Resurrections from the Dead
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 clearly teach that there will be life after death. Yet, strange as it may seem, almost 90 percent of Christians 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. These beliefs are for the most part wrong.
The majority feels that as soon as a person dies in the flesh, one's soul (or some say one's spirit) continues to live in a conscious and active manner. This is an opinion that theologians and philosophers over the centuries have called "the Immortality of the Soul (or, the Spirit)." This belief, 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 it even if we wished. In other words, we will live for the rest of eternity in heaven or in the pangs of hell, and even God is incapable of destroying our lives. We are considered to be immortal and our immortality is inherent. Indeed, it is thought that God can only create humans immortal.
Those who believe in this doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul (or, the Spirit) see little need whatever in any resurrection from the dead, simply because to them none of us actually dies. They think the resurrection is irrelevant. True, they admit that our fleshly bodies cease to exist and return to dust, but our soul (or spirit) continues 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 in their graves. They are completely unconscious and have ceased to exist—except in God's memory of them. 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 their resurrections from the dead. All humans are destined to be resurrected.
Let us get this matter straight once and for all. Let us not dabble with philosophical teachings alien to the Holy Scriptures, or believe our own opinions, often at variance with the Word of God. Let us be brave enough (and honest enough) to determine once and for all just what the state of the dead really is. Let us jettison human opinions and rely on the teaching of the Holy Scriptures.
The teaching of the Scriptures tell us that all human beings who have ever lived from the time of God's creation of mankind are as dead as the proverbial doornail in the front door of your home (Ecclesiastes 9:5; Psalm 6:5; 146:4; 1 Timothy 6:16). Only one person is excepted—Christ Jesus, who obtained a resurrection from the dead that granted to Him an immortal life in which life itself is inherent within Him.
"For as the Father has life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself."
But for the rest of humanity—from Adam and Eve until now—they died and are in their graves or within the waters of the oceans. They have returned to "dust." They have no consciousness. No one who ever lived before is now alive, except Christ. The dead are deprived of those harmonic elements of life, comprised of the principles of energy with which God stimulates and motivates humankind in an active and emotional experience we commonly call life.
That's right. The Holy Scriptures make it clear that all human beings, except Christ, are now dead. That includes Adam, Enoch, 1 Abraham, Moses, David, and Elijah, who also died, 2 along with Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, all the apostles of Christ, and the apostle Paul. This also includes Mary the mother of Jesus, Mother Teresa, and Joan of Arc. 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 killed in a car accident in Paris.
If you ever see a vision or encounter a manifestation of someone you knew who has died, and that individual states that he or she is that dead person, you can know at an instant that the spirit (or angel) saying such things 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 spirits trying to deceive you into wrongdoing. They are very cunning and they look good to you.
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 spirit apparitions are the actions of "familiar spirits" who will often convey confidential information about 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 to see if they are from God) is to check if everything 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 the 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 find along a path.
These "familiar spirits" are, however, quite clever. They almost always play to your emotional weaknesses (such as, your longing for and grief over the person who has died). These spirits often endeavor to incite your emotional desires and proclivities. They use the trick of telling you such familiar things (and with personality mannerisms of the dead person) that many people erroneously conclude 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 claim to see such dead persons as Mary, the Mother of Jesus, 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, some clergymen in several Christian denominations 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 there was (and is) only one Mediator between the Father and mankind and that is Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5).
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 even Princess Diana. 3 The truth is, they will be observing false "familiar spirits" and not the two women themselves, who are as dead as 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 performed through their efforts. This erroneous and diabolical teaching is an expression of ignorance and absurdity at the highest level of indulgence. But this false practice is widely used and accorded ecclesiastical sanction by top authorities of mainline denominations. It is pure nonsense. 4
All the righteous people of the Old Testament were, in the time of Jesus, dead and in their graves, 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, if the doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul were true, 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. Such would be the case if that heathen doctrine would be true; but Paul said had Christ not 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 future Advent. They have not perished. 5
My dear brothers and sisters, have I made myself clear? I have taken considerable time to emphasize this diabolical teaching of the "Immortality of the Soul (or Spirit)," but I do not apologize for my repetitions because the matter is so important. That false teaching spawned a whole slew of erroneous doctrines that our Catholic and Protestant friends believe are part of the Gospel, whereas those doctrines are the prime teachings that Satan the Devil uses to promote his evil ways. One such tactic Satan uses (and he is very adept at the job) is turning figures of speech into literal accounts. 6 Sure, many sections of Scripture must be interpreted as figures of speech, but these should be understood properly.
