"LIFE FROM THE DEAD"
The doctrinal beliefs of "resurrection from the dead, & of eternal judgments" (Heb.6:2) have always been controversial in religious circles. This will no doubt continue to be so until "that which is PERFECT is come'' (1Cor.13:10) & the full light of Christ is shed abroad in our corruptible hearts; hearts which are yet subject to "death" in all its spiritual & natural forms. Though some things we are about to bring forward in this study may be immediately rejected by some as unacceptable & unscriptural, this of course is their prerogative.
In Jesus' day some even turned away from His teachings because the sayings were too hard - Jn.6:60, 66. But to others who are called & have "an ear to hear", hopefully this will bring a new insight & vision as well as a blessing & incentive for them to "go on UNTO ERFECTION" (Heb.6:l), faithfully cleansing themselves "from all filthiness of the flesh & spirit PERFECTING HOLINESS in the fear of God." 2Cor. 7:1. They that do so shall be of "them that call on the Lord out of a PURE HEART." 2Tim.2:21.
This revelation of "PERFECTION" [wholeness, completeness] is not an impossibility to attain & walk in here & now, else why would it be a command of the scriptures? Jesus commanded, "BE YE THEREFORE PERFECT [be mature in love] even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Matt.5:48. Many believe this can only come about when one gets to heaven. Paul didn't believe this & neither should you. He states, "Howbeit we speak wisdom among THEM THAT ARE PERFECT." 1Cor.2:6; Psa.101:6.
The God of perfection dwells in our heaven [spiritual makeup] wherein our love is being perfected - 1Jn.4:4-21. As a matter of fact, the major goal of all scriptural teaching unto mankind, is to "put on CHARITY WHICH IS THE BOND OF PERFECTION" (Col.3:14) an attainment of spiritual wealth which can be found here & now in the "abundant life.'' Jn.10:10. A portion of the church is now arising to the reality of their WHOLE spirit, soul & BODY able to be PRESERVED BLAMELESS unto the coming of the Lord." 1Ths. 4:23. The Lord is arising with mercy in Zion, "for the time to favour her, yea, THE SET TIME IS COME" (Psa.102:13) to wholly "loose those that are appointed to death." Psa.102:20; 79:11.
First Man Adam - Last Man Adam
In some other studies we had been seeing the principle of how "death" always leads only to another form, another form of death, or else a new form in "life". Both life & death involve a change from one state of being into another. Jesus Christ is the "FIRSTBORN [into eternal resurrected life out] from [among] the dead."Col.1:18. He is also said to be "THE FIRSTBORN of EVERY CREATURE." This includes not only His existence before all else in creation, but also the truth of being the preeminent FIRSTFRUIT (1Cor.15:20) & the "FIRST BEGOTTEN" (Rev.1:5; Ac.13:33) from the dead in becoming a NEW CREATION MAN (Eph.2:15; 2Cor.5:17), a creation of which every human creature shall eventually partake - Ro.8:2l; Rev. 21:5. This grandiose truth includes ALL THINGS in the realms of earth & ALL THINGS in the realms of heaven according to the universal context & scope of Col.1:13-20.
"And so it is written, the FIRST MAN Adam [including the whole race of the son of man] was made a Living soul [a living, breathing mortal, destined of God to manifest death - Eccl.3:12]; the [SECOND) &] LAST Adam [Jesus- son of man, Christ- Son of God] was made a quickening spirit." 1Cor.15:45. "Since by man [through the first creation Adam] came death, by man [the SECOND complete & perfect species of humanity- Jesus Christ] came also the resurrection [of a new & higher form of life out] of the dead. For as in Adam [imperfect, unrighteous, condemned soul] all die [partake of THE FIRST DEATH apart from the perfection of God], even so in [perfect union with] Christ [that righteous quickening Spirit] shall [that same] all [who die be made alive [given a quickened, resurrected, vivified, new creation form of life]." 1Cor. 15:21, 22; Ro.5:19.
The man Christ Jesus is the only one now that is in the perfected nature of the Father's expression - Heb.l:3. But the Father has a plan whereby the rest of mankind is also being progressively brought forth into the Lord's image & likeness (Gen. 1:26) becoming one with Him, no longer divided in any way. He that is joined unto the Lord becomes one in spirit - 1Cor.6:17. The Lord purposed His earthly creation of man to eventually be found mature complete & perfected in His own image of love.
God, in his omniscient wisdom, initially created Adam in a state of uprightness and innocence. He was not accountable for any sin or wrongdoing. Neither was he created in an incorruptible or immortal state of purity and righteousness. Nor was his nature and character perfected in the spiritual fruits of divine love and holiness. How could it be? He was not yet tried and tested. Consequently he had not developed a conscience in the matters of right and wrong, good and evil. Though he was created innocent he was yet spiritually and morally imperfect. He was spiritually immature.
Adam lacked much knowledge of the things of God and His creation and the wisdom of how to deal with it all. In the things that accompany the perfect nature of God, Adam lacked. Though the creation was "very good" it was certainly not in perfection! - Gen. 1:31. Though the plan of the ages was set in motion by the Creator, it was yet in its infancy & far from its ultimate completeness which God had purposed.
