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Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State

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Question #1:   Good Morning Bob. As always, when I have questions, I find you a Blessing as a resource. My question is this: Can you apply "Raised from the dead" to Lazarus, the boy in the funeral, and those who came out of the grave at the crucifixion, and Samuel, and Jesus before the assertion? That is to say that life again was restored to the earthly body? Then "Resurrection" was when Jesus ascended into Heaven to the Father, and all will experience it at the "Last Day" and judgment. If those are correct, when we die, our earthly body remains in the grave, but our "Spiritual Body" instantly goes to the interim place with Jesus that has been prepared (Father's House). It remains there until the Rapture when we are gathered together in the air, and ultimately until the Glorious Appearing. I look forward to your thoughts on this - Yours in "The Blessed Hope".

Response #1:  Thanks much for your kind comments about this site. I am very pleased to hear that you are finding it to be a help. I agree with much of what you say. In 1st Corinthians 15:22-25, the apostle Paul gives us a synopsis of the entire chronology of the resurrection. First, while all die in Adam, it is in Christ that all are made alive (so that it is only believers who have a share in the first resurrection: cf. Rev.20:5-6). Second, Jesus is the first to be resurrected (as the "first-born from the dead": Col.1:18; cf. Rom.1:4), and the only One so far. Third, there are then two further echelons of the resurrection still to come: 1) "those who are Christ's at His coming", and 2) "then the end when He shall hand over the kingdom to the Father". The former refers to the general resurrection of all believers from Adam and Eve until the point of Christ's return, whether alive or dead, the time being at the Second Advent (1Thes.4:13-18), while the latter refers to the resurrection of all who become followers of Christ after His return until the end of the present heavens and earth at the termination of Jesus' millennial rule.

Everyone "brought back to life" before the Second Advent, unquestionably a rare and miraculous thing, has nonetheless merely been "resuscitated". That is to say, Lazarus and the others brought back to life by our Lord, the boys brought back to life by Elijah and Elisha, those brought back to life by Peter and Paul, and those brought back by God after the crucifixion, all these have since perished in the normal, earthly way, because they were restored to physical bodies which cannot endure forever. Once we are clothed with our ultimate body (i.e., our "resurrection body"), the same in type as that with which our blessed Savior is now forever clothed, we will no longer be subject to death just as He is not (Rom.6:9; 1Jn.3:2; cf. Rev.21:4).

Between the earthly passing of those past and present and that blessed future time, all who now die in the Lord go to be with Him in heaven to await our corporate and corporal resurrection and return with Him at the Second Advent. For, following His resurrection, Jesus led "captivity captive" (Eph.4:8), taking all believers from paradise below in His train up to the third heaven (cf. Ps.68:18; 68:24-27; 146:7b; Is.14:17b; 42:7; 49:9; 61:1; Jn.14:2-3; 17:24; Col.2:15; 1Pet.3:18-22; Rev.1:18). As our departed brethren wait with Him above, moreover, they are not "naked" but have been clothed with an interim body which, while not to be compared to the one of resurrection to come, is incomparably better than the one in which we presently reside (2Cor.5:3 [in the Greek - most English version mistranslate the verse]; Rev.6:11; 7:9).

It is important to note that the interim body is in some sense at least a real body. Those in this interim state are "not left naked" (2Cor.5:3) but are given "white robes" to wear (Rev.6:11). We were made by God as body and spirit - the body came first and the spirit once breathed into the first man quickened him into a "living being" - exactly the same thing that all human beings since Adam and Eve have experienced at birth (see the link: The Creation of Man [from SR#3]). Even for those of us who die before the resurrection, there never will be a significant period of time when we are "disembodied spirits", incapable of appreciating and interacting with the Lord who bought us.

Don't let your heart be troubled. Believe in God, and believe also in Me. There are many rooms in my Father's house. If there weren't, I would have told you. For I am going in order to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I shall come again and take you to Myself, so that where I am, you may be also.
John 14:1-3

So you are absolutely correct - should we pass on before the great day of Christ's return, in this interim state we shall abide, basking in the glory of our Lord and waiting for the day when we are clothed with our permanent abode on the day of His return to reclaim the direct rulership of the world in which we shall all share.

