Wednesday, December 7, 2016

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    Wednesday, November 23, 2016

    Psalm 9:17 - Wicked Turned Back to Sheol

    Psalm 9:17 - The wicked shall be turned back [defeated, repulsed] to Sheol, Even all the nations that forget [fail to regard, ignore] God. -- World English
    Many Bible Students in noting that the Hebrew word Shuwb is used here, and seeing that this word can mean to turn back, return, have concluded that these nations are being said to return to sheol, and thus that this scripture is speaking of the second death. This cannot be true because sheol will be destroyed in the second death, thus no one will be able to return there. (Revelation 20:14) The immediate context appears to be referring to present condition of the heathen (nations) in their pit and net of corruption that leads to destruction. (Psalm 9:15,16) In Psalm 2 these nations are said to come against Jehovah and his anointed. (Psalm 2:2,3; see also: Revelation 19:18; Isaiah 24:1-22) These will not be successful, but will be turned back from, or defeated in, their course of action into sheol. Regardless, there is nothing in the scripture that says that the heathen will spend an eternity of torture in sheol.

    The Bible tells of the great destruction that comes upon the earth, we believe, during the Armageddon struggel. (Isaiah 24:1-22; Revelation 16:14) Notice, however, that it speaks of those who are destroyed as being shut up in a "prison." Job refers to those in death as "prisoners" who "rest together". (Job 3:18) The Bible tells of the gathering of "captive ones" from many nations in the latter days, the days when God's kingdom will rule the whole earth. (Jeremiah 48:47; 49:6,34-39; Isaiah 2:2) Jesus spoke of the day of judgment as being the same day in which the dead -- both those justified in this life and those are not justified in this life -- are raised as "the last day". (John 6:39,40,44,54; 12:47,48) Jehovah speaks of gathering the captive ones of Sodom and Samaria along with the captive ones of Jerusalem. (Ezekiel 16:53) They are spoken of as returning to their 'former state', that is, they return from the prison house of death to their former state of sentiency upon the earth. So with those who are thrown into this prison at Armageddon - after many days they will be "visited." To be visited by Jehovah can mean to visited with his anger, or to be visited with his blessings. (Isaiah 26:14; Psalm 65:9) Since Jehovah's anger had already been expressed upon those shut up in prison at Armageddon, their being "visited" after many days would have to signify that they would then be released from the prison and have the opportunity to respond to the blessings that will then be upon the earth during the thousand year reign of Christ, the "last day" of judgment that Jesus spoke of. - John 12:47,48; Revelation 20:11-15;21:1-4.

    The word "pit", used in Isaiah 24:22, is translated from the Hebrew bowr. Bowr in many cases can be seen to be a close synonym to the Hebrew word, Sheol. Many scriptures use these terms in parallel, thus indicating that, at least in those instances, they refer to one and the same place: "For it is not Sheol that can laud you; death itself cannot praise you. Those going down into the pit [bowr] cannot look hopefully to your trueness." - Isaiah 38:18; See also Psalm 30:3,9; 88:3,4,6; 143:7.
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    Originally posted March 2010; edited and reposted April 2014

    Saturday, November 5, 2016

    The Manner of the Resurrection

    By Ronald R. Day, Senior
    If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith also is in vain. Yes, we are found false witnesses of God, because we testified about God that he raised up Christ, whom he didn't raise up, if it is so that the dead are not raised. Then they also who are fallen asleep in Christ have perished. -- 1 Corinthians 15:14,15,18, World English.
    (1) THE FAITH ONCE delivered to the saints by Jesus and the Apostles in respect to the resurrection of the dead has been very generally lost. Christian people profess a belief in the resurrection, because they find it stated in the Bible, yet they are continually in difficulty in their endeavor to make the Scriptural teaching on the subject square with some of the unscriptural theories received into the Church from Hellenistic philosophies, and incorporated into many of the creeds as a result of the foretold apostasy, the falling away, from the true faith, which falling away had already begun in the days of the apostles. -- 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12; 1 John 2:18.

    (2) The apostle Paul warned the Church against these human philosophies, and called them "science, falsely so-called," being traditions of men that make void the Word of God. (1 Timothy 6:20, King James Version; Matthew 15:6) These errors have been instrumental in dividing the faith of God's people into more than six hundred denominations, with more than six hundred different professions. We do not expect in this present evil world that those who profess to be God's people will all come back to the simplicity of the Bible's teaching in respect to the resurrection of the dead, but if they would, all of these differences would speedily disappear. God's Word would be seen to be beautiful and harmonious, satisfactory to the consecrated intellect, as none of our sectarian creeds are.

    (3) Really the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead has been repudiated by practically all denominations, not willingly, not intentionally, but perforce, as it were. An opposite theory received and intrenched in the minds gives no place for the doctrine of the resurrection, as the Bible presents it. Consequently the doctrine of the resurrection has been twisted so that many recite, "I believe in the resurrection of the body."
    (4) Yet even this perverted view of the resurrection is not satisfactory to those who hold it. They probably wish many a time that the doctrine of the resurrection were not in the Bible, so much difference does it cause. For instance, how inconsistent it seems that they should say, "I believe in the resurrection of the body," and then say, as many do, Dying is but going home, getting rid of the mortal flesh, and being freed from its limitations. If it is a blessing to die and get free from the limitations of the body, how could it be a blessing to be reincarcerated in the body, and be obliged to keep it through all eternity? Such is the inconsistency of the resurrection, however, from the viewpoint of the creeds of men.

    THE BIBLE RESURRECTION REASONABLE

    (5) There is nothing inconsistent in the Bible presentation of the resurrection. Not from the Bible, but from men, comes the suggestion of the resurrection of the body. The Bible invariably refers to the resurrection of the soul. It is the soul that dies; as we read, "The soul that is sinning -- it it doth die." (Ezekiel 18:4, Young's Literal Translation) Adam was created a living soul (Genesis 2:7), but his living soul came under the death sentence because he disobeyed God. (Genesis 2:17; 3:19) It is man's soul that needs to be delivered from death, not his body. Thus the Psalmist says: "God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol." -- Psalm 49:15, New American Standard.

    (5) To accomplish this redemption, we read that Christ Jesus "poured out his soul to death" (Isaiah 53:12); He made His soul, represented in his blood, "an offering for sin." (Hebrews 13:11; Leviticus 17:11) Moreover, we are particularly told that it was the soul of Jesus that was raised from the dead: "you will not leave my soul in Sheol. (Psalm 16:10) The apostle Peter quotes this statement as prophetical of the resurrection of Jesus, that His soul was not left in hades; God raised Jesus from the dead. (Acts 2:31,32) Paul did not raise any question such as "How will the body be raised?" With what body do the dead come? is a totally different question. Some dead souls, in the resurrection, will come forth with spirit bodies, and others with human bodies, according to the Bible. (1 Corinthians 15:35-50) But the important part is, that it is the soul, the being, that comes forth, that is resurrected -- not the body. If the soul dies, as the Bible declares, then manifestly the soul should be resurrected.

    (6) The difficulty is that the traditions of man "have made void the Word of God". From the Grecian philosophers a tradition which Socrates and Plato both advocated, many have received a false doctrine, namely, that when a human being dies he does not really die. The soul, it is claimed, cannot die, but, whenever the soul gets out of the body, the body dies. How strange it seems that so many of us, as intelligent, thoughtful beings, have accepted this heathen philosophy, without a word of Scripture for its support, and with hundreds of Scriptures to condemn it!

    (7) We can see how the heathen philosophers might be led to conjure up such a theory, because of their desire to believe in a future life, and because they had no revelation from God respecting a future life. They therefore tried their best to convince themselves that man really does not die -- that no man can die. The Biblical truth is the very reverse of this, namely, that a man does die; that he is a soul, a thinking, sentient being. Neither is he a bodiless being, and indeed he cannot be a being at all without a body. His body may change, as science declares it does gradually, hour by hour, until a complete change is effected in seven years.

    (8) Thus a man, a soul, a sentient being, may in a life of fifty years have sloughed off gradually sufficient matter to have composed seven bodies. But the moment the sloughing off of this dying matter and the substitution of living matter ceases, we have death; and with the death of the body the soul dies -- that is, the intelligent being ceases, and becomes a "dead soul". (Leviticus 21:11 - most translations hide the word "soul" in this verse by changing it to another word, such as "body") There can be no thinking without a brain, no breathing without lungs, no maintenance of life in any sense of the word without a body.

    (9) This would have been a total destruction of the soul had not God specially provided, as the Prophet declares, that He would redeem man's life from destruction, through the redemptive work accomplished by Jesus in giving His soul an offering for man's sin, and thus making possible man's resurrection from the dead. -- Psalms 103:4; Hosea 13:14; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22.

    (10) It is in consequence of this Divine provision through Christ for a resurrection of humanity that the Scriptures speak of death as merely a falling asleep for a time, to wait for the new body in the resurrection, rather than to speak of us as dying as the brute beasts. The word sleep implies that in the Divine purpose a future life is intended, and will eventually be given. -- Genesis 47:30; Deuteronomy 31:16; 2 Samuel 7:12; 1 Kings 1:21; Psalm 6:5; 146:4; Daniel 12:2; John 5:28,29 NASV; 11:11-14; 1 Thessalonians 4:14; 2 Peter 3:4.

    "CHRIST WAS RAISED FROM THE DEAD"

    (11) The apostle Paul does not leave the matter of Christ's resurrection undecided. He positively affirms that, "Christ was raised from the dead," (Romans 6:4; see also Romans 7:4; 8:34) and that, thus risen, he is the "first fruits of those who are asleep," (1 Corinthians 15:20) which implies that when He was raised there were others still slept in the sleep of death. Being asleep in death, Jesus was not conscious at all during the time he was dead, just as one in deep sleep is not conscious. (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10) Jesus slept during a part of three days, from the time He died until the Father raised Him from the dead, from hades, from sheol, from the tomb, on the third day. (Acts 2:31; Psalm 16:10) He, as the First-fruits of the sleeping ones, is an example and a guarantee of the fulfillment of the Divine promise, that "there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust." -- Acts 24:15.

    (12) It behooves us to take a decided stand, either with the Grecian philosophers and their theories, or with the Bible. The two are in conflict and whoever attempts to hold both is in confusion. If the dead are not dead, then no human being is dead. And if no one is dead, how could there be a "resurrection of the dead"? --- Acts 2:15.

    (13) The inconsistency of the theory held respecting the resurrection of the body has invited a very reasonable and just criticism. The skeptic asks: "How could the body be resurrected, after it has gone to dust and after the dust has been scattered to the four winds?" Once grave was opened near an apple tree, and it was found that a root from the tree had entered the coffin and practically absorbed the corpse, from which it had produced thousands of apples, which in turn had been shipped to various parts of the world, some of the poorer grades being fed to hogs, whose hams were cured and sent abroad and thus passed into other human beings, to become parts of still other human bodies. The question is a proper one, but it is an unanswerable one from the standpoint of the traditional misbelief and the poor attempt to combine human philosophy and Divine Revelation.

    (14) But such a question brings no consternation to the Bible student who follows the Scriptures alone. The Scriptures never speak of the resurrection of our bodies. They do tell of the resurrection of the soul, and that regarding seed of a new creature "God gives it a body even as it pleased him".  -- 1 Corinthians 15:38

    (15) How reasonable it will be for the world to be awakened in practically the condition in which they went down into death! And these will experience, if willing and obedient, a gradual resurrection or raising up to the image and likeness of Father Adam into what Adam could have been if he had never sinned. But Paul indicates that some in the resurrection will receive spirit bodies similar to the angels, being joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17) and thus made alive in the spirit -- with a spirit body -- as he was. (1 Peter 3:18) Saul of Tarsus beheld a glimpse of the glorified body of Jesus -- as "a light from the sky, brighter than the sun." -- Acts 26:13.

    (16) By comparison of spiritual revealing with spiritual revealing, we conclude that those who receive a resurrection in spirit bodies are the joint-heirs with Christ -- the saintly few who walk in the footsteps of Jesus. The seed sown in them produce the fruitage of spirit not just 30 or 60 fold, but 100 fold, making them worthy to attain the resurrection of Jesus. (Matthew 13:8,23; Romans 7:4; Galatians 5:22-25; Ephesians 8:10; Philippians 1:11; 3:11) Having succeeded in conforming themselves to his death, their resurrection will be to glory, honor and immortality, as explained by the apostle Paul, saying, "It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body." -- 1 Corinthians 15:44.

