Resurrection and the Kingdom
Nov 25, 2014
Luke 20:37, 38 might be interpreted in a way that equates the resurrection of verse 37 with the living ones, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In other words, it may be said that the dead are raised by virtue of their being alive to God. Interpretations of this sort seek to abolish bodily resurrection and equate it to immortality or to the reckoning of one’s old man to be dead and raised into newness of life (Romans 6:4).
In other words, by this view every true believer was raised from the dead when he was justified by faith—or perhaps at his baptism. If that were the case, then how is it that most believers continue to be given in marriage? Would this not be contrary to Jesus’ statement in Luke 20:35, where they “neither marry, nor are given in marriage”?
Further, Jesus did not make such a condition a present reality but spoke of “those who are considered worthy to attain to THAT AGE and the resurrection from the dead.” It is clear that Jesus considered the resurrection to be an introduction to a future “age” (aionos).
Hence, just because Abraham, though dead in body and soul, continued to live through his spirit and its consciousness does not negate a future bodily resurrection. It is the purpose of God to make us all in the likeness of Christ’s post-resurrection body. This is the glorified (or spiritual) body, a body that is fully subservient to the spiritual mind, rather than to the fleshly soul.
Body, Soul, and Spirit
Because Adam sinned as a “living soul,” Ezekiel 18:20 KJV says, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” It is the nephesh (“soul”) that dies, for that is the old man that is passed down from Adam. The soul is not immortal, as so many have thought. The soul has a death sentence upon it that cannot be reversed. On the other hand, Scripture never tells us that the spirit dies. Instead, Ecclesiastes 12:7 says,
7 then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
Death is a return to an original state. The body returns to the earth; the soul goes to sheol (Greek: hades), which is often described as “sleep” but which literally means “the unseen, lack of perception.” We see this in the example of Jesus’ death, where His body was taken to the tomb. In resurrection, “His soul was not left in hell (hades)” (Acts 2:31). However, His spirit was committed into God’s hands (Luke 23:46).
Can we not link Luke 20:37 with Luke 23:46? In what way is God not the God of the dead but of the living? When Jesus died, did God cease to be His God? Of course not. His spirit was commended to God. The Greek word used here is paratithemi, “to place or set near, to deposit, to entrust.”
This was a quote from David in Psalm 31:5, where the Hebrew word paqad means “go to, commit, charge to the care of, deposit.” Being prophetic of Christ, it also applied to David himself, as well as to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Christ’s death on the cross paid the penalty for Adam’s sin. That penalty was the death of the soul and body. We see the same in a legal (spiritual) sense when we put to death the old man which we received from Adam, the “living soul.” In other words, it is not necessary for one’s spirit to die in order to pay the penalty for sin. Our spirit is the house and the consciousness of the New Creation Man, begotten by the Father. It is that which is raised from the dead.
Many have thought that resurrection involved the old man coming back to life. No, the old man must die, and a New Man is raised in its place. This is why we must shift our consciousness and our identity from Adam to the Last Adam. We must claim the New Man in Christ to be our “self,” that is, our true identity, for that is the only “man” that can be raised from the dead.
When Elijah or Elisha, Jesus or Paul, raised men from the dead during their ministries on earth, those men later died. Their old man was given mortal life, which was temporary. They were granted extensions of Adamic life, but not resurrection to immortal life that will be seen in The Age to come.
Remember that Luke’s gospel was addressed to Theophilus, the son of the high priest. He was from a Sadducee family which did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. This particular passage in Luke 20:27-39 would have been of special interest to Theophilus. In fact, we may wonder if perhaps Theophilus himself was one of the Sadducees sent to question Jesus. Was he, perhaps, the one who said, “Teacher, you have spoken well” (Luke 20:39)? Did Luke allow him to remain anonymous in this story so as not to expose him to persecution or ridicule?
Even if he were not one of the questioners, there is no doubt that he would have heard the report first-hand from those Sadducees. Surely Luke knew this and wrote his account first to remind Theophilus, and secondly to share it discretely with a wider audience.
The Seven Churches
I believe that there is a prophetic side to the question of the Sadducees in regard to the seven brothers who married the same woman, one after the other. These seven brethren appear to be connected to The Seven Church in Revelation 2 and 3. The Seven Churches, though they were literally churches in those cities, also prophesied of seven church ages, as I showed in my book, The Seven Churches.
Ephesus (33-64 A.D.)
Smyrna (64-313 A.D.)
These seven run parallel to seven ages of the Old Testament Church, which is why John included many Old Testament references in describing their counterpart churches in the Pentecostal Age.
The Church itself was begotten by the seed of the Word (1 Peter 1:23, 24, 25) and was called to raise up children to be the inheritors of Christ, according to the law of Deuteronomy 25:5-10. The problem was that while many individuals did achieve this by faith, each of the Seven Churches as a whole failed to bring forth the manifested sons of God. We know, of course, that the historic fulfillment of the divine plan made it impossible for the feast of Pentecost to achieve this goal, because Pentecost could only bring forth the kingdom of Saul (the prophetic type of Pentecost).
In other words, it was God’s will that the seven church “brothers” bring forth the Manchild, but it was God’s plan that they fail to do so, in order that the never-ending Kingdom might be established, not by prophetic “Saul” but by prophetic “David.”
In this, I see the Sadducee question to be prophetic of the Seven Churches of the Pentecostal Age (of Saul). The Seven Church ages each had a segment of the forty Jubilees of Saul’s reign from 33-1993 A.D. After that, as I wrote in the final chapter of the book, there was a 7½ year transition from Saul to David, according to the pattern of 2 Samuel 5:5.
The transfer of authority from Saul to David came in two phases: (1) May 30, 1993, which was the 40th Jubilee from the ordination of the Church under Pentecost, correlating with David’s reign over Judah; (2) November 30, 2000 was the full transfer of authority from Pentecost to Tabernacles, correlating with David’s coronation over all Israel.
This transfer of authority was yet limited, because we had not yet reached the time for the world-wide transfer of authority from the beast empires to the saints of the Most High. We finally reached this point in 2014, as I have shown in previous weblogs, and even then it appears that there is at least a three-year transition to 2017, or even into 2018, before this is complete.
When we view the Sadducee question from a prophetic angle, it seems to indicate that we are at the beginning of The Age to come. In particular, this question focuses upon the Tabernacles Church in the Kingdom (of “David”), which will succeed where the Passover Church (under Moses and the prophets) and the Pentecost Church (since Acts 2) have both failed.
No doubt we will receive further revelation about this in the months and years ahead, as events unfold and the Kingdom of David emerges.
This is the 112th part of a series titled "Studies in the Book of Luke." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones