The Time Periods for the Resurrections
by Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., 1997
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The vast majority of Christians believe that death is not the end of life. This is true. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament teach in the clearest of terms that there will be life after death. Yet, strange as it may seem, almost 90 per cent of Christian believers do not believe what the Holy Scriptures teach when they show how this return to life will be accomplished. Most have their own beliefs that are independent of what the Bible says. And they are wrong.
The majority feels that as soon as a person dies in the flesh, then one's soul (or some say one's spirit) will continue to live in a conscious and active manner. This is an opinion that most theologians and philosophers over the centuries have called "the Immortality of the Soul (or, the Spirit)." This belief, which is widespread even in most heathen circles throughout the world, is the only view that makes sense to most people today. It is common to believe that our supposed immortality is so intractable that we could not lose our immortality even if we wished. In other words, we will live for the rest of eternity in heaven or in the pangs of hell and that even God is incapable of destroying our lives. That is because we are considered to be immortal and that our immortality is inherent.
Those who believe in this doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul (or, the Spirit) see no need whatever in any resurrection from the dead, simply because none of us in their opinion actually dies. They think the resurrection is irrelevant. True, they admit that our fleshly bodies cease to exist and they return to dust, but our soul or spirit will continue to live for the rest of eternity, and even God is incapable of destroying it.
What is the truth? The Scriptures show that all the dead are now dead in their graves and they are completely unconscious. They are waiting for the times that God has chosen for their resurrections from the dead. There are several principles to keep in mind on this issue. Let us now look at these factors and then understand when all human beings will actually experience "The Time Periods for the Resurrections."
Come on folks, let us get this matter straight once and for all. Let us not fool around with philosophical teachings alien to those of the Holy Scriptures, or to believe our own opinions that often are at variance with the Word of God. Let us be brave enough (and honest enough) to look at the Word of the Living God (the Holy Scriptures) to determine once and for all just what the state of the dead really happens to be. It is time to jettison our human opinions and for us to rely on the teaching of the Holy Scriptures.
In this Doctrinal Report, I am going to give you the teachings of the divine scriptures that come from no less than the God of the universe who created us all. The teaching of the scriptures is abundantly clear and plain. They tell us in no uncertain terms that all human beings who have ever lived on this earth from the time of God's creation of mankind are as dead as the proverbial door nail in the wall of your home (Ecclesiastes 9:5; Psalm 6:5; 146:4; 1 Timothy 6:16). Only one person is excepted. That is Christ Jesus who has obtained a resurrection from the dead that granted to him an immortal life in which life itself has become inherent within him. "For as the Father hath life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself" (John 5:26).
But for the rest of human kind, from the time of Adam and Eve until now, they have died and are in their graves or within the waters of the oceans. They have returned to "dust." They have no consciousness. None who has ever lived before is now alive. The dead have been deprived of those harmonic elements of existence that comprise the principles of energy which God himself utilizes to stimulate and motivate humankind with a living and emotional experience that we commonly call life.
That's right. The Holy Scriptures make it clear and plain that all human beings (except Christ) are now dead. That includes Adam, Enoch, 1 Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah also died, 2 along with Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and all the apostles of Christ including the apostle Paul. This also includes Mary the mother of Jesus and it includes Mother Teresa who just died in India. It also includes my dear father and mother and your dear father and mother (if they are dead). Indeed, it also includes Princess Diana who was just killed in a car accident as I write this Report.
If you should ever see some kind of vision or encounter any manifestation of someone you knew who has died, and that individual you witness states that he or she is that dead person, you can know at an instant that the spirit (or angel) saying such is a false spirit. That spirit is lying to you. It makes no difference if the spirit you witness reveals to you intimate details that only you and your dead friend might have known, the spirit you are seeing IS NOT your friend or any other dead person with whom you were acquainted. These lying spirits are called in the Holy Scriptures "familiar spirits" (Leviticus 19:31; 20:6). And there are many such spirits waiting for people to contact them. They are sinning angels who are trying to deceive you into wrongdoing.
The Bible says: "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try [test out] the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). These types of spirit apparitions are the actions of "familiar spirits" because they will often convey to you quite confidential information about your dead relatives or friends that only you and those dead persons would know to be true. The way for you to "try them" (that is, to test them out to see if they are from God) is to see if every thing they tell you is in accord with the divine teachings of the Holy Scriptures. Without dabbling with them, simply demand from those spirit apparitions that they tell you if they are (or were) former "dead persons." If they say they are (or were), you can know instantly that such a spirit is lying. You should tell that false spirit to depart from you by the authority and name of Christ Jesus and never to return to you. That spirit is impersonating a dead person who is no more alive than any rock you can find along a path.
These "familiar spirits" are, however, quite clever. Indeed, they almost always play to your emotional weaknesses (such as, you still have a longing for the person who has died and you are upset that the person is no longer with us in the flesh). These spirits will often endeavor to incite your emotional desires and proclivities. They use the trick of telling you such familiar things (and with the same personality mannerisms of the dead person that you once knew) that many people arrive at the erroneous conclusion that the dead person must still be alive. But the Bible tells us in no uncertain words to have nothing to do with such "familiar spirits" (Deuteronomy 18:11; 1 Samuel 28:3, 9; 2 Kings 21:6; 23:24; Isaiah 8:19; 19:3). They are lying spirits because the dead are very dead.
The apostle Paul said that even Satan the Devil looks like an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). When people today claim to see such dead persons as Mary, the Mother of Jesus, or other saints of the Bible or important people who have lived throughout history, they are witnessing impersonating spirits (lying spirits). There is not the slightest doubt about this. Sadly, there are clergymen in several Christian denominations who are so dumb and unintelligent to scriptural ways (that is the only appraisal to use to describe their nonsense) that they believe Mary is still alive and can be a Mediatrix between God and man. The apostle Paul said that there was (and is) only one Mediator between the Father and mankind and that personage is Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5).
But knowing the tendencies of human beings, there can hardly be a doubt that some people will soon begin to see appearances of Mother Teresa and Princess Diana 3 who recently died. The real truth is, they will be observing "familiar spirits" (not the two women themselves, who are as dead as they can be). Some crazy and ignorant theologians even think they have the power to canonize such dead people into a powerful sainthood if it can be established that certain miracles were supposedly performed through their efforts. This erroneous and diabolical teaching is an expression of thorough ignorance and absurdity at the highest level of indulgence. But this false practice is now being widely used and accorded ecclesiastical sanction by the top authorities of some mainline denominations. It is pure and unadulterated nonsense. 4
To Christians who really believe God's Holy Word, if anyone whose funeral they attended (and they saw the person in the casket) and that "dead" person makes an appearance to those Christians, the apparition should be recognized as a false and lying "familiar spirit." Christians should immediately ask that Christ Jesus rebuke such an apparition. One should say: "By the authority of Jesus Christ leave this room or area and never come back." Such evil spirits will recognize the power and the authority of Christ Jesus and His Name and they will go away. Never, never, never entertain such "false spirits" (or dabble with them because of curiosity) no matter how clever they are in their impersonations of your dead loved ones or people you know who are dead. As far as your loved ones are concerned, they will one day be alive again, but that will come through the resurrection of the dead. Not until the resurrection, will any of the dead (such as Mary the mother of Jesus, Mother Teresa, or Princess Diana) come back to life again. Let us understand once and for all, the dead are very dead.
It can easily be shown that all the righteous people of the Old Testament were, in the time of Jesus, dead and in their graves and all waiting for the resurrection from the dead. Not only did Jesus himself inform us that "no man has ascended up to heaven" (John 3:13), but the apostle Paul stated: "If Christ be not raised. Your [Christian] faith is vain; and you are in your sins, then they also which are fallen asleep [those dead] in Christ are perished" (1 Corinthians 15:17-18). But wait a moment. If the doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul were the truth, then no matter if Christ had been raised or not, the earlier people who supposedly died would in no way have perished because their inherent life did not depend upon Christ's resurrection. Yes, that would be the case if that heathen doctrine is believed, but Paul said that had not Christ been resurrected from the dead then all the people "in Christ" (such as Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Isaiah, etc.) would have utterly perished. Why? Because they are dead and are all awaiting their resurrections from the dead which will occur at Christ's Advent. They have not perished. 5
My dear brothers and sisters, have I made myself clear? I have taken considerable time to emphasize this utter diabolical teaching of the "Immortality of the Soul (or Spirit)," but I do not apologize for the repetitions because the matter is so important. That false teaching has spawned a whole slew of erroneous doctrines that our Catholic and Protestant friends simply believe are a part of the Gospel of Christ, whereas those doctrines are the prime teachings that Satan the Devil uses to promote his evil and insidious ways. One such tactic Satan uses is to turn figures of speech into literal accounts. 6
The truth is, the dead are now dead because they have all been sinners, and "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:26). That's why humans die. They are sinful in body, in soul and in spirit. We, as human beings, are composed of three living parts. We are body. We are soul. And we are spirit. Paul put it this way: "The very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:23). This tripartite nature of human existence can be sinful and that threefold composition will suffer death as a result of that sinfulness. We know that the body can be destroyed, but what does God say about the "soul." "Fear him [God] which is able to destroy both soul and body in hades [the unseen world, the grave]" (Matthew 10:28). But it goes further than that. Can the "spirit" in man be destroyed? Can the "spirit" be extinguished so that the full tripartite nature of man (body, soul and spirit) becomes dead and thoroughly inactive? The scriptural answer is YES.
Look first at the "soul." The Bible says: "the soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4, 20), and Jesus said the "soul" could even be destroyed by God (Matthew 10:28). But, my dear brothers and sisters, what about the "spirit"? Can it also die? Can our spirits die and not live any longer? The answer is YES. Why? This is because the spirits of humans can be as sinful and filthy as our bodies and our souls. What? Is it possible for the spirits of humans to be full of sin? Absolutely. Look at Paul's teaching in 2 Corinthians 7:1. "Dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and SPIRIT." This clearly shows that even our spirits are also tainted with sin. Yes, indeed. Have you not read about "the spirit of error" (1 John 4:6). There is "the spirit of divination" (Acts 16:16). There is "the spirit of fear" (2 Timothy 1:7). There is "the spirit of slumber [laziness]" (Romans 11:8). There is "the spirit of jealousy" (Numbers 5:14, 30). There is "the spirit of whoredoms" (Hosea 4:12; 5:4). There are those who have "a perverse spirit" (Isaiah 19:14). 7 On the other hand, the Bible shows that there are also those who have the spirit of wisdom, understanding, truth, humbleness, etc. But if anyone has the slightest spirit of sin or error on his or her spirit, that spirit (along with the body and soul) will also die because "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:26). This applies to our bodies. This applies to our souls. This also applies to our spirits.
This fact tells us a significant doctrine that we all need to realize. Do you know that when Jesus died on the tree of crucifixion for us (and for the entire world in a federal sense) that he had to die in body, he had to die in soul and he also had to die in spirit? This is because he took all the sins that apply to humans and placed them on his person so that he could take our place (as a substitute for us) and die in our stead. Since all of us have sins of the body in our person, we have sins of the soul in our person, and we have sins of the spirit in our person, Jesus had to take all three types of sinfulness on his back in order to die completely for us. And that is what he did, and for the whole world in a federal sense (John 3:16-17).
In one way of looking at it, God the Father contracted with His firstborn Son, Jesus Christ, for Jesus alone (one person acting in the place of all of us) to be punished on behalf of all constituent humans on earth. Jesus was punished in our stead. He personally paid our penalties for us. Jesus became the federal head of the human race (he became a new and final Adam) to represent humanity (all those born of the first Adam) in paying for their sins and all their shortcomings (1 Corinthians 15:45). He died in order that we might live. "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:22). It was through his grace and works and not through any works that we humans perform that we are saved through Christ (Ephesians 2:8-10).
