RESURRECTION

(Trumpet Ministries, Inc. / Word of Righteousness)

RESURRECTION Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Since the time of the Protestant Reformers the original apostolic doctrines have been in the process of being restored to the Body of Christ. We now have arrived at the concepts of the resurrection of the dead and of eternal judgment. Eternal judgment follows the resurrection in that we must die and then be raised before we are judged.

The resurrection to eternal life is the central hope of the Christian Church. Perhaps the most notable of the truths being restored to us is that the resurrection to the fullness of Christ’s Glory, the resurrection in which believers expect to participate, must be attained.

Table of Contents

The Meaning of the Term Resurrection The Importance of the Resurrection The Out-resurrection as the Goal of the Apostle Paul Death and Resurrection The House From Heaven The Tree of Life

RESURRECTION 

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. (Hebrews 6:,2)

"Of the doctrine of... resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment."

 The Meaning of the Term Resurrection

The meaning of the Greek word a-NA-sta-sis, the word translated "resurrection," is to be raised to life again, to stand on one’s feet before God.

The current emphasis on the so-called "rapture" of the believers has greatly confused and obscured the hope of the resurrection, the central hope and doctrine of Christianity, by repeatedly emphasizing the lifting of the saints from the earth rather than the resurrection.

There were forty days between the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and His ascension to the Father. Since our resurrection will be patterned after His it is not unlikely that there will be an interval of time between our resurrection and our ascension to meet the Lord in the air.

God would have us look to our resurrection unto the fullness of incorruptible life in the Presence of Christ as being our hope and goal, not to being caught up from the earth into the air, or to eternal residence in Heaven, which are not central doctrines or hopes of the Divine salvation.

The first resurrection from the dead, the resurrection of the royal priesthood, was the hope and goal of the Apostle Paul and must become our hope and goal. The first resurrection will take place after the destruction of our last enemy, physical death, and is the climactic act of our redemption. Our journey through the air is not to be compared in importance with our resurrection and should not be emphasized to the extent that is true today.

Focusing on attaining to the first resurrection has a direct, positive effect on the willingness of the believer to press forward in Christ each day. Focusing on our journey through the air, the teaching that our being caught up to the Lord is to prevent suffering and to remove us from the danger of Antichrist, is having an exceedingly harmful effect on Christian people. The saints are not preparing themselves to stand in the evil day. They are being taught there will be no evil day. They are not arming themselves with a mind to suffer and many may forsake Christ during the days of persecution and moral horrors that are at hand.

No passage of the Scriptures teaches that the believers in Christ will be translated to Heaven in order to escape Antichrist and the great tribulation. The lawless-grace-rapture error will prove to be one of the most destructive heresies ever to influence Christian thinking.

It is important to understand that the first resurrection, the resurrection which is out from among the dead, the resurrection that will take place when the Lord appears, is for the royal priesthood only. This resurrection must be attained.

The first resurrection is mentioned in the following verse:

 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [Greek, out-resurrection] of the dead. (Philippians 3:11).

This resurrection is not the general resurrection of the dead but the resurrection of the priesthood.

The first resurrection, the out-resurrection from among the dead, is for the purpose of placing the victorious saints on the thrones in the air that control life on the earth. The first resurrection is described as follows:

 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 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 20:4-6)

"This is the first resurrection." "They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."

The general resurrection, the resurrection of the dead, not from the dead as in the first resurrection, is set forth as follows:

 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Revelation 20:12)

There is no need to attain to the general resurrection. All people who have lived on the earth, with the exception of the royal priesthood, will appear here.

 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)

The first resurrection, the resurrection of the royal priesthood, must be attained. The general resurrection does not need to be attained. It shall happen to all people who have lived and died on the earth.

