THE RESURRECTION AND ETERNAL JUDGMENT
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
The goal of the Judaic-Christian redemption is eternal life. Eternal life has two aspects: eternal life in our inward man (spirit and soul) and immortality in our outward man (body). There are at least three concepts associated with the resurrection from the dead: the elements of the redeemed personality; the role of the conversion of the inward man in attaining to the resurrection to life; and receiving the results of our choices.
The bodily resurrection to eternal life, which is the Christian hope, can take place only if the inward man has been transformed previously. Only those believers who have pressed forward to the mark, the mark being the transition from the adamic nature to the new nature of the Substance of Christ, are eligible for resurrection to eternal life and glory when Christ appears in the clouds of the heaven. The resurrection of I Thessalonians 4:14-17 must be attained.
The Elements of the Redeemed Personality
The inner man (spirit and soul)The Role of the Conversion of the Inner Man in Attaining to the Resurrection to Life
The flesh and bone body
The “house which is from heave”
The step by step conversion of the inner manThe Three Major Dimensions of Redemption
The conversion of the inner man as Divine judgment
The creation of the “house from heaven” in response to the conversion of the inner man
The conversion of the inner man as a prerequisite for resurrection to life
Receiving the Results of Our Choices
THE RESURRECTION AND ETERNAL JUDGMENT
… and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. (Hebrews 6:2)
The goal of the Judaic-Christian redemption is eternal life. Eternal life has two aspects:
- Eternal life in our inner man (spirit and soul).
- Immortality in our body, our outward man. Our physical body must be changed by abolishing the corruption of it and by infusing it with the incorruptible Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ so it becomes a “spiritual body” (I Corinthians 15:44).
Life in our inner man is the Presence of God. The extent of our possession of eternal life depends on our progress in becoming the tabernacle of God (John 14:23).
Death in our inner man is the loss of the Presence of God.
Life in our outward man, our body, is first, blood; after that (in the resurrection) spiritual animation accompanied by the Presence of God, provided we have attained the resurrection to eternal life. Immortality is the state in which the body no longer is subject to corruption and loss of animation.
Death in our body is first, loss of blood and resulting corruption; finally, resurrection, judgment, and then banishment from God’s Presence and torment in the Lake of Fire, which is the second death.
Adam and Eve died in their inner man when they disobeyed God. God withdrew from them because of their disobedience.
Adam and Eve died in their body, their outward man, after more than nine hundred years. They were denied access to the tree of life, the fruit of which would have renewed their outward man. Eating of the tree of life produces immortality in the body.
Physical death, although an enemy that will be overcome through Christ at His appearing (I Corinthians 15:26), was a blessing of God on Adam and Eve. God placed them in the spirit realm, the realm of angels, until such time as God is prepared to forgive their disobedience through the blood of Christ and to convert their inner man so disobedience no longer will occur.
After having been forgiven and converted, Adam and Eve, and their forgiven and converted descendants, will be permitted to live once again in Paradise on the earth. This is what the Judaic-Christian redemption is designed to accomplish.
The coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth will result in the restoration on the earth of all that was lost through the disobedience of Adam and Eve. The Lord Jesus Christ from this time forth and for eternity will be the glorious Center of the Kingdom of God, of the renewed creation.
We are not stating here that all people ultimately will be redeemed, for we do not believe such to be the case. Some will displease God to the point of being cast into the Lake of Fire.
At the heart of the Judaic-Christian redemption is the resurrection from the dead, for it was immortality that was lost through the fall of Adam and Eve. The Lord Jesus and His Apostles preached eternal life, the Presence of God in the inner man and immortality in the outward man.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. (I Corinthians 15:22,23)
There are at least three concepts associated with the resurrection from the dead:
- The elements of the redeemed personality.
- The role of the conversion of the inner man in attaining the resurrection to life.
- Receiving the results of our choices.
The Elements of the Redeemed Personality
There are three elements we must consider when studying the redeemed personality:
- The inner man (spirit and soul).
- The flesh and bone body.
- The “house which is from heaven.”
The inner man (spirit and soul).
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inner man is renewed day by day. (II Corinthians 4:16)
It is our understanding that our spirit is the part of our personality that is able to enter oneness with the Spirit of God. Our spirit is the expression of our personality.
Our soul is our will, our existence as a unique personality. Our soul is the final “I” that decides whether to obey the Holy Spirit or its own adamic impulses and the lusts of our body. Our decisions, our choices, come from our soul. It is the soul that must be saved by being converted, for the new race God is creating does not consist of adamic souls but of life-giving spirits (I Corinthians 15:45).
Our soul can choose to receive its guidance, strength, and joy from God through the Spirit and cooperate in its own transformation into the image of Christ, and also its union with God through Christ; or our soul can choose to receive its guidance, strength, and joy from its human mind and from the senses of the physical body.
Our soul can choose to preserve its own human life or to die and be raised in Christ.
Together, our spirit and soul constitute our “inner man.” Our inner man is invisible to the human eye, being housed in the “outward man.”
It is our opinion, after reading the testimonies of those persons who have been near death and have been revived, that our inner man has a distinct form (not a body but a form). When we die, our spiritual form, the form of our inner man, can be seen by others of the spirit realm and also by ourselves.
Perhaps Plato and other philosophers were correct in teaching that the material realm is an outward expression of what is true in the realm of spirits. Our outward man may be, to a certain extent, a reflection of our inner man.
This concept appears to be borne out by the experience of the rich man in Hell. Notice that the rich man, although not in the body but existing only in his inner man, was tormented by the flames, was thirsty, and had a tongue. These facts are worthy of thought as we contemplate the nature of the spirit realm, and the state of the person after physical death, after he loses his outward man.
And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. (Luke 16:24)
Believers have reported recognizing relatives and friends in the spirit realm, which suggests that our inner man may, in some respects, resemble our outward man.
The flesh and bone body. Perhaps one of the most neglected aspects of teaching concerning the resurrection from the dead is the role of our flesh and bone body.
It is clear that the Lord Jesus was raised in a flesh and bone body, and it appears to be both scriptural and reasonable that our resurrection will be patterned after His.
Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. (Luke 24:39)
The resurrection of the physical body is one of the central aspects of the Divine redemption. The fifteenth chapter of the Book of First Corinthians is devoted to the doctrine concerning raising the flesh and bone body from the dead.
The inner man of the human being cannot “perish.” Death to the inner man is not extinction as is true of the outward man. The inner man always is existing somewhere.
Therefore the meaning of John 3:16 is, God gave His Son, Christ, so we—our outward man—“should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The Christian teaching of today does not place nearly enough emphasis on the redemption of the flesh and bone body of the human personality.
There are at least three reasons why current teaching does not emphasize the reviving of the flesh and bone body:
- Going to Heaven, to the realm of spirits, is believed to be the goal of the Divine redemption. Since one does not need to be resurrected in order to enter the spirit realm, the unscriptural emphasis on “going to Heaven” has obscured greatly the scriptural doctrine of the redemption of the mortal body.
- An ascension (the so-called “pre-tribulation rapture”) is taught in place of the doctrine of the resurrection. This destructive heresy virtually ignores the resurrection of the body. It stresses a flight to the spirit realm on the part of untransformed believers so they may escape the troubles of the world.
- The doctrine of the pre-tribulation “rapture” of the saints is a deception and has caused harm to the understanding of the Scriptures. It also has produced immaturity, sin, and self-centeredness in the believers. They refuse to prepare themselves for the day of trouble because they have been taught God loves them too much to allow them to suffer.
Paul’s teaching of the “house which is from heaven,” of the fifth chapter of Second Corinthians, often is confused with the doctrine of the resurrection of the fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians. Many believe that since we have a “heavenly body” there is no need to revive the dead physical body.
This is not clear thinking. The heavenly body cannot be resurrected, because it is not subject to corruption and death. Only the dead physical body can be resurrected. If the dead physical body is not to be resurrected there is no resurrection from the dead. One of the primary aspects of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is then destroyed.
The Scriptures have much to say about the reviving of the outward man, the physical body.
As we have stated previously, immortality comes through eating of the tree of life. It was access to immortality that was lost to man because of his disobedience.
And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: (Genesis 3:22)
But note Revelation 2:7:
… To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)
Job spoke of the reviving of his mortal body:
And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: (Job 19:26)
Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. (Isaiah 26:19)
Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. (Ezekiel 37:12)
And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2)
Since the inner man does not sleep in the dust of the earth we understand that Daniel is speaking of the raising of the mortal body.
The Lord Jesus came preaching eternal life—particularly the raising of the mortal body. But the concept that the goal of redemption is the removing of the believers to Heaven, rather than the giving of immortality to redeemed people, has prevented us from seeing what Jesus actually taught.
Jesus’ message was eternal life, not going to Heaven, but eternal life. It was access to eternal life, not residence in Heaven, that was lost in the beginning. Jesus, our Redeemer, is redeeming what was lost. Heaven was not lost. Eternal life in Paradise on the earth was lost. Eternal life in Paradise on the earth will be regained, with the Lord Jesus as the eternal Center and Circumference of all creatures and things (Ephesians 1:10).
The Lord spoke of the reviving of the bodies of all men:
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:28,29)
Again, in connection with the Lord’s supper:
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:54)
Notice the two stages in the above verse. First, receiving the Presence of God in our inner man as we partake of the flesh and blood of Christ. Second, raising our flesh and bone body in the Day of the Lord.
It is not our inner man that will be raised in the last day. The inner man receives eternal life at the moment of receiving Christ. It is not the body from Heaven that is to be raised at the last day, for the body from Heaven never is buried, never needs raising. It is the flesh and bone body that will be raised from the place of death at the blowing of the trumpet.
The Lord Jesus is the Resurrection. He is the Life. As He is formed in us and lives in us we have the resurrection in our inner man. If we have the resurrection in our inner man, then, when the trumpet sounds, the resurrection life in our inner man will make alive our mortal body. Notice how the Apostle Paul states this:
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11)
Our mortal body will be made alive by the Holy Spirit who is dwelling in us, who is a pledge, a guarantee that one day we will have immortality in our body.
That is why Paul teaches that if we live in the flesh, if we choose to walk in our soulish, bodily appetites and do not cultivate the new Life that has been born in us, we will die (Romans 8:13). This means that in the Day of Resurrection there will be no eternal life ready to make alive our mortal body. By choosing to walk “in the flesh” we destroy the quality of our resurrection. Perhaps this will be seen more clearly as we proceed.
The making alive of his mortal body always was a goal of the Apostle Paul.
And not only they [the material creation], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)
The phrase “the redemption of our body” is not referring to the Life of God in our inner man. Neither is it speaking of the state of being of our house from Heaven. Rather, this expression is referring to raising and filling with Divine Life our mortal body, our flesh and bone body.
