of death the Son of man has been given a new body on behalf of men. He is the first Man that is raised in immortality, raised in glory,raised in power , raised a spiritual body, The Solish body has been buried and is gone.

So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in decay; it is raised in immortality. 43It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 1 Corinthians 15:42-44

One assumes that the Lord has no blood in His resurrection body.

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.” Like 24:29

The soulish body is gone and buried. A spiritual body is raised from the dead.

that which you sow, you do not sow the body that will be, Corinthians. 15:37

Thus also it is written: “Adam the first man was a living soul; the last Adam - The Life Giver Spirit. I Corinthians 15:45

Like Scripture says in

1 Corinthians 15:50 that flesh and blood are not able to inherit the Kingdom of God, nor does the corruption inherit the incorruption.

If one has an allotment in the kingdom of God then one will need to have an incorruptible body to enjoy it, just like Jesus did.

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  • +1 - very straightforward perspective.
    – Austin
    Jun 25, 2022 at 15:45
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Jesus became flesh and blood like the rest of us. Well that’s not a biblical idea. The logos became flesh, not Jesus. (Jesus is the result of the logos becoming flesh) The Gospels are quite clear about the beginning of Jesus.

And Paul also with,

But when the fullness of the time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law Gal 4:4

As the ‘firstborn of many brothers’ (or brethren) he is the first of all that will follow into the new eternal life.

He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters Rom 8:29

had to be made like his brothers in every respect, doesn’t refer to being remade, but made, via Mary, just like us.

knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over him. Rom 6:9

Jesus, like us could not go to the Father as mere flesh and blood, but after him being ‘raised in the spirit’, he is now immortal and enters the Kingdom as its first citizen and king.

For Christ also suffered for sins once for all time, the just for the unjust, so that he might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit 1Pet 3:18

So yes, this arrangement applies to Jesus too, the kingdom is eternal in nature and without sin, or tears or death etc. Just as normal humans cannot enter, neither could he while only flesh in his pre-resurrected state.

Jesus could not be made heir as a fleshly man, he had to be first raised and exalted. But before that he had to be qualified!

Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. Heb 5:8

But in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the ages. Heb 1:2

PS. We are told what kind of body Jesus had after his resurrection.

See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; touch me and see, because a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you plainly see that I have.” Luke 24:39

Apparently, the disciples could ‘plainly see’ the body that Jesus had. Perhaps we should not need to make it more complicated than he says. We are told that our ‘mortal bodies’ will be made immortal, just as Jesus’ body was.

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    OK, so how do you understand John 17:5 - "the glory I had with you before the world began"? What about John 3:13, 6:38, etc?
    – Dottard
    Jun 24, 2022 at 9:12
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    That’s a good question not to be answered in comments!
    – Steve
    Jun 24, 2022 at 22:01
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What did Jesus look before His resurrection?

  • He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him(Isaiah 53:2 NIV)

What did Jesus look after His resurrection?

  • When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. (Luke 24:30-31 NIV)
  • At this, she (Mary Magdalene) turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.(John 20:14 NIV)

However, the apostles were capable to recognise Jesus when He appeared before them in a locked room. What did that telling us?

Some studies of Jesus mission said, Jesus might have walked more than 3000km through out his whole journey, and when he walked between Galilee and Jerusalem, he walked 30km a day, about 10 hours of walking. With so much output and relatively small intake, it can be easily understood why he appeared no beauty and majesty, this was a body of mortal. However, after His resurrection, Jesus regained His glory and fullness, so drastic that an ordinary disciple could hardly recognize Him, except His apostles, who wasn't recognize Him by the face, but by the heart.

Is 1 Corinthians 15:50 applicable to the pre-resurrection body of Christ?

No. It is applicable to human being only. Although Jesus became flesh, 100% of human, but He is still 100% of God. In 1 Cor 15:50, we were the subject mortal Paul was talking about. The "change" he mention in verse 51, he actually meant our lifestyle need to be changed, from conforming to the world, to conforming to Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus is a metaphor of this change, from lost of beauty and majesty, to glory and fullness.