    (17) This is a description of the resurrection that those who belong to Christ are striving for. While all who belong to Christ are counted as "sons of God" and heirs of God, the utlimate purpose for their call is so that they might conform themselves to Christ's death, giving up all earthly interests for a greater inheritance, not just as heirs of God, but also as "joint-heirs" with Christ. The apostle Paul declares that the members of this group fall asleep to awaken in the glorious morning of the New Dispensation. But the apostle Paul adds, "There is a natural body and there is also a spiritual body." (1 Corinthians 15:44) He shows that in the resurrection there will be those who belong to Christ who do not attain the resurrection of Christ, but who, nevertheless still belong to Jesus. We understand by comparison of scriptures that Paul is referring back to what he had said earlier that there is glory that belongs to the heavenly and glory that belongs to the earthly, he here points out that in the resurrection of the church, not all receive the heavenly, spiritual bodies, but many who fail to attain the resurrection as joint-heirs with Christ, the prize of the high calling, (Philippians 3:11-14) will receive the glory of a physical, earthly body in the resurrection.
    (18) Paul then says: "So also it is written, 'The first man, Adam, became a living soul.' The last Adam became a life-giving spirit." (1 Corinthian 15:45) Here Paul tells us that the first Adam became a living soul. He is not speaking of Adam as a dying sinner (as he does in Romans 5:12-17), but of the sinless Adam -- Adam before he disobeyed his Creator and thus became a sinner. The point being spoken of in 1 Corinthians 15:45 is not pertaining to the world, but as to the resurrection body of believers. (1 Corinthians 15:35) It is important that we understand this in order to understand what else Paul is saying. Thus Paul says that the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. Jesus, in his resurrection, did not become a living soul as a human as Adam was originally created. Jesus became a life-giving spirit being.

    (19) The next thing he says is: "However that which is spiritual isn't first, but that which is natural [physical], then that which is spiritual." (1 Corinthians 15:46) What is Paul saying here as related to the resurrection of the church, which he likens to Adam and Jesus? He is speaking of the resurrection that is sought by the church, the prize of the high call to joint-heirship with Christ. Before one can become of the heavenly class, one must first be counted, reckoned, or imputed (Greek, Logizomai, Strong's #3049) justified to life in the earthly, natural body. (Romans 3:28; 4:3-24; 6:11) In other words, the first step before becoming of the heavenly class, one must first be counted as alive on the earthly plane. The purpose of being reckonedly made alive on the earthly plane, however, is for the purpose of sacrificing that life in order to become of the heavenly plane with Christ, that such may share with Christ in judging the world in the age to come. (1 Corinthians 6:2; Revelation 20:4) Nevertheless, very few who have been made alive in Christ have actually sacrificed the flesh through perfection of faith in order to attain the resurrection of the higher call. The outline of attaining the "divine nature", after having escaped the corruption of this present evil world through faith in Christ, is recorded in 2 Peter 1:1-11.

    (20) "The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is of heaven." (1 Corinthians 15:47, American Standard Version) Paul is continuing in giving more detail concerning the two kinds of resurrection bodies he had spoken of in the verses preceeding. The Greek word that is translated “man” in both instances here is not “Adam” but rather the word often transliterated as Anthropos, yet sometimes in the New Testament scriptures, Anthropos is a translation of the Hebrew word Adam as well as the Hebrew word often transliterated as ish. The first example Paul gives is Adam, the first man, who is from the earth; he is not a spiritual being. The second man, Jesus, was not a human being in heaven before coming to earth, which would be true if we read the word “man” as though Jesus were a human being “from heaven.” Jesus humbled himself and gave up the glory of his prehuman spiritual plane of life (John 17:5; 1 Corinthians 15:40), and came from heaven to dwell on earth, and as a human he was equal in glory to the first Adam (before he sinned) in that both were sinless, and thus not short of the glory of God. (Psalm 8:5; Hebrews 2:9; Romans 3:23) The first man after he sinned brought sin and death upon the whole human race. (Romans 5:12-19) Jesus, however, in being made flesh, had no sin, since his body was prepared by his God (Hebrews 10:5), and therefore Jesus, as a human being, did not receive the sin of Adam and thus could give himself in death to offset the sin of Adam. (John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 1 Timothy 2:5,6) Nevertheless, in context,the special application Paul is making in 1 Corinthians 15:47 is of Jesus as a spiritual being — the life-giving spirit, not a human being. He is contrasting the two bodies — the physical body and the spiritual body. Jesus did not remain a human being, but gave his humanity for the life of the world. (John 6:51) He has returned to God and now evidently has a glory even greater than he had before he came to earth. (Acts 2:33; Colossians 2:9; Philippians 2:9) Some later manuscripts add "Lord from heaven" into the text; Jesus is indeed now the Lord who comes from heaven in the resurrection day to give restored life both those who receive spiritual bodies as well as those who receive earthly, fleshly bodies. -- Matthew 25:31; Mark 14:62; Luke 21:27; John 5:28,29; 14:3; Acts 3:21; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 4:15,16; 2 Thessalonians 2:1; Revelation 1:7. It is as a spirit being, not as a human, that Jesus provides the example of a spiritual body, for Jesus is no longer “in days of his flesh”. (Hebrews 5:7) Thus in speaking of him as the second man, Paul is not saying that Jesus is a man in heaven, but he uses the term metaphorically, as of Jesus in the sense of a person. Additionally the Hebrew word ish can mean “person”, not just human being. This can be seen in its application to Jehovah as a man. (Exodus 15:3) It is true that Jesus is now the life-giving spirit who comes from heaven in the resurrection day to restore to life both those who receive spiritual bodies as well as those who receive earthly, fleshly bodies. It is as a spirit being, therefore, not as a human, that Jesus provides the example of a spiritual body. The first man provides an example of a resurrection body as an earthly, physical, body, the second man from heaven provides an example of a spiritual, heavenly body. 
    (21) Paul then says: "As is the one made of dust, such are those who are also made of dust; and is the heavenly, such are those also that are heavenly." (1 Corinthians 15:48) Paul is here explaining the two planes of existence as pertaining to the resurrection of the church. Most who have been justified through faith in Christ will be raised of the dust, the earthly resurrection, as was Adam before he sinned; they never reach the goal of the high call in this present life. Others who attain the goal of the prize will be raised to the heavenly, that is, with a heavenly, spiritual, body. The joint-heirs do not receive bodies of flesh in heaven, nor does Jesus now have a body of flesh. -- See 1 Corinthians 15:40. 
    (23) "Now I say this, brothers, that flesh and blood can't inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption." (1 Corinthians 15:50) The question arises here: Is Paul speaking about flesh and blood bodies and perishable bodies, or is he referring to what one is according to sinful flesh and blood and corruption as the common corruption of moral fiber that all mankind is in bondage to? In other words, is he speaking about our character or our body? Traditionally, this verse is taken to mean that flesh and blood bodies cannot inherit the kingdom and that perishable bodies cannot inherit imperishable bodies. This runs into problems, however, when we later learn that this which is corruptible must put on incorruption. (1 Corinthians 15:53) If that which is corruptible is referring to our perishable body, then the perishable body is to put on incorruption, so as no longer to be perishable. This, of course, is not what Paul means. Although many translations add "body" into these verses, Paul never speaks of body in connection with corruption and incorruption -- such an idea is assumed. What Paul is really saying is that as we are presently, we are in bondage to corruption of character. This he refers to in Romans 8:21. The whole human creation has become under bondage to corruption due to Adam's sin. 
    (24) Thus Paul is telling those who are "brothers" that their standing in their sinful flesh and blood relatives, etc., cannot give them any inheritance in the kingdom of God. He tells them that that which is corrupt, sinful, cannot inherit incorruption -- not sinful. It is this corruption that is spoken of in Romans 8:21 and which Peter refers to in contrast with the divine nature in 1 Peter 1:4. Thus is similar to what Paul has said in many other places, that it is only by faith in Christ's blood to cleanse us from all sin that one can be counted as justified, but further he tells us that our corrupt character will not inherit an incorrupt character. Our character is being developed while in our sinful flesh, and thus what is counted is our faith, not that we need make our sinful flesh not to be sinful. Once we have developed our character so as to have complete faith in God and his Son Jesus, not matter what, we attain a standing before God in such perfection through God's spirit dwelling in us. -- Philippians 3:12. 
    (25) In 1 Corinthians 15:51,52, we read: "Behold, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed." Many have read into this verse that immediately when one dies, he is changed into a spirit body and enters into some kind of temporary paradise, there to await the resurrection of the fleshly body. These usually read "will ... not ... sleep" and "changed in a twinkling of eye" while ignoring the context, and thus vaguely applying this scripture to being "changed" immediately at death to a spiritual life. Some even offer this scripture to supposedly bolster their belief in the immortal soul or some of kind of inherent immortality. Of course, Paul does not say that all believers will not sleep in death, but he does say that "not all of us" will sleep in death. We know that most of the believers do sleep in death, even the apostle Paul states, "some have also fallen asleep" (1 Corinthians 15:6,18; see also 1 Thessalonians 4:13,14), and as we have shown, Jesus was the firstfruits to be raised of those who so sleep. -- 1 Corinthians 15:20. 
    (26) What does Paul mean then, we he says that not all of "us" will sleep in death? In context, it seems very likely here by saying "us" Paul is referring to those who do "bear the likeness of him who is of heaven." (1 Corinthians 15:49) Thus the evidence suggests that he is referring to those spoken of in Philippians 3:11-14 who do attain the prize of the higher calling to joint-heirship with Christ. If so, Paul is saying that when Jesus returns and brings these to himself in the resurrection (John 14:3), some will still be alive here on the earth. Thus those who are alive and remain will not need to sleep in the death as did those who died earlier, but when they die they will be instantly changed into the spiritual resurrection body. 
    (27) However, Paul is also giving a broader application to all believers, whether they receive earthly or heavenly bodies in the resurrection. Thus the change "in the twinkling of an eye" here is not necessarily from the earthly plane to the heavenly plane, but rather from our "vile" body condition to a 'glorified' body in the resurrection. (Philippians 3:21; Job 14:14) As the apostle shows, however, there is the glory of the terrestrial (earthly) as well as the celestial (heavenly). (1 Corinthians 15:40; Psalm 8:5; Hebrews 2:7,9) The final elect class, we believe, before the end of Satan's world, are those who are consecrated and live through the great tribulation spoken of in Revelation 7:9. These also, after they have attained a perfect character, will be "changed" without ever having slept in death. -- Revelation 7:16,17. 
    (27) Paul then says: "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this corruptible will have put on incorruption, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then what is written will happen: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.'" (1 Corinthians 15:53,54) Paul here indirectly quotes from Isaiah 25:8, showing what is to happen once one puts on immortality. Since Isaiah 25:8 is pertaining to the earthly resurrection, from this we believe that all, whether raised in the spirit realm or the earthly realm, must put on, or be clothed with incorruption and immortality. 
    (28) The special promise is made to the Church: "Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over these, the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with him one thousand years." (Revelation 20:6) Also note the promise of the world's resurrection: "There will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust." (Acts 24:15) Again, "those who have done evil" shall come forth, that they may enjoy a resurrection effected by "judgments," disciplines, chastisements, which will develop in them character; and the glory which will be attained will be perfection -- a raising up to all at first possessed (including what he could have become had remained obedient) by Father Adam, lost through disobedience, and redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. -- John 5:28,29, R.V.
    "A KIND OF FIRST-FRUITS"
    James 1:18 
    (29) Traditionally, Sunday is supposed to be a memorial of the resurrection of our Lord from the dead, and if a proper conception of the Master's resurrection. And once a year, a celebration is supposedly dedicated to the resurrection of Jesus, called "Easter". But alas, this name Easter is associated with heathen philosophies and idolatries, which did so much to make the Word of God of none effect; and the fact should be noted that it is the name of a Greek goddess. The compromising spirit induced some of the early Church to admit the heathen philosophies and to commingle with these the inspired teachings of the Bible; but now there is the loud call to true Christians to rid themselves of science and philosophy "falsely so-called," and to return to the Biblical simplicity of the Divine Revelation. 
    (30) Of this revelation alone the apostle Paul says to Timothy, "you have known the sacred writings which are able to make you wise to salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 3:15) Likewise, Peter declares: "I entrust you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build up, and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified." (Acts 20:32 And again, Paul says: "Every writing inspired by God is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction which is in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16,17)Let us today, then, rejoice in Him who died for our sins and who rose on the third day for our justification. -- 1 Corinthians 15:3,4. 
    (31) Let us rid our minds of the foolish thought that he did not really die, that He only seemed to die -- that when the Roman soldiers crucified Him, He simply got out of His body, laughed at them, and said, "I have not died at all; I could not die; you could not kill Me." Let us remember rather the Divine Word on the subject: "Christ died for our sins"; "He poured out His soul unto death"; (Isaiah 53:12) He made His soul "an offering for sin." (Isaiah 53:10) Let us remember the assurance of the Bible that eventually "He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied." (Isaiah 53:11) Let us rejoice also in the assurance of the Apostle that His soul was not left in hades, sheol, death, but that God raised Him from the dead on the third day. -- Acts 2:25-32; Psalm 16:10.
    NOTE AN ADDITIONAL PROOF
    (32) If Christ did not die, then the death penalty upon Adam and his race has not been met. Those who claim that he did not die, that merely His body died, are illogical. They profess to believe that Jesus accomplished for us a redemptive work, that He died, "The Just for the unjust." If Christ, the Redeemer, "poured out His soul unto death," and if His resurrection meant the recovery of His soul or being out of death, wherein is the logic in the declaration of some that it is not thus with the Church nor with the world? If Jesus did not go to Heaven when He died -- if He went into hades, into the grave, into sheol, into death, who has the temerity to say that others go direct to Heaven or Hell or Purgatory? Let us be consistent. The wages of sin is not Purgatory, nor a Hell of torture, in some far-off place. On the contrary, "The wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23) The Redeemer died and rose; and this is the assurance, that He who raised up Jesus from the dead will raise us up also, by Jesus, through His spirit and power; and not only so, but also the world of mankind, all who were involved in the death sentence upon the first man. -- John 4:42; 2 Corinthians 4:14; 15:21,22; 1 John 2:2; 4:14. 
    (33) Therefore, the entire world is included in the death payment made by the Great Redeemer, "For since by man [came] death, by man also resurrection of [those that are] dead. For as in the Adam all die, thus also in the Christ all shall be made alive. " (1 Corinthians 15:21,22, Darby) But, says the apostle, while every man who will come into Christ shall be made alive, each will come forth "in his own rank." (1 Corinthians 15:23) The Christ company shall come forth first -- "the Church of the First-born, whose names are written in heaven." Afterwards will come those who will become His at, or during, His presence -- during the thousand years of His Kingdom glory. The opportunity of that thousand years will mean to every man the privilege of coming into fellowship with the Redeemer and King, Emmanuel. Whoever will accept the opportunity will receive the blessing of an admission to Messiah's family. As the Apostle says, they will become His. Under His heavenly guidance and blessing and regenerating influence, all such may attain again to a full image and likeness of God, lost in Eden, redeemed at Calvary.
    See also:

    With What Kind of Body Will We Be Raised?

