QUESTION SUMMARY: Is Jesus The Life-Giving Spirit?

 

 

 

 

Hi Craig,

 

I think I found an error in the KJV.  Look at this verse:

 

"And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit." (1Co 15:45)

 

The words in red;  that's the error, I think.  I think it should have been translated,

the last Adam was made a quick [or quickened] spirit."

 

Why do I say that?  Look at this:

 

 "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that [now] dwelleth in you. " ( Ro 8:11)

 

How can Christ Jesus be the immortality-imparting spirit when it says that,  "he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit ?"

 

That "he" is God the Father!

 

What do you think?

 

Bob

 

P.S.  I have also considered the possibility that quickening may be the correct word for the understanding of the folks in the 16 and 1700's; but I don't know where I should go to verify that assumption.  In old English, does "quickening" refer to being individually immortal--rather than being immortal with the power to make others as yourself? 

 

 

Craig’s Reply:

 

Hi Bob~

 

Before I get into a reply to your questions, I wanted to inform you I happened to be studying this very text all week long!  Coincidence, right?  Not.  I did a study series titled, ‘Jesus Is The Gift Of the Holy Spirit,’ and in it, I proved beyond any doubt that the glorified human spirit of Jesus, in its glorified state of existence, is none other than the “Comforter,” (parakletos) aka, “the Holy Spirit,” (Holy Spirit is a terrible mistranslation, which should read, in about 50% of the NT texts as, “the morally blameless life”).  Only John uses this term parakletos, and interestingly it is used in all of the “Comforter” texts, and once in his epistles translated as, “Advocate.”

 

The remaining 50% of the NT texts that use the words, “Holy Spirit,” are also mistranslated, but are anarthrous, and as such, must be looked at and interpreted on a case-by-case basis.  I have listed what I thought to be ‘plausible,’ interpretations of every single Holy Spirit verse in the NT in the last study of the series, an addendum to be used by scholars such as you for a reference tool.  Here are the links to the entire series:

o        Jesus is the "Gift" of the Holy Spirit Part 1

o        Jesus is the "Gift" of the Holy Spirit Part 2

o        Jesus is the "Gift" of the Holy Spirit Part 3

o        Jesus is the "Gift" of the Holy Spirit Part 4

o        Jesus is the "Gift" of the Holy Spirit Part 5

o        Jesus is the "Gift" of the Holy Spirit Part 6

o        Jesus is the "Gift" of the Holy Spirit Part 7

o        Jesus is the "Gift" of the Holy Spirit Part 8

o        Jesus is the "Gift" of the Holy Spirit Part 9

o        Jesus is the "Gift" of the Holy Spirit Addendum (Quick Reference Guide)

 

All of Jesus’ words to the Jews in John 7:37-39, and his words to his disciples in John chapters 14, 15, & 16 are speaking of the time when he will, after his ascension, be glorified, given a spiritual body, and return as, “living water, the morally blameless life, the Parakletos (i.e. – one called alongside),” and in I John 2:1 the, “Advocate,” (I John 2:1 is the only other place parakletos is used, and actually identifies it as being Jesus Christ).

 

Lastly, I believe that Jesus the man, when glorified, was given a spiritual body by the Father’s power, allowing him access to all that call upon his name.  It’s like this: Jesus comes as the Comforter, but not just him alone, but he comes through the vehicle of his Father’s abiding presence.  Hence, Jesus’ words in John 14:23-24, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and WE will come to him, and make OUR abode with him.”

 

Now to your questions about 1 Corinthians 15:45, I agree that “quickening” is inadequate to describe what is being said.  I have studied this passage at length before, but will, today, lay aside all of my previous conclusions, and take an unbiased approach to understanding what is meant.  I’ve also emailed your question to several folks I know to be true to the word, and though most of them are not scholars, they have an openness to things of the spirit, and often “get it” without all the study you and I have to do to make doctrine palatable for the general public (a much more arduous and time-consuming task).

