1 Corinthians 15:43
It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
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15:35-50 1. How are the dead raised up? that is, by what means? How can they be raised? 2. As to the bodies which shall rise. Will it be with the like shape, and form, and stature, and members, and qualities? The former objection is that of those who opposed the doctrine, the latter of curious doubters. To the first the answer is, This was to be brought about by Divine power; that power which all may see does somewhat like it, year after year, in the death and revival of the corn. It is foolish to question the Almighty power of God to raise the dead, when we see it every day quickening and reviving things that are dead. To the second inquiry; The grain undergoes a great change; and so will the dead, when they rise and live again. The seed dies, though a part of it springs into new life, though how it is we cannot fully understand. The works of creation and providence daily teach us to be humble, as well as to admire the Creator's wisdom and goodness. There is a great variety among other bodies, as there is among plants. There is a variety of glory among heavenly bodies. The bodies of the dead, when they rise, will be fitted for the heavenly bodies. The bodies of the dead, when they rise, will be fitted for the heavenly state; and there will be a variety of glories among them. Burying the dead, is like committing seed to the earth, that it may spring out of it again. Nothing is more loathsome than a dead body. But believers shall at the resurrection have bodies, made fit to be for ever united with spirits made perfect. To God all things are possible. He is the Author and Source of spiritual life and holiness, unto all his people, by the supply of his Holy Spirit to the soul; and he will also quicken and change the body by his Spirit. The dead in Christ shall not only rise, but shall rise thus gloriously changed. The bodies of the saints, when they rise again, will be changed. They will be then glorious and spiritual bodies, fitted to the heavenly world and state, where they are ever afterwards to dwell. The human body in its present form, and with its wants and weaknesses, cannot enter or enjoy the kingdom of God. Then let us not sow to the flesh, of which we can only reap corruption. And the body follows the state of the soul. He, therefore, who neglects the life of the soul, casts away his present good; he who refuses to live to God, squanders all he has.It is sown in dishonour - In the grave, where it is shut out from human view; hurried away from the sight of friends; loathsome and offensive as a mass turning to decay. There is, moreover, a kind of disgrace and ignominy attending it here, as under the curse of God, and, on account of sin, sentenced to the offensiveness of the grave.

It is raised in glory - In honor; in beauty; honored by God by the removal of the curse, and in a form and manner that shall be glorious. This refers to the fact that everything like dishonor, vileness, ignominy, which attends it here shall be removed there, and that the body shall bear a resemblance to the glorified body of Jesus Christ, Ephesians 3:21. It shall be adapted to a world of glory; and everything which here rendered it vile, valueless, cumbersome, offensive, or degraded, shall be there removed. Of course, every idea which we can get from this is chiefly negative, and consists in denying that the body will have there the qualities which here render it vile or loathsome. The word "glory" (δόξα doxa) means dignity, splendor, honor, excellence, perfection; and is used here as denoting the combination of all those things which shall rescue it from ignominy and disgrace.

It is sown in weakness - Weak, feeble, liable to decay. Here disease prostrates the strength, takes away its power, consigns it to the dust. It denotes the many weaknesses, frailties, and liabilities to sickness, to which we are here exposed, Its feeble powers are soon prostrate; its vital functions soon cease in death.

It is raised in power - This does not denote power like that of God, nor like the angels. It does not affirm that it shall be endued with remarkable and enormous physical strength, or that it shall have the power of performing what would now be regarded as miraculous. It is to be regarded as the opposite of the word "weakness," and means that it shall be no longer liable to disease; no more overcome by the attacks of sickness; no more subject to the infirmities and weaknesses which it here experiences. It shall not be prostrate by sickness, nor overcome by fatigue. It shall be capable of the service of God without weariness and languor; it shall need no rest as it does here (see Revelation 7:15; compare Revelation 22:5); but it shall be in a world where there shall be no fatigue, lassitude, disease; but where there shall be ample power to engage in the service of God forever. There is, however, no improbability in supposing that the physical powers of man, as well as his intellectual, may be greatly augmented in heaven. But on this point there is no revelation.

43. in dishonour—answering to "our vile body" (Php 3:21); literally, "our body of humiliation": liable to various humiliations of disease, injury, and decay at last.

in glory—the garment of incorruption (1Co 15:42, 43) like His glorious body (Php 4:21), which we shall put on (1Co 15:49, 53; 2Co 5:2-4).

in weakness—liable to infirmities (2Co 13:4).

in power—answering to a "spiritual body" (1Co 15:44; compare Lu 1:17, "Spirit and power"). Not liable to the weaknesses of our present frail bodies (Isa 33:24; Re 21:4).

It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: there is nothing more uncomely, unlovely, and loathsome than a dead body; but it will not be so when it shall be raised again, then it shall be a beautiful, comely body. We shall rise in a full and perfect age, (as is generally thought), and without those defects and deformities which may here make our bodies appear unlovely. Daniel says, Daniel 12:3, the righteous shall shine as the stars: Christ saith, Matthew 13:43, they shall shine like the sun: the apostle saith, Philippians 3:21, we shall be made like unto his glorious body. Three things make the body beautiful, a perfection of parts, the well putting them together and proportioning them one to another, and a well-tempered, cheerly spirit; all these will concur in the bodies of saints in the resurrection. The schoolmen determine, that much of the beauty of the saints’ bodies in the resurrection, will flow from their perfect sight of God, and the reflection of God upon them.

