Over the last 9 Blogs I have tried to make Biblical sense of The Second Coming of Jesus, our Messiah, and to put the course of the various events into the correct sequence. Now we come to the end bit....Eternal Life.
What is Eternal Life?....
Is Eternal Life going to be enjoyable, rewarding, interesting, and fulfilling?....
Or is Eternal Life going to be an unending experience of singing Psalms and praising the LORD, together with the Heavenly Host of Angels?.....
Perhaps we might start to answer these questions by referring to Paul's comments in 1 and 2 Corinthians, and John's comment in 1John:
We shall not all sleep, but we shall 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 shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' 1Corinthians 15.51-54
For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven,if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 2Corinthians 5.2-4
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 1John 3:2
We can extrapolate from these three passages that:
1. Our physical bodies and our souls, our being, will no longer decline into old age and gradually cease to work as when we were young....summarised by this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
2. We shall no longer exercise our rebellion against the LORD, and our irresistable desire to do our own thing....summarised by we shall not be found naked as Adam and Eve were in Genesis 3.21-23:
Adam said, 'I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.' And the LORD God said, 'Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?'
Therefore, we can note from this passage that we shall return physically, emotionally, and spiritually to the state of incorruption and immortality in which Adam and Eve were before their rebellion and Fall.
3. Thirdly, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Luke 24.40-43 describes how Jesus, in His resurrected Body, was clearly recognisable, could talk, and could eat as He had done before His Resurrection. His sudden appearance amongst the disciples indicates that He could travel without the restrictions of space and time:
He showed them His hands and His feet.But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, 'Have you any food here?'. So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence.
Our newly resurrected, incorruptible, immortal bodies will be able to do the same....be recognisable to our friends and relations, talk, and eat as we used to do....and have the added advantage of travel unrestricted by space and time....now you see me, now you don't!
There is an early preview of this experience in Acts 8.26-40, after Philip met the eunuch:
An angel of the LORD spoke to Philip, saying, 'Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.'....and a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians,...was returning. ... So Philip ran to him, and ...Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the LORD caught Philip away, ...But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.
Geograhically Azotus, modern day Ashdod, is some 23 miles north east of Gaza...so the Spirit of the LORD caught Philip away and saved Philip from making the day and a half's walk from the Jerusalem to Gaza road to Azotus!!
The 3 explanatory points describe what Adam and Eve were like, and could do, before the Fall....and what God had intended for Man 'in the beginning' of His relationship with Man.
The purpose of God's plan and His gift of incorruption, immortality, and unrestricted use of space and time, was so that He, the LORD God, could 'dwell with Man', as He set out in Exodus 25.8, 29.45, and Zechariah 2.10, and which He will fulfill in Revelation 21.3:
Exodus 25.8 Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.
Exodus 29:45 I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God.
Zechariah 2:10 'For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,' says the LORD.
Revelation 21:3 I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, 'Behold, The Tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.'
The Psalmist seems enthused about the prospect!:
Psalm 27:4 One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the House of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His Temple.
Psalm 84:10 A day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the House of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Psalm 16:9-11 My heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Paul, like us, has a problem understanding the details of what it means to experience the 'face to face' relationship with the LORD:
1Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
Whatever the details are, the experience is going to be great, as described in Revelation 7 and 22:
Revelation 7:14-17 The ones who come out of The Great Tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb...are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His Temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Revelation 22:5 There shall be no night there: they need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the LORD God gives them light.
It seems, therefore, that Eternal Life is NOT just going to be an unending experience of singing Psalms and praising the LORD, together with the Heavenly Host of Angels.....it is going to be much more than that, although, for the moment, we see in a mirror, dimly!
Enjoy the prospect...and press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.....so that you can have a thousand year preview experience of ultimate Eternal Life!!
Until next week....