THE NEW CREATION AND THE RESURRECTION
Copyright © 1998 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The Kingdom of God is an inner rule of God. God dwells only in Christ. Christ dwells only in the new creation that has come into being from His body and blood. Christ abides in the new man of the heart, not in the adamic nature. The new creation is the Kingdom of God, the Temple of God. The new creation is the resurrection from the dead. The person in whom the new creation has been established will worship and serve God to the ages of ages, a world without end.
How does the present condition of our spiritual life affect our resurrection from the dead?
This question and questions related to it are of the greatest importance to the Christian believers. They are of importance to the other people of the world as well, because every individual who has lived on the earth will be called from the grave by the voice of Christ.
Our present life is temporary, and we understand from the Scriptures that the age in which we are living is soon to be discarded in favor of the superior, eternal ages that are at hand. What will we be facing when we awaken from the sleep of death?
“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice
“and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. (John 5:28,29)
All of us ought to give more serious attention to the resurrection from the dead. No man knows whether he will be alive tomorrow. Of one fact we all can be certain: there shall come an hour in which each of us will be raised from the dead. What happens to us after that will be based on what we have done while living in the world.
The importance of the resurrection to our salvation in Jesus is revealed in the following words:
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. (I Corinthians 15:19)
The way the Gospel is preached today, one would suppose that even if our hope in Christ were confined to the present life we still would be happier than people without Christ.
But this is not what the Word of God states. The Word of God claims that if our hope in Christ is limited to the present life, and there is no resurrection from the dead, we are the most miserable of people.
Why would Paul state such a concept when today we perceive the opposite? The difference arises because the Gospel of the Kingdom was preached originally as a hope for the future. The present world was considered to be the “present distress.” The disciple endured every sort of hardship and suffering that he might attain a better resurrection.
Women received their dead raised to life again. And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. (Hebrews 11:35)
Two false doctrines have obscured the true doctrine of the resurrection from the dead. The first is the “pre-tribulation-rapture” error that stresses in an unscriptural manner the catching up of the believers, steering our faith away from the all-important doctrine of the resurrection.
The second is the current stress on prosperity and pleasure. Christ is portrayed as the One who removes every trouble from us so we may enjoy our present life without suffering, and then be caught up in a “rapture” to prevent future suffering.
The contemporary emphases are error. The true Gospel includes the stern enduring of hardships as the Holy Spirit molds our character, and also the unequaled hope of being resurrected in the Glory of Divine Righteousness and Life when the Lord appears.
Paul’s few words concerning the ascension were for the purpose of comforting saints who were grieving over their departed loved ones. His teaching of the ascension had nothing whatever to do with the saints escaping the great tribulation or any other distress and was never presented as the hope of the Christian salvation.
The order of the resurrection from the dead is as follows:
- First, Christ.
- Second, those who belong to Christ at his coming.
- Third, the delivering up of the Kingdom to God the Father.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.
Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. (I Corinthians 15:22-24)
Now, let us focus on what is involved in the raising of human beings from the dead.
The first and most important fact we must consider is that the race of Adam will not be brought forward into the new age, into the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. This is why we must be born a second time. Flesh and blood will not be saved and brought into the Kingdom of God. The Christian redemption is not a saving of what we are but a re-creation of what we are. The entire adamic race died on the cross.
When God brought forth Adam and Eve from the dust of the ground He created a new race of creatures—the race of mankind.
However, the father and mother of the race immediately rebelled against God. Since there were no other human beings created at that time, the human race died as far as God’s Life is concerned. Every one of Adam’s descendants died in Adam.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. (I Corinthians 15:22)
“For as in Adam all die.”
Our water baptism is an act of obedience to God demonstrating that we recognize the first creation is dead because of rebellion and sin and we therefore are assigning our whole personality to the cross, to the place of judgment, with Christ. Our first, rebellious personality is to be crucified. It will not be saved. It is dead because of sin. We ourselves will be saved, but only as the member of a new race that has been created in Christ.
knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. (Romans 6:6)
“Our old man was crucified with him.”
