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Volume 7 - Page 117 of 133 Index | Zoom | |
together with these "spirits" of perfected righteous ones. We have already referred to the
passage which says that those who are accounted to attain that age are "like unto the
angels". Creed speak of the resurrection of the "body", the Word speaks of the
resurrection of the "dead". Some will have one kind of body, some another, God giveth a
body as it hat pleased Him, and to every seed his own body; there are "heavenly bodies"
(I Cor. 15: 40) to fit a "heavenly calling", as there will be "earthly bodies" to fit the
earthly calling. "There is a natural (soul) body, there is also a spiritual body". The
spiritual is found alone in the sphere of resurrection. Some will say, How are the dead
raised up, and with what body do they come? We can only quote the apostle's reply,
"thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare (literally `naked', as every child of
Adam) grain". Paul had no desire to be "found naked", but rather "clothed upon" with
the house which was awaiting him in the heavens (II Cor. 5: 1-10). This, however, must
not be taken as having reference to the resurrection pure and simple, but must be viewed
in its context. Suffering was "working out" glory (4: 17), and this was in view of the
judgment seat of Christ (5: 10, 11). In other words, II Cor. 5: 1-10 is a prize rather than a
hope. What therefore was before the apostle when he eagerly sought to attain the "out
resurrection out from dead ones"? It was that he might "depart and be with Christ", and
not fall asleep and wait until the day of resurrection for the church as a whole. This was
the "prize", prefigured in the case of Enoch who "pleased" God and was taken by God.
In Enoch's case he did not see death; in Paul's he knew that he would see death, but he
knew there was a possibility of departing and being with Christ, and could therefore say
that he was "willing to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord".
The scriptural doctrine of the state of the dead is in no-wise altered. This "out
resurrection" is an exceptional case, to be entertained only with "fear and trembling" by
those who "work out their own salvation", who suffer with Christ, who have been
conformed unto His death, if by any means they may attain unto this added bliss. Many
passages will be calling for consideration as a result of this statement we know, and we
hope to be able to deal with them all. We must not, however, stay longer upon this one
feature, as there are some weighty words to be considered in Phil. 3: before we have
obtained an all-round understanding of the character of those who may have some
assurance that such a "prize" is within the possibility of their achievement.