Was Jesus put to death in the flesh?

This article will take the form of a simulated discussion between a Jehovah's Witness named Joe and a Christian named Chris.

Chris: Hello Joe, I'm glad that you came back. Did you bring an answer to my question from last week? You remember that I asked you how Jesus could be a spirit creature when the Bible prophesies that Jesus as a man would sit on David's throne, that as a man he would continue his role as mediator and as a man he would judge the world.

Joe: My answer is that Jesus couldn't be a man because the Bible says that he was put to death in the flesh and made alive in the spirit.

Chris: Do you believe that the Bible contradicts itself?

Joe: No. We believe that the Bible is God's inspired word.

Chris: But Joe, you have given me another verse as if it contradicts the scripture that I shared with you last week. If you believe that the Bible is God's word then you need to explain the contradictions between what the Watchtower teaches and what the Bible clearly says.

Joe: Well I don't have an explanation for the scriptures that you gave me about how Jesus must be a man to be mediator, judge and king, but I would like you to explain to me 1 Peter 3:18.

Chris: Do you believe that 1 Peter 3:18 contradicts historic Christianity's belief that Jesus was resurrected as a man?

Joe: Of course. 1 Peter 3:18 is very clear that Jesus was not resurrected a man, but a spirit being.

Chris: This verse says "Christ suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the Spirit." We both agree that Jesus died physically but the real question is, what does "in the Spirit" mean?

Joe: It's obvious that it means that he was made alive as a spirit.

Chris: Joe, the Bible doesn't say that Jesus was made alive as a spirit, but rather made alive in the spirit. Do you believe that the apostle John was a spirit when he wrote the book of Revelation?

Joe: Of course not, he was a man.

Chris: But the Bible uses the same word for the Apostle John as it does for Jesus. It says in Revelation 4:2 "Immediately I was in the Spirit". If John was in the spirit, did he give up his flesh and become a spirit being?

Joe: Well, no. Our Bible says in Rev. 4:2 "I immediately came to be in [the power of the] spirit". John didn't become a spirit creature, he was under the power of holy spirit.

Chris: You're right Joe. That's exactly what it means. In fact this same word is translated in your New World Translation the same way in Rev. 17:3 "And he carried me away in [the power of the] spirit" and Rev. 21:10 "So he carried me away in [the power of the] spirit". This is what historic Christianity has always said that 1 Peter 3:18 means. "He was put to death by the weakness of the human flesh but made alive in [or by the power of] the spirit." In fact Romans 8:11 says that it is the spirit of God that raised Jesus from the dead. None of these verses contradict the fact that Jesus was raised as an immortal man, instead they verify that he was raised by the power of the spirit.

Joe: I've never looked at it that way before. What were those scriptures in the New World Translation again?

Chris: Revelation 4:2, Revelation 17:3, Revelation 21:10 and Romans 8:11.

Joe: I will have to look at that again. But I don't see how Jesus could be a man when 1 Corinthians 15 says that flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Chris: That's a great passage! Can you come back next week so we can talk about 1 Corinthians 15?

Joe: Sure I'd like that.


Go to Part 3 Answering Jehovah's Witnesses on 1 Corinthians 15?

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