A BETTER RESURRECTION
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.
Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. (Hebrews 11:35)
It appears in the verse above that these heroes of faith did not cling to this present life. They were seeking a better world in which to live. When you think of it, the world at the present time is not really fit for children of God. When we think of children being born an raised in South Sudan, at this time, we realize in many instances our present world is not a fit nursery for human beings.
What, then, is God thinking of to let such a destructive environment exist? Its purpose obviously is not to make people happy. God has given us our present life on the earth that we might learn to walk humbly with God. Because this is God’s goal, we are kept in problems all our life.
There are people who try to make a paradise of the present world. But they are people without integrity who do not care how they harm the people around them. God knows all about such people.
One of God’s special purposes in the present hour is to seek out and train those who will be members of a priesthood that will restore Paradise to the earth, and then maintain it. They will be raised from the dead and caught up to meet the Lord in the air when He returns.
The members of the royal priesthood
The “sheep” nations of the earth are the inheritance of the Christian Church.
Given what I have just stated, our hope is a better resurrection—that is, a life better then the present.
The term “resurrection” refers to our body. At present, it is dead spiritually. It is subject to every sort of weakness. No matter how wonderful our environment may be, our access to our environment is limited by our body.
The healthy child plays happily, with perfect access to whatever resources there may be in his or her environment, unless the child is handicapped in some manner. The same is true of young people and adults; their access to their environment is governed by their physical capabilities. As we grow older, we become increasingly tired and infirm. Then, no matter how splendid our environment, we have limited access to it. Finally we die physically. Now we have no access whatever to the physical environment.
The spirit world into which we pass when we die is of marvelous beauty and infinite resources. The environment is far beyond our most wishful thinking. But access to the glorious wonders of the spirit world is not the same for everyone.
Some people are placed in Hell when they die, as in the case of the rich man of the New Testament. Some are in restricted areas, depending on their spiritual maturity and their obedience to Jesus Christ. Then there are those, such as the members of the royal priesthood, who have full access to the riches of the spirit world, according to the Father’s plan for their life.
The book of Ephesians speaks of our being filled with all the fullness of God. This is a wonder beyond all wonders. One can only imagine what it would be like to have a body filled with all the fullness of God, such as is true of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We will have a life in the spirit world after we die that will reflect the decisions we have made while living on the earth. If my understanding is correct, very young children and babies who die will be brought by angels into an area where they can play until their personalities unfold. Of such is the Kingdom.
After we have been in the spirit world for a season, the Lord Jesus will return to earth, bringing us with Him if we are members of the royal priesthood. We then will be raised from the dead.
After the thousand-year Kingdom Age, everyone else will be raised from the dead and stand before God in their bodies. They then will be placed in His Kingdom according to God’s plans for them. The wicked will be thrown into the Lake of Fire.
As I stated previously, it is the state of our body that determines the quality of the access we have to our environment. This is why the kind of resurrection we have is so utterly important. According to Daniel, some will be as stars, shining as the brightness of the heavens. This means their body will be marvelously exalted.
Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. (Daniel 12:2,3)
Other people will be given bodies that invite “shame and everlasting contempt.”
The most beautiful music is of no use to the deaf person.
And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. (Revelation 14:3)
There are human bodies that will suffer a dreadful fate.
“And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.” (Isaiah 66:24)
I suspect that all of our ideas of Heaven concern the environment we expect to see. But this is not the issue, is it? The issue is what kind of access we will have to the marvels of our new environment. Is it possible that some will be blind after death and will not be able to enjoy their new environment, just as some are spiritually blind on the earth and cannot see the glory of God in nature. There is nothing in the Bible to my knowledge that says people in the spirit world will have lost their handicaps by dying.
The all-important issue is the kind of resurrection we will experience. The righteous, obedient believers will receive crowns of life and glory. But the same cannot be said of those who have not served Christ. They will receive what they have practiced.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)
There is an evil, destructive teaching today that says, “All people who ‘accept Christ’ will go to Heaven to live forever in fabulous surroundings.” Such teachers do not mention the resurrection because they know nothing about it.
The tremendous importance of the resurrection of the body is revealed by the fact that almost all of I Corinthians chapter 15 is devoted to it.
So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. (I Corinthians 15:42-44)
Think of the body of the Lord Jesus. He upholds the universe by the word of His power. He cannot die. He has all authority in the heavens and upon the earth. He is filled with the Fullness of God. Can you imagine what kind of body the Lord has?
Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man.
I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him.
Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking. (Ezekiel 1:26-28)
I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands,
And among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest.
His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.
His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.
In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. (Revelation 1:12-16)
The above is the gentle Rabbi from Nazareth as He looks today. And why not? He is the Son of almighty God. God has given all the works of God into His nail-pierced hands.
Here is the issue. We have been called to be conformed to Christ’s inner nature. How about His appearance? We may not be ready for the fullness of that just yet, but what about after a billion years have passed?
We are the brothers of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are not as great as He, but we are genuine brothers, being born of the same Father.
If I am correct, we have no idea of the splendor prepared for us provided that we live in strict obedience to our Lord. Our motto throughout our life must be “iron righteousness, fiery holiness, and stern obedience to the Father.”
If we choose to live a victorious life in Christ, always able to look up to Him and know we are obeying Him resolutely in every area of our lives, we can look forward to full access to all the Glory of God.
This means we must be raised in a body that is not handicapped in any manner. I believe we will have the ability to give the appearance that we choose, from a small child to the mightiest of warriors. The only exception is we cannot look more spiritually mature than we are.
Imagine possessing perfect strength, endless energy, the ability to leap over mountains, the freedom to participate in our environment however we wish. I for one would enjoy diving into the ocean at sunrise and swimming as far and as fast as I desired.
The presence of friends new and old. The continual presence of the Lord Jesus. Access to the new Jerusalem, where we could move close enough to God’s Throne to see God’s elders and the Power from which all things originate.
The Glory that awaits the called, chosen, and faithful, is far, far beyond my ability to describe. The Apostle Paul had an awareness of the rewards that will be given to the faithful, and so he pressed on toward a better resurrection.
If we are wise, we will do the same.
(“A Better Resurrection”, 3451-1, proofed 20211008)