Notice, in the above verse, that it is not just the body of sin but the whole “old man” (our entire adamic personality) that is to be counted as crucified with Jesus. By crucifying the old man, the adamic personality, God is able to get at the body of sin in us and destroy it. The body of sin consists of the worldliness, the lusts, and the rebellious self-will that dwell in our personality.
When the body of sin has been destroyed we shall serve sin no longer. By this we know that God’s new race is not one in which righteousness is imputed (ascribed) to the members because Christ is righteous. The new race is righteous because the members themselves, being filled with Christ’s virtue, no longer are serving sin but are obeying the Divine laws of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God.
The adamic race is a marvelous creation. All we love, know, experience, feel, remember, treasure, is bound up in what we are—in our flesh and blood personality.
It is interesting that God would go to the trouble to create a race and then just as quickly condemn it to death.
God knows what He is doing. God never intended that man should remain an animal creation. The animal creation was necessary in order to provide a starting point for the eternal spiritual creation that God has in mind.
The animal creation always was viewed by the Lord as a temporary work, as a garment that is to be discarded once it has served its purpose.
They will perish, but you remain; and they will all grow old like a garment;
Like a cloak you will fold them up, and they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will not fail.” (Hebrews 1:11,12)
Why would God have a temporary race and a temporary age prior to the true, eternal race and age that always have been in God’s mind?
One reason is, as we have stated, to provide a starting point for the eternal spiritual creation. The physical world provides a material stock on which God can graft the eternal bud (Christ).
A second reason for the temporary race and age is to furnish an arena in which the members of the eternal race can be tested before they are entrusted with the wealth of the Kingdom. We make our mistakes now, and because of the blood of Jesus we are not cut off from God. We can repent, learn our lesson, and press forward.
A third reason is to draw out into the open for all to see, the nature of Satan and his angels and the product of their works. The ugly, tragic, nightmarish history of Adam’s descendants on the earth is playing out in the sight of God’s creatures the folly of rebellion against the Father.
Man has been made “a little lower than the angels” until God has created His Kingdom in him. However, man is destined eventually to reign over all the works of God’s hands, including the angels; but not while he still is of the old adamic race, of the animal creation.
When God begins to move us from Adam to Christ, from what is temporary to what is eternal, we suffer pain. A sword pierces our heart.
The life of the human consists of relationships. The adamic relationships are temporary and sometimes idolatrous. The relationships of the new age are eternal and holy—we shall be one as the Son and the Father are one.
As God begins to deal with our temporary relationships, breaking the hold they have on us, we experience the pangs of death. Rachel, the beloved, must die on the road to Bethlehem.
So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). (Genesis 35:19)
As we proceed toward Bethlehem, toward the place of the birth of Christ, our human nature and relationships must die and be replaced by the new creation and eternal relationships. This is so difficult at times!
Adam must die, be raised from the dead, and then be judged. Adam will not be brought forward into the new age. Adam never shall be saved.
The new creation that is being formed in us will never die. It never will die because, having been born of God, it does not sin. The new creation will not die and then be raised to judgment, as is the case with Adam. The new creation is without condemnation before God and is the heir of the new age of righteousness.
Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. (I John 3:9)
The Lord Jesus revealed the existence of the two races, referring to the race of Adam as “the children [sons] of this world,” and to the new race as “the children [sons] of the resurrection”:
And Jesus answered and said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage.
“But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage;
“nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. (Luke 20:34-36)
Do you see how the Lord with one stroke doomed the race of Adam?
Marriage is one of the major aspects of the race of mankind. From marriage flow most of the relationships that we enjoy. Under normal circumstances these relationships are the main source of our joy, our motivation, and our sorrow. When marriage has been removed the nature of the race of mankind has been changed radically.
Some members of Adam’s race will be counted worthy of the new age and will be re-created as part of the Kingdom of God. This is what it means to be saved. Other members of Adam’s race will not be counted worthy of the new age, of transformation to life. They will be cast into the Lake of Fire in their bodies. This is what it means to be lost.
