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REAL FLESH! REAL BONES! REAL BLOOD! - PART I

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, June 13, 2010

“And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them” (Luke 24:41-43).


Oh, I know that the subject of this sermon might disturb some preachers! But they may not have studied the subject thoroughly, may not have meditated on verses about Christ’s resurrection long enough! Preachers ought to speak loud and clear on the central doctrines of the Christian faith, including the bodily resurrection of Christ.

I completely agree with Dr. Michael Horton that there are many people in our churches who believe in a “Gnostic” spirit-Christ. How I wish that every preacher in the English-speaking world would read his little book Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church (Baker Books, 2008). He is absolutely right when he says that many evangelicals have a ghostly, “gnostic” Christ, not the real flesh and bone Christ of the New Testament. No one can be saved by believing in “another Jesus” (II Corinthians 11:4). Only the bodily resurrected Christ can save a human soul, for the “gnostic” Christ is “another Jesus.”

But I would go farther than merely saying that the risen Christ had flesh and bones. Yes, I know very well that Jesus said,

“Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39).

But Jesus’ statement was not exhaustive. He did not explain in full detail all the facts about His resurrected body. Let me tell you why I believe that His risen body not only had flesh and bones, but also blood.

I believe Christ rose in a body of real flesh, bones and blood, because the plain teaching of the Bible demands that it be so! I have learned over the years to listen to the Scriptures and follow them. My long-time pastor and teacher, Dr. Timothy Lin, former professor of theology and Biblical languages at Bob Jones University, taught me to believe the Bible, and to stick closely to what it says.

The Bible plainly teaches that the same body of Jesus, that was buried in the tomb, rose from the dead. It was not a phantom or “ghost” that rose from the tomb. It was the very same Jesus who was buried there for three days after He died on the Cross. He rose from the dead in the same body that was buried.

When He rose from the dead, He rose physically. He said to the Disciples on that first Sunday,

“Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet” (Luke 24:39-40).

Now a flesh and bone body must necessarily still have quite a bit of blood in it.

I have been reading a medical book on the subject of bone marrow. Bone marrow is the second largest organ in the body. Dr. Chan is a practicing medical doctor here in Los Angeles. He gave me this medical book, Hoffman: Hematology, a book on human blood. In that book is a chapter titled, “Bone Marrow Examination,” by Dr. Daniel H. Ryan and Dr. Harvey J. Cohen. Dr. Ryan and Dr. Cohen said in that book,

After the skin, the bone marrow is the largest organ in the body. Our bone marrow contains about 1 trillion cells [with] approximately 200 billion red blood cells, 100 billion white blood cells, and 400 billion platelets (Hoffman: Hematology, Churchill, Livingstone, Harcourt, Brace and Co., 2005, p. 2656).

That book was published in 2005, and it is used right now, today, as a textbook on the study of medicine in many universities.

What do these medical facts about blood in human bone marrow tell us about the bones of the resurrected Christ? Remember that the risen Christ said to His Disciples,

“Handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39).

Here is the point – even though most of the Blood had been drained from Jesus’ body at the crucifixion, His bones still contained a large amount of Blood that would still have been in the marrow of His bones. There were still 200 billion red blood cells, 100 billion white blood cells, and 400 billion blood platelets inside the marrow of Christ’s bones when He rose from the dead! Plus all the blood in His bones, there was also quite a bit of Blood lodged in the organs of His Body, as well as the cells and tissues of His flesh, when He rose from the dead. One medical doctor estimated that about 20% of Jesus’ Blood remained in His Body when He was buried.

Dr. Norman L. Geisler, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary, said,

The orthodox view cannot be avoided by claiming that Jesus’ resurrected body had flesh and bones but not material flesh and blood (Norman L. Geisler, Ph.D., The Battle for the Resurrection, Wipf & Stock Publishers, 1992, p. 122).

Dr. Geisler believes that the resurrected Christ still had “material flesh and blood.”

Dr. Geisler said that the Biblical phrase “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (I Corinthians 15:50), in context, means mortal flesh and blood. According to Dr. Geisler, this phrase refers to flesh and blood that has not been resurrected. Dr. Geisler notes that  

a misunderstanding of this text has played a disastrous role in the New Testament theology of the last sixty years. The phrase in I Corinthians 15:50 refers to blood that has not been resurrected (ibid. p. 123).

