Picture above: ‘Entwined: The human remains found by archaeologists in northern Italy.’


“…The find was unearthed by experts digging at a Neolithic site at a less than romantic industrial estate.  Scientists are to examine the skeletons to try to establish how old they were when they died and how long they have been buried.


One theory being examined is that the man was killed and the woman then sacrificed so that his soul would be accompanied in the after life.” …


“It’s possible,” said Elena Menotti, who lead the dig at Valdaro near Mantua in northern Italy, “that the man died first and then the woman was killed is sacrifice to accompany his soul.


“From an initial examination they appear young as their teeth are not worn down but we have sent the remains to a laboratory to establish their age at the time of death.


“They are face to face and their arms and legs entwined and are really hugging…


“An initial examination of the couple – dubbed the Lovers of Valdaro – revealed that the man (on the left in the picture) has an arrow in his spinal column while the woman has an arrow in her side…” (Daily Mail, Wednesday, February 7, 2007.)







By  D. M. Panton, B.A.






Our Lord reveals the exact nature of the resurrection body.  He does not quiet the Apostles’ fears by saying that there is no spirit-world; or that no apparition can appear; or that a spirit is necessarily invisible; or that a deceptive spirit cannot appear among Apostles in the very heart of the Church.*  What He does say is:- “Handle Me, and see for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, AS YE SEE ME HAVE” (Luke 24: 39): that is, feel My flesh ; and press it, so as to detect the bones beneath.  A spirit, He says who made all spirits, is fleshless and boneless; and it is Luke, the physician, who records this anatomy beyond the tomb.  It is exceedingly remarkable that in Ezekiel’s detailed analysis of what resurrection is–“I will lay sinews upon you [the naked, bones], and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin” (Ezek. 37: 6) - there is no mention whatever of blood.**



[* To say (with the Modernist and the Spiritualist) that resurrection is the liberating of the spirit from the body at the moment of death, is completely disproved by the fact that Christ rose on the third day – seventy-two hours after He had given up the ghost [spirit].



** “Nothing would have impressed upon Jews more forcibly the transfiguration of Christ’s body than the verbal omission of the element of blood, which was for them the symbol and seat of corruptible life” (Westcott).  So believers are united, not to His flesh and blood, but to His flesh and bones (Eph. 5: 30).  This is the key to the text on which the Modernist supremely rests.  Flesh and bones - for that is resurrection – can enter the Kingdom of God: flesh and blood - for that is our present humanity – cannot (1 Cor. 15: 50).  In the words of Augustine: “Whoso takes this so as to think that the earthly body such as we have now is by resurrection so changed into a heavenly body as that there will be no limbs nor substance of flesh, must doubtless be set right by reminding him of the Lord’s Body, Who appeared after resurrection in the same members, not only to be seen by the eyes, but also to be handled with the hands, and even proved Himself to have flesh by saying, ‘Handle Me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have’ (St. Luke 24: 39).  Whence it is plain that the Apostle did not deny that there will be the substance of flesh in the Kingdom of God  For the Modernist forgets the second half of the text: “Neither doth corruption inherit incorruption  So long as the body is in the grave, the spirit itself cannot enter the Kingdom of God: that is, the Kingdom is not the state beyond the grave, but the state beyond resurrection.]



Our Lord’s words are fearfully important.  They establish three facts: first, that resurrection is not the return of the dead spirit, or ghost, but a complete restoration of the man who died - spirit, soul, and body; secondly, that our Lord Himself now possesses, and will possess for ever, a body of flesh and bones ; thirdly, that so much critically turns upon this fact that He is more anxious than anyone else in the universe that we should know it, and understand it, and so gave the longest recorded interview after the resurrection to establishing this point alone.  The fact is most solemn; for it means that the body that sinned will be the body that is judged.  The eyes that lusted, the mouth that betrayed, the hand that forged, the feet that trampled its enemy’s face into gore - that body is coming again.  A new body will not be punished for sins it never did; nor can the old body escape the punishment it deserves.  A mouth can be for praise that is not for food, and hands for service, that are not for labour.  The crown of thorns was no figure, no phantom, and neither will be the many diadems.






The Holy Spirit is a dove that flies through Scripture and through nature on two wings.  Truth is often a balance of opposites.  Our Lord’s Body in the Upper Room - at first, in its new functions and powers, unrecognized, yet very soon, from its surviving scars, absolutely identified - is the prophecy, though not exactly the model (for He never corrupted) of the double entity which is resurrection.  “Who shall change this body of our humiliation” - not exchange it, much less annihilate it, but pass it under a profound transformation – “that it may be conformed to the body of His glory” (Phil. 3: 21).  Scylla and Charybdis are rocks on either hand which the [Holy] Spirit avoids: one, that the risen body is the exact corpse that was buried; and the other, that it is another body altogether: he who steers too clear of Scylla founders on Charybdis.  Christ’s [resurrected] body is the prophecy of ours.