Our worthiness is based on the manner in which we have responded to what we understand to be of God, our honesty, our purity. Of special importance is the sincerity with which we have received Christ; and, having received Him, the faithfulness with which we serve Him. Numerous individuals “accept Christ” and then do not serve Him. They are not worthy of the Kingdom of God.
The New Testament writings have much to say about the necessity for being found worthy of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 10:37; Ephesians 4:1; Colossians 1:10; I Thessalonians 2:12; II Thessalonians 1:5,11; Revelation 3:4).
The sons of the resurrection cannot die. They are the members of an eternal race. They are equal to the angels in glory, no longer being bound by the prison of flesh and blood. They are the sons of God.
We have here two distinct races: the sons of the present age, and then the sons of the resurrection, of the future age. The Christian salvation is not the saving of the sons of the present age. The Christian salvation is the transforming of the sons of the present age into the sons of the resurrection. This is accomplished by the grafting of Divine Life on the stock of mankind. All who are to be saved must experience this transformation eventually. This is what it means to be saved.
The bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ was not the raising and renewing of a descendant of Adam. It was the bringing forth of a new creation. It was the resurrection of “the firstborn from the dead.”
And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:18)
Do you see that before His death on the cross the Lord Jesus was a descendant of Adam through Mary, in terms of the genealogy listed in Matthew? After His resurrection He was the beginning of a new race, a race of people who do not marry, who cannot die, who are equal to the angels? They are the sons of the resurrection.
The sons of the resurrection are not living souls, they are life-giving spirits.
And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. (I Corinthians 15:45)
Adam, and all of his children, are living souls. The new race that God is creating does not consist of living souls. The new people are not of the first creation. They are a new creation, a new race, a new kind of creature.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, (II Corinthians 5:17,18)
“All things have become new.” “All things are of God.”
The difference between the old race and the new race is the difference between the man of the earth and the Lord from Heaven. It is not that the old man is saved and fixed up, it is the abolishing of the old that the new may be brought forth.
The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven.
As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly.
And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. (I Corinthians 15:47-49)
God is making a new creation, a new race of persons, a new humanity.
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood [a human] cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. (I Corinthians 15:50)
At the beginning of this article we asked the question: “How does the present condition of our spiritual life affect our resurrection from the dead?” How do the decisions we are making now affect the nature of our resurrection?
The answer is, if we, after having received Christ as our Savior, continue to live according to the adamic personality, we will die in our corruption. The Christians who live in the flesh, in the animal creation, have no inheritance in the Kingdom of God.
It is the new man of the heart, Christ-man, who is the resurrection, who is the Kingdom of God, who will enter the new world. It is only as we cultivate and nourish the new man that we inherit the Kingdom.
Perhaps the greatest misunderstanding in all Christian theology is that God is saving Adam by imputed (ascribed) righteousness so Adam may be brought forward into Paradise in the new age. Nothing could be further from the truth. God imputes righteousness to the sons of Adam on the basis of the atonement made by Christ so the way may be cleared for God to re-create us as sons of the resurrection, not so we may continue as part of the sinful, rebellious first creation.
The Christian redemption is not the saving of the flesh and blood creation. The Christian redemption is the changing of the corruptible flesh and blood creation into another creation, a creation that lives by the incorruptible Life of the Spirit of God.
In the process of re-creation we die, the we that was born of our father and mother. The Kingdom of God, the resurrection, is the new man who was born “not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13).
Let us look more closely at how the process of re-creation takes place.
Man, the first Adam, the living soul, consists of spirit, soul, and body. The unsaved individual is dead (cut off from God) in spirit, in soul, and in body.
When by faith we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, our human spirit is joined with the Holy Spirit. Now we can pray and communicate with God through His Spirit, and we have access to the Throne of God because of the atonement made by the Lord Jesus. Our spirit becomes one with the Holy Spirit and we possess the beginning aspects of eternal life. To understand what we mean by the beginning aspects of eternal life we must understand that eternal life is not perpetual existence but a kind of life—the Life that is the Presence of God in Christ through the Holy Spirit.
