Jesus' resurrection and ascension

One of the problems with oneness theology deals with the resurrection of Jesus.  Oneness Pentecostal theology states that Jesus had two natures while he was walking the earth. That is, he was both God and man. This is correct theology insofar as it states that within the one person of the Son, there are two natures: God and man.  But it also states that God is now in the "form/mode/manifestation" of the Holy Spirit.  If this is the case, what happened to Jesus' body after the ascension?  Where is it?  Is it alive?  Is it in a coma?  Was it dissolved?  Does it still exist?  Is Jesus, the man, still a person?  If so, how can Jesus, the person with flesh and bones, also be the Holy Spirit?

In Trinitarian theology, the second person of the Trinity became flesh (John 1:1, 14). In other words, according to Phil. 2:5-8, Jesus added to himself human nature. Likewise in Col. 2:9 it states, "For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily."  1 Tim. 2:5 says that "there is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus."  We know that Jesus rose from the dead in the same body He died in since He prophesied He would raise His body (John 2:19-21); He retained the scars of His ordeal after the resurrection (John 20:27); and He was seen as a man after the resurrection (Luke 24:39).

  • "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have" (Luke 24:39).
  • "Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing" (John 20:27).

As you can see from the above verses, Jesus retained His physical nature after His resurrection--along with His scars. This is why it says in Col. 2:9 that in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Notice that the verb "dwells" is in the present tense. That is, right now Jesus has a body of flesh and bones. He is physical. He is in heaven.  He is a man, the God-man.

Nevertheless, some deny Jesus' resurrection by stating that the Bible says flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and therefore Jesus did not rise in the same body he died in.  But, we need to realize that the Bible says, "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor. 15:50)--not flesh and bones as Jesus said He had (Luke 24:39).  Is this important? Yes it is. Jesus’ blood was the sacrifice that cleanses us from sin (Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22).  I suspect that Jesus' resurrected body did not have any blood in it.  It was shed from His body on the cross.

Jesus' Ascension and Return

The Bible tells us that Jesus ascended into the sky (Acts 1:9-11).  When He did this, He was still in physical form as I've demonstrated above.   In addition, the Bible tells us that Jesus will return in the same manner.

"And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:9-11).

Since the Bible teaches us that Jesus is in bodily form now (Col. 2:9), then how does the Oneness Pentecostal person maintain that God is in the form of the Holy Spirit?  Also, when Jesus returns, will He return in His body?  Will God's form then revert to the form of the Son at His return according to Oneness?

I do not think Oneness Pentecostal theology is correct for many reasons.  But here, with this issue of Jesus' resurrection and ascension, I see their theology denying the incarnation of God in flesh right now.  After all, it says in Col. 2:9 that Jesus is in bodily form now.  Oneness denies that since God, according to its theology, is now supposed to be in the form of the Holy Spirit.




About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.