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 is 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 this 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." The Bible says: "the soul that sins, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4, 20). Jesus said the "soul" could even be destroyed by God: "Fear him [God] which is able to destroy both soul and body in hades [the unseen world, the grave]" (Matthew 10:28). Again, I do not apologize for repeating these vital facts.
But it goes further than that. What about the "spirit"? Many people believe the spirit can never see death. Can the "spirit" in man be destroyed? Can it also die? 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. How is this possible? It is because the spirits of humans can be as sinful and filthy as our bodies and our souls. 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.
Have you not read about:
If anyone has the slightest spirit of sin or error on his or her spirit, that spirit, along with the body and soul, will 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. Indeed, it simply means that all faculties of humans will die.
This fact tells us a significant doctrine that we all need to realize. I do not apologize for repetition. When Jesus died on the tree for us (and for the entire world in a federal sense), 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, sins of the soul in our person, and 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 exactly what He did for the whole world in a federal sense (John 3:16-17). Christ cleanses us of every type of sin—even spiritual sin. We humans are thus assured a glorious resurrection from the dead because of these actions that Christ performed for us. He was a federal substitute for the human race.
All intelligent beings in the universe who have any sin associated with their lives must die for their sins too, the wages of sin is death. 8 Since we are told in the Holy Scriptures that angels can sin, this principle applies to them. This is a universal law. It means that even Satan the Devil and all his angels who are sinners will die. 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 (even if they are reckoned to be "sinless"). If angels do sin, the only thing left for them is death.
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."
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 placed in action, if God Himself would ever sin (which it is impossible for Him to do), 9 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 this statement, simply recall that Christ Jesus (creator of heaven and earth under the direction of the Father, Colossians 1:15-20) was made a human being so He could die in sins—in your sins, 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. This resulted in Him finally being put to death a little over thirty years later. Even a member of the very Family of God can be put to death if sin is 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. We will then be "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 (God creates and uses evil Isaiah 45:7), God is not a sinner by any action that He does. Those angels perform "evil" (such as bringing floods, droughts, earthquakes, etc., on the earth by following God's directions), but they can never be considered "sinners" by performing what God commands them to do. These angels are simply carrying out the wishes of God (Who 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 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). 10
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 to 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 2:4-6
Professor Wuest in his translation rendered the last phrase of 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]," "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. 11 It is important to recognize these points.
What do the Holy Scriptures actually signify by the phrase "ages of the ages"? If you examine the various contexts in which that phrase occurs, you will see that it signifies the superlative of the age or the ages 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 God characterizes Satan as 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 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 from the time he is thrown into the Lake of Fire, until all the future ages of God's plan for humanity and the angels will be concluded, when death itself will finally be eliminated (indeed, destroyed and annihilated), and then all will 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. 12 We need to take care to properly interpret these terms.
In actual fact, some angels can and will die. And while there is a special group of angels who do not sin (because God renders them as sinless in His eyes and they do not die), most angels are still sinful as are we humans. Since 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. Most people are oblivious to the role of the angels.
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. 13 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 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 of that special group in heaven who are like we will be after our spiritual resurrections from the dead. They are no longer sinners and 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 will not see death any more (Luke 20:36). 14 Also, we will be given equality among ourselves.
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 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 cease to 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). God punishes, but He also can rescue. He will bring to salvation all His created beings.
