I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE
Copyright © 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
Our resurrection consists of two parts: spiritual and physical. Before we can obtain eternal life in our resurrected physical bodies, we must first be resurrected spiritually by living in Jesus continuously. Only then can the resurrected physical body be clothed with a body from Heaven.
The Lord Jesus told us whoever lives and believes in Him will never die. Have you ever wondered about this statement? I have. Exactly what does the Lord mean? Does He mean spiritually? Does He mean physically. I believe He means both. Let me explain:
I will talk about the spiritual part, and after that the physical; because the physical depends on the spiritual.
The Spiritual Part
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25)
I have written lot recently about the rest of God. The rest of God is mentioned in the fourth chapter of the Book of Hebrews.
We might think of the rest of God as the will of God; or as the inner resurrection that Paul proclaimed, in the third chapter of the Book of Philippians, as his goal toward which he was striving.
Perhaps the initial step in entering the rest of God is the prayer of relinquishment:
“And if I should ask that you live the remainder of your days upon this earth in your present condition, in your present seeming shame, in your present failure, will you trust Me with your salvation? Will you allow Me to pick and choose the time of my deliverance, of my cleansing? Will you keep on fighting and will you walk and continue to press and transition through the laver into My Presence? Or will you remain at the foot of the mountain and tremble for the fire and the brimstone? The fire and the brimstone is My Heart’s passion and My love for you. Do not recoil from the things that I have for you.”
The above paragraph is from a prophecy by Bill Ott, given in Mount Zion Fellowship, 5/20/2012.
Please notice that the prayer of relinquishment is not one of passivity. It is not the announcement that we are an “empty vessel,” thus inviting every spirit, good and bad to enter us. Rather it is the prayer of a warrior who knew when to press forward in prayer and faith, and when to “let go and let God have His wonderful way.”
In order to live in the rest of God we must be aware continually of placing our every thought, our every word, our every action, in concert with the living Jesus. As He thinks, we think. As He speaks, we speak. As He acts, we act.
To the new Christian (or even to the seasoned Christian) this may sound like a way of living that is impossible. It opens the door also to the false rest of passivity. It is not a case of waiting until the Lord speaks through us. It is a case of cultivating His Presence until we are aware of, or have a sense of, what He is doing. Then we do the same, as well as we can.
Obviously this kind of life needs a lot a practice before we stop making mistakes. But Christ will be patient with us if our heart is right, and we are not being driven by a desire for self-aggrandizement, or fear, or ambition, or spite, or some other evil motive.
This is how Christ Himself lives. It is the eternal Sabbath. When the Jews accused Christ of breaking the Sabbath, Jesus said “My Father works and I am working.” In other words, “If God works on the Sabbath, then I work on the Sabbath.”
Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” (John 5:17)
Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19)
The verse above is a perfect description of the rest of God, the will of God, the inner resurrection.
All that Christ is and does is in concert with the Father. Christ lives by the Father. All that we are and do is to be in concert with Christ. We are to live by Christ.
We are to be in communion with Christ at all times. Whenever we are tempted to do something that we do not believe is of Christ, and we pray and gain the strength to refuse to do it, then we are fed in the spirit realm with the body and blood of Christ. The body and blood of Christ are our wisdom and our strength. They also are our resurrection.
The Apostle Paul referred to this way of living as attaining to the resurrection.
We always are to be speaking to Christ, thinking about Christ, looking to Christ for wisdom, asking Him to enable us to solve the problems that come before us. In this manner we practice His Presence and become more aware of Him.
As I mentioned in a previous essay, if during our day we let an hour pass without looking up to Jesus, at that point we do not understand who we are or what we are supposed to be doing. All of our thoughts, words, and actions were prepared in God, along with our righteous works, at the beginning of the world. We cannot know what they are unless we are living by looking to Jesus.
Jesus said whoever lives and believes in Him shall never die. The problem in our day is that belief is overemphasized while the living in Him is not mentioned as often.
The belief that we speak of today (“accept Christ”), on numerous occasions is not an actual accepting of Christ, or a belief in Christ. It is a response to a religious formula. Our belief is shallow if it exists at all. We subscribe to the Statement of Faith of our denomination and become “one of us.”
But the thought of a genuine, Bible faith that is a grasp on the living Jesus so as to live in Him and by Him may be new to many of today’s “Christians.” Jesus is not real to us throughout our day. We are not aware of His Presence. We do not speak to Him. We do not thank Him when things go well. We are a religious creature, the same as a Hindu or Muslim.
If religion has any value at all, it is to bring us to the living Jesus that we may know Him and be aware of Him at all times. Our country, and the world as well, is moving toward moral and consequent physical chaos. The antichrist governments may cry “Peace and Safety.” But those of us who still can think clearly will see that there is no lasting peace and there is no true safety.
The leaders of the world government play their self-satisfying games. The blind are leading the blind, and we all are going to fall into the ditch.