What Jesus did on the tree of crucifixion was to absolve all humanity from their sins and their pollutions that have separated them from God the Father from the time of our first parent, Adam. "Therefore by the offence of one [Adam] judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [Jesus, the last Adam] justification [the act of being made righteous] came upon all men unto life" (Romans 5:18 adjusting the KJV italicized words that do not belong in the text). This means (along with many other similar scriptures) that "all men" on earth will share in the justification (being made righteous) that Christ, the last Adam, performed for them through his grace. Jesus in his life and death on earth was a federal representative for all humans (individually and collectively). We are thus assured the resurrection because of what Christ did on our behalf. The human race has been fully redeemed in a federal sense, but this redemption percolates downward to include every single individual ever born of Adam and Eve, our first parents.
This substitutionary role that Christ federally took upon himself to represent the totality of the human race (from Adam onward) was done through his grace and through the grace of God the Father. Mankind is not required to do anything (not the slightest work) to gain such acceptance from God the Father that Christ secured for each of us. And though we humans should, and one day will, repent of our sins and begin living correctly, no works of repentance were necessary on the part of mankind to secure for us the salvation that Christ Jesus gained for us by his death on the tree of crucifixion.
Let us not misunderstand. Repentance by all humans is absolutely necessary if people hope to experience the salvation that the Father has granted to us by Christ's death on the tree of crucifixion. We all must certainly repent of our evil ways. We must confess that Jesus is our Savior. We must also express faith and have a firm and heartfelt belief in Christ and in the teachings of the Gospel and also practice them. If we do not do these things, we will not be saved. That is the precise teaching of the divine Scriptures (Romans 10:8-13).
Yes, these things each of us must perform, but what many people do not understand is the fact that our personal repentance is not something energized by motives engendered within our own minds and coming from forces that are initiated by ourselves. We should realize that our own human will power is too weak and too inefficient to perform the essential virtues for salvation that are demanded by God and in the way that is acceptable to Him. We of ourselves can in no way satisfy the ultimate and perfect actions that God demands of us in order to achieve salvation. To do the deeds of repentance, confession, having faith and belief in Christ requires God to perform the energizing within us, by His power and His grace. The fact that you and I even have the ability to repent is a pure gift from God (this is the truth). The essential things we need to do for salvation are not placed into action in us by the use of our own wills that are independent of God. We must actually have God's own spiritual powers working in us to produce those good fruits. The apostles were all knowledgeable enough to realize that it is God who "grants repentance unto life" to all of us (Acts 11:18).
And when we confess Christ with our mouths before people, it is the Holy Spirit that God has granted to us that is prompting us to state that confession, it is not our own will that produces the avowal that Jesus is truly the Christ and is our Savior (1 Corinthians 12:3). Even when we exercise belief in Christ, it is not ourselves who do this necessary act, but that ability to believe in Christ is also something that God grants to us by His grace. Note the scripture: "it is given in behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake" (Philippians 1:29). As for the faith that we must express to be saved, we are told "for by grace are you saved through faith: and that not of yourselves, it [faith] is a gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8).
Yes, even the faith that each of us avow in Christ is something that God has supernaturally bestowed upon us. Our faith is a gift from God. As a matter of fact, even the will that you express through your own mind, and all the efforts that you perform to show your good works (and that you love and worship Christ and the Father) ARE NOT the results of your own WILL and EFFORTS. Note the divine words of God: "For it is God which works in you both to WILL and to DO of his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). That's right. God is the center of all our being. True, we are all created to be actively engaged in "good works" (Ephesians 2:10), but it is still God who grants to you and to me all these attributes of His Spirit. They are God's divine gifts to you and to me through His grace. You and I did not initiate any of the virtuous attributes of repentance, confession, belief or faith in Christ that people witness in your personal life, and that leads you to your salvation.
It is God (by His grace) who gives to us the desire to repent and to accept Christ and the Gospel (John 6:44, 65). God provides these positive attributes of His grace to each of us because He loves us supremely. There is, however, a negative side of God's grace that is usually never mentioned or even referred to by theologians, but it is equally as important as the positive aspect of God's grace. We need to understand both the negative and the positive aspects of God's grace in His relationship to humans. These attributes of grace are often difficult for some humans to comprehend, but they are a cardinal part of the Gospel of Christ for the redemption of the human race to God the Father. We need to understand that God's grace (that is, all aspects of it) is necessary to apply by God on our behalf in all human activities if we hope to achieve our predestined salvation that we all have in Christ (2 Timothy 1:9).
We can comprehend what all aspects of God's grace happen to be when we look at the prime example given to us by the Father. That example is Christ Jesus. He is described as the federal head of us all. He is the Last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45). Thus, the Father has given Christ to the world as the divine microcosm (as God's perfect standard) that God uses to teach us humans what His relationship is to all humanity. If you want to know how and why the Father does the things to humanity that He does actively or allows, then look to how the Father treated Christ on earth and also how He treated him after Christ returned to heaven. Christ is the standard model for all humanity. He is the single example that embraces all the experiences that God uses in dealing with humanity. And what will be the outcome?
Christ's role in history was to be the standard model for mankind. In the plan of God, it was designed that Christ would live a life on earth in our place. You can read in the Bible how the Father has treated the "model human" (Christ). In that standard model is the same experience to show how God treats us. And what happens in the end? God the Father will finally (through our trials and tribulations) exalt us to the highest position in the universe next to Him, sitting on the very throne now occupied by Christ Jesus, our Elder Brother. We will reign with Christ on that same throne. But to understand this procedure properly, we all need to recognize and to accept what is called the Theology of Grace. It is the central doctrinal teaching of the Holy Scriptures, and its teaching is usually the very opposite of what mankind thinks should be right and proper. The fact is, God's ways are NOT man's ways. Let us see what God's grace is.
First, let us look at the negative aspect of God's grace. That aspect is centered on the Father's treatment of the Last Adam (Christ Jesus, mankind's model and standard). Note that when Christ entered the world as a baby, he was born perfectly sinless because not only was the sperm from which he came was a spiritual creation of God, even the ovum that was impregnated with that sperm was also divine in origin and not from Mary's own bodily functions. This procedure is totally unlike Adam's children who are born in sin according to the apostle Paul (Romans 5:12-21). That special spiritually impregnated ovum was placed into Mary who became the host mother of the divine child who was to become the Christ. When Christ was born, he then became our example and our standard model for life and for death.
Paul then went on to say that when Christ was circumcised at eight days of age (according to the law of Moses), he was circumcised for us (that is, on our behalf) whether we are male or female makes no difference because Paul is speaking of spiritual principles, not fleshly ones (Colossians 2:11). Paul then states that Christ continued to live a life on earth on our behalf until he was baptized by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. This baptism, Paul tells us, was in place of us (that is, it was also done on our behalf) because Christ had no sin on him to wash away (Colossians 2:12). That baptism was a substitutionary one performed for each of us. In God's way of looking at it, each one of us has been baptized by no less than John the Baptist when he baptized Christ. After that, Christ then continued to live the perfect life during his ministry (and no one could convict him of any sin — John 8:46). Christ kept the Sabbath perfectly. Christ kept the Holy Days perfectly. Christ performed perfectly all the Mosaic Laws. He kept them as a substitute for us. So, since Christ did them for us, then we all did them in Him.
Not only that, Christ did extraordinary good works by healing the sick, raising the dead, feeding the hungry, and teaching the truth to mankind. Listen, Mother Teresa (who has just been honored for her "good deeds" and "piety") could not hold a candle to the righteousness and perfection of the actions of Christ while he was on earth (and even Mother Teresa would no doubt agree with this appraisal). In a word, Christ Jesus was perfect in every thing that he did (and also in the things that he did not do which might offend the Father in the slightest degree). And the main thing on earth Christ did for us was to die on the tree of crucifixion in our place as a substitution (Galatians 2:20). And finally, he was resurrected also for us so that when Christ sat down on the right hand of the Father after his resurrection, we are reckoned by God to have sat down with him on the same throne (Ephesians 2:6). Christ is our precursor.
This is fine, but what does this all have to do with the negative aspect of grace that I have introduced as an important subject that many people have not understood? What we need to ask is: what did Christ obtain from God for being the finest person (and, of course, the finest Christian) God ever saw on earth?
The good works that Christ did on earth should have earned him (one would normally think) the best possible reward that God could bestow on any human. But what did Christ actually obtain as his just reward? When God decided to judge Christ by the official Sanhedrin (the Jewish Supreme Court) for all those wonderful things that Christ did on earth, God forgot all about those perfect works of goodness and clobbered Christ with the worst punishment and ignominious kind of death that ever could be experience by man. God the Father dismissed all those good works and deeds of Christ and all the perfection and holiness that he possessed. Through the exercise of negative grace, God bestowed on Christ just the opposite of what he deserved. Indeed, God humiliated and crucified His only begotten Son. Those "good works" that Christ performed did not get him the slightest favor with God at the time of Christ's punishment. Even when Christ told the Supreme Court the truth that he was God's Son (which he was!), they threw out his testimony and convicted him of blasphemy from the very law that was supposed to give life and prosperity to people if they kept it, as Christ did indeed keep it. Even the divine truths that he told the Supreme Court brought on him the terrible and humiliating punishment that he underwent. And what did God the Father do while all of this was going on? He let the whole thing proceed without any intervention to save that perfect person called Christ Jesus. Indeed, even Christ himself cried out in agony and in utter dejection: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46).
This is the negative aspect of grace in action. Good works (one normally thinks) should bring good rewards. Evil works should bring evil punishments. But God, when He exercises grace does not consider works at all in His judgments, whether those works are good or bad. On the day of Christ's trial and crucifixion, God avoided giving Christ a good reward for his good works. He, instead, failed to involve any works whatever in His decision to prompt the Sanhedrin to punish him. God sent Christ a negative grace instead and presented Christ with the very opposite rewards that he should have had. Indeed, God overlooked Christ's good works entirely and sent him the awful punishments deserved for the most wicked of men. It may seem strange that God the Father would do this (be a party to such undeserved treatment of His own Son), but that is what God did, and it was in the preordained plan of God to do that very thing. That divine plan was devised before the foundation of the world that Christ would be awarded the punishment of the greatest sinners when he in no way deserved it (2 Timothy 1:9; Revelation 13:8). Amazingly, Christ agreed to the plan. How many of you would be willing to do such injustice and wrong?
What an anachronism according the principles of fair play and justice that we humans think are proper. But what did God the Father do? He forgot all the good works that Christ ever did and God gave Christ just exactly the opposite reward of what we would think that Christ deserved. The principle we need to understand is this. When it comes to grace, God NEVER takes "works" into account (whether they are good or bad works). When God shows grace to anyone, whether in a negative or in a positive sense, "works" never enter into the matter of His judgment, (and I repeat) whether those works are good or bad.
Though God's use of grace in these matters may not make any sense to most humans, that act of grace on God's part is absolutely essential to get you and me saved. Believe me, we do not have a tissue of a chance of salvation without God expressing His grace to us in matters concerning our conduct. We do not have a prayer's chance of salvation without God's grace. Think about it for a moment. What good conduct can you muster and present in all its frills and lace before God that will grant you a personal righteousness in that single conduct? And though you may barely survive in that one good conduct, what about all the other things in which you have failed — and in most cases, miserably? Let's fact it. We all need God's divine grace actively operating on our behalf. And God promises us that we will obtain that grace. That brings up the next matter.
