Archive for April, 2010
If there ever was any doubt as to God’s enduring Mercy, Psalm 136 puts those doubts to rest. This Psalm spans 26 verses and with every stanza reiterates the fact that God’s Mercy does indeed endure forever!
2. O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endures for ever.
3. O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endures for ever.
4. To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endures for ever.
5. To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endures for ever.
6. To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endures for ever.
7. To him that made great lights: for his mercy endures for ever:
8. The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endures for ever:
9. The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endures for ever.
10. To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endures for ever:
11. And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endures for ever:
12. With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endures for ever.
13. To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endures for ever:
14. And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endures for ever:
15. But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endures for ever.
16. To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endures for ever.
17. To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endures for ever:
18. And slew famous kings: for his mercy endures for ever:
19. Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endures for ever:
21. And gave their land for an heritage: for his mercy endures for ever:
22. Even an heritage unto Israel his servant: for his mercy endures for ever.
23. Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endures for ever:
25. Who gives food to all flesh: for his mercy endures for ever.
26. O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endures for ever.
The Apostle Paul also confirms that God’s Mercy not only endures forever, but is bestowed upon ALL. The gifts God has given (Grace and Mercy) are eternal; making His ways and judgments beyond our ability to understand.
Rom.11:29-33 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
In the book of Isaiah, God is portrayed to the Israelites as their Redeemer, the One who will show everlasting kindness and mercy upon them forever, thus revealing the eternal nature of God.
Isa.54:8-10 In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer. For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.
This everlasting kindness and mercy that God bestows upon His people is by its very nature never ending, confirming the verses in Revelation where God tells EVERYONE who is thirsty to come and drink of the Living Waters freely! There is no time constraint to ETERNAL.
Rev.21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely.
Rev.22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
I got to thinking about the widely held, traditional view of the Resurrection of the body, where the idea is that our earthly bodies will be transformed into a glorified version of what our fleshly bodies were like. The more I thought about what is actually being said, and comparing that to what the Bible teaches, the less appealing that traditional idea became. It’s like a caterpillar that goes through metamorphosis, and when it emerges from its cocoon instead of being transformed into a beautiful butterfly able to fly, it becomes a resurrected glorified caterpillar.
When we read the writings of Paul where he describes the Resurrection of the body, the image he portrays is one of transformation, that is to say the bare seed (our fleshly body) being planted in the ground, and from the seed that dies in the ground, a plant springs forth that in no way resembles the seed that was sown. The seed doesn’t spring forth as a resurrected glorified seed, but rather a living plant capable of bearing fruit
1Cor.15:35-38 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sows is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sows, thou sows not that body that shall be, but bare grain seed, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God gives it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
In speaking of the resurrection of the body Jesus said: “unless a grain of wheat is planted in the ground and dies, it cannot bring forth fruit”; this clearly tells us that the body which we will be resurrected in bears no likeness to this fleshly body we live in here on earth.
John 12:24-25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
Mark 4:31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.
Like the tiny mustard seed that dies in the ground then grows to be the greatest of herbs, and the earthbound caterpillar that dies in its cocoon then bursts forth as a beautiful soaring butterfly, we too will be changed into that which will bear the image of Christ.
Luke 15:11-32 And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his belly with the husks that the swine ate: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father; I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and entreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
When I think of what best depicts the heart of God, I think of the Proverb of the Prodigal Son; unique to the Gospel of Luke. It gives me a clear image of the eternal concern God has for each of His creations. No matter how long the separation, or how great the distance, God is always there to receive His children back….not only with open arms, but with a celebration of joy and love….and clothing us with the best garments!
Luke is unique amongst the Gospels, in that far and above all the other Gospels, his tends to focus on the Mercy and Compassion of Christ. Over and over again, it is noted in the synoptic parallels that Luke’s Gospel inserts words of mercy, friendship, and compassion that are missing in the other Gospel accounts. This is the case with the Parable of the Prodigal Son. The portrait of Christ that Luke paints in his recording of this Parable is reflective of eternal mercy and compassion that our Father, God has for us. Not only is God ever waiting for the return of His children, but before we even ask forgiveness, He has stretched forth His hand (runs) to us with compassion and love.
What is brought out very clearly in this Parable is the fact that living a sinful life is like living in prison…a person is not really free to do what they want, but rather they are controlled by their environment. As was the case of the Prodigal Son: what he thought was freedom to do as he pleased was not really the case, because he had to rely on his own understanding and that did not get him very far. When he lived at home under his fathers care, he could rely on the wisdom and provision of his father. This is the case with all of God’s creation, when we live outside the care and protection of our Father, God we are on our own, and many times what we think is desirable turns out to be detrimental to our well being. The child, who is wise enough to know that all his father has is his, need not go experience the heartbreak of living separated from his father in a world of sin.
