1 Corinthians 15 – The Resurrection & Baptism for the Dead

Being baptism and salvation are not the same, we cannot be saved through mere baptism, nor is baptism need to be saved.

We are saved only through the Jesus Christ.

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

No one can be baptized by another person or even by prayers and be saved.  True baptism can only come from the Holy Ghost and that comes by believing in Jesus:

“I [John the Baptist] indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he [Jesus] that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize  you with the Holy Ghost and with fire” (Matt 3:11).

“Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 11:16).

Also, once we are dead we can’t change our beliefs and be baptized:

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27).

“And it came to pass, that the beggar died and was carried by the angles into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died and was buried;

And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments and seeth Abraham afar off, Lazarus in his bosom.

Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:

And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Lk 19:22-23, 27, 31 , see Lk 19:19-31).

The story directly above also explains that before Jesus came everyone that died went to the Hell, but they were separated. 

The believers went to a place called “Abraham’s Bosom” and the non-believers went to Hades.  They were separated, but could see each other.

When Jesus was crucified I believe He went to hell and took the dead believers to heaven and now that is where all believers go when they die, but the non-believers still go to hell. 

I cannot find any scripture in the Bible that specificaly states that, but all scriptures imply it.  Possibly the best one would be 1 Pet 3: 18-22.

Jesus did say that He was the king of death and hell and I would think for Him to defeat hell He would have to go there first.

“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Rev 1:18).

It must be understood that being Baptized in water is not the same as being baptized by Jesus Christ, i.e., being filled withthe Holy Ghost by true belief in Jesus.  

The Catholics sprinkle water on babies saying they are baptized, this is not true all the Catholics are doing for the baby is getting it wet.

Tomorrow we will look at…

1 Corinthians 15
The Resurrection

Mormon baptisms for the dead are performed in a section of Mormon temples called the baptistery.
The baptismal font is modeled after the laver in Solomon’s ancient temple.

It stands symbolically upon the backs of twelve oxen, representing the twelve tribes of Israel.

Youth over the age of 12 may be baptized for the dead, after interviewing with their bishop (congregational leader) to be sure they are worthy to enter the temple.

Baptism is by immersion for the remission of sins. The person baptized, then receives by proxy the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.

The baptistery of the temple is always on the basement level. The water in which a person is baptized is always below ground to represent the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and the death of the old, sinful person and rebirth as a new person in Christ.

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

“Believed in vain” – if you are not persevering in the Christian faith, this is an evidence that you did not have saving faith in the first place (Judas Iscariot, who eventually showed that he was not a true believer).

Many people get confused in what believing in Jesus means.  Believing in Jesus is more than just believing in His existence, saying you believe and then hanging out at the bar and getting drunk does not work.

For example, believing in the rising of the sun is just that, your belief, you have no control over it, only God does.

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

“James” – this is not James son of Zebedee or James son of Alphaeus (Matt 10:2-3), but the half-brother of Jesus (remember they have different fathers).  This James did not believe in who Jesus was until after the resurrection (Jn 7:5).

8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

“One born out of due time” – remember Paul was not part of the original group of apostles.  He had not lived with Christ as the others had.  His entry into the apostolic office was not at the same time as the others.

Furthermore, at his conversion he was abruptly snatched from his former way of life (Acts 9:3-6).

9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

Baptism for the Dead
from John MacArthur What will those do who are baptized for the dead?

If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them? (1 Cor 15:29).

This verse is one of the most difficult in all of Scripture, and has many legitimate possible interpretations; it has also, however, been used to support many strange and heretical ideas.

The careful and honest interpreter may survey the several dozen interpretations offered and still not be dogmatic about what it means.

But we can be dogmatic, from the clear teaching of other parts of Scripture, about some of the things it does not mean.

As to what this verse does mean, we can only guess, since history has locked it into obscurity.

We can be sure, for example, that it does not teach vicarious, or proxy, baptism for the dead, as claimed by ancient gnostic heretics such as Marcion and by the Mormon church today.

Paul did not teach that a person who has died can be saved, or helped in any way, by another person’s being baptized in his behalf.

