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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Our Christian Pilgrimage, #17
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:25,26)
But if the believer has cooperated with the Holy Spirit's efforts to bring each aspect of his personality and actions into death and resurrection, purging them of the world, of sin, and of self-will, then, when he dies, his Christ-filled personality and actions will continue as he awaits his reunion with his body. He will live in the Presence of God and Christ, doing whatever is done by all the victorious saints who are awaiting the Day of Resurrection.
There may be a great difference between the post-death experience of the fervent Christian and the post-death experience of the nominal Christian. But since the Scriptures do not describe our life between death and resurrection we cannot say much with certainty.
We know more about what happens to us from the Day of Resurrection onward. We know from the Scriptures that in the Day of Christ, the Day of Resurrection, there will be differences in experience among believers.
It is important to note that the New Testament places emphasis on the resurrection, not the ascension, of Christ. It is His resurrection that is our guarantee that we shall live again. It is by His resurrection, not His ascension, that Christ is declared to be the Son of God.
The New Testament has little to say about our ascension. The "resurrection chapter" of the New Testament, the fifteenth chapter of the Book of First Corinthians, does not mention the ascension. This is because the ascension has nothing to do with our arriving at the resurrection from the dead.
The catching up of the saints is not emphasized in type or in principle in the Scriptures. There is no feast of the Lord that was celebrated ten days prior to the feast of Pentecost, the day on which Jesus ascended from the Mount of Olives. But the feast of Firstfruits, the third day after Passover, anticipated Christ's resurrection from the dead.
The Lord Jesus was alive for forty days before His ascension (Acts 1:3). It is possible that we also will be alive on the earth for a period of time after our resurrection and before we ascend to meet the Lord in the air.
We ought to give some thought to that. We ought to think about how wonderful it will be to live in invincibility on this earth, as did the Lord Jesus during those forty days (and perhaps also those saints whose bodies arose, after the resurrection of Jesus, and appeared to many in Jerusalem—Matthew 27:52,53).
The first stage of laying hold on eternal life, of gaining the Kingdom of God, is entrance into the fullness of eternal resurrection life in our own personality. The fullness of eternal resurrection life in our own personality includes the abiding Presence of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit. The most important aspect of the inheritance of the sons of God is the possession of God Himself.
To be continued.