A·naʹsta·sis, the Greek word translated “resurrection,” literally means “a standing up again” and it refers to a rising up from death. The fuller expression “resurrection of (from) the dead” is used repeatedly in the Scriptures. (Matt. 22:31; Acts 4:2; 1 Cor. 15:12) The Hebrew is techi·yathʹ ham·me·thimʹ, which means “revival of the dead.” (Matt. 22:23, ftn, NW Reference edition) Resurrection involves a reactivating of the life pattern of the individual, which life pattern God has retained in his memory. According to God’s will for the individual, the person is restored in either a human or a spirit body and yet retains his personal identity, having the same personality and memories as when he died. The provision for resurrection of the dead is a magnificent expression of Jehovah’s undeserved kindness; it displays his wisdom and power and is a means by which his original purpose regarding the earth will be carried out.
Is the resurrection a reuniting of an immaterial soul with the physical body?
For this to be possible, of course, humans would have to have an immortal soul that could separate from the physical body. The Bible does not teach such a thing. That notion was borrowed from Greek philosophy.
Was Jesus raised in a body of flesh, and does he have such a body in heaven now?
1 Pet. 3:18: “Christ died once for all time concerning sins, a righteous person for unrighteous ones, that he might lead you to God, he being put to death in the flesh, but being made alive in the spirit [“by the Spirit,” KJ; “in the spirit,” RS, NE, Dy, JB].” (At his resurrection from the dead, Jesus was brought forth with a spirit body. In the Greek text the words “flesh” and “spirit” are put in contrast to each other, and both are in the dative case; so, if a translator uses the rendering “by the spirit” he should also consistently say “by the flesh,” or if he uses “in the flesh” he should also say “in the spirit.”)
Acts 10:40, 41: “God raised this One [Jesus Christ] up on the third day and granted him to become manifest, not to all the people, but to witnesses appointed beforehand by God.” (Why did not others see him too? Because he was a spirit creature and when, as angels had done in the past, he materialized fleshly bodies to make himself visible, he did so only in the presence of his disciples.)
1 Cor. 15:45: “It is even so written: ‘The first man Adam became a living soul.’ The last Adam [Jesus Christ, who was perfect as was Adam when created] became a life-giving spirit.”
What does Luke 24:36-39 mean regarding the body in which Jesus was resurrected?
Luke 24:36-39: “While they [the disciples] were speaking of these things he himself stood in their midst and said to them: ‘May you have peace.’ But because they were terrified, and had become frightened, they were imagining they beheld a spirit. So he said to them: ‘Why are you troubled, and why is it doubts come up in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; feel me and see, because a spirit does not have flesh and bones just as you behold that I have.’”
Humans cannot see spirits, so the disciples evidently thought they were seeing an apparition or a vision. (Compare Mark 6:49, 50.) Jesus assured them that he was no apparition; they could see his body of flesh and could touch him, feeling the bones; he also ate in their presence. Similarly, in the past, angels had materialized in order to be seen by men; they had eaten, and some had even married and fathered children. (Gen. 6:4; 19:1-3) Following his resurrection, Jesus did not always appear in the same body of flesh (perhaps to reinforce in their minds the fact that he was then a spirit), and so he was not immediately recognized even by his close associates. (John 20:14, 15; 21:4-7) However, by his repeatedly appearing to them in materialized bodies and then saying and doing things that they would identify with the Jesus they knew, he strengthened their faith in the fact that he truly had been resurrected from the dead.
If the disciples had actually seen Jesus in the body that he now has in heaven, Paul would not later have referred to the glorified Christ as being “the exact representation of [God’s] very being,” because God is a Spirit and has never been in the flesh.—Heb. 1:3; compare 1 Timothy 6:16.
When reading the reports of Jesus’ post resurrection appearances, we are helped to understand them properly if we keep in mind 1 Peter 3:18 and 1 Corinthians 15:45, quoted on page 334.
See also pages 217, 218, under “Jesus Christ.”