THE FIRST RESURRECTION
I saw the souls of them that were
beheaded for the witness of Jesus…and they
lived and reigned with Christ…this is the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:4-5).
our meditations concerning the first resurrection we have found that it is the
resurrection of the soul. Let us consider now the resurrection of
the body. John refers to this with this
remarkable and cryptic statement: “But the rest
of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished” (Rev.
20:5). What does he mean by “the rest of
the dead?” I could be mistaken, but it
is my conviction that these inspired words point more to the completion of the
work of resurrection within each of us than it does to the multitudes of dead
men who were not raised with God’s firstfruits.
We are going to have to do more than accept dead doctrines and shallow
deductions of the carnal mind. We are going to have to see the living
Christ, and the magnitude and scope of His wonderful spiritual work of
restoration in our lives. If there is a first resurrection and a second resurrection — and if we have
been dead in both soul and body — and if resurrection means putting
on incorruption in our soul as well
as immortality in our body — then
surely we can see that individually, once our soul is raised up to live in His sight, the “rest of the dead”
would be our body which remains to be
quickened and changed.
— all men will be raised and made
alive in Christ! Yes — all who are in their graves will hear
the voice of the Son of God and live!
Yes — there is a resurrection of both
the just and the unjust! Yes — all shall appear before the judgment
seat of Christ! And God has an appointed
time for every man! But it would be well
worth our time to consider prayerfully the fact that each and every man who has
ever lived on this planet, or ever shall live, must be quickened, processed, and
made fully alive in the same way that both Christ and His firstfruits company
were made alive — first in soul, and then in body. Can we not see by this that there is a first and a second resurrection for EVERY MAN OF ADAM’S RACE! That is the mystery.
then comes the word: “But the rest of the dead lived not again until
the thousand years were finished.” FINISHED
— the Greek word means to complete, execute, conclude, discharge,
accomplish. The signification is clear —
the “rest of the dead” — that is, the outer body realm, will not live again, or
put on immortality, until the thousand years — THE DAY OF THE LORD IN OUR LIVES
— has finished, concluded, and accomplished its full work in
us! It is not just a matter of the
passing of time, reaching a date on the calendar. Oh, no!
The “thousand years” is the code-word for “the day of the Lord.” And the day of the Lord is not a literal time
period, but a realm and work of God in our lives by the
illumination and power of His Spirit and His Word. When the working of that “day” is finished,
when it has fully accomplished its mighty work in us, then, and only then, will we appear, spirit, soul, and body WITH HIM IN HIS GLORY! Oh, the wonder of it!
life which Jesus gives is Himself, and the life, which He is, is
imperishable. Those who partake of it
cannot perish, for they have passed from the kingdom of death to the kingdom of
life. “And I give unto them eternal
life, and they shall never
perish” (Jn. 10:28). Jesus did
not die that you might live! Jesus died
that He might give His life to you. “Except
a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but, if it die,
it bringeth forth much fruit” (Jn. 12:24).
HE is the kernel that fell into the ground and died, and, in dying, the
life which He is has reappeared in the millions of those who have
believed. Because His life is
imperishable, they who receive it shall never
flesh which we inherited from Adam
who was of the earth, earthy, is counted by God to be nothing more than a
seed. “But some man will say, How are
the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is
not quickened, except it die: and that which thou sowest, thou sowest
not that body that shall be, but bare grain (seed), it may chance of
wheat, or of some other grain: but God giveth it a body as it hath
pleased Him, and to every seed his own body” (I Cor. 15:35-38). I wonder how many of those who read these
lines have asked the same question posed by the apostle: “How are the dead
raised up? and with what body do they come?”
Ah, how often through many years did I ask myself those very
questions! I am confident that you, too,
have asked. We have pondered how God
would reconstruct the atoms of this flesh body and fashion it again into the
likeness we once knew. And yet — though
it is our vile body that He will change, He never promised to fashion it again into the likeness we once knew. Oh, no!