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. Recall that Jesus after His resurrection from the dead took some of His 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 sprinkled in God's own Holy of Holies was powerful enough to purify heaven itself (Hebrews 9:23). 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 beings in the universe will have 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 on earth or in heaven. Even angels in heaven who are not reconciled to the Father will one day be in harmony with Him and no longer be hostile to God or Christ. The angels will be saved through the application of Christ's blood on their behalf. His grace is 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 2:4-6). John 3:16 and 17 will then be fulfilled in its completeness, to the glory of God. In fact, God would be a failure if anyone were lost.
In the resurrections there will be spirit bodies that 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 are the Father and Christ. We will be given the greatest glory of all—the glory symbolized by the Sun in its full strength (see the examples of Revelation 1:16; 21:23). This is a heavenly glory of much worth.
Just as there are different types of fleshly beings 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 undiminished glory of the bright Sun (because we will all be "in Christ") which is the glory that Christ 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. Ours 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 "Godhood." The fact is, 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 the brilliant and resplendent light as during the Full Moon. Whereas the Father, far above the angels in authority, has the Sun associated with Him in a symbolic sense (Psalm 19:1-6; Malachi 4:2). The Moon is reflective light, while the Sun is the source of light for our Solar System.
In the Book of Revelation there is a length of time connected with the Father 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. The Sun is used to determine the period of time. When the Sun is involved the symbol is beneficial. All measurements regarding "years" utilize 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. (Remember that Satan appears an angel of light.) 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 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, Satan the Devil). Darkness is associated with Satan.
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 glorious condition we must first die and then be resurrected from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:36). 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 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 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, 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 (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)? Yes, that is correct.
When Jesus was 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 then He was 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 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 Arimathaea on the Mount of Olives and when He went to heaven to appear 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.
Remember that it is given unto men to die and then we must undergo the Judgment; and even Christ (as our representative and substitute) 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 He passed that Judgment Seat with a victorious award of a certain salvation and glory (2 Corinthians 5:10-20). Christ was then clothed with the mantle of salvation and He was again given His spirit body. He sat down on the right hand of the Father, just as we (after our resurrections) will sit on that throne in heaven (Ephesians 2:6). We will also have a spiritual body as He has (Philippians 3:21).
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 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 moment, Christ passed the Judgment Seat of God triumphantly with a sinless record to show; He passed the bar of God gloriously and He did it in our place.
Passing the Judgment Seat of God by Christ was 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 ordained for Him before the foundation of the world (2 Timothy 1:9). But Christ was not doing this for Himself alone. Christ took on the responsibility of bringing all of us in the human race with Him into the very salvation and the glory He was ordained to have from the beginning of time. In the eyes of God the Father we all sat down with Christ on that same glorious throne in heaven. Our salvations were then and there secured and made certain at that time and for all future time.
We are saved by grace, not works. God guarantees our glory.
What Christ experienced was something special and extraordinary after His resurrection from the dead. When He came forth from the grave He was as mortal as all the Old Testament saints and New Testament saints of later times, that had undergone similar resurrections from the dead. None of these resurrections—not even those special individuals who came forth at Christ's resurrection as witness to the power of God over death—was a resurrection to spiritual life with a spirit body to last for eternity. No. All of these resurrections were to mortal life like that of Lazarus. 15 None were spiritual resurrections that meant the person not die any more. In fact, all resurrections to life are to mortal life unless a secondary procedure is done by God to infuse those resurrected bodies with a new spirit-body the same type as that now enjoyed by Christ and the Father. Christ was given that secondary infusion of spiritual life when He went to heaven. It made His body impervious to death and incapable of dying any more.
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 of all sin and pollution, along with all of us reckoned to be "in Him." The Father told Him to place the mantle of spiritual power upon His body that would change Him into immortality. Doing 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). To sit on that throne means you will have a body like we do now.