A First Death - A First Judgment
Because this FIRST EARTHLY CREATION by design was no accident in being made "subject to vanity" (Ro.8:20) by the Creator Himself, the Adamic race was purposely lowered into a separated, divided, fragmented state of being in a FIRST "death." This involved existence in a realm apart from the true reality of eternal life. Death is really an effect of the withdrawal of life. Death merely involves a change of one form into another.
Slowly, man's spirit, soul and body began to deteriorate as a result of the operation of this original FIRST death. A change came about. With this death also, came the newly acquired knowledge of the forces of sin and all types of evil. Along with this knowledge came the consequences of sins judgment in the human soul called "wrath" and with it an understanding that ..always "the wages of sin is death."Ro.3:23. "The wrath of God" (Jn.3:36) is in the spiritual death which makes up the sin nature of man. Note that the wages are not said to be eternal death or hellfire. Death has no eternal qualities. It's power is destined unto total destruction. - 1Cor. 15:26 54, 55.
The "soul", that integral part of the human spirit that is presently under the influence of "spiritual death" is not immortal. As long as the soul abides in sin it also abides in death & has no immortal life of its own. The corruptible part of the fallen human soul is a part of the first man Adam and it is that part of our personal nature which ultimately must be destroyed and replaced by the incorruptible and immortal nature of the Spirit of the Lord. As the corruption of our soul is progressively put to death even through the divine operation & workings of the second death in our lives, it is replaced by a quality of life that is incorruptible.and devoid of earthly corruption.
Let's look at the entrance of the FIRST death relative to the FIRST Adam. From this time forth, it became appointed unto men ONCE to die [as a part of the FIRST death] but after this the judgment.'' Heb.10:27. In other words, finally after the first death has served its divinely appointed purposes--comes the SECOND DEATH which basically is a righteous & powerful fiery judgment of God upon that first death.
Until the point of initial salvation all had a human spirit & nature that was locked in fear, unbelief, hate, idolatry, hypocracy & every other thing that is abominable in the sight of our most holy God - Mrk. 7:21-23; Rev.20:8. He that has come to baptize with the holy Ghost & with fire (Matt.3:11) has come to destroy these works of the devil (1Jn.3:8) in His purifying and consuming Spirit of fire -Heb.12:29.
We will touch more on this later in the article. Eve, [who in different realms can typify the carnal mind, the soul, the natural church, mother nature etc.] actually became "the mother of all living" in the first death - Gen.3:20. The "bride", "New Jerusalem'', has become the mother of all who are now being saved out of the first death and entering into true eternal life.
The whole of mankind [the FIRST Adam] is first individually born into an ordained spiritual death wherein he ends up physically dying because of this FIRST imputed death - Ro. 5:12; Eph.2:1; Psa. 51:5; Ecc.3:1,2. Though the Bible does not use the phrase "first death", we know there is such a thing because it clearly reveals there is a "second death." Rev. 20:14.
Another Death - A Final Judgment
The second death also know as "the lake of fire", is contrary to popular Christian theology, nothing more than a divine judgment of Spiritual fire (Heb.12:29) a divine remedial operation designed of God to bring a second & final death to every aspect of the first death in the souls of men.. replacing this death with His eternal life.
It is not God's purpose to burn men or destroy men forever. Rather, His purpose is synonymous with His original intent in creation & with His perfect love; and that is to ultimately judge, destroy & swallow up all sin & death so that the fullness of His life might be in all He has created - 1Cor.15:20-28; Eph.1:10, 23. Only then shall divine justice be wholly satisfied.
This FIRST judgment of spiritual death which continues to befall mankind in a separation from complete union & Life in God, is allowed & purposed of God as part of His ways & means to bring man to the ultimate knowledge, realization, & experience of what the highest & most perfect form of life is--namely, that which is incorruptible, immortal & eternal in the glorious image of God.
As we have stated, in his original earthly makeup, Adam had not the Godlike qualities of immortality & incorruption. Death is actually God's somber witness to all the beauty & greatness of life! In God's plan, and according to divine principles & laws that He set in motion, it is a necessary prerequisite for life (Jn.12:24; 1Cor.15:36-46), just as unbelief is first necessary in order to believe & a loss is first necessary in order to be saved. God purposed all these things in order that His creation might attain to & express His qualities of love & mercy... that they eventually might be shared & expressed in & through all His creation - Ro.11:32.
The mind of mankind has gone into an EXILE of death away from the holy Spirit. Now in Christ through the grace of God alone, it is experiencing an EXODUS back towards the reality of the life of Christ's Spirit. He that is joined again unto the Lord is becoming ONE SPIRIT, even ONE UNITED BODY in Him -1Cor.6:17; Eph. 4:12; 1Cor.12:12-14. Now, THE LORD WHO IS OUR LIFE, takes on the task & responsibility of the judgment, even the irradication of all evil. The methods & processes of humanity's salvation from out of sin and death are entirely in God's hands. This is His merciful, righteous & just act of graceful acquittal. In a sense, it is a form of divine apology for what mankind has been subjected to endure as a result of his God appointed birth into sin & death.