    A Restoration Light Bible Study
    By Ronald R. Day, Senior
    "With what kind of body do they come?" "God gives it a body as it has pleased him, and to every seed his own body.." -- 1 Corinthians 15:35, 38
    (1)  It is generally supposed by professing Christians that none will be saved except those whom they believe will go to heaven. They do not see God's purpose to restore mankind to its former state to the human sinless life lost in Eden. (See Note #1) Nonetheless, the scriptures hold out promises of life and blessing and restoration to all the families of the earth. (Genesis 12:3; 22:,17,18; Psalm 37:11,22,29; Matthew 5:5) The Scriptures, however, while holding out promises of life and blessing and restoration to all the families of the earth, offer and promise the change to spirit plane of life only to the joint-heirs selected during the Gospel age; we have not found a single passage that sustains such a reward of life in heaven for any others.
    (2)  Strangely, many often point to various scriptures that refer to restoring the dead as though they say that when they die they will go to heaven. (See Note #2) This view leaves them with a vast distortion of the whole plan of God. To understand the truth, one must remove from mind all the confusion of Biblical and traditional human teachings in order to come to the Bible with ears willing to hear, with an honest and good heart, and with a willingness to truly understand it. -- Matthew 11:15; 13:8,9,16; 15:3-9; Mark 4:9-12; 7:6,7,9,13; Luke 8:8,10,15,18; 9:44; 14:33-35; 16:15; Colossians 2:8; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 4:3,4; 1 Peter 1:18.
    (3)  There are several words that we need to understand before we will properly understand mankind's relationships with his Creator. These are "corrupt", "corruptible", "incorrupt" and "incorruptible."
    (4)  The word "corrupt" [Strong's Hebrew #4743, #4167 & #7843; Greek #4550 & #5351] (and "corruption" [Strong's Hebrew #4889 & #7845; Greek #1312 & #5356), as it relates to our study, means a condition of not being sinless, being in a perverted or decaying condition morally. -- Genesis 6:11; Psalm 14:1-3; 53:1-3; 16:10; Acts 2:27,31; 13:35-37; Romans 8:21; 2 Peter 1:4; 2:19.
    (5)  The word "corruptible" [Strong's Greek #5349], as it relates to our study, means a condition where there is a possibility of becoming corrupt, but not necessarily corrupt, or it can refer to the condition of being corrupt, "perishing", as in 1 Peter 1:23. -- Romans 1:23; 1 Corinthians 5:53,54; 1 Peter 1:18,23.
    (6)  The word "incorrupt" [not found in the Bible (See Note #3)] (and "incorruption" [Strong's Greek #861]), as it relates to our study, means a condition of not being corrupt, a state of being sinless yet with the possibility of becoming corrupt.
    (7)  The word "incorruptible" [Strong's Greek #862], as it relates to our study, can mean a condition in which there is no possibility of becoming corrupt, although it could be that the Greek word can also mean a state of being incorrupt, non-perishing", as it is used in 1 Peter 1:23. -- 1 Corinthians 15:42,50-54; 1 Peter 1:23.
    (8)  When the first man was put here on the earth, he was never offered "heaven" as a place to live eternally. Yahweh offered him life right here on earth but without sin and its besetments. Although flesh, Adam was not placed on this earth in a state of corruption -- he was not corrupt. Thus after the creation of the first human pair the scripture states: "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good." (Genesis 1:31, Revised Standard Version) Although incorrupt at that time, he was still corruptible; that is, Adam had not yet developed an incorruptible character. Adam's integrity and loyalty to Yahweh had to be tested. In order to test Adam's obedience and his love, Yahweh gave him a simple command not to eat the fruit of a certain tree. (Genesis 2:17) Adam corrupted his way of thinking so that he disobeyed, and he lost his right to live eternally (not in heaven, but) on the earth. (Genesis 3:22-24) Had Adam proved himself faithful, he could have crystallized his whole being -- his thoughts and conduct -- so that he would no longer be corruptible; he could have become incorruptible. A person who is incorruptible would never even entertain a thought of being disloyal to his Maker. His perfected integrity and love has become crystallized, immovable. -- Psalm 112:6; 2 Peter 1:4,10.
    (9)  Jesus came as a human son of God, an equivalent to Adam before Adam sinned. We read that Jesus "learned obedience by the things he suffered." (Hebrews 5:8) In other words, there was a time when there was the possibility of Jesus disobeying Yahweh -- a time when he was incorrupt yet still corruptible. We further read that Jesus "brought life and incorruption (See Note #4) to light through the Good News." (2 Timothy 1:10) He did this by proving himself incorruptible under test, something which no human had done before. -- 1 Peter 2:21-24.
    (10)  In general, traditional Christianity does not understand what constitutes a incorrupt or incorrutible man. They do not rightly understand the terms "mortal", "immortal", "corruption", and "incorruption." They have wrong ideas of justice. All of these errors have led to a mystification of the divine purposes. Many have assumed that no human can be incorrupt, and that as long we remain human we are doomed to failure. Thus every time the words incorruptible and incorruption appears in the Bible, it has been assumed that it refers to the spirit plane of life; and every time the words corruption and corruptible appear in the Bible, it has been assumed that this applies to things on the earth and that the human has always and always will be such. According to this line of thought, the only way to reach perfection is to become a spirit being. This view causes a lot of disharmony of the scriptures instead of developing that unanimity and beauty that result from "rightly dividing the word of truth." -- 2 Timothy 2:15.
    (11)  The Scriptures teach that there have been two, and only two, fully incorrupt men -- Adam (before he sinned) and Jesus. Adam was created in the image of God -- but he was from the earth, earthly. (1 Corinthians 15:47) He was with the similar mental powers of reason, memory, judgment, and will, and the qualities of justice, benevolence, love, etc. "Of the earth, of the dust," he was the earthly image of a spirit being, possessing qualities of the same kind, though differing in degree, range, and scope. -- Genesis 1:26,27.
    (12)  As Yahweh is ruler over all the universe, so man was made ruler over all things pertaining to the earth -- "according to our likeness, let them have dominion over the fish of the seas, and over the birds of the air, and over the field animals, and over all the wild animals of the earth, over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." (Genesis 1:26) Moses tells us (Genesis 1:31) that Yahweh recognized the man and woman whom he had made -- not merely commenced to make, but completed -- and God considered his creation "very good", being incorrupt. In God's sight nothing corrupt is very good, in his intelligent creatures. -- Genesis 1:31; 1 Corinthians 15:50.
    (13)  The incorrupt condition of man, as created, is expressed in Psalm 8:5-8: "You have made him a little lower than the gods [Hebrew, elohim, "mighty ones", referred to as "angels" by the writer of Hebrews 2:7), and have crowned him with glory and honor. You made him to have dominion over the works of your hands. You have put all things under his feet: all sheep and oxen, yes the beasts of field, the birds of the air and the fish of the sea." It has been suggested by some who want to make the Bible seem to agree with the theory of evolution, that the statement, "a little," in Hebrews 2:7 might be understood to mean a little while lower, and not a little degree lower than the angels. There is, however, neither authority nor reason for such an interpretation. This is a reference to Psalm 8:6, and a critical comparison of the Hebrew and Greek texts can leave no doubt as to the import. The idea, clearly expressed, is a little lower in degree than the spirit beings called angels.
    (14) David, in the psalm quoted above, refers to man in his original condition, and prophetically intimates that God has not abandoned his original purpose to have man in his own image and the king of earth, and that he will remember him, redeem him and restore him to the same again. (Psalm 8:5-8) The apostle (Hebrews 2:7) calls attention to the same fact -- that God's original purpose has not been abandoned; that man, originally grand and crowned in the glory of God (thus incorrupt), the king of the earth, is to be remembered, visited, and restored. He then adds: We do not see this promised restoration yet, but we do see the first step God is taking toward its accomplishment. We see Jesus crowned with this glory and honor of sinless manhood, not only being incorrupt, but proving himself incorruptible, that he, as a fitting ransom or substitute might by God's favor taste death for every man, and thus prepare the way for the restoration of man to all that was lost. (Hebrews 2:8,9) Rotherham, one of the most scrupulous translators, renders this passage as follows: "What is man, that thou rememberest him; Or man's son, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him less some little than messengers; With glory an honor thou crownedst him, And didst appoint him over the works of thy hands."
    (15)  Nor should it be inferred that a little lower in degree means a little less perfect. A creature may be perfect, complete, incorrupt, yet on a lower plane of existence than another. Therefore, a perfect horse would be lower than a perfect man, etc. There are various planes of being, animate and inanimate. To illustrate, we refer you to the table on this page.
    (16)  Each of the minerals mentioned may be pure, yet gold ranks the highest. If each of the orders of plants should be brought to perfection, they would still be different in form and rank. Likewise with animals -- if each kind were brought to perfection, there would still be variety. Perfecting a plane of creation does not change the level of the creation's existence. The grades of spirit beings, also, though perfect, stand related to each other as higher and lower in grade or kind. The level of being of the Almighty is the highest and the superior of all the spirit levels of being. It is inhabited only by Yahweh himself. -- Psalm 83:18; Genesis 17:1; Revelation 1:8; 4:8.
    Grades of
    Heavenly
    or
    Spirit Being
    Grades
    of
    Earthly
    or

    Animal Being
    Grades
    in
    TheVegetable
    Domain
    Grades
    in
    TheMineral
    Domain
    Almighty


    Right Hand
    of Jehovah

    Logos


    Cherubs?/Seraphs?



