THE MIGRATION OR THE RESURRECTION
Paul and Peter believed that the Scriptures were a dictation of the Spirit of God (II Tim. 3:16; II Pe. 1:20-21), and Jesus admitted that they did not make sense to those that reason (Mt. 11:25); yet, they proceeded from the mouth of God (Mt. 4:4). God, The “I Am,” is eternal Spirit and Breath and so is the human soul (Ex. 4:14; Jn. 4:24). The Scriptures do say that God shaped man out of the earth and then “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being or soul” (Gen. 2:7). “It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are of the Spirit and they are life,” so stated Jesus. What we have is a migration of life or the soul or the spirit from God to a piece of clay, we call a man. Upon death, life or the soul or the spirit migrates from this earthly housing to a heavenly dwelling (II Cor. 5:1-2), where there is no death; but, there is a division between those that did what was right and those that did wrong (Ro. 2:5-11). Hence there are two worlds, heaven and hell (Lk. 16:19-31).
The man that completed the cycle of the migration of life was Jesus. He was born of the Holy Spirit and lived in a human body, like everyone else. He died physically and returned in a body that was no longer restricted physically. In his new body, he appeared wherever he chose to be and passed doors without opening them. He revealed himself only to those of his choosing. “Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also” (Jn. 14:19). After three days and three nights, Jesus came back in a new body. Where was his life or spirit during this time? Paul tried to make sense out of Psalm 68:18; but he stopped short of explaining it. “What does ‘he ascended’ mean except that he also descended to the lower earthly region? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe” (Eph. 4:9-10). Peter has been far more helpful. “For Christ also had to suffer for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, by being put to death in the flesh, but quickened in the Spirit. By which he also went and preached to the spirits in prison; that were disobedient while Noah build the Ark, and only eight lives were saved by water” (I Pe. 3:18-20). The importance of Peter is that the flesh dies and not the spirit; but the spirit can be sapped of energy and requires an infusion. Jesus had reached a point when his spirit needed quickening or vivifying. The Greek term is “zoopoietheis” and means renewing and not resurrecting a life. That is why Jesus could assure the parents of the little girl that she was not dead but sleeping (Mk. 5:39). And that is why Mary of Magdala wanted to know where they had taken her Lord’s body (Jn. 20:15).
A little later, Mary Magdalene recognized Jesus when he called her name, but did not let her touch him because he had not yet returned to the Father. On the same day in the evening Jesus appeared to ten of the disciples, through locked doors. A week later, he demanded that Thomas touch his hands and his side (Jn. 20:10-29). Between the time Mary was not allowed to hold Jesus and Thomas that was asked to do so, Jesus had assumed his heavenly body. The question is, “What kind of a body did Thomas touch?” According to Paul, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the imperishable inherit the imperishable” (I Cor. 15:50). Here is another baffler, “Therefore, henceforth we know no man after the flesh; yet we once knew Christ after the flesh, now we no longer do” (II Cor. 5:16). Jesus himself said, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing” (Jn. 6:63).
Luke, the companion of Paul did not make the mystery of body and soul any easier. The Geeks had no difficulty accepting the idea that the gods could mate with earthly women and that their offspring could visit their heavenly fathers. The Hebrews had a problem with godly human males marrying worldly women. That was one reason why the flood during Noah’s time punished the offspring of the unholy unions. That is why the union of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary was kept secret. Joseph and Mary were the only two people that knew about the union before Matthew’s and Luke’s records were put in writing. Not even Luke left us a date. Hence, it is surprising that Jesus used a human or earthly form to convince his disciples that he was real. He asked his disciples, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet that it is I. Touch me and see, for a spirit has no flesh and bones, as you see me have. They were still not convinced and Jesus asked them for food and he ate it before their eyes (Lk. 24:36-43). To the Greeks, this may have been music to their ears but not for the Jews. Matthew and Mark do not have Jesus invite others to touch him except Thomas in John; but we are not told whether he did. However, Jesus tried to boost their faith, and to do so it was his right to show himself visibly; but to the rest of us, we depend totally on our faith. “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and still have believed” (Jn. 20:29).
We live by faith and not by sight (II Cor. 5:7). This was the biggest change for the Jews. They were heirs by birth or flesh and blood. They were the children of Abraham and of God (Jn. 8:11-41). They could not give up their birthright for faith-right. It was God who had chosen to be the deity of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and they were the legitimate offspring. As such they took advantage and liberties over others. They became obsessed with the idea that with God on their side, they could do almost anything. They learned, but not enough that God cannot be on anyone’s side that does wrong. Jesus said to the Jews of his day, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? It is because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire” (Jn. 8:42-44).
Our souls shall be held accountable for what we did while in the body or in the flesh (II Cor. 5:9-10). The idea that our spirit or soul or life is from God, presupposes that God cannot deny us reentrance into his kingdom. God is not the one that has kept the human soul out of his kingdom. It was man in the flesh that took the soul on a sawdust trail of disobedience. Adam and Eve broke God’s command not to eat, that which would terminate their right to remain or re-enter the presence of God. According to Paul, all souls were created before the world and they had to enter the flesh and reapply for entrance into the kingdom by obeying God’s direction given to man in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:3-10). To re-qualify for a return one must prove him/herself and that is the reason souls adopt bodies and use faith that what they do will satisfy the judge. Adam closed the door to a return to God and Jesus the Christ reopened it. He removed the sin barrier that man has created before he became a new being in Christ. While he is in Christ, he will stop sinning and trample on grace (Rom. 6:1-4; Heb. 10:26-30). If we persist in saying and doing that we cannot help being human, we do the very same that the Jews did, taking God and His Grace for granted.
Paul, the author of justification by faith, used Abraham to illustrate the new relationship faith creates between God and man. The fall of Adam also marred the relationship of man’s spirit with God’s Spirit. Faith has become the only link between God and man; but has it? The demons believe, but they do not get back with God (Ja. 2:19). Faith by itself is not; but faith in Christ does because He has established a good relationship with the Father by doing his will (Jn. 10:30). It is not just faith in Jesus as the Christ; but it is a faith in what He has done for me and what He wants me to do for him. Paul quoted Genesis 15:6, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness” (Rom. 4:1-3). Genesis fifteen located Abraham in the land that was designated for his offspring or descendants and the issue no longer was what he did but what he needed. It was not about works but about his flesh or an heir. It was Abraham questioning about the promise when he had no one to fill it or enjoy it? James enlightened Paul with a question, “Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.” “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone” (Ja. 2:21-24). Paul himself wrote to the Corinthians, “So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (II Cor. 5:9-10). Thus, if the soul wants to be justified by faith it simply must do what is right (Hab. 2:4). It was Jesus, the door to the Kingdom or Promises who declared, “Not everyone who says, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my father in heaven” (Mt. 7:21).
The final time is when all the souls will appear before the Judge to be sentenced, the good and the bad. Their deeds and not their faith will determine whether they spent eternity with God or with the devil. “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the death that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:11-15).
Death does not represent the end of the soul, but the beginning of a life with Christ or with Satan. Man sentences himself by what he does. The apostle of grace, left these words, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from the nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit (God), from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Gal. 6:7-8).