People should begin to enter the process of resurrection as soon as they place their faith in Christ. The sacrament of water baptism has been given to us as a means of portraying our death to the world and the beginning of our new life in Christ. We are to count ourselves as dead with Christ and risen from the dead with Christ. The death we die as we count ourselves crucified with Christ and risen and ascended with Christ is a true death! The consequent resurrection and the ascension to the right hand of the Father in Christ are a true resurrection and true ascension!

 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:11)

For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)

Because the death we experience as we place our faith in Christ is a true death in the sight of God, in that we have separated ourselves from our adamic nature, Divine judgment takes place. It is appointed to people to die once and after this to be judged.

Because we have died in Christ, and through His Spirit are putting to death our sinful nature, the sentence of judgment is that we are totally forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness.

As we die and are judged, the process of resurrection begins to take place in our inner nature. Each time we are led to put to death, through the Spirit of God, some aspect of our adamic nature, we are forgiven, cleansed from all unrighteousness, and given to eat of the tree of life. This is a symbolic way of saying that a portion of Christ’s Life is added to our personality. Because we have been forgiven and cleansed we are able to go past the guardian cherubim, past the flaming sword of Divine judgment, and eat of eternal, incorruptible resurrection life.

 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. (Genesis 3:24)

Not only is the Life of Christ added to our spiritual personality but it is added also to the "house" of incorruptible life that is being formed in Heaven as we continually experience dying and then living in Christ.

 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: (II Corinthians 5:2)

In the Day of Christ the Life of Christ that has been formed in our entire personality, in our spirit, in our soul, and in our house from Heaven, will be revealed. The revelation of Christ’s Life in the people that form the Body of Christ, the Church, will release the material creation from the bondage of corruption and bring the saved peoples of the earth into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.

 The Importance of the Resurrection

The concept of being lifted from the earth to meet the Lord in the air (not in Heaven!) is a joyous thought, particularly because we shall be reunited with our loved ones at that time.

 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds [with our Christian loved ones and friends who have died previously], to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (I Thessalonians 4:17)

However, the emphasis of the New Testament is on the gaining of eternal life and on the stupendous significance of the resurrection, particularly the resurrection that is out from among the dead (the out-resurrection).

The "resurrection" chapter of the Bible, the fifteenth chapter of the Book of First Corinthians, does not mention Christ being lifted or our being lifted from the earth. But it does reveal the awesome importance of Christ’s resurrection and our resurrection from among the dead.

 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. (I Corinthians 15:17)

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. (I Corinthians 15:19)

The Scripture does not consider us to be "alive" until we have been raised from the dead. Notice this concept in the following passage:

 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)

We are pursuing eternal life in spirit, soul, and body so we can serve God in holiness and righteousness,. The idea that we are pursuing eternal life so we may serve God in holiness and righteousness, not so we can rest in a mansion in the spirit Paradise, needs to be brought to the attention of the Christian churches of our day.

 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? [the law of sin and death that dwells in our body] (Romans 7:24)

The Out-resurrection as the Goal of the Apostle Paul

The Apostle Paul declared that his goal was to attain to the out-resurrection from among the dead. The statements that precede Paul’s statement of his goal teach us what must be our attitude and practice if we hope to attain to the first resurrection, the resurrection that will take place when the Lord appears.

 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, (Philippians 3:8)

The above verse reveals to us the deplorable state of contemporary Christianity. In numerous instances our standard of Christian faith and behavior is far, far below the standard of the Scripture.

I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ.

I have suffered the loss of all things so that I may win Christ.

And the above from an older, experienced minister!

 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: (Philippians 3:9)

What does Paul mean by the statement that he was seeking to gain the "righteousness which is of God by faith"? Paul was speaking of the daily decisions we make as we decide between serving God by our own dead works or else surrendering the problems of the day to Christ so we are able to combat the evil of the day in Him and by Him.