Paul stated that all must die and after that comes the Judgment (Hebrews 9:27). So, Christ went to heaven first and appeared 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 sprinkled His own blood on the walls of God's heavenly palace and God the Father, in total acceptance of what His firstborn Son had done, finally 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. That was the moment when Christ secured for us the same type of spiritual body, rank, character and emotions, the same holiness, and an identical membership in the Family of God that Christ also had. We will all become "God."
This assumption of Christ's new spirit embodiment was a secondary factor in the resurrection process. As far as all other people mentioned in the Holy Scriptures who were resurrected from the dead, none was given that secondary experience that would grant 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 of intrinsic life. 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 characteristics and substance now enjoyed by Christ and the Father.
What do I mean by secondary act? This secondary function results in our mortal body being changed into immortal spirit substance—into a body that looks exactly like a human being, but the substance of the body is composed of spirit (a special heavenly material). This spirit is as tangible to other spirit beings as our present fleshly body is tangible to other fleshly bodies. All humans must be changed into this new form to inherit and enjoy our incorruptible spirit bodies made of spirit-substance.
The spirit substance we are to inherit is as solid to another spirit being (or substance) as the Rock of Gibraltar is solid and substantial to our physical experience in the flesh. Spirit bodies are substantial to other spirit bodies. In the resurrection, we are all to have bodies like we have now, though composed of spiritual substance, not flesh and blood. They will be bodies just like Christ and the Father now have. Recall that 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.
Christ provides another example of this restoration of all body parts 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 all us males will be raised, we will be raised in a body that is uncircumcised.
Wait a moment. Did you say UNcircumcised? Yes, I said UNcircumcised. Now bear with me. Don't turn me out as a crank or a "nut" in the highest extreme. Let us rather entertain this matter seriously. The fact is, when Lazarus was resurrected from the dead, he was resurrected with his normal and natural foreskin attached. There should not be any humor in this fact of God's resurrection power. This truth is a spiritual principle of 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 person he was reckoned as an uncircumcised man and no longer subject to keeping the Sabbath, the Holy Days, Tithing, eating clean foods, etc. Lazarus died to the Law and these laws for Israel no longer applied to Him in an actual legal sense (Romans 7:1-3). Even further, this means, if Lazarus were married, his death would have legally terminated that marriage. 16 Had he still wanted his former wife after his death and resurrection, he would have had 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. Neither will we be subject to any such laws either. When one dies, all obligations to the Law vanish away. If a Jew died and was resurrected from the dead, that person legally would no longer be in a marriage covenant with God under the Old Covenant. If that Jewish man was resurrected to be 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. Christ is now resurrected from the dead and He is no longer circumcised. He is now like God. This is how all males will appear at that time.
This teaching I am presenting is a profound legal matter and not a frivolous circumstance to laugh at or to joke about. And, it is not the physiological aspect that concerns me in this matter. I am speaking about a spiritual sign that all males descended from Abraham are supposed to have in their bodies, 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 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 by this spiritual and physical ritual (Acts 15). This is serious spiritual business and of the utmost importance in regard to the symbolism regulating the social and religious systems found within the basic framework of all divine covenants advocated by the authority of Holy Scriptures.
So, don't be amused at this matter. It involves each of us in the resurrection of the body. Putting it into a proper environment of discussion, I ask you to consider whether a Christian male is resurrected circumcised or UNcircumcised—or, in spiritual language—is he resurrected in a covenant relationship with God or in no covenant relationship by being "UNcircumcised"? This matter is vitally important. Our resurrections in the eyes of God bring upon us an entirely different social and religious set of circumstances from those now observed 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 in all factors of God's existence. To achieve this divine state, all men will be resurrected UNcircumcised; returning to be like God is. There will be no human covenant relationships with God that we will 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 whether male or female. We will then be a Son or Daughter of God, appearing in spiritual form just exactly as He (or as the female portion of the Godhead) appears. This is an important fact we need to understand because it is a cardinal doctrine of the Scriptures.
Let us note one 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 a doubt) are UNcircumcised because their bodies are whole and are not maimed. 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 UNcircumcision 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. This is no joking matter.
