I was thinking about the resurrection body that we, as believers, are all going to receive when we are raptured from this planet. Paul reminds us that ‘flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.’ (1 Corinthians 15:50) He goes on to say twice that ‘we shall all be changed’ (1 Corinthians 15:51,52). The word Paul uses to describe ‘change’ (Greek: allasso) means ‘to make other than it is, to transform, and the final renewal of the material creation;’ in this case, our lowly bodies. Paul is telling us that at the moment of the Rapture, all true believers in Jesus will be transformed, ‘in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.’ Right now our physical bodies are restricted to the atmosphere of earth. If we want to fly high in the sky or even in the space around the earth, we need to take some atmosphere with us. If we want to go deep under water, than we need to bring our own atmosphere with us. These earth suits are limited to this earth. They won’t work in heaven, we won’t survive there in them.
A closer look at Hebrews 2 reveals some rich truths about this, and a little bit more.
“For He (God) has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. 6 But one testified in a certain place (Psalm 8:4-6), saying: “What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You take care of him? 7 You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of Your hands. 8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” – Hebrews 2:5-9
- The phrase ‘world to come’ used here refers to the inhabited earth; the specific reference is the future millennial kingdom of Christ. Simply put, angels will not rule the messianic kingdom, but we, as resurrected believers in our glorified bodies, will; as joint heirs in Christ living under His command.
God never intended for His angelic hosts to co-rule the world with Him; not in the beginning and not now. However, because of the fall, demonic hosts of wickedness were given power over a domain that was never supposed to be theirs. The damage the enemy has done since the fall has been substantial; but God.
The Apostle Paul explains that the god of this age, the devil, has blinded those…
“…who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 4b-6
- We live in a world that is dominated by fallen angels who have power over those who have not received Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. These lost souls are just that, lost. When they die they will be ushered into hell where they will suffer an unconscionable fate, in a horrific place, created by God for the demonic realm, not for people. However, if people follow after the devil, they will get the same punishment the devil gets, eternal torment in a body of death, created for suffering, that never dies.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:12
- Jesus gives us His authority over the demonic realm when we receive Him as our Lord and Savior. When we receive Jesus, His Holy Spirit comes into us and makes His home therein. He empowers us to live for the Lord and places God’s desires in our hearts as we daily live out our life by faith in Jesus.
Our body is still human, but it becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit where we are commanded to care for it till the day we die. The battles we fight are spiritual in nature, but God has given us the necessary power to overcome the devil and his demonic horde of demons through the power of the Holy Spirit.
“And He (Jesus) said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” – Luke 10:18-20
- Christ gives us the Holy Spirit of God to live within us and He empowers us to live a life of righteousness and purity. When we misstep at times (and we all do); He will convict us and console us toward righteousness; that’s His role in our lives, to help us course correct so we can get home.
“But one testified in a certain place, saying: “What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You take care of him?” – (vs.6)
- The phrase, ‘in a certain place’ doesn’t indicate that the Hebrew writer didn’t know the source of the quote as much as he understood its origin; it came from the Holy Spirit of God as He moved upon the heart of a young shepherd boy named David who pondered the greatness of God compared to the minuteness of man. This psalm speaks of God’s great love for us, and His great ability to create.
“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, 4 What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? 5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,” – Psalm 8:3-6
- The phrase ‘man…son of man’ used here in this psalm, and also in verse 6 of Hebrews, refers to mankind, not the Christ. The passage is asking God why He would even bother with man; the answer becomes clear, because He loves us so much so that He became one of us to die for us so that we could live again with Him in heaven forever, and be given that much needed new and glorified body.
“You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of Your hands.” – (vs.7)
- This word ‘angels’ (Hebrew: eloheim) meaning ‘god,’ with a little ‘g’ which identifies created beings denied a mortal body who have been given supernatural powers by God to do His bidding. They have access to the throne of God and are not subject to death. Right now angels can do tricks that we can’t do, but when we are given our resurrected and eternal bodies, we will be superior to them in every way.
The phrase, ‘glory and honor’ speaks to the fact that God Almighty, the Creator and Author of life, has crowned mankind with His glory and honor. We are supreme over all other created things; we’re created in God’s image and likeness. Consider our universe; some scientists estimate it’s expanse to be in excess of 13.8 billion light years in expanse. We are a significantly small speck in God’s grand scheme of things and yet He is mindful of us and has crowned us with His ‘glory and honor.’ The human body is made up of 17 different elements; interestingly enough these same 17 elements are also found in common earth dirt. We are made from the dust of the earth and made alive with the breath of God.
The Bible says, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” – Genesis 2:7
The Apostle Paul says, “The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man (Jesus) is the Lord from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly.” – 1 Corinthians 15:47,48
The point here is that mankind, in comparison to the vastness of our universe, is considerably small, yet God is mindful of Him and has crowned Him with His glory and honor. If the DNA, the genetic code that defines all your bodily information, were placed end to end, it would stretch from here to the moon over 100Kx. If this same information were converted into 12 point font and printed on paper it would fill the Grand Canyon over 40 times. Yet in all of this, the actual DNA of a man is less than two teaspoons.
So big, yet so small; yet God is mindful of man and crowned him with glory and honor. This phrase implies a great responsibility and opportunity coupled with dire consequences of loss and degradation if we fall short of the glory of God…which, as we know all too well, we all have. We need a Messiah, a Savior – He is Jesus!
“You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” – (vs.8a)
This word ‘subjection’ indicates that God originally placed the oversight of the earth into the hands of man, but due to the fall, he was incapable…until now. Man was created ‘a little lower than the angels’ but he was given privileges far above them. Jesus came to earth as a man, but in His humanity He was not inferior; He was still fully God, yet incarnate, fully man. It was necessary for God to come to earth as Jesus, live a perfect life, die on a cross as the sacrifice for the sin of humanity, and rise again victoriously over death, Hell, and the grave!
