Thursday, April 23, 2009

Finding Hope in Crisis: A New Body

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

When I finally started studying God's Word, and the Holy Spirit began to lead me into a study of Bible prophecy, I started making discoveries about the future that ministered great hope to my spirit. I had just discovered God's marvelous promises for the future that are designed to give us hope in the present.


The Intermediate State

My second discovery was that we are not destined to an ethereal existence as disembodied spirits. Immediately after death both the saved and the lost receive a body that I am going to call an "intermediate spirit body." I have given it that name because it is a body that is intermediate between our current fleshly body and the ultimate, glorified body that saints will receive at the time of their resurrection.

The Bible does not tell us much about this body except that it is tangible and recognizable. An example of it is found in 1 Samuel 28 where we are told that King Saul, in his rebellion against God, sought the counsel of a witch. She, in turn, attempted to call up her familiar demon spirit. Instead, the Lord sent Samuel who had died some time before. The moment Samuel appeared, both the witch and Saul recognized him.

Another example of the intermediate spirit body can be found in Matthew 17 where the story is told of the Transfiguration of Jesus. This was when His disciples were given a glimpse of His coming glory. As they witnessed this marvelous event, suddenly two people appeared and began talking with them. The two were Moses and Elijah (Matthew 17:1-5).

Additional examples of intermediate spirit bodies can be found in the two biblical scenes I have already mentioned: The Rich Man and Lazarus in Hades (Luke 16) and the Tribulation Martyrs in Heaven (Revelation 7).


Glorification

When Jesus returns, the Bible says He will bring with Him the spirits of the saved (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). He will resurrect their bodies in a great miracle of re-creation (whether their bodies are preserved, rotted, cremated, or dissolved in the ocean). In the twinkling of an eye, He will reunite their spirits with their resurrected bodies and will then glorify their bodies (1 Thessalonians 4:15-16). Then, those saints who are alive will be caught up (raptured) to meet the Lord in the sky, and they will be transformed on the way up (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

All my life I have heard people say, "There are two things in life that no one can avoid: death and taxes." That statement is wrong. The only thing we cannot avoid is taxes and more taxes. A whole generation of believers will avoid death — the generation living when the Lord returns for His Church. It's no wonder that Paul concluded this great passage in 1 Thessalonians by saying, "Therefore, comfort one another with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

What is a glorified body? Paul wrote a whole chapter about the topic in 1 Corinthians 15. He said our glorified bodies will be imperishable, gloriously pure, powerful, and spiritual (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). Paul further states that the glorified body will be immortal, and as such will no longer be subject to death (1 Corinthians 15:53-55).


The Nature of the Glorified Body

Paul made a statement in his letter to the Philippians that I think provides us with a framework for understanding what our glorified bodies will be like. He wrote that when Jesus returns, He "will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself" (Phil. 3:20-21). In other words, our glorified bodies are going to be like Jesus' resurrected body.

Now, think about that for a moment. After His resurrection, Jesus had a tangible body that could be touched and recognized (Luke 24: 41- 43 and John 20:27-28). People had difficulty recognizing Him at first, but that is understandable. If you buried your best friend one day, and he knocked on your door the next, would you recognize him? Wouldn't you assume he was someone who looked like your friend? Once the disciples realized that Jesus had truly been resurrected, they had no more difficulty recognizing Him, even at a distance (John 21:1-7).

So, Jesus had a body similar to the ones we have now. It was tangible and recognizable. It was also a body that ate food. Jesus is pictured eating with His disciples several times, including a meal of fish on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (Luke 24:30-31, 41-42, and John 21:10-13). I must admit that I get excited when I read these accounts of Jesus eating, and also when I read about our eating with Him in Heaven at the "marriage supper of the Lamb" (Revelation 19:7-9). I have this fantasy that we will be able to eat all we want in our glorified bodies and not have to worry about gaining weight! (That should be sufficient to prompt many of you to shout, "Maranatha!")


A Different Dimension

The resurrected body of Jesus was similar to ours in many respects, but there were also some differences. Jesus' body seemed to have a different dimension to it, for He could pass through a wall into a locked room (John 20:26), and He could move from one place to another almost instantly (Luke 24:30-36). One moment He was on the road to Emmaus, the next He was in Jerusalem, and then He would appear in the Galilee area.