But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. (I Corinthians 6:17)
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3)
Our body is left alone for the time being. Our body is dead—cut off from God—because of the sin that dwells in it. Our body is a prison of corruption we are compelled to drag around with us.
The making alive of our mortal body by the Holy Spirit is an important part of our redemption. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit of God. The body we have now is as seed that is to be sown.
If we are faithful to God, by faith pursuing and enduring the transformation from the earthy to the heavenly, our body will be raised from the dead and clothed with a body from Heaven of great glory. This has not happened as yet, and our body remains as an adversary that continually must be kept under control. Our body is animal in nature and it seeks always to satisfy its appetites whether or not our whole personality is brought down into Hell as a result.
So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.
It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.
It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. (I Corinthians 15:42-44)
The Christian discipleship is a long struggle against the lusts of the sinful body.
However, it is in the soul that the issue of the resurrection, of the Kingdom of God, is decided.
Our soul is our “heart,” so to speak. Our soul is our will—our will to exist, our will to achieve, our will to have pleasure. The source of our judgment and decisions is in our soul. Our spirit reflects our soul just as the Father’s Spirit reflects His Soul and communicates His will. This remains true except when our spirit, being in union with the Spirit of God, guides the judgments of our soul.
The first Adam is a living soul. The second Adam is a life-giving spirit. The transformation from soul to life-giving spirit, from corruption to incorruption, from the kingdom of man to the Kingdom of God, from death to resurrection, is prolonged and painful. It is death to the soul, to what we are, to our first personality. He who seeks to save his life, his soul, shall lose it, because the race of living souls is doomed to extinction.
When we receive Jesus He plants in us a Piece of Himself. This Piece of Christ is a living seed.
This is what it means to be “born again.” We cannot see or enter the Kingdom of God until we have been born again because it is the Kingdom, eternal life, the resurrection, the new creation, that is born in us when we are born again.
Now there are two distinct personalities in us, two distinct races, two distinct kinds of creatures. Adam and Christ are both alive in us.
What can we expect now that two personalities are in our body? We can expect conflict—and this is what occurs.
The soul has a world, an environment, in which it survives and finds growth, pleasure and achievement. The fleshly body and its senses, the physical world, human society, the arts and sciences, communication, are all dear to the human soul. The soul lives in these elements.
The new man who has been born in us has a world, an environment in which it survives and finds growth, pleasure, and achievement. Prayer and the Presence of God, the Word of God, the body and blood of the Lord, worship, the gifts of the Spirit, fellowship with fervent saints, are all dear to the new man of the heart. He lives in these elements.
The fundamental choice that the human soul must make is whether to seek after its survival or to bring itself down to death by taking up its cross and following the Lord Jesus to crucifixion. Our physical body, being married to the soul as it were, always will protest in the strongest terms any move that we make to deny ourselves and give preference to the new man of the heart.
We can see from this that only the most determined individuals will be able, in the present hour, to overcome the demands of the soul and the body and to attend to the proper growth and development of the new creation, the new humanity who has been born in us.
Satan, who understands far better than we that the development of the new creation marks the end of his kingdom, does everything in his power to persuade us to express our soul in our religious practices rather than to attend to the daily seeking of the Lord, to the carrying of our cross and following Him.
Satan will assist us in the enjoyment of our religion. His mortal fear is that we will choose to die and be reborn into the Kingdom of God.
It is the writer’s conviction that there is far more darkness than light in the Christian churches of our day because of an ignorance of the true nature of redemption, of the resurrection from the dead, of the Kingdom of God. Organized religion never has been the friend of God, never has understood God or His ways.
It often is true that the Christian churches are a hindrance to our transformation from Adam to Christ. This is because the churches substitute religious practices in place of transformation. The human soul can find delight and satisfy its sensual pleasures in the customs and practices of religion.
As a result, what should be helping us to die and be reborn is in actuality prolonging the survival of Adam.