Thus, according to Dr. Geisler, I Corinthians 15:50 can’t be used to show that Jesus’ flesh and bones, in His resurrected state, did not contain some resurrected Blood (ibid.). Therefore, since His flesh and bones still retained about 20% of His Blood, we conclude that His risen body still contained a certain amount of resurrected Blood.

This is not a “new” subject, nor is it an unimportant one. Our forefathers fought in the Fundamentalist/modernist controversy in favor of the literal “bodily” resurrection of Christ. But we have let this great doctrine slip away. We have let liberals like George Eldon Ladd, a former professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, tell us that Christ’s resurrection “was not a revivification of a dead corpse, returning to physical life” (Geisler, ibid., pp. 93-94). Why did he say "revivification" instead of "resurrection?"  They mean the same thing!  But he wanted to use a fancy word to hide what he believed from a layman that might read his book.  In simple English, Dr. Ladd said Christ rising from the grave, "was not a resurrection of a dead body."  That is wrong!  That is not what the Bible teaches, nor is it what Christians have believed across the centuries!  That is exactly what our forefathers meant by the “bodily” resurrection of Jesus. The dead corpse of Jesus did return to physical life!

Let us not discount what Dr. John R. Rice said about this subject. Dr. Rice was a wise man who believed the Bible, and was always very careful to follow the literal meaning of Scripture, to the best of his ability. In his comments on Luke 24:36-45 Dr. Rice said,

He ate before them and assured their doubting hearts. This is Jesus risen from the dead, with His flesh-and-blood body… Because Jesus here mentioned that they could feel His flesh and bones but did not mention blood, some people have thought that our [Christians’] resurrection bodies will have no blood. True, I Corinthians 15:50 says that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” But the verse continues, “Neither doth corruption inherit incorruption”…That does not mean that flesh cannot enter the kingdom in the resurrected bodies…Since Jesus ate literal, physical food, there is every reason to believe that the physical processes of digestion were carried on and that the body that had flesh and bones, also had blood to carry on these natural processes…After His resurrection the body of Jesus was a flesh-and-bone body, with normal processes. It was a body that could eat and digest food, a body one could feel (John R. Rice., D.D., The Son of Man: A Verse-by-Verse Commentary on the Gospel According to Luke, Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1971, pp. 556-557).

“And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them” (Luke 24:41-43).

Now there are two very important points that come from this.

1.  The flesh and blood of all true Christians will be resurrected, as was the flesh and Blood of Jesus. The Apostle Paul said,

“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:20-21).

Thus the Apostle Paul tells us that our “vile” bodies will be “fashioned like unto his glorious body” – that is, we will have resurrected bodies, with flesh, bones, and blood, as did His “glorious body.” We will not be “ghosts” or “spirits.” No, the resurrected bodies of true Christians will “be changed” when they are resurrected into “incorruptible” and “immortal” bodies, changed to be like Christ’s resurrected body (see I Corinthians 15:51-53). I am glad that is so.  We will recognize our departed loved ones, as Moses and Elijah were recognized at the Transfiguration!  We will recognize Christian loved ones who have died because they will have risen, just as Jesus did, in the same resurrected bodies that died!  
      The Apostle John said more on this subject when he told us,

“We know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is”
      (I John 3:2).

At the resurrection, Christians “shall be like him,” like Christ was when He was with the Disciples on that first Sunday, when He said,

“Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them”
      (Luke 24:41-43).

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus said that He would eat and drink with them "in the kingdom of God."

“With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come” (Luke 22:15-18).

      Thus, at the Last Supper, Christ told the Disciples that He would eat and drink with them in the coming Kingdom. Again, in Luke 22:30, Jesus told them that they would “eat and drink at my table in my kingdom.” This means that their resurrected bodies would need to have "blood to carry on these natural processes" of digestion, as Dr. Rice said (ibid.).  Dr. Rice said, “There will be fluids in the bodies of resurrected Christians, as in the body of Jesus, for Jesus said, ‘I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come’” (Rice, ibid., p. 558).
      I am glad that we will not be “ghosts” or “spirits” in Christ’s coming Kingdom! I am glad that we will have real resurrected bodies, like His, bodies of flesh and bone, and blood, capable of sitting down and eating and drinking with Jesus in the future Kingdom, when He comes back to reign over the earth, capable of sharing in that Great Supper with Him and the Disciples, and all other true Christians, to “eat and drink” with them in that great feast of celebration (Luke 22:30)! What a blessed hope that is for every true Christian!