 

First off, I have taken a small portion of the surrounding context to get a feel for what is being said, below, and sandwiched my comments in between verses, which is typically how I do an outline when tackling textual studies verses topical studies).  Without the entire chapter I don’t see how our conclusions can be considered thorough and accurate.

 

 

 

1 Corinthians 15

 

1 Corinthians 15:1-11 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.  6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.  9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.  11 Whether then it was they, or I so we preach and so you believed.

 

Paul’s debating skills are displayed here; the text of 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 establishes certain facts critical to his argument.  First the gospel that saves is Christ died for sins, was buried, and he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.  After he was resurrected, Christ revealed himself to the Twelve and many others as CONVINCING PROOF he was alive in the same body of flesh in which he died… this is KEY to understanding 15:45.

 

1 Corinthians 15:12-19 Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.  15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we witnessed against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.  16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.  18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.

 

The reason for Paul’s emphasis on the resurrection is probably to counter the popularity of Neo-Platonism in Corinthian culture and religion.  Plato de-emphasized the relevance and importance of matter, which included the human body of flesh).  Instead Platonism focused on the importance and superiority of knowledge (nous) and wisdom, (sophia) finding a means of expression through reasoning (logos), which required human form (morphe).  The resurrection of the dead was completely contrary to this pervasive Neo-Platonic thought in Corinth, the capital city of so-called culture and Greco-Roman elite.

 

To the Neo-Platonist; death was the end of something (the body of flesh) that was worthless.  Once wisdom had been expressed the soul transmigrated back to the source of all knowledge, the Demiurge, and the cycle continued.  Platonism actually developed into a form of reincarnation of sorts, as Neo-Platonists believed certain souls, known as ‘luminaries’ would find expression (logos) in form (morphe) of the human body, and these were said to be the sages and great philosophers of the day.

 

Neo-Platonism was actually a religion in the eyes of its diehard proponents, and inevitably it was a force to be reckoned with.  Paul is, therefore, being VERY descriptive to the Corinthian church concerning multiple EYE-WITNESS accounts of the physical bodily resurrection of Jesus.

 

The conflict was this: Corinthian believers had experienced spiritual life, even speaking in tongues, miracles, healings, etc, as mentioned earlier in the letter.  Therefore they KNEW Christ was real, but not being able to ACTUALLY SEE him presented a significant hurdle, particularly since there were numerous deified icons (e.g. – statuary) of the Greek pantheon and all they had was their invisible faith. 

 

To combat this, Paul capitalizes on their firsthand spiritual experiences, and in a nutshell say, “If Christ is not resurrected, all of your previous experiences to date are useless.”  That hit home like a ton of bricks.

 

1 Corinthians 15:20-23 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.  21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.  22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.  23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming,

 

Paul’s shift in thought does not deviate from the theme of the resurrection, but he attempts to use Christ’s resurrection as something tangible the Corinthian believer can hold onto as real.  He does this by calling it the “firstfruits” of all who are in him.  

 

Next he uses the death of Adam and all that followed him by dying as he had died to be visible PROOF the resurrection of the righteous is not a hoax.  It’s like saying, “You see people die all the time, and Christ died too, just like them, but Christ was the first man that was raised from the dead, and his resurrection was visibly witnessed by so many eyewitnesses and it is therefore undeniable.  The fact that you can SEE other people die, and you KNOW they are not raised from the dead, this is ample proof that Jesus is the real deal, and that if you follow him, you too will be resurrected at his coming.” 

 

1 Corinthians 15: 24-29 then comes the end, when He delivers up the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.  25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.  26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, "All things are put in subjection," it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.  28 And when all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, that God may be all in all.  29 Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead?  If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them?

 

This is a simple argument, yet profound.  Christ’s “coming” to resurrect the church takes place AFTER all things have been subjected to his rule, and after Christ himself is subject to God in a final sense, at the completion of his reign.  Were it not so, people baptized into “death” would not be “raised” to walk in newness of life.  Paul’s reasoning demonstrates the only literal similarities between the bodily resurrection of Christ and the spiritual resurrection of Corinthian believers is what will (future tense) take place when Christ’s rule is, in a final sense, subjected totally to God.

