WE SHALL SEE HIM AS HE IS
Copyright © 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
I have written quite a bit about the fact that after the resurrection takes place, we shall see people as they are. At the present time, we can hide what we are thinking, what we really are. But that is not the case in the Day of Resurrection. What we truly are shall be revealed in our outward appearance.
If you stop and consider this, it is perfectly just. Those who have a commendable inner nature will have a commendable appearance. Those who have an ugly inner nature will have an ugly outer appearance. We can observe the relationship between what we genuinely are and our appearance in the idols that are crafted by Hindu and Buddhist craftsmen. One such craftsman reported that he waits until he has a vision of the demon. Then he paints a picture of what he has seen, or creates a statuette. The demons that are worshiped so fervently are inwardly what they look like outwardly. Notice this phenomenon in the Day of Resurrection:
Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. (Daniel 12:2,3)
Some people who are raised will appear in such a form that they will be objects of shame and contempt. Those who are wise will shine brightly. Those who turn people to righteousness will shine like stars.
Notice that grace, as it currently is preached, will not operate as far as our appearance is concerned. It will not conceal what we are. What we are, we are. We will reap what we sow, to beauty or to ugliness.
What got me started thinking along this line, that we shall look like what we really are, are the following verses:
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (II Corinthians 4:17)
Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. (II Corinthians 5:1)
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)
Now, follow along with me in my thinking. The Apostle Paul spoke of his daily deaths and resurrections. He referred to these as his “light and momentary troubles.” Paul said that these troubles were achieving for him “an eternal weight of glory.” The question arises, “What precisely is this eternal weight of glory”? The answer is found in the next chapter. It is the heavenly body that is to clothe Paul’s mortal body.
Here is the point of interest: It appears that Paul’s “light and momentary troubles” were achieving for him his heavenly body. Were achieving for him!
It follows that our present experiences and decisions while living on the earth are determining what kind of body will clothe our resurrected flesh and bones in the Day of Resurrection.
Think back to: “others to shame and contempt.” I think you will agree with me that if some are awakened to “shame and contempt,” this is referring to their appearance, most likely to their outward appearance, their bodies. Of course, it could be referring to their reputation. But when the reference is to the righteous shining like stars, this expression we know is referring to their outward appearance.
Now we come to the Judgment Seat of Christ, which by the way is the same as
the “White Throne Judgment”
For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead. (Acts 17:31)
At this point I am going to use another translation because I do not believe the New International Version conveys the sense of Second Corinthians 5:10:
For we all must needs be made manifest before the judgment seat of the Christ that each one may get back the things done by means of the body, according to the things which he practiced, whether good or corrupt. (II Corinthians 5:10—Rotherham)
The New International Version (which says “may receive what is due him”) leaves the impression that it is a case of rewards or punishments. If you have done well, you are rewarded. If you have done bad things, you are punished. However, I think Rotherham has the correct sense of the verse, and it corresponds with the idea of the eternal weight of glory, of chapter four. It is that you get back the things you have done, not a reward or punishment for what you have done. You get back what you have done.
For example, if you have been a liar and have not repented, lying will appear in the body that clothes your resurrected flesh and bones. If you have been a fornicator, then fornication will appear in your new body, and so forth.
This is sowing and reaping. If you sow lying, you will reap the appearance of lying. If you sow fornication, you will reap the appearance of fornication. If you sow righteous behavior, you will reap the appearance of righteous behavior. If you sow mercy, you will look like mercy.
For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:8—NASB)
You see much the same thing above. When a person sows to his own flesh, his own sinful nature, he reaps corruption from his own sinful nature, not from some far-off source. I believe this is an important distinction. One can see the perfect justice of God.
But by employing the current “grace” message, we deny that perfect justice. The “grace” message claims that if a person of the world fornicates, he is guilty of sin and shall be punished accordingly, but if a Christian fornicates, his or her sin is covered by “grace” and he goes free.
The truth is, however, that the Christian who practices fornication, and does not confess his or her sin and renounce it with all his might, resisting it successfully, will look like the practice of fornication in the Day of Resurrection. He or she will reap corruption regardless of “accepting Christ” or any form of grace. This is because sowing and reaping is part of Kingdom law.
Whatever we sow, we are going to reap, unless we repent, confess our sins, denouncing them, renouncing them, resisting them successfully through Christ, and continue doing so until the end of our life. You can see from this how the contemporary “grace” message is leading people to destruction.
If we cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, we will see the Lord as He is, when He appears. What does this mean—to see Christ as He is?
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. (I John 3:2,3)
Does this mean we will see Him as John did, as described in Revelation chapter one? Is this actually the way Christ is? Will we look like this?
And among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. (Revelation 1:13-16)
Will we see Him as Ezekiel did, as described in Ezekiel chapter one? Does He look like that? Will we look like that?
Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking. (Ezekiel 1:26-28)
Now, why it says “we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is,” I have no idea. Why should our being like Him have anything to do with seeing Him as He is? What other ways are there to see Jesus other than as He is? I have read accounts of after-death experiences where it is told that when saints who were in high realms of Glory descended to be with those on lower plains, they had to shield their glory. Perhaps the fact that Moses was not permitted to see the face of God is related to this idea, and that Moses had to put a veil over his fact when he came out from speaking with God in the Tent of Meeting.
John may be saying here that the sons of God are veiled now. But when Jesus appears, they will be unveiled and will be seen to be living in the same Divine Glory that is true of the Son of God. Do you think this could be true?
I believe the inference here is that our outward appearance will be similar to that of the outward appearance of the Lord. Remember how Jesus was transfigured so that His garments shone, on the Mount of Transfiguration? “The appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.” Do you suppose that will be true of the firstfruits who return with the Lord? Why not? We are supposed to be made in the image of God!
Here is the point. You may notice that the Apostle John said, “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.” Then follows, in chapter three, what I think are the sternest verses in the whole New Testament concerning our need to be free from sin.
I wish people today who are preaching about how grace protects us Christians from God’s judgment and “the only law is the law of love,” would read the verses that follow I John 3:3.
Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. (I John 3:7-10)
It is clear that if we are to look like Christ when He appears, and see Him as He is, we must purify ourselves to the same extent as He is pure.
You might exclaim, “That is impossible!” Listen, I have lived long enough as a disciple to know that whatever is in the Bible is true and possible. Can the almighty God who created the heavens with a word enable us to purify ourselves as Christ is pure, to be like Him, and to see Him as He is? I tell you He can. Let us be like Abraham, who did not consider his own body which was as good as dead, but believed the impossible.
It must be that those saints who are alive in the spirit world have an opportunity to purify themselves, so we all can appear together as unveiled sons when the Lord Jesus appears and we with Him.
In any case, the Bible teaches us that we are not sowing the body that shall be, but just grain. What we sow will one day be revealed in glory. Paul says, “an eternal glory that far outweighs our troubles.”
We indeed are foolish if we throw away our opportunities today to lay hold of all that God is offering to us. The diligence we exercise in obeying Christ will be revealed when we are raised from the dead and clothed with our own conduct.
(“We Shall See Him As He Is”, 3653-1, proofed 20210926)