Questions From Readers
● Was Jesus Christ resurrected bodily as a man of flesh and blood?
According to the inspired Scriptures, Jesus Christ was not raised to life in the flesh. At 1 Peter 3:18 we read that he was ‘put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.’ (New World Translation; American Standard Version; C. B. Williams translation) Other scriptures confirm that Jesus simply could not have been raised bodily as a man of flesh and blood.
It was God’s purpose for his Son to resume heavenly life and not to continue living as a man on earth. This necessitated Jesus’ being raised as a spirit person, for persons of flesh and blood cannot live in the heavens. The apostle Paul wrote: “Flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom, neither does corruption inherit incorruption.”—1 Cor. 15:50.
In the case of the man Jesus Christ, his flesh was a barrier that prevented access to the heavenly realm. Jesus’ “flesh” is, therefore, spoken of at Hebrews 10:20 as being represented by the “curtain” that separated the Holy from the Most Holy in the tabernacle. Before he could enter heaven, the real “Most Holy,” Jesus had to give up his fleshly existence and receive spirit nature. His body of flesh would have been a barrier to his going beyond the “curtain” as a spirit person.
Another factor that should not be overlooked is that the goat and the bull offered on the day of atonement represented the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The Law, which prescribed these sacrifices, served as “a shadow of the things to come.” (Col. 2:17; Heb. 10:1) As we know, a shadow gives the general shape or design of the reality that casts it. Hence, for the shadow to be fulfilled in the reality, Jesus could not have taken back his sacrificed body of flesh and blood, since the bodies of those sacrificial victims were thoroughly disposed of by burning. (Heb. 13:11, 12) So it logically follows that Jehovah God disposed of the sacrificed body of his Son. Moreover, if Jesus had taken back his body of flesh, his sacrifice would have been temporary, without continuing atoning value.
That Jesus was not raised in the flesh explains why two of his disciples and Mary Magdalene did not recognize him by his postresurrection physical appearances. They only discerned who he was by what he said or did.—Luke 24:13-31; John 20:14, 15.
True, for the benefit of doubting Thomas, Jesus did appear with the physical evidence of nail prints in his hands and a spear wound in his side. (John 20:24-29) Yet, even in connection with that manifestation, there is proof that Jesus must have momentarily materialized a physical body of flesh. An eyewitness, the apostle John, reported: “Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and he stood in their midst.” (John 20:26) Manifestly, the apostle John would not have made a point of this if Jesus had simply opened the door and then physically entered the room. Evidently Jesus appeared suddenly in the midst of the disciples; the locked door did not obstruct his entry. This was something a man of flesh could not have done. But it is something that spirit persons in materializing could do. For example, the angel Gabriel appeared physically to priest Zechariah in the holy of the temple. (Luke 1:11) And the angel who appeared to Samson’s parents ascended in a flame of fire.—Judg. 13:19, 20.
The case involving the angel who spoke to Samson’s parents also sheds light on Jesus’ ascension to the heavens. To the parents of Samson, that angel remained visible as he ascended in a flame of fire but then evidently dematerialized and vanished from sight. Similarly, when Jesus was ascending to heaven he remained visible until a cloud caught him up from the physical sight of the disciples. He then must have dematerialized the fleshly body in which he was seen, as had materialized angels on other occasions.—Acts 1:9-11.
That Jesus simply took on a body to be seen by his disciples, as had angels in the past, is also evident from the fact that he appeared fully clothed. When Jesus was laid in the tomb he was not dressed but was simply wrapped up in fine linen bandages. After his resurrection, these bandages remained in the tomb. So, just as Jesus had to materialize clothing, he also had to take on flesh to make himself physically visible to his disciples.—Luke 23:53; John 19:40; 20:6, 7.
Against this background, we can appreciate that Jesus’ being called the “Son of man” even after his going to heaven could not refer to his having a body of a human in the heavens. (Acts 7:56) A Messianic prophecy that speaks of his receiving kingly power from his Father refers to him as “someone like a son of man.” (Dan. 7:13, 14) Hence, although having offered the required sacrifice by surrendering his human nature, Jesus Christ retains the Messianic designation “Son of man.” Similarly, Jesus Christ bears the title “the Lamb” on account of his having laid down his life in sacrifice. (Rev. 21:22) That title obviously is not descriptive of his appearance or nature in the heavens.
Thus the Scriptures as a whole testify to Jesus’ having been resurrected, not as a man of flesh and blood, but as a glorious spirit person.
● What is the meaning of scriptures that speak of the “kidneys” as being ‘seen,’ ‘refined,’ ‘tested’ or ‘examined’ by Jehovah God or by his Son?
In such texts, the kidneys are evidently referred to as representative of or linked with the deepest emotions or inmost feelings. (Ps. 7:9; 26:2; Jer. 11:20; 20:12) While humans are unable to determine another’s deepest emotions and inmost feelings, these cannot be hidden either from the great Tester and Refiner, Jehovah God, or from his Son. That is why we read: “I, Jehovah, am searching the heart, examining the kidneys, even to give to each one according to his ways, according to the fruitage of his dealings.” (Jer. 17:10) Quoting the Son, Revelation 2:23 states: “I am he who searches the kidneys and hearts, and I will give to you individually according to your deeds.” So, then, Jehovah God and Jesus Christ examine the deepest emotions, which may be hidden from humans just as the literal kidneys are buried deep in the human body.
Our living in harmony with God’s will, therefore, leads to great spiritual rewards, as He and His Son will find that even our deepest emotions reveal that we want to serve Him. We may also receive physical benefits. It is noteworthy that emotional upsets affect the kidneys. For example, sustained emotional strain may bring on diabetes insipidus (not “sugar diabetes”), kidney pains and absence of or defective urination. Hence, a person’s cultivating self-control, as the Bible recommends, may spare him physical suffering.—Gal. 5:22-24.
The Bible does not reveal to what extent the literal kidneys (perhaps including the adrenal glands situated on the upper surface of the kidneys) affect the emotions or contribute to the development of certain emotions. We should keep in mind that the human body is a harmonious whole, with all the members thereof being dependent on one another. (Compare 1 Corinthians 12:14-26.) Therefore, emotions, feelings, desires and the like cannot entirely be limited to any one specific organ such as the brain, heart or kidneys. It may well be that, in some cases at least, the Bible simply speaks of the affected organ as though it itself originated the emotions or attitudes that affect it.