Listen, there is hope for all of us. Let us now look at the positive side of God's use of grace (and this is the aspect that the apostle Paul rightly emphasized so much). Paul said it was not by works (whether good or bad) that we are saved, but that our salvation is through grace (Ephesians 2:8). So, just as God forgot all about Christ's good works and by grace had him undergo the punishment of the greatest sinners ever to live, God also forgets all our bad works (all our sins put together) and awards us by grace a judgment that is just the opposite of what we deserve. By God's grace, all of Christ's good works brought him punishment and death on our behalf, but by God's grace all of our bad works bring us glory and everlasting life in the Family of God on his behalf. God forgot all of Christ's good works in regard to Christ's own salvation, and God awarded them (by His grace) to us but let His own Son die the punishment reserved for the worst of sinners. The whole body, soul and spirit of Christ (including His blood) was thoroughly and completely tainted and polluted (in the Father's eyes) on his day of crucifixion with the totality of the sins ever committed by humans or angels upon Christ's back (2 Corinthians 5:21). No one could be considered more vile and depraved than Christ when he was being judged and finally punished by crucifixion.
But talk about an anachronism, God then went a step further in His awards by grace. What then did God the Father do with His divine Son? He took this most vile of persons (Christ Jesus, now loaded down with sins to the extent that he was now the greatest sinner ever to die on earth) and three days later God did a most unusual thing. God reached down with His divine power and resurrected that most "vile person" from the dead. Then what did God do with this "polluted" individual who had all the sins of the world on his back? He told him to take a specimen of his own blood (that is, some of his blood that did not spill on the earth at his crucifixion) and to return to heaven with that blood in his possession. Then what happened?
Paul tells us that when Christ appeared before the Father in heaven, the Father then had Christ take that "most polluted" of blood and sprinkle it on the walls of the holiest part of God's palace in heaven. And what did that "most vile" of blood perform? In God's eyes, that blood had such a powerful purifying holiness associated with it (because God declared that blood holy and pure by His divine grace). When that blood touched the walls of the Holy of Holies in heaven, those drops of blood cleansed not only all mankind, but they even purified and made holy all things in the heavens (Hebrews 9:22-24).
The simple truth is, it is God's definition of things that count, and not ours or Satan the Devil. The fact is, when Christ was judged before the Sanhedrin and crucified on the Mount of Olives, God (through His use of negative grace) declared Christ's blood polluted beyond compare, but when God told Christ to sprinkle that same "polluted" blood on the walls of the Holy of Holies in heaven, God then declared that same blood (through the use of positive grace) the purest and holiest blood in the totality of the universe. And all of this was done in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. That is how powerful God's grace is. He can turn the most polluted in the universe into the most pure in the universe by a simple statement from His divine mouth. It is just that simple. And thanks be to God, through our attachment to Christ, the Father will do the exact same thing for each of us. It is through grace that God does these things, and no works (either good or bad) are ever associated with such actions of grace.
That's right. When Christ Jesus stood before God to be judged (as all humans must do), God exercised His power and authority. By a divine action of God's grace (and without the slightest work being done by anyone else), God simply stated that the "most vile" blood, was now "the holiest and the most purifying" blood in the universe. After that, God said to Christ Jesus to put on the mantle of salvation and to come forward and sit down with Him in His throne to govern the entirety of this universe in righteousness and perfection. The Father will say the same thing to you and to me because all of us are now "in Christ" and we share in all his rewards and glory. To understand this, let us say that you are standing in front of God in the resurrection and Satan the Devil has a long list of your sins and evil works on a long scroll and Satan is just ready to proclaim that you are one of the most wicked persons ever to live on earth. Of course, Satan would be right as far as your works are concerned. Then God the Father looks you in the eye and says: "You are in Christ and I declare to you and all the heavenly host by My divine authority that you are as holy and righteous as Christ is, so there!" Without the slightest change in your actual character, you went (since you were reckoned to be in Christ at the time) from a most polluted person to an equality with the most righteous, and in a twinkling of an eye!
That action of grace is not a reward to you for doing good. That is not even a less of a reward to you for doing bad. No, because no works are involved in God judging you to be as perfect as Christ. This is because, as the apostle Paul said, we have grace in action, and when grace is the agency, there are no works ever considered no matter how good or how bad they may be. When the time of our resurrections arrives, you will know for certain that through your works you deserve punishment (hell and destruction), but you will get just the opposite rewards (glory and salvation) through the grace of God and Christ. That is how God's Theology of Grace works.
Almost all people misunderstand God in his manner of dealing with us in awarding salvation (or even other rewards) because almost all people believe God provides these things through good works, or punishments through bad works. To humans, this is the only way we can normally reason. This is because we do not comprehend the principle of the Theology of Grace. The use of grace has nothing to do with any kind of works. Solomon understood this principle (and the apostle Paul must have had some of Solomon's wisdom in his inspired thinking when he gave all of us the doctrine of grace). Solomon said that it was vain for mankind to judge God on matters of good or bad works. God can do as He pleases and His ways may be diametrically opposite man's ways. Solomon said:
"There is a vanity that is done under the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happens according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happens according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity."
We humans normally express the opinion that the good that a person does will be rewarded with good, and the evil that a person does will be rewarded with evil. And this is sometimes true among the rewards that we humans can give to people. But God's grace works in a different environment. Some people are judged by God to be righteous when most humans would consider them wicked. Take Lot for example, the nephew of Abraham. Remember how he left Abraham in the highlands of Palestine and he went down to Sodom and lived with the perverts. When two angels came to his household, he invited them in for fellowship. But the men of the city saw these strangers (who appeared like humans) and wanted them for acts that we now call sodomy (Genesis 19:16). Lot did not want this to occur so he said:
"I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof."
This action of Lot shows (in my judgment) a pitiful display of wickedness in the extreme. I have two grown daughters and I would fight anyone to keep my daughters from being subjected to the rape of those sodomites (and so would any normal person). Yet, in the divine Scripture (and in spite of this action of Lot) this nephew of Abraham is called "righteous" (2 Peter 2:8). And do not be led astray in assuming that Lot's "righteousness" was only a relational comparison to the lifestyles of people at the time (which were normally wicked). Some use this interpretation. This excuse, however, is a copout. It will not stand up in any biblical court. Listen, righteousness in the Bible is always relative to God's righteousness. It is not something judged by the evil customs of mankind. The fact is, when God said Lot was "righteous," God meant it! Who am I (or you, or anyone) to dispute God's judgment? But with the high standards given in both the Old and New Testaments on conducting oneself in a morally upright manner, one has to say that God gave His judgment on Lot through the application of God's grace, not Lot's works. This is God's prerogative. While all the normal standards of a decent society would render Lot an unrighteous person, God used His application of grace in judging any person (and grace is never dependent upon works of any kind). By using the principle of grace, Lot was judged as righteous, and there is not a person on earth or in the universe who can counter God's judgment in regard to Lot and his conduct. And so it is with us. God does not save us on account of any good works that we do. He saves us because of His grace.
Some Protestant ministers have been known to teach that "God does not save us IN our sins, but He saves us FROM our sins." Yes, this is true. But it is God who determines whether we have sins on us or not. The nephew of Abraham may not have been righteous according to our human standards of conduct, but when God through grace declared Lot to be righteous, he was as righteous as any other righteous person no matter what his works were. If God states that we are free FROM sin, we are then free FROM sin no matter what men or angels may judge.
The truth is, God calls us righteous (or as Paul words it "declared righteous") because we are all "in Christ," and not because of what we do or do not do. In fact, God can declare that someone is completely righteous even if the world and Satan the Devil judges the person the most evil person on earth. The principle that God always uses is one that He has devised (not mankind). The principle is that God "calls those things which be not, as though they were" (Romans 4:17). You and I may not actually be "righteous" by any standard that we know (and though I am a nice guy in most ways, I know I am not righteous as I should be even in my own eyes). But I am informed in the Holy Scriptures that God has declared you and me righteous (since we are in Christ), and that means we ARE righteous in God's eyes. God is the only one whose opinion counts in the divine courtroom. When you understand this truth of the righteousness that you have, you are on the way to comprehending God's Theology of Grace in its scriptural manner.
Now, let us be mature Christians and showing understanding in these matters of grace. Though it is true that we "in Christ" are not (nor will we) be judged by our works in regard to salvation, the Holy Scriptures still states quite dogmatically: "Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil" (Isaiah 1:16). We Christians are commanded to be doing good works because we have been created to do those very things (Ephesians 2:10). We are not to sin, that grace may abound (Romans 6:1). But we know that our sins will never triumph over us because we are "in Christ."
Yet in spite of our works (whether good or bad), we have been awarded the positive aspect of grace. Remember, the negative aspect of grace is the fact that we can be the best Christians in the world, but if God awards to us through His grace an evil punishment as He did to Christ, we can be treated like the worst of sinners. This is God's prerogative to do so if He wishes. But since in the plan of God for our salvation, we find that Christ assumed that full negative role for us (on our behalf). All that is left for us in regard to our salvation is God's positive application of His grace to exalt us and to save us from ourselves and our ways. Because God loves us intensely (as a Father to His only Son), we are all destined by God's divine grace to sit on the right hand of the Father in glory for the rest of eternity no matter what our deeds on earth have been. This reward is assured because we are all reckoned to be "in Christ," and there is no one who can thwart God's divine plan to have us sit on His throne of glory.
We humans are thus assured a glorious resurrection from the dead because of these actions of Christ that were performed by Christ for us. He was a federal substitute for the human race. For more details on this vital and essential subject, see book titled: The Essentials of New Testament Doctrine and my smaller (but jammed packed) booklet: The ABC's of the Gospel. 8
You may not have realized this, but all intelligent beings in the universe who have any sin associated with their lives must die for their sins (this, of course, excludes all animals, even those of the highest forms such as dogs, apes, etc. because God has not given animals the ability to sin). But, for all intelligent beings capable of sinning, the wages of sin is death. 9 Since we are told in the Holy Scriptures that angels can sin, this principle also applies to them. This is a universal law. It means that even Satan the Devil and all his angels who presently are sinners will die. I have absolute proof from the Bible and History that all angels can die. 10 The only way angels can live forever is for them to be resurrected from the dead. This is because there is not an angel in heaven that has practiced perfect righteousness. And if an angel has sinned, the only thing left for that angel is death. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
That law of sin applies to angels and their activities. If God reckons any angels (or spirit beings anywhere in the universe) to be sinners, those angels or spirits must die. Indeed, the majority of angels (but not all) are characterized as sinners. This means they will die, just as we do. The Holy Scriptures state: "Behold, he puts no trust in his saints [angels], yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinks iniquity like water" (Job 15:15, 16, see also Job 4:18 and 25:5). The apostle Paul said that even the heavens need purifying (Hebrews 9:23). And though Satan the Devil appears as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), he and the angels that accompany him (Revelation 12:9), are sinners. That includes those spirit beings in the bottomless pit (Revelation 9:1-12), and in any other confinement under the earth (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6).
