Wednesday, March 6, 2013


When John the Baptiser was imprisoned he sent a couple of his disciples to Jesus with a question. “‘Are You the coming One, or do we look for another?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.’” Matthew 11:4-5. Notice that one of the signs that Jesus was the promised Messiah or Christ was that He would raise the dead.     

Jesus said to Martha, whose brother Lazarus had died four days before, “‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to Him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’” John 11:23-24. Keep in mind that the New Testament Scriptures were far from being completed at this point. Belief in the resurrection at the last day had been drawn out of the Old Testament Scriptures which of course was tied to the Messiah or Christ who was promised in the same Scriptures. Without Him there would be no resurrection.

A very important and probing question was put to Martha just before Jesus raised her brother Lazarus from the dead. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26. What was Martha’s response? “She said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.’” John 11:27. Jesus then went on to raise Lazarus from the dead. So we see then that Jesus is the resurrection and the life because He is the Christ. It is He who will raise all the dead at the last day. As He said, 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” John 5:28-29.

The resurrection takes place at the last day. However, as we can see, there will be two types of resurrection, “the resurrection of life” and “the resurrection of condemnation.” The Creed is focusing on the former. Thus, to believe in the life everlasting is to believe that your body will be raised from the dead and will never see any decay or corruption. The Apostle Paul describes it, “‘Behold, I tell 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 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.’” 1 Corinthians 15:51-54.

For the Christian “incorruption” and “immortality” go hand in hand. I heard a radio interviewer say to his guest that immortality would be a curse. Of course, he was thinking of things as they are now, and not as they will be after the resurrection at the last day. What he said would also apply to those involved in “the resurrection of condemnation.” However, it does not apply to those who own the Apostles’ Creed. These believe in the life everlasting. And they already have it! For Jesus says, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” John 10:28-29.

Everlasting life begins the moment a person is in Christ’s hand, which is the very moment the Holy Ghost regenerates and converts the individual. We have everlasting life and we have it now! To be sure, we must never presume upon the grace of God. However, as Jesus says, “If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:34. Therefore, we should be experiencing a measure of the bliss of everlasting life even on this side of the resurrection at the last day! We should be walking around as those who have heard and have believed some really good news, i.e., the Gospel! For the believer, like a scorpion without its tail, death has lost its sting. We look forward to our resurrection, which is the completion of our bliss. “But we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.” Romans 8:23.

God made us in His image, and, as Creator He is eternal. We reflect His eternality on a creaturely level in that we are unannihilatable, i.e., we are everlasting. Our resurrection bodies will be suited for eternity. We will dwell on the New (i.e., renewed) Earth. And Jesus will dwell with us and us with Him. The fact is that it is all about Him not us! However, the beautiful thing is that the perfect image of God that became marred by our sin will be restored in us. “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.” 1 John 3:2.

Jesus went to great lengths to demonstrate that the body that was resurrected from the grave was the self-same body that had been nailed to the cross. After His resurrection He had Thomas examine His wounds (John 20:27). He said to His disciples, “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” Luke 24:39. “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.” Luke 24:41b-43. We can see then that Jesus’s resurrected body was physically solid and He was able to eat solid food. Therefore, if after our resurrection “we shall be like Him,” then too we shall have solid physical bodies and be able to eat food and most certainly enjoy it!

Some think that the Bible teaches that the resurrected Jesus walked through solid objects, and, that if this is so, so will we after our resurrection.[1] They usually point to John 20:19 which speaks of Jesus coming and standing in a room of which the doors had been locked. John Calvin comments on this verse,

We ought to believe that Christ did not enter without a miracle, in order to give a demonstration of his Divinity, by which He might stimulate the attention of His disciples; and yet I am far from admitting the truth of what the Papists assert, that the body of Christ passed through the shut doors.

Their reason for maintaining this is, for the purpose of proving not only that the glorious body of Christ resembled a spirit, but that it was infinite, and could not be confined to any one place. But the words convey no such meaning; for the Evangelist does not say that He entered through the shut doors, but that He suddenly stood in the midst of His disciples, though the doors had been shut, and had not been opened to Him by the hand of man.[2]

A careful reading will demonstrate that nowhere does this verse say explicitly that Jesus passed through a solid object. We are left simply to wonder at how Jesus managed suddenly to appear in the midst of His disciples. However, like Calvin, I choose to leave it there, i.e., to remain in wonder of my Saviour!

We will be able to hear our footsteps in Heaven. We will feel the soft breeze in our faces. We will smell delightful scents in the wind. We will smell the perfume of flowers and hear the buzzing of bees. We will taste food and drink and our taste buds will excite us to thank and praise God for His provision. We shall see wonderfully awe-inspiring vistas, soaring mountains and deep verdant valleys, full to overflowing flowers and fauna, waterfalls with leaping salmon. But we shall also see the City of God, the Garden City. And we shall see the resurrected and glorified Jesus! We will cast our crowns before Him.

Charles Wesley (1707-88) long ago summed up the idea of the life everlasting for us in his hymn Love Divine,

Finish then Thy new creation;

Pure and spotless let us be;

Let us see Thy great salvation,

Perfectly restored in Thee,

Changed from glory into glory,

Till in heaven we take our place,

Till we cast our crowns before Thee,

Lost in wonder, love, and praise.  

The word “Amen” appended to the end of the Creed simply means that we affirm that we believe all that the Creed has stated.

(Excerpted from my e-book "I Believe!" at:

[1] See my own On the Lord’s Table e-book in which I tackle this controversial issue in more detail.
[2] John Calvin, Commentary on John

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