It is not about whether we will recognize Uncle Joe or Aunt Susie in the
resurrection, because they look like they did in their earth life. The promise is just this: “Who shall change (metamorphose) our vile
body, that it may be fashioned LIKE UNTO
HIS GLORIOUS BODY!” Not made
like you used to be, but made as HE IS! “God giveth it a body as it hath pleased
Him.” That is the mystery.
for a moment the state of those who are dead.
Some people suppose that those we lay away in their ornate coffins are
to be taken up like those well preserved mummies of Egypt, but it is not so! This body speedily falls into dissolution —
the first thing that goes is the brain and soon there is a large cavity between
the ears; the heart soon follows. These
are the two vital organs of man, and the rest of the body trails along not far
behind. The bones are the last to
disintegrate. And so man returns to the
dust. Open any casket left long enough
in the ground and you find but a bit of brown dust.
where these people have gone. Many have
been dissolved in lime pits, or burned
in great fires, or buried in the depths of the sea. There are some who have been eaten by
beasts. I think of Roger Williams, the
Governor of one of our first colonies.
He had an unseemly fate befall him.
When his casket was taken up to give it a more noble burial, it was found that the
roots of an apple tree had pried open
the lid, reached in and sucked poor Roger out, tooth and nail, head and
foot. The poor fellow was gone
altogether! He is no exception, for this
is what has happened to the vast majority of the people in the world. They have returned to the elements; they have
been eaten by other creatures, especially worms; their particles are spread
sometimes as far as from pole to pole.
has happened to the ancient king Nebuchadnezzar?
or Alexander the Great? or the mighty Caesars?
One part may be in the desert sands of the great Sahara and another part
floating in the waters of the great Pacific Ocean. Are these to rise again? Can these live again? Is that not indeed a thing to be thought
incredible? Where indeed are the remains of man? Or perhaps we should more accurately ask,
“Where are they not?” Blows there any
wind down any street that does not contain within its swirl some portion of
that which was once the son of Adam? Breaks
there a wave upon any shore that contains not in solution some relic of that
which once was called man? He is found
under every tree, in every crevice and in every corner, under every meadow,
perhaps in almost every flower. Shall
these live again? Is that not a thing
among us has never
questioned whether in the resurrection we will recognize our friends and loved
ones, whether they will look as they did at age twenty, or thirty, or
seventy-five? We have debated whether in
our glorified bodies we will be visible or invisible to the inhabitants of the
earth realm, whether we shall eat and drink, wear clothes, travel in an
automobile or at the speed of light, and with hundreds of other such notions we
have repeatedly asked the very questions
the apostle declared we would ask! “But
some man will say, HOW ARE THE DEAD RAISED UP?
AND WITH WHAT BODY DO THEY COME?”
a word for all who raise such questions: “Thou FOOL!” The Phillips translation says, “Now that is a
silly question!” The Wuest translation
says, “Stupid one!” The Amplified Bible
reads, “You foolish man!” And another
version renders it, “You unreasonable person!”
Why are these questions foolish, stupid, silly, and unreasonable? Because, the apostle explains, appealing to
nature, “In your own experience you know that a seed does not germinate without
itself dying. When you sow a seed you do not sow the
‘body’ that will eventually be produced in the harvest, but just a seed, of
wheat, for example, or one of the other seeds.
God gives the seed a new ‘body’ according to His laws — a different
‘body’ to each kind of seed.” Paul tells us plainly
that the “body” of the harvest is not the same “body” that was planted, and
calls the man a fool for even questioning whether the corn of the harvest is
the same grains of corn that were planted.
Let the farmer answer this! The
corn you harvest from the stalk is not the same grains of corn you planted in
the spring. And yet — in some divine and
mysterious way it is of, from and out of the grains you planted!
It came from that seed! It didn’t
derive itself from some other seed, or from the soil, or from a chicken, or a
cow, nor did it float down out of the skies and stand itself up in your corn
field! It is a paradox, an enigma, a
divine mystery! It is not the same seed, yet it is from the same seed! Our hearts respond with reverence and a
fervent Amen to such truth as
this. Now consider the caterpillar and
the butterfly. Would you say the
butterfly is the caterpillar? I think not.