    Angelic
    Human

    Brute

    Fowl

    Fish
    Trees

    Shrubs

    Grasses

    Mosses
    Gold

    Silver

    Copper

    Iron
    (This chart is meant only to illustrate "some" of the relative levels in each area. It is not meant to all-inclusive all the levels of creation in each area.)
    (17)  Note carefully that while the classes named in the table are separate and distinct, yet a comparison between them may be instituted. Thus, the highest grade of mineral is inferior to, or a little lower than, the lowest grade of vegetable, because in vegetation there is life. So the highest grade of vegetable is a little lower than the lowest grade of animal life, because animal life, even in its lowest forms, has intelligence enough to be conscious of is own existence. Likewise, man, though the highest of animal or earthly beings, was created "a little lower than the angels," because angels are spirit or heavenly beings. -- Psalm 10:4; Genesis 22:11,15; Luke 2:13,15; Matthew 18:10; 22:30; 24:36; 28:2.
    (18)  There is a wonderful contrast between man as we now see him, degraded by sin, and the incorrupt man that God made in his image. Sin has gradually changed his features, as well as his character. Multiplied generations, by ignorance, licentiousness and general depravity, have so blurred and marred humanity that in the large majority of the race the likeness of God is almost obliterated. The moral and intellectual qualities are dwarfed. Human instincts, improperly developed, are no longer balanced by the higher. Man has lost physical strength to such an extent that, with all the aid of medical science, his lifespan still rarely reaches more than 80 or 90 years; for much of the world, death comes before 40. Contrast this with the lifespan of the first centuries of human history. Then it was not unusual for people to live hundreds of years. (Genesis 5:5,8,11,14,17,20,23,27) Now humanity is greatly defiled and degraded by sin and its penalty, death. But the scriptures show that man is to be restored to his original perfection of mind and body, and to glory, honor, and dominion, during and by the Millennial reign of Messiah. The things to be restored by and through Messiah are those things that were lost through Adam's transgression. (Romans 5:18,19) Man did not lose a heavenly but an earthly paradise. (Psalm 115:16) Under the death penalty, he did not lose life on a spirit plane but a human existence. (Genesis 5:5) All that was lost was purchased back by his Redeemer, who declared that he came to seek and save that which was lost.--Romans 5:18; Luke 19:10.
    (19)  In addition to the above, we have proof that the perfect man is not a spirit being. We are told that our Lord, before he left his glory to become a man, was "in a form of God" -- theos here being used to desginate a mighty spirit form, a spirit being. Since he was to be a ransom for mankind he had to be a man, of the same plane of being as the sinner whose substitute in death he was to become. It was necessary that his plane of existence be changed. And Paul tells us that he did not take the life-form of angels, one step lower than his own, but that he came down two steps and took the life-form of men -- he became a man. He "became flesh," "a little lower than the angels". -- Hebrews 2:9,16; Philippians 2:7,8; John 1:14.
    (20)  Notice that the scriptures tell us that the angels are not the only order of created spirit beings, and that there are various grades of beings in the spirit realm. (See Note #5) Our Lord, before he became a man, was of the highest order of creation, the Logos, who, after the creation of the angelic host through him he is called the archangel (Jude 1:9; Daniel 12:1; John 1:1) (See Note #6). He was not then so high as he is now, for "God has highly exalted him" to his right hand because of his obedience in becoming man's willing ransom. No longer in the days of his flesh, he was "made so much better than angels." (Philippians 2:8,9; Hebrews 1:4; 5:7) He is now, especially since his resurrection, of the highest order of spirit beings that God will ever have, next to that of the Father, exalted to the right hand of Yahweh. (See Note #7) 1 Corinthians 15:27; Psalm 45:6; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 1:3-5,13; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; Acts 2:32,33; 5:30,31; Colossians 3:1; Ephesians 1:20; Luke 22:69; Mark 15:19; 1 Peter 3:21,22; Psalm 110:1.
    (21)  But not only do we find proof that the Almighty, angelic and human life-forms are separate and distinct, but this proves that to be a perfected man is not to be an angel, any more than the perfection of the angelic form implies that angels are on the plane of the Almighty and equal to Yahweh. Jesus did not retain the form (Strong's Greek #3444 in Philippians 2:7,8) of theos, but a different form -- the form of a slave in the likeness of sinful men who were sold into slavery to sin. (Hebrews 2:15,16 (See Note #8); Romans 7:12-18; 8:3) However, when he became flesh, although in the likeness of sinful flesh, he did not partake of corruption as we now possess it. He was not given a depraved and condemned human body such as men have now, but his was a body in the full vigor of a what a human should be. -- See Note #9.
    (22)  Again, Jesus must have been an incorrupt man else he could not have kept a perfect law, which is the full measure of an incorrupt man's ability. (See Note #9) He must have been an incorrupt man else he could not have given a ransom (antilutron, a corresponding price--1 Timothy 2:6 (See Note #10)) for the forfeited life of the man Adam. "For since death came by man, also the resurrection of the dead came by man." (1 Corinthians 15:21) Had he been in the least degree corrupt, it would have proved that he was under condemnation, and therefore he could not have been an acceptable sacrifice; neither could he have kept the law of God perfectly. A incorrupt man (Adam) was tried, and failed, and was condemned; and only a incorrupt man could give the corresponding price as the Redeemer.
    (23)  Now we have the question fairly before us in another form, that is: "If Jesus in the flesh was an incorrupt man, as the Scriptures show, does it not prove that an incorrupt man is a human, fleshly being -- not an angel, but a little lower than the angels?" The logical conclusion is unmistakable; and in addition we have the inspired statement of the Psalmist (Psalm 8:5-8) and Paul's reference to it in Hebrews 2:7-9.
    (24)  Neither was Jesus a combination of the two levels of life, human and spirit. The blending of the two planes of existence produces neither one nor the other, but an imperfect, hybrid life-form, which is obnoxious to the divine arrangement. When Jesus was in the flesh he was a incorrupt human being. Previous to that time he was a perfect spirit being. As a human, he proved himself incorruptible. Since his resurrection he is an incorruptible spirit being of the highest order, next to the Almighty. It was not until the time of his special dedication of sacrifice, as typified by his baptism -- at thirty years of age (the age required for Levitical service in the temple -- Luke 3:23; Numbers 4:3,23,30,35,39,43,47; 1 Chronicles 13:3) that he received the token of his inheritance of the kingdom. (Matthew 3:16,17) His incorrupt humanity was at that time given as a pledge for the redemption of the human family. That dedication was actually carried out when he had sacrificed his incorrupt humanity in death at Calvary. In his resurrection three days later he did not again take his sacrificed body, but was raised as a spirit being. (1 Peter 3:18; John 6:51) (See Note #11) After becoming a man he became obedient until death, for which God has highly exalted him -- he is no longer human, a little lower than the angels, not even angelic, but a being above the angels. (Philippians 2:8,9; Psalm 8:4,5; Hebrews 2:9; 1:4) If these scriptures are true, it follows that he was not exalted to the highest glory given by God until his humanity was actually sacrificed -- dead. -- 1 Corinthians 15:40,41.
    (25)  Therefore we see that in Jesus there was no mixture of kinds of life, but that twice he experienced a change in level of existence -- first, from the spirit to human; afterward, from human to a spirit level even higher than before, on the right hand of the Father. In each case the one was given up for the other. -- 2 Corinthians 8:4.
    (26)  In this grand example of perfect humility, which stood unblemished before the world until sacrificed for the world's redemption, we see the incorrupt condition from which our race fell in Adam, and to which it is to be restored. In becoming man's ransom, our Lord Jesus gave the equivalent for that which man lost; and therefore all mankind may receive again, through faith in Messiah, and obedience to his requirements, not a spiritual, but a glorified, human existence -- "that which was lost." -- Luke 19:10.
    (27)  The perfect faculties and powers of the perfect human being may be exercised indefinitely, and upon new and varied objects of interest, and knowledge and skill may be vastly increased. This increase of knowledge or power, however, will not effect a change from one plane of being to a higher, nor will humans be made more than perfect. It will only be the expanding and developing of the perfect human powers. Increase of knowledge and skill will doubtless be humanity's happy privilege to all eternity. Nevertheless, he will still be human. He will merely be learning to use more fully the powers of humanity already possessed, but without its present fallen state. Mankind will not be hoping, or desiring, to attain any condition beyond the scope of the realms of humanity. His desires will be limited to the scope of his powers. -- Psalm 145:16; 22:26,27; 37:11,29.
    (28)  Jesus as a man was an illustration of perfected humanity. It is to this perfection that the mass of mankind will attain. Nonetheless, since his resurrection, Jesus is the illustration of the glorious spirit level of being that the "joint-heirs" will, at the resurrection, share with him. -- Romans 8:17; 1 Corinthians 15:38-41.
    (29)  Because the present age has been devoted mainly to the development of the joint-heirs who are offered a change of life-form and because the apostolic letters are devoted almost entirely to the instruction of this class, it should not be inferred that God's plans end with the completion of this chosen company. Nor, on the other hand, should we go to the opposite extreme, and suppose that the special promises of obtaining the spirit plane, spirit bodies, etc., made to these, are God's design for all mankind. To rightly divide the Word of truth, we should observe that the scriptures recognize the difference between the spirit plane for the joint-heirs, and the perfection of the human life-form for mankind in general, as two separate things.
    Spiritual Israel
    (30)  But as the scriptures say: "However, the spiritual is not first, but the physical, and afterward the spiritual." (1 Corinthians 15:46) So those who accept the call to be disciples must first bear the image of the incorrupt "man of dust." Their condemned human bodies must have a reckoning as "made alive." Humanity has been condemned through Adam's sin. (Romans 5:12-19) How can it be "made alive"? This is accomplished by the indwelling of Yahweh's spirit in us as a result of our exercising faith in Jesus as our Redeemer. "But you are not in the flesh but in the spirit, if indeed the spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the spirit of Christ, he is not his. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his spirit that dwells in you. Therefore, brothers, we are debtors -- not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the spirit of God, these are sons of God." (Romans 8:9-11) By walking in the spirit rather than the flesh, these receive new life in their mortal human bodies, making their humanity "alive" in Yahweh's sight.
    (31)  At this point these brothers, "sons of God," have not attained or gained the higher call to spirit life. (Philippians 3:13-16) If sons, they are also heirs, for "if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." The condition for heirship is to belong to Christ. (Galatians 3:29) "The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ if it so be that we joint-suffer [Strong's 4841, sumpascho, "to experience pain jointly or of the same kind (spec. persecution; to 'sympathize')"] with him, that we may be also joint-glorified [Strong's 4888, sunarmologeo, "to exalt to dignity in company with"] together." (See Note #12) The "joint-heirs" are first "heirs" before they become "joint-heirs." The condition for "joint-heirship" is (different than the condition for heirship) to be joint-sufferers with Christ: "if so be that we joint-suffer with him." (Romans 8:16,17) The heirs in general are reckoned alive, "new creatures" in Christ Jesus, but only on the human plane. This is the first plane of life for all the Israel after the spirit. -- 1 Corinthians 10:18 ("Israel after the flesh" implies the existence of an Israel after the spirit); Galatians 6:15,16.
    (32)  After obtaining the status of a spiritual Israelite -- having their bodies of flesh made alive, these are reckoned as "heirs" according to the promise made through Abraham. "If you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Galatians 3:28) All the heirs (not just the joint-heirs) then make up the "Israel of God." (Galatians 6:16) These then are the spiritual "sons of Israel". (Revelation 7:4) At this point, having their bodies of flesh made alive does NOT mean that they are immortal, rather it means that they are reckoned as justified to life -- the same life Adam had before he sinned -- on the earthly plane. It is only after they "attain" the resurrection, that is, when they become worthy of the honor of the high call, that they could be received as one of the "joint-heirs" with Messiah. (Philippians 3:10-14; Romans 8:17) Selected out of spiritual Israel, these "joint-heirs" with Christ are numbered as 144,000 in Revelation 7:1-8; 14:1-5 (See Note #13). Notice that these are sealed out of spiritual Israel, 12,000 from each tribe; the 144,000 do not make up the total of spiritual Israel. Throughout the Gospel Age, millions have presented themselves to Christ in discipleship. But of these millions, only a few are selected to be joint-heirs.
    (33)  The "joint-heirs" are an exception to the general rule. Of them it is stated: "If we have co-died [Strong's #4880: to decease (lit.) in company with, or (fig.) similarly to] with him, then we will also co-live [Strong's 4800: to continue to live in common with, i.e., co-survive] with him; if we bear it, we will also joint-reign [Strong's 4821: to be co-regent] with him." (2 Timothy 2:11,12) It has not been the general rule of God to offer mankind heavenly life. The ransom sacrifice of Adam and his race purchased for mankind, not life in heaven, but the life on earth that was lost through Adam. Nonetheless, for these chosen 144,000 "joint-heirs" with Christ, there is an exception made to the general rule, so that they might stand on Mt. Zion as "kings and priests" with him in the first resurrection. — Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 14:1; 20:6.
    (34)  Let us now inquire more particularly, "What are spirit beings? What powers are theirs? And by what laws are they governed?" Many seem to think, because they do not understand the constitution of a spirit being, that it must be a mere myth, and on this subject much superstition prevails. But Paul does not appear to have such an idea. (See Note #14) He plainly states, as if to guard against any mythical or superstitious notions, that "there is a spiritual body as well as a physical body, a celestial [heavenly] body as well as a terrestrial [earthly] body, and a glory of the earthly as well as of the heavenly." (1 Corinthians 15:40) The glory of the earthly (Psalm 8:4-6), as we have seen, was lost by the first Adam's sin, and is to be restored to the race by the Lord Jesus and his Bride (his joint-heirs) during the Millennial reign. The glory of the heavenly is as yet unseen except as revealed to the eye of faith by the spirit through the Word. These glories are distinct and separate. (1 Corinthians 15:38-49) We know to some extent what the natural, earthly, terrestrial body is, for we now have such, though we can only approximately estimate the glory of its perfection due to our fallen condition. It is flesh, blood, and bones; for "as the one of dust [the first Adam], so also are those who are of dust." (1 Corinthians 15:48a) And since there are two distinct kinds of resurrection bodies, we know that the spiritual, whatever it may be, is not composed of flesh, blood, and bones. It is heavenly, celestial, spiritual -- "as the heavenly one is [the second Adam -- Jesus], so are those who are heavenly." (1 Corinthians 15:48b) Exactly what a spirit body is, we do not know; but for the 144,000 joint-heirs it will mean that they will be exalted with Jesus to sit on heavenly Mt. Zion's throne with him, and they shall be like him and see him as he is. -- Revelation 14:1; Psalm 2:6; Hebrews 12:22; 1 John 3:2.
