When I saw this headline: 5 Reasons to Believe in Jesus' Bodily Resurrection by Cale Clark, I considered it a great opportunity to discuss this idea of - not only Jesus' physical body after his crucifixion - but the fate of OUR human bodies following our deaths here on earth; what happened to Jesus' physical body, and what's going to happen to ours.
The prevailing view in Christianity is that Jesus physical body resurrected; likewise, it is thought that our physical bodies will resurrect at some time. But is it true? See our blog below in which we discuss Urantia Book teachings on this subject, but first, here's the heart of the article, presented in Q+A form:
"Q. This Easter season, how can I convince my friends that Jesus physically rose from the dead?
"A. The good news is that it is possible to show your friends plausible evidence that Jesus rose bodily from the dead. ... There are five historical facts concerning the Resurrection of Jesus that must be accounted for, no matter what one believes. They are:
"1. Jesus died by crucifixion. This is an event of history that is recorded outside the Bible.
"2. The tomb of Jesus was empty on Easter Sunday.
"3. Jesus' disciples were willing to suffer and die for their belief in the Resurrection. While many people are willing to die for what they believe is true, no one willingly dies for what they know to be a lie.
"4. The Church persecutor known as Saul the Pharisee converted to the Catholic Christian faith, became Paul the Apostle, and was martyred for his faith in the Risen Jesus.
"5. The skeptic James, a relative of Jesus, converted because the Risen Jesus appeared to him."
Click to read the entire article
What is the truth about Jesus' resurrection?
For so long, believers have been asked to believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus' body, but is it true? Let's take the points one by one and see how these facts are explained, and the truth revealed, in The Urantia Book:
1. Jesus died by crucifixion. This is an event of history that is recorded outside the Bible.
There's no dispute here whatsoever. Both the Bible and The Urantia Book agree completely about this fact. However, in The Urantia Book, Jesus' crucifixion is covered and details revealed that you will see nowhere else. An entire paper is devoted to this horrible event with details you cannot read anywhere else. And that is because the details have been supplied by eyewitnesses - spiritual eyewitness who were actually there.
Click to read "The Crucifixion"
2. The tomb of Jesus was empty on Easter Sunday.
Again, no dispute here; however, while most Bible students believe that the tomb was empty because Jesus physical body had resurrected, The Urantia Book corrects this error by explaining a different reason that the tomb was empty.
Not only was the tomb empty, but the gravecloths were undisturbed. It goes against reason to think that Jesus' physical body could have somehow been disentangled from these burial wrappings without their being disturbed.
So, what DID happen to Jesus physical body?
The authors of The Urantia Book explain that after Jesus' resurrection in "morontia" form had taken place, the chief of archangels requested custody of Jesus' material body:
189:2.1 At ten minutes past three o'clock, as the resurrected Jesus fraternized with the assembled morontia personalities from the seven mansion worlds of Satania, the chief of archangels—the angels of the resurrection—approached Gabriel and asked for the mortal body of Jesus. Said the chief of the archangels: "We may not participate in the morontia resurrection of the bestowal experience of Michael our sovereign, but we would have his mortal remains put in our custody for immediate dissolution. We do not propose to employ our technique of dematerialization; we merely wish to invoke the process of accelerated time. It is enough that we have seen the Sovereign live and die on Urantia; the hosts of heaven would be spared the memory of enduring the sight of the slow decay of the human form of the Creator and Upholder of a universe. In the name of the celestial intelligences of all Nebadon, I ask for a mandate giving me the custody of the mortal body of Jesus of Nazareth and empowering us to proceed with its immediate dissolution."
189:2.2 And when Gabriel had conferred with the senior Most High of Edentia, the archangel spokesman for the celestial hosts was given permission to make such disposition of the physical remains of Jesus as he might determine.
This is one of the most fascinating parts of Jesus' resurrection. You can read about the "near-instantaneous" dissolution of his physical form in this section called The Material Body of Jesus
The authors end this section by explaining:
189:2.6 The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus has been based on the fact of the "empty tomb." It was indeed a fact that the tomb was empty, but this is not the truth of the resurrection. The tomb was truly empty when the first believers arrived, and this fact, associated with that of the undoubted resurrection of the Master, led to the formulation of a belief which was not true: the teaching that the material and mortal body of Jesus was raised from the grave. Truth having to do with spiritual realities and eternal values cannot always be built up by a combination of apparent facts. Although individual facts may be materially true, it does not follow that the association of a group of facts must necessarily lead to truthful spiritual conclusions.
189:2.7 The tomb of Joseph was empty, not because the body of Jesus had been rehabilitated or resurrected, but because the celestial hosts had been granted their request to afford it a special and unique dissolution, a return of the "dust to dust," without the intervention of the delays of time and without the operation of the ordinary and visible processes of mortal decay and material corruption.
189:2.8 The mortal remains of Jesus underwent the same natural process of elemental disintegration as characterizes all human bodies on earth except that, in point of time, this natural mode of dissolution was greatly accelerated, hastened to that point where it became well-nigh instantaneous.
189:2.9 The true evidences of the resurrection of Michael are spiritual in nature, albeit this teaching is corroborated by the testimony of many mortals of the realm who met, recognized, and communed with the resurrected morontia Master. He became a part of the personal experience of almost one thousand human beings before he finally took leave of Urantia.
3. Jesus' disciples were willing to suffer and die for their belief in the Resurrection. While many people are willing to die for what they believe is true, no one willingly dies for what they know to be a lie.
No dispute here, either. We could not agree more
4. The Church persecutor known as Saul the Pharisee converted to the Catholic Christian faith, became Paul the Apostle, and was martyred for his faith in the Risen Jesus.
Even though Paul never met Jesus, his entire reborn life was based on his conviction that the resurrection was a fact.
5. The skeptic James, a relative of Jesus, converted because the Risen Jesus appeared to him.
In The Urantia Book, we discover that James was indeed a relative of Jesus - was, in fact, Jesus' next-younger brother. Jesus did, indeed appear to James; however, James was already a convert and follower of the Master. In fact, he and Jude, another of Jesus' brothers, was baptised with Jesus by John in the Jordan. And incidentally, Jesus had eight siblings in all. You can read about them all HERE.
When Jesus resurrected, he resurrected in a form that was not physical - he was able to make this new form visible at will, which he did, nineteen sepatrate times, to over one thousand people. But he did not look like himself - if you'll recall, Mary Magdalene, when seeing the risen Jesus for the first time, did not recognioze him. It was only when he spoke to her that she was able to recognize that this was the same Jesus she had known and loved.
And what does this mean for us?
Jesus' resurrection in this glorified form is a demonstration of what will happen to each of us, too, when we resurrect in heaven. Jesus stayed here on earth for a time, in order to appear to his friends, family, and followers - to leave them with words of comfort and a reiteration of his teachings to them. We will not have that experience, but we will resurrect in a new form, just as Jesus did. Our physical bodies will stay here on earth - dust to dust. But our bodies will undergo dissolution until we are indeed dust - while the immortal part of us - our soul will have gone on to eternal life. Reunited with our personality and our memories, with the indwelling Spirit og God, we will have become morontia beings like Jesus - in a form that is not altogether physical, but not altogther spiritul as yet. That takes place after our sojoiurn on the "many mansion" to which we will be sent. Jesus showed us the way - being a human being like us, he has now demonstrated the reality of eternal life that is the destiny of all of the children of God.