Yet, did the caterpillar not lay down his life, and did not the mysterious
and marvelous power of metamorphosis do
its work, there would be no butterfly! The butterfly is not the caterpillar, but he
is certainly of, from, and out of the caterpillar. That is the law of planting and harvest. It is life
out of death. Great is the mystery!
which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body which shall be” (I Cor.
15:37). The apostle Paul here makes a wonderfully significant spiritual
use of an analogy derived from his observation of what takes place in the
natural world when a seed is sown in the ground and springs up and grows. He is talking about the resurrection of the
dead, and compares the burial of a human body to the covering up of a vegetable
seed in the earth in expectation of the bursting forth of new life. This is hardly an appropriate comparison if
taken too literally, or applied to the wrong sense of burial. It takes more than carnal reasoning to
comprehend the mystery. Only the spirit
of wisdom and
revelation can unfold the truth within our hearts. A literal dead body does not behave like a
vegetable seed; it does not sprout and go on
to produce new and more glorious bodies, the exact replicas of the
old. When it is laid in the grave it is
done with; it putrefies and disintegrates.
knew this well enough — just as well as we know it. His language here and elsewhere implies that
he believed in a resurrection of the whole man, and that the resurrection body
would be transformed into a spiritual, immortal, glorious body which would never again have to know
decay or corruption. But the only sense
in which this illustration of his about the sowing of a seed holds good is that
the disintegration of a seed in the ground and the death of a human body are in
each case the breaking
up of a form in order that the LIFE WITHIN may reclothe itself in other and
ampler forms — the development and maturity of the life of the spirit and soul
that pertain to that body raising it up into a body that corresponds to the
power and perfection of the spirit and soul!
Thus it is that the soul must
be fully redeemed before it is able with the spirit to transform the body!
we really know life, when we understand our own environment and the dynamics of
the biological forces within it, we will surely have a clearer understanding of
the laws and processes of the higher
spiritual realm of the kingdom
of God. When you sow a kernel of corn in the earth of
your garden, you sow it out of sight, to decay and disintegrate, that the life
within the seed may spring forth producing a new plant. In this process it is not the visible seed
that produces the new plant, but the inner life of that seed springs
forth and the corn of the harvest is the product of that inner life contained
in the original seed. The seed’s whole
purpose is to die, that there may be a release of whatever quality of life
dwells within TO CREATE A NEW BODY. The
principle is clear — by the power of the first resurrection a new, divine,
heavenly life has been impregnated into the soul-womb of our life so that the
mortal body of the believer is now a NEW KIND OF SEED CONTAINING A NEW AND
HIGHER FORM OF LIFE! Thus it is that as
our outer man perishes, as the old man with his works are put off, this
outer-man body is sown, Paul says, in
corruption; it is raised (harvested)
in glory: it is sown in weakness; it
is raised (harvested) in power: it is sown a natural body; it is raised a
spiritual body (I Cor. 15:35-44).
we not see by this that the spiritual body is not the natural body reconstructed at
all, but a brand new, totally different body, the product of the Christ life
contained within your mortal body — the seed.
Surely, if no other instruction were given in scripture but
these few verses, we would have a sound foundation upon which to fasten our
firm understanding that the natural body does not of itself become the spiritual body, but the
spiritual body is the product of the indwelling
life of the resurrected, glorified Son of God!
With the Christ life raised up in your life you have become a new,
higher, and transcendent kind of seed!
There is a higher quality of life in your seed than exists in the
natural man, or even in the carnal Christian, for that matter. The power of your life to produce a new and
glorified body depends entirely upon the quality of the life within the
seed! Corn life produces corn, chicken
life produces chickens, and the fully developed Christ life produces glorified
RESURRECTION BODIES! It’s all about the
quality of life in the seed! If we would heed the voice of inspiration and
revelation as it speaks through these words of the apostle, we would at once
see and acknowledge that the “embryo” of
our spiritual body ALREADY
EXISTS AS A PRESENT REALITY WITHIN OUR QUICKENED SPIRIT AND PERFECTED
SOUL! It is, as a friend has said, “a
life within a life, a MAN WITHIN A MAN, and a B-O-D-Y W-I-T-H-I-N
us UNDERSTAND! Every man will be
resurrected. I do not say all will be
resurrected at once, for the times are in our Father’s hands. Yet Paul
plainly tells us, “As in Adam
all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (I Cor. 15:22). And then he adds this significant statement:
“…but every man in his own order.” By
this we understand that there are various “orders,” “ranks,” “classes,”
“levels,” and “arrangements” of resurrection.