 

By earlier mentioning Jesus’ resurrected body as the “firstfruits” in 15:20 he shows it is distinct and different from everyone else that follows.  1 Corinthians 15:20 is entirely mistranslated, and should read like this:

The Appropriate Translation

 

1 Corinthians 15:20 “However, just for now (at this present time), Christ has been aroused forth, from a dead corpse, commencing as the first-fruits of future blessings in the Spirit.”

 

The Appropriate Translation above changes everything in the text that follows; Paul is telling the Corinthians, “Look you guys, Jesus was literally raised out of death when his lifeless human corpse was brought to life by God the Father.  This happened when God caused Jesus’ human spirit to re-enter his fleshly body that was formerly beaten and crucified.  However, Christ did not continue living forever in the same mortal body that was raised from the dead.  Jesus’ resurrected body was transformed and glorified when he ascended to the Father’s right hand, at which time his body of corruptible flesh became an incorruptible spiritual body. This entire process of death, resurrection, and glorification commenced the beginning of future spiritual blessings to those who remain in him (i.e. – the church), because Jesus is now ONE with his Father God, seated with Him in heavenly places.”

 

Keep in mind Paul’s exhortation to the churches at Corinth was not unlike Jesus’ dissertation to his own disciples in the gospel of John, chapters 14, 15 and 16.  The disciples didn’t “get it” when Jesus explained that he was “going away” and they would not see him any more, but that he would return to them as the “Comforter” and they would see him again.  So too, the Corinthians didn’t “get it” when Paul tries to explain that Christ was literally and physically raised from the dead, and they will only be spiritually raised in Christ, and that Christ’s resurrection commences the beginning of spiritual blessings.

 

His next argument to them about the reality of Jesus’ resurrection, and the other truths explained thus far, is proven by the great risk Paul and the other apostles take to promote the gospel message of the resurrection.

 

1 Corinthians 15:30-37 Why are we also in danger every hour?  31 I protest, brethren, by the boasting in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.  32 If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me?  If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.   33 Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals."  34 Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.  35 But someone will say, "How are the dead raised?  And with what kind of body do they come?"  36 You fool!  That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; 37 and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 

 

As explained previously, Paul’s very life is threatened continually for this gospel message of the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ.  If it was not the truth, and he was writing these things from mere human motives, then you might as well go party hearty!  He emphasizes the dangers he faces, and then uses his own testimony to chastise some of the Corinthian believers for their immorality.

 

In verse 35 we see the crux of the unbelief and deception that had crept into the midst of the church.  Some so-called believers, still heavy influenced and tainted by their Neo-Platonism, wanted the specifics of what kind of spiritual body they should expect to receive, saying, "How are the dead raised?  And with what kind of body do they come?"  Paul’s lengthy replies to their doubting questions is his use of the natural process in agriculture, where a grain of seed is planted in the earth, which must first die, and then, after it dies, the process of germination takes place, bringing forth the tender new shoot.  So it is in this spiritual resurrection, of which Christ is the “firstfruits.”  Jesus died a LITERAL death, and as a result of his obedience he was given a new life when God the Father raised him from the dead.  He begins the process by which his Father (God) will generate new life in the church.

 

You will see later on that Christ was MADE into a “germinating life” that God could and would plant through various means.  The soil of course is the heart; the seed is Christ; the death is to self; the new life comes from God the father.

 

1 Corinthians 15:38 But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.  39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish.  40 There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another.  41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.  42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

 

Paul alludes to the creation, when God the Father, who created all life, gave each species of plant and animal a “body” as He so desired.  This is the crux of the argument leading to 1 Corinthians 15:45, when God made Jesus’ human body into spiritual body that is a GERMINATING LIFE.  All of the comparisons Paul makes between differing earthly species are to start his final chapter and contrast between the heavenly bodies and earthly bodies.