This is a significant question that theologians simply ignore because most do not like to discuss or even believe in the anthropomorphic attributes of God and Christ. Most people 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 nonsomatic attribute is utterly contrary to every description of God 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 at present (Philippians 3:21).
In the resurrection, males will be resurrected UNcircumcised. This is important because it provides a symbol of the fact that no religious covenant, dogma or human requirement are part of our divine makeup in the resurrection. All of us humans (males and females) will be FREE of all religious requirements that God imposed on certain peoples in the past. Indeed, being "in Christ" means you are now FREE (whether male or female) of all religious obligations that 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." The body raised up in the resurrection is at first a mortal body. True, it will never see corruption because it will 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 as simple as donning a garment. All of us know how to put on a cape or jacket.
It is just that plain and it is just that important. This procedure of obtaining a spiritual body is the same type of "putting on" as 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) and 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 undergo if we hope to inherit an immortal and incorruptible body like the bodies 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 clothe us with the spirit garment to give us life for the rest of eternity. It is God who gives us the power "to put on" the spirit body.
Just as the Father gave Christ the "spiritual cloak of salvation," Christ put it on and then sat down on the right hand of the Father; so too Christ will bring the same type of "spiritual cloak" from heaven. At the instant of our resurrections from the dead, or (if 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 normal clothes that then cover us (if surrounded by that spirit garment from heaven) will be changed from their earthly material into a spiritual substance of heavenly material. Each atom in our bodies will be changed from mortal into immortal at that exact moment, from corruptible to incorruption.
The apostle Paul made it clear 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 of the "just" to be resurrected to immortal life. For the unjust, there will be two periods of 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, the firstfruit (singular) of all people who are dead.
"Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruit [singular, not plural "firstfruits"] of them that slept" (1 Corinthians 15:20). Christ's firstfruit [singular] status is mentioned again in verse 23. But in that verse, Paul introduces the second time that anyone will be resurrected to spiritual life like Christ. He said, "Christ the firstfruit [singular]; afterwards they that are Christ's at His coming [His Second Advent]" (1 Corinthians 15:23). The time of the Second Advent is important.
This second time for spiritual resurrection occurs 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 are "in Christ" at Christ's Second Advent. Paul said this was a special resurrection 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 20:4-6:
"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 has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power." 17
So, there are
Paul stated: "then cometh the END [the Telos]." This "End" is at the very moment when Christ conquers all opposition to Himself 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 become "all and in all" with God the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). That last phrase actually means: "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, 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). He will continue ruling through all future ages until He conquers all opposition to God and when death as the last enemy shall be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). All those 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) in the future. Those resurrected at this time are all the Old Testament saints of God chosen to understand the truths of God that were given to them. It also includes all Israelites 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 Judgement), but they will live with Christ forever. This is a great salvation indeed.
During the Millennium, the Old Testament saints and the apostles are promised to govern the nations 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). 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) 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 (Isaiah 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 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). This resurrection involves all those not formerly called and given the knowledge of the truth in the first 6000 years.
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 like before the Flood of Noah (Isaiah 65:20-22). Their longevity is to give them time to learn of God and repent of their ways. All former infants and children who died before the age of accountability in our 6000 years will be raised up in this age to become 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 will be to instruct these resurrected people—and they will all know that they are resurrected—the full truths of the Gospel that they were not privileged to have in their first lives on earth. This is because God promises that every human will be taught the complete and full truths of God (see 1 Timothy 2:4-6 where this is shown). All humans must come to a full knowledge of Christ.
