(NOTE: This is a ‘rough draft’ of a chapter of my finished book- available on Amazon via Title Link: Thy Kingdom Come- Here and Now!)
Chapter 10: The Foundational Principle of the Resurrection of the Dead
God’s Grace is limitless… His Blessings beyond human comprehension- thank the Lord for the Holy Spirit’s continual revelation and empowering work in the Body of Christ.
When I was 21 years old, while on a drug-induced binge at the Whiskey a-Go-Go in Hollywood… I was knocked out by the LAPD, and carted off to jail. While unconscious in the squad car I had a supernatural encounter- I found myself apparently naked on a cold slab in pitch darkness overhearing a conversation about me between two opposing voices. One was sinister and struck terror in my heart- he was trying to convince the other that I should die and be taken ’somewhere’ with him. The other voice- although far more powerful was compassionate, and after a time said, ” He has yet to come to Me, and therefore I will allow him to return to earth NOW… “
The moment I heard the word ‘now’ the bottom fell out of what I was resting upon, and I found myself hurtling through space with a heavenly sound of music in my ears, and a ring of fire around my body that was moving seemingly at the speed of light. I was soaring through a great expanse- passing galaxies, planets, comets, and asteroids. I felt a joy and peace that was electric. I found myself looking in the distance at an object the size of a small beautiful blue-green marble… which is where I was apparently headed, since I was making a beeline for it at an incredible speed. I become aware of its rotation, recognized it as our beautiful planet- and could perceive the continents and cloud formations on its surface.
I thought “Oh-oh… I’m going to crash head first into planet earth!” As I approached I saw in rotation the western hemisphere, then North America, then the West Coast, then So. CA, and as if I was zooming in on a Google Satellite map- I prepared myself for the worst…
All of a sudden about 1000 ft. above the surface my body took a sharp left and shot past the beach communities and headed out over the Pacific Ocean; I looked back to see the coastline thin and getting thinner. Abruptly I plunged into the cold ocean waters and was sinking and shrinking simultaneously! I was getting smaller and smaller while going deeper and deeper, although somehow I was no longer scared.
I found myself rising again until I was at the surface and ‘pop’ I was floating upward in a water molecule rising up, up, up into a passing cloud which the wind blew east, back over the coastal terrain. It kept rising and getting colder until in a drop of water I found myself falling down- landing on a mountain height, and then flowing down a trickle to a stream to a rushing river… until I entered a pipe, sailed through it until I came out via a sprinkler system onto someone’s nice green lawn. I laughed and laughed to myself as I lay there surrounded by blades of grass that looked like tall trees- like in the ‘Ants’ animation film.
I am compelled to say all this to get to this point in this extended ‘vision’:
In an instant- I found myself fully clothed in Levi jeans, hiking boots, and a plaid shirt with very short hair- (in real life in 1971, I wore stove pipe bell bottom jeans, silk shirts, leather boots, and had a huge ‘afro’). I was laying flat on my back in a wilderness desert scene. It was a beautiful spring-like day with birds singing, little creatures scurrying around, with a pleasant breeze blowing. I felt wonderful, and started walking toward a distant mountain range, along a dirt path headed nowhere in particular (though I knew I was actually unconscious headed to jail), but I was enjoying the dream journey and trying to process all that came before.
I looked down at my straight legged jeans and hiking boots which I didn’t own, and then noticed a pair of sandaled feet in a long robe walking on my immediate right- almost touching me. I looked up reluctantly into the face of Jesus, who smiled tenderly as we walked along. I was shocked speechless… He spoke to me at length but without opening His mouth- I could hear Him so clearly telling me that my life of drug addiction and depravity could be so different: I could be free! I couldn’t process what I was experiencing and insulted Him by saying that I was having an LSD hallucination, that He was a figment of my vivid imagination ‘under the influence’, and reminded Him that I was in reality on my way to jail.
He stopped and turned to face me- with a look of loving pity in His beautiful eyes… what a face! What a humble powerful presence! Slowly He began to brighten… He looked toward the sloping mountains in the distance and communicated still without speaking:
“Make this mountain whole!” It was obviously not a suggestion, but rather a direct command! I looked bewildered at the horizon and noticed for the first time that the peaks in the distance looked like an unfinished painting on a canvas with a white ‘unpainted’ patch to the far right. I responded with tears flowing, “How? How can I do this, when I’m not really here, I’m not able to stop my addiction, I don’t even believe in You! How? How can I do the impossible? How?”… at that point I was uncontrollably sobbing, not able to comprehend anything that was ‘happening’.