The gradual realization of the values of eternal life compared to the vanities in death come through the quickened word of God and through the types & forms of death man suffers & experiences. The effects of all this tend to begin a work in man of another type of death. Only this death is as different as the number "one" is from the number "two".
A Second Death...A Second Birth
This SECOND DEATH, the operation that becomes ours to experience beginning in a SECOND BIRTH (Jn.3:3), comes to us through reception of the freely imparted Spirit which has come out of death, resurrection & the faith of Jesus Christ. This life giving death, has the absolute power to deliver one from sorrow to joy, from unrest to peace, from profanity to holiness, & from the unrighteous love of self & the world-into the righteous perfected characteristics of the love of God.
A Second Death - A Second & Final Judgment
The death of which we now speak is in part, a SECOND & LAST DEATH, A SECOND & FINAL JUDGMENT. It involves death to sin & self, brought on through a dying daily in loving not our own life unto its extinction. Therein, the old nature is being put to death & the new one increasing & maturing in life -Jn.3:30, This operation also involves a baptism of fire to operate in ones life. In all of this can be found a revelation of "the SECOND DEATH."Rev.20:l4. It is God's SECOND & LAST judgment; a merciful and positive judgment designed to destroy the FIRST death in its entirety. It is not a judgment against us! Rather, it is a just tribunal for us.
Thetrue understanding of this can keep one In perfect peace regardless of their circumstances. The word of God is likened unto FIRE (Jer.5:14; 23:29) which in the natural world can be used in either positive or negative applications. So can the operations of the Spirit t of God's word--especially those which speak of divine JUDGMENT - Isa.66: 15,15; Heb.10:27.
From His birth right On through to His death at Calvary, Christ took upon Himself all that was involved in the realm of the FIRST death; overcoming it in His obedient righteousness & destroying its former dominion & power over the FIRST Adamic creation. Now we find Christ by His Spirit of consuming fire, divinely working IN His chosen body both to will & do of His good pleasure, judging, condemning all that is of the FIRST [Adam] death that it might come to nought. Fire is symbolic of God's Spirit and life giving word in numerous biblical passages.
This baptism of fire not only can be seen as a just, retributive act to nullify the FIRST judgment but also as a cross, a cup of suffering, a method of God's sovereign work & design to produce faith & long-suffering & all fruits of the spirit. It is something positive we should glory in, not something to be despised. Whatever crosses we might have to bear, whatever fires we have to endure are always in the perfect will of God.
Jesus said, I am come to send FIRE on [in] the earth." Lk.12:49. Yet this fire must first do a work in a FIRSTFRUIT people of the body of Christ who when purified by it, then will minister it to others-Psa.104:4; Heb.1:7. This is the beginning of the purging and purifying operations of the SECOND death--that spiritual lake of fire wherein one must be baptized.
More specifically,"the baptism of fire" & "the lake of fire'' are immersions of the same Spirit but are a different operation in different time frames. The Spirit of Christ not only desires to come into many peoples lives to baptize them now with the holy Ghost, but also with "unquenchable FIRE" (Jn.3:11); a fire ordained to burn up that which is chaff surrounding the wheat '[Christ nature] within - Matt.3:12.
"EVERYONE shall be salted with FIRE "(Mk.9:49) in due time & in one form or another. This purging, cleansing, all CONSUMING FIRE of God's holy Spirit [Heb.12:29; Da.7:9,10] contains a portion of fire called "the SECOND death", which in its FINAL operation is ordained to "burn", "consume "swallow up'', do away with, annihilate, put out of existence the dark covering powers [chaff, veil] of the FIRST death which have their interim part only in the fallen first Adamic nature of mankind. The power released in the life giving blood through Christ's death on the cross is the beginning of all incorruptible life to come -1Cor.1:18. In the end, all that is mortal & corruptible in the FIRST death is CONSUMED BY THE INCORRUPTIBLE LIFE OF THE SECOND. Resurrection is a progressive spiritual work that will ultimately terminate in a form of bodily manifestation.
It is most ironical to see, that by death, & through death, God has purposed to destroy him that has for a period of time & to a measured degree, been allotted the usage of the power of death -Heb.2:14. In all of this, our "God of gods" (Psa.146:2) retains absolute sovereign control, both in & over all existing powers -Jb.1:12, 2:6; 1Chr.29:11; Matt.28:18.
"His mighty power" (Eph.1:19) is "far above ALL principality, & power, & might & dominion", "angels & authorities & powers being made subject unto Him." 1Ptr. 3:22; 1Cor.15:24-26. All powers of life or of death ''belongeth unto God."Psa.62:11. Therefore, He who has the "keys of hell & of death" (Rev.1:18) "is able to subdue even ALL THINGS unto Himself." Phil.3:21. In the exceeding great working of His resurrection power, He has purposed to "change our vile body, that it may be FASHIONED LIKE UNTO HIS GLORIOUS BODY." Phil.3:21. The great "author & finisher'' of this work cannot in any way fail - Phil.1:6; Eph.4:30.
