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.
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