He looked deep into my soul- and finally opening His mouth, He spoke two profound and cataclysmic words: “BY FAITH!!!”
The instant He said that, the wind kicked up dramatically, the bright sky darkened and a giant thunderhead came from the other side of the mountain range, and with peels of thunder, and lightning flashing shot toward us like a fast-forward movie! It hovered above while I cowered with fear. I looked at Jesus and He intently looking at it, moved His eyes toward the vacant place on the horizon. The cloud dissipated exposing a massive granite slab spinning on an axis with light flashing off its surface. It immediately zoomed into the distant gap, fit perfectly into the range like a missing puzzle piece, and then with a very loud sound- it became whole!
I looked at Him and He started radiating brighter and brighter with His arms outstretched, with ripples of Divine Love moving continually all over me. He smiled oh-so-tenderly… and then suddenly, I woke up- handcuffed on my face in a cell at the LA County jail. Now nearly thirty six years later, I understand that by faith I not only got delivered from all my addictive behavior, but I was also physically and emotionally healed. Even more precious- I got saved, blessed with a beautiful wife of now 34 years, two fine children- a son Anthony, and a daughter Sarah- who grew up in the Faith, and we have two precious little grandchildren- Caleb and Amber who fill us with joy and awe at God’s continuing Amazing Grace.
In many seasons of fasting and prayer- the Lord has shown me that the great distance between me and the mountain range was the last three + decades, and that the primary mountain I was walking toward was actually Mt.Zion! I am therefore also called to participate with my brothers and sisters in Christ in the process of fulfilling what Shawn Bolz calls the Isaiah 58 mandate, which will beautify the City of God, the New Jerusalem with many, many, many more souls- treasures out of darkness, the rewards of The Lamb’s sufferings.
Before this experience I didn’t believe in the hereafter, although as stated previously I had paranormal experiences due to being seriously entrenched in the occult. I wanted power and influence which the enemy provided by way of the idolatry of false religion. I gravitated to what did not offend me, like what is being currently promoted worldwide via the Internet by Oprah Winfrey and Eckhart Tolle- The New Earth paradigm. The level of deception of the enemy is truly staggering! Here we find one of the most powerful women in history rejecting biblical Christianity, and sitting at the feet (so to speak) of a New Age Guru who denies Jesus Christ as the only way to relationship with God. Their lessons based upon his international ‘teaching’ and other books such as The Power of Now are interwoven with Buddhist thought, New Age alternatives to biblical truth, and the elevation of the human personality to the dizzying heights of being of God… all without the acknowledgment of our damning sin and bankrupt condition without Christ’s atoning work on the Cross.
The new birth is scorned as myth- and the Lord Jesus’ words are twisted to mean what they don’t. Someone in the Body of Christ needs to stand up for the truth and thoughtfully refute these false teachings that are leading so many people, including nominal Christians astray. I am seriously considering undertaking a verse by verse/topic by topic apologetic about this very dangerous material, but frankly hope that others will go before me since I have a series of five books in the works already (this one included- which is the first of a trilogy) .
The Christian faith is unique in its comprehensive presentation of the afterlife. Until I began studying the Bible in earnest, I had a profound aversion to the reality of holiness, judgment, and perdition. In this progressive (that is sequential) teaching concerning the elementary principles of Christ, we will look intently at the doctrine of the Resurrection– followed by the sobering teaching of Eternal Judgment. I began this chapter with my testimony of a divine encounter because it was the first inkling that I had apart from the Catholic church which I had rejected, of the fact that there is life after death. There will be two forms of resurrection- The Resurrection of the Just (righteous in Christ) and The Resurrection of the Unjust (unrighteous damned). These two foundational principles of Resurrection and Eternal Judgment are the most difficult to address because of the stark contrast between the saved and the lost and what Eternity holds for each.