Paul does not mean that the Lord Jesus already has won every victory for Paul and Paul is victorious because of his identification with Christ through means of his belief in Christ. The doctrine of "Jesus did it all" is being preached today. The widely held concept that the Christian redemption is primarily a mental acceptance of Jesus’ victory is one of the principal reasons for the present immorality and spiritual weakness of the churches.

The righteousness that is of God by faith is behavior that seeks always to be found in Christ, motivated by Him, guided by Him, submitted to Him. We make the choice to obey the commandments of the Scriptures and then we look to the Lord for every aspect of obedient behavior. This is what it means to live by faith.

Paul was declaring that he could do nothing of himself. The Lord Jesus was becoming the Center and Circumference of every element of Paul’s thinking, speaking, and acting.

 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; (Philippians 3:10)

Paul was seeking to know Christ in the sense of living by Christ’s incorruptible life and experiencing the sufferings of Christ (perhaps, as some believe, sufferings that Jesus still is bearing as He purifies His Bride). Paul sought to be continually changed into the likeness of Christ’s death, knowing that only from such death does the fullness of life spring forth.

As to Christ’s death:

 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. (Psalms 22:14-16)

As to Christ’s incorruptible life:

 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. (Revelation 1:18)

The totality of life proceeds from the totality of death.

If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [out-resurrection] of the dead. (Philippians 3:11)

The few commentators we have read, when referring to Philippians 3:11, assure us that the passage is referring to a spiritual resurrection. Their idea is that all Christians are raised from the dead into unutterable bliss so the verse must not be referring to the physical body of the believer.

However, a few verses later we see that Paul had the body in mind.

 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 common teaching that all Christians are raised from the dead leaves out some extremely important considerations. First of all, every person will be raised from the dead, not only the Christians. Second, our hope is not just that we will be raised, our great hope has to do rather with what will happen to us after we are raised. Third, we may ask, why was Paul so anxious to attain to a spiritual resurrection? What end would a spiritual resurrection serve if such an inner, spiritual resurrection were to have no effect on his outer, material resurrection?

We know that the inner spiritual nature of every true saint has died with Christ and now is alive with Christ. Also, our inward nature already has ascended to the right hand of the Father in Christ.

 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ: (Ephesians 2:6)

It appears that Paul was striving to bring his daily experience into line with that which already was spiritually true of him. Our entire Christian experience is a bringing into view that which already has been spoken concerning us. We are fighting our way downward, striving to bring our throne-life down into our daily behavior, and finally into our death-doomed physical body.

But are we to say that we shall receive a body like that of the Lord Jesus whether or not we succeed in being transformed in our inner nature ? Is it not true, rather, that in the resurrection our outer man will reflect that which the inner man has become? To think otherwise is to dwell in an unscriptural land of fantasy.

When Paul was striving to attain to the out-resurrection from among the dead he was speaking of his entire personality—spirit, soul, and body. All that Paul is, is to be filled with Christ. All that is not filled with Christ is garbage, from Paul’s point of view.

 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ. (Philippians 3:12)

Notice that Paul speaks of attaining to the out-resurrection as being perfection. Paul did not count that he had attained perfection but was pressing forward to grasp that for which he has been grasped. Christ has grasped Paul with the intention of filling all of Paul’s personality with Christ’s incorruptible life—the incorruptible life that makes Christ’s priesthood superior to that of the Aaronic priesthood.

 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, (Philippians 3:13)

We Christians, if we would live victoriously in the Lord Jesus, must not look back. Let us forget the past. God has brought us to where we are now, even though our pathway on many occasions has led us through a minefield.

Are we reaching forth to the goal set before us? And what is that goal? It is to be part of the royal priesthood when the Lord appears. It is to receive back our body at His appearing so that we may rule with Him over the saved nations of the earth.

 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ. (Philippians 3:14)

The program of redemption will not continue forever. It is not that we are to press forward forever with the thought that there is no finish line. There is a finish line. There is a mark. There is a goal. The finish line, the mark, the goal, is that we may be found entirely in Christ, being crucified with Him and living by His life.