The process of resurrection includes the kind of "judgment" which begins both at & in "the house of God." 1Ptr.4:17. Here is where the works of the flesh & the devil are now being destroyed -1Jn.3:8. It begins in man's initial salvation. As men hear the voice of the Lord & begin rising out of their grave of death [even the carnality of their minds], they begin advancing towards the fulness of resurrection life - Jn.5:28,29; Phil.3:l0,11 - Amplif. This includes the redemption of their bodies - Ro.8:23. In the "fulness of times'' (Eph.1:10) the efficacy of the cross & its exceeding great power will have consummated its grand purpose in all of creation.
For now, the "FIRST DEATH'' laws & principles remain as the state of judgment wherein abides the results of sin. Therein, the dead continue to bury their dead - Matt.8:22; 1Tim. 5:6. A close study of "sin" & "death" reveal they are as inseparable as "soul" & "spirit". They are bound in a spiritual unity of unrighteousness, in much the same capacity as love & new-birth life are inseparable in righteousness. As long as there remains unrighteousness, there also will remain God's righteous judgment to sentence, separate, & finally destroy it. This process can be painful to say the least.
For the believer, the PENALTY OF SIN [spiritual death] has been justly negated by the substitutionary death & resurrection of Christ, but the experiential trying, testing, purging, cleansing in the destroying of the POWER OF SIN & its allies must also take place in us. This, of design & necessity also involves "chastisement" as a part of this judgment process toward the correction of sin & iniquity in willing & repentant hearts. All who refuse to die to "self" in allowing Christ's nature to rule in their present lives, surely will suffer loss in coming glory. Not loss of the beginning of their salvation & redemption process, but loss of the spiritually beneficial rewards & portion of inheritance that most assuredly would have been theirs in the not too distant future.
Have we been saying between the lines, that Christians will have a part In the lake of fire? Yes beloved, that's what God's word the Bible says! But remember, the only purpose of this "Gehenna" fire is for the purpose of gradually destroying the Adamic body of the earthy, soulish nature - Matt.10:28; Lk.12:15. Notice the words "ANY MAN." "If ANY MAN'S work shall be burned he shall suffer loss, but HE HIMSELF SHALL RE SAVED YET SO AS BY FIRE." 1Cor.3:15.
"If ANY MAN worship the beast [self; flesh & its works; humanism] & his image [of idolatry, even that which he has created in this world through his own beastly mind] & receive his mark [imprint, nature] IN his forehead or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God...& he shall be tormented with FIRE and with BRIMSTONE [compare Rev.21:8; Matt.25:41] IN THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY ANGELS, & IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LAMB." Rev.14:10. Yes, all this in the presence of His holy fire of salvation!
Again we are told, "If ANY MAN" [believer or not] shall add or take away from the prophecy of the BIBLE, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written there in & he shall not yet take his place of servitude in the overcomers book of Life & in the ministering life of the holy city - Rev. 22:18,19. The "lake of fire" which still burns without the walls of the city in the presence of the yet soulish & unperfected "nations of them which are saved'' (Rev.21:24), is a final operation of God's dealings in purging & destroying the remaining death & hell in the rest of humanity, & consequently the entire creation. Only "He THAT OVERCOMETH [victoriously, the sin & separation of the FIRST death & has a part in the FIRST resurrection] shall not be hurt of the SECOND death'' (Rev. 2:11), but rather shall be delivered & prepared for the Masters good use through death.
The State Of Heaven
I have struggled with this question.."If the present heaven is a state of absolute & ultimate perfection--why the need for a new heaven? Is it for the same reason as there is a need for a new order in the earth? We believe that which the holy Spirit is conveying here contains sane answers. Presently, Satan, in like figure to the carnal mind, still has a prevailing (Dan.7:21) place of operation in the allotted heavens (Rev.12:1-10; Lk.10:8) ,similar in some aspects to Old Testament days -Jb. chptr. 2. In the beginning he even had a rightful place in the Edonic estate!
Both the physiological & psychological creations of man are revealed in the biblical allegories & parables contained in the first two chapters of Genesis. It was God alone who created the first creation after the manner & state in which we find it - Gen. chptr. 1 & 2. And it is God alone who recreates & makes all things new - 2Cor.5:17,18; Rev.21:5.
In the process of renewal, there is now a fierce spiritual warfare raging around the "holy of holies", the "heaven of heavens", the only presently totally sanctified part of the three-fold heavenly tabernacle [likened even unto our human makeup of spirit, soul & body] wherein dwells Christ. That which is presently unsanctified rejects & resists the Spirit of God's will, yet regardless of this sovereign will does continue to work in man to do of God's good pleasure - Phil.2:13. According to the God ordained "law of sin & death" (Ro.8:2) which yet remaineth as a very present power in the first creation earth, the spirit of Satan & the carnal mind have a God given right to yet prevail in that area of our human makeup which remains earthy, fleshly, corruptible, sensual, soulish & devilish.