Now Paul, under the guidance of the [Holy] Spirit, has seized on an analogy in nature which reveals the ground-plan of God.  The seed we sow answers the question put to the Apostle: “With what manner of body do they come  For what happens to the seed after burial?  It dissolves; and its husk, its material wrappings, disappear under the action of the earth’s moisture and heat; later on, its life-germs, which no biologist’s microscope or scalpel has ever disclosed, and which, though buried, do not perish, simultaneously shoot upward and downward; and lo, something breaks up forcibly out of the earth as startlingly different as a lily is unlike its bulb.  The husk never rises, the life-germ never dies;* the husk perishes, the life-germ comes up infinitely richer, with leaves, calyx, corolla.  The giant cedar produces a seed as minute as that of the smallest wayside weed, out of which its whole vast structure is evolved.  The lily is the very bulb that was sown, not another; yet the ugly, black, lifeless-looking bulb is replaced by white and gold: the new and lovely shoot is largely composed of entirely fresh particles of matter: the breathing leaves and the waxen petals live in the sunshine and the wind, in another world from that of the bulb.


[* Even life-germs as we know them are among the most indestructible of all things, flourishing in poisonous and corrosive substances, and surviving incredible temperatures of heat and cold.]


Therefore, also, in the identity of the seed and the plant lies a truth of awful significance.  Wheat, in the tomb, does not become barley, or barley change into wheat: there is no change, no second chance, in the grave: wheat comes up wheat, tares come up tares: what the seed falls, that it springs: yet how enormously different!  All the winter the bulb lies dead, an unsightly root, hidden in the earth: but they “that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake” (Dan. 12: 2), and “all that are in the tombs shall come forth” (John 5: 28, 29) - in the case of the saints, lillies springing out of the black earth, with a whiteness with which no fuller on earth can whiten.*


[* “Paul used the word kokkos - grain or berry.  The grain is not the vital part of the seed - (the sperma) - but the mere carrier of that; while in the process of germination (as the activity of the dormant powers of the germ are stimulated by atmospheric oxygen) the bulk of the kokkos undergoes decomposition (it perishes) in the presence of warmth and moisture, for its material to be used in the metabolism of the infant plant, from the moment that that begins to send out its ascending and descending shoots, and until these nascent organs acquire the functional power of assimilation of food material from the air and the soil” (A. Irving).]



For (in 1 Cor. 15: 42) “it is sown” - for the corpse is a seed entrusted to the earth to grow, exactly as a seed is; we sow, we do not bury – “in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonour” - physical dishonour, not moral – “it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness” - too weak even to resist the worm – “it is raised in power” - of a material that will never waste, and never wear: “it is sown a natural body” - an animal body – “it is raised a SPIRITUAL BODY” - as truly a body, but not as animal a body: “for there are heavenly bodies” - bodies made for heaven like our Lord’s, and the bodies of the saints that came out of the tombs (Matt. 27: 52, 53) - and “there are earthly bodies” - bodies made for the earth-life [only].  So, for the heavenly life [also], since this flesh “cannot inherit the Kingdom of God,” “we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor. 15: 51, 52).  We do not drop our bodies at the moment of rapture [or resurrection]; we take them.