We are in the pursuit of eternal life in spirit, in soul, and in body.

It comes as a surprise, even to seasoned believers, to learn that the purpose of resurrection is not to bring us to Heaven but to bring us back to life on the earth. If we are a true servant of the Lord we will go to be with Him when we die physically. When the Lord returns we shall return with Him and bring up our body from the place of death. Then we shall be able to live and rule with Him during the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

The reason we Gentiles have misunderstood Paul so grievously, referring now to the lawless-grace-rapture teaching, is that we are not coming to Christ for the same reason that Paul did. We must bring to mind that Saul of Tarsus was an Orthodox Jew. The one consuming passion of Paul’s life was to acquire righteousness and life in the Presence of God. Righteousness and life go together in both the old covenant and the new covenant.

 Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers giveth you. (Deuteronomy 4:1)

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. (Romans 6:22)

There is no eternal life apart from righteousness of personality and behavior. It is true that when we first come to the Lord Jesus for salvation we receive an assigned righteousness, even though there has not as yet been a change in our personality. But the Lord sets about immediately to develop actual righteousness in us. The atoning blood keeps us without condemnation during the time that the new creation is being formed.

It often is true that we Gentiles have little thought concerning righteousness either before or after we receive Christ. We have been taught that we are sinners, that all have sinned, that we cannot save ourselves but must have a Redeemer, and that we stand in danger of going to Hell if we do not come to the Redeemer to have our sins forgiven. We are told that the blood of the Lord Jesus is our ticket to Heaven. Our task is to not lose our ticket and to tell as many people as possible about the gift of deliverance from Hell through the blood of Christ.

Paul would not even recognize the current "gospel."

Paul sought Christ in order to please God, not in order to go to Heaven. Paul wanted to partake of the righteousness that comes to every person who lays aside his own efforts to please God and trusts his righteousness into the Lord’s hands.

The goal and hope of the Orthodox Jew is as follows:

 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. (Luke 1:74,75)

Paul was not groaning for the redemption of his body in order that he might escape the great tribulation, or Antichrist, or even the discomfort of the Roman prisons. Paul was groaning for the redemption of His body so he might be set free from the body of sin and death he was dragging around; that he was beating into compliance so it would not cause him to betray his faithfulness to the Lord Jesus.

The Gentile Christians are seeking to go to Heaven when they die. Therefore much of what Paul says does not become a genuine part of their Christian walk. No Gentile will ever understand Paul, or the glory and liberty of the resurrection from among the dead, until he is seeking to be righteous in personality and behavior in order to please God.

 Death and Resurrection

The path to righteousness is through death and resurrection.

 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)

The above verse describes the victorious Christian life. We are to account ourselves as dead with Christ on the cross. We also are to account ourselves as risen with Christ and walking in a new life of righteous behavior.

 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: (Romans 6:5)

The verse above parallels Philippians 3:11. If we are willing to be conformed to the death of Christ, then, when the Lord comes, we will be raised into a body like His resurrected and glorified body. It is our willingness to be conformed to the death of Christ that makes a place for us in the royal priesthood, among those who are to be raised when the Lord appears.

 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (Romans 6:6)

We experience death and resurrection so we no longer will behave in a sinful manner. We pursue death and resurrection in Christ so that we may behave righteously and thus be eligible and competent to fulfill all that God has spoken concerning man.

 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:11)

The Lord promised us that if we would believe in Him we would never die. The victorious Christian enters both the death and the life of Christ each day of his pilgrimage.

Every day the Lord tests us concerning our love of the world, or our love of sin, or our self-will and rebellion against God. Every day we are required to choose whom we will serve. Either we yield to our worldliness, or our sinful passions, or our intense desire to possess or achieve something, or else we put our sinful nature to death and yield to the eternal life of Christ.

If we seek to save our adamic nature we will die. But if we are willing to put to death our carnal nature with its lusts, murder, and guile we will enter eternal life in the Lord Jesus.

