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1 Corinthians 15:12-20 - Raising the dead in Christ

Updated: Dec 31, 2021

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Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ--whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.


This is the Epistle selection for the sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. Before this will be read aloud, a reading from Jeremiah, where he quoted Yahweh as saying, “Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals and make mere flesh their strength, whose hearts turn away from Yahweh. They shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when relief comes. They shall live in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.” That will be followed by a singing of Psalm 1, where David wrote, “It is not so with the wicked; they are like chaff which the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked shall not stand upright when judgment comes, nor the sinner in the council of the righteous.” All readings will accompany the Gospel selection from Luke, where it is written: “And all in the crowd were trying to touch [Jesus], for power came out from him and healed all of them. Then [Jesus] looked up at his disciples and said” what is called The Beatitudes.

These selected verses from Paul’s first letter to the true Christians he left behind in Corinth is given the ‘title’ “The Resurrection of the Dead.” This is based on Paul having written the words “nekrōn” and “egēgertai,” meaning “dead” and “has been raised” [six times and eight times respectively]. The word “ēgeiren” [meaning “it has been raised”] is written twice more. What seems to have been totally missed from these selected verses is the name “Jesus,” which only appears twice in this whole chapter [once in verse 31 and once in verse 57], none of which comes in these nine verses selected for reading. Therefore, any assumptions made that connect “Jesus” to the one “dead,” who “has been raised,” is incorrectly putting words in Paul’s mouth [pen on paper].

What Paul did write in these verses [nine times] is “Christ,” written as “Christos” [six times], “Christon” [once], and “Christō” [twice], all of which are statements about the divine “Anointment” by Yahweh. The capitalized word “Christ” is NOT the last name of Jesus, as if Paul was saying, “Mr. Christ.” This is a major stumbling block that modern Christians [not Jesusians] need to learn to get over. It is vital to understand the meaning of the word “Christ,” to begin to understand what Paul wrote in this reading selection.

In the Epistle selection for the fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, the selection was from this same chapter of First Corinthians; and, in that Paul is shown [in English translations] to say, “Christ died.” In my commentary about that reading, I pointed out how impossible it is for an “Anointment” by Yahweh to “die.” The word translated as “died” actually means to separate away from at death, such that the physical body of Jesus was enabled by Yahweh to die, because Yahweh separated His “Anointment” from His Son. This says Paul was explaining how the “Christ” is Yahweh’s blessing placed on all souls who submit their self-egos and self-wills to serve Him. Jesus is THE Christ that was created by Yahweh for the purpose of saving souls [the name “Jesus” means “Yah[weh] Will Save” or “Yah[weh] Saves”]; so, just as a servant kneels before a king and is touched by the sword of power, “rising a knight,” so too does a disciple kneel before Yahweh, being touched by the “Christ” of Yahweh, “rising as Jesus reborn.” The death in this picture is what Paul was writing about here; and, that is the death of self-ego, so one can be “raised” as Jesus – Christ again in the flesh.

Carefully observe these two seemingly identical pictures and see if you can tell how one shows dead bodies ["nekrōn"], while the other shows dead bodies that have been "raised in Christ." [Hint: Don't let the funeral setting give you the wrong impression.]

A key element of divine Scripture that so often is obliterated by English translations is capitalization. A capitalized word written is more often than not diminished to the obscurity of meaningless dribble, when some words purposefully written in the lower-case are capitalized by the lower-g gods of translation. One such erasure of a divinely elevated word is seen here, when verse twelve is show to begin by stating, “Now if.” That is not what is written, as the first word written by Paul in this verse is “Ei,” meaning “If,” which is an important ‘big If’ to contemplate.

To see this word in the light of purposeful divine elevation, Paul is using it to set the conditions of Sainthood. “If” one’s soul has been saved by Yahweh, such that the soul in question “has been raised” to a divine state of being [a Saint, versus a sinner], then one must meet the requirements of that divine condition – “If.” With that understood, Paul then wrote [literally translated], “If now Christ is proclaimed that [is because] out from of a dead body it has been raised , by what means says within any that [is because] a resurrection of a dead body not it exists ?

The “If” of great importance is then relative to belief that Jesus was the Son of Yahweh [the soul of Adam recreated in the womb of Mary], who as that soul reborn was “Anointed” by Yahweh when created, thereby always a “Christ.” It is the “Christ” state of being that granted Jesus [the man in the flesh] eternal life, meaning he was born a ‘hero’ or a ‘demigod,’ so he could not die. It was an impossibility. However, the question that must meet the conditional hypothesis is this: If the “Anointment” of Yahweh were to come out of his body of flesh, allowing Jesus the man to die, then the Spirit of “Anointment” had to be “raised” from that body of flesh, making death be possible.”

The second half of this conditional then is Paul referring to himself, the Corinthian Christians and all Apostles [before and after, forever], as they were born without any divine Spirit from Yahweh possessing their souls, so all of their bodies of flesh were death waiting to happen. Thus, the “If – then” scenario is this: If is impossible for a dead body to be able to resurrect as a “Christ,” if the “Christ” of Jesus had not been raised from his body of flesh. The Christ of Jesus' flesh had to separate away from him [at death], so his soul could then be resurrected in the dead flesh animated by lost souls, transferring eternal life to that which was dead. That is the If that associates with resurrection of the dead.

