Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.
–1 Corinthians 15:50
How can people who have died have bodies that come to life again? Think about somebody whose body is donated to those who need the body parts. His eyes go to Ethel. His kidney goes to Sidney. And on and on the body parts are distributed. How will God put all that together again? How is a resurrection possible? Paul answered that question by using the analogy of planting and harvesting. In 1 Corinthians 15:36-38, Paul explained how a resurrection happens: “That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.”
What is involved in planting and harvesting? First of all, when you plant a seed, the seed dies. If you plant a watermelon seed in the ground, that seed dies before it comes to life, and so it is with the Resurrection. When we die, that death is necessary for there to be a future harvest. Paul says death is not only inevitable; it is necessary for us to ever inherit God’s kingdom. In 1 Corinthians 15:36, Paul said, “That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies.” He explained why in verse 50: “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” Think of it this way: Your body is perfectly designed for this world, but your body is not suitable for residence on Mars. Your body is only suitable for this planet, and it is the same way in terms of this earth and the New Heaven and Earth. That is why Paul said, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” It is necessary that our bodies be planted in the ground, so to speak, so that something better can be harvested later.
That leads to the second part of the process, the reaping of the harvest. Notice something about the relationship between the planting and the harvest. First of all, the harvest is superior to the seed. For example, imagine it is a hot day, and you have been out working in the yard. You come inside for some refreshment. You can either have a cold slice of watermelon, or you can eat a watermelon seed. Which would you choose? I think everybody would choose the slice of watermelon, because the harvest is always superior to the seed. It is the same way with the Resurrection. What is harvested at the Resurrection, our new body, is vastly superior to that which is planted. It is important to understand that we are not going to carry our old bodies into Heaven. Aren’t you grateful for that? Our old bodies are raised, but then they are completely renovated. And what we receive is much superior to what was planted.
Second, the harvest is also similar to the seed. You don’t plant a watermelon seed and harvest a kumquat. If you plant a watermelon seed, you get a watermelon, and it is the same way with us. When our bodies die, it is not someone else who is resurrected. We do not get a body that is totally dissimilar to what we were. Our new bodies are going to resemble our old bodies.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Will We Know One Another In Heaven?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.lockman.org)