If we do not gain the victory over the world, sin, and our self-will we shall succeed in slaying our own resurrection, that is, we shall not enter the joyous Life of Jesus when we are raised from the dead.

We already have pointed to the difference between the first resurrection and the second resurrection. The first resurrection is that which will take place when the Lord appears. Each participant in the first resurrection already has been judged by the Lord. He has walked through the Divine fire until every element of his personality has been reconciled to God by means of death and resurrection. He already has been judged and his sentence is to be with the Lord Jesus in glory forever—ages without end.

Every individual who does not attain to the out-resurrection, the first resurrection, will be called forth at the termination of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. He will stand before God and be judged according to his works while on earth. The Scripture does not state at this point what shall happen to him when he is raised. But we do know that every individual whose name is not found in the Book of life will be cast into the lake that burns with fire and sulfur.

Participation in the out-resurrection from among the dead is a prize well worth seeking. In order to attain to this first resurrection we must lay aside all else and come to Christ with a perfect heart. If we do He will enable us to attain to the resurrection of the royal priesthood.

Our inner, spiritual nature is born of God. However, our physical body must be adopted.

 And not only they, 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)

When the spiritual enemies of our personality have been overcome, then we are ready for the Lord to adopt our physical body in order that we may be redeemed completely—spirit, soul, and body.

 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Thessalonians 5:23)

Whoever would seek to be like the Lord Jesus at His appearing must purify himself as a necessary act of preparation.

 And every man that hath this hope [of being like the Lord] in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (I John 3:3)

Compare: 

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1)

The House From Heaven

One of the great truths of the Gospel of the Kingdom that is being restored has to do with the effect of our behavior today upon the quality of our resurrection.

For centuries the churches have believed that the resurrection of the Christian to eternal life in Heaven will be an inevitable event that will take place independently of our success in living a victorious life. The resurrection will occur in some manner after we have died and have been in our mansion in Heaven for awhile. In the meantime we live in the hope of going to Paradise when we die.

The truth is, our response each day to the lessons placed before us is having a direct effect on the kind of resurrection we shall experience. Compared with what will happen to us in the day of resurrection, our life in the spirit realm after our physical death, and before the resurrection, is of little importance.

In the Book of Second Corinthians Paul speaks several times of his being brought down to the death of the cross and of the imperishable life brought to others as an overflow of the life of Christ that kept raising Paul from death.

Paul revealed that the process of dying and then living was forming before the Throne of God a heavenly "house" that would clothe his mortal body in the day of resurrection. The "gold" of Divinity was being hammered into shape in Heaven so that the "wood" of Paul’s mortality could be covered in the day of resurrection. Remember that the Table of Showbread and the Ark of the Covenant, articles located in the Tabernacle of the Congregation, were made of wood covered on the inside and the outside with refined gold.

 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)

God continually was striking Paul down and then raising him up by the power of Christ’s resurrection. This process of death and life was producing an eternal weight of glory in Heaven. The eternal weight of glory is the "house from heaven" that will clothe Paul’s body when his body is called forth from the grave by the voice of Christ.

 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: (II Corinthians 5:2)

What is happening to us today is forming an eternal body in Heaven, and also is preparing our inner spiritual personality that we may receive such a tremendous vehicle of life.

 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)

The Holy Spirit who is dwelling in us now is God’s guarantee that one day we, as sons of God and brothers of Christ, will live and move and have our being in the fullness of the liberty of the glory of the children of God.

 And not only they, 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 Spirit who will give eternal life to our mortal body already is dwelling in us.

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)

If we, through the wisdom and power of the Spirit, put to death the deeds of our sinful body, we will attain immortality in the fullness of the Spirit of Christ.

But if we continue to live in the appetites of our flesh and adamic nature we will die spiritually, thus slaying our own resurrection.