Baptismal regeneration, the idea that one is saved by being baptized, or that baptism is in some way necessary for salvation, is unscriptural.

The idea of vicarious baptismal regeneration is still further removed from biblical truth.

If a person cannot save himself by being baptized, he certainly cannot save anyone else through that act.

Salvation is by personal faith in Jesus Christ alone. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8; cf. Rom. 3:28; etc.).

That is the repeated and consistent teaching of both the Old and New Testaments.

Quoting from Genesis 15:6, Paul says, “For what does the Scripture say? ‘And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness’ ” (Rom. 4:3).
The only way any person has ever come to God is by personal faith.

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

15:12-19 – some at Corinth were saying that there was no resurrection of the body and Paul draws a number of conclusions from this false contention.  If the dead do not rise from the grave, then:

(1) “is Christ not risen” (v. 13)
(2) “is our preaching vain” (v. 14)
(3) “your faith is also vain” (v. 14)
(4) we are “false witnesses” that God raised Christ from the dead (v. 15)
(5) “your faith is vain” (v. 17)
(6) “ye are yet in your sins” (v. 17) and still carry the guilt and condemnation of sin(7) “they also which are fallen asleep [have died] in Christ are perished”(v. 18)
(8) “we are…most miserable” who “in this life only…have hope in Christ” (v. 19) and put up with persecution and hardship.

13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.

21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

23 But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

“Every man in his own order” – Christ, the first fruits, was raised in His own time in history (c. 30 A.D.), and those who are identified with Christ by faith will be raised at His second coming.  His resurrection is the pledge that ours will follow.

24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

“The end” – the second coming of Christ and all the evens accompanying it.  This includes His handing over the kingdom to the Father, following His destroying all dominion, authority and power of the persons and forces who oppose Him.

25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.

“For he must reign” – some take this to mean that Christ will literally reign with His saints for 1,000 years on the earth (cf. Isa 2:2-4; Mic 4:1-5). 

History of Baptism
Baptism, whether by immersion or sprinkling, is a very old religious ritual of many religions. It has never been an exclusively Christian ritual.

Hindus have been practicing baptism for 4000 years. As part of their religious purification rites they are immersed in a river or sprinkled with water.

Babylonian, Egyptian and Roman religions also practiced ritual purification ceremonies as is proved by both archeology and ancient literature.

Apuleius, a Roman writer who lived in the 2nd century, wrote of:

“the ancient Roman initiation that was preceded by a normal bath and then a ceremonial sprinkling by the priest of Isis.” [one of the false goddesses].

He said that the ritual of sprinkling and cleansing with water in ancient times was:

“a kind of voluntary death and salvation through divine grace.” (Apuleius 120-180 AD, Metamorphosis, Book 11, 21).

More importantly, Judaism had a number of cleansing and purification rites including baptism (called tevilah in Hebrew).

Water played an important role in their ceremonies and regulations, including immersion in water and sprinkling with water (Ex. 29:4; Lev. 15:13; 16:24; 17:15,16; Num. 8:7; 19:7,8; Deut. 23:11).

John’s baptism was nothing new to the Pharisees or to the Jews. They were very familiar with what we call “baptism”.

In their religion full body immersion (tevilah) had to be done in the running water of a river (called “living water”) or in a mikveh (baptismal pool of rain water in the temple).

It was not a bath for washing in, it was seen as a symbolic immersion for spiritual cleansing, conversion and renewal.

All Gentiles who wanted to become Jews had to go through tevilah/baptism. To this day converts to Judaism are still required to be baptized in a “mikveh”.
Ancient mikveh ruins (left) mikveh in the Jerusalem temple (centre) and a modern Jewish mikveh (right).

By the 2nd century the “church fathers” believed and taught that you were not saved unless you were baptized with water:

“The prescript is laid down that ‘without baptism, salvation is attainable by none’ chiefly on the ground of that declaration of the Lord, who says, ‘Unless one be born of water, he hath not life.'” (Tertullian 140-230AD, On Baptism, Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3, pg. 674-675).

