Wednesday: Shedding the Tent

“Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me” (2 Pet. 1:13-14, NKJV).

In 1956, Oscar Cullmann wrote a short study called Immortality of the Soul or Resurrection of the Dead?:


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The Witness of the New Testament. He argued that the concept of the resurrection is quite incompatible with the concept of the immortal soul. Furthermore, he said that the New Testament lies squarely on the side of the resurrection of the dead.

“No other publication of mine,” he later wrote, “has provoked such enthusiasm or such violent hostility.”

Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-57. What does Paul imply happens in death?

A study of what the New Testament says about death and resurrection has convinced most New Testament scholars that Cullman was correct. The New Testament indeed assumes the concept of resurrection, not the concept of an immortal soul that survives the death of the body. For example, in

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, Paul urges those who have lost loved ones to death to be comforted with the knowledge that when Jesus returns again, He will raise the dead. In

1 Corinthians 15:12-57, Paul gives an extended description of resurrection. He begins by pointing out that Christian faith is based on the resurrection of Jesus. If Jesus was not raised, then any faith in Him is futile. But, says Paul, Christ has indeed risen from the dead, as the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. And Christ’s resurrection from the dead makes it possible for all those in Him to rise from the dead, as well.

Paul talks about the resurrection body in 1 Corinthians 15:35-50. He contrasts the new bodies we will receive in the resurrection with our present bodies. What we have now will die; what we will have in the resurrection never will.

In summary, when the New Testament talks about death, it does so in terms of resurrection, not immortality of the soul. This is important to know as a background to reading 2 Peter 1:12-14.

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons