PARTNERS WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT: PART CIII
Physical death separates the soul or the spirit from the body. Jesus took the criminal, who believed in Him, to paradise. That is, the soul or the spirit had not died. And paradise was the place where the dead, who die in the Lord, rest until they are raised to to face Judgment. Peter called the place a prison (I Peter 3:19); and David called the place Sheol (Psalm 16:10). No one could return from Sheol. The writer of Job, perceived that the “Redeemer” did live! And that the “Redeemer” would restore Job here on earth, after his flesh and skin have dried up (Job 19:25-27). The “Redeemer” appears similar to Jesus the Christ on earth, but not in an afterlife. The great Prince Michael, in the Prophet Daniel, is very similar to Jesus the King of kings and so is His Reign filled with trouble. There will be a “Millennial reign of Israel” similar to Revelation 20:1-6, and the dead and the dry bones in Ezekiel 37:1-14 shall rise. Daniel and Ezekiel envision a new and restored Israel. However, Revelation has Christ, and those who died for Him, reign a thousand years. The three agree, that at the end, all the dead will be resurrected and they all will face final Judgment. The spirit or soul will all be clothed in bodies when they face the final “Judge.” The sheep will remain with God, in the new world, and the goats shall join their master Satan in his creation. Everyone will get what they deserve!
WHAT WILL THE RISEN BODIES BE LIKE IN THE NEW WORLD?
To start with, all the dead will be clothed in permanent and everlasting bodies! And their bodies can experience pleasure and pain, so they can enjoy and/or suffer the consequences they have earned here on earth. What a person has done on earth will pursue him/her in the after-life (Revelation 14:13). The witnesses of Jesus did not recall whether Jesus described what kind of a body his followers would receive, after the resurrection, except that it would be eternal and useful to be with God in the new world. However, the apostle Paul had some ideas; he used seeds, tents, and houses. It will begin with a complete transformation.
Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For the perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. When the perishable put on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory,”
“O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain (I Corinthians 15:51-58).
But some one will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of a body do they come?” You foolish man! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen and to each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh is alike, but this is one kind for men, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are celestial bodies and there are terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.
So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, “The first Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven so are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. I tell you this, brethren: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable (I Corinthians 15:35-50).
PAUL LEFT THE DESIGN OF A BODY TO GOD, BUT MAN MUST AIM TO FIT GOD’S DESIGN HERE ON EARTH
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Here indeed we groan, and long to put on our heavenly dwelling, so that by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we sigh with anxiety; not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothes, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
So we are always of good courage; we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. We are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away. We make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body.
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men; but what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to be proud of us, so that you may be able to answer those who pride themselves on a man’s position and not on his heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if an one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (II Corinthians 5:1-21).
TO THE JEWS, THE RESURRECTION WILL GIVE ISRAEL A SPECIAL PLACE IN THE WORD
Paul believed that God used the Gentiles to awake Israel and Ezekiel was shown in the spirit what God can do with dead bones. The Gentiles will fade and Israel will become God’s favored people again.
I (Paul) ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew (had chosen). Do you not know what the scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed thy prophets they have demolished thy altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too all the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
What then? Israel failed to obtain what it sought. The elet obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that should not see and ears that should not hear, down to this very day.” And David says, “Let their table become a snare and a trap, a pitfall and a retribution for them; let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs for ever.”
So I ask, have they stumbled so as to fall? By no means! But through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!
Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mena but life from the dead? If the dough offered as first fruits is holy, so is the whole lump; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the richness of the olive tree, do not boast over the branches. If you do boast, remember it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you. You will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off. And even the others, if they do not persist in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree.
Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brethren: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in, and so all Israel will be saved; as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”
As regards the gospel they are enemies of God, for your sake; but as regards his election they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. Just as you were once disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may receive mercy. For God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen (Romans 11:1-36).