By Wendell Tenison
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There is only one source that we can turn to for the answers and that is the word of God. Our opinions and what we think will only lead to error and division. The only safe format to follow is a "thus sayeth the Lord", but unfortunately most are illiterate of the word of God and therefore, let their imagination attempt to settle the issues.
1 Cor 15:42-44 "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:.....It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:.....It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body."
One of the keys to understanding this mystery is that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God and this puts to silence the ignorance of foolish men on the subject.
1 Cor 15:50 "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption."
So far as the record is concerned, there were only two men who were taken up by God before Christ was taken from the earth. These were Enoch (Gen.5:24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:11), but the scripture says no more about their ascension except that John the Baptist would go before God in the power and spirit of Elias (Elijah), Luke 1:17. Regarding Christ, the scripture has plenty to say. Our Lord was taken up and a cloud withdrew him from his disciples sight. We will have more to say about his return the second time as in like manner when he left.
Acts 1:9-11 "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight......And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;.....Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."
The apostle Paul stirs our curiosity regarding our resurrection in the likeness of Christ when he wrote to the Romans. Two applications can be made to verse five in that after we have been planted in the likeness of his death in baptism to be raised a new spiritual man and the second, being raised in the resurrection in the likeness of Christ.
Rom 6:3-5 "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?.....Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life......For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:"
Since both cases are true, what about the latter in the resurrection? Need we be in the dark about our resurrected bodies?
Phil 3:20-21 "For our conversation(gr.-commonwealth) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:.....Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself."
1 John 3:2 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."
What happened to Jesus when he ascended and what is he doing? First of all, God has given him all power and authority in heaven and in the earth.
Mat 28:1-198 "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth......Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:"
Among the countless things that Christ is doing, we will look at just a few. One in particular, Stephen saw him standing at the right hand of God being very concerned at the death of one of his saints.
Acts 7:55 "But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,"
Heb 1:3 "Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;"
Mat 26:63-64 "But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God......Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."
John 1:49 -51 "Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel......Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these......And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."
Mat 18:20 "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
Heb 2:12 "Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee."
At the destruction of Jerusalem, A. D. 70, Jesus was brought before the Ancient of Days in the clouds to receive a crown of glory as King of Kings and Lord of Lords and much more.
Dan 7:13-14 "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him......And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."
Now we see a second body of Christ and what is it? Of course, this other body of Christ is spiritual. The scripture does specifically say how God made our Lord a wife who also is his flesh, but as he made Eve from Adam, he did likewise with Jesus while upon the cross. As God took a rib from Adam's side, so did he take the water and blood from the side of Jesus and made him his bride. Therefore, we are married to Christ as the Jews had been married to God, Jer.3:14, 20 and we are the wife of Christ, Romans 7:14.
Eph 5:30 "For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones."
The Lord's body his church is spiritual and upon this earth. What evidence is there in the scripture that this is so?
1 John 5:7-8 "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one......And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one."
The Greek New Testament reads in regards to the Spirit, water and blood, "and the three to one point are" and that is the body, the church of Christ.
As it is a great mystery how that man and woman whom God joins together are one flesh, so it is the same of how we the body of Christ his church are one flesh in him.
Eph 5:31-32 "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh......This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church."
We are the body of Christ and members in particular and we as the spiritual man are renewed on a daily basis.
1 Cor 12:27 "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular."
2 Cor 4:16 "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day."
Moreover, Christ is the head of his body the church, seeing that normal bodies have only one head and not many. Also, the body of Christ the church must have a spirit, otherwise, the body without the spirit is dead, James 2:26. The spirit that his body has is the Holy Spirit.
Paul makes a strong point in these verses, first, the church is his body and next, the body is his church. Therefore, the body of Christ is the church of Christ and the church of Christ is the body of Christ.
Eph 1:22-23 "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,.....Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all."
Col 1:18 "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."
As stated earlier in this lesson, how Jesus will return a second time and the saved in the likeness of his resurrection. As Jesus was caught up into the cloud the first time, so will he return in the clouds and the saved will be caught up into the clouds as he was to be with the Lord.
1 Th 4:16-17 "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:.....Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
There remains one question to be answered; how can the Lord Jesus have a spiritual body of which we will be like in the resurrection and being the head of another body his wife on the earth? First, can Jesus be in two or more places at the same time? Remember that Jesus said, where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I will be in the midst of them. Saints all over the world gather on the Lord's day, how then could Jesus be in all of these places at the same time? The apostle Paul provides the answer.
1 Cor 11:3 "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God."
Adam was the head of Eve being one flesh even though she was another being. Men on the earth do not comprehend that Jesus Christ is their head. Why do they not understand? Because he is our creator. Man is the head of the woman like it or not. Why? The woman is the glory of the man, because she was taken from him, 1 Corinthians 11:7-9. Jesus Christ is the glory of the Father as his only begotten Son, John 1:14, because he was taken from the Almighty. Christ is the spiritual head of his body the church, because the church his wife was taken from him and she is his glory. The church which is his body is flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone and therefore, being one flesh he is the head. However, at the same time he is the head of the church on earth, he also is the head of his own spiritual body sitting at the right hand of God in heaven.
1 Cor 11:7-9 "For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man......For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man......Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man."
© 2012 by Wendell Tenison
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