For we know that if our earthly tent-dwelling (i.e., our physical body) be struck, we have an abode [that comes] from God, a dwelling made without human agency, eternal in the heavens. For indeed we do groan in this one, desiring to put on our habitation which comes from heaven. And [even] if we do put off this present one, at any rate, we (i.e., our spirits) will not be found naked (i.e., "body-less").
2nd Corinthians 5:1-3

Hope this was helpful to you - thanks for your interest in this ministry.

In Him who has prepared places for us all, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob Luginbill

Question #2:  

Mr. Luginbill. Thank you for your prompt response. I have asked you questions before, and am always anxious to get your answers. I seem to be able to understand your responses to some difficult questions. Your discernment is a blessing to me. One last question on this topic - Do you think Jesus was in a resurrected spirit body, or a raised body during his appearances prior to his ascension? Since he appeared in locked rooms after, this would seem to be the resurrected. Prior he still had physical body needs. Your thoughts.

Response #2: 

Thanks again for your good words. As to your question, yes indeed - there is no question about it. Christ rose from the dead on the third day (Easter Sunday). This was a true resurrection (and the only one so far). The things He can do with His resurrection body, as you point out, make this very clear. Prior to His ascension, He was not glorified, so that His appearance now (cf. Revelation chapter one) is different (i.e., glorious), but the body is the same - eternal and incomparably superior to the previous one. Paul calls this a "spiritual-body" in 1Cor.15:44 as opposed to a "natural-body", and what he means by this is that the present body is attuned to our temporal life here on earth, whereas our coming resurrection body will be attuned to our spirit. At present, our spirit does not have, indeed, cannot have the full expression that will later be the case. Not the least reason for this is the inherent sin of the present body it now occupies, but there are other temporal and worldly limitations as well. But the new body, the resurrection body, the "spiritual body" will have both spiritual and physical capabilities of a phenomenal nature. We get some inkling of these capabilities from the wondrous things our Lord is recorded to have done during the 40 days before He returned to heaven. In any case, we can be sure that our new eternal home will be more wonderful and glorious than we can now even imagine (just as the flower that sprouts from the seed is more wonderful than the seed would ever suggest: 1Cor.15:37-38).

In hope and anticipation of that wondrous day to come!

Bob L.

Question #3:  

Thank you again for your prompt reply. I still need a little clarification. When Lazarus died did he go to the interim heaven. If so was he in a spiritual body? When Jesus raised him was he returned to his earthly body to die again? It seems that there are three bodies. The earthly until death - the spiritual during the interim period in the Fathers house - and the glorified on the last day (our resurrection) and judgment. Was Jesus in a raised Spiritual or earthly body until the ascension and became glorified and resurrected?

Response #3: 

You raise an interesting question. Scripture specifically refers to two bodies. First, the natural one with which we are all born. Second, the "resurrection body" which will be our blessed home for all eternity. At present, only our Lord Jesus Christ has this second, permanent "resurrection" body, and it abundantly clear what the first body, the "natural body", is. For the vast majority of human beings, this body goes into the grave to await the resurrection at the point of physical death and stays there. At the time of the resurrection (be it of the righteous or the unrighteous), this first body is resurrected, that is, it is brought back to life in a permanent form.

Scripture says very little about the interim state, and does not actually call the temporary "home" for our spirit a "body", but it is clear from what the Bible does say that it functions as such, i.e., as a tool for our spirits whereby we can worship the Lord, and in which we are recognizable as "us". It is impossible to say what the degree of "materiality" these interim homes possess may be, but the fact that we will no longer know any pain or suffering, and that we will be face to face with the Lord and be able to appreciate Him in His glory without being destroyed, certainly indicates that this state is better by far than what we presently are experiencing.