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 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. 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, 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
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. The fire will not destroy that divine spiritual
city. Then at the Telos [Greek: 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). That is when all will be saved and enter the Family of God
1 Some have thought 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 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, then offlimits 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 [including Enoch] 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. ELM
2 Elijah was taken by a whirlwind "into heaven" (2 Kings 2:1). But into which "heaven"? It was only into our atmosphere, consistently called a heaven in the Holy Scriptures. He was not taken to God's heavenly throne, supposedly alive today (as some imagine). He was actually taken through the air to the land of Judah (a few miles south) where we find Elijah seven years later 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). As far as being taken into heaven, we can know neither he nor Enoch were taken into God's heavenly abode, because Jesus said while he was on earth that "no man has ascended to heaven" (John 3:13). ELM
3 This was written soon after their deaths. DWS
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
The fallacious teaching of the Immortality of the Soul (or Spirit) is easily
exposed as a nonsensical and diabolical belief by the fact that when Christ
Jesus died on the tree of crucifixion to pay for our sins, Jesus did not go
into an everlasting "hell" and stay forever in torment for our
sins because He (like ourselves) supposedly had an Immortal Soul. Note that
if the penalty for sins is to go to hell fire and burn forever
(because we are falsely reckoned to be Immortal Souls that spend eternity
either in heaven, limbo, purgatory, nirvana or the unmitigating fires of
hell), then why is it that Christ Jesus in paying for our sins was NOT
subjected to continued living in hellfire? Christ was resurrected three
days after his death and returned to a joyous life in heaven with the
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, enduring those tormenting fires for the rest of eternity to pay that penalty of everlasting hell for all of us. I admit I am repeating these truths, but some people have difficulty in believing biblical facts, and I have to hammer them into some peoples' minds. Some top professional theologians 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. He died for us.
In fact, the 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, me, and the entire human race. So, the wages of sin is NOT everlasting death, NOR is it hellfire forever, or else Christ would still be dead and in his grave even now to pay that penalty, or be in hellfire still suffering, if the Immortality of the Soul doctrine is correct. It is time to rid ourselves of such absurd and false teaching.
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! Remember (and never forget): The wages of sin is NOT to be in hellfire forever, NOR is it to be dead forever. Believe the Scriptures, NOT the false teachings of church leaders or theologians. Preachers and priests who teach eternal hellfire are either liars or ignorant about the Scriptures. ELM
6 The Holy Scriptures make the statement that once Abel was killed by his brother Cain, "the voice of your brother's blood cries 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.
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?'"
If this is a literal fact, pity those poor saints
of God! They were cramped together in the darkness 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 and still crying out, if the scripture is literal. What a terrible and
uncomfortable "life" for those righteous and faithful people to be in. 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.
The Book of Revelation is divine scripture, but it is manifestly a book of
allegories and symbols. Even Christ is described in 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, 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 (Portland, OR: Associates for Scriptural Knowledge, 1998), secret #41 "Can People Live in Hell" at http://www.askelm.com/secrets/sec041.htm. See also the article "The Real Meaning of Lazarus and the Rich Man" at http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d030602.htm. 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 has immortality" (1 Timothy 6:16). ELM
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 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
God can never sin no matter what He does. This is because of who He is. He
is the one who establishes all 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 but he pleased the Father in all
things that he did.
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. To get Christ to be the greatest sinner ever, God had to apply the principle of negative grace that rendered Him 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 on our punishments). In the resurrection, we will be considered sinless because of who we shall 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 reckoned as "sinless" who 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 104:1-6). 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, God determines who is "perfect" in deeds and who is "not perfect." Humans have no say in the matter, nor does Satan the Devil. ELM
The Greek word aion (or its Hebrew equivalent olam) should
never be translated as "forever, everlasting or eternity." Indeed, the word
olam was used to show how long Jonah was in the fish, and that period
was only three days and nights (see 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 properly used is if
you were detained at the grocery store because you had to wait "forever" in
the checkout line on account of holiday crowds. In other words, only as a
figure of speech can the word "forever" be used for aion. The word
aion (or olam) 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, 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 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 the Greek). Paul understood 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 different again in the age of Moses, which 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 endtime 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. ELM [This book was not written before Dr. Martin's death in January 2002. DWS]
11 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:
- Before the age (or ages) = 1 Corinthians 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2; Romans 16:25; Jude 25.
