The question of the physical bodily resurrection is an important one to resolve. The first century controversy over the resurrection, at least generally, is well documented. There was the sect called the Sadducees who said there was no resurrection8 which apparently had even found its way into the first century church. In his letter to the young church of Corinth, Paul says, “Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15:12)
Still others were “saying that the resurrection has already happened” but Scripture confirms that they had “swerved from the truth” and were “upsetting the faith of some.” (2 Timothy 2:18) In fact, there are those today that make that same claim by arguing that there is no physical bodily resurrection. Preterism, or realized eschatology, is an approach to biblical eschatology that teaches Christ’s second coming occurred in the first century AD. In order to hold this position, they are forced to conclude that there is no physical bodily resurrection, claiming instead that it was a spiritual resurrection.
How Scripture answers "Will there be a physical bodily resurrection?"
There will be a physical bodily resurrection1,3,4,8,9,11,12,13, just as Jesus had a physical bodily resurrection2,6,10. This second resurrection5 of those that are “in Christ”9,11,13 is a “resurrection of/from the dead”8,11 that are in graves5,13. These will join Jesus2 along with the righteous living at that time9. This will happen on the final day of judgment1,3,5,9 (or “last day”7). The physical bodily resurrection is effectively “what happens next in the Bible”….it has not happened yet!
What’s the big deal? The implications of holding the Preterist’s view of a ‘spiritual-only’ resurrection that already happened around AD70 are at least two-fold. First, they would be labeled as false teachers by Paul as it “swerves from the truth…upsetting the faith of some” (2 Timothy 2:16-18). Secondly, it completely upsets and really negates the image of a person’s baptism into Christ with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:1-12).
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