    (35)  We have no record of any being, either spiritual or human, ever having been changed from one life-form to another, except the only-begotten Son of God (Philippians 2:5-7); and this was an exceptional case, for an exceptional purpose. (Philippians 2:8) As in the inanimate creation there is a pleasing and almost endless variety, so in the living and intelligent creatures the same variety of perfection is possible. Every creature in its perfection is glorious; but, as Paul says, the glory of the celestial (heavenly) is one kind of glory, and the glory of the terrestrial (earthly) is another and a different glory.
    (36)  By examining the facts recorded of our Lord Jesus after his resurrection, and of angels, who are also spirit beings, thus comparing "spiritual things with spiritual" (1 Corinthians 2:13), we, if we are led by God's spirit, may gain some general information with regard to spirit beings. First, then, angels can be and frequently are present, yet invisible. "The angel of Yahweh encamps around them that reverence him"; and "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who will be heirs of salvation?" (Psalm 34:7; Hebrews 1:14) Have they ministered visibly or invisibly? Undoubtedly the latter. Elisha was surrounded by a host of Assyrians; his servant was afraid; Elisha prayed to Yahweh, and the young man's eyes were opened, and he saw the mountains round about them full of chariots of fire and horsemen of fire (or like fire). Again, while to Balaam the angel was invisible, the donkey, his eyes being opened, saw him. -- 2 Kings 6:15-17; Numbers 22:21-31.
    (37)  Secondly, angels can assume human bodies and appear as men. Yahweh appeared to Abraham through three angels that visited him. Abraham had a supper prepared for them, of which they ate. At first Abraham supposed them to be three men, and it was not until they were about to go that he discovered them to be angels. One remained with Abraham while the other two went down to Sodom and delivered Lot. (Genesis 18:1-6,22; 19:1; See also Genesis 16:10,13; Acts 7:38,53; Deuteronomy 5:4; Galatians 3:19) An angel appeared to Gideon as a man, but afterward made himself known. An angel appeared to the father and mother of Samson, and they thought him a man until he ascended up to heaven in the flame of the altar. -- Judges 6:11-22; 13:20.
    (38)  Thirdly, spirit beings are glorious in their normal condition, and are frequently referred to as glorious and bright. The countenance of the angel who rolled away the stone from the door of the sepulcher was "as the lightning." (Matthew 28:2,3) Daniel caught a glimpse of a manifestation of a spirit body, which he described, saying, 'His eyes were as lamps of fire, his countenance as the lightning, his arm and feet like in color to polished brass, and his voice as the voice of a multitude. (Daniel 10:6,10,15,17) Saul of Tarsus caught a glimpse of Christ's glorified spirit body as manifested as the shining the brightness of the sun at noonday. Saul lost his sight and fell to the ground. -- Acts 9:3,4,9; 22:6,7.
    (39)  Thus far we have found spirit beings truly glorious; yet except by the opening of human's eyes to see them, by their appearing in a vision or materializing flesh as men, they are invisible to humans. This conclusion is further confirmed when we examine the particular details of these manifestations. Jesus was seen by Saul alone; the men who traveled with him heard a voice which they could not discern and saw a light, but saw no one. (Acts 9:7; 22:9,10) The men who were with Daniel did not see the glorious being he describes, but a great fear fell over them, and they ran and hid themselves. Again, the glorious being declared: "The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days." (Daniel 10:7,13) Did Daniel, the man already greatly beloved of Yahweh, fall as dead before this one who Persia's prince withstood twenty-one days? How is this? Surely he did not appear in glory to a human prince! No; either he was invisibly present with him, or else he appeared as a man or in a vision. (See Note #15)
    (40)  Our Lord, since his resurrection, is a spirit being; consequently the same powers that we find illustrated in angels (spirit beings) should also be possessed by him. And such is the case, as we will see more fully in a later publication, Yahweh permitting.
    (41)  Thus we find that the Scriptures regard the spiritual and the human planes as separate and distinct, and furnish no evidence that the one will evolve or develop into the other. On the contrary, they do show that only a few will ever be changed from the human to the spirit plane, to which Jesus, their head, has already been exalted. And this remarkable and special feature of Yahweh's plan is for the remarkable and special purpose of preparing these as God's agents for the great future work of restoring all things.
    (42)  Let us now examine the terms:
    Mortality and Immortality
    We will find their true significance in exact harmony with what we have learned from our comparison of Bible statements concerning human and spiritual beings, and earthly and heavenly promises. These words are usually given very uncertain meanings, and wrong ideas of their meanings produce erroneous views of subjects with which they stand connected, in general and in Scripture usage.
    (43)  In the King James Version, the word "mortal" only appears once in the Hebrew Scriptures: Job 4:17. The Hebrew from which it is translated simply means "man" and is generally so translated. (See: The Englishman's Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the Old Testament) No words for "immortal" or "immortality" appear in the Hebrew Scriptures at all. It is not until we come to the Christian Greek Scriptures (commonly called "New Testament") that we find words that are translated "immortal" or "immortality."
    (44)  The words "mortal" and "mortality" signify a state or condition of a liability to death; not necessarily a condition of dying, but a condition in which death is a possibility. Both words are derived from the Greek often transliterated as thnetos (Strong's #2349: "liable to die"). Being mortal does not necessarily mean that one is under any condemnation to die, but it does indicate the possibility of coming under such condemnation, if he one is not already under such a condemnation. -- Romans 6:12; 8:11; 1 Corinthians 5:4; 15:33,54; 2 Corinthians 4:11.
    (45)  The words "immortal" and "immortality" signify a state or condition not liable to death; not merely a condition of freedom from any condemnation of death, but a condition in which death is an impossibility. The word "immortality" is translated from the Greek word athanasia (Strong's #110, "deathlessness"). It does not mean inherent life, (See Note #16) however; for all life other than the Creator's is dependent on the source of life, our Creator. -- 1 Corinthians 15:53,54; 1 Timothy 6:16; John 6:57; Psalm 36:9: Jeremiah 17:13.
    (46)  The word immortal signifies not mortal. Hence the very construction of the words indicates their true definitions. It is because of the prevalence of a wrong idea of the word mortal that so many are confused when trying to determine whether Adam was mortal or immortal before his transgression. They reason that if he had been immortal God would not have said: "In the day that you eat from it you will surely die."; because it is impossible for an immortal being to die. This is a logical conclusion. On the other hand, they say: "Had he been mortal, wherein could have consisted the threat or penalty of the statement, 'You will surely die'; since if mortal (according to their erroneous definition) he could not have avoided death anyway?"
    (47)  The difficulty, it will be observed, is in the false meaning given to the word mortality. Apply the correct definition, and all is clear. Adam was mortal -- that is, in a condition which death is a possibility. He had life in full and perfect measure, incorrupt, yet he did not have incorruptible life. His was a life sustained by "every tree of the garden" save the one forbidden tree. As long as he continued in obedience to and in harmony with his Maker, his life was secure -- the sustaining elements would not be denied. Thus seen, Adam had incorrupt life; and death was entirely avoidable, yet he was in such a condition that death was possible -- he was still mortal and corruptible, since his character had not yet been crystalized in righteousness.
    The Resurrection Change
    (48)  Yet it is also a false idea of the meaning of the word mortal that leads people in general to conclude that all beings who do not die are immortal. In this class of immortals they therefore include our heavenly Father, our Lord Jesus, the angels, and all mankind. This, however, is an error: Adam was mortal but could have continued to live forever had he remained in obedience. (Genesis 3:22) The angels of heaven, are mortal and yet are considered as having or possessing everlasting [Aionian] life (Luke 20:36) (See Note #17). Yet many of the angels sinned and stand the possibility of losing their continued existence. The lesson we would learn from this is that even though they did not die, they had not yet put on incorruption: the state of being where they could not be corrupted, thus they did not have immortality. Thus continuance of life without dying does not in itself suggest either incorruption or immortality.
    (49)  The apostle Paul wrote the Corinthians: "Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we will all be changed -- in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet." (1 Corinthians 15:51) This appears to deal with, not just the joint-heirs, but all the heirs in general. Thus the change "in the twinkling of an eye" here is not necessarily from the earthly plane to the heavenly plane, from our "vile" body condition to a 'glorified' condition in the resurrection. (Philippians 3:21) As the apostle shows, however, there is the glory of the terrestrial (earthly) as well as the celestial (heavenly). -- 1 Corinthians 15:40; Psalm 8:5; Hebrews 2:7,9.
    Are Angels Immortal?
    (50)  Nowhere in the Scriptures is it stated that angels are immortal. On the contrary, immortality was originally ascribed only to Yahweh; subsequently to our Lord Jesus in his present highly exalted condition; and finally by promise to all who put on incorruption. -- 1 Timothy 6:16; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 Corinthians 15:53,54.
    (51)  However, we have proof that angels are now mortal, in the fact that Satan, who was once a chief of their number, is to be destroyed. (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:13-15; Hebrews 2:14) The fact that he can be destroyed proves that angels as a class are mortal. Nevertheless, this does not mean that they will always be mortal. The scriptures do refer to the judgment of the angels. (1 Corinthians 6:3) It is possible that as a result of this judgment that they may be able to also put on incorruption and immortality.
    (52)  A proper recognition of the meaning of the terms mortal and immortal, and of their use in the Scriptures, destroys the very foundation of the doctrine of eternal torment. It is based on the unscriptural theory that God created man inherently immortal, that he cannot cease to exist, and that God cannot destroy him. Hence the argument is that the incorrigible must live on somewhere and somehow, and the conclusion is that since they are out of harmony with God their eternity must be one of misery. But God's Word assures us that he has provided against such a perpetuation of sin and sinners; that man is mortal, and that the full penalty of willful sin against full light and knowledge will not be a life in torment, but a second death. "The soul that is sinning, it must die." -- Ezekiel 18:4,20; Revelation 20:14,15.
    "Who Are You That You Reply
    Against God?" -- Romans 9:20
    (53)  It is the mistaken idea of some that justice requires that God should make no difference in the bestowment of his favors among his creatures, that if he exalts one to a high position, in justice he must do the same for all, unless it can be shown that some have forfeited their rights, in which case such might justly be assigned a lower position.
    (54)  If this principle be the correct one, it would show that Yahweh had no right to create Jesus higher than the angels, and then further to exalt him to the right hand position, unless he intended to do the same for all the angels and for all men. And to carry the principle still further, if some men are to be highly exalted and made "joint-heirs," all men must eventually be elevated to the same position. And why not carry the principle to its extreme limit, and apply the same law of progression to the brute and insect creation, and say that since they are all God's creatures they must all eventually attain to the highest place in existence at the right hand of Yahweh? This is manifest absurdity, but as reasonable as any other deduction from the assumed principle.
    (55)  Perhaps none would be inclined to carry the erroneous assumption so far. Yet if it were a principle founded in simple justice, where could it stop and still be just? And if such were indeed the plan of God, where would be the pleasing variety in all his works? But such is not God's plan. All nature, both animate and inanimate, exhibits the glory and diversity of divine power and wisdom. And as "the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his handiwork" (Psalm 19:1) in wonderful variety and beauty, much more will his intelligent creation exhibit in variety the superior glory of his power. We so conclude -- from the express teaching of the Word of God, from reason and from the analogies of creation.
    (56)  It is very important that we have right ideas of justice. A favor should never be esteemed as a justly merited recompense. An act of simple justice is no occasion for special gratitude, nor is it any proof of love; but God commends his great love to his creatures, in an endless train of unmerited favors, which should call forth their love and praise in return.
    (57)  God had a right, if he chose, to make us merely the creatures of a brief space of time, even if we had never sinned. He might have permitted us to enjoy his blessings for a season, and then, without injustice, might have blotted us all out of existence for all eternity. In fact, even so brief an existence would be a favor. It is only of his favor that we have an existence at all. How much greater favor is the redemption of the existence once forfeited by sin! And further, it is of God's favor that we are humans and not beasts; it is purely of God's favor that angels are made a little higher than men. It is also of God's favor that the Lord Jesus and his bride are raised to the spirit plane, "better than the angels." (Hebrews 1:4) It becomes all his intelligent creatures, therefore, to receive with gratitude whatever Yahweh bestows. Any other spirit justly merits condemnation, and if indulged, will end in abasement and destruction. A human has no right to aspire to be an angel, never having been invited to that position. Nor has an angel any right to aspire to the right hand of Yahweh, that never having been offered to him.
    (58)  It was the aspiration of Satan's pride that brought his abasement, and will end in his destruction. (Isaiah 14:14) "Whoever exalts himself will be abased, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 14:11), but not necessarily to the highest position.
    (59)  Partly from false ideas of justice, and partly from other causes, the subject of election as taught in the Scriptures has been the occasion of much dispute and misunderstanding. That the Scriptures teach election few would deny; but on just what principle the election or selection is based is a matter of considerable difference of opinion, some claiming that it is an arbitrary, unconditional election, and others that it is conditional. There is a measure of truth in both of these views. An election on God's part is the expression of his choice for a certain purpose, office or condition. God has elected or chosen that some of his creatures should be angels, that some should be men, that some should be beasts, birds, insects, etc., and that some should be exalted to his right hand -- next to him in excellence. And though God selects according to certain conditions all who will be admitted to his right hand, yet it cannot be said that these more than others merit it; for it is purely of favor that any creature has existence on any plane.
    (60)  "So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy" -- kindness or favor. (Romans 9:16) It is not because those chosen ones are better than others, that God gave them the invitation to be highly exalted, for he passed by the angels who had not sinned and called some of the redeemed sinners to be "joint-heirs" with his son. God has a right to do as he pleases with his own; and he chooses to exercise this right for the accomplishment of his plans. Since, then, all we have is divine favor, "Who are you, O man, who replies against God? Shall the things formed say to him who formed it: 'Why have you made me thus?' Does not the potter have power over the clay, to make one vessel for honor and another for less honor?" (Romans 9:20,21) All were created by the same divine power -- some to have a higher plane of existence and greater honor, and some to have lower plane of existence and less honor.