The interim "body" is just that - a temporary dwelling that does not share the sin nature of the "natural body" or the permanence or (apparently) pure physicality of the "resurrection body". We have very little to go on when it comes to the constitution of the interim body (just the passages I have cited previously). Revelation calls it a "white sheet to wear"; 2nd Corinthians also uses the clothing analogy saying that we "won't be found naked"; and in Luke 16 both those in paradise and those in torments are recognizable, can speak, reason, seemingly function in most important ways just as we presently can. Were I to speculate, I would say that the materiality or physicality of the interim body is less pronounced than for either of the other two. We know that we can eat in both the natural and resurrection bodies (cf. Lk.24:40-43), but there is neither need nor (probably) opportunity to eat in the interim state (whether it be the paradise of the past or the third heaven of the present), and I would imagine that this is true of much of the physical interaction which is commonplace now and will be after the resurrection again. Then again, the rich man asks Abraham to have Lazarus dip the tip of his finger into water to cool his tongue - it doesn't happen, of course, but it may be that he was observing eating in drinking across the "great fixed gulf" (I can't say for sure).

However that may be, as far as the Lazarus of Jesus' day and his resuscitation is concerned, we can surmise that his experience otherwise was normal. When he died the first time, he went to paradise and his spirit was clothed with a temporary home (which I am calling the "interim body"). When he was resuscitated, his first or "natural" body was restored to life (really, "life was restored to it"), so that he had no further need of this interim tent or sheet or body (or whatever one may wish to call it). He was then "clothed" again when he finally left his natural body for the second and last time. He still has not received the final, permanent body which I am calling the "resurrection body", the soma pneumatikon of 1st Corinthians 15:44 or "spiritual body". This is way most versions translate soma pneumatikon, the Greek for the final perfect body in the fashion of the one our Lord now occupies in His humanity, but the translation has some problems. For one thing, many Christians have been misled by the term "spiritual body" to assume that somehow our final home will be spirit-like (or even ghost-like), that it will somehow not really be a body, per se, that it will be less tangible and somehow less material than what we now have. Nothing could be further from the truth. As I have pointed out elsewhere, soma pneumatikon means that

"The body is a home for the spirit, and this body we now inhabit is more "soulish" (i.e., more attuned to the physical life we now lead), while the resurrection body will be more attuned to our spirit, giving it much greater rein than we can now even imagine for our service to and appreciation of the Lord." [from Part 3 of the Satanic Rebellion, The Purpose, Creation, and Fall of Man, section II.4.a]

The "spiritual" part of the "spiritual body" simply means that the real "us" inside of the body we now occupy will be more capable of expression and appreciation etc., than is now the case, for in this present body we are limited by sin, along with numerous genetic and physical limitations. Furthermore, the spiritual body will have far greater capabilities, and be far more able to appreciate God and all His glory:

For at the present time our perception [of heavenly things] is like [viewing] a dim reflection in a mirror. But then [when we meet the Lord] we will see [Him] face to face. Now I have only partial knowledge, but then my knowledge [of Him] will be complete, just as He has always known me.
1st Corinthians 13:12

When our Lord Jesus was brought back to life, He was not merely resuscitated (i.e., temporarily brought back to this first, natural body), He was actually and literally resurrected, His first body transformed into the final, "spiritual body" for which we yearn. It is true that it and He were "not yet glorified" (which accounts for the difference in appearance between the gospels and Revelation chapter one, e.g.), but this new body was clearly both capable of normal physical functions (eating, sitting, talking, etc.), and at the same time clearly superior in many ways to what we now occupy (for one thing, He could ascend into heaven in bodily form - something clearly impossible for any of us at present).

We are born into a natural body; on that great day of resurrection we will see that same body transformed into something more wonderful than we can properly imagine. In between, should it be our lot to leave this world before the return of our Lord, we will not be found naked (2Cor.5:3), but will be given a better accommodation in which to await the superior and ultimate home for our spirit, a body like unto the one of our Lord.

Beloved, we are already the children of God, but what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He is revealed, we will be like Him, that we shall see Him exactly like He is.
1st John 3:2

Praise God for His Gift and for the anticipation of that glorious day!

In Him who is our life, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #4:  

According to Ecclesiastes 12:7, the human spirit returns to God in the hour of death. Is this applicable to both saved and unsaved being? Can you please expound more about the interim state of human spirit prior to resurrection?