Not all will be raised up initially to the same plane of life. How can we know this? BECAUSE OF THE QUALITY OF LIFE IN THEIR
SEED! Do you suppose that Nero, Hitler,
and Billy the Kid will be raised up in the same glorious body as those who have
here and now experienced the first
resurrection? Paul explains this principle more fully when
he says, “But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him, and to every
seed his own body” (I Cor. 15:38).
Surely that can only mean that men are raised up with a body that
corresponds to the quality of life in the seed!
Paul goes on with his
analogy: “All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of
men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies
terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and
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 one star differeth from another star in glory. SO ALSO
IS THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD” (I Cor. 15:38-42). So many “glories” in resurrection!
So many “orders” in resurrection!
I don’t profess to understand all the implications and outworkings of so
great a mystery, but it is my conviction that all men will, in God’s due time,
be raised up into a body that corresponds to the quality of the life in their
seed. Multitudes, no doubt, will be
raised up in low, dense bodies not so different from our present bodies. But it will be God’s appointed time for the
dealings of God, by His judgments and His salvation, to come upon them to cause
and enable them to begin to pass through the same process of resurrection that
the Lord’s elect is now passing through until the process is complete and they
are thoroughly changed and transformed INTO HIS LIKENESS! All must not only be raised — they must be
FULLY RAISED! That will be the full and
complete salvation, restoration, and transformation of ALL MANKIND!
What a plan!
dear friend in California
shared the following experience which beautifully expresses a further aspect of
the truth of which I now speak.
ago, as I walked about performing my daily tasks — as I lay upon my bed at
night — in times of prayer and meditation before the Lord — or caught up in
feverish activity — there began to break upon me the vision of a heavenly
man. There in my mind’s eye, I was
beholding with unbelievable realness, the form of a man — gigantic in size — silhouetted
against the dark heavenly background.
The sky around him was extremely dark, and it was as though I could see
through him, for the dark sky could also be seen behind him. But there, etched against the sky, outlined
with a brilliant light, was that form, daily impressed upon me, constantly with
me, and I began to cry out with much depth of feeling, ‘Oh, God. What is it?’
Somehow, I was made to know that in some measure I was beholding the
am certain that it was only a glimpse of that which is later to be revealed to
all those of us who wait for His appearing, but it was a glimpse that lifted my
sights to look beyond that which we see in the immediate earth-realm. As that vision was daily presented to me, I
began to know within the very depths of my being that that was a resurrection
body — and that it was, in fact, the body of Christ which arose from the grave in
a glorious victory over death. More than
that, I was made to know by the Spirit that somehow, someway, in some
mysterious manner, that it is THAT BODY — that very same body that arose from
the grave and ascended to the Father — that we
are being fitted into!
earthy we have been, for we have looked at the divided, carnal, worldly,
un-unified camp of believers on the earth and have said, ‘Behold, the body of
Christ.’ Never have I been more convinced of anything than this: that verily we are the
body of Christ in that we are the materials
that will be fitted into that glorious body! But THAT MAN — that GLORIFIED MAN in the
heavenlies — is the body of Christ, and it is as we are fitted into that Man
that it can truly be said, ‘Ye are the body of Christ, and members in
particular.’ ‘Let not your heart be
troubled,’ Jesus said, ‘ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house (BODY) are many mansions
(MEMBERS). If it were not so, I would
have told you. I go to prepare a place
for you. And if I go and prepare a place
for you, I will come again and RECEIVE YOU…’
WHERE??? ‘UNTO MYSELF!’