    (61)  "This is what Yahweh says, the Holy One of Israel: 'Ask me of the things to come. Concerning my children, and concerning the work of my hands, do you command me? I have made the earth, and created man upon it. I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their hosts I have commanded.'" "This is what Yahweh says who created the heavens, God himself who formed the earth and made it; he has established it, he created not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: 'I am Yahweh, and there is none else.'" (Isaiah 45:11,12,18) None have a right to dictate to Yahweh. If he established the earth, and if he did not form it in vain, but made it to be inhabited by restored, perfect men, who are we that we should reply against God, and say that it is unjust not to change their plane of existence and make them all spirit creatures either like the angels, or even higher than the angels as Jesus? How much more becoming to come humbly to God's Word and to "ask" concerning things to come, than to "command" or to assert that he must carry out our ideas? We pray for Yahweh to keep his servants back from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over us. None of Yahweh's children, we believe, would knowingly dictate to Yahweh. Yet how easily and almost unconsciously many fall into this error.
    (62)  The human race are God's children by creation -- the work of his hands -- and his plan with reference to them is clearly revealed in his Word. Paul says that the first man (who was a sample of what the race will be when perfect) was of the earth, earthly. His posterity, the redeemed race, with the exception of the bride of the lamb, will in the resurrection still be earthly, human, adapted to the earth. (1 Corinthians 15:38,44) David declares that man was made a little lower than the angels, and crowned with glory, honor, dominion, etc. (Psalm 8:4-8) And Peter, our Lord, and all the prophets since the world began, declare that the human race is to be restored to that glorious perfection, and is again to have dominion over earth, as its representative, Adam, had. -- Acts 3:19-21.
    (63)  In the resurrection day, the masses of mankind will be saved from all the degradation, weakness, pain, misery, and death which they undergo because of sin. They will be restored to the condition of human perfection enjoyed before the fall and allowed to "put on" incorruption in human life-form. They are as really and completely saved from that fall as are those who, under the special "high calling" become "joint-heirs" with Jesus. -- Philippians 3:14; Romans 8:17.
    (64)  It is this portion that God has elected to give to the human race. And what a glorious portion! Close your eyes for a moment to the scenes of misery and woe, degradation and sorrow that yet prevail on account of sin, and picture before your mental vision the glory of the perfect earth. Not a strain of sin mars the harmony and peace of a perfect society (Psalm 37:10); not a bitter thought, not an unkind look or word (Isaiah 65:17); love welling up from every heart, meets a kindred response in every other heart, and benevolence marks every act. (Psalm 72:7; Galatians 5:22,23) There sickness will be no more -- not even the fear of such things. (Isaiah 33:24; Micah 4:4) Think of all the pictures of comparative health and beauty of human life and feature that you have ever seen, and know that perfected humanity will be of still surpassing loveliness. (Psalm 139:14) The inward purity and mental and moral perfections will stamp and glorify every radiant
    countenance. (Jeremiah 31:33,34; Revelation 21:3) Such will earth's society be; and weeping bereaved ones will have their tears wiped away, when thus they realize the resurrection work complete. -- Revelation 21:4.
    (65)  And this is the change in human society only. We call to mind the curse upon the earth will also be lifted. (Genesis 3:17; Revelation 22:3) Then the earth will be restored to a paradise condition as was represented in the Edenic paradise, in which the representative man was at first placed. (Isaiah 5:3) The earth will no longer bring forth thorns and briers, and require the sweat of man's face to yield his bread, but "the earth will [easily and naturally] yield her increase." (Genesis 3:18,19; Psalm 67:6; 85:12) "The desert will blossom as the rose." (Isaiah 35:1) The lower animal creation will be perfect, willing and obedient servants. (Isaiah 11:6) Creation, with all its pleasing variety, will call to man from every direction to seek and know the glory and power and love of Yahweh. (Psalm 148:8-10) Mind and heart will rejoice in him. The restless desire for something new, that now prevails, is not an inherent but an abnormal condition, due to our imperfection, and to our present unsatisfactory surroundings. It is not God-like to restlessly crave something new. All things are old to Yahweh; and he rejoices in those things that are old and perfect. So it will be with mankind when restored to the image of Yahweh. The perfect man will not know or appreciate fully, and hence will not prefer, the glory of a spiritual being. His sphere of being will be on the human plane of life, not a spiritual plane of life in heaven. So fishes and birds, for the same reason, prefer and enjoy each their own plane and element most. Mankind will be so absorbed and enraptured with the glory that surrounds him on the human plane that he will have no aspiration to, nor preference for, another plane of existence or other conditions than those possessed. As mankind learns to walk by the spirit and not by flesh, they will be able to use all the things surrounding them to bring forth more and more to praise the Creator! Look at all the inventions surrounding us in our day. Yet it is estimated that mankind has only tapped a minute speck of the knowledge of creation and the things he could do. What a glorious prospect is before the perfect man!
    (66)  That the church (ones called out), the body of the Anointed, is an exception to Yahweh's general plan for mankind, is evident from the statement that its selection was determined in the divine plan before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4,5). At that time Yahweh not only foresaw the fall of the race into sin, but also predetermined the justification, the sanctification and the glorification of this class. Some of these sons of God, in turn, have been selected to receive an even higher position than the human form of life -- the form of life equal to that of the exalted Jesus -- at the right hand of the Father. So all during the Gospel or "Good News" age, he has been calling out of the world those who would be conformed to the image of his Son, to be partakers of the divine nature. (See Note #18) (2 Peter 1:4) These become, not only heirs, but "joint-heirs" with Messiah in the Millennial kingdom for the establishment of universal righteousness and peace. -- Romans 8:16,17,28-31.
    (67)   Ephesians 1:4,5 shows that the election or choice of the heirs and joint-heirs is a predetermined thing on God's part. Nonetheless, it is not an unconditional election of the individual members of the church. Before the foundation of the world God determined that such a company should be selected for such a purpose within a specific time -- the Gospel age. While we cannot doubt that God could have foreseen the action of each individual member of the church, and could have foreknown just who would make their calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10), yet this is not the way in which God's Word presents the doctrine of election. It was not the thought of an individual predestination that the apostles sought to inculcate, but that a class was predetermined in God's purpose to fill the honorable position of joint-heirship, the selection of which would be upon condition of severe trials of faith and obedience, obedience even to death. (Philippians 2:8) Thus by individual trial, and by individually "overcoming," the individuals of the predetermined class are being chosen or accepted into all the blessings and benefits predetermined for this class.
    (68)  The word "glorified" in Romans 8:30, from the Greek doxazo, signifies honored and praised. When Yahweh created the first man, he was crowned with glory and honor. (Psalm 8:5) Since Adam sinned, the whole human race has fallen short of the glory of God. (Roman 3:23) Now, however, "being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." (Romans 5:1,2) By the justification we receive through the merit of Jesus' sacrifice, we now have hope of regaining the "glory of God" that was lost through Adam. This glory, however, does not necessarily mean that the one possessing it will be "going to heaven." It is the original glory given to Adam here on earth, "a little lower than the angels," which Adam lost for himself and the whole human race.
    (69)  However, as we have shown, some of the "heirs of God" go on to become "joint-heirs" with the Messiah. (Roman 8:17) By becoming "joint-heirs" they inherit the same standing as Jesus himself has been exalted to: the right hand of Yahweh in heaven, for he "sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high: being made so much better than the angels, as he has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." (Hebrews 1:3,4) He "is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens." (Hebrews 8:11) Thus the "joint-heirs" also share with Jesus 'jointly' this position greater than the angels in the heavens, not here on the earth. These are the only ones from among mankind that the Bible speaks of who are given any reward of living on a heavenly plane of existence in the resurrection. The position to which these "joint-heirs" are elected is one of great honor. No man could think of aspiring to so great an honor. Even our Master Jesus was first invited before he aspired to it, as we read: "So also Christ glorified (doxazo - honored) not himself to be made a high priest, but he who said to him: 'You are my Son, today I have begotten you.'" (Hebrews 5:5) The heavenly Father thus honored our Lord Jesus. Likewise, all the elect ones who become joint-heirs with him will thus be honored by Yahweh's favor.
    (70)  Whether one's begettal to a new life becomes earthly or heavenly, both are to have the glory of God. When the heirs are first begotten again of the holy spirit, however, they first bear the image of the earthly. (1 Corinthians 15:46,49; Philippians 3:10-14) Having obtained worthiness of the resurrection on the earthly plane, they could conform to the death of Jesus so that they may obtain the greater inheritance as joint-heirs with him. -- Romans 8:17; Hebrews 1:4; Philippians 3:10.
    (71)  In selecting this "little flock," God makes a very general call, "many are called." (Matthew 20:16) All are not called. The call was confined at first, during our Lord's ministry, to Israel after the flesh; but soon after, as many as the servants of God come in contact with (Luke 14:23) were urged or constrained (not compelled) to come to this special feast of favor. (Luke 14:16-24) But even of those who hear and come, all are not worthy of the highest honor of the bride. (Luke 14:8-11) Of those worthy to appear with the Lamb in glory, it is declared: "They are called and chosen and faithful." -- Revelation 14:1; 17:14.
    (72)  The call to this high position was determined by Yahweh long before this world's creation. But who would be of this chosen class was conditional. All who would share the predestined honors must fulfill the conditions of the call -- that they be conformed to the death of Jesus. While this great favor is not of him that desires, nor of him who runs, it is to him who desires and to him who runs, when called. (Romans 9:16) "Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in his goodness: otherwise you also will be cut off." -- Romans 11:22.
    (73)  Having thus, we trust, clearly vindicated God's absolute right and purpose to do what he wills with his own, we call attention to the fact that the principle that characterizes the bestowment of God's favors is the general good of all.
    (74)  Therefore, on the authority of the Scriptures already presented, we reckon several things. First, it is an established fact that the human and spiritual planes of life are separate and distinct. Second, that the blending of the two planes of life is not part of God's design, but would be an imperfection. Third, that the change from one form to another is not the rule, but the exception, in the instance of Jesus and his joint-heirs. With these things in mind, it becomes a matter of deep interest to learn how the change is accomplished, upon what condition it may be attained and in what manner it will be effected.
    (75)  The conditions to receive joint-heirship and exaltation to the right hand of Yahweh are precisely the same as the conditions on which Jesus himself received it. The "joint-heirs" follow in his steps in complete faithfulness. (2 Peter 2:21) They present themselves as a living sacrifice, as he did, and then faithfully carry out that dedication vow until the sacrifice is accomplished in death. This change of plane of life from human to spirit is given in the resurrection day as a reward to those new creatures who, within the appointed time, conform their every thought and expression to that of the Master's righteous human plane, that they might share in the same manner of death as did our Master. In the resurrection such will awake, not to share with the rest of mankind in the blessed restoration to human perfection and all its accompanying blessings, but to share the likeness and glory and joy of the Master, as joint-heirs with him on the throne of glory. "To him who overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and have set down with my Father in his throne." -- Revelation 3:21.
    (76)  The beginning and development of the "new creature" is likened to the beginning and development of human life. As in the one case there is a conception and then a birth, so also in the other. The saints are said to be begotten or reckonedly born of God through the Word of truth. (1 Peter 1:3; 1 John 5:18; James 1:18) That is, they receive the first impulse of the new life from Yahweh through his Word. When they first respond to the call of repentance, they are reckoned as born again or made alive by the holy spirit. (Matthew 9:13; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:32; 24:47; Acts 2:38; Romans 8:11) However, they are not actually "made alive" until the resurrection. That is, the impregnation with the holy spirit in an individual does not actually mean that the person has at yet been born again, although he is reckoned as alive to God. (Romans 6:11) The apostle Paul likened this new birth to a seed. (1 Corinthians 15:36-38) All the believers in Messiah are at first reckoned in this group, being reckoned as "sons of God," "children of Abraham" and 'sons of Israel.' "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." (Romans 8:14) Yet we must wait for our placement as sons (Roman 8:15,23) "Know therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham." (Galatians 3:7) "For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, 'In Isaac shall thy seed be called.' That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed." -- Romans 9:6-8.
    (77)  Thus to these embryo-like "new creatures" old things pass away, and all things become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17) All his aims are no longer for pleasing the flesh and its desires, but to the pleasing of the Heavenly Father by means of the holy spirit dwelling within him. (Romans 8:5-13) But as an embryo "new creature" he continues to grow and develop, as the old nature [disposition, personality], with its hopes, aims, desires of the flesh, etc., is impaled. (Galatians 5:19-25) These two processes progress simultaneously, from the time consecration begins until the resurrection when this which is corruptible has put on incorruption and this which is mortal has put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:53,54) This process is not completed in the present life. Most of the reckoned "sons of Israel" in general do not get very far in developing the fruitages of the spirit in this present life. Not having developed a crystallized mind, they cannot complete their sacrifice of their humanity. Thus they come forth in the resurrection as human beings (terrestrial bodies) with the holy spirit dwelling in them, but they still need to develop their spirit to perfection in the age to come. Some (in this life) are handed over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh so that the spirit might be saved in the Day [the 1,000 years of his reign] of our Master. (1 Corinthians 5:5; Revelation 20:4) However, none are actually "born again" until the resurrection, though from the time we receive the "spirit of adoption" we are reckoned as such. -- Colossians 1:18; Romans 8:23-25; Ephesians 1:13,14; Romans 6:10,11.