Response #4: 

On the face of it this verse suggests that "the return of the spirit" is universal for all mankind, and certainly the soliloquy of chapter twelve is wisdom meant for everyone. We are all here on earth a limited time - a fact obvious to every human being of competent intelligence - and after our time elapses our spirit does depart, though our body stays. That, too, is obvious to everyone who has seen death (even if it cannot be scientifically verified, because the human spirit is not a tangible, physical, material thing, but is supernatural in the truest sense of the word). "Returning to God", however, does not suggest or imply either a positive or negative disposition on the part of God. That is determined by the choices we make here on earth, namely, whether or not to receive God's offer of life eternal (through faith in His Son our Lord Jesus Christ). As Jesus makes clear in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man (Lk.16:19-31), for all those who have put their faith in and remained faithful to Jesus Christ, the spirit goes into the presence of God at death (technically to "paradise" before the resurrection of Christ, but now the third heaven; cf. Rev.6:11; 7:9); whereas for all those who have willfully rejected God's offer of life in Christ, the spirit goes into Hades (alternatively called "torments"); in both places, the person has an interim "body" (although the extent of its materiality is not specified by scripture and the Bible never actually calls it a "body"), and both the saved and the unsaved are eventually resurrected into genuine, permanent bodies, the former fit for eternal life, the latter for eternal condemnation (Dan.12:2; Rev.20;etc.). That we will never be "naked" (i.e., disembodied spirits) is made clear by Paul in 2nd Corinthians 5:3, "and even though we are disrobed (i.e., suffer the death of these physical bodies), we shall not [even then] be found naked (i.e., we will have interim bodies between the time of our deaths and the resurrection, should there be a gap)". By the way, many versions mistranslate this verse despite the fact that the Greek text is clear and unchallenged (probably because the translators have not understood this theological point and have sought relief by changing the Greek text without proper manuscript support).

You can find out more about this at the following links:

        What does it mean "the spirit returns to God" in Ecclesiastes 12:7?

        Aspects of the Resurrection

        The Creation of Adam (and the Human Spirit)

        The Holy Place

        The False Doctrine of "Soul Sleep"

Hope this was helpful, In our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob Luginbill

Question #5:  

I have downloaded and read your "Tribulation-Part3A", "Pet#20" and "SR3" files. Here I learned, that Man is a bipartite being. This is in contrast to my previous belief that Man is Trichotomous in nature. Man as a tripartite being is what we have been taught before in our congregation, and there were lots of debate in our council because of what it seems new idea to them – the interim state of a dead person. As you can see, we were among those who adhere to the doctrine of "sleeping-soul". Because of these differences in our congregation that I started surveying Christian web sites for this particular topic, and that's how I encountered your site. With the substantial biblical proof you laid on this topic, I am convinced that if I could outline it perfectly it could somehow soften their standing if not totally abandoned their previous belief on "soul-sleep" doctrine. In the meantime, I would like to solicit your thought on these questions: In the interim state, dead persons are conscious. Are they aware of any activity happening on Earth? According to Eccl. 9:5, ". . .dead know not anything. . ." KJV. Of course, this is in relation to things happening under the Sun. So why was it then, Abraham in the parable of Luke 16 knows exactly the status of both "Dives" and "Lazarus" on their previous life, as being "rich" and "poor". This seem to imply that Abraham knows exactly what is happening on Earth. Should this be the case, it will conflict with Eccl. 9:5.In the interim state, a temporary body is also given for the spirit. Are you alluding for 2 Cor. 5:2 as the house not made by hands referred to by apostle Paul? If such is the case, then why do we still need a future body in the resurrection? As Martin Luther once said, "It would take a foolish soul to desire its body when it is already in heaven". Thank you Bob, and I am looking forward for your reply.