The reality of the doctrine of the resurrection is dealt directly by Jesus when He is confronted by the Sadducees, a religious sect within Judaism who did not believe in the resurrection, in angels, or in spirits. While the Pharisees were considered orthodox, the Sadducees were ancient ‘modernists’ throwing out things that didn’t suit their fancy. This teaching is so pivotal to the Christian faith that it is laid out in three of the four gospels: Matthew 22:23-33; Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-38. They posed a dilemma regarding the Jewish requirement for brothers in a family to marry the widow of one of their household, who dies before having children to carry the heritage (lineage) forward. Seven brothers all died before the woman does, and their lame question is:
Matthew 22:28-33… ‘In the resurrection, then, whose wife will she be of the seven? For they all had her. And Jesus answered and said to them, You err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels in Heaven. But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read that which was spoken to you by God, saying, “I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob”? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And when the crowds heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.
They did not know the Scriptures, the Old Testament verses that concern the subject of resurrection the way they needed to… nor the power of God inherent in the power of the resurrection to come. And again in what is considered by many the oldest book of the Bible:
Job 19:25-27 (NKJV)… For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!
When the Lord Christ heals a paralytic man on the Sabbath contrary to the Pharisees’ misinterpretation of God’s Law, Jesus responded to their accusations with a comprehensive teaching concerning the resurrection of the dead. These religious hypocrites failed to recognize that the Sabbath is for man, and not man for the Sabbath (see Mark 2:27) and is designated as a rest to man. They did not care for the sick man’s condition, but only their ritual of Sabbath keeping.
John 5:17-21;24-29(NKJV)… But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will…
Most assuredly, I say to you,the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
Therefore verse 29 makes a clear distinction between two separate resurrections. The resurrection of life is the resurrection of saved believers, the blood-bought children of God which will take place before the millennial reign of Christ begins. The resurrection of condemnation for all who practiced evil and rejected the gift of Eternal life through Jesus Christ’s atoning death on the Cross, will take place after the millennium. All dead unbelievers will be resurrected after the thousand years to be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment. We will look at the sober aspects of the elementary principle of Eternal Judgment in the next chapter. Let’s look at some proof texts concerning the distinctions and characteristics between the two different resurrections of the dead.
A brief parenthesis is necessary at this point though since it is important to look briefly at instances recorded in the Gospels of the Lord Jesus raising people from the dead. In each of these cases though the individuals would die again since these were not part of the final resurrection of the dead. It is interesting to note that three of the Gospels- Mark, Luke, and John record one each of these different incidents.
Jairus’ young daughter was healed just after dying: Mark 5:22-24; 35-43… And one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name, and seeing Him, fell at His feet; and he entreated Him much, saying, My little girl is at the point of death. Please come and lay Your hands on her that she may be healed and live. And He went with him…
While He was still speaking, some came from the house of the ruler of the synagogue, saying, Your daughter has died. Why bother the Teacher any longer? But Jesus… said to the ruler… Do not be afraid– only believe…. v41 And He took hold of the child’s hand and said to her , Talitha koum! which being interpreted is, Little girl, to you I say, Arise! And immediately the little girl rose up and walked about, for she was twelve years old. And immediately, they were amazed with great amazement.
The widow of Nain’s son had been dead several days: Luke 7:11-15… And soon afterward He went into a city called Nain, and His disciples went with Him, as well as a large crowd. And as He came near the gate of the city, behold, one who had died was being carried out, an only son of his mother, and she was a widow… And when the Lord saw her, He was moved with compassion for her and said to her, Do not weep. And He came near and touched the bier, and those carrying it stood still. And He said, Young man, to you I say, Arise. And the dead man sat up and began to speak. And He gave him to his mother.
The most dramatic account was that of Lazarus who had been dead four days and already buried in a tomb: John 11:1-45… v21Then Martha said to Jesus, Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You. Jesus said to her, Your brother will rise again. Martha said to Him, I know that He will rise again in the resurrection in the last day. Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me, even if he should die, shall live; And everyone who believes in Me shall by no means die forever. Do you believe this? She said to Him, Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the son of God, He who comes into the world. v43 And when He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, Lazarus, come out! And he who had died came out, bound hand and foot with cloths, and his face was bound about with a handkerchief. Jesus said to them, Loose him and let him go. Many of the Jews therefore who had come to Mary and beheld the things that He did believed in Him.
Since Jesus had been baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, He was able to exercise the authority and power of resurrection even before going to the cross. A set of precious truths are revealed in Romans 1and 6 and Philippians 3:
Romans 1:3-6(NKJV)… concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, through whom we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among who you also are the called of Jesus Christ.