The Apostle Paul speaks of “immortality.” He is indicating the reviving of our flesh and bone body to a state of incorruptibility.
But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: (II Timothy 1:10)
When Paul refers to “eternal life,” to redemption, he often puts the acquiring of it in the future, revealing that he is not speaking of reconciliation to God in our inner man, which is present now, but rather of the reviving of the mortal body in the Day of the Lord (Ephesians 1:13,14; 4:30; I Peter 1:5).
Consider the following:
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: (Romans 2:7)
Paul is holding out immortality, eternal life in the body, as the goal of righteous conduct.
Our resurrection will be patterned after that of the Lord Jesus, and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus was a physical event. The Lord’s physical body, now possessing extraordinary capabilities, came forth from the cave of Joseph of Arimathea.
The Lord showed Thomas the wounds in His hands and side.
Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. (John 20:27)
There were no wounds in the heavenly body of the Lord Jesus nor in His inner man. Therefore we know Thomas was being confronted with the actual flesh and bone body of the Lord. It was His wounded body that was raised from the dead and appeared to the disciples.
Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. (Luke 24:39)
To remove all doubt, the Lord ate the fish and the honeycomb.
The text of the fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians emphasizes that the central hope of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is the reviving of the flesh and bone body. This “resurrection chapter” is not referring to the heavenly body nor to the inner man. It is speaking of bringing back to life the mortal body.
Speaking of the raising of the flesh and bone body of the Lord Jesus:
And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. (I Corinthians 15:14)
The following passage reveals that Paul is referring to the raising of the physical Body of Christ and of the saints:
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. (I Corinthians 15:23)
The saints will be made alive “at his coming” (above).
- It is not the inner man of the saint that is made alive at the coming of the Lord. Our inner man is made alive when we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior. At that time God forgives our sins and permits us to approach Him in prayer. We no longer are spiritually dead (cut off from God) but are spiritually alive.
- It is not the house from Heaven that is made alive at the coming of the Lord. Our house from Heaven is fashioned from the substance of eternal life.
- It is our flesh and bone body that will be made alive “at his coming.”
Again, speaking of our flesh and bone body:
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. (I Corinthians 15:26)
Let us remind the reader that when the Scriptures speak of the dead rising it is not speaking of the inner spiritual personality. The inner spiritual personality does not “rise” from the dead. It is the body, the outward man, that rises from the dead. We keep repeating this rather obvious fact because of the centuries of traditional teaching—teaching that has implied it is our inner man who rises from the dead, leaving our physical body to pass into its original elements.
The following passage appears to teach that our physical body will not be raised.
And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: (I Corinthians 15:37)
But if our physical body is not to be raised, then the fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians is incoherent; for the first part of the chapter obviously is speaking of our dead physical body. If our physical body is not to be raised, it would be true that our resurrection is not to be patterned after that of the Lord Jesus; for the physical body of Jesus is not in the cave of Joseph of Arimathea.
The pagan concept that matter is evil and spirit is good has entered Christian thinking. The pagan influence has resulted in I Corinthians 15:37, plus Paul’s teaching concerning the “house which is from heaven,” of II Corinthians 5:1-4, being interpreted to mean our present body will be no more and we will receive a new body.
If our present body is not to be raised from the dead, then there is no resurrection of the dead.
What, then, is Paul saying in I Corinthians 15:37?
Paul is answering those who were questioning the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead. Some of their questions were like those of the Sadducees, who approached Jesus and raised the insincere question of the woman who had been married to seven brothers (Luke 20:27-33).
Paul is not saying that our present body will not be raised. He is stating that it will not be the same body because it will not be limited by its present constraints. It will be a “different” body in the sense that it will be greatly improved. It no longer will be subject to weakness, to tiredness, to sickness, to death. It will have powers and capabilities of which we understand little.
It will not be motivated by blood but by spiritual energies. Our body then will be filled with righteousness rather than sin. It will be a source of freedom for the inner man rather than a miserable prison of sin and death.
Paul speaks of our discipleship on the earth as the sowing of our outward man into death in the hope that we will reap a harvest of incorruptible life in the form of a glorified body.
Precisely so. Note that the farmer sows wheat seed. The germinating stalk does not come from another place but from the seed that was sown. So it is true that our new body will not come from another place but from our present body that is being sown to death.
Our present body will be clothed with incorruptible life provided we have sown to the Holy Spirit.
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Galatians 6:8)
The clothing of our risen flesh and bone body with the house of eternal life that has been kept in Heaven for us is revealed in the design of the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant was constructed from acacia wood covered within and on the outside with refined gold (Exodus 25:10,11), the wood typifying our risen mortal body and the gold typifying the Divine Life with which the risen body of the saint will be clothed.
The “gold” of Divine Life will cover the “wood” of our risen physical frame. This is the true nature of the resurrection and glorification of the Christian saint.
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (I Corinthians 15:52)
Changed in what manner? First, the flesh and bone bodies of the deceased saints will be raised. Second, the flesh and bone bodies of the living saints will be changed. The blood will vanish and in its place will be the resurrection life of the Lord Jesus. Third, the flesh and bone bodies of the saints will be clothed with their house from Heaven.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (I Corinthians 15:53)
It is not a case of a new body coming down from Heaven on our inner man, but of our corruptible, mortal flesh and blood body putting on incorruptible immortality. It is not our inner man that is corruptible and mortal, it is our outward man that is corruptible and mortal. Therefore it is our outward man that is clothed with incorruptible immortality.
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (I Corinthians 15:54)
The inner man is “swallowed up in victory” as each day we die in the Lord and are raised in resurrection power. We die to the world, to Satan, to our fleshly lusts, and to our self-will. We are raised in the Life of Christ.
The outward man will be “swallowed up in victory” at the last trumpet. The flesh and blood body of sin and death will be changed into a spiritual body and then clothed with our reward from Heaven.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (I Corinthians 15:55)
When we speak of the “grave” we are not referring to the inner man but to the outward man. It is the outward man that is assigned to the grave, and it is the outward man that will come forth and be glorified with incorruptible, eternal life.
The Christians of the first century did not view the purpose of the Christian salvation as being our removal to Heaven to live there forever. Rather, they were taught by the Apostles of the coming of the Kingdom of God. They expected the Lord to return during their lifetime and set up His Kingdom on the earth. The hope of the saints was that they would be changed into immortality and rule in the Kingdom of God on the earth. The concept of going to the spirit realm and living in a “mansion” was unknown to them.
The Christians of Thessalonica were grieving over the fact that some of their loved ones had died. They had departed to the realm of spirits and would not be with them as the Kingdom of God was set up on the earth. They would not share in the immortalizing of the body. They would not be able to participate as Jesus Christ was crowned King on the Throne of David in Jerusalem.
Paul comforted the saints by informing them the Lord Jesus at His coming would bring the departed spirits with Him, and the deceased would then share in the immortalizing of the body and in the setting up of the Kingdom on the earth.
First Thessalonians 4:13-18 is being employed to support the error of the pre-tribulation flight of the living saints to the spirit world. In actuality this passage has to do with the return of the deceased saints from the spirit world so they may receive back their physical bodies and participate with the Lord Jesus in the Kingdom of God on the earth.
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (I Thessalonians 4:13,14)
The purpose of this passage is to comfort the living saints concerning their loved ones whose outward man is asleep in the grave and whose inner man is with the Lord Jesus. The passage has nothing to do with the Lord removing the living saints from the earth so they may escape the Antichrist and tribulation.
Paul is pointing toward the death and resurrection of Jesus as being our hope that we will see our loved ones once again—and in their bodies.
God will bring with Jesus at His coming the inner man of the deceased saints.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep. (I Thessalonians 4:15)
The living saints will not gain immortality or participate in the Kingdom of God in advance of those who have died.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (I Thessalonians 4:16)
“The dead in Christ shall rise.”
The above phrase means that the bodies, the outward man of the saints whom Christ brings with him will stand upon their feet. They will come forth from their places of burial and stand on their feet on the earth. We assume that at this time their inner man, who has returned with the Lord Jesus, has entered the outward man and raised it up.
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (I Thessalonians 4:17)
We who are alive shall be “changed.” Our earthly life, which is blood, will disappear. Our flesh and bone body will be animated by the Divine Life of the Lord Jesus instead of by blood.
At this point, all the saints will be alive on the earth in bodies no longer subject to injury or death. There is no point in lifting them from the surface of the earth in order to escape Antichrist or tribulation; they are invulnerable, being in spiritual bodies.
It is not logical, therefore, to present the catching up (rapture) as being God’s means of delivering us from suffering. Nor is it taught anywhere in the Scriptures that the resurrection is for the purpose of delivering us from suffering.
The Lord is not coming to “catch a waiting bride away.” This is not true. Rather, He is coming to call up to Himself, who is the Commander in Chief, the army of the Lord in preparation for the attack of Armageddon.
Let us cast the “pre-tribulation rapture” illusion from our minds and spirits. It is not of the Lord. Those who believe in it are not entering the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, into the fullness that is the protection God has provided for the saints during the closing days of the present age (John 14:23).
How long will the resurrected saints be on the earth before they ascend to meet the Lord? We cannot say. There were forty days between the resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus. This may or may not be the case with the saints.
At Christ’s appearing the saints of all time will be caught up to meet the Lord; not to return into the spirit realm with Him, but to meet Him as He descends from Heaven to take command of the governments of the earth. All the teaching about the Lord catching His Bride away, of the saints disappearing, has no support in this passage.
It is possible that the parable of the ten virgins, in which the five wise go with the Lord to the wedding, is taking place today (at least in some measure) and has to do with the entering of our inner man into a higher place in God, not with the lifting of the outward man from the surface of the earth. It is today we are being awakened. It is today the foolish are beginning to seek oil for their lamps.
It may be true that it is at our point of meeting the Lord that we (our outward man) will be clothed over with the body from Heaven. For the body from Heaven is our reward, and we know from the Scriptures that the Lord will bring our rewards with Him when He returns (Revelation 22:12).
First, our flesh and bone body will be raised to stand on its feet (or, in the case of the living saints, our blood will disappear and incorruptible resurrection life will take the place of the blood). Second, our physical body, now animated by spiritual power rather than blood, will ascend to meet the Lord in the air.
We are not certain at what point our animated physical body will be clothed with our house from Heaven, with the “eternal weight” of life and glory that is the result of presenting our mortal body a living sacrifice to the Lord (II Corinthians 4:16-5:5).