The Christian churches, in many instances it appears, are enemies of Christ. The churches gratify the aspirations of the human soul while claiming to be the apostles of the Divine redemption. Religious men always will murder Jesus whenever He appears because the soul, having been exalted through the practice of religion, seeks to save itself at the expense of the spiritual creation.
The soul always seeks to worship God “in this mountain” or “at Jerusalem.” God seeks those who will worship Him “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:21,23).
Each day of his discipleship the follower of Jesus must deny himself (his soul), take up his cross, and follow the Lord Jesus. As he does this, experiencing the numerous deaths and blessings that make up the process of transformation, the new man of the heart takes possession of the personality.
The soul fights to the end to preserve its existence, its individuality. The tenacity of the human soul is remarkable, revealing the strength that God has placed in the first creation.
The soul is inclined to worship idols. The process of removing the idols from us is painful. Every one of them must be put beneath our feet. Only Christ and the Father are to govern man. Man has been created to rule all the works of God’s hands, not to be ruled by lesser creatures, or by human relationships, or by things or circumstances. We have been commanded to worship and serve the Lord our God. Every idol in us must be brought to the fire of God so it may be consumed, destroyed, driven from our personality.
One of the most painful of all experiences is the purifying of human relationships. All of us understand that human relationships are temporary at best. We know that the day will come when we shall die and the human ties will be broken. God is seeking those who, while they yet are alive on earth, will give to God all their relationships. God then will re-create in Christ each relationship such that the believer is able to move forward to the fullness of the transformation the Lord desires.
Only the strongest of the saints are able to follow the Lord Jesus through the re-creation of relationships. It is while we are experiencing the transformation of our relationships that we become most acutely aware that we indeed are dying and becoming an eternal part of Christ.
It is not possible for us to suddenly complete the process of transformation by removing all the experiences of our soul and embracing all the experiences of the new man of the heart. Rather, we must follow the Holy Spirit through the program of re-creation. Our task is to present our body a living sacrifice. The task of the Spirit is to take the offering and then lead us to Christ.
By the expression “lead us to Christ” we do not mean in any external sense, such as going to Heaven where Christ is in the present hour. Rather we mean that the Holy Spirit brings us into union with Christ, into marriage with Him. Christ never marries the adamic soul. Christ enters union only with that which has been born of Himself, with the new man who has been born in us.
It is not enough that we come to Christ as to an external person. Not at all. Rather it is true that we are being created an eternal part of Him. We are being created in Christ as part of that one new Man, that one new Creation who is Christ.
It is appointed to each man, each son of Adam, to die; and after death comes judgment.
- First, Adam dies.
- Second, Adam is raised from the dead.
- Third, Adam is judged according to his works.
- Fourth, Adam passes either into punishment or into re-creation and resurrection unto life.
To pass into punishment is to be confined in the spiritual prison with Satan and his angels.
To pass into re-creation and resurrection unto life is to receive of the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life is Christ and those who are part of Himself. When one receives of the Tree of Life the Life of Christ begins to be formed in him. We enter the Kingdom of God by having the Kingdom of God formed in us. The Kingdom of God is Christ in us, the hope of glory.
The Apostle Paul taught that we can pass through these four steps while we yet are alive on the earth. We cannot receive a new, living body in the present hour but we indeed can attain the resurrection unto life.
if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection [Greek: out-resurrection] from the dead. (Philippians 3:11)
Let us look once again at the sequence: Adam dies; Adam is raised from the dead; Adam is judged according to his works; Adam passes into re-creation and resurrection unto life (if he is saved).
It is God’s will that each of us attain the earlier resurrection from the dead, that we attain the new man now.
In order to attain the first resurrection we must pass through each of the four steps now—today.
First, we must assign ourselves to death, reckon ourselves dead. God has given us water baptism as a way of demonstrating our willingness to die to the old personality and become part of the new Life that is in Christ. God is ready now to consider our adamic personality as dead and to begin the work of judgment and removal from us of the sinful personality.
The death and resurrection emphasized in the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans are not merely figures of speech. They refer to the death of the old creation and the beginning of the new.
Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:11)
God is willing to count us as having died and ready to become part of Christ. The first step has been taken: Adam has died in water baptism. God has called us, His firstfruits, to enter now into the transition from the old creation to the new.
After having assigned Adam to the cross, God begins to raise up Adam and to judge him. We discover, as we abide in Jesus, that each day brings us to a new realization of the depth of sin and rebellion that is in our personality.
Part by part the Lord is bringing up the old Adam and judging him. Have you found this to be true? Just when we think Adam has been destroyed we find that he is attempting to live in us. The Holy Spirit is giving us the wisdom and power to destroy the lusts and rebellions of the adamic nature.
In the sense in which we are speaking, God already is raising up Adam in our personality and is judging him. The process of bringing Adam to judgment and resulting death, and the replacing of Adam with the new Life of Christ, is the manner in which the Kingdom of God is being formed in the godly remnant of God’s people in the present hour.
Notice how the Apostle Peter describes the judging of the old nature of the Christians:
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? (I Peter 4:17)
The new man is not judged. The new man does not sin because he has been born of God. The new man is the Lord from Heaven.
It only is the first personality that is judged. As soon as that judgment has been completed, and the part of our humanity that God desires to preserve has been swallowed up by immortality, the work of redemption will have been completed in us. We now are part of Christ, of the Kingdom of God, and the Lake of Fire no longer has authority over us.
The body that we have in the present hour is “married” to our soul. Our body is a suitable complement of our soul. However, our present body is not a suitable complement of our new personality. The body that is the complement of our new nature is reserved in Heaven for us. The new body in Heaven grows and develops in accordance with the growth and development of our new spiritual nature.
We shall not be given our new body until the Lord returns. However, we can attain now to the most important part of the early resurrection, the development of the new man.
There is a difference in kind between the Christian believer who has just come to the Lord but whose adamic nature is still intact, and the Christian believer whose adamic nature has been largely destroyed and who is beginning to live in the new nature.
The immature believer still is subject to hatred, bitterness, malice, misery, unrest, anxiety, impatience, harshness, selfishness, treachery, brashness, indulgence in bodily passions, according to the type of person that he is. The more mature disciple is characterized by an increasing development of love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, generosity, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control.
According to our present understanding, when the immature believer dies his spirit passes into the spirit world, there to await with others of his level of development the Day of the Lord.
When the mature believer dies, his new personality is received by the Lord as a son. He then, after giving an account of his behavior on the earth, enters the role that has been prepared for him. He is not left in the lower levels of the spirit world to wait for the Day of the Lord. He has attained the resurrection. He is a fellow of the Lord and continues to grow and serve in the Head. He dwells in the palace of God and eats at the Lord’s table with His mighty men.
There is a world of difference between the death of a son of Adam, and the shedding of his incompatible fleshly body by a life-giving spirit, a son of the resurrection. It is possible to attain the early resurrection from among the dead and to experience not death but an entrance into life as this imprisoning body is cast aside as the chain which it is. Our corrupt mortality no longer is of use to us or to the Holy Spirit until God raises it and clothes it with immortality.
One of the torments of the present age is that the godly are compelled to dwell in an environment that is occupied largely by those who are in rebellion against God, while the ungodly are plagued by the presence of the saints.
After they die, the righteous pass into a realm peopled with those of like desires, while individuals who love the world and Satan and who are unwilling to give to the Lord control over their life are confined to areas where they cannot harm others who have chosen to serve God. This is true, as we understand it, whether or not the individual makes a profession of faith in Christ.
He who lives and believes in Jesus will never die. How wonderful to walk out of the world in victory, coming into a richer, fuller, Presence of God in Christ, retaining our spiritual consciousness, our power, our life, with avenues of fellowship and service opening up before us. There is much profit in serving the Lord.
When Jesus returns, those who have attained the resurrection will return with Him. The remainder of the dead, those who have not been changed from Adam to Christ in nature, will not receive back their bodies until the thousand years have been completed (Revelation 20:5).
