Jesus' Physical Resurrection = Take the Ransom Back?

by InterestedOne 64 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • InterestedOne

    In my "study," we have encountered the matter of whether or not Jesus' physical body rose from the dead. I brought up a couple of scriptures that seem to indicate physical (John 2:18-22 and John 10:17,18). The JW's I am "studying" with explained how, although those verses may appear to indicate physical, Jesus couldn't have meant that because if he physically rose from the dead, he would have taken back the ransom.

    Now that I know the WT reasoning on this, can someone point me to another source, link, book, article, etc. that might help me to see if there is another line of thinking on this. I realize it doesn't do any good to "reason" any further with JW's on this topic because they will continue to repeat the WT teaching. However, I am interested for myself to see if their "logic" is valid scripturally or if there is something wrong with their understanding of the ransom, etc. I'd appreciate any help on this.

  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    I can't recall in 4+ decades of being a JW of ever hearing that rationale for the resurrection not being the physical body. The explanation I always heard was that evidently he didn't have the same body because nobody recognized him at first.

    I am sure someone will have more details for you. Good luck with your study, and be careful not to get sucked into the cult.

  • sd-7

    Here's an illustration: let's say your friend is in jail, but it turns out he's innocent, by the way. You bail him out, and he's found innocent. Let's say the judge is extremely generous and refunds you your bail. Does that therefore mean your friend must go back to jail, because you got the bail money back? No. It just means the judge was very generous under those circumstances. (I doubt that could ever happen, but it's hypothetical.)

    It was Jesus' bodily death, and the pouring out of his blood, that paid the ransom. It was impossible to take back those events once they happened. Resurrection did not revoke Jesus' death, which happened 'once for all time', even if he was raised up in his original body. The Bible does not say that God disposed of Jesus' body; we would have to assume that. Jesus appeared to the apostles and said that 'a spirit does not have flesh and bone'. He was able to eat, as well, not to mention entering a locked room without opening the door. The irony of suggesting that that is impossible for Jesus Christ can hardly be lost on anyone. Isn't this the same guy who walked on water and raised the dead--things that are physically impossible and against the laws of nature? Why would entering a locked room be less plausible than those things?

    The assumption that a higher being like the resurrected Jesus would, simply by virtue of having a physical body, be unable to do some specific thing is to suddenly limit him by rules that he was presumably never bound by in the first place in his time on the earth.

    Granted, 1 Corinthians 15 says that "flesh and blood cannot inherit God's kingdom". This has to reconciled with Jesus' resurrection if indeed he was raised in his physical body. Well, Paul also said that not all Christians would fall asleep in death, but that those still alive during Christ's presence would be changed, transformed, caught away in the clouds, etc. So then, combining those two scriptural facts, we have to conclude that Jesus' resurrected body underwent a similar change as he was raised to heaven; God did not dispose of that body, but rather transformed it into a body that could reside in the heavens, a spiritual body.

    I may be wrong, but at least that notion has actual scriptural evidence to support it. Maybe I can make a list here.

    Luke 24:36-43

    1 Corinthians 15:35-53

    1 Thessalonians 4:13-17

    We note that, in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul lays out the doctrine of the resurrection. Nowhere does he mention anyone being raised to life on a paradise earth. If such a doctrine existed back then--and logically it should have, if only 144,000 people out of all mankind were going to heaven to begin with, and assuming Jesus was a JW and everyone understood that his reference to the 'little flock' was about that anointed group--then Paul would have needed to mention TWO versions of the resurrection. After all, the body of the original Christian doctrine presumably should not have changed since that time, right? If there was a 'great crowd', why are there no records of apostolic letters being addressed to them?

    Jesus' showing himself to the apostles in the same body he was killed in was the only way to prove he had been raised up. If he appeared to them as a 'materialized spirit being' and yet told them [or at least inferred] that he was NOT a spirit, then wasn't he lying to them? We can also consider how it was possible for Jesus, as a human during his ministry, was miraculously able to escape large mobs who as a whole wanted to kill him. He wasn't Batman, so I'm guessing he used a similar ability/technique that was miraculous to evade that crowd as he did to enter a locked room.

    It can probably get complicated, and no JW would accept that reasoning. But if one uses the Bible alone, in the absence of Watchtower literature, there is no evidence to prove that Jesus' body was disposed of by God somewhere, as there is no scripture that either says it or even implies it.

    Of course, the argument could also be made about those angels who came down and got married in Noah's day, or ate food from Abraham. How did they do that? Well, for one, there's no record of them doing anything miraculous except having really big kids in Noah's day. For the angels who ate stuff and got married, etc., well, their bodies had to change from spiritual to physical in order to do that. Then they changed back when they went back to heaven. They couldn't retain a spiritual nature and eat food or have sex. They had to give that up somehow, and be physical beings. A being that has no physical body cannot eat food. Heck, Jesus could've been able to phase between both planes of existence. But there's no proof to support that. We only know that however he did it, it was miraculous that he was even alive again.

