Hope your keeping well.
When The Lord returns and raptures his church, is there going to be people left behind for 3&1/2 or 7 years, with the opportunity to still be saved?
Is he going to rapture his church and destroy what's left on earth all in one day?
Is there another process?
Contrary to much current evangelical opinion, the resurrection will occur when Christ returns at the second advent. There is only one "return" (parousia), and that occurs when Jesus comes back to fight the battle of Armageddon, rescue Israel, and take possession of His Bride, the Church (as we are resurrected at the point of His 2nd Advent return).
Here are some links that will fill you in on all this:
The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride
The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory.
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Thanks for your guidance on Bible reading. I'll definitely be looking into some other versions. Here's another question for you, in light of the fact that many people believe that we are in the pre-tribulation era. In Revelation 7, when it talks about the Great Multitude who have come out of the Great Tribulation, does that refer to the Church as a whole since Christ's Ascension, or just to those who live in the time of the Anti-Christ? If it is the latter, where does that leave the other believers who are neither part of the Great Multitude or the 144,000 from the tribes of Israel? Thanks again for all of your time and insight!
You're very welcome,
As to your new questions, I was mentored in pre-Trib, but came to understand from trying to defend it that it is not a biblically defensible position. The three best links on that are:
The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory.
Parousia is always the 2nd Advent
So as to the believers in Revelation 7:9-17 (also Rev.6:9-11), these represent the entire Church from Adam and Eve onward (although the focus is particularly on those just martyred during the Great Persecution; see the link).
Before Christ's ascension, believers went to paradise below the earth upon their decease (Lk.16:22ff.; 23:43). But all departed believers accompanied the Lord to the third heaven when He ascended (see the link: The Transfer of Believers from the Subterranean Paradise to the Third Heaven). After that, whenever a believer dies, he/she is immediately given an interim body and taken to be with the Lord in the third heaven to await from there the resurrection which will occur at Christ's second advent (see the link: Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State).
The above is a "nutshell" view of a number of rather involved questions (some of which are treated in much more detail at the links given), so please do feel free to write me back about any of this.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Thanks again for your reply! So let me make sure I'm understanding. Are you saying that we are or are not in the Tribulation currently? Also, are all believers part of the Great Tribulation or just the ones who are living upon Christ's return? One more thing, when the Millenial Kingdom comes, is it possible for anyone to lose their salvation?
Hey again. I read some more of your article and found the answers to my new questions. So, we are not currently in the Tribulation. I thought pre-trib meant that we were not yet in the Tribulation. So, the Tribulation is the 7 years preceding Christ's Return. So this leaves my initial question about Revelation 7 unanswered. If we were to die before the Tribulation happens, where does that leave us regarding the Great Multitude and the 144,000? It seems that the non-Jewish believers who die before the Tribulation are left out of Revelation 7's segment about the Great Multitude that no one can number, who have come out of the Tribulation. Where are we/they regarding the Kingdom of Heaven? Let me know if any of that didn't make sense. Thanks again!
Good to hear from you. Here is how I would break down your questions:
1) The Tribulation will not begin until the 2,000 years of the Church Age are over (minus seven years); when it does begin, the signs of the "the Thunderous Voices, Lightning, and Earthquake" predicted at Revelation 8:5 will provide unmistakable proof that it has started (at least for all believers who have been paying attention to scripture; see the link).
2) For those of us alive today, there are essentially three ways to transfer to eternity: 1) some of us will die of natural causes before the Lord's return; 2) some of us will be martyred during the Great Persecution which takes place during the second half of the Tribulation; 3) some of us will endure until the end of the Tribulation and will be resurrected while still alive at the Lord's return.
3) There is nothing in scripture, so far as I am aware, to suggest that the essential dynamics of the human condition and the way of salvation will be any different during the Millennium from what it has been since expulsion from the garden. During that future time too, to be saved, spiritual death must be exchanged for eternal life through faith in Christ, with that faith maintained until the end of this earthly life. I suppose it will certainly be true that during the Millennium many of the factors that cause people to abandon their faith will be either missing or mitigated. The persecution and testing recorded as major reasons for falling away in the parable of the Sower will at least be diminished: on the one hand, no one will be persecuted for following Christ during those 1,000 years, and on the other because of the peace and prosperity of those years and the long life spans of everyone who is not engaged in criminal or rebelliously sinful behavior it would seem that the occasions for "blaming God for bad things that happen" will be greatly reduced. But people will still have free will, and those whose acceptance of Christ is only superficial will have at least one major "opportunity" to fall away, namely, the Gog-Magog rebellion which will occur at the Millennium's end (Rev.20:7-9).
4) "Pre-Trib" in theological circles generally refers to the (incorrect and unscriptural) position that the Church will be resurrected just before the Tribulation begins and will therefore not have to go through the Tribulation. Although spiritually terribly dangerous, it remains today the dominant evangelical view.
5) All those who die before the Tribulation begins will be taken to the third heaven to be with our Lord just as He promised (Jn.14:3), and just as has been the case ever since His ascension. This will remain the case during the Tribulation. The tribulational martyrs receive special notice in the Book of Revelation because of their special role in those events. I don't see any distinction between believers being outlined in these passages. The 144,000 of Revelation 7:1-8 constitute a special subset of this group because of their unique ministry to Israel during those days. Indeed, they are the "first-fruits" of the Great Persecution, being martyred first as the initial act of persecution originated by the beast (Rev.14:1ff.). After their demise, however, half of the believers on earth who are remaining faithful to Christ will be martyred a huge multitude "from every nation, tribe, people and language". So while the 144,000 are all Jewish, the other martyrs come from every part of the Church militant. Please see the links: "The 144,000" and "The Martyrdom of the 144,000".
I hope this gets to all of your questions, but please do feel free to write me back about any of the above.
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
I need your help again. This week's email response #21:
"The remainder of the greatly enlarged New Earth (and possibly also the rest of the New Heavens, for that matter), will be occupied and husbanded by the gentile Friends of the Bride."
Sir, what do you mean by "and possibly also the rest of the New Heavens, for that matter"? Would the New Heavens and the New Earth be Distinguishable?
I hope you are doing well?
Yes, in the same way that the earth and the universe beyond are distinguishable today. The new universe may be proportionally larger just as the New Jerusalem is and therefore most likely the New Earth will be. There will be other differences: the universe will be a place of light rather than darkness, and, given for example the fact that our Lord was able to ascend to heaven in His new body (in the same way that angels can), it seems unlikely to me that the rest of the universe will inaccessible to us on that wonderful day to come (which is what I mean by the parenthesis you ask about).
The next couple of months will be critical in what happens with me (I am keeping you in my prayers too!).
Your friend forever in Jesus our dear Lord,
When Jesus returns and after he saves Israel from the anti-Christ and his army by destroying them. Will we remain on earth with the Jews saved after his return or do we all go to heaven?
Yes indeed! We, the resurrected Church (composed of all gentiles and Jews saved from Adam and Eve to the point of our Lord's return), will always be with Christ from that point on until forevermore. Scripture is very explicit about the fact that we will share in His millennial administration. E.g.:
To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations--'He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery' just as I have received authority from my Father."