    (78)  The resurrection of the justified is styled 'the resurrection of the just.' (Acts 24:15) Jesus also spoke of this resurrection as the resurrection of life. (John 5:28,29) We have to note again that the begettal of the spirit does not necessarily mean one receives a spirit body in the resurrection. Jesus stated that that which is born of flesh is flesh and that which is born of spirit is spirit. (John 3:6) This scripture has been misconstrued by some to mean that all who are born of the spirit is a spirit being. However, the apostle Paul made a similar statement in Romans 8:5,13: "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." (See Note #19) This principle was also true in the Garden of Eden, before Adam sinned. Adam was a "son of God." (Luke 3:38) As long as Adam walked by the Spirit of Yahweh, he could live; when he walked after the flesh by listening to the voice of his wife, he disobeyed resulting in death. We can see, then, that the words of Jesus in John 3:6 are not referring at all to what plane of existence one becomes in the resurrection.
    (79)  Does this mean that if Adam had obeyed and lived that he eventually could have "put on immortality" on the human plane? This is not answered directly in the Bible, although a comparison of Isaiah 25:58 and 1 Corinthians 15:53,54 indicates that this was probably God's design for mankind upon earth. However, if he were to put on incorruption he would have immortality, in the sense that he would no longer be susceptible to death due to his having crystallized his character. (1 Corinthians 15:53) His trial was to see whether he was worthy or unworthy of a continuance of the life and blessings already possessed. This does not mean that he could not have put on immortality by proving himself totally loyal to Yahweh.* It is true that he was promised a continuance of the blessings then enjoyed so long as obedient, and threatened with the loss of all -- death -- if disobedient. Yet the scriptures imply that had he proven himself totally obedient he would have gained the status of immortality.
    =========
    *Some have claimed that Adam was a dual being, part flesh and part spirit, and that the flesh part of him was doomed to sin, because it is supposed that the flesh itself was created with a sinful nature. The whole idea of such dualistic approach, however, has to be read into the scriptures. Adam certainly had a choice to obey or disobey. God did not "turn" mankind over to sinful tendencies until after Adam disobeyed. -- Romans 1:18-2:2; See also our publication: "How God's Son Condemned Sin in the Flesh".
    (80)  As we mentioned before, all those belonging to Jesus become "sons of God" and are counted as part of spiritual Israel. But the "joint-heirs" are then selected from those reckoned twelve "tribes of the children of Israel." (Revelation 7:4). When in obedience to that "higher call," they fully prove themselves worthy by completely harmonizing themselves with Jesus, suffering side by side with Jesus in his sacrificial death, it is accepted by Yahweh and the full birth can be brought forth in "the first resurrection," as a immortal spirit being, "sharers in his [Christ's] resurrection", not as a human being. (Philippians 3:11-14; 1 Corinthians15:43) It is to those aspiring to this condition that the words of 1 Corinthians 15:49 are directed: "As we [who are called to the higher calling] have borne the image of the earthly [by having their human bodies reckoned alive -- Romans 8:11], so must we also bear the image of the heavenly [that they might receive a heavenly body in the resurrection]."
    (81)  Whether resulting in life on earth or life in heaven, the disciple's dedication to the high call to repentance is decided at one particular moment; the bringing of every thought into harmony with the mind of God is a gradual work. It is a bending by the spirit that which (because of mankind's fall from the divine nature, the glory of God, to a corrupt, sinful nature, according to the flesh, the bondage of corruption that is in the world through lust -- Romans 3:23; 8:21; Ephesians 2:3; 2 Peter 1:4) naturally bends to the material, the earthly. The apostle terms this process a transforming work, saying: "Do not be conformed to this world; but be transformed [to the divine nature] by the renewing of your minds, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." -- Romans 12:2.
    (82)  Some, although that this verse is addressed to the church [the sanctified] and not the world (verse 1), have proposed that the apostle Paul is speaking of transformation from one plane of existence to another plane existence in verse 2. At first glance, this may seem to be the correct thought, but further reflection discloses otherwise. The book of Romans is addressed to those who have heard the call and belong to Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:6,7) Those who belong to Christ are the seed of Abraham and sons of God. (Galatians 3:29; 4:6) The presenting of their bodies as a living sacrifice could not be referring to the sacrifice of their humanity so that they could be of the spirit plane in the resurrection as many have believed. No living sacrifices were commanded to be offered by the Law. All sacrifices were to be killed before being offered. But not so with the sacrifices of these adopted sons of God. Their bodies were to be offered in sacrifice while yet alive -- "living sacrifices." (However, if their "living sacrifices" resulted in completely transforming their minds to such totalness of purpose as Jesus had, then they could share in his death in a higher sense than just the reception of human life by means of his sacrifice, since they would have attained the resurrection due to their crystallization of the new mind. -- 2 Timothy 2:11-12; Philippians 3:10-14) Thus the transformation referred to in Romans 12:2 has to do with the sacrifices of praise and doing good. "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do not forget to do good and share with others: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased." (Hebrews 13:15,16) If they crystalize this transformation of mind before death, thus in joint-sacrifice with Jesus of their humanity, then it results in the resurrection to immortality in heavenly glory. If not, then it results in the resurrection of the earthly glory, provided the one so begotten anew does not commit the willful sin for which there is no more sacrifice available. -- Hebrew 10:26-29.
    (83)  Thus, through dedication, the mind is renewed or transformed, and the desires, hopes and aims begin to rise above the material to the spiritual, the unseen. Those going through this process of transformation or change, are reckoned as "new creatures," begotten of God, and called to be partakers of the divine nature [god-like character]. Adam was originally designed to be a partaker of the divine nature. (Genesis 1:27) While sinless and incorrupt, his god-like qualities were not yet crystallized. If he had continued in obedience he could have crystallized these qualities so that he would be incorruptible. It, therefore, is the design of God for all humans to eventually be made perfect in spirit [disposition], or else be eternally destroyed. -- Hebrews 12:23; Revelation 21:8.
    (84)  We have seen that the human plane of existence has a likeness to the spirit plane. (Genesis 5:1) For instance, God has a will, so do men and angels; God has reason and memory, so do his intelligent creatures -- angels and men. The character of the mental operations of each is the same. With the same data for reasoning, and under similar circumstances, these different planes of being are able to arrive at the same conclusions. Though the mental faculties of God, the angels and the human planes are similar, yet we know that the spirit planes have powers beyond and above the human -- powers which result, we think, not from different faculties, but from the wider range of the same faculties and the different circumstances under which they operate. The human plane of life is a perfect earthly image of the spirit plane of life in the invisible heavenly realm. For instance, both have the ability of reasoning, but the human is confined to the earthly sphere, and with ability and disposition to discern only so much beyond it as God sees fit to reveal or or not reveal as it pleases God. Likewise, the angels have a wider range of reasoning powers, but they also are limited by God permits them to know. -- 1 Peter 1:12.
    (85)  Yahweh alone inhabits the highest order of the spirit plane. How immeasurable is the distance between the Supreme One and his creatures! We are able to catch only glimpses of the glory of the divine wisdom, power and goodness as in panoramic view as he causes some of his mighty works to pass before us. Through Jesus (who was an exact representation of the person of God) and his human life, however, we are to some degree able to measure what a perfect human should be.
    (86)  Those who receive spirit bodies in the resurrection must in the "seed" condition, then, have developed the divine nature [god-like qualities] as outlined 2 Peter 1:5-8 to a point of crystallization of their mind and will to conform to the spirit dwelling in them. Thus, when, they are resurrected, they are able to carry this same mind with them into a spirit body. They carry the same mental powers over to higher conditions. Once clothed with the heavenly body, they have the heavenly powers which belong to that glorious body; and they have the range of thought and scope of power which belong to it.
    (87)  Thus seen, this entire transformation of mind in those who become "joint-heirs" in the heavenly realm begins with repentance of sin and the dedication of the individual to do Yahweh's will. They have entered a covenant to sacrifice their humanity. However, although tentatively accepted before completion, the sacrifice is not actually accepted until it is completed. It is the same with all the heirs, except that those who fail to complete this sacrifice have not have fully crystallized their development in this life, thus necessitating further development after being raised from the dead in order that they might put on incorruption, but on the human plane. The "joint-heirs" need no more development in the divine nature as their character has already been crystallized before the end of this present life; they are instantaneously brought forth in the resurrection as immortal, incorruptible spirit beings.
    (88)  What becomes of those heirs of God who are not selected as "joint-heirs?" Do they become spirit beings in the resurrection? No; we know of no scripture that teaches such. If faithful to the extent of their growth and transformation, they remain in the plane of existence of the human. Thus they receive "earthly" or "terrestrial" bodies in the resurrection. (1 Corinthians 15:35-40) This is what Adam lost for the human race. It is what the ransom sacrifice of Jesus purchased back for them. -- Genesis 3:22,23; Romans 5:15-19.
    (89)  Some have asked: "Will we know ourselves in the resurrection? Will we know in the resurrection that we are the same beings that lived before? Will we be the same conscious beings?" Most assuredly, yes! We must remember that at death our spirit [life-force] which we received at birth, returns to God who gave it. (Genesis 2:7; Ecclesiastes 12:7) It is the same spirit [life-force] that is returned to us in the resurrection, whether we receive a spirit body or an earthly body in the resurrection. (Psalm 104:29,30) Our memory and thoughts of our former existence will thus be retained. (See Note #20)
    (90)  The modern invention of the computer can help illustrate how our memory is transferred from our old body to the new body. When we work on a document on the computer, we are using what is called random-access memory (RAM). This could be compared to the active memory in brain. When we stop working on our document we can store it on a hard disk for later use. This could be compared to storing our memories in our brain for later use. However, what if we want to transfer the document (stored memory) to another, a much better computer? We can transfer the document to a go-between, a floppy disk or tape. This could be likened to our memory being stored with our spirit which returns to Yahweh at death. On the floppy disk it is dormant until put in a new receptacle that is able to read it. The new computer may be much more powerful and allow a greater use of the document than the original computer. Likewise, our memories lay dormant with Yahweh until he reactivates our spirit in a new receptacle, our resurrection body -- whether that resurrection body be spirit or human.
    (91)  These thoughts may help us understand also how the Son, when changed from spiritual to human conditions -- to human form and earthly limitations -- was a man. Though he was the same being in both cases, under the first conditions he was a spirit being and under the second conditions he was human. Because the two forms are separate and distinct, and yet the one a likeness of the other, therefore, the same mental faculties (memory, etc.) being common to both, Jesus could realize his former glory which he had before becoming a man, but which he did not have when become a man, as his words prove -- "Father, glorify me with yourself, with the glory that I had with you before the world was." (John 17:5) -- the glory of the spirit form. And that prayer is more than answered in the present exaltation to the spirit form of the highest next to the Father himself.
    (92)  The "higher call" to become of the spirit form as joint-heirs with Christ is very limited and for a limited time. It is an exception to the general rule. It is for a specific purpose and ends when that purpose is accomplished, as shown by Revelation 7:2,3. However, after the sealing of the 144,000, Revelation 7:9-17 brings us down to the end of this age, the time of the [the definite article appears in the Greek] great tribulation, when it speaks of a "great multitude" that no man could number, out of all nations, tribes and tongues. Thus there are many today who are being called into Christ who will eventually be reckoned symbolically as part of this great multitude. They are still reckoned as part of spiritual Israel even as the "mixed multitude" that left Egypt with the Israelites were considered "Israelites". Additionally, these belong to Jesus, having washed their robes in the blood of the lamb, and are therefore counted as part of the "seed of Abraham", "sons of God," and heirs according to the promise. (Exodus 12:38; Galatians 3:7,26,29; Romans 8:14) These evidently represent Christians living at the end of the age who have begun the walk of new life in Christ but who are still living when Satan's world is destroyed. They have the same path to follow as their predecessors, except that the reward of the "higher call" to "joint-heirship" is lost to them, since the symbolic winds have begun to blow on the symbolic earth, the symbolic sea and the symbolic trees, thus bringing the sealing the 144,000 to a completion. -- Revelation 7:1.
    (93)  The "great multitude" survive the "great tribulation" spoken of Revelation 7:14 and Matthew 24:21,22. They, therefore, receive earthly rewards, but, if faithful, will receive some of the highest honors as such. They are represented as serving in the temple and before the throne of God. They are not on the throne, standing on Mt. Zion as the 144,000. Yahweh spreads his tent (his tent -- dwelling place -- is among men) over them. (Revelation 7:15; 21:3) Jesus, the Lamb, will shepherd them into the new age and guide them to fountains of waters of life to complete their transformation. All tears will then be wiped from their eyes, even as will be done with the rest of those who receive everlasting life on earth. -- Revelation 7:17; 21:3,4; Isaiah 29:8.
    (94)  Let such as have laid their all upon the altar of sacrifice continually bear in mind that, while the Word of God contains both earthly and heavenly promises, many of the consecrated who are living at the end of the age may not receive the promises given to the joint-heirs. Our treasure, however, is still in heaven; let our hearts continually be there, regardless of the reward received. (Matthew 6:19-21) We are all still called to be sons of God. We are still called to faithfulness. The final elect class are called as Yahweh's people to forsake Satan's Babylonish teachings that they might escape the destruction about to come upon her systems. (Revelation 18:4) Such, if faithful, can pass through the great tribulation. We must remember, that even most who were called before the completion of the sealing did not prove themselves worthy of the resurrection - thus they will not inherit life in the spirit realm as joint-heirs with Christ, but still receive lesser rewards as "sons of God". Nevertheless, both the human and spiritual forms will be glorious in their perfection, yet distinct and separate. No insignificant feature of the glory of God's finished work will be the beautiful variety, yet wonderful harmony, of all things, animate and inanimate -- harmony with each other and harmony with God.

