In the second, concluding part to this edited 2013 blog post, the faithful are given great reasons to be encouraged about our destination at the death of the body as well as inspired to praise the Lord Jesus Christ with all of the saints now in Heaven for the outworking benefits of His death, burial and resurrection that saves and sets His people free in thorough fulfillment of Matthew 16:16-18!
Originally Posted April 21, 2013
According to the apostle Peter, the Lord while disembodied did not just “chill out” in paradise, but also labored preaching. He preached the Gospel to a specific group of imprisoned disembodied spirits who were the lawless human beings that perished by God’s judgment in the global flood of Noah’s day (Genesis 7:17-24; 1 Peter 3:18-4:6). He also heralded to the saints in paradise that moving day had come and they were yet another step closer to permanent resurrection as a result of His finished work on Calvary and imminent, triumphant resurrection to immortal glory (Job 14:13-14)!
It was all so sudden; God’s long awaited Deliverer announced in the hearing of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:15) and promised Messiah affirmed to Abraham (Genesis 22:18; Galatians 3:16) at that moment stood in the midst of the saints under the earth! No doubt all were joyful beyond measure to greet the Lord upon His arrival and hear the good news of His once and for all sacrifice providing eternal atonement for the sins they had committed while in the body; sins that had kept them from dwelling in the immediate presence of God in Heaven (Job 14:15-17; Romans 3:21-26; Hebrews 10:1-10).
Now, as a result of His successful mission Christ was proclaiming liberty from confinement in Hades and victory over Satan (Isaiah 61:1; Ephesians 1:7-10; Colossians 2:13-15). In so doing, He spoke of His impending resurrection not only with the promise theirs was yet to follow His own at a time to be announced by the Father (Acts 1:6-7), but that they would actually shortly be joining Him in His return to Heaven for coronation and glorification (nice as paradise was there, it cannot compare to standing in the glorious presence of the living God in Heaven)!
Therefore, when the moment came that He departed Hades to permanently re-enter His body instantaneously made alive and transformed from mortal to immortal, God permitted some of them whose bodies were buried around Jerusalem to be temporarily raised after Him in celebratory anticipation of the future! They arose from graves which had already been opened by the powerful earthquake that occurred at His death and entered into the city showing themselves to many (Matthew 27:51-53). After forty days on earth spent appearing to and instructing His disciples (John 20:11-18), the Lord Jesus purposely took them to the place of His ascension so they would see His departure to Heaven (Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9).
God permitted that they should also see two angels as they watched Him ascend (Acts 1:10-11). What they did not see in the spiritual realm was the joyful train of accompanying angels along with the disembodied spirits of the saints liberated from Hades and brought to God parading in triumphal procession to Heaven behind Christ as Savior, Victor and Conqueror-King fulfilling types and prophecy (Genesis 14:8-16; Psalm 68:17-20; Ephesians 4:7-10; Hebrews 2:10-18; Revelation 1:18); foreshadowing that yet to be fulfilled at His return to earth (Psalm 68:21-35)! It is customary for human kings returning home from faraway wars of conquest to be given gifts by their subjects and even resentful rebels as Psalm 68:18 notes.
However, being the Anointed One of God and as such, far superior in character to sinful, mortal men, the Lord Jesus actually gives gifts to mankind beginning with the Person of the Holy Spirit as foretold and which began to take place on Pentecost, ten days after His ascension and glorification (John 7:37-39, 14:16-17, 15:26-27, 16:5-15, 20:19-23; Acts 2:1-21, 38-39). He also gives His human followers gifted, led, controlled and empowered by the Holy Spirit to serve His purposes for the good of His own and all mankind (Ephesians 4:11-16)! I am deeply honored in the Lord to serve you as a watchman/prophet and teacher in the main and doing the work of an evangelist (Ezekiel 33:1-9; Romans 12:3-8; 2 Timothy 4:5) after His faithful servants since the 1st century as His victory gift giving campaign among men continues to the end--glory to His Name!
Thanks now, to the permanent, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and ascension into Heaven with all of the disembodied Old Testament saints, those who have believed on Him in this New Testament period follow behind (John 13:36-14:6). As the apostle Paul discusses in 2 Corinthians 5:1-8, if our earthly tent--(our present, mortal body) is destroyed (dies), we are comforted by the fact God has a building from Heaven (our resurrected, immortal body) to house us with.
We actually yearn deep in our souls to be in that body right now! However, we must wait for the appointed day assured by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit as God’s guarantee that it will come so that we even welcome temporary disembodiment confident that our spirits will ascend to be with Christ in Heaven. We are confident because as the apostle Paul also teaches, “we walk by faith, not by sight,” (2 Corinthians 5:7, NKJV).
Strong Man Of God Resources
Get Your Copy Of The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics
Your purchase supports restoring men, families and communities through Strong Man Ministries!
Purchase It Now