Dying and Rising With Christ 2 Corinthians 4:10-12
In this study we examine further the relationship of dying and rising with Christ. Most futurist and some Preterists see the physical body paradigm of resurrection in 2 Corinthians 5. Our study will examine that premise as we walk through the context of 2 Corinthians to demonstrate that Paul’s view of the resurrection did not entail a body rising from the ground.
The most common approach is to look at the persecutions of 2 Cor. 4:8-9 and read into them the meaning that this is the spring board for individual bodily resurrection in the remainder of chapter 4 all the way through to chapter 5. We critique that view beginning with those verses.
In Tribulations and Persecutions But Not Crushed or Destroyed
Ch. 4:8-9 do speak of the persecution but rather than saying they’re dying from it, the text says they’re “not crushed” and not (appollumenoi) i.e. not destroyed or killed. So, this text is not teaching they were physically dying but the very opposite. In fact every time Paul mentions his afflictions in 8-9, he makes it a point that they are not life-ending. Some have even argued for the corporate nature of these trials.
This brings us to the question of what exactly does he mean by the carrying about in the body, the “dying of Lord Jesus”. In the broader context of ch. 3, Paul mentioned dying to the Old Covenant ministry of death, the old aeon. Jesus died to this aeon through his death on the cross. He wasn’t simply dying but was being crucified to the world of Moses, the aeon of death and condemnation.
In Luke 9:31, at the Mt. of Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah spoke with the Christ about his “exodus” which he would accomplish at Jerusalem. In other words, he was about to leave the world “below”, the Old Covenant world into which he was born (Gal. 4:4), -the world of the flesh and enter the world of the Spirit. (See Rom. 1:3-4; 1 Pet. 3:18). Christ was put to death “in the flesh” but made alive “in the Spirit”. These are covenantal spheres.
Hence, Paul, in being crucified with Christ, was also dying to that Old Covenant world, (Gal. 6:14). “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Note the connection in the next verse which speaks of circumcision vs uncircumcision which defined and characterized that world, but in the new Messianic world/age, of Christ neither mattered, since it was a “new creation”. “For neither circumcision avails anything nor uncircumcision but a new creation.” (Gal. 6:15)
For this reason, Christ was no longer known after the flesh, (2 Cor. 5:16). He no longer belonged to that world. That is the world Paul was dying to through the Spirit until all was fulfilled and it passed away. That is the “dying of Jesus” in his body that he lived out daily (Phil. 3:7-8).
In contrast, the “life of Jesus” was the life in the new creation which was progressively being revealed through the Spirit and the fulfillment of all things written. Thus, Paul taught the Romans, “do not be conformed to “this age” [of Moses] and the “dead sacrifices of Judaism, but to present their bodies as “living sacrifices” transformed through the renewing of the minds (Rom. 12:1-2). This is how the “life of Jesus” of the New Covenant aeon, was being manifested in their “mortal flesh”.
The reason “this” death was working in Paul, i.e. the Jews is because they were under aeon of death, i.e. the law of Moses and working their way out of it. The Gentiles were not allowed to follow and hence were not subject to the law, so “life” was working in them apart from the law. Therefore, Paul and company who were not physically dead, expressed his full confidence in that outworking through the Spirit. He wrote: “Knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.” (4:14). See 1 Cor. 6:14, where this would be accomplished through the Spirit.
Summarily, the Jews would be raised out of that body of death and saved by “grace” through faith apart from the law, just as the Gentiles, (Acts 15:10-11; Gal. 3:14). Concerning Israel, God said, he would sow them unto him in the earth, Hos. 2:23.
Temple Typology of Dying and Rising in 2 Corinthian Chapter 4
That continues the theme of the temple typology, the Old Covenant being the “holy place” and the new temple-kingdom (house not made with hands) being the new life in Christ, who is our true temple (John 4:23-24; Rev. 21:22) that was being put on through the Spirit and would be consummated at the Parousia.
As Jonah cried out to the Lord from the prison bars of the great fish, “When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; and my prayer went up to you, into your Holy temple.” (Jonah 2:7)
Following this same temple typology through to chapter 6:16-18, takes us back to Ezk. 37, and the resurrection, Israel’s regathering in the last days, the Messianic David, the New covenant, and sanctuary (temple) set in the midst of the people of God.
That is the context. That is resurrection. That is the “body” of chapter 5. That is the resurrection. That was Paul’s salvation that was imminent so that he said, behold NOW is the acceptable time, Behold NOW is the Day of Salvation. (2 Cor. 6:1-12)