Most of us are not able to do anything about the governments that do not glorify God, only themselves and what “man” can accomplish. But there is one thing we can do—we can strive to enter the rest of God to the point that all we think, speak, and do is in concert with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, still thinking about the spiritual part, when we die we will not die. Why is that? Think about it. If we are living in and by the Life of the Lord Jesus, how can we die? If our thoughts are His thoughts, how can we cease to think? If our words are coming from Him, how can they cease? If our actions are being directed by Him, why should they not continue after we die?
By learning to live as part of Christ, we have entered eternal spiritual life. We will not be in some kind of hazy spiritual existence when we die and enter the spiritual world. We will still be the same person. We will just keep on living by and with the Lord Jesus, as part of Him.
Now that we have discussed the spiritual part of not dying, let us think for a moment about the physical part.
The Physical Part
Of course we will die physically, if we are living and believing in Jesus, because our body is dead because of sin. But we will not “perish,” that is, our body shall not cease to be.
The doctrine of the resurrection is not mentioned very often in our day, it seems, except for the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. This possibly may be due to the influence of the religion of Gnosticism, which does not hold with the physical coming of the Lord.
In any case, in place of the resurrection we have inserted a non-scriptural doctrine termed the “rapture.” There are extraordinary differences between the resurrection and a rapture. Most importantly, the rapture is not, and does not pretend to be, an act of redemption, that is, a restoring to man of that which was lost in Eden.
What was lost in Eden was immortality in the body. To carry up to Heaven people whose inner nature has not become a new moral creation in Christ, which appears to be true of most believers in America, is not an act of redemption. It is not scriptural. It is a fantasy by which people hope to escape the pains of life on the earth.
The resurrection, the awakening of dead bodies to stand before God, is as certain as the existence of the physical world. “Yet in my flesh I will see God,” Job prophesied so many centuries ago.
There shall be a resurrection of all who have lived on the earth. There shall be a first resurrection of God’s kings and priests. One thousand years later the bodies of everyone who was not made alive in the first resurrection shall come forth and stand before God to be judged.
Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. (John 5:28,29)
(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. (Revelation 20:5)
There is no question about the dead bodies being raised. The question is, what will happen to us when our body is brought back to life?
If we have been living in the rest of God, always having the Presence of Jesus with us, our inner nature is eternally alive. When our body is raised, and is joined together with our spiritual nature that has been waiting in the spirit world, then is fulfilled the promise that we shall never die. Our spiritual nature is eternally alive and our body is immortal. It is bodily immortality that was forfeited in Eden, and so now we have been redeemed in body as well as in spirit.
“He shall never die!”
Is our body from Heaven made immortal when it is joined to our newly resurrected flesh and bones? To the contrary. It is our newly resurrected flesh and bones that are made immortal when clothed upon with our body from Heaven.
Here is a fact that appears to be virtually unknown to the present generation of believers. As today we enter the rest of God by renouncing sinful practices, and are given the flesh and blood of Christ to eat and drink, a corresponding weight of glory is laid up in Heaven in the form of an immortal body.
There is a thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and one hundredfold gaining of the weight of the heavenly body, corresponding to the degree that we are able to enter the rest of God on the earth.
It can be seen that what happens to us after our flesh and bones are raised from the dead is directly dependent on how we are pursuing Christ today. We can, as the Apostle Paul, lay aside all else of interest and pursue Christ until we know Him and the power of His resurrection.
Or, if we so choose, we can dawdle along in our religion, being assured that our theologic beliefs correspond with those of our denomination. But since we are not pressing forward in Christ, we are not being delivered from the actions of our sinful nature. In correspondence with this lack of deliverance from our sinful nature, nothing has been prepared for us in Heaven.
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. (Romans 8:11)
For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, (Romans 8:13)
In the day of resurrection our flesh and bone body will have been made alive, not by the Holy Spirit but by the Divine power that operates the universe and the angels; and there we stand before Christ.
If our name has been found written in the Book of Life, we will be brought over to citizenship in the new world of righteousness. If our name is not found written in the Book of Life, we will be thrown into the Lake that burns with fire and sulfur.
We will have a spiritual form, but since we have not been clothed upon with an immortal body from Heaven, we will be, I suppose, a naked spirit.
Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. (II Corinthians 5:23)
We have been saved as by fire, perhaps to start life over as a small child in someone’s care. Except for our spiritual laziness, we could have been a prince with Christ, sharing the wealth of the kingdom that is to last for eternity.
The choice is ours today. We can stir ourselves and take full possession of our land of promise, which is our own personality, and live forever in the eternal Sabbath with our Lord Jesus, being with Him where He is. Or we can drift along, hoping that somehow the Bible is not true.
I myself am endeavoring to live in the rest of God, in the fullness of the Spirit of God, of resurrection life. Why don’t you join me for a swim in the water that is over our head? The water is great this time of year.
(“I Am the Resurrection and the Life”, 3105-1)