[Quotes from Watchtower publications, including their New World Translation, are in blue.]
In the July 1, 1998 issue of the WT it says “belief in the resurrection (is) not optional.” Very true. Paul says in I Corinthians 15 that if Christ was not raised our faith is useless and we are yet in our sins (v 17).
On p. 20 the WT says, “Jesus Christ...died and was resurrected as a spirit.” And on p. 14 they say, “Jesus was not raised as a human.”
Even young children in the Watchtower are taught this doctrine. My Book of Bible Stories, p. 103, says, “Do you know what happened to Jesus’ body? God caused it to disappear. God did not raise Jesus to life in the fleshly body in which he died. He gave Jesus a new spirit body, as the angels in heaven have. But to show his disciples he is alive Jesus can take on a body that people can see ..”
Many “studies” (people being indoctrinated by Witnesses prior to their baptism) do not notice how very different this teaching is from historic Christianity, either because they are not familiar with the subject or because it is touched on so briefly? What does the Bible teach?
John 2:18-22 “Then the Jews demanded of him, ‘What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?’ (He had just thrown the money changers out of the temple and the Jews are challenging his authority.) Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.’ The Jews replied, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?’ But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.”
They believed that he had raised his body just as he had prophesied! The Greek word for “body” is “soma” and here it means flesh and bone body. This passage, John 2:18-22 is plain, and it is irrefutable. Wasn’t it the death and resurrection of Jesus the apostles preached throughout the book of Acts?
Jesus went to great lengths after his resurrection to show his surprised disciples that he had a human body and that it was his own human body. Listen carefully:
Luke 24:36-43 “While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. [The WT’s New World Translation says ‘spirit’, exactly what the WT said Jesus was raised as!] He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost (or spirit) does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.” (Why? The wounds!) And then he ate a piece of broiled fish in their presence, to show he was raised in his physical body.
John 20:27-29 “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.’ Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’"
Do you believe? If you do, you are “blessed”, Jesus said.
The WT argues that this couldn’t be the body of Jesus as the two on their way to Emmaus in Luke 24 couldn’t recognize the body. But verse 16 says specifically, “but they were kept from recognizing him”; (this explanation is referred to 3 times in the text). Do you think the WT doesn’t know that? The WT refuses to believe the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ and because of that their faith is useless and they are yet in their sins.
The WT also argues it couldn’t be the same body because Mary didn’t recognize Him (John 20). But a careful reading reveals that it was dark, she was crying, she was turned the other way, and, most importantly, to find Jesus alive was the furthest thing from Mary’s mind. She didn’t expect him to rise. None of the disciples expected him to rise.
Let’s put to rest some of the other arguments the WT uses to support their doctrine of recreation as opposed to resurrection.
1 Peter 3:18 says Jesus was raised “in the spirit” or “by the spirit”. It does not say ‘as a spirit”. His body was fit for the spiritual realm. The WT says on p. 20 of this article that Jesus was raised “as a spirit”. No text says that.
And then the WT’s favorite argument, as it appears on p. 14, of this July 1, 1998 WT, “taking his flesh back would nullify the sacrifice” (or as they sometimes say, the ransom). Here again the WT’s entire argument rests on philosophical assumptions and not on Scripture. One Scripture will do as it addresses this argument directly; I’ll quote the NWT:
John 10:17-18 (NWT) “This is why the Father loves me, because I surrender my soul, in order that I may receive it again. No man has taken it away from me, but I surrender it of my own initiative. I have authority to surrender it, and I have authority to receive it again. The commandment on this I received from my Father.” The Greek word translated “soul” here is “psuche”, which Insight on the Scriptures says is “material, tangible, visible, and mortal” (Vol. 2, p 1004).
The NIV translation of John 10:17,18 reads, “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life-- only to take it up again. 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."
Jesus Christ was raised from the dead bodily. He paid the full price and his resurrection proved that his Father was satisfied that our debt of sin had been paid. He was raised bodily and those who believe will be raised also and will be like him:
Philippians 3:21, “who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”
Written by Greta Olsoe