Sowing and Sleeping
“So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption.” (1 Corinthians 15:42)
When a believer’s soul and spirit leave the body and return to the Lord, it is significant that the New Testament Scriptures speak of the body, not as dead, but as sleeping. For example, Jesus said, “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep” (John 11:11). This state is not “soul sleep” as some teach, for “to be absent from the body, |is| to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). The body is sleeping–not the soul.
Similarly, when the believer’s body is laid in a grave, Paul speaks of this act not as a burial, but as sowing! “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 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: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body” (1 Corinthians 15:35-38).
Just as a buried grain of wheat brings forth a fruitful plant, so the old, sin-corrupted, aching body of human flesh, sown in the ground, will some day come forth “fashioned like unto his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21), in which “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain” (Revelation 21:4).
“So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). When a believer’s body is sown in the ground, God will soon reap from it a body of glory which will last for eternity. HMM