    Either way, we can't draw a conclusion about it with absolute certainty without experiencing it for ourselves anyway. Good luck with that.


  • PSacramento

    I think that fact the the NT goes out of its way to say that he was PHYSCIALLY ressurected, it means that the writers saw him/knew that he had been just that, physically ressurected.

  • myelaine

    dear InterestedOne...

    "the life is in the blood" and Jesus shed His blood for us. His blood covers over our sins so that we can stand before the Holy God (acts 20:28)(col 1:19-20-22)

    love michelle

  • Ding

    I have heard this "take the ransom back" argument from JWs before.

    John 10:17-18: "The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life-- only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it
    down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."

    This passage says that it was Jesus' life that was sacrificed and that he had authority to take it up again. This reclaiming of his life doesn't negate the sacrifice any more than your own resurrection would mean you didn't die or give your life for another. Jesus' sacrifice shouldn't be equated with his corpse. That is purely a Watchtower argument unsupported by scripture.

    Luke 24:36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." 37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." 40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence."

    So much for Jesus' being a resurrected spirit who manufactured a body: "It is I myself."

    John 20:27: "Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."

    Ask your JW friend if Jesus manufactured another body with FAKE wounds in its hands and side in order to convince Thomas that those were the wounds he received when he died. Wouldn't that make Jesus a charlatan?

    So why didn't his followers recognize him at every post-resurrection appearance?

    Luke 24:15-16 (NASB): "While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. 16 But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him."

    It wasn't that it was a different body; it's that Jesus supernaturally didn't allow them to recognize him until he was ready for them to do so.

  • clarity

    InterestedOne hello,

    1Tim 2:5 -"For here is one God, and one mediator between God and men,

    a man, Christ Jesus."


  • TrueScript

    Were this argument valid, God could not have back his son. This reasoning is based upon a faulty view of the ransom. The wages of sin is death, not being dead. The death paid the price, so it was not necessary to remain in that state.

  • InterestedOne
    Ask your JW friend if Jesus manufactured another body with FAKE wounds in its hands and side in order to convince Thomas that those were the wounds he received when he died. Wouldn't that make Jesus a charlatan?

    I brought this up too. They said he had to "materialize" in physical bodies to show people that he was alive in the spirit realm. Because people can't see the spirit realm, he had to appear to them in some form they could see and touch. They said the incident with the nail wounds was just to appease Thomas. They say his "materializations" are the same as when angels materialized in the Hebrew scriptures.

    In addition to the "take back the ransom" argument, they said there is no way he could be raised physically because he ascended to heaven. Because "heaven" is a spirit realm, he could not have had a physical body. To support this, they quote 1 Pet 3:18 and 1 Cor 15:45.

    Regarding the "take back the ransom" argument, I think TrueScript is hitting on something, and I would like to see it expanded further. I feel like something is wrong with their arguments, but I can't put my finger on it.

  • Chalam

    In addition to the "take back the ransom" argument, they said there is no way he could be raised physically because he ascended to heaven. Because "heaven" is a spirit realm, he could not have had a physical body. To support this, they quote 1 Pet 3:18 and 1 Cor 15:45.

    Indeed, I have been there with JWs on this.

    1 Peter 3:18 (New International Version, ©2010)

    18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

    Romans 8:11 (New International Version, ©2010)

    11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

    The Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead, that is what 1 Peter 3:18 also states. It does not state Jesus was only spirit, not physical flesh post.

    Paul explains the resurrection body

    1 Corinthians 15 (New International Version, ©2010)

    The Resurrection Body

    35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.

    42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 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.

    Clearly the "spiritual body" is of a different kind of flesh to the earthly body, imperishable, honourable, glorified and powerful.

    If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.

    50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

    55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”

    56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

    The JWs I spoke to quoted verse 50 to support their notion that Jesus does not have a physical body. However,

    Jesus describes Himself as "flesh and bones" (not just spirit).

    Luke 24:39 (English Standard Version)

    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."

    Indeed, His blood was poured our for many and will not be taken back.

    Matthew 26:28 (New International Version, ©2010)

    28 This is my blood of the [a] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.


    1. Matthew 26:28 Some manuscripts the new

    In His pre-resurrection "natural body" Jesus was flesh and blood John 6:53, John 6:54, John 6:55, John 6:56

    When we receive out own resurrection bodies, the resurrection life will be in the Holy Spirit, not blood as the natural body Leviticus 17:11, Leviticus 17:14, Deuteronomy 12:23

    Blessings in Christ,


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