In Gospel Principals today we were reading and studying Chapter 12, The Atonement. When we came to page 74, second paragraph says “On the third day after his crucifixion, Christ took up his body again and became the first person to be resurrected”. That brought to mind the story of Lazarus, Mary and her sister Martha. Christ raised Lazarus after he had been dead for four days– John 11. Now I believe the whole point of the miracle was to show Martha his miracles and help her belief. Now wouldn’t Lazarus be the first person to be resurrected?
Jim, from Susanville, California
In the miracle of bringing Lazarus back to life, he was not resurrected. He was just made to live again as a mortal. There was no change in the physical nature of his body, and so at some point he would have died again.
When Jesus was resurrected, his body underwent a fundamental change. For instance, the mortal life giving element, blood, no longer flows in the veins of a resurrected person, but rather a spiritual material. The flesh and bone are rejuvenated and made to live again, but vitalized by the spirit in the veins. Such a body is eternal in nature, no longer subject to death, and has other properties, such as the ability to pass though objects that are opaque to mortal bodies, and apparently to travel through space without the lapse of time. The appearance of the resurrected being, Moroni, to the boy Joseph Smith, is instructive in this regard—
While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside, standing in the air, for his feet did not touch the floor. He had on a loose robe of most exquisite whiteness. It was a whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever seen; nor do I believe that any earthly thing could be made to appear so exceedingly white and brilliant. His hands were naked, and his arms also, a little above the wrist; so, also, were his feet naked, as were his legs, a little above the ankles. His head and neck were also bare. I could discover that he had no other clothing on but this robe, as it was open, so that I could see into his bosom. Not only was his robe exceedingly white, but his whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person ….After this communication, I saw the light in the room begin to gather immediately around the person of him who had been speaking to me, and it continued to do so until the room was again left dark, except just around him; when, instantly I saw, as it were, a conduit open right up into heaven, and he ascended till he entirely disappeared, and the room was left as it had been before this heavenly light had made its appearance (Joseph Smith-History 1:30-32, 40).