On the earth there will be many nations of flesh and blood people. Some of these will be destroyed in the fury of the Battle of Armageddon. Others will be saved and given to Christ and His saints as their inheritance.
The spirits of the people slain in the Battle of Armageddon will pass into the spirit world to await the final judgment.
The nations of the saved, which will still consist of flesh and blood people, the sons of Adam, will be governed by sons of the resurrection, now in their bodies of glory and power. Those nations, and especially the flesh and blood nation of Israel, will have the opportunity to partake of the Divine Life that is in the saints, to begin the transition from adamic life to Christ Life.
It will be given to the nations of the saved to enter into eternal life, into the Kingdom of God, into what has been prepared for mankind from the creation of the world.
“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: (Matthew 25:34)
When the thousand-year Kingdom Age has been concluded, the material universe will vanish in a fiery explosion.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. (II Peter 3:10)
This fiery explosion marks the end of the first creation, of the adamic race and its environment.
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.
And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. (Revelation 20:11,12)
“The earth and the heaven fled away.”
All spirits (with the exception of those who attain the first resurrection) will then be reunited with their bodies, as nearly as we can tell from the Scriptures, and will be brought before Christ and His firstfruits for judgment.
It is difficult to understand how the bodies of the dead could be preserved and brought forth after the physical universe has vanished. But the Scriptures insist that all who are in the graves will hear the voice of the Lord Jesus and come forth, and it is clear that it is the bodies, not just the spirits of the deceased, that will arise in the Day of Judgment. We must leave this mystery to the glory and majesty of God.
In any case, the dead, small and great, will stand before the Lord Jesus. This is the Judgment Seat of Christ. Those whose names are found in the Book of Life will be brought forward into the new age where they will have opportunity to partake of the tree of life, becoming an eternal part of Christ, of the Kingdom of God, of the new creation.
Those whose names are not found written in the Book of Life will be cast into the Lake of Fire. They will be thrown into the Lake of Fire in their bodies.
“And they shall go forth and look upon the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm does not die, and their fire is not quenched. They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.” (Isaiah 66:24)
“If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. (Matthew 18:8)
The problem of how a physical body can be cast into a spiritual fire will be explained when the incidents take place. At this time we do not understand the relationship between the natural and spirit realms. For example, we cannot understand how Enoch, Elijah, and the Lord Jesus could be brought into Heaven while in a physical body.
In the beginning of the creation there were spiritual trees in the garden of Eden, such as the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that were a convergence of the spiritual and physical realms. When sin entered, the spiritual life left the creation. We know that the day will come when the trees of the field will clap their hands.
So our problem arises, no doubt, from our inability to think of material objects that no longer are bound by the restrictions of time, space, and activity to which we have become accustomed.
The Beast and the False Prophet will both be thrown alive, meaning in their bodies, into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20). The throwing of a material body into a spiritual prison reveals a relationship between the physical and the spiritual that we do not understand as yet. All shall be made clear in the Day of the Lord.
The Kingdom of God itself is the union of the physical and spirit realms such that the physical enjoys all the liberty and incorruptibility of the spiritual, while the spiritual enjoys the substance, opportunities, and delights of the physical. What fantastic realms of fellowship, service, and fruitfulness await those who are faithful to God!
The Kingdom of God is an inner rule of God. The Kingdom of God is the rule of God in Christ in all those who have found their place in Christ as part of the one new Man (Ephesians 1:10; 2:15).
God dwells only in Christ. Christ dwells only in the new creation that has come into being from His body and blood. Christ abides in the new man of the heart, not in the adamic nature.
As soon as the new creation has been formed in us, the Father and the Son will enter us and make Their eternal abode in us in fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles.
We see that the new creation is the Kingdom of God, the Temple of God. Every creature and aspect of the new creation reveals Christ, and God the Father is All in all.
The adamic creation came to an end on the cross of Calvary. The adamic creation never will enter resurrection life in the new age. The new creation is the resurrection from the dead and will live to the ages of ages, a world without end.
(“The New Creation and the Resurrection”, 3554-1)