Indeed, let us not stop with angels. To go further with this law that God has placed in action, even if God himself would ever sin (which it is impossible for Him to do) 11 , He would also be subject to death! That is absolutely a true statement. Let me state it again to make the matter clear. If God would ever sin, He Himself would be subject to death. If you want proof of the veracity of this statement, simply recall that Christ Jesus (who was the creator of heaven and earth under the direction of the Father — Colossians 1:15-20) was made a human being so that He could die in sins — in this case, in your sins and my sins (and the sins of the whole world). As a result, Jesus (as God) became subject to death (Philippians 2:8). From the day he came to earth, Jesus assumed the sins of mankind on his person as a substitute for us (to redeem mankind) and this resulted in him finally being put to death a little over thirty years later. This means that even a member of the very Family of God can be put to death if there is sin found in his person. This happened to Christ Jesus though he was reckoned to be Emmanuel, "God With Us." Never again, however, will Christ Jesus be put to death, and neither will we humans ever die again after our spiritual resurrections because we will then be the "children of the resurrection," and reckoned sinless.
We will become like those angels described by Christ Jesus in Luke 20:34-36 whom God views as sinless and will no longer see death. They do the will of God in everything they perform. And though humans often think God does evil (and the Bible says God does create and that He uses evil — Isaiah 45:7), God is not a sinner by any action that He does. Indeed, that particular group of angels in heaven who will never die (because God considers them sinless) do precisely as God tells them. They could perform "evil" (such as bring floods, droughts, earthquakes, etc. on earth by following God's directions), but they can never be considered "sinners" in performing what God commands them to do. These angels are simply carrying out the wishes of God (who Himself cannot sin in any way no matter what He does). Listen, it is God who defines what "sin" is, not man or angels. Note what Jesus said about us when we will be resurrected.
"The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: but they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection."
On the other hand, if any angel disobeys God and becomes sinful, that angel who sins will one day die. The apostle Paul stated in no uncertain terms that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). God does not put up with beings forever who go on disobeying Him (that is, they continue in sin). That includes humans or angels. Since we are told that Satan the Devil is a murderer and a sinner (John 8:44), then he must also one day die because of those sins. His death will arrive when the ages of the ages come to an end. The Holy Scriptures inform us that Satan will undergo torment in "the lake of fire for the ages of the ages" — not "forever and forever" as many translations erroneously render the text (Revelation 20:10). 12
There are various ages that God has determined for all of His activities on earth. God has "time periods" in which He has allotted mankind (and angels) to learn of His ways and the practice them (or to learn the sad consequences of not following the teachings of God). Paul said: "Who [God] will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all [for all humanity], to be testified in due time [Greek: "in its own time periods]" (1 Timothy 2:46). Professor Wuest translated the last phrase in the above quote as: "in his own strategic time periods." There are periods of time [plural] in which God performs His task of redemption for the human race.
In the Bible, these time periods are called ages. For example, in the New Testament we read of "the age [singular] of the age [singular]," and "the age [singular] of the ages [plural]," and "the ages [plural] of the ages [plural]." Obviously, these phrases must be understood differently. We need to recognize why Paul used the singular in one place and the plural in the next. As for Satan the Devil, he will be placed in the Lake of Fire "for the ages of the ages" (Revelation 20:10). Some have imagined that the phrase "ages of the ages" means for the rest of eternity. If one compares similar usages in the Scriptures of terms like this, one sees they do not mean eternity. 13
What do the Holy Scriptures actually signify by the phrase "ages of the ages"? If you will examine the various contexts in which that phrase occurs, you will see that it signifies the superlative of the age or the ages that are being discussed. Since we are told that Satan the Devil will be punished for the ages of the ages (Revelation 20:10), we should endeavor to discover what the Bible means by such a phrase. This does not mean, as the KJV has it, "forever and forever." Look. Since Satan is characterized by God as being a sinner, he will have to die at a time in the future. The phrase "ages of the ages" in regard to Satan's punishment describes a period of time from the moment Satan is placed in the Lake of Fire until he dies in the second death (remember, all those thrown into the Lake of Fire must die the second death — Revelation 20:14-15). It does not denote "forever and forever." It simply means that for all future ages (until Satan's death in the Lake of Fire), Satan will be in a type of "torment" in that fiery lake until his death. In no way is his "torment" eternal.
Do not be led astray by misinterpreting these vital teachings. We are also told in the divine Scriptures that death itself (including the second death and any other form of death) will be completely destroyed (that is, annihilated) as the final act of Christ's victory over sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:26-28). Satan's punishment for the "ages of the ages" simply means that from the time he is thrown into the Lake of Fire, all the future ages of God's plan for humanity and the angels will be concluded and death itself will finally be eliminated (indeed, destroyed and annihilated) and then all will then be made alive. That salvation comes at the dispensation of the fullness of times (Ephesians 1:10) when God becomes "all and in all" (1 Corinthians 15:28). It is important to realize that the phrase "ages of the ages" only means the superlative of "ages," it does not mean "forever or eternity." The Bible has other similar expressions. 14
In my new book about angels that I will be writing in 1998, I will show in
the clearest of ways (both from the Bible and History) this much neglected
teaching that most angels can and will die. 15 And while there is a special group
of angels who do not sin (because God renders them as sinless in His eyes), nor
do they die, most angels are still sinful as are we humans. Since many (that is,
most) angels are in some manner sinful, they need redemption just as we
do. God promises them, as He does us, a full reconciliation (Ephesians 1:10).
You need to know more about these angels and their roles in regard to helping
us, the children of the living God. You will be surprised at the details of this
truth when you read about them in my new book on this subject.
You will find that all angels who sin will one day die. And though Satan the Devil will be punished in the Lake of Fire for the ages of the ages (Revelation 20:10), he will ultimately see death. The Lake of Fire results in death for anyone being thrown into that fiery liquid, because that Lake of Fire is the second death. 16 Note that the Scriptures do not say that such a person will experience the "second LIFE," it says the result will be the "second DEATH" (not some kind of immortal life in torment). This even includes evil angels. The angel called "Death" and the angel called "Hades" (these angels both rode horses in Revelation 6:8) will be thrown into "the lake of fire which is the second death" (Revelation 20:14).
The only angels who no longer die will be those who make up that special group in heaven who are like we will be after our spiritual resurrections from the dead. They are no longer sinners and they can die no more. And there is one other thing. Since they will be like us, it means neither will they marry. Jesus taught that when we are resurrected we will no longer marry. This is because we will no longer be mortal and we will not see death any more (Luke 20:36). 17
In spite of this, nowhere in the Bible does it state that those who experience the second death cannot be resurrected from that death. Indeed, the apostle Paul said in the clearest of terms, as I have already indicated, that in the final dispensation even death itself will be destroyed (fully annihilated) (1 Corinthians 15:26). At that time, all deaths (including the second death) will not hold anyone within their grip. Though Satan will be put in the Lake of Fire for the ages of the ages, he will still emerge from his punishment and repentance into a life in Christ at the dispensation of the fullness of times (Ephesians 1:10).
Let us look at the facts. The death of Jesus on the tree of crucifixion covers not only the sins of the human race in an individual and collective sense, but it also atones for the sins of the angels, including those of Satan the Devil and the other evil angels. You will recall that Jesus after his resurrection from the dead took some of his own blood up to heaven and in the presence of the Father his own blood was sprinkled on the walls of the Father's Holy of Holies (Hebrews 9:22-25, read the verses carefully). That blood of Christ which was sprinkled in God's own Holy of Holies was powerful enough to purify heaven itself (Hebrews 9:23). And we read in Ephesians 1:10 "that in the dispensation of the fullness of times [at the end of the ages of the ages in God's plan] he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, in him [Christ]."
This means that all those in the whole universe will have a reconciliation with the Father and they will finally [at the end of the ages of the ages] attain salvation through the grace of Christ Jesus. Yes, they will all be resurrected from the dead and attain life forevermore. Christ's blood is powerful enough to save those who were (and are) sinners whether they are on earth or in heaven. Even angels in heaven who are not now reconciled to the Father will one day be in harmony with Him and they will no longer be hostile to God or Christ. In a word, even the angels will be saved through the application of Christ's blood on their behalf. His grace is just that powerful. At that final date, God will then become "all and in all" (1 Corinthians 15:28). All will then be saved (1 Timothy 2:46). John 3:16 and 17 will then be fulfilled in its completeness, to the glory of God.
We should recall that in the resurrections there will be spirit bodies which will have different glories. Paul said that there is the glory of the Sun, of the Moon, of the Planets and Stars, and that even the Stars have different brightnesses (glories). See 1 Corinthians 15:41. All of us who are the very children of God will be glorified as is the Father and Christ. We will be given the greatest glory of all — the glory as symbolized by the Sun in its full strength (see the examples of Revelation 1:16; 21:23).
Just as there are different types of fleshly beings now on earth (the flesh of men, animals, fish and birds) so there will be different types of spiritual bodies in heaven. We humans are destined to inherit the ultimate glory — the full and undiminished glory of the Sun (because we will all be "in Christ" and that is the glory that He and the Father now have). Some angels, however, will have a different type of glory. Their glory will be like that of the Moon in comparison, or even like one of the Planets or the Stars (in their various glories). See 1 Corinthians 15:39-41. This is how the resurrections will be.
Our glory, though, will be the top glory. We are destined to become members of the very Family of God that rules the universe. We will be elevated to "Godhead." For plain information on how this is done, and that we will become Deity (as all the early Fathers of the Christian Community believed from the first to the fourth centuries), see my seminal work The Essentials of New Testament Doctrine and The ABC's of the Gospel. The fact is, though, there will be different glories to inherit in the resurrections. Those glories are like the heavenly bodies in their variations. Paul said: "So is the resurrection of the dead" (1 Corinthians 15:42).
The highest glory that any angel can attain in any resurrection from the dead is the glory of the "Moon." Their top glory will be that of the Moon (and its brilliant and resplendent light as during the Full Moon). Whereas the Father, who is far above the angels in authority, has the Sun associated with Him in a symbolic sense (Psalm 19:16; Malachi 4:2). Note that the Moon is reflective light, while the Sun is the source of light for our Solar System. In the Book of Revelation (when speaking about a period of three and a half years), that length of time when connected with the Father is given as "a time, times, and half a time" where the word "time" means a year (a solar year). The phrase "time, times and half a time" means "a year, years [two years] and half a year," or three and a half years. Note that the Sun is used to determine the period of time.
All measurements that use "years" are arrived at by utilizing the motions of the Sun. In the Book of Revelation, the same period of three and a half years (when associated with God) is also denoted as 1260 days. But again, the use of "days" is also determined by the motions of the Sun. However, when evil forces are brought into play in the Book of Revelation, the heavenly body linked most to Satan the Devil is that of the Moon (and remember, Satan is an angel). This Lunar linkage to angels is shown in Revelation 12:1 where the text refers to "the Moon under her feet." Note that when the 1260 days are connected with the evil actions of Satan, the period of time is designated as 42 months, which is a clear Lunar designation. So, in the symbolic interpretation of the Holy Scriptures we find that the glory of the Sun is associated with God the Father and Christ Jesus (and all of us in the resurrection), while the glory of the Moon is connected with the top angels (in this case, it means Satan the Devil).
There are other celestial beings that represent different types of glory in the heavenlies. But we, who are attached to Christ Jesus, will be just like Christ and the Father. In our resurrections, we will have the glory of the Sun in its full strength. To attain this glory we must first die and then be resurrected from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:36). No one will obtain that glorious condition unless a person dies, and then is resurrected from the dead. And though death is called an enemy of ours in the Bible, this is true only in relation to this life and that of our loved ones. The truth is, Christ has fully conquered death and it is ultimately no longer an enemy to us, because we will all be victorious and triumphant over its powers.