Since Paul, when speaking of our being clothed with our house from Heaven, uses the expression “that mortality might be swallowed up of life” (II Corinthians 5:4); and also states that at the resurrection “this mortal must put on immortality” (I Corinthians 15:53); we conclude that the house from Heaven will clothe our mortal body at the sounding of the last trumpet.
But whether the dead in Christ will descend as an inner man already clothed with the house from Heaven and then infuse their mortal remains and raise them up, or whether the inner man will descend, raise up the mortal body, and at some point after that receive the house from Heaven as a reward, we are not certain. It seems that the Lord Jesus came forth from the grave in a spiritually animated physical body, and then appeared to the Apostle John some time later in a glorified form, causing John to faint (Revelation 1:17).
Since the white robe, mentioned several times in the Book of Revelation, probably is the house from Heaven, we may notice that the martyrs are given their glorified form prior to the resurrection.
And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. (Revelation 6:11)
The people who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord will be a remarkable group of overcomers. They never will be resurrected from the dead because they never will die. They will be changed into immortality while standing on their feet. Sustaining such a change from mortal life to spiritual life will require much faith (Enoch was translated by faith—Hebrews 11:5).
Also, those who are alive and are caught up to meet the Lord must have been judged previously. The resurrection of the victorious saints that takes place when Jesus returns is the first resurrection, the resurrection of the blessed and holy (Revelation 20:4-6). It is not possible that unjudged saints can be raised in the first resurrection and after that be judged according to what they have practiced in the body (II Corinthians 5:10).
It is true rather that their judgment has been accomplished as they, during their pilgrimage on the earth, have passed through the steps of death and resurrection in the inner man and there has then been laid up for them a crown of life. This will have to be the case for the victorious saints who are alive on the earth at the return of the Lord from Heaven.
At the first resurrection the overcomers will receive the crown of life, their judgment having been accomplished previously.
It is not reasonable that the saints will be raised from the dead, ascend to meet the Lord, and then stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. Rather, we are passing before the Judgment Seat of Christ now as He commands us to put away our lusts and rebellions and receive eternal life in their place. Judgment has begun now in the house of God (I Peter 4:17-19).
The raising of our outward man and the clothing of it with eternal life is not a preparation for judgment; rather, it is the execution of the sentence of judgment. We have been judged, and our sentence is to be made immortal and to be forever with King Jesus Christ as He governs the creation of God.
Toward the end of his life, the Apostle Paul was seeking to attain the resurrection from the dead.
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [Greek, out-resurrection] of the dead. (Philippians 3:11)
How does one attain to the resurrection of the dead?
The context of this verse is that of pressing toward a mark. The mark is the attainment to that for which we have been grasped. Each saint has been predestined for a specific station in the Kingdom of God. His task in life is to attain to that for which he has been predestined; not to carve out a destiny according to his own impulses and desires but to enter the rest of God, into the perfect creation already finished in the mind of God.
As the saint becomes willing and able to enter what God has planned for him from the beginning, he finds righteousness, peace, joy—the fulfillment of all he is meant to be and to do. Only then is he ready to receive immortality in his body.
Part of the context of Philippians 3:11 is knowing Christ, knowing the power of His resurrection, knowing the fellowship of His sufferings.
Was Paul speaking, in Philippians 3:11, of attaining to a resurrection of his inner man, of his outward man, or of both? He was speaking of both, for we find a few verses later:
Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Philippians 3:21)
The kind of resurrection experienced by the outward man depends directly on the state of being of the inner man.
Since the glorified human personality consists of the inner man dwelling in a glorified outward man (an outward man in the image and of the Nature and Substance of Christ), it follows that in order for the personality to abide in peace and harmony the inner man will have had to be changed from Adam to the life-giving spirit, to the image and Substance of the Lord from Heaven. Otherwise the inner man and the glorified outward man would be incompatible.
It is not possible that God will place a glorified outward man on an immature, disobedient, self-seeking, soulish inner man. It is the hope of many Christians that God will transform the inner man and clothe the transformed inner man with a glorified outward man. This indeed is true, being scriptural and logical.
Error enters with the belief that the inner man will be transformed at the coming of the Lord, along with the outward man. There is a scriptural basis for an instantaneous transformation of the outward man at the coming of the Lord; however, there is no scriptural basis for an instantaneous transformation of the moral character of the inner man at the coming of the Lord or at any other time, except as we have patiently followed the Lord in cross-carrying obedience.
Since God will not place a glorified outward man on an immature inner man, and since there cannot be an instantaneous transformation of the inner man, such an instantaneous transformation being neither scriptural nor logical, it follows that prior to giving to us a glorified outward man (which is our reward for Christ-filled righteous behavior) there must be a transformation of the inner man. This fact virtually is unknown in Christian circles; yet, it is of the greatest possible significance to the believer.
It is true that God can break the chains of sin in a moment. But deliverance from sin is only the negative aspect of moral transformation. The positive aspect of moral transformation is the forming of Christ in us. The forming of Christ in us absolutely cannot be done in a moment. It is a lifelong process as we submit to the program of continual dying and continual rising in Christ.
We think the Apostle Paul, in Philippians 3:11, is speaking of the transformation of his inner man in preparation for the transformation of his outward man. The goal of such inner transformation is the total conversion of the inner man into resurrection life in preparation for the total glorification of the outward man in conformity with the glorified outward man of the Lord Jesus Christ.
If such is the case, if our reasoning is scriptural and sound, then the bodily resurrection to eternal life, which is the Christian hope, can take place only if the inner man has been transformed previously. The conclusion of this reasoning is that only those believers who have pressed forward to the mark, the mark being the transition from the adamic nature to the new nature of the Substance of Christ, are eligible for resurrection to eternal life and glory when Christ appears in the clouds of heaven.
The resurrection of I Thessalonians 4:14-17 must be attained.
Let us consider for a moment the first resurrection, the resurrection that will take place when Jesus returns to earth as King of kings.
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)
The above passage is referring to I Thessalonians 4:14-17, to the resurrection that will take place when the Lord returns. This is the first resurrection. This is the “out-resurrection” from among the dead to which Paul was referring in Philippians 3:11. The first resurrection is the first resurrection!
The participants in the first resurrection will be the firstfruits of mankind. They are blessed. They are holy. They are the priests and rulers of God and His Christ.
Notice the expression in Revelation 20:4, “and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Now, it is not reasonable that the statement “they lived” is referring to the inner man of these victorious saints. The members of the royal priesthood possessed eternal life in their inner man long before the time of the first resurrection from the dead.
We must conclude that the expression “they lived” means they received back their flesh and bone bodies from the ground or from wherever their mortal remains were deposited. When the Scriptures speak of “living” they mean being alive in the body. Man is not “man” unless he is spirit, soul, and body. When an individual dies he no longer is a “man.” He is a spirit. This is why the Lord emphasized, “a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39).
Human beings are “alive” only when they are in their bodies. People will be glorified in their bodies. People will be saved in their bodies. People will be punished in their bodies. People will be cast into the Lake of Fire in their flesh and bone bodies.
And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases [corpses] of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. (Isaiah 66:24)
When the flesh and bone body of the wicked individual has been raised from the dead by spiritual energies (not by the eternal life of God, but by the energies by which creatures live in the spirit realm) it can die no longer. It will remain in the unquenchable fire without being destroyed (their worm shall not die)—a fearful fate indeed!
The “house which is from heaven.”
For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: (II Corinthians 5:2)
We must, at this point, make clear the elements included in the resurrection from the dead so the reader may be able to follow our reasoning.
The first element we must consider is our inner man, our spirit and soul. It is the inner man who is the real person, all else being clothing God puts on our inner man.
Second, there is the flesh and bone body. The flesh and bone body, the clothing of the inner man, experiences two distinct phases. The first phase (we will term this, phase A) takes place this side of the grave, and the second phase (phase B) takes place after the resurrection.
During phase A, the life of the body is blood. Phase A is the same for the saints and the wicked.
During phase B, the life of the body of the saint is the Divine Life of Christ. But the life of the body of the wicked merely is spiritual energy—the spiritual energy by which fallen angels live.
The spiritual energy of phase B of the wicked is not the eternal life of which the Lord Jesus spoke. The eternal life set forth in the New Testament is the Presence and Spirit of God. The fallen angels live by spiritual energy but they possess no eternal life. Satan is active in the spirit realm but he possesses no eternal life.
The second element, then, is the flesh and bone body. In the resurrection, phase B of the body is operative.
- First element—the inner man, including spirit and soul.
- Second element—the flesh and bone body, animated at first by blood (phase A), and after the resurrection by spiritual energy (phase B). The spiritual energy is Divine Life for the saint, mere spiritual energy for the sinner—spiritual energy devoid of the Presence of Christ.
- Third element—the house from Heaven, a spiritual form that reflects the choices made by the individual during his or her lifetime on the earth.
It is the third element, the “house which is from heaven” that we shall discuss now.
The house from Heaven is the reward of those who have laid down their lives for the sake of the Gospel. It is the reward the Lord will give us at His appearing.
The “glorified body” that often is referred to by Christians is the revived flesh and bone body of the righteous clothed with the house from Heaven. The flesh and bone body of the saint is made alive by the Holy Spirit and then clothed with the house from Heaven.
As we have stated previously, our inner man first must be transformed before God will clothe it with a glorified body. The house from Heaven directly reflects the state of the inner man. That which clothes the resurrected flesh and bones is the same expression of Divine Life that is true of the inner man.
The glorified outward man is in the image of the Lord Jesus.
Of what composition is our house from Heaven?
If we have gone through the steps of inner transformation, the steps leading toward the filling of our inner man with the holy, righteous Life of Christ, our house from Heaven will be fashioned from incorruptible resurrection life.
But if we have not been willing to follow the Spirit of God through the steps of inner transformation to righteousness, but have sown to our fleshly, adamic nature, our house from Heaven will reflect what we have practiced in the flesh—our lusts and disobedience to God.
We shall be clothed with what we have practiced. We shall reap what we sow. Here is the perfect righteousness of God our Creator.
It is of importance for the Christian to understand clearly that the grace and mercy of God do not interfere with the Kingdom law of sowing and reaping. We will reap what we sow. God cannot be mocked. If we believe we can sow sin and then reap the Glory of God on the basis of grace, or mercy, or any other aspect of redemption, we have been deceived.
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Galatians 6:7,8)
Paul is not addressing the unsaved but “the churches of Galatia.”
There is no way in which a glorified outward man can be placed on a corrupt inner man; neither is there any manner in which the inner man can be transformed instantly or made acceptable by imputed (ascribed) righteousness such that it is possible for God to clothe him with a glorified outward man. The resurrection to glory must be attained, it cannot be imputed.