It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: when it dieth it is a frail, weak body, unable to resist injuries; but it shall rise a strong body, with quick senses, and subject to no more weaknesses. It is sown in dishonour,.... Its original is dishonourable, it comes, as the Jews often say (w), , "from a filthy drop"; its generated brought forth in a manner we are ashamed of; it is conceived in sin, and shapen in iniquity; it is unclean, and born of the flesh: and when born, is in such a condition, as is to the loathing of it; some of its members are less honourable; and so uncomely as always to need a covering; it is subject to various blemishes, defects, and imperfections, and few bodies are without one or another; and liable to many injuries and affronts, as the body of our Lord himself was, who gave his back to the smiters, his cheek to them that plucked off the hair, and hid not his face from shame and spitting; and in death, it is nauseous, filthy, and very dishonourable, so that the nearest relation and friend cannot take pleasure in it, but desires to bury it out of sight; and amidst the greatest funereal pomp and splendour, it is laid in the grave in dishonour, to be the companion of corruption and worms: but in the resurrection,

it is raised in glory; in perfect beauty and comeliness, without the least blemish, defect, or imperfection; nor will there be any part of it that will occasion shame; it will be metamorphosed, and fashioned like to the glorious body of Christ; it will shine as the sun, and be as the brightness of the firmament: and so the Jews understand the passage in Daniel 12:3 they say (x) that

"God will beautify the bodies of the righteous in time to come, as the body of the first man when he entered into the garden of Eden; and that the soul, whilst it is in its dignity, is sustained by the superior light, and is clothed with it; and when it enters into the body in time to come, it enters with the light; and then will the body shine as the brightness of the firmament, according to Daniel 12:3.''

It is sown in weakness; it comes into the world in great weakness; what is weaker than the body of a new born babe? it cannot move, nor help itself in any respect; and how weak and defenceless is the body of man, when adult; as he is subject to various diseases and disorders, which weaken his strength in the way, and is surrounded with natural infirmities, arising from hunger, thirst, nakedness, labour, &c. so he is not armed, as many other creatures are, for defence and offence; nor can he resist and overcome many things which do him hurt, much less can he resist death, or retain his spirit then; and through weakness at last dies, and is devoid of all strength, and as such is laid in the grave, where there is no work that he can do: but

it is raised in power; it is raised by the power of God, and with great power in itself; being able to subsist without food, and of moving itself from place to place, with great agility; and capable of the highest services before God and the Lamb, without weariness; nor will it be ever more liable to weakness or death; death shall have no more power over it; nor shall it be encompassed or attended with any infirmity whatever.

(w) Pirke Abot, c. 3. sect. 1.((x) Zohar in Gen. fol. 69. 1.

It is sown in {t} dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in {u} power:

(t) Void of honour, void of glory and beauty.

(u) Freed from the former weakness, in which it is subject to such alteration and change, that it cannot maintain itself without food and drink and such other like helps.

43. it is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory] The dishonour is, of course, corruption, with its revolting accompaniments. What the glory will be we may learn, to a certain extent, from the Transfiguration of our Lord, and from the account of the majesty and splendour of His Resurrection-Body in Revelation 1:13-16. Cyril of Jerusalem, after citing Daniel 12:3 and St Matthew 13:43, goes on to say that “God, foreseeing the unbelief of man, gave to the smallest of worms to emit beams of light, that thereby might be inferred what was to be looked for in the world to come.”

it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power] For power see note on ch. 1 Corinthians 1:18. What the weakness is, we scarcely need to inquire. Decay of strength and vitality, ending in the absolute powerlessness of death, is the destiny of the body which is to be laid in the grave. But when it is raised, not only can it never be subject to the same weakness again, but it will be endowed with new faculties, as superior to those of the former body as those of the plant are to those of the seed.1 Corinthians 15:43. Ἐν ἀτιμίᾳ, in dishonour) in nakedness, 1 Corinthians 15:37, to which is opposed glory, which is as it were a garment put on, 1 Corinthians 15:53; 1 Corinthians 15:49.—σπείρεται ἐν ἀσθενείᾳ, is sown in weakness. The figure is continued; but in the reality itself, a transition is made, that similitude being now finished, to a new part of the answer, of which this is the proposition [the statement to be elucidated]: There is a natural and there is a spiritual body. The expressions, in power, 1 Corinthians 15:43, and a spiritual body, 1 Corinthians 15:44, are akin to one another, Luke 1:17 : just as incorruption and glory, 1 Corinthians 15:42-43.Verse 43. - It is sown in dishonour. "The awful and intolerable indignity of dust to dust." In glory. "Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove, that is covered with silver wings, and her feathers like gold" (Psalm 68:13). The expression shows that, throughout, St. Paul is thinking exclusively of the resurrection of the saints. Weakness

Compare Homer: "The feeble hands of the dead" ("Odyssey," v., 21); and the shade of Agamemnon stretching out his hands to Ulysses, "for no firm force or vigor was in him" (Id., xi., 393). See Isaiah 14:10.

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