Jesus sent out the 12 and told them to,"Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!" Matthew 10:8
We know episodes of people raised from the dead. Some from scripture. Some from modern accounts. Jesus still raises the dead upon our command in faith and authority.
Yet when a man's head is separated from his body.. that seems to be outside the limits of that potential. Sure, I suppose some hyper something person might say, Jesus can do anything.. and he can.. but this is a bridge too far.
Perhaps that's why the accounts of those so beheaded beneath the altar in Revelation is so poignant.
Perhaps that's why it's particularly horrific. There is no potential physical return from the dead like Lazarus. IF you have been pentecostal for very long, when a loved one has died, you want to go to the funeral home and command that carcass to live again.
There are credible stories as was published from St Louis recently where a boy 14 was dead for nearly an hour and in response to faith and declaration the boy came back to life.
Those are inspiring but you won't find many people that have faith to believe raising from the dead for one who was so brutally beheaded.
What does that say then about the resurrection? I am criticized by some "theologians" for my understanding of the the resurrected body. I'm not much on depending upon creeds for my theology. I only have the word of God to lean on.
So here's what I know for sure.
- When we are absent from the Body we are present with the Lord.
- When we are resurrected we will have a body JUST LIKE JESUS.
- We don't so much die as step from time into eternity.. our eternal life was sealed with Jesus when we entered into a living relationship with him.
- We will be raised up on the last day.. what is the last day? It is not the proverbial last days idea. It is a LAST DAY. I will have a last day, you will have a last day. Every man has a last day. We are raised up on the last day according to scripture. Some to glory. some to shame.
- Then what of the resurrection of this mortal body, this flesh, this carcass, this meat suit? If read my Bible right, Jesus was raised bodily. He had flesh, ate, drank, yet walked thru walls, appeared disappeared, was instantly recognizable, and then at other times was unable to be recognized. Then as he appears to John in Revelation he looks very different indeed. Still in all we will be like him. Glorified body. Yes flesh.. but is it flesh? Or is it something much more transcendent. Does the Flesh put on spirit or does the spirit in resurrection put on flesh?
Tradition teaches that somehow God will accumulate particles from the earth and reconstruct all of the resurrection from that event. It's why so much preparation goes into preserving the Body in a tomb or grave for the resurrection.
That is tradition and even though it seems to be comforting as we stand around the grave of those who die, that somehow their body will be raised up later. That is where the whole rapture idea comes from in my opinion.
Yet, if we can get a clear understanding of this key passage without the distorted lens of religion things become clear,
1 Corinthians 15:52 "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.…"
The trumpet does sound. A last trump. We are changed. It's quick. Our flesh is imperishable, immortal. Death is swallowed up in victory.
This is not a future event, it's NOW. You know that when you have made a visitation and you look in the casket at the empty shell of a person you knew, particularly a christian, you know they are not there... they are gone, Risen.
Just as Jesus .. Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, He is RISEN as he Said."
We shall be like him in death, present with him. Immortal. Risen but not yet on earth. Glorified in body.. but flesh is subordinate to eternal spirit.
When I saw the horror of the video, as those brothers were killed, the reality hit... they are gone, not there any more, the despicable act to making a show of the empty shell placing the head on the back.. they are not there, they are risen, just as HE said they would be.
I don't know why God keeps unveiling all this to me. I didn't sign up for this. But the body of Christ at this time in history must get a better understanding about the complete victory over sin and death paid at the cross.. and when I look at our traditions and creeds.. we are missing a few key truths.
Ponder this and ask yourself what is real and what is tradition. Truth will set you free...