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The two disciples with whom the resurrected Jesus walked to Emmaus and sat at meat, on the afternoon of his resurrection, “…rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them…”“…at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews…” “Saying, The Lord is risen indeed…”
“And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”
In order to more fully understand Christ’s resurrected body, we may ponder Luke’s accounts of Christ’s appearances to his disciples following His resurrection. He appeared to the two disciples as they journeyed to Emmaus, we read that after they reached Emmaus: “And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.”
While Christ “sat at meat” with his two disciples at Emmaus, did he eat the “meat” or did he just watch them eat? We are not told for certain, but we can logically assume that as he “sat at meat” he ate with the disciples. A later encounter that same day, however, leaves no question about Christ’s ability to consume food. On that occasion, Christ specifically demonstrated that He could eat food. After Christ appeared to the apostles, “…he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.”
It appears that Christ ate the fish and honeycomb specifically to prove to the apostles that he could eat – he ate “before them” – as in a demonstration. Was Christ just performing some sort of “trick” to “prove” he could eat – to what purpose? It doesn’t seem reasonable that Christ would just swallow food to prove that he could – without his intending for us to ponder the implications of that event. I believe he consumed food to teach us important, eternal truths about resurrected beings – with huge implications. To me, Christ’s purposeful gastrological demonstration provides critical data to our understanding the resurrection. Those data, apparently, tell us that the resurrected Savior’s digestive tract was intact and functional. The implications of that information could not have been fully understood by any of His disciples or their contemporaries. However, it is very interesting that Luke, the physician, was the only gospel author to include this detail of Christ’s first post-resurrection meeting with the apostles. Nor could the implications have been fully understood by anyone living more than a hundred years or so ago – before the biochemistry of digestion had been worked out.
The Savior told his disciples, “I can of mine own self do nothing…I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” Therefore, it appears that God told Jesus to demonstrate to the apostles that He could eat. It, therefore, appears that it is significant to God to let us know that the risen Christ could eat food. Therefore, his gastrological demonstration must teach us that He, as an immortal, resurrected being with a body of flesh and bones, can consume and digest food. It is obviously important to God that we know this truth about Christ, as He commanded His son, after His resurrection, to eat fish and honeycomb before the disciples – and that this event was recorded in the scriptures.
After the Last Supper and Judas had departed to betray the Savior, Jesus prayed to the Father on behalf of the remaining eleven apostles. During that prayer he said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”9 In the conversation leading up to that prayer, speaking to Thomas, the Savior said “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”
Unfortunately, that scripture, perhaps more than any other, has caused an enormous amount of misunderstanding throughout the history of Christianity. The confusion caused by taking this scripture literally rather than metaphorically has led to the creed of the Trinity.
The correct knowledge of Christ’s true nature required a Restoration of the knowledge taken away and hidden by the Nicaean bishops and later Church scholars. When Joseph Smith entered the grove of trees near his family home in the early spring of 1820 to ask the questions, “Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?” He was apparently not questioning the common Christian belief in the Trinity; but what he saw that morning would change forever our understanding of the Godhead: “…I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me…When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” In several other accounts of this vision, Joseph said that the two looked identical to each other. There is little wonder, then that Jesus would say to His apostles in Jerusalem, “…he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.”
The Prophet Joseph Smith gave the following instruction to the Saints gathered at Ramus, Illinois, 2 April 1843: “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also…”
Therefore, we can look to the characteristics of Jesus’ resurrected, immortal body in order to understand God’s eternal, immortal body. Furthermore, we will all be partakers of the resurrection. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” Therefore, what we learn of God and Christ’s physical immortal nature, we also learn of our own future resurrected physical natures.
The implications of the concept that Christ could eat after his resurrection and numerous other issues with Christ’s resurrection are the subjects of my new book, The Immortal Messiah, The Physiology of Resurrected Beings (to be released this year by Cedar Fort Publications). In the mean-time, check out my other books with Cedar Fort Publishing: The Infinite Creation, Unifying Science and Latter-day Saint Theology (Cedar Fort Inc., 2020), and the companion book, The Infinite Fall, A Scientific Approach to the Second Pillar of Eternity (Cedar Fort Inc., 2021). Also visit my website: trentdeestephens.com where I discuss the relationship between science and religion in the Old Testament Come Follow Me lessons for 2022.
The following was written by Trent Dee Stephens, the author of The Infinite Fall and the The Infinite Creation.