Revelation 2:26-27 NIV
The third heaven is God's temporary abode. After the Millennium, the Father and the Son and all of the elect will dwell on the New Earth, with the New Jerusalem the eternal home of the Church. There is plenty on all this especially at the link:
CT 6: The Millennium and New Jerusalem
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Firstly thank you for your wonderful site. I am studying for a BA in Theology and I refer to your site regularly. God bless you for this. My 7 year old granddaughter has a mommy who is dying of ___ and is unable to speak. My daughter, her mother, is a Christian and my granddaughter asks me a lot of questions about where mommy will go when she dies and understands the concept of heaven but does not understand how she will recognize her mommy one day and also what mommy will be doing in heaven. I don't want to give her incorrect or misleading answers to these very important questions because her father is not a believer. Please advise me as to how I should answer these questions.
Good to hear from you again, and thanks much for your kind words. Let me also say that I am saddened to hear about your grand-daughter's mom, and do promise to say a prayer for her.
I think anyone remembering back to that age (and also having had the experience of working with or having younger children) would probably give you the same advice (at least I hope so). I was always grateful for the truth, and have experienced this also with youngsters I have had the privilege of telling about the Bible in the past. Clearly, we don't have to make it complicated, but we can still "tell it like it is". For example, I would give an adult who was wanting to know about such things a detailed, doctrinal reply with plenty of scripture quotes and references. Younger people, especially if they are already believers, have open hearts and will believe the truth if we give it to them. No doubt this is why our Lord tells us that we must accept the kingdom of God like children do, meaning not sugar-coated or incorrectly presented, but rather that a child is more likely to "take your word for it" rather than needing a brace of argumentation and proof.
So, first, I would tell your grand-daughter the truth about all these matters, and second I would also refrain from telling her anything that was not true. That is important too, inasmuch as people often embroider the truth when it comes to young people, but in the end, in my opinion, observation and experience, this does more harm than good.
So if it is a question of recognizing our loved ones, we know that the disciples recognized Jesus as Jesus even though after resurrection He was different in all manner of good ways, and even though they had not yet been changed in any way. We also know that the disciples recognized Moses and Elijah on the mount of transfiguration and that the rich man recognized Lazarus and Abraham in paradise. So beyond all argument we not only still we be "us" in heaven, but will recognizable as "us" for all eternity even though we will look "better" in every way (something I personally am counting on).
And if it is a question of what we shall be doing as we await the resurrection, we know from the passages in Revelation chapters 6 and 7 that believers will be enjoying the presence of the Lord. We don't have many more details, of course, but we do know that all the former things will have passed away and only good will remain (Rev.7:17; 21:4). It will be wonderful in every way and not burdensome or disagreeable in any way. No doubt if we knew just how wonderful heaven will be, we would become distracted from the tasks we have been given for the Lord here in life.
Here are some other links that discuss these matters:
What is Heaven like?
Our Eternal Future
What does the Bible say about Heaven and Hell?
Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State
The New Jerusalem and the Eternal State
In hopes and prayers for your grand-daughter's mother in the mercy and grace of our dear Lord Jesus,
I read your previous answers regarding the darkness of the deep waters and how the dry land is God's purpose for us live on. Why were the some of the chosen Apostles fishermen and the referrals Jesus made for us to be "fishers of men" if fish will cease to exist without water on the Earth? Are fish to no longer be, even after we have been transformed in the spirit? I know that we as believers will live together and will no longer need to witness to non-believers (Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord), but will I not have fish to eat in heaven? Thanks for your help!
Here is what I read about the river of living water which will come forth from the temple mount during the Millennium:
Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds--like the fish of the Great Sea.
Ezekiel 47:9-10 NIV
While the passage above is talking more about the Dead Sea than the river itself, it is clear that there will be bountiful aquatic life along its entire length for "where the river flows everything will live". This river will also flow eastward and empty into the Mediterranean as well (Zech.14:8), so therefore we are right to assume that fishing will be prominent throughout the land of Israel during those days thanks to the blessing this river provides.
(1) And He showed me the river of the water of life, sparkling like crystal[s of ice], coming forth from the throne of God and of the Lamb. (2) In the middle of the [New Jerusalem's network of twelve main] streets and on both sides of [this] river [of the water of life which ran through them] was the tree of life, producing twelve crops, offering its fruit every month, month by month. And the leaves of the tree are for the enjoyment of [all] the nations, (3a) so that there will no longer be any division.
Just as the millennial river abounds with life, based on the description above it would be a mistake, I think, to assume that because there is no sea on the New Earth that therefore there will be no fish and no fishing. This river which comes forth from New Jerusalem will, I posit in part 6 of Coming Tribulation (see the link), exit the city through each of the twelve gates and "water the face of the earth" in a way similar to the four heads of the river which ran out of Adam and Eve's Eden. There were certainly fish at that time in the fresh waters of the earth, and I would imagine that to be the case in eternity as well. This twelve-fold river will be of massive size. Judging from the measurements given in Revelation, the network of river banks just within the city proper will have to be over 20,000 miles of total length, and the streams will no doubt be very wide by the time they reach their respective gates: each city side will be approximately 1590 miles in length but the gates were prominent enough for John to see so that they must be proportionally large. What this says to me is that the river branches are probably miles wide when they exit the city (compare the widening and deepening of the stream in Ezekiel chapter 47).
Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you have just caught." Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.
John 21:10-13 NIV
Since our Lord endorsed fishing, and prepared and ate fish after His resurrection, I think it would be wrong to suggest that we shall not do so as well in the Millennium and possibly in eternity as well. Paul tells us that "Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them" (1Cor.6:13 NASB), but since our Lord Jesus ate food on several occasions we ought to conclude, it seems to me, that what Paul means by these words is that we will no longer need food nor will our resurrection body process it in the same was as our temporary physical bodies now do but we will still be able to eat and enjoy. After all, the tree of life will produce twelve crops of fruit for our pleasure and enjoyment all year long. So whatever the specifics of that blessed time to come and admittedly we know less than we should like to know (though enough for our present needs) we can rest assured that eternity will be "more" in every way and not "less" in any important way. We will never rue the loss of anything, and we cannot yet know just how wonderful and sublime that blessed time to come will be. If we did, as I often have occasion to say, we might not be able to think of anything else.
But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him."
1st Corinthians 2:9 NASB
Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Why wont their be any marriage in the resurrection?
There will be no procreation in eternity. In its final form, the family of God, composed half of believing human beings and half of elect angels, will constitute a perfect number which will never change for all eternity. There is therefore no need of a marriage relationship for human beings whose primary purpose in the plan of God is/was to "be fruitful and multiply" and "to produce godly offspring (Gen.1:22; Mal.2:14-15; see the link: "The Ten Commandments" under the seventh commandment). We will be "like the angels" in respect of being eternal and complete in our number from the point of the resurrection forward.
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
I hope this finds you well. Could you please clarify two issues for me. Mark 12:25 says that: When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.
1. How does this translate to the assumption that there will be no sex in heaven. Surely sex was created and declared as good. Are we not assuming that it will not be needed in our resurrected bodies because of our own difficulties with it in the here and now. Surely if we have resurrected bodies we will walk, talk, eat and even go to the toilet. Whoever said that having a body was in anyway bad?
2. How does this translate to the assumption that angels cannot procreate. Surely the special relationship of marriage is not equated with sexual activity alone. Are we not merely making a far reaching assumption. Perhaps there will be sexual activity in the plans God has for us.
There is much we don't know about our eternal status, and that is no doubt a wonderfully good thing. Think about it. If we knew that there definitely were such things in heaven, some people would think of nothing else; if we knew that there definitely weren't such things, some people would be so depressed about it that it would sour their future hope.
So while I would agree with some of your reasoning here, I'm not sure we can draw conclusions one way or the other. Jesus ate with His new body, but it is clear that He did not need to do so (cf. 1Cor.6:13). Fallen angels did procreate with human women, but it is absolutely clear that this was a horrific sin. There will be fruit of all sorts on the tree of life in New Jerusalem, but its leaves will be for our enjoyment (lit., "therapy"), rather than being necessary for life eternal.
Suffice it to say that from what I personally have been able to glean from scripture about those wondrous days ahead we will have absolutely no regrets about our eternal status as resurrected believers (e.g., Rev.7:16-17; 21:4). And that will be true for the believer who has earned the least possible eternal reward. In every respect, eternity will be more, not less, and it would be folly to underestimate the blessing and bliss that will attend being in the light and presence of God the Father and our dear Lord Jesus (in my view this will put all present pleasures so far in the shade as to make them seem pointless by comparison). As I often remark, if we really had a clear picture of the wonders of eternity, we would be so preoccupied with all that is to come that it might render us incapable of functioning in this world any longer. As it is, we know that as good as eternity will be, it can be better still with the reward we add to our ledger day by day. That reward motivation is really how we should be looking at things (see the link: "The Judgment and Reward of the Church"). Whatever pleasures there are in heaven and however defined, those who have served our Lord well here on earth will have a greater share of them.
[Moses kept] esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
Thanks be to God that all believers will have a full share of Jesus Christ forever and ever!
In our dear Lord,
Dear Dr. Luginbill,
Your recent email posting (6/8/12) and argument for the probability of female angels was most helpful to me and partially answered a question that has bothered me for some time: will I see my late wife again and will there be any relationship between us? I am hoping you can point me toward further information.
I read somewhere on your site, in a discussion of life after death, that we would see our loved ones again. If I remember correctly, you cited David's expectation that he would once again see his son as justification, which implies the after death existence of a family relationship. (I apologize for being unable to find that reference either on your site or the Bible -- was it 2 Samuel 12:23 or do I misremember?)
My specific question is, where else in the Bible do you find any reference at all to a post death family reunion and a possible relationship with loved ones? Was "slept with their fathers" anything more than a figure of speech? I haven't understood David's expectation as anything more than hope -- no different than my early expectation that I would be rich and famous. Jesus' example of Lazarus in Abraham's bosom (Luke 16) indicates to me that the rich man only recognized Lazarus and spoke with Abraham. No further relationship. As well, Jesus seems to refute the notion that there will be any relationship after the resurrection in his rebuke of the Sadducees' seven husband example. (Luke 20:27-39)
The only compelling biblical reference of which I'm aware that suggests there might be a post resurrection relationship is Genesis 2:24. Since we were created in God's image and man and woman were made one flesh prior to the fall, I have to assume that's God's intention. There was no marriage prior to the fall of which I'm aware. If our resurrected bodies are flesh, even of the spiritual sort, as Jesus proved to Thomas and if a man and woman became one flesh, would I be unjustified thinking there was a possibility of the bond continuing post physical death? This logic isn't particularly sound, but it's all I can come up with and it was your angels argument that started me thinking about the Genesis example.
I am probably expressing myself incoherently because of my underlying confusion. I can find no biblical passage that confirms or refutes a continued relationship after resurrection any more than I can find a passage that confirms or refutes the existence of female angels. (While I accept your reasoning, that will take me a while to sort through. The implications are stunning.)
I hope you can show me what I've missed. Your logic supporting the probable existence of female angels convinced me that if there is nothing more concrete than a logical assumption of a possible renewed relationship, you would be the most suited to make it. There is much of your site I haven't read, yet, and I suspect you've already addressed this question in more detail than I've discovered. I would be most appreciative of pointers to those discussions.
I appreciate and thank you for your ministry and your willingness to answer questions from those of us who are still adding line to line and precept to precept. You have been a big help to me and, I'm sure, many others.
Good to make your acquaintance and thank you for your kind and supportive words as well as for your "teachable" attitude. Both things mean a great deal to me.
Having lost someone I cared deeply about many years ago, I can understand the drive to find biblical support for a special relationship that transcends the grave. As believers, we will indeed know and see our lost, saved loved ones in eternity, and we will indeed have a special relationship with them just as we will have a special relationship with everyone else in the Church. For we shall all be "one" in Jesus Christ just as we are now all one in Him, positionally speaking. The difference (or one of the differences) is that in resurrection we will experience that oneness in an as yet impossible-to-properly-appreciate sublime way. I have no doubt that we will not only be who we are and remember who we were in the time to come, but we will also have an eternity to get to know everyone else who, like us, forms an integral part of Jesus' Bride, whose Bride we all are, collectively speaking. That is to say, in my reading of scripture the eternal state of resurrection will be more of an inclusive rather than an exclusive one; it will be all gain rather than any loss. To use your fine example of Lazarus, consider that Lazarus must have lived many years after Abraham (the first Israelite, after all) and could not have possibly known him on earth therefore. Yet we see them enjoying sweet fellowship together in the Paradise below the earth. If this sort of greater inclusivity was the case in the interim state before the transfer of believers to the third heaven at Christ's ascension and well before the resurrection which has yet to take place it will certainly be even more the case in the New Jerusalem when we are all enjoying our resurrected state and the blessings of eternity for all eternity: we will have plenty of time to "get to know" everyone, and also to fellowship with those we knew before (your example of 2 Samuel 12:23 [note the verse number] is certainly evidence of this as well).
The question of the continuation of earthly relationships in heaven is a different one in my view. Many who are first will be last and last first. Because someone was a slave in this life to a believing master does not mean that in eternity that relationship will persist (I am confident it will not). Indeed, if the slave used his/her "talent" to produce a greater crop for the Lord then he/she may well outrank the person who ruled over them in this life. Pastor-teachers exercise some legitimate authority in the Church on earth, but in eternity we shall "know even as we are known" (1Cor.13:12), and that authority relationship will also no longer obtain (and there are no doubt many "pastors" who are doing a poor job who will be outranked in eternity by their sheep). In our post-fall economy, women are to be obedient to husbands and are restrained from exercising authority over men, but in Christ there is "no male and female" (Gal.3:28), and while the Bible does not say so for obvious reasons (i.e., out of a desire not to undermine important authority relationships now), the logic seems ineluctable that many women will outrank many men in the final order of things based upon performance for Christ in this life. This important consideration, namely, of eternal rewards fairly distributed, would seem to work at cross purposes to any substantial continuation of the things of this life in eternity. My supposition from all this is that while, for example, we will know our fathers and mothers in eternity (assuming we are all believers), we will not relate to them in that same way any longer. Not only will our levels of reward be different (and we may outrank them or not), but we will all be the same perfect prime adult age.