That place that He has gone to prepare is the place IN HIMSELF — in
that glorified, resurrected body. Herein
lies the great mystery! The writer of
the book of Hebrews has said, ‘Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter
into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us,
through the veil WHICH IS H-I-S
FLESH…let us draw near with a true heart…’ (Heb. 10:19-22). How we have thought to enter in through the
rent veil of OUR FLESH — but the Holy Spirit tells us plainly that we enter
through the veil of H-I-S
F-L-E-S-H” — end quote.
In the glory of the morning
from the sea to shining sea,
the herald of the dawning
of the risen you and me.
Far away from all the people
right before their very eyes,
a Nation Strong and holy
from the wearied prayers and sighs.
Come a running all ye peoples
gather at the birthing womb,
the manchild like his Brother
rise triumphant from his tomb.
Lo this comp’ny of believers
are the overcoming Saints,
the mortal to immortal
where no earthly flesh can taint.
In the glory of the morning
shall a people’s praises give.
the One who comes to free them
and cause them all to live!
— Preston E. Courtney
millenniums ago Job uttered an inspired statement as he sat among the dust and
ashes of his desolation and affliction. “If
a man die, shall he live again? All the
days of my appointed time will I wait, till
my change come. Thou shalt call, and
I will answer Thee: Thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands” (Job
did Job utter a word which bears out the absolute faithfulness of God to His creatures than in this passage. He says, So what? If a man comes to the point where he goes by
way of the grave — shall he live again? Is
that the end? Shall he appear on earth
again in a body? And then he answers his own
question. He made reference to an appointed
time of waiting, through which we must pass until our change comes. We will not be left in this
“unfinished state.” We will not be
forgotten in this low realm of the earthy, this side of the Land of the
Interface where heaven and earth are joined in a SPIRITUAL BODY. There is much more work to be wrought in us
before we are fully changed. But even
physical death will not deny us that fulfillment, because, Job says, sooner or
later HE WILL CALL,
and we will answer, because it is not dependent upon our state or condition,
but upon HIS CALLING AND PURPOSE, and He has a desire to the work of His hands;
the end is secure in the FAITHFUL CREATOR’S DESIRE to finish the work of His
hands; His desire is towards us and that is the guarantee of our full
redemption along with that of every man!
“Till my change come…” “All the days of my appointed time will I
wait…” “All the days…” The message is clear —it takes time, there is a
process. Do you know why sometimes we
look at another person and say, “There’s no way that person is ever going to
change!” Do you know what the root of
that is? It’s unbelief. What does love do? Love, the apostle tells us, “Believes all
things,” that is, love is so powerful and filled with such wisdom that it has faith for everything, including the seemingly
impossible. God is love, and that is why
with Him ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! If you
read that whole passage in Job there is a verse that speaks of the hope of
trees. What do trees signify in
scripture? They are people. Of the righteous man
the Psalmist declares, “He shall be like a tree
planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;
his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Ps.
1:3). “Let the heavens rejoice, and let
the earth be glad…then shall all the trees
of the forest rejoice before the Lord, for He cometh to judge the earth: He
shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth” (Ps.
96:11-13). “The Spirit of the Lord God
is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to…appoint unto them that mourn
in Zion, to
give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of
praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of
the Lord, that He might be glorified” (Isa. 61:1,3). Now here is what Job says about the hope of
trees. “There is hope of a tree, if it be cut down (die), that it will sprout again,
and that the tender branch thereof will not cease” (Job 14:7). There is hope for a tree, even if it is cut
down, because there is an indwelling life that will cause it to live
again! This hope is rooted in change.
This thought is a preface to Job’s declaration that through all the
dark days of his appointed time he would wait
— until his change came! Can we not see by this that God has
appointed a time of change for every man.
If we say, “There’s no way that person is ever going to change,” we are
very short-sighted. WAIT! God has a time, a place, and a way! Love believes this! Wisdom
proclaims it! And faith waits for it!
one of us must change — and that’s a word of hope! There’s change for you, precious friend of
mine, so don’t ever say, “I just can’t change.”
Put it up on your refrigerator — “My Change.” If you have one ounce of heart toward the
Lord, and even if you don’t — guess what?
