Chapter 7: The Nature of Christ After His Resurrection

In this chapter we will examine the nature of Christ after His resurrection. We will show that He takes back the things He emptied Himself of to become man.

First consider Jn 20:28.

Jn 20:28 Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"

In Jn 20:28 we see Thomas addressing Jesus to be His God, and Jesus accepting that worship and claim, clearly showing that Jesus retained divinity after the resurrection.

Next, consider Col 1:15-20.

Col 1:15-20 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

Col 1:15-20 talks about the nature of Christ before He became man (Col 1:15-17) and after He died on the cross (Col 1:18-20). It does not talk about His nature while He was on earth.

I say this because Col 1:15-17 talks about the creation of the universe, which happened before He was man, and Col 1:18-20 talks about things that happened after He died – His resurrection from the dead and the existence of the church. There, in verse 19, Paul talks about what happened after the resurrection. Specifically, it mentions that He was raised to have all the fullness of deity to dwell in Him. From this we know that Jesus was fully God after the resurrection.

Note how it says that it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him. This indicates that there was a time when the fullness didn’t dwell in Him (referring to the time when Jesus was a man on earth) and the Father had to decide whether to allow it. Recall how Jesus asked the Father in Jn 17:5 to glorify Him with the glory He once had? Col 1:19 tells us that the Father answered Jesus’ prayer.

Paul repeats this thought in Col 2:9-10.

Col 2:9-10 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;

Here too, the reference is to Jesus after the resurrection, as we can see from verse 10. We were made complete after Jesus went and we received the Holy Spirit. Further, Jesus became the head over all rule and authority after the resurrection, which we also see from Mt 28:18 and Eph 1:19-23.

Mt 28:18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth."

Eph 1:19-23 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

We see a similar thing in Heb 1:1-4.

Heb 1:1-4 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.

In verse 4, from ‘having become better than the angels’ and ‘when He had made purification of sins’ we know that the context is post resurrection. That is when He received all authority and sat down at the right hand of the Father and was the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature. He was not upholding all things by the word of His power while He was a man on earth.

Finally, consider Is 9:6.

Is 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

This verse ties Jesus, who became man, to being called (in the future) mighty God and eternal Father – symbols of a being who is fully God. I say that this refers to the future (with respect to His coming to earth) because the government didn’t rest on His shoulders while He was on earth.

So we see that Jesus became fully God once again after His resurrection and ascension.

However, this didn’t happen immediately upon the resurrection. This is because we know that no one can see God (in His fullness) and live, and yet Jesus appeared to many people after His resurrection and they lived to tell the tale.

1 Cor 15:3-8 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.

These appearances are in stark contrast to how John writes in Revelation 1 concerning how he saw Jesus while he was at Patmos.

Rev 1:10-18 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, saying, "Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea." Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades."

John’s portrayal is a fuller version what was revealed at the transfiguration.

Mt 17:2 And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.

Mk 9:2-3 Six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, and brought them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them.

Lk 9:28-29 Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming.

So clearly, He was not fully God before He ascended to heaven. The Father was still His God, as He mentions in Jn 20:17. A being who is fully God does not have another God above Him.

Jn 20:17 Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God’."

In fact, this post-resurrection-but-pre-glorification state of Christ is the same state as a glorified man (spirit + knowledge of good and evil + access to the tree of life). He had a new body and no flesh – that is, He had a body that could not be tempted. At this point He had not yet taken upon all the divine attributes that He emptied Himself out of when we was a man, and the Father was still His God (Jn 20:17).

At His glorification, which was after His ascension to heaven, Jesus received from the Father the glory that He had before the world was (Jn 17:5, Col 1:19, Col 2:9). After that point Jesus was fully God. That is why, when John sees Jesus in the book of Revelation he sees something very different from what he saw while He was on the earth, even after His resurrection (except for the transfiguration).

At that point, He was no longer man but fully God. However, some people think that Jesus was still fully man after the resurrection, and use 1 Tm 2:5-6 to support their claim.

1 Tm 2:5-6 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.

But what did Jesus mediate? It was the New Covenant. We see that from Heb 8:6.

Heb 8:6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.

And when did that mediation occur? The mediation (of the New Covenant) occurred at the time the ransom was made (i.e. at His death) – while Jesus was still fully man – not after His resurrection. That was the testimony at the proper time (i.e. the time of His death). No one mediates a covenant after it is in effect, right?

The death of Jesus initiated the New Covenant, and the terms of the covenant were finalized by that time. Therefore, we cannot say that 1 Tm 2:5-6 refers to Jesus after the resurrection.

In summary, after His resurrection, Jesus was Spirit and had the knowledge of good and evil and could live forever. After His ascension, the glory He had before the world began was returned to Him and the fullness of deity dwelt in Him once again.

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