With that condition set, Paul then stated another “if” scenario, which is not divinely elevated. It is a mundane “if,” because this condition is based on the first conditional “If” not being true. Here, Paul literally said: “if now a resurrection of a dead body not exists , not Christ has been raised .

This says the opposite of a Saint having received the “Anointment” of Yahweh, granting his or her soul eternal life [resurrection], such that “if not" so exists a “Christ,” then that dead flesh has not been raised as a “Christ.” This clearly says that the presence of “the Christ” – Yahweh’s “Anointment” of Holiness – is the only way to escape the guaranteed death that comes to a soul animating a body of flesh. There can be no eternal life promise to a soul-body that has not received this “Anointment” from Yahweh.

Paul then added another mundane condition, stating: “if now Christ not has been raised , empty therefore [kai] this preaching of us , empty kai this faith of you .” This says that “if their dead bodies made alive by souls alone have not been “Anointed” by Yahweh, they everything about them is empty of meaning. This importantly says their preaching the truth is empty words; and, importantly, that emptiness means they have no faith to pass onto others.” In that, the word "kai" is placed within brackets by Paul, which is a symbolic way of stating the conditional that says, "if one's soul is empty of the Christ, then preaching about it cannot be added." The brackets surrounding "kai" becomes symbolic of multiplication by zero, were zero is what is possible to be preached.

This says that without all of them having become “Christs,” there is absolutely zero way Christianity is true. That mundane conditional is only based on the assumption that there has been no “Christ raised” from Jesus’s dead body of flesh, so Jesus could be reborn in others – dead bodies of flesh – making them all become “Christs.” It is being "Anointed" by Yahweh that means eternal life "has been raised” in them.

Following that last scenario, where there is no “Christ” at all, Paul then wrote of a false ministry. His words written literally translate into English, saying “we have learned now kai false witnesses of this of God , since we have born witness according to of this of God , because he raised up this Christ , whom not he has raised if therefore a dead body not [it] raised .

In the last segment of words, Paul reconfirmed the first segments of words, by restating the negative “if” scenario as that which must be given as true, for the rest to also be true. If not having become a “Christ” of Yahweh [“raised” to know the promise of eternal life beyond death], then everything Paul and the Corinthian Christians said was “false witness.” Being a “witness” means having personal experience. Thus, if having been “raised as a Christ” is not personal experience witnessed, then everything they say is a lie against God. This is because everything they say is based on having the premise be that they are all led by God to speak His truth. If that is false, then they condemn their souls by speaking lies about a “Christ having been raised in dead bodies.”

In the sixteenth verse, Paul then wrote another ‘big IF,’ where the capitalization of “Ei” again divinely elevates the word to place focus on the condition of truth being met, relative to “Christ having been raised in a dead body” of flesh. Here, he wrote [literally]: “If indeed [those] dead bodies not [those] raised , not Christ has been raised .” In this, the truth says a dead body [a soul trapped within a body, giving it the appearance of life] cannot be “raised” to a state of eternal life [where death is impossible for a soul – i.e.: no more reincarnations into dead matter]. That transformation is impossible without the addition of the “Christ” in a soul, as Yahweh’s “Anointment” [which He does for all His wives].

In the seventeenth verse, Paul again returned to a mundane scenario – a condition of “if” – where he expounded on that condition of truth. Here, Paul literally wrote: “if now Christ not has been raised , useless this belief of you (exists) ; still you exist within these sins of you .” This says the truth is the “Christ has been raised in dead bodies,” but “if” this state is “not” to be the truth for one individual [a simple soul in a dead body], then there is no true faith, only “useless belief.” All “beliefs” based on religious principles [or anything else] can do and will do nothing to eliminate one’s existence within and the existence of “sins,” which surround “you” at all times. If not surrounded by the true “Christ,” then one is surrounded by the truth of “sins.”

In verse seventeen, Paul set the Greek word "estin" between parentheses. The word translates as "I am, exist." The parentheses take the existence of life and makes it unseen - the symbolism of parentheses identifying an aside. Thus, from saying "of you" ["autou"], a possessive state "of being," the true "existence" of life that is unseen is one's soul. A "Christ raised" is like a soul - invisible - but whereas a body shows signs of life, indicating a soul's presence, the Christ becomes an inward part "of you," as that invisible possessing Spirit that gains control over a soul.

From that set of truths, Paul then wrote in verse eighteen: “therefore kai those having died within Christ have been destroyed .” In this, the presence of “kai” [as always] announces the important conclusion that can be drawn from the truth of Christ having "been raised in dead bodies.” The important truth that follows having been raided by Yahweh’s “Anointment” says all death [a “nekron”] “has been destroyed” by that power that “raises” a soul from the sins of the flesh. All sins have “perished,” as far as having any further influence over a soul that Yahweh has “Anointed.” It says that a soul has to relinquish control over its body of flesh to receive the Christ presence; and, that means a self-ego must "die," in order to be reborn as the Son.