In other words, the church was necessary for salvation! Baptism was put in the place of Christ, because salvation was viewed as being brought about by water baptism (a work of man) rather than only by faith and trust in Jesus and what He has done.

They simply replaced the rituals and laws of the Old Testament with a set of their own:

“But when the time began to draw near… that the Prophet should appear, of whom he had foretold that He should warn them by the mercy of God to cease from sacrificing; lest haply they might suppose that on the cessation of sacrifice there was no remission of sins for them He instituted baptism by water amongst them, in which they might be absolved from all their sins on the invocation of His name.” (Clement, “Recognitions of Clement,” Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 8, pg. 88, emphasis mine).

Due to this belief that being baptized was necessary for salvation, it was a logical conclusion that the earlier you were baptized, and therefore saved, the better – and so infant baptism was introduced. Infant baptism (christening) had been a practice of pagan religions for a long time before it was practiced in the church; sprinkling the baby in pagan religions was supposed to cleanse it from being born in sin and free it from the devil.

Some claimed that:
“The Church received from the apostles the tradition of giving baptism even to infants. For the apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of divine mysteries, knew that there is in everyone the innate stains of sin, which are washed away through water and the Spirit” (Origen 248AD, Commentaries on Romans 5:9).

Others believe that this refers to Christ’s reign over the course of history and in the lives of His people, who are spiritually raised or born again.  This “spiritual” reign is viewed as occurring during the present age.

I believe that latter of the two is correct, but nobody knows for sure, nor does it really matter because I know that however it will be will be great. 

We have nothing to worry about and much to look forward to.  We can’t even begin to imagine how great things will be:

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for tem that love him” (1 Cor 2:9).

26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

This destruction of death will occur at the end of the second coming events after Christ conquers His enemies (Rev 19:11-12, 20:5-14), at the great white throne judgment (when death and Hades/Hell will be thrown into the lake of fire).

Nobody in the history of time will die, every soul God created will live forever, but where they will live depends on the person – Heaven or Hell.

27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.

28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him that God may be all in all.

“The Son also himself be subject unto him” – the Son will be made subject to the Father in the sense that administratively, after He subjects all things to His power, He will then turn it all over to God the Father, the administrative head.

This is not to suggest that the Son is in anyway inferior to the Father.  All three persons of the Trinity are equal in deity and in dignity (1 Jn 5:7).  The subordination referred to is one of function. 

The Father is supreme in the Trinity; the Son carries out the Father’s will (e.g., in creation, redemption): the Spirit is sent by the Father and the Son to vitalize life, communicate God’s truth, apply His salvation to people and enable them to obey God’s will or word.

This is somewhat confusing and it makes us wonder why God made things the way He did, but we can’t imagine how intelligent He is so we just live by faith and trust Him fully.  At least that’s what intelligent people do.

29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?

“They…which are baptized for the dead” – the present tense suggests that at Corinth people were currently being baptized for the dead.  But because Paul does not give any more information about that practice, many attempts have been made to interpret the concept.

Three of these are:

1. Living believers were being baptized for believers who died before they were baptized, so that they too, in a sense, would not miss out on baptism.
2. Christians were being baptized in anticipation of the resurrection of the dead.
3. New converts were bring baptized to fill the ranks of Christians who had died.

At any rate, Paul mentions this custom almost in passing, using it in his arguments substantiating the resurrection of the dead, but without necessarily approving the practice.  Probably the passage will always remain obscure.

30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?

31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die.

“I have fought with beasts at Ephesus” – this statement can be taken literally or figuratively.  But since from Acts 19 we have no evidence of Paul suffering imprisonment and having to face the lions, it is more likely that the expression means that the enemies in Ephesus were as ferocious as wild beasts.

33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

A quotation from the Greek comedy Thais written by the Greek poet Mendander, whose writings the Corinthians would know. 

The application of the quotation is that those who are teaching that there is no resurrection (v. 12) are the “bad company,” and they are corrupting the “good morals” of those who hold to the correct doctrine.