We have seen, in the scarred Figure in the Upper Room, that our body to come is the same body that died: we have seen, in the magic transformation of the bulb into the lily, that it is a changed body: now, in the fall of a tent and the substitution of a mansion, we learn the startling truth that it is a new body.  “For we know,” says Paul, “that if the earthly house” - the animal, the earthly body – “of our tent” - the housing of the soul made of skin and hair-cloth – “be dissolved” - for dissolution only, not destruction, awaits this mortal frame – “we have a building” - more substantial than a tent, and replacing it: another creation altogether – “FROM GOD” (2 Cor. 5: 1) - no more from the birth of an earthly mother, nor yet from the tomb; no fragile collapsible tent, but a marble mansion from God - pure from the hands of the Most High in a fresh creation.  Our present body is also from God, but mediated through the human; the new body is not from my mother, who conceived me in sin, and brought me forth in visible frailty; the new body is the direct, unmarred workmanship of God, sinless, physically perfect, immortal.  The new body is “in the heavens”: it is nowhere said to be made out of the dust of the earth.  Paul sits weaving his tent-skins, so easily rent, so perishable; then he looks at the hands that weave - themselves the fragile tent-skins of the soul; and then he lifts his eyes and sees an indestructible mansion of the spirit  - [i.e., the re-clothed disembodied soul after its resurrection, (Acts 2: 31)] -  not woven with fingers, which human hands never built, and human hands can never destroy.  There will be no martyrdoms there.  For it is “eternal,” and “in the heavens”: a new, immortal, incorruptible, indissoluble, heaven born residence of the soul.  So therefore we groan, not to get rid of the body, but to get a better; a body in which prayer will not be a weariness, sin will not be an attraction, disease will not be a possibility, and death will not be the goal.  Literally “we are not willing to divest ourselves [of our fragile tent], but to put on [the indestructible dwelling] over it” (Alford); it is not the stripping off in the charnel-house that we yearn for, but the robing in the throne-room.  We have no desire, with the Spiritualist, to be a ghost; for to be simply disembodied is, for humanity, to be unclothed before God, decomposed, incapable of the complex joys of eternal life.  The Holy Spirit thus banishes for ever the pagan notion that the body is a disgrace, or itself the source of evil; and the monkish idea which used to address the living body as “this corpse”: what we yearn for is a new body, “longing to be clothed upon with our habitation which is from heaven”; not buried under the debris of the collapsible tent, but, like Enoch or Elijah, transmuted at once into the holy and the heavenly.



So Paul, in order to adjust together the many-faceted diamond of resurrection truth, now gives us the master-key in a single gorgeous phrase:- “THAT WHAT IS MORTAL MAY BE SWALLOWED UP OF LIFE”; absorbed and transmuted by glowing, glorious life in an utter, final, total abolition of death.  Here we get the junction of the two aspects of the truth.  In the germinating seed there is a life germ which survives, yet the great bulk of the plant is new: so “what is mortal” is not annihilated, nor dropped, but “swallowed up,” in absorption by the new body from God.  The tomb does not give up a resuscitated mummy, as the old Egyptians thought; but “God giveth it a body, and to each seed [each corpse] a body of its own  So then the risen body is the old, and yet it is the new: it is substantially physical, but it is functionally spiritual: it is not two bodies, but an absorption of that which issues from the tomb into that which descends out of the heavens.  All science is the advance of man’s mastery over matter, for the purposes of the soul: resurrection is a final and miraculous mastery of the body, for the purposes of the spirit.  Deep down in the bowels of the earth, by a process no mortal knows, and which, if it could be discovered, would make a chemist inconceivably wealthy, charcoal turns to diamond: the substance is the same, yet beyond conception different: the charcoal has been swallowed up of diamond. The softest of minerals in the bowels of the earth becomes the hardest and most durable - as well as most valuable - metal known.  So also is the resurrection of the dead.



*       *       *       *       *       *       *



What Manner of Man is This?


Jesus Christ was born in the meanest of circumstances, but the air above was filled with the hallelujahs of the heavenly host.  His lodging was a cattle pen, but a star drew distinguished visitants from afar to do Him homage.


His birth was contrary to the laws of life.  His death was contrary to the laws of death.  No miracle is so inexplicable as His life and teaching.


He had no cornfields of fisheries, but He could spread a table for over five thousand and have bread and fish to spare.  He walked on the waters and they supported Him.


His crucifixion was the crime of crimes, but, on God’s side, no lower price than His infinite agony could have made possible the redemption of His people.  When He died, just a few mourned, but a black crepe was hung over the sun.  Though men trembled not for their sins, the earth beneath shook under the load.  All nature honoured Him - [and will honour Him again, (Rom. 8: 19-21: cf. Isa. ch. 35.)]; sinners alone rejected Him.


Sin never touched Him.  Corruption could not get hold of His body.  The soil that had been reddened with His blood could not claim His dust.


About three years He preached the Gospel.  He wrote no book, built no meeting house, had no money behind him.  After nearly two thousand years, He is the one central character of human history, the perpetual theme of all true preaching, the pivot around which the events of the age revolve, the only Regenerator of human beings.


Was it merely the Son of Joseph and Mary who crossed the world’s horizon nearly two thousand years ago?  Was it merely human Blood that was spilled on Calvary’s hill for the redemption of sinners, and which has worked such wonders in man and nations through the centuries?


What thinking man can keep from exclaiming ‘My Lord and my God’?



- Keith L. Brooks.