by Matt Slick
"In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety," (Heb. 5:7).
The Jehovah's Witnesses use this verse in their attempt to demonstrate that Jesus Christ, after his resurrection, is not in his physical form. In other words, they deny that Jesus Christ was raised physically from the dead and is still a man.
Their argument is that the verse says that in the days of Jesus when he was a man, he offered up his prayers to the Father. They say that the verse is speaking in the past tense. In other words, they are saying that because the verse uses the past tense regarding Jesus in his flesh and in his prayers, it means that Jesus is no longer in physical form. Their interpretation is in error.
First of all, Jesus prophesied his physical resurrection:
"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).
Second, Jesus proclaimed his physical resurrection:
"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).
"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).
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 in a room with the disciples without entering through the door (John 20:19-20). He was raised in the same body He died in, though it had been glorified.
Also, please consider the following:
- "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.
- "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, 18and 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.
Finally, Heb. 5:7 is speaking of Christ's earthly ministry before his crucifixion. It is not speaking about the time after his resurrection which the above verses (John 2:19-21; Luke 24:39; and John 20:27) clearly show to us that Jesus was raised physically from the dead.