34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

“Sin not” – the sin of denying that there is a resurrection and thus doubting even the resurrection of Christ, all of which had a negative effect on the lives they were living.

35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?

15:35-49 – in discussing the nature of the resurrection body, Paul compares it to plant life (vv. 36-38), to fleshly beings (v. 39) and to celestial and earthly physical bodies (vv. 40-41).

36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:

37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:

38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

If Romney would have won the presidency he’d be having all the dead dug up and baptized.

39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.

40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.

15:40-41 – Here the analogy involves inanimate objects of creation: the sun, moon and stars with their differing splendor, and the earthly bodies (possibly the great mountains, canyons and seas) with their splendor.  In it all, God can take similar physical material and organize it differently to accomplish His purpose.

41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:

44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

15:44-49 – the contrast here between the natural body and the spiritual body again follows from their two representatives.  One is the first Adam, who had a natural body of the dust of the ground (Gen 2:7) and through whom a natural body is given to his descendants.

The other is the last Adam, Christ, the life-giving spirit who through His death and resurrection will at the second coming give His redeemed people a spiritual body – physical, yet imperishable, without corruption, and adaptable to live with God forever. 

It will be a body similar to Christ’s resurrected, glorified physical body.

Obama wants us to worship Allah as him and Michelle do.

Now don’t think that when Jesus was on earth His body was not like ours, because it was (Jn 20:19-31, 21:12-14). 

There is Jesus the man with the natural body and there is Jesus the spirit with the spiritual body, but Jesus was and is always God.

45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.

48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

Paul’s final argument about the resurrection of the body: God’s redeemed people must have newly organized, imperishable bodies to live with him.  “Flesh and blood” stands for perishable, corrupt, weak, sinful human beings.

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

“We shall not all sleep” – some believers will not experience death and the grave.

I believe Jesus will come back in my lifetime so I will not die, but don’t quote me on that because God did not tell me that if He had I would say so.

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

If Hilary would have won the election for the president in 2016?
Oh my God!

This includes those that are dead.

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

“The strength of sin is the law” – the law of God gives sin its power, for it reveals our sin and condemns us because of our sin.

But the believer lives by faith, not by the law and therefore cannot be condemned by the law.  The believer still sins, but not willfully, those that willfully sin will go to hell – see Heb 10:26-27.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

“Your labor is not in vain in the Lord” – our effort is invested in the Lord’s winning cause.  He will also reward us at His second coming (Matt 25:21; cf. Lk 19:17; Rev 22:12).

Baptism for the Dead

Baptismal font in the Salt Lake Temple.
Baptism for the dead is the proxy performance of the ordinance of baptism for one deceased.

Joseph Smith taught, “If we can baptize a man in the name of the Father [and] of the Son and of the Holy Ghost for the remission of sins it is just as much our privilege to act as an agent and be baptized for the remission of sins for and in behalf of our dead kindred who have not heard the gospel or fulness of it” (Kenney, p. 165).

Numerous proposals have been offered for the meaning of “baptized for the dead” in 1 Cor15:29. Every theory has some problems, but some are more plausible than others:

– One explanation holds that Paul was alluding to some form of “proxy baptism” (an Individual being baptized to secure the salvation of ancestors, relatives or friends who had died without Christ).

There is no indication in this text, however, that Corinthians were being baptized for their ancestors or for other dead pagans—and no evidence that this was ever practiced in the early church.

– Some suggest that the term refers to baptism for believers who had died unbaptized; others that it may have been some ritual rooted in a superstitious belief that baptism itself had almost magical, life-giving powers.

The Corinthian believers may have been influenced by a local cult of the dead at Corinth. On the other hand, if such a pagan background were behind this practice, we would expect Paul to have voiced his disapproval.

– Still others propose that the phrase actually means “baptized in the place of the dead” in the sense of taking the place of Christian martyrs who had lost their lives for the faith.

This kind of baptism would thus have been a rite whereby a living believer symbolically took the place of his or her fallen brother or sister.

This interpretation has some support in the context, since Paul immediately spoke in the following verses (vv. 30-32) of his own endurance of persecution.

…collection for the poor saints.