 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

Here is the absolute righteousness of God. Whatever we sow we shall reap. If we sow to the Spirit of God by praying, reading the Scriptures, resisting Satan, confessing and turning away from our sins, giving, serving, gathering together on a regular basis with fervent disciples (as possible), obeying God in every detail, we will attain to the early resurrection which is from among the dead. 

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)

But if we spend our time and strength in eating, sleeping, playing, working, and reproducing, giving a minor role in our life to the things of Christ, all our works will be burned away by the Divine fire. Our spirit may be saved in the Day of Christ but we will be a naked spirit having little inheritance in the Kingdom of God. If indeed we are saved into God’s Kingdom we may be required to begin again as a small child, having no memory of our previous life.

Make no mistake! Every one of us shall appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ in order that we may receive the things done in our body, whether they have been good or evil.

Many would teach us today that we need have no fear of the Judgment Seat of Christ because by grace and faith we will be raised unto glory as the result of our trust in Christ’s righteousness. Such teachers are deceived and are spreading deception. Because of their teaching the believers of our day are living below the standard set by the Scriptures and shall be rewarded accordingly in the day of resurrection. This is the teaching of the Scriptures.

Flee from such teachers and give yourself to Christ that you may become a new creation in Him.

The Lord desires to raise up an army of strong, holy believers that will be powerful enough to bear witness during the age of moral horrors that is approaching. Numerous church members of our day will not be able to cope with the severity of the demands the preachers, pastors, and evangelists will be making on them. They will flee to more comfortable surroundings and thus disqualify themselves from being a member of the warlike remnant that is emerging from the churches.

The firstfruits of the Bride of the Lamb will be clothed with the white robe of their righteous behavior, a righteous behavior created as they have been brought down to death each day and then raised again by the Virtue of Christ.

 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness [righteous acts] of saints. (Revelation 19:8)

When today’s believers are exhorted to press forward to victory they complain that there is too much emphasis being placed on works and not enough attention paid to mercy and grace. The truth is, they are seeking to justify their halfhearted, weak, double-minded Christian walk.

The crowns will go to the warriors. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit of God is saying to the churches in our day. The Evangelical spirit with its lawless-grace-rapture carnality, immorality, stubbornness, rebellion, and self-love is coming up before God for judgment.

 The Tree of Life

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; 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 tree of life is still "in the midst of the paradise of God." Eating the tree of life brings immortality to the physical body. No person is given access to the tree of life, the tree of immortality, until he through Christ has conquered the enemies of God that have come against him.

Let us think for a moment about the beginning of the world.

The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Later Eve was formed from a part of Adam that was removed from him.

God, the original Gardener, planted a garden toward the east in the country of Eden and placed Adam there.

God brought forth from the ground all kinds of trees—trees pleasing to look at and that bore fruit good for food.

The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil were located in the middle of the garden and were pleasing to the eye and good for food.

The tree of life (Christ), the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (the eternal moral law of God), and the commandment not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (the issue of sin against God)—these three were given to Adam and Eve in addition to the actual organic trees that were good for human consumption.

The law of God, life, sin, and death—these are the major topics of the Scriptures. These are the major considerations of life on the earth. It was so in the beginning. It is true now. It shall continue to be true throughout the countless ages of eternity.

 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:16,17)

Obviously this is an allegory. Trees of life and trees of the knowledge of good and evil do not grow from the ground—at least not in our day.

The question is, what would be the result of eating of the tree of life, and what would be the result of eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?

The result of eating of the tree of life is bodily immortality.

 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)

Whoever eats of the tree of life will live forever. The Lord Jesus Christ came from Heaven to give us eternal life, that is, to give us the opportunity to eat of the tree of life. Our tradition teaches that the Lord came to bring us to Heaven. This is not true. The Lord came to restore what was lost in the garden. The spiritual natures of Adam and Eve are in Heaven—at least we hope they are! But being in Heaven does not give a person eternal life.