By the incarnation the Lord Jesus put human flesh, which was distinct, separate and had nothing to do with his inherent divinity. His humanity needed to be sanctified by passing through death and resurrection, resulting in His human nature being transformed. By incarnation He brought God into man; by resurrection He brought man into God. The Father therefore has the prototype in Christ to produce His many sons. Every born-again child of God will be revealed as the sons of God to express Him in the world.
Romans 6:3-11(NKJV)… Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also shall walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,… v8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
As we clearly saw in the doctrine of baptisms chapter, when we are baptized into Christ- and thereby baptized into His death, we have been separated from the world and the satanic powers of darkness. It literally terminated our old nature, our flesh, and our history in natural life. We have become a new person in resurrection through the process of transformation on a daily basis… like the caterpillar liquefied and transformed to emerge as a distinctly different creature: the butterfly. Through His death and resurrection which are now ours because we are organically joined to Him, all our negatives are released, our God- created abilities are resurrected, and saturated with His Presence to transform us daily until we are fully conformed to the image of Christ.
Philippians 3:20,21… For our citizenship is in Heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
This hopeful Scripture reveals that the transformation of our body is the ultimate consummation of God’s salvation. In the new birth God first regenerated our spirit (John 3:6), He is daily transforming our soul (Romans 12:2), and either in the Rapture of the Church or when we cross over He will transform our body, making us the same as Christ Jesus in all three aspects of our being.
Therefore concerning the Resurrection of the Just:
1 Corinthians 20-23;41-44;51-57… But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since through man came death, through man also came the resurrection from the dead. For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each one in his own order: the firstfruits Christ; then those who are Christ’s at His coming…
v41-44… There is another glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for stars differs from star in glory. So also is the resurrection from the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; It is sown a soulish body, it is raised a spiritual body…
v51-57… 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality… then the word which is written will come to pass, “Death has been swallowed up unto victory”… But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (NKJV)… For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
Christ as the firstfruits of resurrection is the Firstborn from among the dead that He may be the Head of the Body (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:20-23). Since He as the Head of the Body has been resurrected, we who are the Body will also be resurrected. A spiritual body is a resurrected body saturated by the Spirit, in which the human spirit predominates in union with the Holy Spirit. The Lord’s resurrection was His victory over Satan, with the swallowing up of death resulting in the ultimate and complete victory that He has accomplished for us who believe in and partake in His resurrection. This victory should not be viewed as just an accomplished fact, but has to become our daily experience through the resurrected Christ, and His life-giving Spirit who is one with our spirit. And now for the contrast between the resurrection of the just and the resurrection of the damned at opposite ends of the 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth:
Revelation 20:1-6… And I saw an angel coming down out of Heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. And cast him into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him, that he might not deceive the nations any longer until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be loosed for a little while.
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and of those who had not worshiped the beast nor his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.
Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.
The overcomers who are privileged to participate in the first and outstanding resurrection receive the reward of kingship which will empower them to reign with Christ in the millennial Kingdom. They will be both priests in worship of God the Father, Christ the Son, and Jehovah Holy Spirit- and kings reigning over the nations with our Lord, shepherding the people of God in the earth.
The resurrection of the damned: The Great White Throne Judgment
Revelation 20:11-15… And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose face earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened; and another scroll was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged by the things which were written in the scrolls, according to their works.
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, each of them, according to their works. And death and Hades were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death, the Lake of Fire. And if anyone was not found written in the Book of Life, he was cast into the Lake of Fire.
In the first death, the soul and spirit of fallen humanity are separated from their body and are cast into hell. In the second death at the White Throne Judgment, the soul and spirit are reunited to their body in resurrection, and are then cast altogether into the Lake of Fire. They will perish in eternal torment which is the most horrible of outcomes. Perishing unbelievers will be judged according to the record of their works revealed in the scrolls, but will be ultimately condemned because of their unbelief revealed in that their names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Not believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, God, and sovereign King is the unique sin that will cause people to perish forever in that day. The Lake of Fire has been prepared for the devil and his fallen angels (Matthew 25:41). Since unbelievers are of their father the devil and have followed him, they will all share in his judgment and become partakers of his eternal torment. This is the stark contrast between the first and second resurrection. Now in brief let us look more closely at the elementary principle of Eternal Judgment.
Don Moen- ‘ Give Thanks’