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  • Ok, so you think our lifestyles are going to change at the sound of the last trumpet in a twinkle of an eye when the dead are raised imperishable? That's what you think v50 is about?
    – Austin
    Jun 25, 2022 at 15:44
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Let there be no doubt that during His incarnation, Jesus was fully human and indistinguishable from any other man, physically. (His character and teaching are separate matters!!)

The OP's question concerns what sort of body Jesus had before and after His resurrection. The short answer is, We are not told much about His post-resurrection body, except what we can deduce from a few of the post-resurrection experiences such as:

  • Jesus was able to appear in the upper room despite locked doors
  • Jesus was able to ascend to heaven

These and other experiences simply say that his post resurrection body, while physically recognizable as Jesus was obviously different - but just how we are not told, except that it was incorruptible as per 1 Peter 1:23, Heb 7:21 and Rom 1:23. This is consistent with Paul's statement of incorruptible heavenly bodies in 1 Cor 15:42, 50-54. Just what this means and how it works in detail, we are not told.

However, the appendix below shows that Jesus pre-resurrection body during His life on Earth was physically indistinguishable from any other human.

APPENDIX - Humanity of Jesus during His life on Earth

The NT teaches in the strongest terms possible that Jesus was fully human during His incarnation. Note the following examples:

  • “the Word” (= Jesus in this passage”) became flesh (John 1:14). Compare John 3:13, 31, 6:38, 17:5, etc.]
  • Attended social functions (John 2:1-11)
  • Became angry & passionate (John 2:12-25)
  • Nicodemus saw Him as a man (John 3:1-21)
  • Tired, hungry & thirsty (John 4:1-42)
  • Jesus referred to Himself as a man (John 8:40) See also Rom 5:15, Acts 2:22, Acts 17:31, 1 Tim 2:5,
  • Jewish leaders definitely saw Jesus as a man (John 10:33)
  • Wept with human passion (John 11:1-57)
  • Prays for divine strength (John 17)
  • Feels pain and bleeds (John 18:12ff)
  • Pilate said, "Behold the Man" (John 19:5)
  • Called, “The Son of Man” (John 1:51, 3:13, 5:27, 6:27, 53, 62, 8:28, 9:35, 12:23, 34, 13:31)
  • Dies (John 19:17-42), etc, etc.

To this list be added some further notes from elsewhere such as:

  • Phil 2:5-8 - Christ Jesus: Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross.
  • Gal 4:4 - But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law
  • 1 Tim 3:16 - By common confession, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was proclaimed among the nations, was believed in throughout the world, was taken up in glory.
  • Heb 2:14 - Now since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity, so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death, that is, the devil
  • Heb 2:17 - For this reason He had to be made like His brothers in every way, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, in order to make atonement for the sins of the people.
  • Heb 4:15 - For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way that we are, yet was without sin.
  • 1 John 4:2 - This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God
  • 2 John 7 - many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world.
  • Rom 8:3 - For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man, as an offering for sin. He thus condemned sin in the flesh
  • 1 John 1:1, 2 - That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our own eyes, which we have gazed upon and touched with our own hands—this is the Word of life. And this is the life that was revealed; we have seen it and testified to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us.
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    What is this incarnation you speak of? Where did you get that from?
    – Steve
    Jun 24, 2022 at 12:44
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    "The OP's question concerns what sort of body Jesus had after His resurrection." -Well, my question actually concerns whether or not 1 Corinthians 15:50 is "applicable to the pre-resurrection body of Christ?" In addition to acting to save us, did Jesus himself for his own sake need to change?
    – Austin
    Jun 24, 2022 at 14:50
  • @steveowen - the frequent phrase "became flesh" is "incarnation" in the Latin - a technical term for when Jesus was on earth.
    – Dottard
    Jun 24, 2022 at 20:25
  • @Austin - I have attempted to answer that by my above list showing that Jesus body was the same as ours during His life on earth. However, I have attempted to clarify this by adding more material.
    – Dottard
    Jun 24, 2022 at 20:48
  • Up-voted +1 for a very fulsome account relating to the humanity of the Lord. Although flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven, those who are still in the body (and even those, unlike Jesus, who are bred from Adam) may enter the kingdom of heaven in spirit by the union and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Jesus shared humanity, but not of Adam, and - therefore - was without sin in so doing.
    – Nigel J
    Jun 25, 2022 at 7:52
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Yes it is applicable. Jesus Himself acknowledged that in the eternal order of operations, His resurrection preceded His ascension to His Father. After His resurrection He stated to Mary Magdalene:

17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. (John 20:17)

He ascended to the Father after resurrecting with an immortal, incorruptible body.