    The Heirs of God

    "Zion, arise, break forth in songs
    Of everlasting joy;
    To God eternal praise belongs,
    Who do your foes destroy.
    You heirs of God, awake! awake!
    For light beams from on high;
    From earth and dust your garments shake,
    Your glory's drawing nigh."
    To raise you high above the earth,
    God will his power employ;
    He'll turn your mourning into mirth,
    Your sorrow into joy.
    In shining robes yourself array,
    Put on your garments pure;
    Your King shall lead you in the way
    That's holy, safe and sure."

    Endnotes

    1. See our study: Yahweh's Plan of the Ages.
    2. See our studies on: Life Now and Hereafter.
    3. The nearest Hebrew word we can find to the meaning of incorrupt is Strong's Hebrew #3479, translated "upright" in the King James Version at Ecclesiastes 7:29.
    4. The Greek word is mistranslated "immortality" here in some translations.
    5. Some include the cherubs and seraphs mentioned in the scriptures as classes of angels. We could find no scripture to confirm that the creatures spoken of in the Bible as seraphs and cherubs are actually angels. The cherubs described on the ark of the covenant had wings. Thus we conclude that the cherubs were winged creatures, whatever shape or form they were. (Exodus 37:7-9; see also 1 Kings 6:27; 8:6 2 Chronicles 3:11,13; 5:7) However, angels in the Bible never appear with wings nor as females. It is possible that the cherubs of scripture were confused with the pagan gods and goddesses with wings and thus the images of these winged gods and goddesses came to be mistaken for the angels of scripture.
    Likewise with the seraphs. They are spoken of as having wings, but are never directly identified as angels. We cannot be sure then that the scriptures referring to the cherubs and seraphs are ever speaking of classes of angels.
    7. We infer that Jesus is Michael the archangel from the fact that it is Jesus who, preparatory to the his Millennial reign, takes his Millennial power and brings the time of trouble upon the nations (2 Thessalonians 1:7,8; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 11:15-18; 19:11-21), which Daniel said Michael would do (Daniel 12:1, compared with Matthew 24:21) Michael is called the Archangel, that is, the chief Messenger (Jude 9) which is what the Logos would be. But there could only be one chief messenger of God, that is, Jesus (Malachi 3:1; Psalm 34:7) Hence the word archangel never occurs Biblically in the plural, archangels. If there were more than one archangel, Jude, in speaking of Michael, would have called him *an* archangel, whereas,, since there is but one, he called him *the* archangel. That Jesus is meant by the archangel of 1 Thessalonians 4:16, we note that it is the voice of Jesus that, in the second advent, shakes the heavens and earth and makes them disappear, and awakens the dead. (Hebrews 12:26; John 5:29) It is before his face in his second advent that the heavens and earth flee away. (Revelation 20:11). It is in his day, the second advent period, that they will be dissolved (2 Peter 3:7,10,12). Thus there is great evidence that Jesus is Michael the archangel.
    8. The King James Version adds the word "nature" in this text. There is no corresponding word for "nature" in the Greek, however, which has caused considerable variations in translation. The structure of the Greek does cause for something to be understood. If these scriptures are used in parallel with the other scriptures presented in paragraph 21, then that which is understood is in relation to these scriptures, thus probably the best translation would be: "And let those who all their lives were in chains because of their fear of death, go free. For, truly, he does not take on the life of angels, but that of the seed of Abraham." (Bible in Basic English) Additionally, the word "form" could be put in the verse rather than "nature" as used in the King James Version, making it read: "For verily he took not on him the form of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham." One could argue that what is understood is "seed" since he took on the seed of Abraham. But since the divine angels do not marry nor have offspring, this could not be what is understood, but rather it would be that he came in the form of the seed of Abraham, that is, as in the human form.
    10. See our studies: Restoration of All ThingsThe Ransom
    11. The appearances, or manifestations (Greek Phaino, Strong's #5316 -- Mark 16:9; Greek, Optanomai, Strong's #3700, Luke 24:34; Acts 1:3; phaneroo, Mark 16:12,14; John 21:1,14; Greek, emphanes, Strongs #1717, Acts 10:40], of our Lord in the flesh after his resurrection was only similar to the appearance that was made by the angels who appeared as 'men' long centuries before (Genesis 18:2,22; 19:1; 32:24,30; Joshua 5:13), and does not indicate that He was still a man. As a man he never suddenly into a room, the door being locked; as a spirit being He could make such an appearance, even though the door was locked. As a spirit being He could materialize a body of flesh and bones, and then dematerialize, vanish out of their sight. This materialization, dematerialization and vanishing appertain not only to the flesh, but also to the clothing. Once He appeared as a wayfarer (Luke 24:13-32), and once he was thought to be a gardener (John 20:11-18); and then He appeared as His former self, evidently raising his former body for such an appearances (as foretold in John 2:12), in the locked room. (John 20:19-31) That he appeared in different forms can be seen from 16:12: "After these things he was revealed in another form [Greek, morphe] to two of them, as they walked, on their way into the country." Mark records that he appeared in another, a different form to the two disciples than he had appeared to Mary Magdalene. (Luke 16:9) At these various times he evidently appeared in different garments, each time dressed suitably to the occasion. It was just as easy for Him to create one style of clothing as another, and one form of body as another. It is hard to tell just where the misconceptions held by many Christian people have come in. It behooves us to be very kind and sympathetic in reproving the error, and to remember that we ourselves once had the errors and held them just as tenaciously as do others.
    Our Lord Jesus was put to death in the flesh and quickened in spirit, or made alive in spirit (1 Peter 3:18); and He has been a spirit being ever since. (1 Corinthians 15:45) He is no longer in the days of his flesh. (Hebrews 5:7) It was this spirit being that Saul of Tarsus saw on his way to Damascus. He tells us that what he saw was gloriously bright. (Acts 9:1-18) It was not the flesh of Jesus that was shining. The apostle says that he caught a glimpse of Jesus in His real personality -- "last of all, as to the child born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also." -- 1 Corinthians 15:8.
    12. Traditionally, many Bible students have believed that the "spirit-begotten" are automatically rushed into the position of being "joint-heirs." This has mostly been due to a misconception of what it means to be spirit-begotten. It is often thought that being begotten of the spirit meant that such an one had been begotten to the spirit plane of existence and had already given up the earthly promise. Thus, according to this theory, such an one could lose his inheritance by not being completely faithful. However, notice that these become "heirs" first, and then "joint-heirs." "Joint-heirship is conditioned upon their completing a course of "joint-suffering" with Jesus. And the 144,000 are sealed "out of" a class already existing. We conclude then, that they are NOT made "joint-heirs" from the time they are spirit-begotten. Jesus, however, when he was begotten of the spirit in the womb of Mary was not begotten to a "spirit nature", a spirit substance, but he was begotten of the spirit as a human being. -- Matthew 1:20.
    13. We should note that the 144,000 stand on the symbolic Mt. Zion, not the literal Mt. Zion in the Middle East. They stand there with the Lamb. The Lamb is symbolic of our Savior; so Mt. Zion is symbolic of the heavenly throne. Psalm 2:5 shows that Mt. Zion is the seat of the King. Hebrews 12:22 says: "But you are approaching Mt. Zion, and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and an innumerable company of angels." This Mt. Zion that believers are approaching is not on this earth, but in the heavenly realm. Their "stand" means to take or maintain the rulership. See Daniel 8:22,23,25; 11:2-4,6,7,14,16,20,21,25; 12:1. Thus the 144,000 stand on Mt. Zion, the throne, with the Lamb. This shows that these 144,000 are the "joint-heirs" with Messiah.
    14. Some have thought that 1 Corinthians 2:14 is speaking of the two planes of existence, spirit and human. However, the context shows that the apostle is referring to those who are spiritually-minded as contrasted with those who are material-minded. A person whose mind is on pleasing the flesh cannot understand spiritual matters. This has to be so, else for all eternity no human would ever appreciate the things of the spirit, and thus would be condemned to death. But we read that "the glory of Yahweh will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken it." -- Isaiah 40:5.
    15. Another view is that the prince of Persia was really one of the fallen angels whom the angel withstood for twenty-one days.
    16. In John 5:26, we read: "For as the Father has life in himself; so he has given to the Son to have life in himself." Some have thought that this means that the Son was given life completely independent of the Father. However, the context indicates that this expression simply means that just as the Father is able to give life in the resurrection, so he has given this power to the Son to give life in the resurrection. Thus he has "life in himself" to impart in raising the dead. -- John 5:25,28,29.
    To have life completely independent of Yahweh as the source of that life would imply an equality to Yahweh that no one enjoys. (Isaiah 40:25; 46:5) We therefore conclude that the Greek words as used in the Bible for immortal and immortality do not include inherent or independent life in its meaning.
    17. See our study: The Ransom.
    18. After much study, prayer and consideration, we have come to the conclusion that the term, "divine nature", used in 2 Peter 1:4, has been traditionally misused. For centuries the popular idea of "going to heaven" at death evidently led to this misuse. It has been thought that partaking of the divine nature would mean to be of the form and plane of existence as God Almighty. However, the context of 2 Peter 1:4 and the Greek word translated "nature" does not support this idea. The Greek word phusis (Strong's #5449) is nowhere else in the scriptures used to mean a form or plane of existence, at least in the sense that it is often attributed in 2 Peter 1:4. (Here are the places where phusis appears in the Greek text: Romans 1:26; 2:14,27; 11:21,24; 1 Corinthians 11:14; Galatians 2:15; 4:8; Ephesians 2:3; James 3:7; 2 Peter 1:4) Rather it carries the thought of a common course of events or matter. According to Strong it means: "growth (by germination or expansion), i.e. (by implication) natural production (lineal descent); by extension, a genus or sort; figuratively, native disposition, constitution or usage: -- ([man-])kind, nature([-al])." The Christian, by means of the begettal of the holy spirit, now should develop a moral constitution like unto the divine. Thus verses 5-8 deal with the developing of the divine-like qualities. Thus we were by nature [phusis] children of wrath. (Ephesians 2:3) Now we have escaped the "corruption that is in the world", no longer children of wrath, but called to be of the divine nature. (While it is true that the full development of the divine nature could result in the receiving a spirit body in the resurrection for those who prove themselves to "joint-heirs" with Messiah, the "divine nature" itself, as expressed in 2 Peter 1:4, is not equal to a resurrection in a spirit body in the form of God.) It is by developing this divine nature that one becomes incorruptible. Thus Adam was called to be a partaker of the divine nature on the human plane but failed by putting his mind on the flesh rather than the spirit. -- Genesis 1:27; 1 Corinthians 15:53; Romans 8:5-9.
    19. Some have tried to use 1 Corinthians 15:50 to prove that none in an earthly body could inherit any part of the kingdom: "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption." (King James Version). At first reading, this appears to say that no human can have any inheritance in the kingdom of God, without being "changed" to a spirit being. This, however, is not what the apostle is saying. He is merely confirming what he said in Romans 9:8: "Those who are the children of the flesh these are not the children of God..." (Romans 9:8) Also John says: "But as many as received Him (Christ), to them gave He power to become the Sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12,13) Thus we believe that "flesh" is simply used as a term to refer to those who look to fleshly lineage as a means of inheritance in the kingdom; and "blood" is used to refer to those who believe that their blood lineage is what will bring them an inheritance in the kingdom.
    That there will be many that will be inheritors of the kingdom on the earthly plane can be seen from Isaiah 32:1 and Psalm 45:16. The princes in all the earth are not part of the joint-heirs who are kings with Jesus as well as priests. Yet the princes are said to rule, not from heaven but in all the earth.
    20. Some have wondered how this could be true, since the scriptures say that the former things will not be remembered nor come to mind. (Isaiah 65:17) Isaiah said this regarding the new heavens and new earth conditions. Then things will be quite different from today as shown in verses 19-25. The things of this present evil world will be forgotten in the sense that no one will ever want to go back to them again, not that our memories of this life would be wiped out.

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