It is important to realize that all resurrections that have taken place from the time of Adam until now, have been resurrections to mortal life (and that even includes the resurrection of Jesus Christ). But wait a moment. Are we not told in the Holy Scriptures that our Lord became the firstfruit (singular) of those who will be resurrected to live for the rest of eternity with the Father (1Corinthians 15:20-23)? That is correct. What I am saying, however, is that when Jesus was first resurrected, he came forth from the tomb first as a mortal being. He then went to his Father in heaven, sprinkled his blood upon the walls of God's own Holy of Holies. After this, Christ was brought to the throne on the right hand of the Father and he was then clothed with a mantle of spiritual power that changed him into a spirit body that will remain alive for the rest of eternity. He then sat down on the right hand of God, and by doing so assured each of us that we will also do the same thing in our own resurrections. We will sit on the same throne as Christ (Ephesians 2:6).
There was a span of an hour or so between Christ's actual resurrection from the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea on the Mount of Olives before he went to heaven and appeared before the Father to receive his glorified body. He was at first mortal. He told Mary soon after his resurrection "touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father" (John 20:17). He had not yet purified heaven (the universe) with his blood.
The fact is, when Mary saw him resurrected from the dead, Christ had still not been completely forgiven of the sins upon him until he appeared before the Father in heaven. He then appeared before the Judgment Seat of God in heaven. Remember that it is given unto men to die and then we must undergo the Judgment, and even Christ (as our representative and substitute also had to pass the Judgment of God in heaven before he could be redeemed and saved). See Hebrews 9:27 for this essential teaching. The Father brought Christ to the Judgment Seat and there God legally and officially absolved Christ of those sins (our sins) that he bore for us. He did this on our behalf. That means that each of us has passed that Judgment Seat in triumph because we were "in Christ" when Christ passed that Judgment Seat with a victorious award of salvation and glory (2 Corinthians 5:10-20). Christ was then clothed with the mantle of salvation (he was again given his spirit body) and he sat down on the right hand of the Father, just as we (after our resurrections) will sit on the same throne in heaven (Ephesians 2:6).
After the Father cleansed and purified Christ and when Christ passed the Judgment Seat as a substitute for us that morning after his resurrection almost two thousand years ago, Christ was legally and officially cleansed of every sin that he ever had on his back (that means our sins, dear brethren because Christ had no sins of his own to account for). At that very moment, Christ passed the Judgment Seat of God triumphantly and with a sinless record to show for it.
Passing the Judgment Seat of God by Christ was something done for us and on our behalf. Once Christ emerged from the Judgment Seat triumphantly, God the Father told him to put on the mantle of salvation and glory that was ordained for him to have before the foundation of the world (2 Timothy 1:9). But Christ was not doing this for himself alone. The simple truth is, Christ took on the responsibility of bringing all of us who make up the human race along with him into the very salvation and the glory that Christ was ordained to have from the beginning of time. Whether we realize it or not, in the eyes of God the Father we all sat down with Christ on that same divine throne in heaven. Our salvations were then and there secured and made certain at that time and for all future time. We are save by grace, not our works.
What Christ experienced was something quite special and extraordinary after his resurrection from the dead. Actually, when he came forth from the dead he was as mortal as all the Old Testament saints that had undergone a similar resurrection from the dead (and this included the New Testament saints of later times). None of these resurrections (even those individuals who came forth at Christ's resurrection as a witness to the power of God over death) was a resurrection to spiritual life with a spirit body that will last for the rest of eternity. No. All of these resurrections were only to mortal life (like that of Lazarus). It is simple to see that those resurrections in the Old Testament and those of the New Testament were only to mortal life. None of these resurrections were spiritual ones that mean they would never die any more. In fact, all resurrections to life are to mortal life unless a secondary procedure is used by God to make those resurrected bodies to be infused with a new spirit body that will make them have the same type of bodies as those now enjoyed by Christ and the Father. As a matter of fact, even Christ himself had to be given that secondary infusion of spiritual life when he got to heaven that made his body impervious to death and incapable of dying any more. That is why he told Mary not to touch him on earth because he was still mortal and he had not passed the Judgment of God in heaven (John 20:17).
Christ after his resurrection from the dead still had to undergo God's Judgment in heaven. But when he appeared before the Father with his own blood, the Father looked at him and told him to sprinkle his blood in the Holy of Holies in heaven. The Father then absolved Christ by grace (and all of us who were then reckoned to be "in Him") of all sin and pollution. He told him to place the mantle of spiritual power upon his body that would change him into immortality. With this, Christ sat down at the right hand of the Father in heaven (and Christ took each of us with him to that throne). We sat "with Christ" on that throne when he sat on it (Ephesians 2:6).
Remember, Christ died for us, in our stead. Paul stated that all must die and that after that comes the Judgment (Hebrews 9:27). So, Christ first had to go to heaven and appear before the Father in the normal type of Judgment that all humans have to undergo. After that, he had to be accepted of the Father. He then had to sprinkle his own blood on the walls of God's heavenly palace, and then God the Father in total acceptance of what His firstborn Son had done, clothed him with the mantle of spiritual power to infuse him permanently with the Father's divine spirit. Christ then became a spirit-bodied person with the same bodily factors of spirit substance that has always embraced the Father in heaven. Then is when Christ secured for us the same type of spiritual body, rank, character and emotions, the same holiness, and the same membership in the Family of God that Christ also has.
This assumption of Christ's new spirit embodiment was a secondary factor in the resurrection process. That is a fact. As far as all other people mentioned in the Holy Scriptures (who were resurrected from the dead), none of them was given that secondary experience that would have given them life for the rest of eternity with the Father. But Christ was given it. Christ became the firstfruit of those that died. As a result of Christ's resurrection from the dead he gained that resplendent and awesome secondary experience. It is a secondary clothing. When applied to us, this donning of that spiritual garment makes us to be exactly like God the Father in bodily composition and (in a legal sense) to have the same divine character and substance now enjoyed by Christ and the Father.
What do I mean by this secondary act? This secondary function results in our mortal body being changed into an immortal spirit-substance — into a body that looks exactly like a human being, but the substance of the body is made of spirit (or, of a heavenly material) that is as tangible to other spirit beings as our present fleshly body is tangible to other fleshly bodies. The fact is, all humans must be changed in order to inherit and to enjoy our new spirit bodies that are made of spirit substance. The spirit substance we are to inherit is as solid to another spirit being (or substance) as the Rock of Gibralter is solid and substantial to our physical experience in the flesh.
In a word, spirit bodies are substantial to other spirit bodies. In the resurrection, we are all to have bodies like we have now, though they will be composed of spiritual substance, not flesh and blood. They will be bodies just like Christ and the Father now have. Recall, Christ is the express image of the Father in every way (Hebrews 1:3). In the resurrection, our bodies will be whole bodies with every appendage in place. If your present body lacks a finger or an arm (or an appendix) or you are circumcised, you will be restored to the same type of body as Adam had (who was in the image and form as God the Father), though your body will be of spirit substance. For an example of this type of restoration, see Isaiah 35:6.
An example of this restoration of all body parts is provided by Christ in one of his miracles. There was a man who had a withered arm, but it was restored by Christ back to a perfect condition, to be just like his other arm (Matthew 12:9-13). And Paul said the resurrection was like sowing wheat or some grain, and when the original seed dies, the outcome is a new seed being born would be with perfect dimensions like the former seed. So will we come forth whole and restored. This no doubt was the case of Lazarus who came forth from the tomb. When Lazarus was raised, as will all of us who are males will be raised, we will be raised in a body that is uncircumcised. Wait a moment. Did you say Uncircumcised? That's right, I said Uncircumcised. Now folks, bear with me. Don't turn me out as a crank or a "nut" in the highest extreme. Let us, on the other hand, be serious about this matter. The fact is, when Lazarus was resurrected from the dead, he was resurrected with his foreskin in place. We should not see any humor in this fact of God's resurrection power. This truth is a profound spiritual principle of the high importance.
Look at the death of Lazarus for a moment. When he died, he died to all the requirements of the Law of Moses (because they only last until death). As a resurrected non-Jew he was no longer subject to keeping the Sabbath, the Holy Days, Tithing, eating clean foods, etc. But Lazarus died to the Law and these laws for Israel would no longer apply to him in an actual legal sense (Romans 7:13). Even further, this means, if Lazarus was married (though it appears that Christ picked Lazarus as the one to die and be resurrected from the dead because it appears he was not married — he lived with his two sisters), his death would have legally terminated that marriage. If he still wanted his former wife after his death and resurrection, he would have to marry her again.
Secondly, since Lazarus was resurrected as a whole person, at the time of his resurrection he ceased to be a Jew and in covenant relationship with God because all Jews had to be circumcised. Legally, Lazarus would not have had to be under any of the Mosaic legislation after his death and resurrection. This is true. Indeed, neither will we be subject to those laws either. Come on folks, when one dies, all obligations to the Law vanish away. If a person were a Jew who died and then resurrected from the dead, that person would no longer be legally in a marriage covenant with God and under the Old Covenant. If that Jewish man were resurrected to be just like God and Christ (who are both uncircumcised), then he would no longer be subject to the Mosaic covenant that has circumcision as its basis. After all, in the resurrection that Jewish man will now be like God and he will be uncircumcised. Christ is now resurrected from the dead and no longer circumcised. He is now like God.
This teaching that I am now presenting is a profound legal matter and it is not a frivolous circumstance to laugh at or to joke about. It is not the physiological aspect that even concerns me in this matter. I am speaking about a spiritual sign that all males who have descended from Abraham are supposed to have in their bodies as a sign of their covenant relationship with God. It is that "covenant relationship" that I am speaking about. It is a ritualistic principle of high importance that is found throughout the Holy Scriptures. The matter was so significant to the early New Testament ekklesia that it almost split the community in two over the arguments engendered about this spiritual and physical ritual (Acts 15). This is serious spiritual business that I am speaking about. It is of utmost importance in regard to the symbolism that regulates the social and religious systems found within the basic framework of the divine covenants as advocated by the authority of the Holy Scriptures.
So, don't be amused at this matter. It actually involves each of us in the resurrection. Putting it into a proper environment for discussion, I ask you to consider whether a Christian male is resurrected circumcised or Un-circumcised — or, in spiritual language — is he resurrected in a covenant relationship with God or in no covenant relationship by being "Un-circumcised"? Don't laugh, this matter is vitally important. In a word, our resurrections in the eyes of God bring upon us an entirely different social and religious set of circumstances that are different from those now observant in the social systems of mankind. In our resurrections from the dead, we will then be members of God's Family and no longer mere humans on this earth who must obey human laws. To be like God in image and form (and also character and holiness), we must be like God is in all factors of God's existence. To achieve this divine state, all you men will be resurrected Uncircumcised. We return to being like God. There are no longer any human covenant relationships with God that we will continue to have. We will no longer be a son of Abraham or a son of Moses with the sign of circumcision on us. No. In the resurrection you and I cease to be "Jews" (if that were our nationality), and this applies to us whether we are male or female. We will then be a Son or Daughter of God and appearing in spiritual form just exactly as He (or as the female division of the Godhead) appears. This is the important fact that we need to understand. For more information on this subject, see my Essentials of New Testament Doctrine.
Relative to what I have just written, let us note a point clearly. I am not strictly speaking of the necessity of being circumcised or uncircumcised in a physical sense. Of course not. I am speaking about being in the image or form of God the Father and Christ Jesus in every way. Both of them now (and without the shadow of a doubt) are Un-circumcised because their bodies are whole and are not maimed. This is absolutely the fact. And when we are resurrected from the dead, we will be exactly as the Father and Christ in bodily form and in spiritual character. The fact of God's present Un-circumcision is a most important theological point that cannot be overemphasized. It has extreme bearing on what we who are now members of the Family of God should be doing and what we have to do to please God the Father. I am not joking.