It is our point of view that it is our Lord Jesus who is the Tree of Life, and that if we allow Him to transform us we too will become trees of life. We think that Adam and Eve had some kind of opportunity to partake of the Logos, the eternal Life of God, before they disobeyed God. The Logos has been with God from the beginning.

 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (I John 1:1)

This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. (John 6:50)

We do not believe that there is any source of eternal life other than the Lord Jesus. If Adam and Eve had partaken of Christ they would still be alive in the flesh. They would not have perished but would have had eternal life.

But what about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

First of all, the tree itself was not wickedness. To eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is to be like God Himself.

 . . . Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: . . . (Genesis 3:22)

Growth in Christ brings us to the knowledge of good and evil.

 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:14)

It may be true that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the eternal moral law of God—the law that was revealed in limited form in the Law of Moses.

When the law of God comes to us, sin comes to life and we die—just as God stated would happen.

 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. (Romans 7:9)

Adam and Eve were naked and were not ashamed of this fact.

 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:25)

But it is a shame to be naked!

 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. (Genesis 9:22)

And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:) (Exodus 32:25)

 For the Lord brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel; for he made Judah naked, and transgressed sore against the Lord. (II Chronicles 28:19)

Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man. (Isaiah 47:3)

. . . that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; . . . (Revelation 3:18)

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil did not cause Adam and Eve to be in a shameful condition. They already were in a shameful state but they did not realize it. The moment Adam and Eve began to see as God sees they realized they were naked. They were ashamed and hid themselves from the Presence of God.

 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. (Genesis 3:7)

The sin of Adam and Eve was not that they were naked. The sin of Adam and Eve was that they disobeyed God.

 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Romans 5:19)

Did God intend that they one day would eat of the knowledge of good and evil? Certainly! God would not put a tree in the garden that man was not supposed to eat? What sense does this make? The knowledge of good and evil is part of the image of God and we are called to be in that image.

 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise,... (Genesis 3:6)

The knowledge of good and evil is for the purpose of bringing us into eternal life. But being exposed to the commandment too soon brings death to us because it makes us conscious of our sin and we are not able to maintain our fellowship with God. It is our fellowship with God that is eternal life. Before we become aware of our sinful nature we have a clear conscience before God, just as Adam and Eve had a clear conscience before they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil!

 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. (Romans 7:10)

What was the problem? The problem was that Adam and Eve became conscious of their shameful condition before God but no provision had been made for restored fellowship with God.

The moment we sin today we can come boldly to the throne of grace, receive forgiveness and cleansing, and continue on our way in fellowship with God. But Adam and Eve had no such cleansing fountain to wash in. Instead they attempted to clothe themselves with fig leaves, a type of the dead works of religious man.

Let us think for a moment about eating of the tree of life.

To eat of the tree of life is to live forever in bodily immortality.

 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)

Obviously Paul is speaking here of being made alive in the body because we already are alive spiritually. We shall not be made alive spiritually, but bodily, at the coming of Christ.

What about spiritual life and bodily life?

Death is separation. We die physically when our spirit leaves our body. The body without the spirit is dead.

What happens to the body? The body returns to the ground and decomposes into the dust from which it was created. Dust we are and to the dust we shall return.

But how do we die spiritually? Physical death is the separation of the body from the spirit. Spiritual death is the separation of our spiritual nature from the Presence of Christ.

What happens to our spiritual nature when we die physically? If we have served God like the Apostle Paul, then we are assured that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

Where the nominal Christian and the unsaved person will go when they die we cannot say with certainty. The Scripture speaks of several waiting areas in the spirit realm.

 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: . . . (Revelation 20:13)

We have stated previously that those believers who are living by the Life of Christ, who press through to victory in the Lord, will be given back their bodies when the Lord appears. We believe also that those bodies will be gloriously clothed with the house that has been fashioned in Heaven as the saints have sought the power of Christ’s resurrection and have shared His sufferings, having been conformed to His death on the cross.