You are going to change! In areas
you thought you could never
overcome — guess what? You’re going to
change! There is no excuse for you to
talk down to yourself and tell yourself, “I’ve always been like this, everybody
in my family has always been like this, and there’s no way I can change.” God has changed harder cases than you! And He will again. If God can handle old Joseph Stalin, Benito
Mussolini, Judas Iscariot, and a million more wicked despots, do you suppose
your case is hopeless? Love believes all
things! As you let the Lord change you,
you will be transformed, metamorphosed, into all that He is in the power of His
resurrection! Aren’t you glad!
body of Christ, in the process of its growth and development into the image of
God, passes from processing to processing, from change to change, and from
glory to glory. God’s purpose in
redemption is not to just deliver
us from the power of sin and death, but to re-create us, to make a new creature
of us, a new kind of man in the image and after the likeness of God. This marvelous change involves the whole man,
spirit, soul, and body. We are being
changed from the earthly into the heavenly, from the natural into the
spiritual. There are two realms and
there are two bodies. Paul tells us, “There is a natural
body, and there is a spiritual body” (I Cor. 15:44). Many seem to think that a spiritual body is
not a literal body. In other
words, that it is not a real body, or not actually a body at
all, but a consciousness or a spiritual state of being. “Literal,” says Webster, means real; not figurative or
metaphorical. “There is a natural
body, and there is a spiritual body,” saith the
Lord! Does anyone suppose the apostle
here teaches that there is a “real” body, and there is a “figurative” or
“metaphorical” body; and as we have borne the image of the “real,” we shall
also bear the image of the
“figurative”? One would suppose they so
read, from their exceeding blindness in not recognizing any but the animal body
as the “true” or “literal” body. The thing
we want to keep in mind is that BOTH ARE BODIES! A “spiritual body” is not a spirit — it
is a body, a spiritual body. It is therefore not something figurative,
metaphorical, nor necessarily even ethereal.
It is a body. And it is REAL!
will someone inform me why it is unscriptural, or fanatical to believe that
Jesus Christ has a SPIRITUAL BODY; and, as the saints are to be like Him, that
they are raised SPIRITUAL BODIES. I hear
some talking about coming into immortality in their present body, the natural
body, living for a thousand years, or forever, in a body that eats, drinks,
sleeps, bathes, and goes to the bathroom.
It will never
happen. Because some seem to think that
a spiritual body is not a real body, but only a spirit or a
metaphorical body, and that nothing is either
real or a body unless it be “of the earth, earthy,” is no reason why those who
can discern spiritual things, which the natural man cannot, should remain in
darkness. The realm of the spiritual is
a realm which, to those who touch it, is ten thousand times more
real than the transitory, corruptible realm of the natural world! Man has been excluded from this heavenly
realm ever since that calamitous hour when he stretched forth his inquisitive
hand to discover by his natural senses that which is good and that which is evil. On that unhappy day his eyes were closed to
the celestial world to discover the physical and the natural and to be
instructed in this barren realm of death.
And yet that heavenly realm is as close to us today as it was then, the
only difference being that our darkened vision cannot see it! It is like a blind man standing before a
majestic sunset — the sunset is in the same place every day of his life, but he
understands, nor appreciates it. It never changes, but to him
it is as though it doesn’t exist.
His resurrection from the dead Jesus opened up to man again the
spiritual-physical realm — the Land
of the Interface. “The same day, at evening, when the doors
were shut, where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus
and stood in their midst” (Jn. 20:19).
“And after eight days, again His disciples were within, then came Jesus,
the doors being shut, and stood in their midst, and said, Peace be unto you”
(Jn. 20:20). “And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him, and
He vanished out of their sight” (Lk. 24:31).