 

As sun, moon and stars differ in their brilliance and glory, so too, in the resurrection, which the believer will experience, is a contrast between the “perishable body” (human body of flesh) and the “spiritual body” to be received once Jesus Christ has subjected all things under the Father’s dominion, and the church individually and collectively is resurrected as an “imperishable body.”

 

The natural human body, like seeds of grain planted in soil, will always perish (i.e. – decompose), but if a man or woman or child should choose to seek the “life” given by the Father THROUGH His only begotten Son, though their outer body will perish, their inner body (spirit) will be changed, and made (i.e. – transformed) into a much more glorious spiritual body.

 

1 Corinthians 15:45-50 So also it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.  46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.  47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.  48 As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.  49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.  50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

 

Paul now contrasts Adam’s natural body with Jesus’ glorified spiritual body; Adam’s glory is obviously much less than the glory given to Jesus.

 

 God created Adam, the first man, from the dust of the earth; his natural body came to life when God the Father “breathed” life (ruwach) into it, and the first man became a living soul.  However, Adam disobeyed God by living an “earthy” existence and the consequence was that he no longer bore the image and likeness of his heavenly Father.  Even worse, Adam’s life ended in death and without the hope of a resurrection, whereby new life could spring up from the old, decomposing seed.

 

Contrast Adam with Jesus, God’s only “begotten” son; God the Father created Jesus, when He made a “seed” and placed it in the woman Mary.  However, the “seed” made by God and placed in Mary had not yet “died” in order that it bring forth “new life” in the spirit. 

 

So, according to God’s laws, His son would “learn obedience” through what he suffered, and having been made “perfect” by pleasing God in every way, this choice human “seed” was put to death, even death upon a cross.  Jesus died the ultimate death to self, when he prayed before his arrest, “Father, if it is possible, let this cup I am about to drink pass; nevertheless, not my will, but YOUR will be done.”

 

The human “seed” (Jesus) was not “earthy” in his behavior as Adam; he bore the “image” of his “heavenly” Father, and thus, when his earthly body was “buried” in the earth (i.e. – the tomb), and his human spirit was buried in the “heart of the earth” (i.e. – Sheol or Hades), after three days, God the Father decided to bring Jesus’ dead human body back to life before it decomposed.  In so doing, God the Father showed that the death of His only begotten son satisfied the debt of sin owed by all. 

 

Death could not hold Jesus in the grave as it did Adam; its sting was no more and the life we now live, we live by faith in the son of God, who loved us, and gave his life for us, so that God would quicken our mortal bodies thru him.

 

Jesus  flesh and blood could not inherit the kingdom of God, to which he was sole heir at that time of his testament.  Therefore, the metamorphosis of Jesus’ human body of flesh was necessary, in order that he could rightfully assume his place at the Father’s right hand, and reign with God in the midst of His throne.

 

Showing himself alive, first to his disciples, and then to many others, Jesus bore witness to the One that raised him from the dead, and then, 40 days later, he ascended into heaven, while his disciples watched in amazement, as his human body and his human spirit, were changed, in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye. 

 

Jesus then became a “germinating life” because now he could function in his new spiritual body as the only mediator between God and man.  Now he advocates for mankind and does so as the, “Comforter, Helper or Parakletos,” (meaning one called alongside).  As the germinating life God plants the spirit of His son in the heart of every person that calls upon God through his name.  Jesus promised his disciples, “Because I live, you shall live also.”  Jesus is the germinating life; he leads men to God whenever the gospel message is planted in the hearts and minds of they who believe in God thru him.

 

Thus his words in John 14:6 were actually realized, and Jesus became the way, the truth, and the “life” planted deep inside all men that seek the Source of life, (i.e. - God the Father).  It is the FATHER WHO GIVES LIFE, and the Father gives life spiritually only in and through Jesus.  In fact, 1 Corinthians 15:45 might properly be rendered as follows:

 

The Appropriate Translation

 

1 Corinthians 15:45 And in this way it is described, “The first human being (in time) was made into a living soul, the final Adam… into a germinating life.”