The apparent conflict between 1 Cor 15:50 (“flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom”) and Luke 24:39 (“flesh and bones as you see that I have”) can be solved through formal logic:

  • Flesh ^ Blood = FALSE (1 Cor 15:50)
  • Flesh ^ Bone = TRUE (Luke 24:39)
  • Therefore, Flesh = TRUE, Bone = TRUE, Blood = FALSE

There was a difference between Jesus' mortal body, which could bleed when pierced by a spear (John 19:34), and His resurrected body which retained the spear wound but did not bleed (John 20:27-28). Apparently resurrected bodies do not need blood to circulate oxygen to and carry waste from the cells.

Jesus was only temporarily mortal. It was in His resurrected, incorruptible, immortal body that He ascended into heaven.

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Your question is multifaceted. Which makes answering it complex.

Can a human, meaning a person who possesses a biological machine called the human body inherit the kingdom of God? The answer is no. A human in a human body cannot inherit the kingdom of God permanently. It can be received in the flesh but not permanently inherited. A supernatural body with supernatural(/heavenly) properties must engulf it.

“Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭17:20-21‬ ‭

The kingdom was already in their midst and they were unable to see it.

But supposing you are referring in 1 Cor 15:50 to the geographic location of the kingdom as it is best understood “in heaven” can humans in the human body enter into heaven (specifically the second heaven or even the third heaven)? Yes, but not permanently

“And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” ‭‭John‬ ‭3:13‬ ‭

Here we see Jesus being present in two places at the same time. In the body He was in front of Nicodemus but in the spirit He was in heaven.

This is not a new phenomenon in fact it is widely observed in the OT by prophets. Their speech was not merely figurative it was descriptive. Here is one such example

“And Elijah said, “As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself to him today.”” ‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭18:15‬ ‭

Elijah was both in front of Obadiah and before God in the divine counsel in the second heaven. In fact a prophet who heard from God was required to HEAR or see from God to be a true prophet and Jesus was such said prophet.

“For who among them (false prophets who spoke out of their own imagination) has stood in the council of the Lord to see and to hear his word, or who has paid attention to his word and listened?” ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭23:18‬ ‭

Did Jesus’ body prior to resurrection allow Him to have inherited the kingdom with that body? The answer is no

Why? Because He was given a human body and human bodies bleed. Heavenly bodies do not bleed. The life of a heavenly being is not in their blood as is the case to earthly bodies. Which means that Adam was not created immortal, hence the tree of Life.

Jesus in the human housing bled

“But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.” ‭‭John‬ ‭19:34‬ ‭

Jesus mentions nothing about blood

“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 ‭

Now spirits are different from heavenly beings, spirits can be bodiless, but heavenly beings cannot be spiritless. And heavenly beings were created immortal but can lose their immortality

“I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.”” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭82:6-7‬ ‭

Granted Jesus’ body was not allowed to decompose but it doesn’t negate the possibility that it could have

“So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:42‬ ‭

“For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption/decay.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭16:10‬ ‭

Conclusion

No Jesus could not have inherited the kingdom whilst continuing to inhabit the perishable human biological machine called the human body. The human body, including the one Jesus received to take on (Heb10:5), had to put on the immortal and imperishable heavenly body, either after death or for those who will still be alive morphing whilst still alive in the body at the coming of the Lord.

“For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:53‬ ‭

This evidently means that Jesus is no longer a human. And nor will we be, for we will be like the heavenly beings in heaven

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Flesh and blood is a well-known Semitic idiom for mortality, not physicality. The contrast here is not a material vs non-material body, but mortality vs immortality.

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