Such language was never
applied to the movements of Jesus before His crucifixion, and is used only in
speaking of spiritual beings. The
spiritual body of Jesus, and its clothing, which appeared suddenly while the
doors were shut, did not go out the door, but simply disappeared or
de-materialized before their eyes. He
was able to appear in a form, with substance, to be seen, heard, touched, and
felt. He even ate with them! He was present with them, not as a spirit,
but in a spiritual body, which was
both spiritual and a body! THAT IS THE POWER
OF HIS RESURRECTION!
only demonstrated TWO BODIES WHILE HE WAS ON EARTH — the natural body and the spiritual
body. There were no others. The first was a body of limitation that grew
hungry, thirsty, weary, and died. The
second was the body of resurrection, still a body, but a body of glory —
unlimited, spiritual, supernatural, and deathless. He never
demonstrated a physical body that put on immortality but remained the
same. Many brethren today are expecting
physical immortality; they look in the
mirror to see if the aging process has slowed or stopped; they count the
wrinkles to determine whether there may be fewer today than before; they are
expecting immortality in an unspiritual body! But you see, beloved, the very term
“physical immortality” is an oxymoron!
It is a contradiction of terms! The
things which are seen (of this natural creation) are temporal! Again I say, it will
happen! You will be CHANGED or you will
DIE! No man can be physically immortal
who still has to eat, drink, sleep, or breathe
in order to sustain his life. No man is
immortal as long as he can drown in a lake, burn in a fire, be mangled beyond
recognition under the wheels of an eighteen-wheeler, have his head severed by a
sword, choke on a piece of meat, bleed from a cut, or be buried in the
earth. Hear it! There is a natural body and there is
body. Those are the only two
options you have, my friend!
follows of necessity that man’s being, under the curse of sin and death,
because it is unsuited to the spiritual world, must be changed by the power of God. Paul
sets forth the majesty of that supernal glory that now appears like a beckoning
beacon before the anointed vision of the sons of God: “As we have borne the
image of the earthy, we shall also bear
the image of the heavenly” (I Cor. 15:49).
We are to bear both — made
one! “We shall also bear” signifies the
adding of the one to the other, making an entirely new thing, just as the two
gases — hydrogen and oxygen — compounded, make one new substance called water.
Otherwise it should read, “As we have borne the image of the earthy, we
shall instead bear the image of the heavenly.” That is also the meaning of the term
“spiritual body” — the union of spirit and body — so that it is neither, yet
mysteriously and wondrously it is both! Can you not see the mystery? He also explains exactly how this ineffable
change is to take place within the Lord’s elect. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a
glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from
glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Cor. 3:18). “And be not conformed to this world, but be
by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2). “For our conversation is in heaven; from
whence also we look for the Saviour…who shall change our vile body,
may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working
whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself” (Phil. 3:20-21).
Paul says that
we are being metamorphosed into the image of the heavenly, and that God will
even our vile bodies. The Greek
word metamorphoo means simply “to change
into another form.” It is not getting
rid of one thing and replacing it
with another. Oh, no! It comes from two words: meta — which means “beyond,” and morphe — meaning “form.”
“Beyond form” — or changed into another form. From this Greek root comes our English word
“metamorphosis,” meaning to change from one form, shape, or substance to
another. Our Lord through death and
resurrection was changed or transformed — metamorphosed — from the lowly Jesus
of Nazareth they had known to the glorified Christ of the resurrection,
ascension, and exaltation. And this is
just the word that is used with reference to believers who are to come into the
same image of Christ Jesus. The metamorphosed
body is not a body that looks like our present body infused with life while it
continues to eat, drink, sleep, sweat, and do all the other things natural men
do. IT IS A DIFFERENT KIND OF BODY, IN A DIFFERENT FORM,
IT IS A SPIRITUAL BODY, FASHIONED LIKE UNTO HIS BODY OF GLORY AND POWER!
Metamorphosis is that change which takes place from within.
“If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell
in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your
mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Rom. 8:11). It is not Gabriel blowing a horn and suddenly
the Spirit of God swoops down from out of the heavens and seizes upon your dead
body, raising it up. Oh, no! It is by the spirit DWELLING IN YOU. We are not transformed in either soul or body
by external forces acting upon us, but by the breaking
forth of a new energizing from within, the very life of the indwelling Christ! Let us carefully consider the wonder of this
thing, because it is certain that metamorphosis
has already begun in us and will continue until the complete transformation
has taken place. Too many of the Lord’s
people sit with folded hands, waiting for a change in some sweet bye and bye,
when God’s word clearly shows that this process of change has already begun. This is what must take place within us: we
must be changed from what we started out to be, into a creature vastly
different in form and nature. But do not
look first for the change in the outward.