- The present age = Galatians 1:4; 1 Timothy 6:17; 2 Timothy 4:10; Titus 2:12.
- This age = Luke 16:8; 1 Corinthians 1:20; 2:6-8; Romans 12:2; Ephesians 2:2
- End of the age = Matthew 13:39-40; 24:3.
- End of the ages (plural) = Hebrews 9:26.
- The Coming age = Matthew 12:32; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; Ephesians 1:21;
- Ages (plural, not just one) to come = Ephesians 2:7.
- Future ages (plural) = Luke 1:33; Hebrews 13:8.
- Plan of the ages (plural) = Ephesians 3:11; Hebrews 1:2; 11:3.
- Age (singular) of the age (singular) = Hebrews 1:8 (this is also the LXX rendering of Psalm 45:6).
- Age (singular) of the ages (plural) = Ephesians 3:21.
- Ages (plural) of the ages (plural) = Revelation 14:11; 19:3.
- Future ages = Jude 25. ELM
12 The expressions "age of the ages" or "ages of the ages" are wellknown Hebrew grammatical usages (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" 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.
- Vanities of vanities = extreme vanity (Ecclesiastes 1:2).
(As one can see, the expression simply means the superlative).
- Generation of generations = throughout all generations (Psalms 72:5, 102:24).
- Servant of servants = the lowest of servants (Genesis 9:25).
- Sabbath of sabbaths = a Sabbath par excellence (Exodus 16:23, etc.).
- Holiness of holiness = very Holy (Ezekiel 48:12).
- Song of songs = the best Song (Song of Solomon 1:1).
- Completeness of completenesses = thoroughly complete (Isaiah 34:10).
- Heaven of heavens = the top heaven (1 Kings 8:27).
- Holy of holies = the holiest of all (Exodus 26:34).
- Lord of lords = the top Lord (Psalm 136:3).
- King of kings = the top King (Revelation 17:14).
- Hebrew of Hebrews = the best Hebrew person (Philippians 3:5).
These phrases simply refer to the superlative of the subject discussed. So "the ages of the ages" means the ages that are best, or the ages that are emphasized. ELM
13 The Lake of Fire is on this earth at present, and I can take you to it. Indeed, you can even swim in the lake. 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 on this see my book 101 Bible Secrets that Christians Do Not Know (online at http://www.askelm.com/secrets/index.asp. You will be amazed how simple the matter is. ELM
We are plainly told that those who become the
"children of the resurrection"
will no longer die (like that group of angels in heaven). This also means
that we will no longer marry anyone of the opposite sex. But wait a moment.
The apostle Peter said that husbands and wives who are now in the flesh will
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 describing Christ Jesus. The whole of that Psalm is what we would call a "wedding" scene and 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. In the resurrection, females will be equals with males.
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—"unto death do you part." 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." ELM
15 Paul spoke about those resurrected in the Old Testament (Hebrews 11:35). The instances were: the son of the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:17-23), the Shunammite woman's son (2 Kings 4:32-37) and the young man laid in Elisha's grave (2 Kings 13:21). There were also those in the New Testament. They were: the widow's son (Luke 7:12-15), Jairus' daughter (Luke 8:49-55), Lazarus (John 11:43-44), Dorcas (Acts 9:37-40), Eutychus (Acts 20:9-12) and those at Christ's resurrection in Jerusalem.
16 It appears that Christ picked Lazarus as the one to die and be resurrected from the dead because he was not married—he lived with his two sisters.
17 This first resurrection happens after what some people call the period of the Great Tribulation (at the very time Christ begins to rule on earth—Revelation 19:15). The Word "first" is consistently used in the book of Revelation as an ordinal number which shows a position in a series or order (like first, second, third, etc.). It does not mean "former" (a false translation) to support the erroneous doctrine of a Pre-Millennial Rapture of Christian believers (whether three and a half or seven years before the Second Advent). This word is an ordinal number and it means "first." I have written a Doctrinal Report explaining this matter titled "The Time Periods for the Resurrections."
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