As a follow up to the just concluded three part formerly published Commentary series, “Raised To Immortal Glory” and especially part three, the Lord has led me to repost this edited June 2013 blog that originally posted in the same month as the series. All are now in this same blog category, God’s Creatures. This repost seeks to extract more details from Scripture about the glorious, immortal spiritual bodies God is to provide His eternal sons after the likeness of Christ’s.
Originally Posted June 2, 2013
The bodies of the dead in Christ are raised up and those of the living remnant are transformed in less than the blink of an eye at His coming according to 1 Corinthians 15:51-52. The form and function of their bodies will be like Christ’s own glorious, immortal spiritual body which is equipped for God’s purposes through the endless ages of eternity (Philippians 3:20-21)! And while John in His epistle is clear we on this side of glory will not have a precise picture of what we as glorified immortals will look like until Christ is revealed, he too assures us that we will be like Him (1 John 3:2).
Based on the revelation of the glorified Christ John later saw (Revelation 1:10-17), there are some similarities between the natural body we now have and the glorified spiritual body in the masculine likeness of Christ we will receive at the resurrection. There will also be some tremendous qualitative differences with a few new (to us) features included! With all praises to our God, we do not have to guess or fill in the blanks with a lot of wacky speculation about the immortal spiritual bodies He has prepared for His eternal sons; what He wants known now is in His Word! My mission is to only briefly examine what God’s Word says about our future glorious, immortal spiritual bodies to inspire our further study, reflection, excitement and praise to God!
Scripture gives three sources of knowledge about the future immortal spiritual bodies of the eternal sons of God: our present natural bodies, Christ and the angels. From our natural bodies and Christ’s glorified likeness seen by John, we understand that along with a head featuring hair, a chest, arms, hands, legs and feet, the general frame and form characteristic of the natural human body are to be preserved as will ethnicity (Revelation 21:22-26) in our spiritual bodies. Also, we will retain the five senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching with all of the corresponding body parts to include teeth. Raised in His immortal spiritual body that had not yet been glorified, our Lord interacted with His disciples normally using the senses.
He used His and invited His disciples to use their senses and associated natural body parts in His company (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:24-29). In a third post-resurrection meeting with His disciples recorded in John 21:1-14, notice in verse 9 how smell would have played a role in the experience of everyone present including the Lord who cooked breakfast. Indeed, the prophets and the Lord speak of eating and drinking as a fixture in the Kingdom of God (Isaiah 25:6; Luke 22:14-18, 28-30). Of the fruit eaten will be that of the “tree of life,” (Revelation 2:7, NKJV). Now, consider how superior your sensory abilities and experiences will be in perfect spiritual bodies where every sense and body part functions perfectly!
It was our Lord that taught in the resurrection to immortal glory the sons of God will be “equal to the angels,” (Luke 20:34-36, NKJ). In likeness to the eternal existence of God’s spirit creatures, angels, the sons of God will never again marry, procreate or die. Unlike in their previous natural, mortal bodies, there will be no more hormones or bodily features that arouse sexual desire leading to proper sex or that which in sin leads to evil seduction, promiscuity or perversions (Hebrews 13:4). However, this will not be the end to pleasure. By divine design, in immortal spiritual bodies with form and functions fitted to a new, eternal creation, the righteous in Christ will experience new kinds of pleasure in the presence of our holy God forever (Psalm 16:11, 36:7-9; 2 Corinthians 5:16-17)!
As with the holy angels too, the new spiritual bodies of God’s sons will be indestructible as well as impervious to physical pain, sickness, disease and calamity (Revelation 21:4). Like our Lord and angels, the sons of God will be able to appear and disappear (Judges 13:1-14; Luke 24:28-31). We will also be able to fly without wings (Psalm 104:1-3; Isaiah 60:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) as well as travel back and forth between the spiritual and physical dimensions (Judges 13:15-21; Acts 1:9-11; Revelation 11:11-12). We will travel between two dimensions only until the day our God makes the two dimensions, one (2 Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 21:1-3)!
The Lord Jesus instructs it is the divine intent that the Holy Spirit should be with the sons of God forever (John 14:16-17)! For faithful Christians, then, the same Holy Spirit who has been our Companion in this life will be with us when these natural bodies die and forever! At the moment of death, whatever have been limits to the Holy Spirit’s display of the eternal divine life and power in the inner man of our mortal experience (Ephesians 3:14-16; Hebrews 6:4-5) are removed. We will henceforth enjoy the overflowing outpour of His life into us up through our embodiment into immortal spiritual bodies and evermore (John 3:34, 6:63, 7:37-39, 10:10; Revelation 21:6, 22:1)!