We who are now becoming Christ's, "LIVE in the Spirit" (Ro.8:9), but that does not necessarily mean that we are always WALKING in the Spirit - Gal.5:25. Only as we learn to walk in the will of the Spirit are we at times "LED by the Spirit" (Ro.8:14) & are not subject under any negative spiritual law governing the realms of death, but only subject to "the law of faith'' (Ro.3:27) & the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus."Ro.8:2; Gal.5:16-26. Thus Satan & all that he represents, is yet allowed of God to operate his allotted power, in and through the workings of the FIRST death --working in that portion of the mind & soul [our first heavens] which remain captive to the presently ordained "law of sin & death.''
Yet now by the Spirit, we see God Himself, graciously and omnisciently using this same power of death as a necessary preliminary progenitor of true life (Jn.12:24; 1Cor.15:36) bearing duality's. This comes slowly about through the trials, testings, purgings, tribulations & affliction of the same spiritual portion of fire that burns as the SECOND death. The unquenchable fire will burn in whatever form God decrees necessary until the corruptible elements in the heavens [even the unclean fleshly & soulish elements in men's souls] which soulish elements now do perish as the heavens, in purifying & cleansing fire (2Ptr.3:9-13), & are CHANGED (Heb.1:10-12) from "glory to glory" into that final perfection which shall have its part of/in the NEW HEAVEN & NEW EARTH - Rev. chptr. 21.
Though the tradition of man would seek to negate and wrest this hard to be understood truth unto their own destruction & hurt, this that we are seeing has been written to us in the epistles of Paul, though it be veiled behind the "letter" of the word - 2Ptr.3:15-17. Tradition has led us to believe that the state of heaven is totally incorruptible & that nothing that defiles can enter in. But in reality of spiritual truth, this is so...only where one is dwelling permanently within the Lordship of the power & authority of the kingdom of God, "the Holiest [realm] of all." Heb.9:3.
When the FIRST Adam man was originally lowered from the realm of pure spirit existence [Ro.11:36], & God formed his physical body & makeup from the dust of the ground whereby he became a living soul [a whole and complete earthly being], he was already in the state of being a corruptible mortal. He was made to lack the qualities of perfection which accompany incorruption. As a consequence, sin & death entered in. It was inevitable! Man was to need a Saviour!
If we are right now seated with Christ in "heavenly places" (Eph.2:6) [note: we are all in different places], & "our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven" (Phil.3:21) & yet: we are still subject to corruption---will it be so different when one dies? When the Christian dies, it is generally believed by many, that his eternal soul & spirit, as long as it is "saved", simply passes out of the death state of this FIRST corruptible earth & on into the state of an incorruptible, perfected faultless place of bliss. It is thought that he immediately passes out of a corruptible body into that state of spirit described as "a just man MADE PERFECT." Heb. 12:23.
The "rapture" doctrine of instant perfection has grown out of this belief. Oh that it would he that easy. We fail to see it is that simple. Just for a start, study the parables relating to the kingdom of heaven & see if they truly relate to an instant state of perfection.
Incorruption & Immortality
Beloved, we MUST [it is imperative to earnestly desire to be] CLOTHED UPON NOW that all mortality might be swallowed up of life -2 Cor.5:3. The finality of this is not a gracious gift! Unlike the gift of initial salvation, we must be found WORTHY - 2Ths.1:5,11; Matt.10:37, 38; Rev.3:4 etc. Make a concordance study of this word if possible. Do not the scriptures clearly state that it is here & now that we best begin to live holy in working out our salvation, wherein "this corruptible MUST PUT ON INCORRUPTION & this mortal [mortal always pertains to the body] MUST PUT ON IMMORTALITY." 1Cor.15:53.
We insert here for clarification that the human "spirit" created in the image of God is eternal & everlasting, in the sense of conscious existence & does continue to EXIST in either death [the self], or life [Christ..who is our real life]. Yet it is also true the spiritual soul of the inner man is subject to corruptible death & to CHANGE as is the body, & therefore in this sense it is neither eternal, immortal or incorruptible. We are seeing then, that IMMORTALITY is the PERMANENT CHRIST LIFE of the human spirit IN INCORRUPTIBLE & IMMORTAL FLESH ---A CHANGED & GLORIFIED FLESH [like unto Christ - Phil.3:21], no longer subject to death in any form.
"Immortality" is the fulness of resurrected life in Christ--for only in Christ's incorruption is there immortality - 1Tim.6:16. "When Christ WHO IS OUR LIFE shall appear, THEN shall YE ALSO APPEAR with Him in glory." Col. 3:4. Christ, as the FIRSTfruit, has first abolished the dominion of death in )Himself & is abolishing this first & last enemy in His creation (1Cor.15:26), in the divine process of bringing life & immortality to light as a truth for all to see and experience through the gospel - 2Tim.1:10. All that is of the FIRST ORDER of creation including body &: soul, is mortal in that it is subject to die & pass away. Therein that process, is found the real truth of eternal death or annihilation!
