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“In The Days of His Flesh”: Hebrews 2:14

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by asterisktom, Jul 10, 2024.

  1. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    Tradition is a very hard thing to shake. I am convinced that is why Christians have a hard time believing in (as some have put it) a "ghostly" or "merely spiritual" Jesus.

    The implication of this phrase in Hebrews 2:14 is that Christ’s being flesh and blood was mission-specific. The purpose for that, according to Scripture, is long gone. The body He has now, post-ascension, is spiritual, like it was pre-Incarnation. He has no need for a body of flesh and blood now.

    Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy (καταργήσῃ – “render of no effect”) the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil”.

    He became flesh and blood - and suffered in His flesh and shed His blood. I doubt we can fathom the depths of what He did to rescue us and to destroy the one who had the power of death.

    However some people assert that Christ is flesh and blood now because of 1 Tim. 2:5:

    For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (ἄνθρωπος Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς)”

    But this does not prove that Christ is flesh and blood, but that He is the God-Man. And this begs the question: What does it mean to be human? Is flesh and blood required for that? If so, then my Christian father ceased to be human eleven years ago when he died. And all saints of previous generations, when they died, by this logic, lost their humanity as well. But this obviously isn't true. Rather, they joined “the spirits of righteous ones made perfect”, Heb. 12:23, referring to all those righteous persons of the previous chapter who had run their course by faith. Are these somehow no longer human? Thus, since they are clearly still human, our Savior being called “the man Christ Jesus” does not require Him to be physical.

    Our goal is to be like Christ – Christlikeness - not that the Second Person of the Godhead should forever from the time of His Incarnation onward remain flesh and blood. Scripture has no proof - and the Gospel no need - of this.


    Objection 1: He rose from the dead in His physical body. He showed Himself to His disciples and over 500 people in a forty-day period. And He was taken up bodily in the sight of His disciples. Doesn’t this prove that He is still physical?

    Answer: The Apostle John, who plainly confesses “we have seen with our eyes … we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life” also wrote “it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”, I John 1:1-3; 3:2

    So apparently John’s earlier “seeing” and “handling” the post-resurrection Christ did not give him insight on His nature at the Parousia or he would not have written this.

    “We shall be like Him”. And, according to Luke 20:36, we shall also be “like the angels”. The connection here seems clear:

    1. We shall be like Christ.
    2. We shall be like the angels.
    3. The angels (in this regard, at least) are like Christ.

    I think the locked door encounter, John 20:24-29, was still part of His Incarnational mission, the “days of His flesh”, as Hebrews 5:7 puts it. It seems there is also a hint of this in 1 Tim. 3:16:

    Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
    He was manifested in the flesh,
    vindicated by the Spirit,
    seen by angels,
    proclaimed among the nations,
    believed on in the world,
    taken up in glory.”


    Notice that these are all in the past tense, or at least, because the last of the six events is clearly in the past the preceding five ought to refer to events before it.


    Objection 2: It is necessary for the Messiah to be a son of David. But what is required here for this to connection be satisfied? Physicality?

    Answer: Most certainly – but only in connection with the days of His flesh. The significance for us now is that He is, was, and always will be the Son of God.

    Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was made of the descendants of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

    Declared”, not “made”, as in v.3. Christ was always the Son, but in Paul’s writing His Sonship is always founded on His “metaphysical Sonship” (Meyer) . Rom. 8:3, 32; Gal. 4:4; Col 1:13ff; Phil. 2:6ff


    Objection 3: Christ no longer being in the flesh now sounds disturbingly similar to the Corporate Body View taught by the Covenant Eschatologists, that His flesh and bone body underwent a process of “divest and destroy” at the Ascension (Preston), replaced with the Corporate Body of the saints.

    Answer: “Destroy” is truly erroneous. But Christ as the Sacrifice, in keeping with the type and reality built up in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New, did seem to follow through here as our offering. The end of the “days of His flesh” seems to have been when the last action was accomplished, He was presented to the Father as “a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain”, Rev. 5:6


    Objection 4: This means Christ died twice, once at the Cross and then at the Ascension, Rom 6:9:

    We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.”

    Answer: What happened at the Ascension was certainly not a death, but a returning to the glory that the Son had with the Father in eternity past per His prayer in John 17:5.


    Objection 5: James 2:26 tells us that when the spirit is separated from the body, the body dies. If Christ’s divested Himself of His body would that not be death?

    Answer: Enoch and Elijah no longer were in the flesh at their respective taken up. They did not die.

    Mark 12:27-28 also comes to mind here:

    " But concerning the dead rising, have you not read about the burning bush in the Book of Moses, how God told him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”"

    Clearly at this time the spirits of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were certainly separated from their bodies (as James wrote) yet God disavows their being dead, saying the opposite.

    More later.
     
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  2. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    “In The Days of His Flesh”: Hebrews 2:14 (Part 2)

    Objection 6: The apostles were assured that Jesus would come again "in like manner" as they had seen him go, Acts 1:11. This teaches that He will have the same essence at His return that He had at His Ascension.