Look not at the skin tone, the wrinkles, the physical strength, healing
of the body, as signs of metamorphosis.
The change begins within, in the soulical nature,
character, disposition, and powers, in mind and understanding, in
consciousness, attitudes, motivation, and manifestation. This is the power of the FIRST RESURRECTION!
are certain times and seasons when God brings to life truths that have been
allowed to lie in grave clothes for ages
and dispensations. As a seed lies
dormant in the winter months and then bursts
into life in the warmth and rain of spring, so also has the truth of God been
allowed to lie in death throughout the wintry night of our walk in Babylon’s religious
systems now at last to burst into a fruitful harvest in the spring of God’s
purpose to bring many sons to glory.
There came a wonderful day when Christ came into our lives. “What a wonderful change in my life has been
wrought, Since Jesus came into my heart,” we sweetly sing. But did you ever wait in holy reverence for
the Spirit to reveal the eternal truth of those words to your deepest
heart? Oh yes, we received Him — as a
saviour, as an idea or an ideal, as a truth, as a presence, as an experience,
as an ethereal kind of spirit, something vague and intangible dwelling in our hearts by faith. The Spirit of the Lord is quickening, however,
that there is a substance to that man within us. When the incorruptible life of the Christ
conceived within us, we must realize that He was conceived within as the embryo of a spirit-body. Not just a spirit, but a
SPIRIT-BODY! That is the man who belongs
to the Land of the Interface — where heaven and earth
are merged and fused!
then, of being strengthened with might in the inner man, he is speaking
within us. When Peter speaks of
man of the heart, he is speaking of glorified flesh that has
been born into the believer but is hidden beneath the veil of Adamic flesh.
A man is not a spirit. A man is
a composite being — spirit, soul, and body.
The first man was of the earth, earthy.
The second man is the Lord from heaven!
The first man was of the earth, imbued with the wind of heaven. The second man was from heaven in
the totality of His being — hence the virgin birth. It is this second man who has come into us
in His life. Jesus never
said, “Except you receive my spirit, you
have no life in you.” Rather, He said,
“Except ye eat the flesh of the Son
of man, and drink His blood, ye have
no life in you.” As we feed that man within
with the flesh substance and the spirit life of the resurrected and
glorified man, this infant spiritual body begins to grow and
when he is fully formed he will swallow up even this vile body into Himself and stand forth in splendor
and majesty as the NEW CREATION MAN — spirit, soul, and body! It will be CHRIST and yet it will be US! This man will then live fully in the Land of the Interface!
will close our meditations on the body of resurrection with these confirming
words from brother Bob Torango.
will not slack in our race for victory over the grave and all corruptible
states and conditions. Our heart is
fixed upon the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus our Lord, as we press
into His substance and nature with total trust in His ability to raise us up in
Him. Both sides of the river are
rejoicing, as together we progress towards that mark set before us. Jesus is the Pattern Son for this victory
over corruption and mortal existence and as He has risen from the dead, we
shall be raised also; some of us from that side of the river, some of us from
this side of the river, at the last trump, as the sound of resurrection breaks forth from both
the visible and the invisible realms, we will have Life as He has Life. It is a glorious morning, as the Light of God
surrounds us and darkness flees from His brilliance. I see the Lord, high and lifted up, His train
filling the temple. Look up, saints, our
redemption draws nigh, the time is at hand and the Day of the Lord is in our
midst. We will see our loved ones again,
as Christ will bring each child home to Father’s house and, oh, what a homecoming
that is! Not up in the sky somewhere,
but in the living Christ, we will all cross over into Life. May God be with you all as you run this
race. Be strong and courageous in the
Lord and be not dismayed as some are, but contend for the faith, make sure your
steps, and step out in God with the walk of the Overcomer. We are closer to the full salvation
experience of Christ than we have ever been before!”
be continued… J. PRESTON EBY