Bodily Resurrection and Jehovah’s Witnesses, Part 2

Last week I addressed the resurrection of Jesus body. The Watchtower Society denies a physical resurrection and points out instances of Jesus not being recognized in His post-resurrection appearances. However, in the context of each appearance the reason is evident. The most obvious example is in Luke 24, the account of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.

We are posting a number of e-letters Make Sure Ministries has received from David Henke, founder of Watchman Fellowship, Inc., an apologetics ministry, on a variety of subjects. They will post on Tuesdays into the foreseeable future. As always, we appreciate your comments. Please consider clicking on the link following this blog to learn more about Watchman Fellowship and what they have to offer. E-letters have been slightly edited for clarity.

He Kept Them from Recognizing Him

In Luke 24 we read about the conversation of two disciples talking about all the events of the recent days. The Tomb was reported to be empty and others say they saw Him. As they walked Jesus came up to them. They did not recognize Him. Why?

But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.

Luke 24:16

It clearly states that Jesus was keeping them from recognizing them. It implies that if they were not prevented from recognizing Him, they would have:

And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight.

Luke 24:31

The body of Jesus in His resurrection is a “spiritual” body, meaning He has a physical body that has spiritual capabilities. As God He could move back and forth from our temporal dimensions to the spiritual realm. Science today refers to as many as eight additional, or higher, dimensions of reality but that is a topic for a later time. As God He could vanish or appear, “the doors being shut.” Jehovah’s Witnesses would use this spiritual body and the idea that in John 20 He “appears” to mean that He was a spirit:

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.” And 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

Showing the wounds in His hands and side would be a lie if Jesus was simply manifesting a body like angels do when they appear among us. He wanted them to know it was He Himself in the body of His crucifixion.

Raised in the Spirit

Jehovah’s Witnesses will use 1 Peter 3:18 in explaining the resurrection:

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.

1 Peter 3:18

Jehovah’s Witnesses teach this verse supports being raised a spirit being or angel. What does this actually tell us?  It tells us that He was raised by the Holy Spirit. If we accept that Jesus was raised a spirit then the implications for the Christians at Rome are staggering:

However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, He does not belong to Him.

Romans 8:9

“In the Spirit” means we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. The Roman Christians are not in the flesh, meaning unregenerate, but in the Spirit, meaning born again. But if we take the JW argument that “in the spirit” means being a spirit, are we to assume they are all spirit beings? Obviously not. They are humans who have the Spirit of God in them. They are true Christians.  When Peter tells us, Christ was made alive in the spirit He is saying that the Spirit of God raised Him from the dead:

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.

Romans 8:11

God’s Spirit gives life to us. He gave Life to Jesus’ physical body in the resurrection.

Flesh and Blood Cannot Inherit the Kingdom of God

Now I say this brethren that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

1 Corinthians 15:50

Jehovah’s Witnesses say that Jesus cannot be flesh and blood or he could not inherit the Kingdom. They say this is a reason he is spirit or angel. The term “flesh and blood” is used a number of times in the scriptures. Matthew 16:18; Galatians 1:16; 1 Corinthians 15:50; Ephesians 6:12. The meaning of “flesh and blood” in context means natural man. Look at each one of these passages and in the place of “flesh and blood” put fallen man or natural man. 

In Conclusion

In sharing our faith with a Jehovah’s Witness, we must get them to see the centrality of the event. It is not a side issue. Throughout Acts we see the resurrection is the Message.  All these verses, Acts 1:3f; 2:23-33; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30; 10:39-40; 13;29, 30; 17:1-3, 18, 31; 26:23 stress Jesus and the Resurrection. Read those passages in context and notice the key thought is Jesus has risen.

Jehovah’s Witnesses do not know this and are going around lost and teaching their error to others. We must labor for them in prayer and in witness. Stick with the central theme or those things of FIRST IMPORTANCE, the gospel, new life in Christ via the resurrection.  One day they can say with us, He is risen! He is risen indeed!  Amen and Amen.

April 9, 2021 E-Letter

Copyright© 2019 Watchman Fellowship, All rights reserved. Used by permission of David Henke.



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