There seems to be a common thing that a lot of folks forget when they are studying the Bible, and that is: “they are reading someone else’s mail!” Now that does not mean there aren’t many truths in Scripture that apply to peoples of all times….like for example: when the Bible says that the Son of God became man so that all who believe in Him might have eternal life, well that applies to everyone. But, on the other hand when Peter is speaking to his 1st century contemporaries on the day of Pentecost, and he tells them that what they are seeing is the fulfillment of the prophecies of Joel….well that specifically applies to those he was speaking to, it’s not about us today. I think a lot of the confusion over future fulfillment of prophesies would be cleared up if people would bear in mind when reading Scripture that many of those words had a specific application to the people they were addressed to.
It seems altogether presumptuous to read someone else’s mail and declare that it was written about us. Now, on the other hand the many truths contained in the Bible are most definitely to be used for teaching, instruction in righteousness, and correction….all the Words of the Bible have been inspired by God to be written, but that does not mean each and every word that was written applies to everyone of us at all times.
The Bible is full of Stories, Proverbs, Prophesies, and Historical examples that have been recorded for our understanding, and admonition, which we gain knowledge from….we, are not to apply those words as being written about us. I think a good rule of thumb is: if it’s addressed to someone else, and is specifically speaking to or about someone else, then those words probably at least have a first application to someone else.
As I was meditating on the well known Proverb of the Virtuous Woman, I noticed that four distinct qualities are attributed to her. The interesting part is that when the verses are broken down into descriptions of her qualities of virtue, the Proverb seems to naturally fall into a pattern of 4 verses that define the action of each attribute. This gives us a good understanding of what God considers to be virtuous qualities.
1. Strength of character
Pro.31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.
11. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13. She seeks wool, and flax, and works willingly with her hands.
14. She is like the merchants’ ships; she brings her food from afar.
15. She rises also while it is yet night, and gives meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16. She considers a field, and buys it: with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17. She girds her loins with strength, and strengthens her arms.
18. She perceives that her merchandise is good: her candle goes not out by night.
19. She holds her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20. She stretches out her hand to the poor; yea, she reaches forth her hands to the needy.
21. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22. She makes herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.
24. She makes fine linen, and sells it; and delivers girdles unto the merchant.
25. Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come
26. She opens her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27. She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.
29. Many daughters have done virtuously, but you excel them all.
30. Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
31. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
Acts 26:7 Unto which promise our twelve tribes (dodeka-phulon), instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.
I would dare say that amongst Christians there is no dispute as to whom the Apostle James wrote his Epistle to: that being 1st century Jews of the twelve tribes of Israel. Whether or not his letter applied to others after that, its first application was to his Jewish brethren of the 1st century.
With that in mind while I was reading the Epistle of James the other day, the thought struck me as to how similar the admonitions of James (who was writing to his Jewish brethren in the 12 scattered tribes of Israel) sounded to those of the seven letters the Apostle John was told to send to the seven churches in Revelation. From this perspective it seemed as though James had read the letters written to the seven churches of Revelation before he wrote his Epistle, simply because he was addressing the very same issues that John was. The parallels were so striking I had to take a second look. I decided to pursue this idea to see just how similar the messages in these two letters were by comparing the messages each book was conveying to their intended audience.
The Epistle of James is specifically addressed to the twelve tribes of Israel which are spread out in many other countries (Acts alone names 16 different countries where Jews came from) to admonish and edify them to remain strong in the faith because the coming of the Lord was at hand (James is most likely in Jerusalem at the writing of this Epistle). These 12 tribes are his brethren, so God must have given James an urgent warning to write to his Jewish brethren who resided in countries all over the world (and would most assuredly make yearly pilgrimages to Jerusalem), that the time of Christ’s coming was near….at the door.
Now comparing the opening verse of James (addressed to the 12 tribes) to Revelation 7, we see where the Apostle John is describing four angels holding the four winds; this is symbolically showing that they are keeping the earth (Israel) from harm (Jerusalem’s destruction) till the full number of the twelve tribes of Israel can be sealed with the Holy Spirit (12,000 from each tribe), because the coming of the Lord is at hand (Rev1:3).
James 1:1-2 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
Rev.7:1-4 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
James then goes on to tell his brethren of the twelve tribes that they are to count it as joy when they experience trails and temptations for this will serve to strengthen their faith and work patience in them to endure the many trails that lay ahead. James especially warns his brethren (Jews) of the power of the words they speak and how some are using their words to speak lies and cursing.
Now comparing the letters in Revelation, we see where it commends those in the church of Ephesus for their labor, and work of patience while specifically warning them against the lies of those Jews who say they are apostles and are not….this is exactly the message that James is speaking to his Jewish brethren.
James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell…..10) Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be….14) But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
Rev.2:2-3 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
What’s particularly interesting about these next verses is the phrase crown of life, it is found only in James and Revelation, and both are speaking of believers being tried and enduring temptation thus receiving a crown of life as the Lord has promised.
James 1:12-13 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
Rev.2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
In these following verses James is specifically calling his brethren of the twelve tribes who are scattered abroad “firstfruits”, exactly the same as in Revelation where the 144,000 sealed Jews from the twelve tribes are called “firstfruits”. This is extremely important to note because the 12 Apostles literally were the “firstfruits”, that is to say the foundation upon which the entire church was built, and in both these books the “firstfruits” is referring to the 12 tribes of Israel.