 

The Greek word for “life giving” is a Present Active Participle, and in context is compared to other life forms, and their “seed.”  It must therefore be rendered more than” life-giving” or “quickening.”  The words used here imply germinating (like a seed that dies, then comes to life again).

 

Jesus is that human and spiritual seed that is planted, so to speak, in our hearts; should we decide to let the seed take hold of us, and “die” with it (i.e. – meaning to die to our old way of life), God the Father, Author of all life, then vivifies, rejuvenates, and gives life to that seed, and we are “born from above.”

The remainder of 1 Corinthians 15:51-58 mentions the change and transformation of life taking place within all who continue abounding in the work of the Lord, and who remain steadfast and immovable in their faith in Him.  They too shall be changed one day, when Jesus has made all things subject to his Father God.

 

Yes, all that have the “good soil” in their hearts and “bear fruit” shall one day shed this perishable body, and exchange it for the imperishable.

 

1 Corinthians 15:51-58 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.  53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.  54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory.  55 "O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?"  56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. NAS

 

With regard to Romans 8:11, please read the translation and commentary below:

The Appropriate Translation

Romans 8:9-16

 

Romans 8:9 But, you yourselves, your state of existence is not such that you remain in moral weakness; on the contrary, {you exist} in spiritual {strength; pneúmati}; if believably, the Spirit (Pneuma) of God resides in you.  But if anyone does not continue holding to the spirit (pneuma) of Christ, he does not exist as belonging to Him (God).

 

Holding to the “spirit of Christ” could also be rendered as holding to the “life” of Christ, as pneuma is rightfully used for life.  This makes more sense, particularly in light of the morally blameless life we are to seek.

 

Romans 8:10 But if Christ is in you, {though} the former body is dead through the act of sin, yet the spirit (pneuma) is alive through equitable (just & right) character.

 

Here we see that germinating life of Christ working in us death to self, that the life of God the Father might quicken or vivify our spirit, strengthening our soul to maintain equitable (just & right) character.

 

Romans 8:11 But if the spirit (pneuma) of Him who roused up Jesus from a corpse, resides within you, He who roused up Christ from a corpse will also revitalize your mortal bodies through His Spirit (pneumatos) who occupies you as a place of settled residence.

 

God’s spirit gives us life, when, and only when we turn our moral weakness over to Christ, our Advocate, to mediate and intercede on our behalf, and to counsel us as the parakletos (legal advocate and comforter)

 

Romans 8:12 Certainly then, brethren, we are morally indebted, not to the flesh, to spend {our} existence living with a tendency towards the physical and moral weakness—

 

Romans 8:13 Because if you live with a tendency towards the flesh, your expectation should be to die off; but if spiritually (pneúmati) you are killing the habitual practices of the body, you will live. 

 

Romans 8:14 For as many as are being led spiritually (pneúmati) by God, these exist as sons of God. 

 

Who else can lead us as God’s “sons” except the only begotten son of God, and our Great High Priest who sympathizes with our weakness, having been tempted and tested in all points, yet without sin?

 

Romans 8:15  For, just like you did in times past, you have NOT taken hold of a spirit (pneuma) of slavery by returning back to a former state, resulting in fear; but on the contrary, you have actively taken hold of a LIFE (pneuma), to be placed as sons, {by} remaining in a position, in which we {are qualified to} call aloud, “MY Father!" 

 

Romans 8:16 The LIFE (pneuma) itself testifies jointly (i.e. - corroborating in union together by the use of concurrent evidence) with our spirit (pneúmati) that we are children of God,

 

If we, “ have actively taken hold of a life,” planted within by God, that is, the life of His son Jesus the Christ, we will walk morally blameless, not in our own strength, but in the ability given to us by God.  Thus our human spirit will bear witness to God’s spirit, and that of His son Jesus, that we are indeed children of the Most High.

 

SELAH

 

Craig

craig@bibleanswerstand.org

 

The Bible Answer Stand Ministry

 

1 Peter 3:15

Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully. AMP

 

 

 


 

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