The role of mercy and grace is to lead the sinner to repentance, to forgive his sins, and to transform him so he may inherit eternal life. It is not the place of mercy and grace to clothe a sinful inner man with eternal life on the basis of imputed (ascribed) righteousness. Unless the Christian understands this clearly he may behave in a manner that will cause him to lose his inheritance.
The house from Heaven is our reward that the Lord Jesus will bring with Him when He returns. After our inner man has returned from the spirit realm and has entered our flesh and bone body, we are ready to be clothed with what has been laid up in Heaven as the consequence of our behavior on the earth. We shall be clothed with our own behavior.
Our house from Heaven is an eternal weight of glory that comes into existence as we respond in Christ to our afflictions.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (II Corinthians 4:17)
The saint who is living in victory has an ever-increasing desire to be clothed with incorruptible resurrection life.
For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: (II Corinthians 5:2)
The believers who continue to live according to the appetites of their body and soul will have no house of incorruptible life with which to be clothed.
The victorious saint prays that his house from Heaven may clothe his mortal body so he can be free to serve God more fully.
For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. (II Corinthians 5:4)
But we must be transformed in order to be able to receive the marvelous inheritance of the house from Heaven.
Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest [pledge] of the Spirit. (II Corinthians 5:5)
One can see that the hope of the Apostle was not to die and go to Heaven or to be caught up to Heaven in a “rapture.” The expressed hope of the Apostle Paul was to attain to the resurrection of the dead, to receive an immortal outward man.
Second Corinthians 5:10, which is the climax of Paul’s teaching concerning the receiving of the house from Heaven, has been misinterpreted by many Christian teachers. Its original strength has been taken from it as the believers have attempted to make it conform to their concept of salvation by grace.
It is being taught that no believer need be concerned about the judgment seat of Christ. It is unfortunate that the Apostle Paul did not realize this for he trembled when thinking of the judgment seat (II Corinthians 5:11). The believers of today do not tremble; they do not know the terror of the Lord. But they would if they would receive this verse as it stands.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)
The word “all” means all persons, not just the Christians. God the Father judges no individual. God has given all judgment into the hands of His Son, Christ. All persons who have ever lived on the earth must appear before the judgment seat of Christ (John 5:22).
The “white throne” judgment of Revelation, Chapter 20 is part of the judgment seat of Christ. The concept of two separate judgment seats is an error in Christian thinking.
The Greek word translated “judgment seat” is beema. The common Christian attitude views the beema as a place where people are rewarded for their behavior. But the term beema never is used in the New Testament to mean a place where people are rewarded for their works. The beema is the court where the accused are brought to trial. The Lord Jesus stood before the beema of Pilate.
Christian theology states that the believer’s sins have been judged on the cross and only his works will be judged at the beema of the Lord Jesus. A distinction is made between the sins of the Christians and the works of the Christians.
We agree that the bondage of sin is of Satan. This bondage was destroyed legally on the cross of Calvary and is destroyed in actuality as the Holy Spirit leads the believer in confessing his sins and turning away from them. Only the authority and power of the Divine redemption can forgive sin and remove sin from the believer. The believer will not be condemned because of the bondages residing in his flesh and soul provided he faithfully cooperates with the Holy Spirit in the progressive work of sanctification.
By one offering the Lord Jesus has perfected forever those who are being made holy, those who are abiding in Him and interacting vigorously with His Divine Person and Virtue.
But every human being on earth is judged according to the choices he makes while living on the earth. While we do not have the power to loose ourselves from sin, we do possess the power, as God leads and enables us, to choose to follow Jesus in the work of redemption. We can choose to read the Scriptures, pray, and serve the Lord. It is our diligence in these acts that leads to eternal life and treasures in Heaven. But the believer who neglects his salvation will not escape the wrath of the Lord.
It is reasoned that because the Lord Jesus does not judge our bondages but only our choices there will not be severe penalties for a lack of diligence in serving the Lord. The casting into outer darkness of the lazy servant who buried his talent teaches us that such reasoning is incorrect.
The believer who neglects his salvation will not achieve victory over the world, the lusts of his flesh, or his self-will. As a result, at the Judgment Seat of Christ he will be judged not only for his carelessness and unbelief but also for the practice of sin resulting from his negligence.
The believer who followed the Holy Spirit in putting away his sins will be blessed and rewarded because of his diligence (“Well done, good and faithful servant”), and his holy and righteous behavior will bring him eternal life. The lazy believer loses on two counts and the diligent believer gains on two counts.
Let us think about the concept that Christians need not be concerned about their appearance at the Judgment Seat of Christ because Jesus will not be concerned with their sins but with their works. How are we to be able in that Day to distinguish between sin and a bad work?
The Scripture under discussion (II Corinthians 5:10) declares that the individual being made manifest at the judgment seat will receive the things he has done in his body, whether what he has done has been good or bad.
Let us say that an example of a sin would be adultery, while the example of a bad work would be not taking up one’s cross and following the Lord. The adultery practiced by the believer will not be mentioned (Christians claim) because it was taken care of on the cross. But now he is being judged only in terms of his lack of diligence in following the Lord, his dedication or lack of it.
Yet, in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Book of Matthew, the servant who buried his talent was termed “wicked,” “lazy,” and “unprofitable,” and was condemned to outer darkness. He received the bad he had done. He was useless to the Kingdom and so he was cast into a place of uselessness. To our way of thinking, the thought of such a penalty is an occasion for trembling.
Is not using one’s talent a sin or a work? Does it make any difference in our reward?
It is true also that the Christian who does not cease practicing adultery will not inherit the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19).
The concept that the sins of the believer can never be mentioned at the Judgment Seat of Christ is unscriptural, illogical, and produces carelessness and sin in the life of the individual who is convinced his behavior will not put him in any kind of jeopardy. This concept is not true and it is time to sound the alarm in God’s holy mountain.
The current position is, the Christian who serves the Lord receives a reward while the Christian who does not serve the Lord simply does not receive a reward, or as much of a reward.
But we think the Scriptures condemn the believer who does not take up his cross and follow the Master with a pure heart.
Speaking to Christians:
… I will give unto every one of you according to your works. (Revelation 2:23)
Again, to the Christians:
Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:4)
Again, to Christians:
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation;… (Hebrews 2:3)
But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. (Hebrews 6:8)
The Scripture exhorts us to offer up our body a living sacrifice to God, this being our reasonable service of worship (Romans 12:1). This is a commandment of God. What if we do not offer up our body a living sacrifice to God? Is this sin?
The Scripture states that they who belong to Christ “have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24). Is our not crucifying the flesh a sin abolished on the cross, or is it a bad work we will receive at the beema of Christ?
Jesus declared: “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:38). Is not taking up our cross and following after Jesus a sin abolished on the cross, or is it a bad work we will receive before the beema of Christ?
If the believer is called by the Lord to serve Him in some capacity, and he does not do so, he is disobedient to the Word of the Lord to him. Is such disobedience a sin removed on the cross or is it a bad work the believer will receive at the beema of Christ? And if disobedience to the Lord is a bad work and not a sin, what will the believer receive when he receives the disobedience to Christ he practiced in his body?
Can you see the folly, the confusion of this position?
In our day there is occurring a spiritual fulfillment of the Levitical Day of Atonement. Numerous pastors, evangelists, and other workers and believers are confessing their sins to the Lord. This is happening now and thousands of Christians are involved. Are the Christians to confess their bad works but not their sins because their sins already have been forgiven? Are they to come before the Lord and sort out the difference between their sins and their bad works as they repent?
If it is true Christ already has forgiven all our sins and will judge only our works, then the repenting Christian should be careful to confess and repent only of his bad works and not of his sins, his sins having been taken care of on the cross.
We understand, then, that making a distinction between the sins of the Christians and the works of the Christians, concluding that no Christian need have any concern regarding the Judgment Seat of Christ, is dangerous indeed! This distinction and its attendant conclusion, that no believer need fear the Judgment Seat of Christ, have left multitudes of believers unprepared for what they assuredly shall face when they come before Christ.
Woe to those who teach such a fallacy! They will stand with their students before the Master and give an account of their stewardship.
Look once more at II Corinthians 5:10: “that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
The passage does not state we will be rewarded or penalized for what we have practiced while in the body. Rather, it announces that we will literally receive the things we have done. Some will receive good things. Some will receive bad things. This is what the passage declares.
The saint who is crying out for deliverance from his sinful body will receive a house from Heaven that is aggressively righteous and holy; not just pure and innocent, but militantly righteous, militantly holy, militantly obedient to God.
Can you think of anything more wonderful than having your inner man and your resurrected flesh and bones clothed with a great weight of glory that is aggressively righteous?
Isn’t this the answer to Paul’s cry?
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Romans 7:24)
But according to II Corinthians 5:10, the person, Christian or not, who has chosen to fornicate will be clothed with lust and the consequences of lust. The habitual liar will be clothed with lying and the consequences of lying. The murderer will be clothed with murder and the consequences of murder.
The abortion doctor upon dying may find the mutilated fetuses revolving around his head—perhaps for thousands of years.
The good we have practiced will be as persons, things, and circumstances standing around us and clothing us. The bad we have practiced will be as persons, things, and circumstances standing around us and clothing us.
Here is the Divine justice. Each individual will receive what he has practiced, what he has chosen.
“That he may receive the things done in his body.”
God says, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still” (Revelation 22:11).
The Lord Jesus will give to every person precisely as that person’s work has been. The individual who loved and sought after righteousness will be given righteousness in the Day of the Lord. The individual who loved and sought after sin will be given corruption in the Day of the Lord. Professing faith in the Lord Jesus does not do away with the principle of sowing and reaping.
To whom much is given, of him will much be required.
Every human being will be raised from the dead, being animated by spiritual energy. With what garment will each be clothed in the day of his resurrection?
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, (Romans 2:7,8)
It is not that we are raised from the dead that is so important, for all will be raised from the dead. It is what happens to us after we are revived.
And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2)
And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done bad, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:29)
Sometimes the house from Heaven, that with which we shall be clothed in the Day of the Lord, is referred to as a crown of life, or a crown of righteousness, or a white garment.
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness [righteous deeds] of saints. (Revelation 19:8)
The term “righteousness,” in the Authorized Version (Revelation 19:8 above), is unfortunate, because it could be construed to mean imputed (ascribed) righteousness. A better translation of the Greek term is “righteous acts,” or “righteousnesses.”
Notice that the members of the Bride are arrayed in their own righteous conduct, a righteous conduct resulting from their abiding in Christ. As Christ dwells in us His righteous Nature begins to be revealed in our conduct. Each righteous act proceeding from Him and developed in our behavior has the effect of weaving a robe of militantly righteous and holy behavior, a robe that appears before the Throne of God in Heaven. In the Day of the Lord, each saint will be clothed with the robe woven from his Christ-filled conduct on the earth.