We will also have direct access, be perfectly attuned to, enjoy and express the inexhaustible riches of God’s knowledge and wisdom. And as we had to be equipped by the Holy Spirit with enabling power in spiritual gifts on this side of glory to do God’s will, in the day of our immortal glory we will also be outfitted by Him with supernatural abilities to carry out the purposes, assignments and work of God for eternity (Ephesians 3:20-21)! Too, well beyond the limitations of the mortal body in sin, doubt and fear, we will routinely do things like walk on water as Peter did and as our Lord showed, exercise the power of God to move mountains in accord with His purposes (Matthew 14:22-33; Mark 11:20-24).
Finally, because of the indwelling presence of God in us, like our Lord the glory of God will shine out from our immortal spiritual bodies as His eternal sons and with even new names, we shall reign with Christ forever (Daniel 12:2-3; Matthew 13:43; 2 Timothy 2:10-13; Revelation 2:17, 3:12-13, 21-22, 21:5, 22:3-5)! The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
Not just the possibility, but the reality of human immortality was powerfully unveiled by Jesus Christ when He unlike anyone before Him, rose permanently from the dead! And because the Father has glorified Him and exalted Him to have all authority in Heaven and earth, He now controls death and the realm of the dead (Matthew 28:18; Revelation 1:18). As a result, those that put their faith in the Gospel about Him for salvation are promised to be raised to immortality and glory like Him (John 11:25-26, 17:5, 22). The promise realized will entail sweeping changes in the human experience to that time including male and female as they have been known physically in their mortal bodies.
This is the conclusion of a three part celebratory treatise briefly exploring the resurrection to immortal glory first accomplished by the Father in His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and promised also to His followers at His return to earth!
Originally Published June 2013
"But someone will say, 'How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come,'" (1 Corinthians 15:35, NKJV)? These questions appear to reflect the mocking tone of those rejecting the possibility of resurrection at Corinth (see 1 Corinthians 15:12). Still, the apostle Paul's answers are genuine, revelatory and authoritative.
First, concerning the body of the resurrected, Paul rebukes the evident unbelief in God’s power and wisdom any person has that ask such questions by calling them “foolish.” He then draws upon the scientifically verifiable reality of a plant seed to illustrate how it first dies before what is contained in its core can spring forth alive. Also, the form of the seed is not the same as the living plant that grows out of it. The dead seed and living plant both have bodies given to them by God. Similarly, our present bodies die and are buried. Our resurrection bodies spring forth alive from them but are not the same as the bodies that died in God’s will (1 Corinthians 15:36-38, NKJV).
The great apostle reminds us that the outer forms of things are not the same all throughout creation. As purposely intended and designed by God the flesh of men, land animals, fish and birds differ from one another. There is also the God designed and breath taking difference between the celestial bodies in the night sky and the unique form of the earth. Among the celestial bodies of the universe star differs from star and our sun has a very different form than the moon. In context, from these readily observable realities Paul instructs that the resurrection body of a Christian designed by God is going to be vastly different from the body that died (1 Corinthians 15:39-42a).
Our mortal bodies die and are buried; the resurrection body is raised immortal. Our dead bodies are buried in sin's disgrace; the resurrection body is raised in the glory of God's redemption and sinless perfection. Our dead bodies are buried in the weakness of sin's consequences; the resurrection body is raised endued by God with power! We now have mortal natural bodies God made from dust. However, the resurrection body God has prepared us is an immortal spiritual body; that is, a body composed of indestructible spiritual substance while also possessing material properties as we saw earlier in the resurrected, immortal body of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:42b-44).
The differences in the natural and spiritual bodies God has made for man are tied respectively to Adam and Christ. The first man, Adam, was created by God "a living being" with a natural body from dust. All sinful mankind has come from his natural body and bears his image. Christ is the second and final Adam from Heaven! After His death, burial and resurrection in the cause of saving those who will believe in Him, He became a "life giving spirit" imparting eternal life to His followers. We are currently being transformed inwardly to bear His image. At the resurrection, our natural bodies will be transformed to conform to the masculine likeness of Christ's own glorious, immortal spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:45-49; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 John 3:1-3, NKJV)!
Now, the apostle Paul makes it overwhelmingly clear that what the Lord first led me to write in my book is accurate when he writes, "flesh and blood (the natural body) cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption," (1 Corinthians 15:50, NKJV, emphasis mine). Our natural bodies are not fit for what is planned for us as eternal sons. Hence, God reveals a previously unknown fact through Paul that not every Christian will taste death, but "we shall all be changed" in an instant at Christ’s return (1 Corinthians 15:51-53, NKJV). The dead are raised immortals first. Then living saints are transformed into immortals and all take flight (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)!
At this point, we that are receiving such knowledge by faith ought to join Paul in his celebratory victory shout of praise and be encouraged to remain "steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord" assured it is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:54-58, NKJV)! Not only are we to be joyfully laboring to proclaim this good news of salvation, resurrection and immortal glory through Jesus Christ, but "the hope of glory" ought to inform every part of our present, mortal lives; enabling our heavenly perspective on all things and Christ-like living now (Colossians 1:24-29, 3:1-11). The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
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