Finally, to the subject of the male-female marriage relationship, it is true that in the original creation of Adam and Eve the two were quite literally "made for each other"; or more precisely put, Eve was made for Adam because it was "not good" for a man to be alone, and also, of course, in order to fulfill the mandate, "be fruitful and multiply". The latter injunction will not apply in eternity, obviously, and inasmuch as we shall all be "one" in perfect harmony and unity in eternity, no one will be "alone", even in the absence of a special one-on-one restrictive relationship. For obvious reasons, the provision of "godly offspring" (Mal.2:15) and a viable family structure in the midst of the devil's world, the marriage relationship was necessary in time, but these considerations will not be operative in eternity. It is in this context that our Lord's words "at the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven" (Matt.22:30 NIV) should be considered. Angels are, in my opinion, male and female, yet they do not procreate nor marry that is the critical point of comparison. And our Lord's example is specifically designed to refute the Sadducees who assumed that there was "marriage in heaven" according to the Pharisaical view and were attempting to exploit the inconsistencies that position contains (which they assumed Jesus held too). If marriage as it exists now were to continue then, what about the countless instances of multiple marriage? Abraham remarried. Jacob has multiple wives. The Sadducees focus on the woman with multiple husbands because from the patriarchal perspective this would be the most uncomfortable position to defend: it's OK for a man to have multiple wives in eternity but what about a woman having multiple husbands? Surely a man would not be subjected to an eternity of sharing one woman with other men? But as Jesus points out this is not the way of things in the resurrection at all: there is no marriage in heaven.
Let me be quick to add by way of closing that this does not mean we will not know former spouses or will not remember our former relationships with them or will love them any less. It does not mean that we will not still enjoy time with them. In short it does not mean that we will lose anything of real value; rather we will gain everything in gaining an experiential eternal relationship with every member of the Body of Christ, with all of us focused clearly and without further earthly restrictions on appreciating the One who is central to everything we are and will be on that great day of days, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus. Whatever the particulars of our future relationships to those who were special to us on this earth, I do know that we will have absolutely no regrets on that score then (e.g., Rev.7:17; 21:4); therefore in my view the proper approach is to have no regrets now and to have absolute faith that Christ will wash away all of our tears on that and every other score on that wonderful day of being reunited with Him and with all who love His appearance.
In the One who is our all in all, Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Dear Dr. Luginbill,
Thank you for your words of comfort. Personally, I believe, now, that there will not only be a reunion but a continuation of the specific bond to which Jesus referred when he said, "...God hath joined together..." (Mark 10:9) Your comments have helped me toward that understanding. In fact, you have helped me see many passages of scripture in a new light. There are some, however, that I still cannot understand as you do. (Such as 2 Samuel 12:23.)
If we were created in the image of God, male and female (Genesis 1:27,) that would imply to me that both were required to make one complete whole. (And both required to complete the image of God.) Angels, I would guess, were made in that same image. If that understanding is true then considering the issue of "wife" or wives post resurrection, it seems that only one could be the proper compliment or "soul mate" -- perhaps not the one or any of the ones we married on earth but none the less, one female to compliment one male, whether angel or human. I'm not considering any sexual relationship since I don't see any need to multiply. Galatians 3:28, would almost have to refer to earthly political organization of people as the context suggests or there would be a discrepancy. Hopefully, I'm not extrapolating too much in this.
I have expressed my thoughts rather poorly and for that I apologize. I see through the glass very darkly and at times, I'm not sure I see through at all. Your comments to me and those you published have helped me focus my thoughts and, hopefully, my understanding of scripture. Thank you. You have helped me come to a new understanding of:
"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made..." (Romans 1:20)
May God bless you and your ministry.
And thank you for your words of appreciation and encouragement. Based upon our Lord's comments et al., I don't see this as eternal in the sense of marital exclusivity, but, as I say, I do think we will not lose anything good on the other side and will not fail to remember and prize anything that was good on this side. In eternity, we, the Church, will be enamored of our new Husband for all eternity, and the oneness and unity we will feel as the entire family of God, perfect and complete and belonging one to another even as we all belong to Christ is thrilling to contemplate now, and will unquestionably be a thing beyond joy on that wonderful day of days to come.
In anticipation of that joy without tears forevermore,
Hello Dr, Luginbill,
You have given me much to digest. I'm still digesting and will be for some time. The bond to which I referred was the spiritual bond that I can't really describe. The carnal aspect passed away long ago. Your comment about nothing of real value being lost brought the reassurance I hoped for. Thank you.
If I may trouble you a little further, considering the 2 Samuel 12:23 reference raised questions for me that, in the past, I accepted at face value. When David peered down at Bathsheba, did he not commit adultery by Jesus' standard? (Matthew 5:28) If not, they both certainly did when he "lay" with her. The lust drove him to kill Uriah. My understanding is that the murder of Uriah was the sin that cost David his son by that union. Is that correct? Yet both David and Bathsheba were favored and God loved their subsequent son Solomon. Was Bathsheba the one God "put together" for David and chose to do it in an unconventional way?
Doesn't this whole episode contravene Exodus 20:14? Also, am I correct in understanding that overwhelming desire is the intended meaning of the word lust as used elsewhere in the Bible and adultery as pollution, whether of blood line, doctrine or faith?
Thanks for your patience.
You are very welcome. As to David and Bathsheba, this is one of those glimpses into the grace and mercy of God which leaves no doubt about the fact that Jesus' sacrifice washes us clean from all sin otherwise none of us would be saved (in our Lord's genealogy we find not only Bathsheba but also Rahab and Ruth). But the way God handles David's discipline also reminds us that it is always better by far to stick to the straight road. Not only did he lose this son, but as a result of his disobedience another son, Amnon, raped one of his daughters, Tamar, and as a result of that another son, Absalom, killed Amnon and almost managed to wrest the kingdom away from David (but died himself in the final battle of the revolution). Some 14 years of intense discipline and heartache resulted from this adultery and murder, yet God continued to bless David even while he was being disciplined in this intensive way. Such is the grace and love of our righteous and just Lord and Savior.
As to the question of David and Bathsheba being "put together", I am reluctant to say that there is, for example, "one particular woman for one particular man and vice versa". Clearly, that was true of Adam and Eve, and just as clearly there have been many couples in the history of the world that seem to exemplify that principle. On the other hand, persons of good moral fiber can make a marriage work and be blessed therein even when they may be ill-matched from our worldly perspective, and that is doubly true in the case of Christians. Jacob was a phenomenal believer and gave his new name "Israel" to the entire Jewish people: yet he had multiple wives and he loved Rachel but not Leah (and we have no idea how he felt about Bilhah and Zilpah). Yet in spite of this "difficult home life", God blessed all twelve children abundantly and their names will be on the gates of the New Jerusalem (of course Joseph became two tribes whose names are so immortalized, and Levi's portion will be a special and separate one; see the link: in CT 6, "The Nature of New Jerusalem"). Since Bathsheba is in the line of Christ, we may speculate that if David had never married and had kept himself pure in this regard that perhaps Uriah would have died anyway and that David might have married her without sin and she might have been his only wife. That is mere speculation and even assuming a super-human sort of self-control on David's part does not seem to jibe with the narrative of his life in terms of what might have been possible. For example, David appears for all the world to be walking more closely with Jesus than any but a handful of the greatest believers recorded in scripture when Saul engineered the marriage to his daughter Michal (a match that doubtless was not "made in heaven").
I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.
1st Corinthians 7:7 NIV
Paul's words in the previous verses about getting married are thus said "as a concession, not as a command" (v.6). Generally speaking "It is good for a man not to marry" (v.1), but "since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband" (v.2). It seems clear from this discussion that, after Eden, marriage is not the ideal but rather a necessity of our sinful flesh. After all, life is short and we Christians are here not to enjoy the fruits of romantic love (or to indulge ourselves in anything as the purpose of our existence) but to serve Jesus Christ and this is doubly true of the Church Age where exploitation of the truth of the Word through the special indwelling of the Spirit we enjoy is our unique objective. This does not mean that God does not provide believers with all manner of enjoyment in this life indeed He does. What it does mean is that, if we were as dedicated to Jesus as in our heart of hearts as we wish to be, we would be making all sorts of good choices to forgo what the world sees as essential even legitimate things which at other times were considered part of a godly walk (like marriage) in the interest of fulfilling the ministries and objectives we have been given.