… she should be arrayed in fine linen, … [which] is the righteousness [righteous acts] of saints. (Revelation 19:8)
Again, as in II Corinthians 5:10, we have the teaching that the one appearing before the beema of Christ will be handed what he has practiced during his discipleship on the earth.
If we sow righteousness we will reap righteousness. If we sow sin we will reap the consequences of sin.
This does not mean an individual who serves God with all his heart, who falls into a sin and then recovers and fights onward in the Lord, will be clothed with that transgression in the Day of Christ. God has made provision for the faithful saint who sins and who then confesses his sin, repents of it, and presses forward in Christ (I John 1:9). His sins will be erased from the record. The law of sowing and reaping applies, rather, to what the individual continues to practice.
The believer who does not serve the Lord but walks in the lusts of his soul and flesh will reap corruption in the Day of the Lord. The believer who presses on in God, confessing his sins when he stumbles, serving Jesus with all his strength, will receive glory. God will forgive and cleanse him in the midst of the battle. He need not worry about his shortcomings for he will not face them in the Day of the Lord.
But the careless, disobedient believer, contrary to current teaching and assumptions, indeed will face an angry Christ in that Day. He will not receive glory. He will receive what he has sown. He will be raised to shame and everlasting contempt. The consuming fire will be his portion. Whether or not he ultimately is saved is in the hands of the Lord Jesus.
We have seen, therefore, that we are dealing with three elements: the inner man, the flesh and bone body, and the house from Heaven. The flesh and bone body lives in two phases: phase A in which the life is blood; and phase B in which the life is spiritual; although in the case of the wicked who are raised, the resurrected body will not be animated by the eternal spiritual life of God’s Presence but by the Divinely ordained energy that activates the creation generally.
The “glorified body” of which Christians speak is a composite body. It consists of phase B of the flesh and bones of the person who then is clothed with the house from Heaven—the substance of eternal life.
When the resurrection is discussed by the Lord, or by Paul, they usually are referring to the resurrection to eternal life. When the Scripture speaks of being found worthy of the resurrection, it means Jesus has deemed the individual worthy of being raised by the Lord’s Spirit and brought forward to eternal life on the new earth.
To attain to the first resurrection indicates that the believer is eligible to participate in the resurrection and ascension that will occur when the Lord appears. The first resurrection, as we understand it, is limited to the victorious saints, the overcomers.
The first resurrection, the resurrection of the royal priesthood, will take place at the beginning of the thousand-year period. God’s priests will rule with Jesus in their glorified bodies (Revelation 20:4-6).
All individuals who have lived on the earth will be raised and stand before the Lord. Some will receive eternal life; others will receive the consequences of wicked behavior. It is not enough to be revived from the dead. It is what happens after we are raised that is of supreme importance.
The Role of the Conversion of the Inner Man in Attaining to the Resurrection to Life
We have considered the inner man of spirit and soul, the outward man in his two phases, and the weight of glory that will clothe the inner man and outward man in the Day of the Lord.
Let us consider now the conversion of the inner man, since the conversion of the inner man is absolutely necessary before the personality can be clothed with the house from Heaven.
The step by step conversion of the inner man. The conversion of the inner man is the work of the new covenant.
The old covenant was written on tables of stone. The new covenant is placed in the mind and written on the heart. This is the principal difference between the two covenants.
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: (Hebrews 8:10)
Under the old covenant the Law of God was written on two tables of stone. Under the new covenant the eternal moral Law of God is put into the mind and written on the heart.
One of the most grievous of the theological errors of Christian teaching is the concept that the moral law of God has been done away. The truth is, only the writing of the Law of Moses on stone and parchment has been done away. Under the new covenant the eternal moral law of God, of which the Law of Moses was an abridged, earthly form, is to be placed in the mind and written on the heart of the believer.
The eternal moral law of God never is to be done away. It is to be written in the believer. The grace of Jesus Christ does not abolish the moral law, it establishes the intent of the moral law in our personality. We are not speaking of the letter of the Law of Moses but of the Spirit of the Law, which is Christ.
The moral law never can be done away. The moral law reveals the moral Nature of God. How, then, can the law be done away? God never changes. Therefore we are not destroyed. If God were to change, all we trust in and hope for would be removed.
The moral law is Christ and Christ is the moral law. The Word of God, the law of God, is Christ. As Christ is formed in us the Word, the law, is formed in us. This is the new covenant. This is the Kingdom of God.
The common teaching is that the central purpose of the Lord’s salvation is to forgive us. This is not true. The central purpose of the new covenant is not forgiveness. The central purpose of the new covenant is the placing of the law in our mind and the writing of the law on our heart. The new covenant includes forgiveness, but only for those who respond to the writing of the Word of God in the personality.
And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening [life-giving] spirit. (I Corinthians 15:45)
The verse above reveals the essence of the new covenant. The new covenant is not a saving of what we are. The new covenant is a conversion from one type of creature (a living soul) to another type of creature (a life-giving spirit).
It is only as we understand the total transformation required by the new covenant that we become willing to endure the crucifying of our first, adamic personality.
Now we see that the inner man, as well as the outward man, exists in two phases: phase A of the inner man is the living soul; phase B of the inner man is the life-giving spirit. “Man,” as God envisions him, must be created in two stages. The first stage is the animal stage. The second stage is the resurrecting of the crucified animal stage by filling it with Christ. It becomes a glorified humanity. Then the glorified inner man is clothed in a resurrected and glorified outer man. This is man in the image and likeness of God.
Phase A of the inner man (the living soul) cannot enter the Kingdom of God just as phase A of the outward man (the flesh and blood body) cannot enter the Kingdom.
The death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary signaled the end of the adamic creation. At the conclusion of the thousand-year period the earth and the heaven that we know will flee away and no place will be found for them (Revelation 20:11). This marks the termination of the first creation.
The Kingdom of God is the making of all things new in Christ.
We who have been called of the Lord to serve the Lord Jesus are the firstfruits of the new creation. We have the Holy Spirit in us as a pledge that one day our outward man will be renewed in Christ.
But in the meantime our inner man must be made new, for the adamic nature cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
To enter the Kingdom of God we must be born again (John 3:3,5).
Unfortunately the expression “born again” is being used incorrectly by Christians as part of the “four steps of salvation.”
The Apostles did not preach being “born again” (examine the Book of Acts) as the Gospel message. The message of salvation from Divine wrath is not that we must be born again. In order to be saved from wrath we must believe in the Lord Jesus, repent of our sins, and be baptized in water.
Paul never used the term “born again,” although he did teach the concept when speaking of the “new creature.” Being born again does not mean that our sins have been forgiven and we have been saved. It is not a term one should use for evangelistic purposes. We are using the expression incorrectly.
Being born again refers to the conversion of the inner man from the adamic soul to the life-giving spirit. It is a slow, painful process. The death of Adam in us is excruciating at times. While the conversion of the inner man may commence in an embryonic sense when we make a profession of faith in Christ, it is evident that the majority of believers have not come to the full term of birth in the Kingdom sense.
To be born again is not a doctrinal position, it is an experience of total change of personality. Being born again has nothing to do with “going to Heaven” when we die. Being born again has to do with the Kingdom of God. It refers to the death of the first creation and the birth of the new.
Our inner man must be born again, passing from phase A, the adamic life, to phase B, the eternal life of the life-giving spirit.
The first phase of the inner man is of the earth—earthy. The second phase of the inner man is the Life, Substance, and Nature of the Lord from Heaven.
The first phase of our inner man came from our human parents. The second phase of the inner man comes from God Himself, being born of Him.
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:13)
Being born again does not take place in an instant. First there must be a conception. After that comes the forming of the new creation. Numerous believers experience an aborting of what had begun in them, as we learn from the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:18-23).
It seems there are relatively few who escape the efforts of Satan to destroy the Divine Seed, who bring to full term what has been planted in them.
It may be observed that the Lord, in His parables, portrayed the Kingdom of God as a seed (Matthew 13:31). The Kingdom of God is not a place to which we go when we die. The Kingdom of God is a state of being of our personality. The Kingdom of God is formed in our inner man and then is extended to include our outward man, provided the conversion of the inner man has proceeded to the Lord’s satisfaction.
Isaiah spoke of the step by step conversion of the inner man, of the converting of the human soul to the eternal Law of God:
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: (Isaiah 28:10)
Peter expressed the process somewhat differently:
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: (I Peter 2:2)
As the eternal Word of God enters it slays the adamic nature and forms Divine Life in us. The adamic nature perishes like the grass of the field under the burning sun of the Word (I Peter 1:24).
We must, in our human personality, with the help of the Lord, keep our adamic inner man and outward man in control, making our fleshly nature serve the Lord, until the new Life in us begins to dominate our thoughts, words, and deeds. Only an honest and good adamic heart can keep the human personality serving the Lord until the new Life is developed (Luke 8:15).
Notice how Peter emphasizes the necessity for adhering to the Scriptures until the new life is born in us:
We have also a more sure word of prophecy [the Scriptures]; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (II Peter 1:19)
Each day the Lord Jesus sends some form of death upon our inner nature. The death may be in the form of trouble, or perplexity, or persecution, or some other kind of painful, humiliating, vexing, frightening situation.
As we pray for the strength to overcome our distress, the Life of Jesus lifts us up. The adamic nature dies and in its place is formed the new inner man. This is how the inner man is converted step by step from the first, soulish creation to the new creation. Death, and new life. Death, and new life. Death, and new life. The final result is a new creation in which Christ is the Life and the Center. It is the Kingdom of God. It is the life-giving spirit.
The conversion of the inner man as Divine judgment.
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (Hebrews 9:27)
After men die they are judged.
In a true Christian experience we count ourselves as dead. After we put our faith in the Lord Jesus for salvation and repent of our behavior in the world, the next step is to be baptized in water. Baptism in water means we are reckoning that our entire first personality, the adamic life, is crucified with the Lord Jesus.
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
From God’s point of view, the believer who enters Christ in terms of Romans 6:4 actually has died. His outward man has not died in the sense of losing its blood (although the outward man is spiritually dead, cut off from God, because of the sin dwelling in it—Romans 8:10).
The believer is claiming, by faith in God’s Word, that his inner man has died with Christ on the cross of Calvary and his new resurrection life has ascended with the Lord to the right hand of the Father.
Physical death is the separating of the inner man from the outward man. When we believe and are baptized, the Lord raises our newly-conceived inner nature to His right hand. Our life is hidden with Christ in God in the heavenlies but our body remains on the earth. A genuine death has occurred.
The believer reckons this to be a fact, and God reckons this to be a fact and deals with the believer’s inner man accordingly.