Response #5: 

I quite agree with your description/understanding of Eccl.9:5 being from the perspective of "what happens under the sun". Consider all that this verse says, namely that the dead "have no reward". Clearly, we are promised rewards for what we do on this earth as Christians many, many times in scripture, so that if Eccl.9:5 was the heavenly point of view, it would contradict a whole host of passages (see the link in Peter #18: "Christian Production is Rewarded"). Much of the book of Ecclesiastes deliberately puts things from the viewpoint of this material world: "All is vanity" is true for all unbelievers and for everything in this world of dust and tears that is not directly related to God. But as followers of Jesus Christ we know and understand that "our labor in the Lord is not in vain (i.e., not "vanity")" (1Cor.15:58). Our lives have real meaning when they are truly lived for the Lord, and will result in eternal rewards at the judgment seat of Jesus Christ.

As to whether or not the believers who have passed on can observe what we are doing on the earth, see the link: Will those in Hades be able to see Christ's return? Here is an excerpt:

"Scripture does not provide many details that specifically relate to whether those currently in torments can "see" what is transpiring on the earth. Given the Is.14:9-11 passage mentioned above, and the fact that history is God's way of completely refuting the wrong-thinking of all who choose against Him, there is no question but that, as with the angels, there is intense interest in Hades regarding the progress of the Plan of God (cf. 1Cor.11:10; Heb.12:1; 1Pet.3:19). The last passage cited, 1st Peter 3:19, seems to indicate that the "spirits in prison", fallen angels sequestered in Hades, were not, in fact, aware of our Lord's victory on the cross until He proclaimed it to them (and we should probably assume that the same was and will continue to be true of all unbelieving human beings in Hades as well)."

However, in regards to the third heaven, where believers are at present, I have the following comments from part 2B of the Coming Tribulation, "The Time of the Tribulation and the Signs of its Coming":

"To return to the scene in the third heaven, the sea of upper waters is thus not only a separating barrier between God's heavenly temple and the world below, but also an access point.   This latter function helps to explain the appearance "on the sea" of the tribulational believers as they endure the fiery Great Persecution (Rev.15:2).  In this respect, then, the heavenly sea of "waters above" seems also to act in the capacity of an "observation port" of sorts for the heavenly throngs witnessing the events unfolding on the earth below.  Scripture provides few details of such heavenly observation of the earth, but it is clear that angelic kind is very aware of what is happening here below (Job 1-2; 1Ki.22:19-22; Lk.15:10; 1Cor.4:9; 11:10; 1Pet.1:12), and there are also indications that departed believers, now in residence in the third heaven, may also be able to view earthly events in this way (Jn.8:56; Heb.12:1; Rev.6:10).   If so, this sea seems to be the "viewing lens" for such observation, although it is important to note that God is so overwhelmingly glorious and wonderful in Person that such earthly events will no doubt only be of interest from the heavenly perspective to the extent that they reflect His glory and the progress of His plan."

The parable of Lazarus and the rich man is indeed key to this discussion vis-a-vis Hades, but I do not think that it implies any particular knowledge of what is transpiring on the earth. Abraham can see Torments, and the rich man can see Paradise, but nothing in the parable indicates that their information about what is happening on earth is current (i.e., it comes from what they know from those coming out of the world: Abraham from Lazarus, and the rich man from his own earthly experience).

As to Luther's comment, yes indeed I am referring to 2Cor.5:2, but also to the passages in Revelation which clearly show those who have left earth for heaven as being clothed (Rev.6:11; 7:9), but clearly not yet resurrected (cf. Rev.20:4). Luther's comment about "heaven" bespeaks what is common among the generation of great reformers, namely, they came a long way in reforming the falsities of medieval Roman Catholic dogma, but they were little interested in eschatology. Most, Luther for example, did not believe in a literal Millennium, and felt that the book of Revelation was only an allegory. We know different. One critical point apropos to this discussion which comes from taking Revelation as mainly literal is that the future of the regenerate human race is not in heaven in the temporary state described above, but on earth in genuine, transformed, resurrected bodies (that is, in the New Jerusalem on the new earth under the new heavens), so that no matter how nice we may find heaven to be, we know that we shall return to earth with our Lord in resurrection, and thus shall we ever be with Him, through His millennial reign, and into the eternal state that follows.

Hope this helps in your endeavor. I greatly admire your thirst for the truth and your determination to find it. May God bless you in this enterprise in every way.

Yours in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.


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