What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away. I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs--how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world--how he can please his wife--and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world--how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
1st Corinthians 7:29-35 NIV
This is not to say that a married person cannot serve Christ well. Indeed, the list of great believers in scripture who were married is the rule rather than the exception, and in the history of the Church many who will no doubt be in for the highest rewards at Christ's judgment seat will have been married as well. What it does mean is that 1) all choices have consequences, and 2) the spiritual bond we have with Jesus is so much more important than any human bond we may enjoy in this life, physical or spiritual, that it demonstrates the non-essential nature of the latter, at least in my view. Of course that is all theoretical. Being human, we have needs, we have weaknesses, we make choices, we make commitments. Given the nature of human life and the sinful nature of us all, good Christians included, it is a testament to the power of the Spirit and the grace of the Son and the Plan of the Father that we who are disciples of Christ get done for Him even what we do manage to get done.
In the correct way of looking at these things, using the sort of "reverse planning" that anyone with an earthly goal would properly use to see how best to get to that goal, we should all want to receive the highest awards at Christ's judgment seat, the three crowns of victory that are given to those who mature spiritually, pass the tests of this life in walking with our Lord closely and consistently, and produce the crop that Jesus wants us to produce respectively (see the link: in CT 6 "The Judgment and Reward of the Church"). Every decision that furthers our attaining that goal is a good one; every decision which hinders it is a bad one; those which do neither and are not sinful to some degree may still tend to the latter result rather than to the former. We all have free will meant to be exercised in faith. How we make use of that blessed gift of the very image of God is what this life is really all about.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
1st Corinthians 9:24-27 NIV
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14 NIV
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Dear Dr. Luginbill,
I have come to understand your earlier comments by seeing that the bond we all miss is the bond with the presence of God (which you stated clearly, but took me a long time to understand.) That bond, I believe, was severed at the fall (the true meaning of "On that day, you shall surely die") and seems confirmed when Jesus said, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" just before he died on the cross.
However, I'm still having difficulties reconciling the notion of female angels but not humans, if we will be equal to angels. Galatians 3:28 says: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
This seems to me to be speaking to earthly organization only and political status specifically. I'm unsure, otherwise, why the reference to male and female. I'm sure there will no longer be a subservient marriage relationship -- it's the physical distinction I'm having trouble with.
Jesus said: Mark 10:6. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
Perhaps I've misunderstood our original state. In summary, the question is, "How can there be female angels and no female resurrected humans?"
By the way, your correspondents this week disabused me of the notion that I was overly argumentative. You handled them with grace.
Good to hear from you. We seem to have a misunderstanding here. In resurrection, we will be who we are, only better. Men will still be men and women will still be women. There is not even any indication from scripture that there will be any sort of major change in the essential appearance or structure of our resurrected bodies beyond being glorified, immortal, and far better in every respect than the ones we now possess and in very many ways we cannot now even imagine. I take Paul's comments about "no slave or free, no Jew or Greek, no male or female" in Galatians 3:28 to be referring to the relative authority and status of these differences in worldly terms. These three sets are not the same, of course: there will be no slaves in eternity, for example, but slavery is not a function of anatomy. Women will most definitely still be women in heaven, but strictures like "I suffer not a woman to teach" will no longer apply; I fully expect many believing women who ran a good race to outrank many men who did not. The woman's role in God's plan in time is different from the man's, but neither earthly role will be determinative in eternity. That does not mean, however, that women will not continue to be women and men men. Indeed, since this is true of the angels who never had the limited earthly existence that we are presently suffering through, it is more surely the case for human beings (see the link: "Female Angels").
I'm not sure what I said that pointed you down this track (I would be pleased for you to share it with me), but I do hope we've got this one straightened out now.
And thanks for your encouraging remarks as well!
Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Dear Dr. Luginbill,
Any misunderstanding was entirely mine. I have read the Bible almost entirely as a guide book for our earthly passage. I haven't spent much time considering the details of life after death because I assumed if I did my part properly, I would learn soon enough. The concept of female angels was entirely new to me and started a train of poorly framed thoughts more poorly expressed. (And you did clear them up. Thank you.)
For a couple of years after my wife died at my side, I tried to find support in scripture that I would at least see her again. She was such a perfect compliment to me that even today, I still feel the void. I never found that scriptural support and never understood 2 Samuel 12:23 as anything more than David expected to die, too. Your reasoning on all that clarified a subject that was, for me, murky at best.
I focused, I think, on the Galatians passage out of context and completely misunderstood. A scientist once told me that the most difficult thing in research was to keep personal beliefs out of the results. It seems that's also true in other areas of life; the older we get, the harder to keep an open mind. Yet, I learn something new every time I open the Bible and fully believe that my prayers for understanding are continually being answered in ways I never thought possible. I believe you are a part of that for which I'm thankful.
God bless you.
Thank you, friend.
I appreciate you getting back to me on this, and I also very much appreciate your kind words. I am confident that we will again see those who have gone before us and that the reunion will be sweet. There is no permanent loss for those who are in Christ, even though we have pain in this life when we lose someone dear (emotional as well as physical). The time we spend down here is very short. What is coming is what really counts.
In hopes that your empowered spiritual growth will continue to abound as does your love for Jesus Christ.
Hello Dr. Luginbill,
When Jesus was transfigured on the Mount and appeared what looked like a glorified form, what form did He take? Jesus, after the resurrection didn't have the appearance of His facing shining like the sun in its strength as on the Mount, but appeared in what looked like a human body, only immortal. And in Revelation He appears in a form described using symbolism. If the body Jesus took after the resurrection was His glorified body, what sort of form was He on the Mount? Is that Jesus in His full glory? Maybe it's my imagination running wild, but I interpreted our glorified bodies as radiating with light (Rev.22:5) as like Jesus on the Mount. I'm just a bit confused as to why He didn't shine after the resurrection like He did on the Mount. Thanks again!
Good to hear from you. Yes, the Mount of Transfiguration is a preview of the Second Advent. Moses and Elijah are the two witnesses of the Tribulation and they precede our Lord's return in glory and that is what is being foreshadowed in His transfiguration (see the link). I don't see the picture of our Lord in Revelation chapter one as symbolic but as entirely literal. The difference between His appearance after resurrection in the gospels and His appearance after His ascension is explained by the fact that He was not "glorified" until He ascended to the Father (see the link: in BB 4A: "Christ's Glorification"). After all, the Spirit was not given to us until after Jesus' ascension either, nor were any of the spiritual gifts that we as a Church now enjoy as part of the "plunder" He has won for us, nor were the Old Testament believers transferred to the third heaven before our Lord ascended. So that really is the dividing line and that is what explains how Jesus looked before returning to the Father and how He looks now after being glorified "with the glory I had in your presence before the world began" (Jn.17:5). So I agree with your assumption about the nature of our resurrection state and the glorious nature of the bodies we shall enjoy for all eternity. In fact, it is entirely scriptural:
(41) [Nor should we imagine that all heavenly bodies will possess the same degree of splendor.] After all, the radiance of the sun and of the moon and of stars is different in each case, and even the stars differ amongst themselves in glory. (42) So it is with the resurrection of the dead. The body sown is corruptible, the one raised incorruptible. (43) The body sown is dishonorable, the one raised glorious. The body sown is weak, the one raised powerful.