After an individual dies, whether in this spiritual sense or literally, the next step is judgment.
Therefore we would expect the following sequence of events to take place:
- The believer’s adamic inner man is reckoned to be dead on the cross with Jesus. Remember, the inner man, the adamic nature, is very much alive in us. But he is “reckoned,” counted, to be dead.
- The adamic nature having been condemned to death, the Spirit of God searches out the various elements of the adamic nature and puts them to death, meanwhile strengthening our new born-again inner nature that already is in the heavens at the right hand of the Father.
- If we cooperate with the process of death and resurrection, which often is performed through considerable suffering on our part, the Divine judgment accomplishes a finished work. We are completely forgiven, through the continuing atoning virtue of the blood of Jesus, and the portion of the adamic life being dealt with loses its life and is replaced by the resurrection Life of Jesus. This is an eternal judgment on the various elements of our adamic personality.
- The forgiven and destroyed segment of our personality passes into oblivion and in its place appears a new segment of personality, a segment born of Christ. The new segment cannot sin, having been born of God, and therefore is never condemned by Divine judgment, by the eternal moral law, the Word of God (I John 3:9). The new creation is not under the jurisdiction of the Law of Moses. The new segment takes it place in Christ in the heavens.
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ: (Ephesians 2:6)
The fourth chapter of I Peter is devoted to the concept of judgment and deliverance through suffering.
The concept is established in the first two verses:
Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. (I Peter 4:1,2)
Do you see that God sends suffering on us to purify us from sin?
God (Christ) is judging the living and the dead.
Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick [living] and the dead. (I Peter 4:5)
The beema of Christ is in session, and the first to appear are the members of God’s elect.
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (I Peter 4:17)
The guilt of our sins has been forgiven provided we follow Jesus in obedience. It is as we walk in the light, in the will of God, that the blood continues to cleanse us. The covering of the blood makes it possible for the Spirit of God to purify us through various suffering until the cause of sin in us has been slain and the new life has come. This is what it means to be “born again.”
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (I John 1:7)
If we do not walk in the light of God’s will, the blood does not continue to keep us free from condemnation even though we continue to profess faith in the doctrines of our church. We must walk “in the light” so the process of judgment may continue in our personality. The Lord Jesus did not forgive our sins so we could continue to live in the lusts of the flesh and the disobedience of our soul.
The righteous are saved from their adamic nature in part by the heavy weight of suffering they endure. The term salvation in this instance means much more than forgiveness. It signifies salvation in the sense of the conversion of the inner man from death to the Divine Life of God. This is how we enter the Kingdom of God and how the Kingdom, the rule of God, enters us.
So great is the spiritual darkness in us that we are saved (converted to life) with difficulty. God uses every Divine resource to slay the wickedness in us and to bring forth the Substance, Virtue, and Nature of His Son in us.
And if the righteous scarcely be saved [is saved with difficulty], where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (I Peter 4:18)
When we are walking in the light of God’s will our sufferings are the judgment of God on us so we will not be condemned with the world but rather be partaker of His holiness.
Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. (I Peter 4:19)
We have the same thought of salvation through tribulation, the tribulation being a judgment on our inner man, in II Thessalonians:
So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: (II Thessalonians 1:4,5)
The persecutions and tribulations we endure are a sign of the judgment of God on us, making us worthy of His Kingdom. To receive the Kingdom includes receiving immortality in our outward man at the coming of the Lord.
After we receive Jesus as our Savior, God goes to war against our inner man. The blood of the cross has forgiven the guilt of our sin. But this does not change what we are in personality. What we are in our inner man must be reconciled to God or else we cannot enter immortality in the outward man. We cannot be allowed back into Eden and given access to the tree of life until our disobedient nature has been converted.
God goes to war against us, as He did against Moses after He had called him (Exodus 4:24). We cannot have lasting peace until that warfare has been concluded and God has won the battle against our inner man.
Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. (Isaiah 40:2)
It is not true, as is taught commonly, that all the judgment fell on the Lord Jesus and we enter the Kingdom without being chastened soundly and thoroughly by the Lord.
The suffering for the guilt of our behavior fell on the Lord. He bore away the guilt of our sins. But what we are in our inner man still is in rebellion against God. There still are lusts in our flesh and soul. We cannot have lasting peace with God until the inner man has been converted and the outward man has been clothed with a robe of righteousness.
It may be observed that the Lord God did all the fighting for the Israelites when He called them forth from Egypt, which is a type of our leaving the world in water baptism.
But when the Israelites sought to enter their land of promise, which is a type of our seeking to dwell in immortality in the Kingdom of God, the Israelites, with God’s help, had to do the fighting.
Total victory over our inner man cannot be gained by one stroke. We must “take the land” city by city. We must achieve victory over one area of our personality at a time, and then experience the forming of Christ in that particular area. If this process of deliverance and replacement did not take place we would be as a house swept and decorated but still open to the enemy.
Not only must we be converted to obedience in the inner man but it must be true also that the eternal Life and Presence of Christ are formed and abide in our converted inner man. Victory is gained one step at a time.
The invasion of the land of promise by the tribes of Israel is an excellent type of the invasion of our inner man by the Spirit and Law of God. As the Israelites brought the Law (in the Ark of the Covenant) into Canaan as Divine judgment on the gods of the Canaanites, so the Lord Jesus brings the eternal law of God into our inner man as Divine judgment on the various gods found in our personality.
Moreover the Lord thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed. (Deuteronomy 7:20)
The afflictions we experience are “hornets” God sends to us to “sting” the evil forces of disobedience hidden in our inner man, forcing them out into the open so they may be judged and slain.
Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the Lord thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible. And the Lord thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee. (Deuteronomy 7:21,22)
The last three of the seven Levitical “feasts” were Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:24,27,34).
The spiritual fulfillment of the blowing of Trumpets is the coming of the Lord Jesus to make war against His enemies, beginning with the inner man of His elect. (Psalms 24).
The spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement is the reconciliation of our inner man to Jesus. There were two goats offered on the Day of Atonement. The blood of the first goat typifies the forgiving of the guilt of our sins. The removing of the second goat into the wilderness portrays the removing of all sin from our personality (Leviticus, Chapter 16).
The spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is the Father and the Son settling down to eternal rest in the saint (John 14:23).
The goal of the Father is to find rest through Christ in all of His creatures. This goal can be attained only when the inner man of each person has been converted by being judged, and then by being transformed by receiving the Life of Christ.
The only persons who will be “lost” are those who refuse the Divine redemption God is offering through Jesus. They will be lost to the Kingdom because they refuse to be reconciled to God through His Son. Like Satan, the father of rebellion, they prefer to rule rather than to be ruled by the Lord Jesus. Therefore they, like Satan, are doomed to eternal bondage.
- It is suffering, the bearing of the cross, that assists us in overcoming our love of the world.
- It is suffering that keeps us diligent and prayerful so we do not succumb to the enticements of Satan.
- It is suffering that gives us the determination to confess the lusts of our flesh so they may be cast out of our personality.
- It is suffering that enables us to gain the upper hand over our selfish ambitions, that humbles us, that brings us close to God so we will be able to rule with Him in our land of promise.
And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. (Deuteronomy 8:2)
We surely will achieve victory over the world, over Satan, over our fleshly lusts, and over our self-will if we follow the Lord closely. We must bear our cross patiently, reckoning our inner man to be dead and our new life to be growing up in the Lord Jesus in the Presence of the Father.
We can achieve victory if we do not surrender to the numerous forces and pressures that keep attempting to convince us of the desirability of preserving our adamic inner man—forces that promise us we may preserve our adamic life and still inherit the Kingdom.
We know this is a lie of the enemy. The one who is soothing us by telling us the way of the cross need not be hard is not a friend. We must die. If we save our life we will lose it. It is only by enduring the death of the cross that we reign with Jesus. It is only by sharing in the suffering of the cross that we are qualified to experience the awesome power of His resurrection.
The goal is the total replacement of our disobedient adamic nature with the obedient Nature and Life of Christ, resulting in our attainment to eternal life in the Presence of Christ in the inner man, in our eligibility (authorization and competence) for glorification of the outward man when the Lord Jesus appears, and in our attainment of the role in the Kingdom of God for which we have been predestined from the foundation of the world.
God will be content with nothing less than total victory in our personality. The Kingdom of God does not consist of the defeated but of the conquerors. Satan was crushed beyond hope on the cross of Calvary. The realization and manifestation of this total crushing is to come through God’s elect, through saints who are determined that all Christ has purposed and developed will be attained in and through them.
The crushing of Satan came by means of the death of the Lord Jesus. The crushing of Satan will come by means of the death of the members of Christ’s Body.
And the God of peace shall bruise [crush] Satan under your feet shortly…. (Romans 16:20)
But the Lord thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed. And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them. (Deuteronomy 7:23,24)
“Destroy, destroyed, destroy, destroyed.”
He who, through the Lord Jesus Christ, emerges victorious in the struggle, will inherit the fullness of God. God will be his God and he will be God’s son (Revelation 21:7).
The creation of the “house from heaven” in response to the conversion of the inner man. We have mentioned previously that our glorified body consists of the clothing of our revived flesh and bone body with a house of eternal life (II Corinthians 5:1-5), and that this heavenly house of eternal life and aggressive righteousness is our reward that will clothe our converted inner man when the Lord appears (II Timothy 4:8).
We would like to stress now the concept of compatibility. While we are living in phase A of our inner man, in the adamic soul, our flesh and blood outward man is suitable as an expression, vehicle, and covering for our inner man. The soul can take delight through the body as it contacts the world through seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting. Also, the fleshly mind can enable the soul to imagine, to create, and to conceive both its goal and the path to that goal. Phase A of the inner man is compatible with phase A of the outward man.
But as soon as the process of converting the inner man commences, and the lusts of the body and the lusts and ambitions of the soul are brought into judgment by the Lord, the flesh and blood body no longer is a suitable expression, vehicle, or covering of the inner man. The inner man groans for deliverance from the miserable, dead carcass it is forced to drag around. The flesh and blood body has a life and personality of its own. It is a lustful animal—incompatible with the transformed inner man.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Romans 7:24)
And not only they [the material creation], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)
For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: (II Corinthians 5:2)
We seldom or never hear of the believers groaning for the change in the body. The reason is, current Christian teaching assumes that the plan of salvation consists of saving the believer and bringing him to Heaven as he is. Current teaching does not envision the creating of man in two stages but in one, the adamic man. While lip service is paid to the idea of a new creation there is little practical attention and effort directed toward the crucifixion of the first man and the birth and growth of the second. The modern emphasis is on preserving the first-stage man and bringing him to Heaven to live forever in a mansion, wearing his golden slippers.