James 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Rev.14:3-4 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
Next James addresses those of his brethren who show a greater respect for those who have wealth and come to worship in costly gold jewelry and expensive clothing, telling them to sit in the best places, all the while despising the poor.
This is the same message that the letter to the Laodician church in Revelation is being reprimanded for. They think because they have costly garments and expensive goods that they are rich, but the Lord tells them they are poor, blind, and naked.
James 2:2-6 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?
Rev.3:17-18 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Once again the parallels between James and Revelation are remarkable. James strongly rebukes his brethren telling them that they do not receive answers to their prayers because they ask according to their lusts. Then he calls them adulterers whose friendship with the world causes them to be at enmity with God….this is precisely what the church of Thyatira is being accused of. Jezebel which is symbolic of the world because she seduces those of the church to commit acts of sacrilege, is who the church of Thyatira is committing adultery with….the very thing that James is reprimanding those of the twelve tribes of doing.
James 4:3-5 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
Rev.2:20-22 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
James writes to his brethren to continue in patience because the coming of the Lord is drawing near, in fact Christ the Judge is standing at the door! Their endurance and patience is counted as happiness and Christ is likened to the husbandman who waits for His precious harvest to be gathered, showing forth His mercy and compassion.
The church at Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea all have parallels to the Epistle of James in that they admonish their audience to hold fast, and reiterate to them that the Lords mercy and compassion is always there to keep them until the end, also both speak of the Lords soon coming….at the door.
James 5:7-9 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door….11) Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
Rev. 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee….
Rev.3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown…..
Rev.3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
These are the top level verses that really seem to shine forth the similarity of the message that James was writing to his Jewish brethren of the twelve tribes with that of the message that John received in his vision of Revelation and was told to send to the seven churches. That message in and of itself is a strong witness to the dating of Revelation being in the same time period (pre AD 70) as the Epistle of James. We see over and over again similar terminology of “then current problems” used in both letters, and an urgent sense of the Lords eminence. Both books repeatedly speak of works, patience, and keeping oneself from the lusts of the world (symbolized as Jezebel in Revelation). With all these parallels of warning and edifications we know that these letters in Revelation must have surely been written to the pre AD 70 churches, to those who were the contemporaries of James; if for no other reason than to warn these seven churches of the very things that James was warning the scattered twelve tribes of.
1Cor.11:7 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 centuries men have interpreted Paul’s words in Corinthians to mean that woman is somehow subservient to man…women have had to endure countless hardships because of this interpretation of Gods Word being imposed upon them. Men have used their superior physical strength to keep women in a position of inequality instead of letting his helpmate shine as an equal with the glory God intended. If this verse is viewed in a slightly different light its meaning takes on a whole new context and the woman becomes that which reflects the qualities that glorify God, thus causing man’s true image to shine.
2Cor.4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
As Jesus Christ is the Glory of God, reflecting the image of His Father; so is the woman the glory of man reflecting God’s glory. The Father was well pleased with His Son who was His glory and made that pleasure known to mankind. If only men could be as well pleased with their helpmates being their glory, as the Father is with His Son.
John 5:21- 25 For as the Father raises up the dead, and gives life; even so the Son gives life whom he will. For the Father judges no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honors not the Son honors not the Father which hath sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live…28) Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of condemnation.
In the above passage of John it is important to the understanding of what is being said, to define what is meant by “the dead” from the context in which it is being used, because that which is dead is going to be made alive. This act of being made alive applies not only to the dead who are living at that time and hearing the voice of Christ, but also to those who are “in the graves” and will be hearing His voice. Jesus makes a distinction between those who are dead and hearing His voice at that present time and those who are in the graves and will hear His voice in the time to come. All who hear the voice of the Son of God will participate in the resurrection….one will be of life, and one will be condemnation.
John 6:39-40 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again (in the resurrection) at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up (in the resurrection) at the last day….. 44) No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up (in the resurrection) at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.….54) Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up (in the resurrection) at the last day.
John 11:23-25 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
1Cor.15:16-23 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming (Parousia).
Jesus calls Himself the Resurrection and says that all who come to Him will have eternal life and be raised up at the Last Day; connecting it to the resurrection. Since there is only one Resurrection (Jesus) and one Last Day, all who believe in Jesus will be resurrected (made alive) in Him at His coming.
1Cor.15:35-49 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sows is not made alive, except it die: And that which thou sows, thou sows not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God gives it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of 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 natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
1Cor.15:50-54 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall 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 shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
Paul is very specific in answering this question: How are the dead raised up, and with what body do they come? Using the analogy of a seed; just as Jesus did many times he speaks of the resurrected body as a seed that is planted in the ground. The seed that is sown in the ground bears no resemblance to the seedling that springs forth; just as the physical body will bear no resemblance to our spiritual bodies….the body of flesh (seed) must be transformed as the seed before it can emerge into its heavenly form. There is no mention of the flesh and blood body being resurrected, but rather transformed as the seed, to become a new creation!
The butterfly gives us a beautiful example of the transformation that take place when the earth bound body of the caterpillar, metamorphosis into the heavenly butterfly.