“And he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them” (Luke 24:41-43).

But there is another great lesson for us here, one that we should think about often.

2.  The Blood of Jesus is now in Heaven! At least the Blood in His bones and flesh had to be resurrected and ascend with Him back to Heaven. Dr. Rice and many others go farther, as I do, and say that He took with Him the Blood that drained from His body on the Cross as well.  Dr. Rice said, “He was on his way to present the sacred blood in Heaven” (John R. Rice, D.D., The Son of God: A Verse-by-Verse Commentary on the Gospel According to John, Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1976, p. 393). 

      This much is certain if we take the Bible seriously - at least the Blood that remained in His flesh and in His bone marrow is now in Heaven.  There should be no questioning of that if one believes in His bodily resurrection.  However, there are several modern teachers, like George Eldon Ladd and John MacArthur, who say that Christ's Blood is not in Heaven.  I think they are wrong because the Bible specifically tells us that Jesus’ Blood is in Heaven, 

“But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling” (Hebrews 12:22-24).

The Bible tells us in Hebrews 12:22-24 that the Blood of Jesus is one of the things that are in Heaven. It was borne up, translated, resurrected into Heaven, along with His flesh and bone body – just as the body and blood of Enoch (Hebrews 11:5) and the body and blood of Elijah (II Kings 2:11) were resurrected into Heaven. C. H. Spurgeon said,

      When we climb into Heaven itself…we shall not have gone beyond the Blood of sprinkling; nay, we shall see it there more truly present than any other place. “What!” you say, “the blood of Jesus in Heaven?” Yes! Let those who talk lightly of the precious blood correct their view ere they be guilty of blasphemy…For me there is nothing worth thinking of or preaching about but this grand theme. The Blood of Christ is the life of the gospel (C. H. Spurgeon, “The Blood of Sprinkling,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1975 reprint, volume 32, p. 121).

Spurgeon said that Christ’s Blood is in Heaven in several other sermons as well, with statements such as, “the blood is there, interceding for us perpetually” (“The Saviour’s Precious Blood,” MTP, #3,395).
      We have given 15 witnesses to Christ’s Blood in Heaven in our book Preaching to a Dying Nation by R. L. Hymers, Jr., D.Min., and Christopher Cagan, Ph.D. You can order it by sending $15.00 and asking for it by name, to P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. Among those who said that Christ’s Blood is now in Heaven were Chrysostom (5th century), John Calvin (16th century), Matthew Henry (18th century), Charles Wesley (18th century), The Scofield Study Bible (20th century), Dr. John R. Rice (20th century), and Dr. J. Vernon McGee (20th century). Dr. McGee said,

 His Blood is even now in heaven, and throughout endless ages it will be there to remind us of the awful price Christ paid to redeem us (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983, vol. 5, p. 560).

I am so glad that I have a real Gospel to preach to you this morning! Christ really died on the Cross to pay the full penalty for your sin. Christ really rose physically – His flesh rose! His bones rose! The Blood in His bone marrow and cells rose! He really rose from the dead! And because He really lives, at the right hand of God, you can come to Him. And when you come to Him, He will really pardon your sin, and He will give you a real new birth, a real conversion, and real eternal life. It’s all real, my friend! Come to the real Jesus and He will give you a real conversion!

“And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them”
     (Luke 24:36-43).

That is the real Jesus! Come to Him and He will save you for all time, and for all eternity!  Stand and sing the chorus, "Are You Washed in the Blood?" 

Are you washed in the blood,
    In the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless?  Are they white as snow?
    Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
(“Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lamb?”
    by Elisha A. Hoffman, 1839-1929). 

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Luke 24:36-43.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Alive Again” (by Paul Rader, 1878-1938).