by Matt Slick
One of the lesser-known biblical doctrines concerns whether Jesus is a man right now. Many do not know that presently, in heaven, Jesus is a man, though in a glorified body. Some object to this and cite various reasons (answered at the end of this paper) for denying His present humanity. They are in error. Following is a biblical demonstration that Jesus is still both divine and human in nature.
It is biblically correct to say that Jesus is a man right now in heaven -- though a glorified man. But, it would wrong to say He was only a man. He is both divine and human in nature at the same time (Col. 2:9); He is both God and man, right now.
Furthermore, Jesus' humanity now is important for two reasons. First, this is what the Bible teaches. Second, as a man, Jesus is a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. As a priest He forever intercedes for us.
- "where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek, (Heb. 6:20).
- "Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them," (Heb. 7:25).
In order to be a priest, Jesus has to be a man. A spirit cannot be a priest after the order of Melchizedek and if Jesus is not a man now, He could not hold His priesthood and He could not be forever interceding for us. Therefore, to deny Jesus' present humanity is to deny His priesthood and His intercession on our behalf. Without His intercession, we are lost.
- Jesus died.
There is no dispute that Jesus died on the cross --except for some non-Christian religions and various atheistic groups who deny the biblical record. Nevertheless, the scriptures teach us that Jesus died.
- "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus," (1 Thess. 4:14).
- Jesus rose from the dead physically.
The bible teaches us that Jesus rose from the dead. Unfortunately, some Christians are not aware that Jesus actually rose from the dead in the same body in which He died, though it was a glorified body. We see that Jesus prophesied the resurrection of His physical body in John 2:19-21 and fulfilled this in other verses:
- "Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." 20The Jews therefore said, "It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" 21But He was speaking of the temple of His body," (John 2:19-21).
After Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection he appeared to various people to demonstrate that He had risen physically.
- "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).
- "When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you." 20And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples therefore rejoiced when they saw the Lord," (John 20:19-20).
- "Then He said to Thomas, "Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing." (John 20:27).
In these verses we see that Jesus said He would raise the temple of His body. This He did and the body in which He rose was the same one He in which died since it retained the physical wounds of His crucifixion -- He still had holes in His hands and side!
I would like to note here that if anyone denies the resurrection of Christ, his faith is in vain and he is not a true Christian.
- 1 Cor. 15:14, "and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Merely asserting that Jesus rose is not enough. If must be stated that Jesus rose physically, lest the very words of Christ be denied.
It is not enough to say that Jesus rose. You must acknowledge that He rose physically. A "spirit" resurrection is not a resurrection of the body and without the resurrection of the body of Christ, death has not been conquered and our faith would be in vain.
- Jesus' resurrected body was a glorified body.
Jesus rose from the dead physically in the same body in which He died. But, what kind of a body was this physical body in which He rose? Was it subject to death again? Would it grow tired or grow old? The Bible tells us about the resurrected body, of which all Christians will receive in the future.
- "But someone will say, "How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?...40There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. 41There 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. 42So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 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. 45So also it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 47The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. 48As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. 49And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly," (1 Cor. 15:35,40-49).
These verses tell us that something happens to the body that is raised from the dead. Notice that verse 44 says that "it is sown a natural body. It is raised a spiritual body." The same body that is sown (dies) is raised. The natural body is the body with which we are born. The natural body dies and is raised from the dead. But, when it is raised, it is changed into a spiritual body. The resurrected body is different than the natural body in its abilities and qualities as Jesus demonstrated; however, and this is vitally important, it is the same body as before -- only "improved," "glorified," "spiritualized," etc. We see this in the fact that Jesus retained the wounds of His crucifixion as evidenced by the holes in His hands and side (John 20:27), yet He was able to appear simply in a room with the disciples without entering through the door (John 20:19-20). He was raised in the same body He in which died, though it had been glorified.
- Jesus is a man in a glorified body.
We have already seen that Jesus was raised from the dead in the same body in which He died, but that body is a resurrected body. However, some people believe that at Jesus' ascension, He was somehow changed and His physical body was no longer needed. But, this is not what the Bible teaches. There is no place where it states that Jesus stopped being a man. If anything, the New Testament says He is still a man.
- "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form," (Col. 2:9).
Notice that this verse speaks in the present tense ("dwells"). Colossians was written well after Jesus' ascension into heaven, yet Paul tells us that Jesus is in bodily form. What body would that be? Why, it would be the same body in which He was raised. To clarify that Jesus is a man, read the next verse.
- "For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus," (1 Tim. 2:5). We see here that Jesus is called a man. Like Col. 2:9 above, this verse uses the present tense ("is"). It clearly states that Jesus is a man.
- "And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as a dead man. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying, “ Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, 18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades," (Rev. 1:17-18).
In Rev. 1:17-18, Jesus is in heaven and John the Apostle falls at Jesus' feet and Jesus laid His right hand on him. Clearly, from these verses we can see that Jesus is in bodily form as a man.
- Objections Answered
- Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.
Some argue that the Bible says that flesh and blood cannot go to heaven as is stated in 1 Cor. 15:50, "Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable."
The term "flesh and blood" is a phrase used to designate the natural state, even the carnal state of man.
- "And Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven," (Matt. 16:17).
- "to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood," (Gal. 1:16).
- "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places," (Eph. 6:12).
- "Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil," (Heb. 2:14).
After the resurrection, Jesus said, "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). Jesus specifically stated that He had flesh and bones, not flesh and blood. This may seem like a word game, but it is not. Every word is inspired in the Bible and Jesus chose His words for a reason. Remember, Jesus' blood was drained out of His body on the cross. It is His blood that cleanses us of our sins: "but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin," (1 John 1:7). Jesus was the sacrifice and His blood cleanses us. Therefore, flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, but flesh and bones can.
- The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
1 Cor. 15:45 says, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit." This verse is not saying that Jesus is without a body, but that He is a life-giving spirit. That is, as the last Adam, He is the one who gives life to people (John 10:27-28). Furthermore, it is designating that Jesus' resurrected body is equipped to be in both the physical realm and the spiritual realm at the same time.
- Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.