His disciples were so startled and frightened by His ability to vanish and reappear suddenly at another place that they thought they were seeing a spirit. But Jesus countered that idea immediately by telling them, "Touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have" (Luke 24:39). When the Word says that our glorified bodies will be "spiritual" in nature (1 Corinthians 15:44), it does not mean we will be ethereal spirits. It says our natural body will be raised a spiritual body, not a spirit. We will still have a body, but it will no longer be controlled by the old sin nature, the flesh. Rather, it will be a body yielded completely to the control of the Holy Spirit.

There is one other thing the Bible reveals about the glorified body that should be a source of great comfort. The glorified body will be a perfected body. That means the blind will see, the deaf will hear, the lame will walk, and the mute will speak. Those who are mentally impaired will have their minds healed (Isaiah 29:18-19, 32:3-4, and 35:5-6). There will no longer be any pain or death (Revelation 21:4). God will "wipe away every tear," and "there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain" (Revelation 21:4).

10 comments:

Billy said...

Dr. Reagan, Nathan or anyone...

Jesus told a doubting Thomas "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."

The was after Jesus was raised from death yet He still bore the marks of His crucifixtion. Were these marks made visible only to Thomas for the moment or does our Lord bear these marks permanently to remind us of His sacrifice for our sins?

hartdawg said...

i in no way speak for nate (i hope he dont mind me calling him that) or reagan but personally think they are there to remind us of his sacrifice. i said this so many time, not sure if i have on the blog but how can an athiest be happy? "where did you come from?" "NOWHERE" "whats your purpose, the point?" "NOTHING" "where are you going?" NOWHERE" "whats your hope?" "NOTHING" "my plan is to stay alive as long as possible and to have more good days than bad" WHERE IS THE HOPE IN THAT?

son of thunder said...

Personally, I think Messiah kept the scars. Not only His hands and side, but His brutalized back as well.

And there is no hope for the athiest, the naturalist, the humanist, the evolutionists, etc.

son of thunder said...

I could use a new body, though. This ones got some miles on it. Like Indiana Jones said, "It's not the age, it's the milage."

hartdawg said...

a new body would be great. specially when you start working out like i did last week and a 9th grader can outlift you. makes me wanna quit. so embarassing. never eat 2 7-ll hotdogs and a big gulp 20 minutes before working out. not even kidding. cant wait for my ressurected body when i can eat krispy kreme with no consequences. so much reason to hope

son of thunder said...

I started working out at the "Y" about 2 months ago, trying to get myself a "new body," so I know about the eating bad foods (that are sooooo good) before working out.

It's too bad that it's just like hanging a new body on an old car and not replacing the engine if you don't eat better as well: it looks good on the outside, but inside it still runs rough and smokes when you hit the gas.

But it's like someone said: Don't drink, don't smoke, eat right and exercise; die anyway.

Fortunately, when we die, when we die we KNOW where we're going.

YshuaMyLord said...

In Revelation is says that John saw the Lamb as He had been slain. I love what Chuck Missler says about this - that the only manmade thing in heaven are the scars on Yeshua's body. I think we'll need the constant reminder in eternity to begin to grasp what all the Lord has really done for us.

Junbuggg said...

I am soooo looking forward to my new body!!! This one that I have now, am expecting it to start leaking anyday. NO! Not what you may be thinking! :-). I have type I Diabetes....also known as Juvenile Diabetes. I was diagnosed in 1973 at the age of 16...became very ill, slipped into a coma for 3 days and heart stopped at some point during that time and had to be "paddled" back. My life has been blessed and has been very good since that time, however, the countless number of insulin shots and blood testing sticks over all these years has made me a living pin cushion......that's why I said I am expecting to start "leaking" any day now. :-) Yep, I am definitely looking forward to receiving my new body!
Praise God! Buggg

hartdawg said...

i only had like one pop in almost a week and working out. including running-AAUGH! i really need a pop. i saw so many "buy this and get a free soda" ads. more than ever. maybe God wants me to drink pop. the 1st thing i'm gonna dowith my ne body is go with all my friends to krispy kreme! i wonder if we'll work out our new bodies.

son of thunder said...

Just remember on the "pop" (around here it's called coke, whether it's Coca Cola or not. As in "What kinda Coke you want?" There's Pepsi coke, Sprite coke, Coke coke, etc), caffeine causes kidney stones, so be responsible with it. If you're gonna drink "pop" drink a lot of water with it. Water and cranberry juice.

We may be getting new bodies, but there's no need to be irresponsible with this one.

I don't think we'll have to work out, but I bet heaven has a really boss gym.