INCORRUPTION is a duality of eternal life, which life itself, is a blessed gift of duality more than it is a duration (Jn.17:3; 1Tim.6:19) of the spirit, soul and body-- whereby no part of man's makeup is any longer subject to the corruption of spiritual death. So that when this corruptible SHALL HAVE PUT ON incorruption & the mortal SHALL HAVE PUT ON immortality [only] "THEN WHEN THIS ONGOING PROCESS IS COMPLETED--not at death of the body, BUT UPON RESURRETION-1Cor.15:52] shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory.'' 1Cor. 15:53, 54; Isa.25:8. "The sting of death" (1Cor.15:56), even "the strength of Egypt"(Ezk.30:15) which is corrupting sin, MUST BE PUT OFF NOW, "not that we would be unclothed, BUT CLOTHED UPON, THAT MORTALITY MlGHT BE SWALLOWED UP OF LIFE." 2Cor.5:4. This will take place in this life - in those who choose to "walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit." Ro.8:4.
A redeemed man's life is the life of Christ that is able to be revealed in full glory of resurrection life - Co1.3:4; 1Jn.3:2. His true life, at least the manifest reality of it, is yet for the most part "hid with Christ in God" (Col.3:3) until it becomes fully manifest through a many membered body - Ro.8:29. Until that which is perfect is come, let not covetousness or any thing, which is not convenient be named among you as becometh saints, for because of the works of the flesh comes THE WRATH OF GOD) upon the children of disobedience - Eph.5:3-6. We brethren, are the children of disobedience if we partake of these things! Eph.5:7.
Mystery Of Resurrection
"Behold, I shew you a mystery...for the trumpet shall sound [the 3rd & last trump--as the whole temple is completed--first individually, & later corporately - 2Chr.5:12; Ac.1:15 for type], & the dead [those asleep--body only--in Jesus, still not perfected in soul & body] shall be raised INCORRUPTIBLE & WE SHALL BE CHANGED." 1Cor.15: 52; Ro.8:10. We shall enter into "an INHERITANCE INCORRUPTIBLE.'' 1Ptr.1:4. Only THEN, upon its completed resurrection in the earth, shall the soul no longer be a harbored of corruption, but shall bring the fullness of delight to the Father. The mortal body also, shall henceforth be no longer subject to mortality. Only THEN SHALL THIS FULLNESS OF PERFECTION BE, & not before.
Until that time, these "overcomers" who dwelt in the earth, are now in the heavens, their spirits made perfect & righteous as in all the redeemed, but their personal souls are not yet to he considered perfect without [apart from] those who are still alive & found worthy to be changed on earth (Heb.11:40) in the time of the FIRST RESURRECTION - 1Ths. 4:17.
The pattern of the FIRST resurrection may well follow that of Christ's death, resurrection and ASCENSION. The first RESURRECTION is in type to His rising from the grave of all worthy ones in the MORNING, & the ASCENSION in the EVENING in type to those who are alive & remain even as they are "caught up" & changed.
For more detail, see our booklet entitled "When He Ascended''. It is very possible that the resurrection scriptures have both primary & secondary fulfillment's in the order of the two major resurrections.
Purified By The Blood
Spiritual cleansing is a part of the heavenly order as well as the earthly, for God's will concerning the cleansing of His people is being "done in earth as it is in heaven." Matt.6:10. Earthly ministers serve unto the EXAMPLE & SHADOW OF HEAVENLY THINGS (Heb.8:4) & the original three part tabernacle of the "worldly sanctuary"(Heb.9:1) in the wilderness, typified that which Is a reality in heaven. Men's souls on earth are no longer being purged by the sacrificial offerings of the natural blood of bulls & goats, but NOW IN THE REALITIES OF THIS IN THE HEAVENLY PATTERN, ARE BEING: PURIFIED by the precious blood of Christ - Heb. 9:23, 24; 8:5.
The Spirit of His incorruptible eternal life is in His blood. Now, in this life, it is our reasonable service to offer our total life as a "free will offering" (Ezra 3:5), as "a spiritual sacrifice''(1Ptr.2:5) that we might become a burnt "sin offering'' (Ezk.44:27) in daily death to self, allowing the blood [Spirit] of Jesus Christ not only to FORGIVE us of our daily sin but applying it in the fire to CLEANSE us from all unrighteousness causing our sin - 1Jn.1:9.
All of the spiritual House of Israel who refuse Christ's total Lordship in their lives & fall into that realm of "workers of iniquity" (Matt.7:23), surely "will die in their [remaining] sin" & iniquity (Ezk.3:20; 18: 20, 24), forgiven but not yet able to be cleansed (Heb.10:26), & will have their part in righteous "aionian" chastening, pruning, cleansing & correction - Matt. 25: 46. Their part or portion in the cleansing of the hellish death that yet remains to be destroyed, will be in "the lake of fire." Rev.21:14.