This is a significant question that most theologians simply ignore because most do not like to discuss (or even to believe) in what is called the anthropomorphic attributes of God and Christ. Most people simply prefer to view God as a type of whispy spiritual power that has no body shape or form whatever. Some of you may even view God in that manner. But such a non-somatic attribute is utterly contrary to every description of God that we have in the Holy Scriptures. He is always shown in the Bible with somatic features that the writers of the divine scriptures took for granted were literal body parts (head, hands, feet, eyes, mouth, etc.). As for us humans, the whole question is of utmost importance because this matter is a part of the theology of our own resurrections that we are promised by God. We are told in no uncertain terms that we will experience a resurrection of the body (1 Corinthians 15:38-40) and that we are to have a body just like God the Father and Christ Jesus have their bodies at the present (Philippians 3:21).
In the resurrection, males will be resurrected Un-circumcised. Why is this important? Because it provides a symbol of the fact that no religious covenant, dogma or human requirement is now a part of our divine makeup in the resurrection. All of us (males and females) will be FREE of all religious requirements that God imposed on certain humans, and so will be each of you in the resurrection! Indeed, even now being "in Christ" means you are now FREE (whether male or female) of all religious obligations that the churches demand of you (Romans 7:1-6).
The apostle Paul stated, both in regard to those who are resurrected from the dead, and those who live to witness the Second Advent of Christ in the flesh, that "we shall all be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:51). Yes, even those being resurrected as well as those of us still alive, we (both groups) "shall all be changed." That change from flesh (mortal) to spirit (immortal) is absolutely essential if we are to live again and live for the rest of eternity. Paul said it clearly in Philippians 3:21. "Who [Christ] shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body." What most people have not realized is the fact that even the body that is raised up in the resurrection is at first a mortal body. True, it will never see corruption because it will then be changed in the twinkling of an eye into an immortal body at the Second Advent of Christ. The change will be almost instantaneous.
How do all of us still in the flesh when Christ returns (or those just raised from the dead) become immortal? It is all explained in the Scriptures. It states in the clearest of terms that each of us "must PUT ON incorruption, and this mortal must PUT ON immortality" (1 Corinthians 15:53). How does one "put on" the spiritual factor that changes our bodies into spirit beings? Paul goes on to say it is just like putting on an outer garment of clothing. He said that if our "house" or "tent" (he means our "fleshly body") be dissolved or destroyed, we have "a building of God, an house not made with hands, age-lasting in the heavens" (2 Corinthians 5:1).
God has a type of spiritual mantle in heaven awaiting us. Paul says we desire "to be clothed upon with our house [body] which is from heaven." This means that our new "house" or "body," though now resident in heaven, comes to us FROM heaven [Greek, ek, "out of" heaven]. We do NOT go up to heaven to get our new body. What comes from heaven is like a garment or a tent that can be wrapped around us to change us from flesh into spirit-substance. Paul went on to say: "if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked…not for that we would be unclothed [naked], but clothed upon, that mortality [our present death-state] be swallowed up of life" (2 Corinthians 5:2-4). In other words, we will be "clothed" with a new body. We have to put on that spiritual raiment that comes to us.
It is just like donning some clothes. This is the plain meaning of the phrases used by the apostle Paul. This "putting on" of spiritual clothing is just like going to your closet, finding your cloak, taking it out and "putting it on." That's right. It is just that simple, and it is just that important. This procedure of obtaining a spiritual body is the same type of "putting on" when Christ spoke of putting on your ordinary clothes (Matthew 6:25; Mark 15:20); putting on your raiment Matthew 27:31); putting on your best robe (Luke 15:22); or putting on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:11). It is also the same as putting on the new man [person] (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10).
This "putting on" of spiritual clothing is that secondary factor in the resurrection that we must all undergo if we hope to inherit the immortal and incorruptible body like those bodies which Christ and the Father now have. In plain language Paul taught that Christ will bring this "spiritual cloak" from heaven (this is the spirit garment that will implant a change into every atom of our physical bodies). What God does is to first resurrect us from the dead and then He will clothe us with that spirit garment to give us life for the rest of eternity. The simple fact is, we have to put on (or clothe ourselves with God's help) with the garment that will afford us life for all time.
Look at this closely. Just as the Father gave Christ the "spiritual cloak of salvation" and Christ put it on and then he sat down on the right hand of the Father, so Christ will bring the same type of "spiritual cloak" from heaven. At the instant of our resurrections from the dead, or (if we are alive at the time), Christ causes that "spiritual cloak" to be wrapped around each of us (or, Paul says we even have a part in the process because he said that WE PUT IT ON, or we will help to WRAP IT AROUND US). Even our normal clothes that then cover us will also be changed from earthly material into heavenly material. As for every atom in our bodies, each atom will be changed from mortal into immortal at that exact moment. We will be changed from corruptible into incorruption. Yes, and even our clothes (if surrounded by that spirit garment from heaven) will be changed into a spiritual substance.
The apostle Paul made it clear that there was to be "a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust" (Acts 24:15). When you read Paul's teaching carefully in First Corinthians 15, you will find that he taught three resurrections for the "just" to be resurrected to immortal life. As for the unjust, there will be two periods for resurrection for them in the future. In fact, Paul stated clearly that the initial resurrection of the "just" was a resurrection of only one person from the dead. That person was Christ. He was the firstfruit (singular) of all people who are dead.
"Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruit [singular, not plural "first-fruits"] of them that slept"
1 Corinthians 15:20
Christ's first-fruit [singular] status is mentioned again in verse 23. But at that verse, Paul then introduces the second time that anyone will be resurrected to spiritual life like Christ was raised from the dead. He said: "Christ the first-fruit [singular]; afterwards they that are Christ's at his coming [his Second Advent]" (1 Corinthians 15:23).
This second time for spiritual resurrection is at the Second Advent of Christ. Throughout the Scriptures this resurrection at Christ's Advent is called "the resurrection from among [out of] the dead [dead ones]" (e.g. Romans 6:13; 10:7; 11:15). Though that resurrection will be the "second" if you include Christ, it becomes the "first" for humans who will be "in Christ" at Christ's Second Advent. Paul said this was a special resurrection (for those alive at Christ's Advent) that is called the "out-resurrection" (Philippians 3:11, see Greek). Paul meant a resurrection that comes "out of" (or, from among) the dead ones who still remain in their graves. This special resurrection is described in Revelation 20:46:
"I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection [the first resurrection for the generality of human beings]. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power."
So, there is (1) the resurrection of Christ almost two thousand years ago (the firstfruit), then there is (2) those who are resurrected at Christ's Second Advent, and then (3) the final resurrection at what Paul said in Greek was the telos (the very end) that he mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:24. Paul stated: "then comes the END [the Telos]." This "End" is at the very moment when Christ conquers all opposition to him and the Father throughout the entire universe, when death itself as a condition and as a state will be destroyed (it means, annihilated), and when all intelligent creatures throughout the totality of the universe become "all and in all" with God the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). That last phrase is actually: "God may be all things [plural] and in all things [plural]" (verse 28). There are then only THREE TIMES in history when there will be spiritual resurrections. These three times are given by the apostle Paul in First Corinthians 15. This is the key chapter in everything dealing with the spiritual resurrections from the dead. Always refer to it as the standard text.
All those resurrected when Christ returns will experience the Kingdom phase of salvation, called in the New Testament "the age [or world] to come" (John 18:36). That is when Christ begins to rule (Revelation 19:15) and he will continue ruling through all future ages until he will have conquered all opposition to God, and when death as the last enemy shall be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). All who are not resurrected at Christ's Advent will NOT experience the Kingdom Phase of God's salvation during the Millennium when Israel is exalted above the nations. We who will be resurrected at the Second Advent will not be subject to the second death (or any death) any more. Those resurrected at this time are all the Old Testament saints of God who were chosen to understand the truths of God that were given to them. It includes all Israelites who were hoping to enjoy "the world to come" (that is, the Age that we call the Millennium). They will live not only to enjoy the Kingdom Phase of God's rule on earth (the ages of the Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment), but they will live with Christ forever.
During the Millenniuim, the Old Testament saints and the apostles are promised to govern the nations on earth that are left after the disastrous conditions brought on the earth in association with Christ's Second Advent. The apostles will sit on twelve thrones governing the tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). They will live through the Millennium with their prime inheritance on earth. We who are Gentiles, and especially those of us who know and understand the teachings of the Mystery (mentioned primarily in Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians) will inherit a heavenly kingdom along with the apostle Paul who was the apostle to the Gentiles (2 Timothy 4:17-18). The mortal Israelites who remain on earth will be given a New Covenant (a New Marriage with God) for this period and it will last 1000 years.
The Millennium will begin with an asteroid hitting the earth (Revelation 18:21). This will leave only a few humans of the various races alive on earth. This destruction is described in detail in Isaiah 24. All mercantile activities will cease on earth for 70 years and the earth will return to an undeveloped state for that period of time (Isaiah 23:17-18). Egypt will be so destroyed that for 40 years not even an animal will walk through the country (Ezekiel 29:8-16). Edom will be desolate for the whole Millennium (Isaiah 34) and so will the area of Babylon (Jeremiah 50-51). These destructions are a part of Christ's judgments on the nations (not individual humans) as described in Matthew 25:31-46).
After 70 years into the Millennium, Israel will again develop into a high prosperity and rule the entire world for 930 years (the exact number of years that Adam lived, Genesis 5:5) (Isaiah chapters 11 & 12). Knowledge of God will be so abundant at that time that it will be like the waters covering the sea bottoms (Isaiah 11:9). Satan and his angels will be confined in their prisons for the whole period (Isaiah 24:21-23; Revelation 20:2,3). Those who die in this age will be resurrected at the Telos (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).
After the Millennium, Satan will be released to cause a final war, and then he will be placed in the Lake of Fire. Then comes the age of the Great White Throne judgment (which Peter says will also last 1000 years — 2 Peter 3:8). This period begins with the earth and the heavens fleeing away (Revelation 20:11) which results in a new earth and a new heaven described in Revelation 21:1 (these two events are the same). This age begins with a resurrection of all those of the first 6000 years (from Adam to the Second Advent) who were not resurrected at Christ's Second Advent (Revelation 21 & 22).
The resurrections at this time will be to mortal life. This 1000 years is described in detail as starting with a resurrection (when the earth and the dead of the nation of Israel are raised — Isaiah 66:8). People will live long lives as before the Flood of Noah (Isaiah 65:20-22). Their longevity is to give them time to learn of God and to repent of their ways. All former infants and children who died before their age of accountability within our 6000 years will be raised up in this age to become full adults. They too will be taught by their own resurrected parents (or by foster parents) during this age (Isaiah 65:23). The object of this age is to instruct these resurrected people (and they will all know that they are resurrected) the truth of the Gospel because God has promised that every human will be taught the complete and full truths of God (see 1Timothy 2:46 where this is shown).
These resurrected people will be taught the full truths of the Gospel that they were not privileged to have in their first lives on earth. They will be resurrected at first as they were when they died. They will be carnal minded in varying degrees (Revelation 21:8,27). But at this time (and in this age), they will not have Satan and his angels around to deceive them and they will be able to constantly observe the New Jerusalem and the tree of life just inside that heavenly city which will then be on earth. They will be told as they "grow in grace and in knowledge" (2 Peter 3:18) that they can enter that city and eat of the tree of life when they repent and accept Christ.