Christ’s atoning sacrifice and His subsequent resurrection from the dead returned to humanity what Adam lost in the Garden of Eden; our authority over death, through Jesus and the power of His Holy Spirit.
“For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.” – (vs.8b)
- In the beginning, Adam was placed in a position by God who ordained and empowered him with authority over all things. Adam had dominion over creation as God had commanded. When sin entered into humanity, Adam lost his position of authority and sin reigned supreme for a time. Christ came to earth to reset the table, as it were, with regard to the supremacy of sin. God restored our power over sin for all those who would receive Jesus.
We still see the effects of sin in the world today and we know that they all come from the devil who is still the ‘prince’ of this world. One day soon, after the Rapture and the seven-year tribulation, Jesus will return to the earth, with His Church, and establish His Kingdom on earth. He will finally put all things under His feet, once and for all; permanently. Currently we don’t see God’s moral will being manifested in the earth as He intends. We are restricted by the negative effects of sin, but one day Jesus, the King of glory, will return and establish His global government of love and peace, showing His power over sin, death, and the devil!
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” – (vs.9)
- When Jesus was on the earth, He was fully God in human form; temporarily made a little lower than the angels in His human form, but not in His deity. Christ fulfilled man’s original purpose by becoming the second Adam. He was, for a brief time, a little lower than the angels,’ but now He reigns in glory and honor and all things (including angels) are subject to Him.
This phrase, ‘taste death for everyone’ implies all those who would receive God’s gift of salvation and believe on Him. Everyone dies; sinners and saints alike, but only sinners die twice; saints never have to taste the second death because Christ did it for them.
>>> NOTE: It was only a taste; Jesus didn’t stay dead!
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” – Philippians 2:5-8
- Christ was fully God, equal with God, but who took the form of a man for our sake.
After Christ’s death and resurrection Paul goes on to say… “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:9-11
- Knowing and believing that this same Jesus who came to earth 2,000 years ago was not just a man of history, He was not just a prophet, He was not just a miracle worker; He was in fact, God Almighty who came to earth in human form as Jesus. He became the perfect sacrifice for our sins so that we, if we call upon His holy name, may obtain our salvation through His shed blood.
John MacArthur, in his commentary on Hebrews describes Jesus this way…
“He was born contrary to the laws of nature, He lived in poverty, was reared in obscurity, and only once crossed the boundaries of the land in which He was born – and that in His childhood. He had no wealth or influence and had neither training nor education in the world’s schools. His relatives were inconspicuous and un-influential. In infancy He startled a king. In boyhood He puzzled the learned doctors. In manhood He ruled the course of nature. He walked upon the billows and hushed the sea to sleep. He healed the multitudes without medicine and made no charge for His services. He never wrote a book and yet all the libraries of the world could not hold the books written about Him. He never wrote a song, yet He has furnished the theme for more songs than all songwriters together. He never founded a college, yet all the schools together cannot boast of as many students as He has. He never practiced medicine and yet He has healed more broken hearts than all the doctors have healed broken bodies. This Jesus Christ is the star of astronomy, the rock of geology, the lion and the lamb of zoology, the harmonizer of all discord, and the healer of all diseases. Throughout history great men have come and gone, yet He lives on. Herod could not kill Him, the devil could not seduce Him, death could not destroy Him and the grave could not hold Him.”
This same Jesus who rose from the grave is coming again to rapture His Church. When He does this, He will give us all a permanent, glorified body that will make us superior to both humans and angels. We will be empowered to do things that we can’t even imagine, yet God has already prepared them for us. We will fly like Superman and swim like Aquaman, just like Adam did before the fall. This body will never feel pain, never gain weight, never break down, get tired, age, or even die. It will be forever new and powerful, made in the image and likeness of God, yet without the sin or degradation we know in this sin-laden world. While this blog is not an exhaustive teaching on our glorified bodies, it is a strong reminder that the body we are living in right now is going to change, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye! You may look good for your age (and some of you do), but you have not seen anything yet. These bodies will be humanoid, glorified, free from any sickness, asexual (without sexual plumbing), and supernatural. We will need them to get around in the kingdom of heaven, and also on earth during the millennial reign and beyond. We will be able to translate ourselves instantaneously from one place to another as needed. We will not only be housed in eternal, ‘heaven suits,’ but we will know as we are known, a heavenly familiarity that is free from forgetting names and faces, which we will all have. We will have our own dwelling places that are suited for our new bodies, which by the way, will not need to sleep or will ever get tired. For those of you who are aged, damaged, ill, or in pain, this is really good news. It’s part of God’s promise to you, to us, as His Church.
Your heavenly body is but a Rapture or Resurrection away. As we approach this Resurrection Day, and Passover, we must be mindful of the distinct possibility that Jesus may return for His Church during this season. While we should always be looking for His return, it is becoming more clear to me in these past months that this season, from now till Rosh Hashanah, is a mega high watch for the Rapture. As I live my life, and prepare for the future, I am constantly reminded of this reality, that Jesus can return for us, His Church, at any moment. We all must be ready, not only to go, but also to stay, for just a little while longer so we can be a good witness for the Lord and continue to work (occupy) in His garden. Either way, we are to be doing the Lord’s business in these mortal bodies, knowing that our heavenly bodies are only a breath, God’s breath, away.
Encouragemen is a blog written by Pastor Rob Lee, recently relocated to Northwest Missouri. He lives with his wife of 32-years, near their three adult children, their spouses, and children (their grandchildren). Pastor Rob is an Ordained Assemblies of God minister, a former Lead Pastor (25 years), police chaplain, and community advocate. He continues to serve, consult, and disciple men of God, including those who are in the ministry.