Is it not "a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity''? (Jb.31:3; Psa.125:5), even they who shall be judged accordingly as believers yet also as unclean servants - Lk.12:45-48; Ezk.18:30; Habk.1:12. Surely the assurance of a JUST & RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT has been given to ALL MEN (Ac.17:31) through Christ's resurrection, & is necessarily a judgment that will be different than for those sinners who have yet never been given the gift of faith to effect even the beginnings of their salvation.
Judging Ourselves Now
With reference to servants as well as sinners, it is sufficiently evident that "some men's sins are open beforehand, going BEFORE TO JUDGMENT: & some men THEY FOLLOW AFTER'' (1Tim.5:24), but in one way or another it is sure that "we shall ALL stand before the judgment seat of Christ." Ro.14:10. There is an example of this in.. "whosoever [Christian or not] is angry at his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment of hell-fire [Gehenna]" & "the tormentors."
Study carefully all three relative accounts found in Matt.5:22-26; 18:23-25 & Lk.12:58-59. But, "if we judge ourselves [now recognizing our sin & iniquity & allowing the holy Spirit. to deal with it accordingly]; we should not be judged" for it later, even after natural death - 1Cor.11:30.
We can choose to be purged & learn from our chastening NOW, becoming a vessel used unto true honour in the earth--or we can operate in the outer court realm of "he that is least" (Matt.11:11) in heaven, serving as a vessel of dishonour in the earth. These who remain so here will enter the heavens & remain so there bearing their unpurged iniquity, shame & abominations (Ezk.44:9-14; 2Tim. 1:20, 21) UNTIL THE LORD COME to every man in His own order.
In the process of judgment, the Lord shall bring to light the hidden things of darkness yet abiding in the soul, making manifest the counsels of every man's heart - 1Cor.4:5; Jb.28:3; Eccl.12:14. "He that hath begun a good work in you WILL PERFORM IT [this salvation; progressive deliverance] UNTIL THE DAY OF JESUS CHRIST [your new bodily resurrection]." Phil.1:6; 2Cor.4:14. "Faithful is He that calleth you, who also WILL DO IT." 1Ths. 5:24; 1Cor.1:8, 9. It is up to you. Will it be sooner or later?
''Behold, [God] puts no trust in His holy ones [the angels]; INDEED THE HEAVENS ARE NOT CLEAN IN HIS SIGHT." Jb. 15:5 [Amplif. version]. The strange workings of death are still prevailing in the minds of men. Scripture further indicates & confirms that there are yet "things IN HEAVENS' [incl. all heavens, or "heavenly places" of principalities & powers, good or evil - Eph.3:9-11] as well as in earth which are YET TO RE RECONCILED - Col.1:20. These things are a part of the FIRST HEAVEN & FIRST EARTH - Rev. 21:1. There are "things which offend" which are yet to be cast OUT OF THE PRESENT KINGDOM (Matt.13:41)--in order that Christ might finally gather together into unity, oneness, & fulness of His spirit, ALL THINGS which ARE [already] IN HEAVEN & which are on earth, even including those now "in Him." Eph.1:10
Notice that even now IN HEAVEN as well as IN EARTH & under the earth, there yet remaineth knees to bow in total willing subjection & submission unto the glory of Christ's Lordship in their lives - Phil. 2:10. As yet, those in the heavens & in the earth, either consciously or subconsciously, are part of "ALL CREATION... waiting & longing to see" [Weymouth trans.] their manifestation as a glorified creature of God - Ro.8:19.
Death Is Not Eternal
We have been exploring rather deeply, the judgments of death & some of the things this entails, & have seen that the FIRST DEATH is not an eternal state - 1Cor.15:26, 54. It is actually self destructive whereas true life is self perpetuating. The FIRST DEATH is well able to be "destroyed", "swallowed up" & "consumed" of the operation of the SECOND DEATH, which like a planted seed, brings forth a newness of life. Therein, "there SHALL BE NO MORE DEATH...when the former things [of sin that caused death, & accompanying things such as pain, sorrow and suffering] ARE PASSED AWAY." Rev.21:4.
After it has done its ordained work, the FIRST death which abides in the still present FIRST heaven & FIRST earth of the FIRST man Adam, obviously cannot be "eternal"--as is the meaning of our English word. We have shown how that it is cast into (Rev.20:14), or merged into, the unquenchable flames & workings of that SECOND death which for a time, still has a part even in the NEW [SECOND] heaven & the NEW [SECOND] earth.
There, that portion which remains of the FIRST death is progressively swallowed up of the resulting Life in the divine operation of that purifying Spirit of the SECOND death. Paul realized It was possible to overcame the FIRST death through sharing in the power of the FIRST resurrection becoming a FIRSTFRUIT with Jesus Christ - Phil.3:10,11.
All shall eventually be submerged, only to rise into immortality from the lake [the place of the Spirit] of God's all consuming fire--which mysterious fire contains the cleansing spiritual antiseptic of His divine brimstone. All in death that was a part of the FIRST MAN Adam must be consumed by that same Spirit that eventually becomes the all of the SECOND & LAST man Adam--the completed body and bride of Christ.