All other people who have lived on the earth will be raised in the general resurrection that comes after the thousand-year Kingdom Age. 

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Revelation 20:12)

Where does eating of the tree of life fit into the picture of the first and second resurrections from the dead?

 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; 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 tree of life is still in the midst of the paradise of God, the garden of God, but it appears that the garden, which once had been in the country of Eden, has been withdrawn into the spirit realm.

After meditating on the preceding concepts we have concluded that eating of the tree of life (which is to partake of the Lord Jesus) is different from and yet related to the resurrection of our body from the grave.

To eat of the tree of life is to receive the eternal, incorruptible life of the Lord Jesus into our inner personality in preparation for its extension into our mortal body.

To be resurrected is for our body to come forth from the grave at the voice of the Lord Jesus.

Then there is the house from Heaven that is being fashioned from the death and resurrection to which we are subjected each day of our discipleship.

These facts are of supreme importance to the saints. We need to understand to what extent we are going to be clothed, in the day of resurrection, with our behavior in the present world—a clothing that may identify us for eternity! 

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)

Would you want to be raised to "everlasting contempt" in the sight of those around you in the world to come?

The Apostle Paul was a victorious saint. Through Christ, Paul was overcoming each force that came against him as he pressed toward the out-resurrection from among the dead. Can we say that the Lord Jesus was giving Paul to eat of the tree of life, of the very Life of Christ, and that one day Paul’s entire personality—spirit, soul, and body—will be revealed in splendor because of the superlative degree to which he possesses Christ?

What about the lukewarm believer who is not pressing toward the out-resurrection but whose teachers have led him to believe that no matter how he behaves himself there is no need for concern? He will be brought to a mansion by grace, so why seek the Lord diligently? He is not living a victorious life and therefore is not eligible to partake of the tree of life. Will his experience of bodily glorification in the day of resurrection be identical to that of the Apostle Paul?

It is interesting to note that the last object mentioned as Adam and Eve departed from the garden of Eden, the tree of life, is the first object mentioned in the rewards to the overcomer.

Is the flaming sword of Divine judgment still guarding the way of the tree of life? Will Adam and Eve be given access to the tree on the basis of forgiveness, or on the basis of both forgiveness and a totally transformed personality—a personality indwelt by Christ thus guaranteeing that there will be no more disobedience to God? Is it a fact that Adam and Eve will not be permitted to eat of the tree of bodily immortality until they have learned how to resist the voice of Satan? Is God forming in His saints an eternal wall against sin?

What is your opinion? Is it enough that we receive forgiveness at the hands of the Lord Jesus or are we required to press into Him each day until we no longer are living but Christ is living in us?

 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:54-57)

Study the above passage. Note the relationship between eating the flesh of Christ and drinking His blood, and being raised at the last day. This is not the general resurrection of the dead in which all who have died are called forth from the grave in order to stand before God and be judged. Rather, this is a special resurrection in which the Lord Jesus personally summons His beloved saint and brother and changes him into His own image.

The promise is not to him who merely has made a profession of salvation but to him or her who is living by the Life of Christ as Christ lives by the Life of the Father.

Our hope is that we shall be clothed with bodily immortality when the seventh trumpet sounds. Will incorruptible life clothe an adamic nature that has not pressed forward from glory to glory until it has been changed into the image of the Lord?

 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (I Corinthians 15:52,53)

The trumpet must be sounded today. The Christian churches are in deception. The goal of the Divine redemption is not residence in a mansion in Heaven, the goal is to be clothed with the Glory of Christ after our body has been summoned from the grave.

The standard of today’s Christianity is woefully below the Bible standard. If we would have a glorious resurrection we must begin to live as have the saints of all time.

 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: (Hebrews 11:33-35)

May God grant that each of us obtains a "better resurrection."