1st Corinthians 15:41-42
For our [true] citizenship has a heavenly existence, and it is from there that we expectantly await our Savior, Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform this humble body of ours into one that matches His glorious body through His powerful ability to subordinate everything to Himself.
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 [in glory], we will be like Him, that we shall see Him exactly like He is.
1st John 3:2
For more on all this, including more about "glory", please see the link in CT 5: "The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride".
Yours in Jesus our glorious Lord whose return in glory we eagerly await.
Hello Dr. Luginbill,
I hope everything is great with you in your walk with the Lord.
The bible says that God will not allow His Holy One (Jesus) to see corruption while it also says that our earthly tabernacle will be dissolved and replaced with a new one. Does this mean that Jesus was and will be the only one to have His same body, but resurrected and glorified? I thought about that since He still had the scars as a reminder for what He has done for us, only He will have the same body while we will be given a new body. Thanks!
Good to hear from you as always. Hope things are going better for you I keep you in my prayers.
As to your question, the prophecy about our Lord in Psalm 16:10 means precisely and literally that: uniquely, Jesus was resurrected after death but before decay (on the third day). The rest of us will either be resurrected after death by some long time in most cases (Adam and Eve, for example), or resurrected in the living resurrection that takes place at the Second Advent. In terms of what our eternal bodies will be like, Paul describes the resurrection as the same for all (1Cor.15:23-24), after the pattern of Christ (compare 1Cor.15:42-44 with 1Cor.15:45-49), with any substantial distinction being ruled out by these descriptions. That is why Jesus can say "I am the resurrection and the life" (Jn.11:25), and why His resurrection is such an encouragement because it is the forerunner of what we will experience just as He is our Forerunner (Heb.6:20). And as it says at 1st John:
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 [in glory], we will be like Him, that we shall see Him exactly like He is.
1st John 3:2
That the Bride should be compatible with Jesus her Head certainly stands to reason too. Jesus does have the marks of the cross, but I take these as being special memorials to His ineffably unique sacrifice: they are also proofs of the reality and true physicality of His resurrection (as His conversation with "doubting Thomas" makes clear), so that we may know that the body to come is real in every way, but eternal and blessed beyond our present understanding. Please see the links:
in BB 4A: "The Nature of the Resurrection"
in CT 6 "Our Blessed Eternal State"
in Peter #20: "The Resurrection Body"
in CT 5 "The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride
Hope this answers your question!
In anticipation of that wonderful day to come when all of tears melt away forever in the joy of being with our dear Savior.
Hello. Will we be resurrected in our present bodies in a glorified state or do we receive new bodies? There seems to be differing opinions on this matter. Thank you.
Good to make your acquaintance. It's a good question, since there is clearly a large difference between our present, mortal bodies and our eternal, "resurrection bodies". Scripture does present the issue as one of the old body "rising from the grave" or, in the case of those who will experience the living-resurrection at our Lord's return, of being "transformed":
(50) But I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor can corruption inherit incorruption. (51) Behold, I tell you a mystery: not all of us will fall asleep, but all of us will be changed (52) in [that] moment of time, in the blink of an eye, at the final trumpet blast. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will rise incorruptible, and we too will be changed [at that time (i.e., the Lord's Second Advent return)].
1st Corinthians 15:50-52
The eternal body is thus in one sense "the same" (Jesus was recognizable as Jesus after the resurrection), but in many important respects "different" (not only was our Lord not instantly recognizable at first, but of course His new, eternal body possesses all manner of new capabilities [see the links below]). The apostle Paul explains it like this:
(35) Now somebody will no doubt say, "In what manner do the dead rise? And with what sort of body do they come back?" (36) Use a little common sense! When you plant a seed, it doesn't "come back to life" unless the seed itself is first destroyed, does it? (37) And what you put in the ground is not the actual plant which later sprouts, but an "empty shell", so to speak, of the wheat or of whatever you are planting. (38) God then transforms this seed into a plant in accordance with His creative plan, giving each specific seed its own unique structure. (39) [As it is with seeds and plants, the same is true of animate bodies.] For in an analogous way, not all bodies are the same. Obviously, the bodies of men are different from the bodies of cattle, the bodies of birds are different from the bodies of fish, (40) and, just as obviously, bodies capable of dwelling in heaven are different from the bodies we occupy here on earth. Moreover the splendor of our heavenly bodies will transcend that of our earthly ones. (41) [Nor should we imagine that all heavenly bodies will possess the same degree of splendor.] After all, the radiance of the sun and of the moon and of stars is different in each case, and even the stars differ amongst themselves in glory. (42) So it is with the resurrection of the dead. The body sown is corruptible, the one raised incorruptible. (43) The body sown is dishonorable, the one raised glorious. The body sown is weak, the one raised powerful. (44) The body sown is suited to physical life, the one raised to spiritual life. If there is a physical body (and there patently is), then there is also a spiritual one. (45) For as it has been written that "Adam, the first man, became a physical being, possessing life", so Christ, the last Adam, became a spiritual being, bestowing life. (46) However it is not the spiritual body, but the physical body which comes first, and the spiritual body follows. (47) The first man was earthly, being taken from the ground. The second Man is heavenly. (48) And as was the earthly man, so also are we of the earth. And as is the heavenly Man, so also shall we be when we too take on heavenly form. (49) For just as we have born the image of the earthly man, so also shall we bear the image of the heavenly Man.
1st Corinthians 15:35-49
The resurrection body is thus the full-blown and mature "plant" that arises from the "seed" of this present, temporary body (vv.36-38 above). So there is a definite relationship, a definite line of development, and a definite similarity. But the differences are even more profound. The new body is not precisely the same one as the old (as different as the plant is from the seed); the new body is not corrupt (it will have no trace of sin); the new body will not wear out (it is eternal). For these reasons, over-focusing on the preservation of the present body after death is a potential trap. Believers should, of course, show every legitimate respect, but the receipt of a resurrection body is in no way dependent upon the fate of the first, mortal body. It is virtually certain that the first bodies of all of the great Old Testament saints have now turned entirely to dust, but that will not in any way prevent their resurrection. Here are those links I mentioned:
The Resurrection Body
The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride
The blessed eternal state of the saved.
Please feel free to write me back about any of the above.
Yours in the One who died for our eternal life, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Just another question on Romans 8:19: 'For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God'. Regarding the first part - does the 'creation' refers to the natural world plus believers, or does it include unbelievers too? The same question regarding the second part of the passage - 'for the revealing of the sons of God' - should it be interpreted as believers, meaning 'all of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of believers'?
Paul is personifying the natural world which will be greatly blessed during our Lord's millennial reign, and, yes, the "sons" are the entire Church which will be resurrected at the second advent. Just as we "groan" in these bodies of sin but will rejoice over our perfect eternal bodies, so the natural world "groans" under the Genesis 3 curse which will be largely alleviated (though not entirely removed) when Christ returns.
In Christ's return, who is it that believers will be ruling over?
Believers in resurrection will be part of Jesus' millennial administration during His thousand year rule (see the link: "The Millennial Administration").
Why did Jesus pick 12 apostles? Is there any connection to the 12 tribes of Israel?
Yes (although they are not "one from each tribe" since, for example, we have two sets of brothers among the twelve). The gates of the New Jerusalem, for example, are associated each with one apostle and also with one of the 12 tribes. See the link: The Gemstone Foundations and the Tribal Gates of New Jerusalem.