The pre-tribulation-rapture error in particular leaves the impression that God will lift the whole adamic person and bring him into Paradise with his loved ones. We see pictures of men in business suits and little girls in party dresses rising from the surface of the earth to meet the Lord in the air and returning with Him back to Heaven.
Such an assumption gives little basis for groaning for a change in the body.
The current teaching has removed the necessity for a change in the inner man, which is the basis for the groaning for the redemption of the body. The entire Divine redemption looks toward forgiveness, mercy, and “grace.” We go to Heaven by grace. Such a concept does away with the central issue of the Kingdom of God, which is the transformation of the inner man so Paradise may be regained.
The practical result of the erroneous concept of salvation is that the believers do not understand why they are plagued with suffering in the present life. They view their pains and inconveniences as being random attacks of the enemy. They are reluctant to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the all-important judgment and conversion of the inner man because they do not understand the cause and effect relationship between the transformation of the inner man and entrance into the Kingdom of God, including the donning of immortality by the outward man.
The believers of today think Heaven and eternal life are synonymous, not understanding that one can be in the heavens, in the spirit realm, and have no eternal life at all.
Also, the believers of today suppose that Heaven and the Kingdom of God are synonymous. They do not recognize that the Kingdom of God is the rule of God in us, not a place where one can go.
In addition, the believers have been taught that God will, by “grace,” transform both their inner man and their outward man at the coming of the Lord so they will change from church attenders to powerful princes who will govern the nations of the earth.
All such assumptions are unscriptural, as can be tested by examining what the New Testament actually states.
When the Apostle Paul speaks of “groaning” the believers imagine that Paul was weary of the struggle against sin and wanted to go to Heaven to rest. Little do they understand the fires that were burning in this Jew—fires of eternal Life confined in an aging, mortal prison. The inner Paul was rapidly approaching the image of God. The outer Paul was still the same body that carried about the murderous Saul of Tarsus.
The body of the fleshly believer is quite compatible with his untransformed inner man. His hope is that his untransformed inner man in some kind of body will be caught up to Heaven to sit with God on the thrones of glory. This is a fairy tale, a fable that has kept the Christian believers of the twentieth century in perpetual babyhood. Because of their ignorance of God, today’s believers are ripe for the deceptions put forth by Antichrist. Many of them will fall away from God the moment they face suffering.
It is God’s plan to clothe our transformed inner man with a transformed outward man so there is compatibility between the two. Our house in Heaven is responding directly to the progress we are making on the earth. The taller we grow in spiritual stature the taller our heavenly body grows. The stronger we grow in the Spirit of God the stronger our heavenly body becomes.
The more fervently and consistently we choose righteousness the greater becomes the intensity of militant righteousness with which our heavenly form is infused. The deeper we go in obeying God against the cries of our soul the grander becomes the crown of fruitfulness and righteousness reserved in Heaven for us.
The Lord Jesus invited us to lay up treasures in Heaven, and this is what the wise do (Matthew 6:20,21).
The result of the continual response of our heavenly reward to what is taking place in our inner man will result not only in a perfected spirit before the Throne of God but also in a glorified body perfectly, completely compatible with our transformed inner nature.
The conversion of the inner man as a prerequisite for resurrection to life. It is not possible for a Christian believer to go through life living in the flesh, spending his days in the enjoyment of his soul and his flesh and blood body, and then be clothed with an outward form like that of the Lord Jesus Christ.
First of all, there is the problem of authorization. The Word of God states that it is the overcomer, the one who conquers the idolatry of the world, Satan, the lusts of his body, and personal ambition, who is given access to the tree of life. Remember, it is the eating of the tree of life that produces immortality in the outward man.
… To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)
The Scripture cannot be changed. What is written is written. Only those who overcome, through Christ, the various forms of darkness that plague us constantly, are authorized to eat of the tree of life. For a defeated Christian to be given access to the tree of life would be to transgress the written Word of God.
Second, there is the problem of competence. The unconverted adamic nature is not competent to direct a vehicle of the power and glory of the glorified body. It would be to place a disobedient, undisciplined, ignorant, self-seeking spirit in charge of galactic power—letting loose a monster in the creation of God.
Those who are faithful in small areas of responsibility will be faithful in greater areas of responsibility. Those who are unfaithful in small areas of responsibility will be unfaithful in greater areas of responsibility.
To give an unfaithful, disobedient believer the power and glory of a body fashioned in the image of the all-powerful body of the Lord Jesus would be to invite chaos. He has been disobedient in the lesser. He will be disobedient in the greater. He will fall in the same manner as Satan.
Satan was created in glory, and then fell because he was overcome by the magnificence of his own being. The same tragedy would occur were a lukewarm, self-seeking Christian to be entrusted with the body of glory.
The saints who finally will be given such power are those who patiently bear their cross behind the Master, suffering in patience as blow after blow falls on them, cooperating faithfully with the Holy Spirit as they are transformed from Adam to the life-giving spirit. They have demonstrated beyond all doubt that no matter how they are tempted they will obey the Father. They are steady, faithful, holy, patient spirits who have experienced many hard lessons in the wilderness of testing. They trust God and God trusts them, as God came to trust Abraham (Genesis 22:12).
It is unthinkable that an untested, untransformed inner man could ever be put in charge of the power of the body of glory. Perhaps our heavenly body, like our present animal body, will have a life and personality of its own. God must make certain that such a tremendous creature remains under the stern control of a disciplined inner nature.
Yet the Christian churches continually present the concept that once we go through the “four steps of salvation” we are ready to be revealed in glory with the Lord at His coming. The assumption is that the Kingdom of God is built on a profession of belief in doctrine rather than established on the creation of the Rock, Christ, in the personality of the saints.
The Three Major Dimensions of Redemption
- Forgiveness through payment.
- The correction of the problem.
- The restoration of what was lost.
At one time, most or all of what we associate with Heaven was on the earth. There was a surpassingly beautiful and peaceful environment. God Himself was present. The two people were charged with taking care of the garden, having been given dominion over the works of God’s hands.
Adam and Eve had access to immortality but were banished from the garden before they had availed themselves of the tree of life.
The Scriptures, both Old Testament and New Testament, have to do with restoring to man what Satan by cunning wrested from him. The term redemption means to recover what has been lost.
In order for man’s inheritance to be recovered there must be, first of all, the payment of the debt that was incurred. The soul that sins against God must die. The Lord Jesus Christ paid the debt with His own blood on the cross of Calvary. God now can forgive us because the debt man incurred has been paid in full.
Second, there must be a correction of the problem. The problem is disobedience on the part of man. The disobedience is in the inner man, in the adamic nature. Until that problem has been corrected by the death of the adamic nature and the creation of the new Life of Jesus, it is impossible for man to recover his inheritance. He cannot recover his inheritance by imputed (ascribed) righteousness. There absolutely must be a correcting of what caused the loss of the inheritance: namely, disobedience.
Man never will be permitted back into Eden nor given access to the tree of life, to immortality, until God is certain the disobedience has been removed from his nature.
Third, there must take place an actual restoration. The restoration will take place when the Kingdom of God comes to the earth. The Kingdom of God will teach obedience to the nations of the earth.
As the nations become obedient to God, the spiritual and material blessings we associate with the Kingdom Age, with the thousand-year reign of Christ on the Throne of David, will fill the earth. “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9).
Receiving the Results of Our Choices
We have mentioned phase A of the inner man—the adamic soul and spirit.
We have mentioned phase A of the outward man—the flesh and blood adamic body.
We have mentioned phase B of the inner man—the life-giving spirit, or, Christ in us.
We have mentioned phase B of the outward man, which is the restructured, revived flesh and bone physical body now made alive by spiritual energy. The spiritual energy will be the Life of Jesus if the inner man is in the image of the Lord; but not the Life of Jesus if the individual has not been found worthy to walk in white with the Lord Jesus (Revelation 3:4).
When the time comes for the rewarding of the person according to his conduct on earth, the inner man will reenter the revived outward man. Now there is a whole person again, consisting of a spirit, a soul, and a body.
At this point the individual will receive the results of his choices and his behavior. He will reap what he has sown. His whole person will receive what he chose to do in life and he then will be sent to an appropriate environment.
It can be seen that some persons will experience shame and possibly torment when they are raised and clothed with the consequences of their conduct. Others will be glorified and receive honor in that day.
It is important for each Christian to understand that mercy may intervene to save us from destruction in the Day of the Lord but never to affect the kind of reward we receive in that Day. Grace and mercy operate now, authorizing, guiding, and empowering us so we may attain to a better resurrection. Grace and mercy enter now that we may sow life instead of death.
Grace and mercy never serve to set aside the law of sowing and reaping. Grace and mercy warn us of what is ahead if we do not repent, and then give us the wisdom and power to change our behavior so God may forgive us and help us live righteously before the day of judgment.
What, then, is the role of the atoning blood?
The atoning blood of Jesus covers our sinful flesh until such time as the Lord has converted our inner man into His own image. After our inner man has been converted, what the Lord has created in us will be revealed to the creation. The glory of the sons of God will be unveiled in the eyes of the creation.
The blood keeps us without condemnation while the process of re-creation is taking place. The monumental error is the concept that the purpose of the blood of Jesus is to provide an alternate method of pleasing God. It no longer is necessary, Christian scholars maintain, that a person practice righteousness, love mercy, and walk humbly with God in order to have fellowship with God. It no longer matters if he practices abominations because God sees him only through the blood of His beloved Son. This is not true. It is a wresting of the doctrine of the Apostle Paul to the destruction of the individual.
If the condemned man stands before the judge, and the judge has mercy on him and forgives him, the assumption of the judge is that the forgiven man will go out and, by his reformed behavior, justify the judge’s faith in him.
The story of the prodigal son is not one of unqualified forgiveness. The father did not go to the son. The son repented, left his filthy habits and returned to his father. Only then did the father restore him to his place in the family.
Today’s teaching has the father going to the son in his filth, showering love and forgiveness on him, and promising him that no matter how he behaves he always will be an honored son and partaker of the family blessings. This is a corrupt doctrine, revealing the leaven of the various man-centered, humanistic philosophies that have evolved over the last two or three hundred years.
The Christian believer is not without condemnation while he is dwelling in lust, violence, occult practices, covetousness, reveling, and disobedience to God’s call on his life. He is under condemnation and God will judge and punish him because of his sins. It is time today for the Christian people to repent of their sins and their lack of consecration.
If the Lord Jesus Christ, the Judge, should decree we are unworthy of redemption and remove our name from the Book of Life, the covering of forgiveness would be removed at that point. Our unconverted inner man housed in our flesh and bone body then would be destined to be cast into spiritual torment that does not consume our elements but leaves us as an eternal lesson to God’s creatures.