The FIRST death may prevail for a season but it is ultimately powerless to the overwhelming dominion of the life & love of God -S.S.8:6. The raging sea of humanity shall become as calm & peaceful as a sea of glass (Rev.15:2) as the Lord's Spirit of all consuming fire increasingly mingles with the spirits & souls of all men everywhere - Isa.60:5
This interim grip of death, cannot hold back God's precious love which is found wholly in the sovereign fulfillment of the giving of Himself unto all men in manifested deed & truth - 1Jn.3:18. The Lord's omnipotent efficacy shall be manifestly accomplished, completed, made evident & testified in due time - 1Tim.2:6. The FIRST death is powerless to hold forever those whom God loves [all men], apart from Himself - Ro.8:38; 5:19-21.
ALL whom the Father gave unto Christ to die & rise again for, shall eventually come to Him & will be raised up into His life at the LAST day - Jn. 6:37-45; 12:32. The Father will be glorified [Jn.17:1; Phil.2:11], for He has given His Son all "power OVER ALL FLESH that He should give eternal life to AS MANY AS THOU [the Father] hast given Him." Jn.17:2.
The goodness of God's mercy & love shall triumph victoriously over all evil, spoiling its house & finally eliminating all forms & powers of sin, iniquity & its consequent wages of death from the universe. Even now, the strong man of God's house has been bound & this carnal man's goods are being destroyed - Mk.3:27; Heb.2:14 The victory is His & soon shall be realized as ours also - Heb.2:8.
The Lord has purposed to sovereignly seek out wickedness & destroy it until He finds no more - Isa.10:15. Even now, He washes away filth by "the Spirit of judgment & the Spirit of burning." Isa.4:4. He does this not to harm you but only "to consume the filthiness out Of thee" (Ezk.22:15), burning up the fuel of wickedness with fire (Isa.9:18,19) & bringing forth "beauty for ashes." Isa.61:3.
Vessels Of Honour
Now, both in the heavens & in the earth, there are some vessels of honour & some vessels of dishonor abiding in the Lord's great "household of faith." "In a great house there are not only vessels of gold & of sliver, but also of wood & of earth; & same to honour & some to dishonour.'' 2Tlm. 2:20. "If a man therefore PURGE HIMSELF from these [iniquities-vs.19], he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, & meet for the Master's use, & prepared unto every good work." 2Tim.2:21.
The Lord is presently building His temple with spiritual gold, sliver & precious stones only, but man is adding to it his own wood, hay & stubble. Let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. God is looking only for quality & not for quantity at present. Only the gold, silver and precious stones will stand the heat of the melting, purging fire. Only the righteous fruit will abide & ripen -Jn.15:6. The others are works which will not stand nor survive the majestic fire that continuously burns to ultimately consume all that is in the bondage & corruption of the first death - 1Cor.3:11-15.
The vessels of dishonour are those in Rev.22:15; the experientially unclean redeemed--the outer court multitudes that will make up the nations of them who will walk by the inner light [truth] of the cleansed, sanctified and holy city - Rev.21:24. In the beginning of the new heavenly & earthly state, only vessels of honour will he able to minister as useful part of the very heart & throne of the city & temple in anointed priesthood & governmental dominion.
"Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have a right to the tree of life & may enter in through the gates into the city.'' Rev.22:14. "Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord", even "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus." Ro.8:2. "Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, & seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in His ways.'' Psa.119:1-3.
These are they that are worthy to inherit this perfected kingdom of God - Lk.22:28-30. They shall rule & reign in the temple of God as integral parts of that temple & city - Rev.3:12; 22:4. They alone, are also the ones who shall rule & reign in the divine authority of Christ on the earth for a thousand years, having become incorruptible & immortal manifested sons, even kings & priests in the power of the first corporate resurrection - Rev.20:5, 6; 5:10.
Only those that have overcome even as He also overcame--those that have fully partook of the same cup of suffering that He drank & have been washed & matured through water & fire in this life--will have a right to sit on the thrones (Rev.3:21; 2:26-28), to enter into the full rest & authority of their Lord & King - Heb.chptr.4. These are His servants who through fire, become as a "flaming fire" Psa.104:4; 2Ths.1:8. As to the remainder of the church, the bride, it shall also be given unto everyone according to their works - Rev. 2:23; Jer.17:10; Psa.62:12.
For the present, "It is a faithful saying: For if we be DEAD WITH HIM, we shall also LIVE WITH HIM: If we suffer [enduring & overcoming], we shall also REIGN WITH HIM: if we deny Him, He also will deny us [this reward]; If we believe [trust] not, yet He abideth faithful [even to do a further perfecting in us]: He cannot deny Himself." 2Tim.2:11-13. Beloved, 'WHO AMONG US SHALL DWELL WITH THE DEVOURING FIRE?" Isa.33:10-17.
"I AM the RESURRECTION and the LIFE.."Jn.11:25
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K. Ross McKay