You wrote: It is as a result of His victory and His descent to Hades and subsequent ascension into the presence of the Father in His resurrected and thoroughly genuine human body that we, the Body of Christ, share in that victory and the gifts and rewards that flow from it.
How do we know that Jesus ascended into the presence of the Father in a genuine human body?
As our Lord said to Thomas who doubted His resurrection:
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
John 20:26-29 NIV
It is in this very body that our Lord is said to have ascended a few weeks later:
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."
Acts 1:9-11 NIV
Note that the angels say that Jesus will come back "in the same way you have seen Him go", which is for me a clear indication that what He was at resurrection and was at ascension is what He will be when He returns. As John says:
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
1st John 3:2 NIV
In Hebrews 11:39: And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised
By 'did not receive what was promised', does Paul mean that these great people of faith did not see the Messiah?
What he means is that they did not receive the inheritance which includes first and foremost the resurrection (they are all in the third heaven in interim bodies but will only be resurrected along with us at the second advent), and then also the reward, described in the New Testament in terms of crowns but also comprising a specific location in the New Jerusalem (see the link: The Judgment and Reward of the Church).
Hebrews 11:39-40 (NASB): And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.
What does Paul mean by 'so that apart from us they would not be made perfect'?
The Church will be resurrected and rewarded as one. For this reason, all of the great believers of the past are still waiting until that great day when all of us will rise to meet the Lord in the air and return with Him to earth to share His millennial rule. That will be the time of the judgment and reward of the entire Church, not before.
In Satanic Rebellion Part 5 you wrote: The Church is thus complete at the return of Christ, but there are many who will turn to Him after He returns with His bride. These are those "invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb" (Rev.19:9; i.e., those implied in 1Cor.15:24 vs. the Church of 1Cor.15:23).
I'm not clear about this - where are those 'invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb' mentioned in 1Cor.15:23-24?
But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christs at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.
Are they mentioned in 'then comes the end'? But then that sounds like a description of time, as can be surmised from the 'when' that follows. I asked about this passage and I looked at your explanation, but I'm still unclear:
The words "then the end" refer to this last phase of the resurrection which would be well-known to readers of the gospels as referring to the likes of the sheep and goats judgment in Matthew 25:31-46, or even to readers of the Old Testament:
"As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance." Daniel 12:13 NIV
I) How do we know that Matthew 25:31-46 refers to the last phase of the resurrection? Is it to do with the fact that it is the Messiah that will perform this separation, meaning that it will be performed after His coming?
"The end" is when the final events of history happen, the preeminent of which as the verse above shows is the last phase of the resurrection and the judgment of the righteous and the wicked. The /mystery/ is that the Church will be resurrected before the absolute end, namely at Christ's return:
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed--in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 1st Corinthians 15:51-52 NIV
II) I cannot see from the passage how the mystery is referring to the sequence of the resurrection (Church being resurrected before the absolute end)? Could you explain where specifically does Paul make reference to the 'mystery' being the sequence (throughout 1 Corinthians 15:50-57 he refers to the 'change' from perishable to imperishable, but I cannot see where he means that Church will be resurrected before absolute end)?
The mystery is that this change occurs not at the end of history, but at Christ's return:
We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 1st Thessalonians 4:14-17
III) This sequence is visible here, but the 'mystery' is not mentioned in the passage?
So when Paul phrases this as he does, had he said, "Christ the first-fruits, then the end", we would know that he was talking about only two phases; the surprising thing for his listeners here, called a "mystery" later in the chapter, is the revelation that there will actually be two phases of the resurrection of the righteous following Christ's resurrection, and the next one will be "those who belong to Him at His coming".
IV) Is it not possible that in 1Cor.15:23-24 Paul meant:
23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christs at His coming, 24 then (when all the resurrection has been accomplished) comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.
If we did not have 1st Corinthians 15:51 where the mystery is explained in terms of two separate echelons of the righteous, and if we did not know from elsewhere in scripture that there are other righteous in addition to the Church (i.e., the Jews who believe when they see the Lord return and all others who will believe in the Millennium), then perhaps I would find the objections stronger. But we do have both of these things: the latter principle should have been understood by Paul's audience (it definitely should be understood by us), while the former distinction comes back in the form of a more detailed explanation later in the same chapter (in case some had not grasped the significance of 1st Corinthians 15:23): after all, 1st Corinthians 15:51 is introduced in the preceding verse by explaining that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God".
So while 1st Corinthians 15:23 is not consistent with the later discussion if understood in the alternative way you propose (not to mention being inconsistent with the other information we have about the Millennium), it certainly is consistent if we understand "the end" to refer to the judgment of the sheep (believers) and the goats (unbelievers) which takes place after "the Son of Man has come in His glory" and "takes His seat on His throne of judgment" (Matt.25:31ff.). This is the last event before "he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power" (1Cor.15:23). After all, "The last enemy to be destroyed is death" (1Cor.15:25 NIV). But death has not yet been destroyed before the last judgment and the resurrection of the remainder of the human race, the righteous (sheep) in a resurrection of life, and the wicked (goats) to a resurrection of condemnation (Jn.5:28-29).
Now to take the previous parts of your question, the sheep and goats judgment has to be at the end of all things because very clearly there is only one last judgment of the wicked and that is also seen in Revelation 20:11-15 (and there is absolutely no indication of any prior judgment of the wicked in that book or anywhere else), and also because at the conclusion of the sheep and goats judgment the wicked go off to the lake of fire directly (again, only at the very end of all history) while the righteous go off into "eternal life" which is only true of the eternal state. Also the "throne of glory" (Matt.25:31) is in my view very clearly the same as the "great white throne" (Rev.20:11).
The fact that all the alternative explanations I have ever heard run afoul of one or the other of the above passages (and others too), and the fact that the above interpretation works smoothly with all of the available evidence are also points in its favor.
Finally, while it may not be obvious in the English or Polish versions, in the Greek the connection of verses 23 and 24 in 1st Corinthians 15 as a sequence is unmistakable: "Each in his own order: 1) first (aparche / ἀπαρχὴ) Christ ; 2) next (epeita / ἔπειτα) His at His coming; 3) then (eita / ειτα) the end. The use of the word eita (ειτα) at the start of verse 24 indicates the continuation of the sequence into verse 24 (and please remember that the verse divisions are of course very late: 16/17th century). The information which follows "when He shall . . ." gives the timing of the third element, not the content. Please feel free to write back on this one if I failed to address any of your concerns here (and see the link: CT 6 "Last Things").
1st Corinthians 15:52: in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
Since Paul says 'and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed' and I take it that in this passage he refers to the events of the Second Advent, does it mean that the Millennial Kingdom will be a kingdom of the resurrected believers and unresurrected human beings?
Paul is focused on the "next step", the one which concerned his readers and which still concerns us: yes, this is the resurrection at Christ's return. For all Christians in the Church, the "blessed hope" for which we wait is the return of our Lord and our gathering together to be with Him forever. It is true that much will happen thereafter (and we are given to know many of these things from various places in scripture), but it is ever the parousia or "return" of our Lord on which we set our hope.
Regarding the timescale of Revelation you wrote: 1st Corinthians 15:23 does not, as you note, divide the resurrection of the Church into the living and the dead (not unprecedented since after all Daniel 12:2 does not even distinguish between the two phases of the resurrection of believers, namely, the Bride and the Friends of the Bride; this is understandable as a case of progressive revelation, for as Paul says later in 1st Corinthians, "Behold, I tell you a mystery . . ." (1Cor.15:51): the mystery is that not everyone will die but some will be resurrected while still alive: "not all will fall asleep, but all will be changed".