Thus, in verse nineteen, Paul was led to write, “if within this life here , within Christ having expectations [we] exist , merely , more to be desperate of all humanity we exist .” In the first segment of words, the word “life” [“zōē”] becomes a statement of one’s soul having been raised through the resurrection of Jesus’ soul, making one be reborn a “Christ.” The condition is now a statement that “if Christ, then expectations come” to one so “raised.” The “expectations” [from “ēlpikotes”] is ministry, as Jesus reborn, as a “Christ” of Yahweh.

The separation of one word between comma marks – “merely,” from “monon” – states one soul’s self-worth is no longer any motivating factor to consider, as “alone” or as “only” self is not why a dead body will have been “raised.” The “expectations," with none other to be considered, is to seek out “more to be desperate of all humanity,” who are those others still souls in dead bodies of flesh. Saints are “raised” as Jesus reborn to make others also be “raised” as “Christs.”

The twentieth verse is separated from the prior verses, because it is seen as the transitional verse that leads to the next section of the letter. The BibleHub calls this next section “The Order of Resurrection,” following these verses prior being named “The Resurrection of the Dead.” The NRSV uses that same initial heading, but does not name the verses after verse nineteen as anything new. Still, because BibleHub denotes a transition point of focus, the separation provided by the NRSV says they too recognize verse twenty as when Paul takes a new slant. The verse then says, “Now on top of this Christ has been raised out from dead bodies , first-fruits of those having death .

Here, this verse is begun by a capitalized “Nyni,” which means “Now” must be read as a divinely elevated statement of the truth having been determined that “dead bodies have been raised from being dead bodies, due to the truth of Yahweh’s Anointment.” This makes the word “Now” be a statement about the truth that Paul and the true Christians of Corinth knew personally at that time. That knowledge was they all were possessed by Yahweh, becoming His Christs, with each existing as a resurrection of the Jesus soul within them. The “Now” is still “Now,” as Christianity read it today. The divine elevation means "Now" is all times present when a soul existing in the world with the Christ raised within, such that "Now" is when the purpose ministry takes hold, representing the fruit of the vine of Christ has matured.

The last word in verse twenty is “kekoimēmenōn,” which was used similarly in verse eighteen, written as “koimēthentes.” These words are rooted in “koimaó,” which speaks metaphorically of “death,” as “sleep, fall asleep.” When Jesus was told of Lazarus being ill and near death, Jesus said he was "only sleeping,” when Jesus knew his flesh had died; but Jesus knew the soul awaited to be “raised” and returned to a body revived from death. Thus, Paul is saying the purpose of ministry is for those who “had fallen asleep within Christ” to awaken and go in ministry to others who have their souls “having death” to be “raised.” In this regard for ministry, Paul used the term “aparchē,” which translates as “first-fruits.”

The use of “first-fruits” is a reference to the unripe grains, fruits and vegetables gathers in omer measures [like a bushel], which were placed in the Temple of Jerusalem and held there for fifty days, at which time a high priest would then deem them fit to eat [on Shavuot, the Fiftieth Day or Pentecost]. It was on Pentecost Sunday that the disciples suddenly became Apostles and began spreading the message of truth, so souls in bodies of dead flesh could ‘awaken’ and be “raised” Spiritually. Thus, all of the first true Christians were likewise “first-fruits” that needed to preach the truth of the “Christ” to lost Jews [and Gentiles]. Thus, Paul would go on to use of the word “tagmata,” or “order” that was “of Christ,” meaning Christianity.

The problem people have with reading these verses and understanding what the heck Paul was writing about comes from people reading or hearing “Christ” and thinking that is the last name of Jesus. Thinking that makes everyone imagine Paul was demanding one believe that Jesus did die and resurrect; and, those who believe that become like Paul [et al]. That misses the point of each soul in a dead body of flesh needing to become Jesus reborn, because of marriage of a soul to Yahweh and becoming “raised in Christ” to be His Son Anointed again.

When Christianity today looks at itself seriously, then it has to conclude as Paul wrote mundanely, “There can be no resurrection of the dead, because Christ has not been raised.” That is the truth, because nobody is preaching as Christ raised [no Saints, no Apostles] the lesson that to be saved and gain eternal life with Yahweh. That lesson says one must be a Christ resurrected. Instead of teaching that truth, people laze about in pews, committing every sin under the sun, waiting for Jesus to come down on a cloud, with a fiery sword and destroy sin, while taking do-nothings to heaven. That was the state of failed religion that had Yahweh send His Son to save. That led to true Christianity; but then religious organizations cut the heads off true Saints; and, acts of that nature began the decline we so much enjoy today.

As a reading selected to be read aloud on the sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, the point made by Paul has to be seen by all who were indeed souls married to Yahweh, presented with His Son Jesus [on Christmas] and approved for intern ministry [the Epiphany], which now sees that ministry in need of being to preach to others how to do the same thing. Few people are doing that; so, fewer are thinking that is possible. It is time to get Christianity back on track and rolling towards the goal of true ministry.

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