Christ Jesus (along with the resurrected saints who have now lived with Christ over a thousand years) will teach and rule these resurrected people who never had the Gospel taught to them on earth when they lived in our previous ages. And Christ will be successful in teaching these people. They will, in a step-by-step fashion come to repentance. The very task that the Father has given Christ is to put down all rebellion and bring all humanity into a reconciled state to Him. And Christ will perform his job perfectly. Paul said Christ shall rule until: "he shall have put down all [hostile] rule and all authority and power" (1 Corinthians 15:24).
When Christ through his teaching and grace finally brings all people to repentance (which he will), then that age of 1000 years called the Great White Throne will come to an end. But what happens at the end of that age? Peter said the whole heavens and earth will be burned and dissolved so that "all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9-13). This shows the object of Christ's mission. It is that "all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9-13). True, when the people in the age of the Great White Throne realize that this fiery holocaust will soon devour heaven and earth, they will all repent and walk into the New Jerusalem. That divine spiritual city will not be destroyed by the fire. Then at the Telos [at the very End], all those in the New Jerusalem will also be changed into spirit beings as we will have been for over 2000 years. At that time, Paul said death will be destroyed (annihilated) (1 Corinthians 15:26) and then God will become "all in all" (verse 28). So, at the Telos [the very End], all humans and angels will be reconciled to God at that dispensation of the end (Ephesians 1:10).
Ernest L. Martin
Scripture One: "For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries" (Hebrews 10:26-27).
Answer: Note that there is only one "sacrifice for sins" that remains and that one offering is Christ Jesus. No one can be saved without the application of that "one offering" on their behalf. This is so true. But what most persons fail to do is to read the context of Paul's teaching on this matter. Before Paul ever introduced this "fearful looking for of judgment," he said earlier in Hebrews 10:14 "For by one offering [that of Christ] he hath perfected forever [God the Father has "perfected" and made "holy" for all time to come]." The Greek word translated "forever" in Hebrews 10:14 (dienekes) means "perpetually." All humanity and even the angels were saved in a "perpetual" sense when that "one offering" was sacrificed for them on the tree of crucifixion. This means that all humans and angels will indeed be saved (and God guarantees it by the fact that the "one offering" has completed the job of saving all to God. But, if people who know the truth of the Gospel (they are well aware of it) but they obdurately persist in sin and in insolent disobedience to God, to the extent that they even deny the efficacy of Christ's death on their behalf and they even repudiate Christ's death for them, then God will not let that attitude persist among such ungracious persons. There remains a fiery judgment awaiting such people who turn away in that degree from this grace of God. What God will do is not allow them to be brought up in the "first resurrection" at Christ's Advent (Revelation 20:46). God will cause them to miss out on enjoying the Kingdom phase of God's salvation (the Millennium) and they will be resurrected with the "unjust" at the beginning of the age known as the Great White Throne Judgment. They will then continue to hear the Gospel and finally, when they see in front of them the "fiery judgment" that occurs at the end of that age that Peter talked about (2 Peter 3:7-13), God will cause them to repent of their ways and they will all enter into the New Jerusalem and they will escape destruction because of their sanctification that occurred when the "one sacrifice" died for them on the tree of crucifixion. Remember, Paul said in Hebrews 10:14: "For by one offering he hath perfected forever [that is, perpetually] them that are sanctified." God even "sanctified" those evil people who turn from Him. But, those persons will then see the error of their ways and they will repent and be saved just as all of us whom God has granted a love and a respect for Christ's sacrifice. Recall, it is God who grants the ability to believe and to will to do right (Philippians 2:13).
Scripture Two: "The dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books [Greek: small books] according to their works" (Revelation 20:12).
Answer: You and I today are judged by the commands of God that are for us which are found in the Bible. The word "Bible" is the diminutive of what we find in Revelation 20:12. It does not mean that people in the Great White Throne age will be judged by their former works. It means that they will, in that time, be judged by the "books" of God (the Holy Bible) just as we are today
Scripture Three: "Whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life, was cast in the Lake of Fire" (Revelation 20:15. Is the Lake of Fire (the Second Death) the end for such people who are thrown into that abyss?
Answer: The fact is, every one of us [the totality of the human race] was thoroughly granted a salvation in Christ before the foundation of the world. We were all (this means individually), at that early time had our names written in the Book of Life. Though we may by our actions have our names expunged from that Book of Life for a certain period, we will never have our names expunged forever. Listen, we all have a certain salvation granted to each human before God ever founded the earth. The apostle Paul said: "Who [God] hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (2 Timothy 1:9).
Scripture Four: In Isaiah 24:21-23 God speaks of some evil spirits who are so evil that finally, we read in Isaiah 26:14: "They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise [in the resurrection]: therefore have you visited and destroyed them, and made all their members to perish."
Answer: As I showed in the main body of this Doctrinal Report, angels (the spirits, good or bad) can die. In this scripture we have an example of how evil spirits (or bad angels) can actually die — they can be "deceased." That is true. They can die. But what does God mean when He says about these evil angels that "they shall not rise"? The answer is simple to understand if one will take into consideration all that I have previously stated in this Report. It simply means that they will not rise in the first resurrection at Christ's Second Advent (Revelation 20:16). These angels will be saved when they repent in the age of the Great White Throne (Ephesians 1:10).
Scripture Five: What is the destiny of those who "have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8)?
Answer: This is simple to answer. Since all "death" will be destroyed and annihilated at the Telos [or at the End of God's plan in dealing with mankind for his salvation] (see 1 Corinthians 15:26-28), then those who experience the Second Death will be resurrected to enjoy the life that all of us will receive in Christ. [ELM]
1 Some people have thought that Enoch did not die but was taken to heaven and is now there (alive) with God. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Scriptures state that "Enoch walked with God" (Genesis 5:24). The place that God walked on earth was in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve heard God "walking" in the Garden (Genesis 3:8). What Moses stated in Genesis 5:24 is that God took Enoch into the place where God walked. "He was not because God took him" (Genesis 5:24). But where did God "take him"? Into heaven? NO. It was into the area where "God walked" — back into the Garden which was off limits to the rest of mankind. No one outside the Garden ever saw Enoch again. The Garden of Eden was on earth until Noah's Flood. And in the Garden there was no death to be seen. This is why Enoch did "not see death" (Hebrews 11:5) because there was no death to be seen in the Garden. But, Enoch eventually died as all humans die. How can we know? The apostle Paul mentioned the circumstances associated with Enoch and others in Hebrews 11:5 and then stated: "These all died in faith, not having received the promises" (Hebrews 11:13). Yes, Enoch finally died and is now waiting for the resurrection from the dead.
2 Elijah was taken by a whirlwind "into heaven" (2 Kings 2:1). But into which "heaven"? It was only into our atmosphere (which is consistently called a heaven in the Holy Scriptures). He was not taken to God's heavenly throne where he is supposed to be alive today (as some imagine). He was actually taken through the air to the land of Judah (a few miles south) where we find him seven years after "being taken into heaven" writing a letter to the king of Judah (2 Chronicles 21:12). Elijah died at a later time just as all men die (Hebrews 9:27). And, as far as being taken into heaven, we can know that neither he nor Enoch were taken into God's heavenly abode because Jesus said while he was on earth that "no man hath ascendeth to heaven" (John 3:13).
3 This was written soon after their deaths
4 To Christians who really believe God’s Holy Word, if anyone whose funeral they attended (and saw the person in the casket) and that “dead” person makes an appearance to those Christians, the apparition should be recognized as a false and lying “familiar spirit.” Christians should immediately ask that Christ Jesus rebuke such an apparition. One should say: “By the authority of Jesus Christ leave this room or area and never come back.” Such evil spirits will recognize the power and the authority of Christ Jesus and His Name and they will go away. Never, never, never entertain such “false spirits” (or dabble with them because of curiosity) no matter how clever they are in their impersonations of your dead loved ones or people you know to be dead. As far as your loved ones are concerned, they will one day be alive again, but that will come through the resurrection of the dead. Not until the resurrection will any of the dead (such as Mary the mother of Jesus, Mother Teresa, or Princess Diana) come back to life again. Let us understand once and for all, the dead are very dead. ELM
5 The fallacious teaching of the so-called Immortality of the Soul (or Spirit) can easily be exposed as a nonsensical and diabolical teaching by the fact that when Christ Jesus died on the tree of crucifixion to pay for the penalty of our sins, Jesus did not go into an everlasting "hell" and stay there forever in torment to pay for our sins because he (like ourselves) is supposed to have an Immortal Soul. Note this. If the penalty for sins is to go into hell fire and burn forever (because we are reckoned to be Immortal Souls that must spend the rest of eternity either in heaven, in limbo or in purgatory or in the unmitigating pangs of hell fire), then why is it that Christ Jesus in paying for those very sins of ours was NOT subjected to continue living in hellfire? Listen, Christ was resurrected from the dead three days after his death and he returned to a joyous life in heaven with the Father. On the other hand, if the penalty for unforgiven sins (as our Catholic and many Protestant friends tell us) is to go to hellfire and burn forever because we are "Immortal Souls," then why did not Christ Jesus go into that hellfire and burn forever? That is where Christ should have been IF the pangs of hellfire forever happens to be the penalty for having sins on our persons at death and not having had them forgiven by God. Let us be plain about this. If the penalty of sins is to go to hellfire and burn forever, then that is where Christ Jesus ought to be right now and continue enduring those tormenting fires for the rest of eternity to pay that penalty of everlasting hell for all of us. Yes, I admit I am repetitious in stating these truths, but some people have a difficult time in believing these biblical facts and I have to hammer them into some peoples' minds (I am speaking about top professional theologians who are so dumb they cannot understand these simple truths). Thankfully, we are told in the Holy Scriptures that the wages of sin happens to be death (not everlasting life in hell) (see Romans 6:23), and that is precisely what Christ did for us. He died for us. In fact, even that death that Christ performed for us in our stead was NOT everlasting death (as some denominations teach) because Christ was soon resurrected from the dead after he had paid the full penalty of sins for you and for me (and for all the human race). So, the wages of sin is also NOT everlasting death, NOR is it to be in hellfire forever, or Christ would still have to be dead and in his grave even now to pay that penalty in our place, or to be in hellfire still suffering its pangs if the Immortality of the Soul doctrine is correct. Listen folks, let us abandon these pagan teachings concocted by men and by Satan and return to the simple truths of the Bible. The wages of sin that all of us humans deserve is death, and that is what Christ did for us on the tree of crucifixion. He died for us! The wages of sin is NOT to be in hellfire forever, nor is it to be dead forever. Believe the Scriptures, NOT in the false teachings of church leaders\theologians.