    Answer: “In like manner” is an adverbial, not adjectival, phrase. It describes how He would come. It says nothing, one way or the other, about His essence. Furthermore, the qualifying phrase “as you have seen Him go into heaven” is part of the thought. Many who try to use this verse to prove Christ’s sameness of essence between His often leave out the last phrase. Some more modern versions key in more clearly on the proper emphasis. The RSV is a good example:

    “… this same Jesus… shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven.

    How did He go into heaven? A “cloud took him out of their sight”, Acts 1:9.

    And how did He return? “He is coming with the clouds.”, Rev. 1:7. See also Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Mark 13:26; 14:62; 1 Thess. 4:17.


    Objection 7: The phrase “this same Jesus”, Acts 1:11, strongly implies that He would have the same essence at both His departure and return. He would be the same, not different.

    Answer: Hebrews 13:8 tells us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Some would, however, counter this answer by limiting this “sameness” only to the incarnate Jesus.

    This sameness cannot be pressed too far so as to determine His essence. The incarnate Jesus also said, John 8:58: “Before Abraham was I Am.” This was also the “same Jesus”, yet at that time without a physical body. Thus His sameness cannot be used to determine His essence.


    Objection 8: Phil. 3:20-21 reveals that the Lord does indeed have a body in Heaven, and that He will change our “lowly body to be like His glorious body”. Also Col. 2:9 speaks of His post-Ascension body:

    For in Him the whole fulness of deity dwells (κατοικεῖ – present tense) bodily

    Answer: We will certainly have individual immortal bodies in Heaven. But this does not argue for our having physical bodies, however glorified. Paul, in 1 Cor. 15:40, 47 - 49 wrote:

    There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies...”

    The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”

    The nature of our future bodies is explicitly based on the eternal pre-incarnate nature of the “Man from Heavenv. 47, - Christ. And what was His nature before He came to Earth? He was Spirit. That is what we will have. Heavenly bodies like His. He is no longer in the flesh.

    And just how do we understand "the days of his flesh". Preterists rightly, I believe, correct others who want to stretch out "day" and "hour" in "last days" and John's "last hour". But why should we then treat the "days" in Hebrews 5:7 any different?

    Objection 9: God created man physical and pronounced it “very good”. How can the physical creation, which was proclaimed very good not be carried over into the afterlife?

    Answer: This was the last of the seven "good" pronouncements, and the only "very good". It is significant that this was not said until man was created. But why was it "very good"? Not really the creation of physical man, but that he was created "in the image of God".

    "So God created man in his own image,

    in the image of God he created him;" Gen. 1.27

    "then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature." Gen. 2.7

    The "very good" of Genesis 1:31 – so far as it relates to us - and not to the rest of creation - must be from our being made in the image of God. The image of God was not that "dust from the ground". It was not physicality. God is not physical. He gave us our souls by breathing into us "the breath of life".

    Think of it: The essence of humanity is not being physical . If that were true then Christians who had died would then cease to be human. So when, for example, Abraham died he ceased to be human. And then became human again when he left Hades at the Parousia. Thus, though no longer in physical form, Christ is still "the Man Christ Jesus".

    Humanity is seated in our souls, not our bodies. We were created in the image of God. What is that image? Physical?

    I came across this from Alfred Barnes on verse 12. Note, especially, the second paragraph:

    "He entered into the holy place - Heaven. The meaning is, that as the Jewish high priest bore the blood of the animal into the Holy of Holies, and sprinkled it there as the means of expiation, so the offering which Christ has to make in heaven, or the consideration on which he pleads for the pardon of his people, is the blood which he shed on Calvary. Having made the atonement, he now pleads the merit of it as a "reason" why sinners should be saved.

    It is not of course meant that he literally bore his own blood into heaven - as the high priest did the blood of the bullock and the goat into the sanctuary; or that he literally "sprinkled" it on the mercy-seat there, but that that blood, having been shed for sin, is now the ground of his pleading and intercession for the pardon of sin - as the sprinkled blood of the Jewish sacrifice was the ground of the pleading of the Jewish high priest for the pardon of himself and the people."

    Matthew Poole also has good commentary on this verse.
     
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  3. percho

    percho Well-Known Member
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    What is the redemption of the body of those having the first-fruit of the Spirit?
    What is the redemption of the purchased possession, of those who have the earnest of their inheritance, the Holy Spirit?
    What does it mean, "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body"?
     
  4. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    45 So also it is written, The first man Adam became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 1 Cor 15

    Excellent posts Tom, I always enjoy them, always enlightening, always makes me think from different angles.
     
    #4 kyredneck, Jul 11, 2024
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2024
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  5. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    Thank you, Kyredneck! I try to stay true to what is on my heart.
     
  6. percho

    percho Well-Known Member
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    So are we raised with a body or not with a body? Not sure I understand what is being said.
     
  7. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
    41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory.
    42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
    43 it is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
    44 it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
    45 So also it is written, The first man Adam became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
    46 Howbeit that is not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; then that which is spiritual.
    47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is of heaven.
    48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
    49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 1 Cor 15
     
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  8. percho

    percho Well-Known Member
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    Ok I agree.

    Question.

    Is Jesus of Nazareth preeminent relative to verse 46? Was, "that body," of Jesus first natural and afterward, spiritual? Not first spiritual?
     
  9. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth. Jn 1

    45 So also it is written, The first man Adam became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 1 Cor 15
     
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