It is the author’s point of view that no individual will be condemned to the Lake of Fire until God has exhausted every means of bringing him to repentance, including fiery punishments (I Corinthians 3:13-15).
When the Lord Jesus returns with the inner man of those who are eligible to appear with Him in the first resurrection from the dead, the bodies of the returning saints will rise from the dead. They will be animated by the Holy Spirit rather than by the life of blood.
The living saints will have their life changed from blood to Spirit while they yet are standing on their feet.
Now the total company of saints will be caught up by the Spirit of God and ascend to meet the Lord in the air.
After this they will receive from the Lord their house, their reward, their robe, their crown (unless this has occurred previously). They will be adorned, as we have stated previously, in the consequences of their behavior while in the body.
Current Christian teaching holds that as soon as the saints are caught up to meet the Lord in the air they will stand before His judgment seat.
But the Scripture teaches, as we have pointed out, that the saints have been experiencing Divine judgment since the first century (I Peter, Chapter Four). There simply is no basis in Scripture, as we understand it, for a secret “rapture” and then a period of judgment before the Lord comes.
We have taught, from the fourth chapter of I Peter, that the Divine judgment comes upon the believer in the form of suffering that makes him worthy of the Kingdom of God (compare II Thessalonians 1:4,5). We have taught also that the converting of the inner man by the suffering of Divine judgment operates little by little as the evil is destroyed from him and the Life of Christ is formed in his personality.
If this process has been preparing the Lord’s firstfruits for two thousand years (and according to the fourth chapter of I Peter that is what has been taking place), how then could our judgment take place in the air? How could we receive the good and the bad we have practiced after we have been caught up to meet the Lord in the air? Such a concept is completely without support in logic or in the Scriptures and is, in fact, contrary both to the Scriptures and to reason.
The Lord’s soldiers will have been prepared over many years for the Day of the Lord. The hour of the resurrection and ascension hardly is the time to examine the saints concerning the state of their inner man.
The raising of the saints in the first resurrection is the gathering of the Lord’s soldiers to Himself. The trumpet that announces the coming of Christ is the trumpet of Armageddon. The moment the soldiers are raised to the Lord, fiery judgment will fall on the world, just as destruction fell on Sodom and Gomorrah the moment Lot departed.
The purpose of calling up the saints is not to keep them from being harmed by the wrath of God. In their glorified bodies they will be well able to walk in the very midst of the fire, as was true of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and Daniel in the den of lions.
The truth is, it will be the saints who administer the bowls of wrath.
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; (Psalms 149:6,7)
Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? (I Corinthians 6:2)
The Father judges no man. The Lord Jesus judges all. The Father has given to Jesus the authority to retain and release sin. The Lord Jesus will use these keys of the Kingdom through His saints as soon as the saints are filled with the Spirit of God, in the moral image of Jesus, and abiding in untroubled rest in the Father through Christ.
After the thousand-year Kingdom Age the Lord Jesus and His saints will sit on the great white throne judging the dead who are raised at that time.
When the time comes for the general resurrection of the dead, every person (with the exception of those who participated in the first resurrection) will come from his waiting area and stand before Jesus Christ and His saints. The spirit of death and the spirit of Hell will be cast into the Lake of Fire.
This does not mean, according to our understanding, that all the inhabitants of death and of Hell will be cast into the Lake of Fire. Rather, it is death itself and Hell itself (we believe them to be spiritual creatures) that will be cast into the Lake of Fire.
It is a Kingdom principle that after those who have caused the necessary pain to the saint have done their work, the instruments of judgment (death and Hell, in this instance) will themselves be subjected to Divine judgment (II Thessalonians 1:6).
The people who have been summoned to the Judgment Seat of Christ, in the general resurrection, will be judged according to their behavior. This will happen at one time or another to every individual who has ever lived on the earth.
Whoever is not found written in the Book of Life will be cast into the second death. This indicates that the processes of redemption are closed to such individuals. They no longer can avail themselves of the atoning authority of the blood of Jesus. God will not hear their supplications. The Holy Spirit will not intercede for them or touch them in any manner whatever. They finally have chosen Satan, and Satan will be their portion for eternity.
The Lake of Fire is a horrible fate. For the saint, to be subjected one minute to the spiritual death of the Lake of Fire would be excruciating, unbearable—utterly terrifying!
The thought of spending eternity in the Lake of Fire should cause even the most hardened criminal to tremble.
The remainder of those raised at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age (hopefully the vast majority) will receive a portion of Christ and will enter the new world. They then will have continued access to the tree of life by which they will be healed and renewed in personality.
As the citizens of the new earth learn to obey God ever more perfectly they will be given to eat of the fruit of the tree of life, of the Life of Christ, so they may receive the Presence of God in their bodies; and of the leaves of the tree of life so they may be healed of any sort of distress they may be experiencing (Revelation 22:2).
At that time, God in Christ will be tabernacling in all His creatures, especially in the members of the royal priesthood. The new Jerusalem is composed of the glorified personalities of the members of the royal priesthood, the Bride of the Lamb, the dwelling place of God in Christ.
All persons who would be saved to life in the new world, to the new heaven and earth reign of God through Christ, must be born again in the inner man. The race of Adam was finished on the cross of Calvary. The Life of the resurrected Jesus is the Life of the new world. It must be in every creature. There will be no more “sea” of people who do not have Christ in them.
Each person in the new world will have a reborn inner man in a resurrected flesh and bone body. The degree of eternal life possessed by the individual will depend on his role in the Kingdom of God.
The members of the priesthood are undergoing now the transformation of the inner man. We are a firstfruits of the race of people who are to come.
Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (James 1:18)
The firstfruits are appearing before the Judgment Seat of Christ now—today. Every element of our inner man is coming before the Lord. He is revealing to us what is ungodly in our personality. Our role is to follow the Holy Spirit as He leads us to the destruction of each aspect of our personality that is displeasing to God.
As part of our sinful personality is overcome by us, the Spirit of God puts it to death and removes it from us (Romans 8:13). God forgave it on the cross and now has removed it for eternity. An eternal judgment has taken place.
The Life of Jesus enters the part of us that has been cut away. As this process of cutting away and replacement continues, Christ is formed in us. Then the Father and the Son come through the Holy Spirit and dwell in the newly formed Life of Christ that is in us. Christ (and God in Him) dwells in His own Life that has been formed in us. The temple is formed from Him, and then He dwells in His temple.
For those who are willing to endure all the way through to the completion of this process of replacement and indwelling the rewards are staggering. Such will attain to the inner resurrection while yet in the flesh and blood body. When they die they will be brought to the very Presence of Jesus. In the Day of the Lord their flesh and bone body will be raised and filled with their transformed and Christ-filled inner man. On this resurrected person the Lord Jesus will place a great weight of Divine Life and Glory.
The faithful saint then will have the unimaginable joy of appearing with His Lord at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. He will inherit all things; not merely participate in all things but inherit all the works of God’s hands.
The Blowing of Trumpets portrays the King coming to us to make war against the part of our inner man opposed to His rule (Leviticus 23:24; compare Psalms 24).
The Day of Atonement typifies the process of judging and slaying the ungodliness in us and filling us with the Life and Presence of Christ. This is the necessary preparation for the marriage of the Lamb.
The feast of Tabernacles portrays the rest of God, the dwelling of God and Christ through the Holy Spirit in and with the glorified inner man of the saint in a glorified body. Each saint so filled and glorified constitutes a building block in the new Jerusalem, the holy city. Such are the Throne of God. They shall reign forever—ages without end.
All nations will partake of Christ through redeemed Israel, as the Prophets have declared. The nations that remain after the destruction of Armageddon will come up to Jerusalem to keep the feast of Tabernacles, to receive the Life of Jesus into themselves.
And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. (Zechariah 14:16)
When we first receive the Lord Jesus we come under the protection of the Passover blood. At that time, if we truly have repented and drawn near to the Lord, the Seed of God is planted in us.
After this the Holy Spirit, the third Member of the Godhead, enters us to be our Comforter, our strength, and our wisdom.
Now the work of establishing the Kingdom in us commences. The feast that follows the coming of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost) is the Blowing of Trumpets. The Blowing of Trumpets announces the new year of redemption. Today the Blowing of Trumpets is called Rosh Hashanah (the head of the year).
The King has come to enter the gates of our inner man, there to drive out the enemies of God from His sanctuary. As soon as this process has been completed, the Father and the Son enter and make our personality Their eternal abode. We become one in the Father through the Son. This is the marriage of the Lamb, the Kingdom of God.
Driving out the enemy from the inner man, and then from the outward man, is the work of eternal judgment (Hebrews 6:2).
What is being accomplished now in the firstfruits of the Church will be performed in the future on a worldwide scale. God through Christ will come to the nations of saved peoples of the earth and drive from them all the works of Satan. They too will receive regeneration by the word of truth and the Spirit of God, and God and Christ through the Spirit will enter them and find rest in them.
The new world will be governed by the new Jerusalem, which is God in Christ in God’s Israel, in the elect—those who have been called from the creation of the world whether they are Jewish or Gentile by physical birth. All the elect will be made one in Christ.
Dwelling on the new earth will be the nations of the saved—the saved peoples who are governed by the saints and for whom the saints serve as priests and teachers. When all has been brought into subjection to Christ, Christ will be subject to God the Father so God may be All in all.
God understood from the beginning that Adam and Eve would fall, that Satan would bring mankind into bondage, and that each inhabitant of the eternal world would be reborn and gain righteousness, peace, and joy through His beloved Son. The wisdom of God is working all things together for good to those who have been called according to His purpose. All God desires will finally be brought to pass and we shall have eternity to enjoy what God has envisioned for us.
The true saint has no fear whatever of physical death. He understands that this life is a wilderness journey, the purpose of which is to determine how he will behave when placed in the glory of the eternal world.
Let us not make the dreadful mistake of regarding the present world as the eternal world, as the only real life—that in which, considering its brevity, we must grasp as many things, pleasures, and relationships as we can before we pass into oblivion.
The present world is a testing ground. It is our opportunity to reveal to the Lord that we have faith in Him and that we shall do what is righteous, what is faithful; that we shall obey Him even though in the process we are denied many things we desire fervently. Now is the time to behold the invisible by faith, to walk by the unseen Light and Truth rather than by the darkness and lies with which we are surrounded.
If we refuse to attempt to make a paradise out of the present world, being willing to take up our cross each day and follow the Master, we will experience many judgments on our sinful personality. But we also will experience a better resurrection.
… not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: (Hebrews 11:35)
(“The Resurrection and Eternal Judgment”, 3474-1)