6 The Holy Scriptures make the statement that once Abel was killed by his brother Cain that "the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground" (Genesis 4:10). This is a figure of speech and even most Catholics and Protestants admit it. Indeed, no one has literally heard human blood ever speak of itself. The Bible, however, is abundant in such figures of speech of a similar nature. Ears are attributed to the heavens, to the earth, to death and to destruction; hands to the deep; eyes to the sea and mountains; skipping and leaping to hills and mountains; speaking to trees; rejoicing to the sun; there is even witnessing to an altar or (as above) to blood. Just like the blood of Abel was crying out, "when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony [witness] that they held: and they cried with a loud voice [as Abel's blood] saying, How Long , O Lord?" (Revelation 6:9-10). If this is a literal fact, pity those poor saints of God! They were all cramped together in the darkness of being underneath an altar and constantly crying for almost 2000 years for the Lord to come and help them. This is not glory and joy. It is utter torment. And indeed, they are still there (if the scripture is literal) and still crying out. What a terrible and uncomfortable "life" for those righteous and faithful people to be in. Would you like to endure such dark and cramped conditions? The truth is, as verse 11 states, these dead were actually at "rest." Not one of them died on that actual altar nor did God confine their "souls" beneath it. Listen, the Book of Revelation is divine scripture, but it is manifestly a book of allegories and symbols. Why even Christ is described a chapter earlier as being "a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes" (Revelation 5:6). Anyone knows that Christ is not actually a "Lamb," and he certainly does not have seven literal horns and seven literal pairs of eyes in his head. Come on, folks, let us understand proper figures of speech. There is a similar allegorical narrative about Lazarus and the Rich Man in Luke 16:19-31. For a detailed explanation of this account (and how that story is a parable) see my book "101 Bible Secrets that Christians Do Not Know." Or, read for yourself: "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything" (Ecclesiastes 9:5). "In death there is no remembrance of you [God]: in the grave who shall give you [God] thanks?" (Psalm 6:5). Or, of all who have died, "[Christ] only hath immortality" (1 Timothy 6:16).
7 On the other hand, the Bible shows that there are also those who have the spirit of wisdom, understanding, truth, humbleness, etc. ELM
8 Essentials is available online complete at http://www.askelm.com/essentials/index.asp, and for sale as a printed book at http://www.askelm.com/books/book007.htm. Dr. Martin’s short book The ABCs of the Gospel is only available online at http://www.askelm.com/abc/index.asp. It is no longer for sale as a printed book. This is because we greatly prefer people to read the more complete Essentials. DWS
9 This, of course, excludes all animals, even those of the highest forms such as dogs, apes, etc., because God has not given animals the ability to sin. ELM
10 Dr. Martin intended to write a book on the subject of angels. It was to be provisionally titled Angels — the Fictions and the Facts. He was not able to write this book before he died in January 2002. He put off writing on that subject because of the urgency of his Temple research. DWS
11 God can never sin no matter what He does. This is because of who He is. He is the one who establishes all the laws and commandments for men and angels to keep at the times He selects. He exercises supreme power in the universe and all His ways are perfect, even if human beings think His actions are evil (Isaiah 45:7). It is never what God does or does not do that characterizes Him as perfect and sinless, but it is who He is. When Jesus was on earth, he never sinned once and he pleased the Father in all things that he did, but it was not what Jesus did or did not do that rendered him perfectly sinless in the eyes of the Father (even though he was ethically and morally perfect in all his ways). No, it was not deeds that mattered to God in the case of Christ. It was who Christ was that made the difference. In order to get Christ to become the greatest sinner the world had ever seen (when he bore our sins on the tree of crucifixion), God had to apply the principle of negative grace that rendered him in the eyes of God as sinful. Christ's actual works rendered him sinless, but God's application of negative grace made him the epitome of sin (in order to take our punishments upon his back). In the resurrection, we will be considered sinless because of who we will be, not what we actually do (though God always expects us to act righteously as He is righteous). There is presently a group of angels in heaven who are reckoned as "sinless" because they cannot die any more (they have no sins on them that could lead them to death). See Luke 20:36. This group of angels are considered by God to be in full obedience to Him (and they are no doubt the angels who helped God create the earth as recorded in Psalm 103:19-22 and through Psalm 104:16). If God considers a group of angels as sinless (through God's positive grace) they will not die. They are indeed sinless as long as God is pleased with their actions, no matter if some human beings may consider their deeds to be evil and not good (Isaiah 45:7). Remember, it is God who determines who is "perfect" in deeds and who is "not perfect." Humans at the present have no say in the matter, nor does Satan the Devil.
12 The Greek word aion (or its Hebrew equivalent olam) should never be translated as "forever, everlasting or eternity." Actually, the word olam was used to show how long Jonah was in the fish and that period of time was only three days and nights (Jonah 2:6 where the KJV has "forever"). The word and its various derivatives mean an "age" or in its adjective form "agelasting." It denotes an indefinite time (usually longer than short) in which selected events by God occur. The word or its derivatives never mean of themselves "forever." The only way "forever" would be proper to use is if your wife (who was an hour late in fixing supper) said she was detained at the grocery store because she had to wait "forever" in the checkout line on account of the holiday crowds. In other words, only as a figure of speech can the word "forever" be used for aion. The word aion (or its Hebrew equivalent olam) actually means an indefinite period of time, and the context in which the word is used provides the exact period it covers. The word often denotes the lifespan of a person, such as "the age of Abraham." The age itself is indefinite but since we know from the Bible when Abraham was born, then we know the beginning of that age that started with his birth, we know its exact length (175 years), and we know its termination (when Abraham died). This is how the word aion (or olam) is used throughout the Holy Scriptures. The length of each age under discussion must be determined by the context of the narrative. Paul even said that there were ages [plural] in the past when animal sacrifices were the way to attain an atonement for sin, but those ages came to an end with the sacrifice of Christ on the tree of crucifixion (Hebrews 9:26, see Greek). Paul understood that there were sacrifices for sin in the age before the Flood. There were also different types of sacrifices during the age of Abraham. The sacrifices became even more different in the age of Moses which age lasted to Christ's death. In other words, animal sacrifices were looked on divergently in the various ages before the time of Christ. Each dispensation that God establishes for the performance of His actions of redemption for various peoples and during specific select times is called an "age." Indeed, there are dispensations (or ages) that God has determined that actually overlap one another. Believe it or not, there are several ages in effect even now in our present end-time dispensation. Some of those ages in which God works are short, while others are long. One thing for certain, the words aion and olam always have a beginning and an ending in their meanings and in no way do they ever signify "forever, everlasting, or eternity" (except in an allegorical sense).
I plan to write a book on the subject of the ages. I can prove, without doubt, that we are experiencing at least seven different types of ages for mankind (all simultaneously) at this very moment.  God has given a multitude of ages to perform His work of salvation for the human race. The apostle Paul called them God's "own time periods" (1 Timothy 2:6, see Greek). You need to recognize these periods or ages. This book will be an evaluation of the biblical texts that explain the dispensations in which God determines the times and the seasons for saving the entirety of humanity to Himself.
13 There are several ways that the words aion or olam are used in the Holy Scriptures. It is the biblical usages that provide an understanding of them. The following list gives usages in their contexts of how aion is used in New Testament. The following expressions in their contexts show that aion cannot denote "forever, everlasting, or eternity." The list follows:
1). Before the age (or ages) = 1 Cor.2:7; 2 Tim.1:9; Tit. 1:2; Rom. 16:25; Jude 25.
2). The present age = Gal.1:4; 1 Tim.6:17; 2 Tim.4:10; Tit.2:12.
3). This age = Luke 16;8; 1 Cor. 1:20; 2:68; Rom. 12:2; Eph.2:2.
4). End of the age = Matt.13:39-40; 24:3.
5). End of the ages (plural) = Heb. 9:26.
6). The Coming age = Matt.12:32; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; Eph. 1:21; Heb.6:5.
7). Ages (plural, not just one) to come = Eph.2:7.
8). Future ages = Luke 1:33; Heb. 13:8.
9). Plan of the ages (plural) = Eph.3:11; Heb.1:2; 11:3.
10). Age (singular) of the age (singular) = Heb.1:8 (this is also the rendering in the LXX).
11). Age (singular) of the ages (plural) = Eph.3:21.
12). Ages (plural) of the ages (plural) = Rev.14:11; 19:3.
13). Future ages = Jude 25.
14 The expressions "age of the ages" or "ages of the ages" are a well-known Hebrew grammatical usage (also used in biblical Greek) that signify the superlative. That is, in these expressions the words simply mean that the subject is intensified to emphasize the special "age" that is being discussed. Note the following expressions that show this grammatical usage. Check these in the original Hebrew or Greek in order to understand the significance.
1). Vanities of vanities = extreme vanity (Ecclesiastes 1:2).
2). Generation of generations = throughout all generations (Psalm 72:5; 102:24).
3). Servant of servants = the lowest of servants (Genesis 9:25).
4). Sabbath of sabbaths = a Sabbath par excellence (Exodus 16:23, etc.).
5). Holiness of holiness = very Holy (Ezekiel 48:12).
6). Song of songs = the best Song (Song of Solomon 1:1).
7). Completeness or completenesses = thoroughly complete (Isaiah 34:10).
8). Heaven of heavens = the top heaven (1 Kings 8:27).
9). Holy of holies = the holiest of all (Exodus 26:34).
10). Lord of lords = the top Lord (Psalm 136:3).
11). King of kings = the top King (Revelation 17:14).
12). Hebrew of hebrews = the best Hebrew person (Philippians 3:5).
These phrases simply refer to the superlative of the subject being discussed. So, "the ages of the ages" means: the ages that are best, or the ages that are emphasized.
15 See note above regarding this book. DWS
16 The Lake of Fire is on this earth at the present time and I can take you to it. Indeed, you can even swim in the lake at the present. However, this lake will again begin to produce fire within its central parts and resume some of its earlier characteristics with which it has been known throughout history. That Lake of Fire is what we call today the Dead Sea. For a full explanation of this matter see my book "101 Bible Secrets that Christians Do Not Know." You will be amazed how simple the matter is.
17 We are plainly told that those who become the "children of the resurrection" will no longer die (like that group of angels in heaven). But this also means that we will no longer marry anyone from the opposite sex. But wait a moment. The apostle Peter said that husbands and wives who are now in the flesh will be "heirs together of the grace of life" (1 Peter 2:7). An example of what the resurrection is like was given when Peter assisted in the resurrection of Dorcas, who was a woman and she remained a woman with all the outward and inward bodily characteristics of a woman (Acts 9:36-42). Paul tells us that there are, and will be, sons and daughters in the Family of God (2 Corinthians 6:18). In Hebrews 1:8, Paul referred to Psalm 45 as one describing Christ Jesus. The whole of that Psalm is what we would call a "wedding" scene and it involves Christ as a man uniting in a holy union with a princess, with the queen standing by at the ceremony. Let us also remember the parable of the five virgin women who will become united to Christ in a sanctified manner at his advent (Matthew 25:1-13). Remember also "Wisdom" (Sophia in the Greek) who frolicked before God at the creation as a woman would perform before a man that she was trying to sexually arouse (Proverbs 8:22-36, see the original Hebrew). Without doubt, there is certainly the female side of the Family of God. We do not hear about them very much because it is the male side of the Family who performs all executive duties. But the female portion of the Family of God is as important as the male. True, there will be no marriage when we become the "children of the resurrection," but that is because all marriages (both religious and secular) terminate at death. Since there will be no death after the resurrection, the permanent and sanctified (and sexual) relationships between male and female members of the Family of God will then be governed by other holy laws that we cannot call "marriage" (yet those laws must be similar to marriage). Only people who are capable of dying can participate in our types of marriages. When Christ enters a marriage relationship with Israel and Judah in the Millennium (called the New Covenant), the people who have that New Covenant (New Marriage) union with Christ will still not be immortal. They can die. But in the spiritual resurrection, our earthly types of marriages will cease because they are all associated with death. The future sanctified union after the resurrection CANNOT be called by the word "marriage." It will be called something of a similar nature that will be an official, honorable and legal union of the two sexes (with normal sexual activities) without the slightest promiscuity involved. Remember, as Peter stated, husbands and wives can be "heirs together of the grace of life" (1 Peter 3:7). If for some reason you and your present spouse do not want to be "heirs together" after the resurrection, you need to read my treatise on "Marriage." It shows God's marriage laws for us who live in this present mortal life. It is vital to understand "Marriage."
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