Monday, April 6, 2015

The Resurrection

Yesterday was Resurrection Sunday and as I was meditating on the wonderful things Jesus did and achieved for us, I felt sad that so many Christians do not fully understand the most important amazing thing our Savior accomplished for us. I remember having to explain it to quite a few Christians to help them realize it. Too many Christians imagine that we will live as ethereal, unbodied beings in eternity--spirits..

So, as I was thinking about all these things the Holy Spirit lead me to put this study together that I felt I should share with you. (All scriptures quoted are from the NIV.)

Jesus said to Martha after Lazarus died, “Your brother will rise again.” 
Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live [again], even though they die." ~John 11:23-25

"The apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead." ~ Acts 4;2

There are many good churches. But since few of them teach about the nature of the resurrection as described in the Bible, most people do not know or understand much about this.

Jesus also said, "Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man." ~ John 5:24-27

The apostle Paul says, "...Christ has indeed been raised from the dead... since death came through a man [Adam], the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man [Jesus Christ]... For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive... But someone will ask, 'How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?' ...The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable;" ~1 Corinthians 15: 20-22,35,41-43.
Paul is saying: We will have new physical bodies that will be of a different type than these earthly bodies. Our bodies will be like Jesus' after he rose from the dead. We will be able to defy gravity, ascend to heaven and come back to earth. We will shine with the glory of God. Also, these new bodies will not get sick, weak, or die. We were created to live in the earth. We will live in the new earth for eternity and God will live in our midst (Revelation 21.) 
In 1 Corinthians 15:16, before all this, Paul makes a very important statement. One that is vital for us to grasp how our body on earth connects with our eternal body. Paul says, "What you sow does not come to life unless it dies." 

This is a statement about nature, something we see everywhere around us that helps us understand how our bodies will change. A plant exists in two states: pre-germination (seed, spore, bulb) and post-germination (tree, moss, plant.) Each state has distinct characteristics. This change in state of a plant is the best representation of how we will be changed. This means that our earthly bodies are the "seeds" from which our resurrected bodies will come forth!! Just as a seed has to die to be able to produce a plant or a tree, so our current body has to die to be able to bring forth our resurrected body! Isn't this exciting?
The Holy Spirit opened my heart to understand that seeds waiting to be planted represent our lives before conception--We existed in the mind of God. His Word is seed. He called us into existence, from the foundations of the earth, before our lives here on this planet even began. Each life was spoken into being to produce fruit for the Kingdom of God. Our souls awaited the time they are finally sown into the earth, like seeds in a sack.

Now, how does God sow us into this life? He places each of us, a seed, into earth. Mankind is but dust. Our physical bodies are made of earth. We are sown into a body made of earth--into a womb. From the moment we have been sown into a womb, the germination process begins. As we live our lives, we go through the various stages of the germination process, the final being when we die. Our body is buried in the earth, but we show up in eternity. This life is truly just preparation for the next.

So, everyone's life today is but the germinating seed that sprouts their next life. The death of our "seed" body is called the first death, because it is the type of death we experience first. Practically, everyone has to go through it because we will all be resurrected. We will all receive a "tree" (resurrected) body. A tree is better than a seed. But the seed is the hope for a tree. Those who live for Jesus will not experience the second death. They will live with God forever!

"Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years." ~Revelation 20:6. The first resurrection is called "the resurrection of the righteous" in Luke 14:14.

First? Second? Huh!??

"There will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked." ~ Acts 24:15
Yes. Really! 

Both will rise (be resurrected) but they won't share the same eternal destiny. Jesus said, “...a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned."  ~ John 5:28,2.
Resurrection. Those who remained faithful to Jesus, will be resurrected first and will reign with Christ, in the earth, for 1,000 years. Those who did not choose Christ, will only be resurrected after the 1,000 years are over. At that time, all the people who are still dead will now be resurrected to appear before the Judge seated on the great white throne (Rev. 20:4-5, 11-13.) So, one resurrection is into eternal life and the other into eternal condemnation. 

Death. The first death, is the death of the physical body. Everyone must die. It's the part of life when the body changes from one state to another. 

The second death is what happens in eternity. But in eternity nothing dies as we know it. Earthly death does not exist in eternity. Eternal death is worse that earthly death, it is eternal condemnation. Eternal condemnation means being banned from God's presence forever: no love, no light, no hope, no peace, no rest, no joy, no kindness, no friendship, nothing good because there was no repentance from sin and no sacrifice to cover those sins and redeem that life. 

There are only two elemental forces: light and darkness. God and good are light. Satan and evil are darkness. God's home is in heaven. Satan's home is in hell, the place of his (Satan's) condemnation. Hell was made to punish Satan, it was not intended for people. But Satan has managed to deceive many to be with him. Those who've lived lives that disqualified them from heaven, will only have one other place to go. So death in eternity is eternal separation from God because that raised body cannot die as we know death in this earth. It is "imperishable." (1 Cor. 15:42) That eternal body needs God's light, and love to live, but won't have it. Instead, it will be joining into Satan's punishment. Thus the torment.

Life. Jesus Christ came to give us eternal life. People, we will have new bodies that will be strong, youthful and vibrant--forever! Nothing like our present earthly bodies. Eternal life means to live in God's presence because God is fullness of life! All good and beautiful things come from God. 

These are the things the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart as I meditated on the Resurrection. Since this life prepares us for the next, and we have the promise of the resurrection, let us pursue becoming everyday more and more like Christ who empowers us to live wholeheartedly for our God!