When you say that 1 Corinthians 15:23 is a case of progressive revelation, and yet in the same letter Paul later does explain this mystery (verse 51), does it mean that: a) He has got the full knowledge at the time of penning the letter, but 'doses' the information in the way it's presented.
b) He has not got full knowledge, but things are revealed to him as he is writing the letter, meaning, at the time when verse 23 is being written, he doesn't yet know the mystery, but at the time of writing verse 51, he does.
Which one of the two is correct?
Paul certainly understood the issue entirely at the time of the writing of this epistle (and no doubt much earlier). My point in speaking of progressive revelation is that in truth we know now that instead of one simultaneous resurrection and judgment, there are in fact phases which, taken together, constitute "the resurrection". As 1st Corinthians 15:23 makes clear, those phases are: 1) Christ; 2) the Church (at the 2nd Advent); 3) the Millennial believers (followed immediately by the resurrection of the unrighteous and their judgment, the "last judgment"). So I think your point about "dosing" is correct in that Paul does not want to interrupt the flow of his explanation at this point to explain every aspect of the mystery of the living resurrection which will take place for those of us who survive until Christ's return (it would take quite a long "footnote" to do so, after all).
Romans 14:9 - the first part of the sentence is unclear to me - 'For to this end Christ died and lived again': For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
Does it refer to the resurrection?
Paul's point is that the resurrection our eternal life and eternal status, including the rewards we win here in this life, are all a part of the plan. Jesus died and came back to life in order for us to have life eternal with Him. So that ought to condition our entire outlook, treating our brothers and sisters with respect since we shall "all stand before the judgment seat of Christ" to be evaluated for how we have handled our opportunities.
a) You wrote:
All believers who have died or will die before Christ's return are in heaven now and are in an interim state which includes a temporary body (2Cor.5:3 - in the Greek - most English versions translate this verse incorrectly; Rev.7:6-10), that is, in a body which is not the ultimate resurrection body like the one our Lord now possesses (1Cor.15:42-44).
Could you explain both references - 2 Corinthians 5:3 and Revelation 7:6-10 and how they relate to the interim body?
b) Later in the same response:
As to these dead in Christ, between the resurrection and their deaths, they have (since Christ's ascension) been in heaven with the Lord.
Do you intentionally reverse the order of resurrection and the death?
a) Here is how I translate the first passage:
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 (i.e., the resurrection body). 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"; for we will enjoy an interim body in the meantime: cf. Lk.16:19-31; Rev.7:9-10; Rev.7:9-17).
2nd Corinthians 5:1-3
The key part for these purposes is the emphasized portion. Most versions reverse what is there in the Greek. E.g., NASB: "because when we are clothed . . . ". But the Greek does not say "when we are clothed"; rather it says "when we are un-clothed we will not be found naked".
The justification for the versions printing what they print is, admittedly, a good deal of textual evidence for the reading I have rejected. Based on the forms of the Greek words, it is easy to see how the word prefixed with en- crept into the text and replaced the correct form prefixed with ek- (which does occur in some early witnesses): the immediately preceding form of the compound word for "putting on" and "putting off" in context has en-. Secondly and of equal importance is the fact that it is very easy to misunderstand the Greek here if Paul's argument is not being followed closely enough (and this is not the first instance in the history of copying where the sense, misunderstood, has lead to both conscious and unconscious corrections to previously correct texts). Moreover, in the final pair of these forms in verse four where we have both ek- and en-, we wouldn't have the ek- form there unless it had already occurred (because Paul uses it and the en- form in verse four to parallel the idea he has just introduced). But if we read and understand the correct text, we find a perfect parallelism which makes sense (as opposed to an unbalanced comparison which seemingly would have no point). Finally, the word found twice (correctly) with en- is actually a double compound: ependusasthai, whereas the incorrect reading does not have the prior ep- (a strong piece of evidence that that single compound endusamenoi is incorrect and that ekdusamenoi is the correct reading).
Here is what is what Metzger's A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament has to say in defense of printing ek- instead of en- :
It is difficult to decide between endusamenoi and ekdusamenoi. On the one hand, on the basis of external attestation, the former reading is to be preferred. On the other hand, internal considerations, in the opinion of the majority of the Committee, decisively favor the latter reading, for with endusamenoi the apostle's reasoning is banal and even tautologous, whereas with ekdusamenoi it is characteristically vivid and paradoxical . . .
In other words, what Paul is really saying would be "paradoxical" if the more well-supported reading were accepted as the correct one. So it is understandable that the major versions have gone with the more conventional approach; however, the 26th edition of the Nestle-Aland Greek text printed ekdusamenoi at 2nd Corinthians 5:3.
With the text understood correctly, this verse teaches the existence of the interim body because in it Paul assures us that even if we lose this present body we will "not be naked" before the Lord which can only be true if our spirits have been given some sort of interim "tent" once we have put aside this "tent" (cf. 2Pet.1:13). Revelation 7:9-10 actually shows us believers in this interim state. There we see in heaven a "a huge multitude" of human beings "clothed in white robes". As this is after their death (they are in heaven after all) and before the resurrection (which does not occur until the return of Christ in chapters 19-20), it is clear that this must be a case of believers in the interim state (see also Rev.6:9-11 where the entrance of the martyrs into this state is described).
b) Yes, to emphasize the resurrection.
Regarding the apparent discrepancies between the Old and New Testament you wrote:
However, it is in fact the case that there is not a single discrepancy of teaching or meaning or doctrine in the entire Bible - when it is rightly understood. That does not mean that while we are growing and learning there will not be times when we have a hard time understanding this or that passage or teaching - and it is a life's work to understand it all. Even the great apostle Paul said, "Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect" (Phil 3:12 NASB). But if we have faith in God that He will lead us to all His truth and if we, like Paul, "press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me", we will make great progress in understanding the Word - as long as we believe the truth we learn and are taught.
It seems that in Philippians 3:12 Paul refers to resurrection from the dead (verse 11), but you use it as an argument for the full understanding of the Bible - could you please clarify? Is that passage applicable to this too?
Paul does refer to resurrection here (v.11), but also to the knowledge of Christ (v.10). No doubt this is why NIV translates verse 12 "Not that I have already obtained all this". In truth, the two things are not unrelated. Only in resurrection will we "know fully" (epigignosko) as we are now "known" (1Cor.13:12). So Paul does not contemplate the resurrection in its physical aspects only, but in its spiritual entirety which includes the full experience of God, fellowship with and full knowledge of our dear Lord face to face.
John 20:14: When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.
Why didn't Mary (and others too) recognize our Lord after His resurrection?
While Mary did not recognize Jesus immediately, she did recognize Him later after He spoke her name. The believers on the way to Emmaus were "kept from recognizing Him" (Lk.24:16) which must mean that otherwise He was recognizable. Mary was likely standing at some distance from the Lord when they first spoke and this was early in the morning. Also, our Lord would look somewhat different in resurrection; though not glorified, His clothes would have been perfect (and different from the clothes for which lots had been cast at the cross); we also see in John 20:14 that Mary "turned around" after Jesus spoke her name, indicating to me that in her grief she is crying and hiding her face up to this point; finally, Mary was not expecting to see our Lord so that this combination of factors no doubt contributed to her assuming that this was the attendant of the garden.