One of my favorite New Testament words is archegos, usually translated author, captain, or trailblazer. Strong's Number: 747: The chief leader, prince; one that takes the lead in any thing and thus affords an example, a predecessor in a matter, a pioneer, a trailblazer
I like "trailblazer" best because it fits a major theme in the Epistle to the Hebrews. In blazing a trail for us to follow, the Son of God came into our world as a man, (the Second Adam), to undo the effects of the Fall. In the highest court of the universe, He voluntarily became a substitute for each one of us, dying in our stead.
"He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Jesus also cut a trail through the doors of death, freeing us not only from death but also from the myriad fears related to death which haunt our race. Actually in His very complete work on the cross two thousand years ago, Jesus not only "destroyed the devil," He also abolished death forever.
We are simply waiting now for God to bring this all-encompassing victory to pass in human history.
"God saved us and called us with a holy calling, not in virtue of our works but in virtue of his own purpose and the grace which he gave us in Christ Jesus ages ago, and now has manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." (2 Timothy 1:8-10)
"...we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies [makes whole] and those who are sanctified have all one origin. Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage. For surely it is not with angels that he is concerned but with the descendants of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted." (Hebrews 2:5-18) (5)
“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.“ (Romans 6:3-14)
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.
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” And again: “I will put My trust in Him.” And again: “Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.” Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 2:9-17)
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (2 Timothy 1:7-10)
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:6-16)
For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—
(For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:6-21)
Why we have access to God
Our God Listensby David Mathis
Executive Editor, desiringGod.org
You have been invited to speak to the God of the universe, the Almighty. Not just the mightiest, but the all-mighty. All power is his, and under his control. And he is the one who made you, and keeps you in existence.
This God, the one God — almighty, creator, rescuer — speaks to us to reveal himself, that we might genuinely know him, but he doesn’t only speak. In one of the great wonders in all the world and history, this God listens. First he speaks, and bids us respond. Then he pauses. He stoops. He bends his ear toward his people. And he hears us in this marvel we so often take for granted, and so flippantly call prayer.
What Comes Before Prayer
The wonder of prayer might lead us to rush past a critical reality before we start “dialing up” the God of heaven. There is an order to his speaking and listening, and to ours. He is God; we are not. Mark it well every day, and forever. He speaks first, then listens. We first listen, then speak.“He is God; we are not. Mark it well every day, and forever. He speaks first, then listens. We first listen, then speak.”
Prayer is not a conversation we start. Rather, God takes the initiative. First, he has spoken. He has revealed himself to us in his world, and in his word, and in the Word. And through his word, illumined by his Spirit, he continues to speak. “See that you do not refuse him who is speaking” (Hebrews 12:25). His word is not dead and gone but “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
And in his word, and by his Word, he extends to us this stunning offer: to have his ear.
When Esther learned of Haman’s plot to destroy the Jews, a great barrier stood before her. Mordecai directed her “to go to the king to beg his favor and plead with him on behalf of her people” (Esther 4:8).
Easier said than done.
Esther knew these were life-and-death stakes, not just for the Jews but for her: “If any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law — to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live.” And she knew the threat that lay before her: “But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days” (Esther 4:11). Yet in the end, in faith and courage, she resolved, “I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16).
One does not simply saunter into the presence of a great king “without being called.” And all the more with God Almighty. Not simply because it’s a great risk, as with an earthly king, but with God it’s not even physically possible. He is no man on earth, that one might slip past the palace guards and approach him. He is utterly unapproachable — “without being called.”
Yet in Christ, the throne of heaven has taken the initiative, and now holds out the golden scepter.
Why We Can Come Near
The two great bookends (4:14–16; 10:19–25) of the heart of the epistle to the Hebrews (chapters 5–10) make clear why we can draw near and how.
Hebrews is set against the backdrop of God’s first covenant with his people, through Moses. What Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers say about “drawing near” or “coming near” to God is sobering. For one, the tabernacle, and the whole system of worship given at Mount Sinai, taught the people of their distance from God, with barriers between them, because of their sin. The people must stay back, lest God’s righteous anger break out against their sin (Exodus 19:22, 24).
First, Moses alone is permitted to come near (Exodus 24:2), and then Moses’s brother, Aaron, and his sons, serving as priests, may “come near” (Exodus 28:43; 30:20). No outsider may come near (Numbers 1:51; 3:10), nor any priest with a blemish (Leviticus 21:18, 21). Only the ordained priests may “draw near to the altar” to make atonement for themselves and for the people (Leviticus 9:7) — and only in the way God has instructed, as memorably taught in the horrors of Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10) and Korah’s rebellion (Numbers 16; also 17:13; 18:3–4, 7, 22).“It is almost too good to be true — almost — that we have access to God.”
But now, in Christ, “we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God” (Hebrews 4:14). In him, “we have a great priest over the house of God,” a priest who is ours by faith, and so we “enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh” (Hebrews 10:19–21). Not only does Christ enter God’s presence on our behalf, but he welcomes us in his wake. He is our pioneer, who blazes our trail. We now may “draw near” to God, “come near” to heaven’s throne of grace, because of Christ’s achievements for us, in his life and death and resurrection.
How We Can Come Near
Then, to add wonder to wonder, we not only draw near to God himself in Christ, but we are invited, indeed expected, to do so with confidence— with boldness and full assurance. Since we have such a high priest as Christ, “let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
In him, “we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus” (Hebrews 10:19). Not by our own value, status, or achievements, but his. We “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22), a faith looking outside ourselves to ask not “Am I worthy?” to approach God’s throne, but “Is Jesus worthy?”
Wait No Longer
It is almost too good to be true — almost — that we have access to God (Ephesians 2:18) and “access with confidence” at that (Ephesians 3:12). In Christ, the King of the universe holds out the golden scepter. The question is no longer whether we can come, but will we, and how often?
We have access. God expects us to take hold on his Son by faith, and approach his throne with confidence. Our God listens. He hears our prayers.
What are you waiting for?David Mathis (@davidcmathis) is executive editor for desiringGod.org and pastor at Cities Church in Minneapolis/St. Paul. He is a husband, father of four, and author of Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus Through the Spiritual Disciplines.
Blessed is the man who endures temptation (testing); for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. (James 1:12-18)
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things (the heir) and by whom are all things (the Owner and Creator of everything), in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain (archēgos) of their salvation perfect (teleioō) through sufferings (pathēma). (Hebrews 2:10-18)
You have answered Me. I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I (Messiah) will praise You.
You who fear the Lord, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel! For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from Him; But when He cried to Him, He heard.
My praise shall be of You in the great assembly; I will pay My vows before those who fear Him. The poor shall eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the Lord. Let your heart live forever! All the ends of the world Shall remember and turn to the Lord, And all the families of the nations Shall worship before You. For the kingdom is the Lord’s, And He rules over the nations. All the prosperous of the earth Shall eat and worship; All those who go down to the dust Shall bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep himself alive. A posterity shall serve Him. It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation, They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, That He has done this.
“I will put My trust in Him.”
“Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.”
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted. (Hebrews 2:10-18)
Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. (Luke 12:3–7)
“Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:8, 9)
“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 10:32)
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:26-39)
For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.
“And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!
“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
“Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God. “And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven.” (Luke 12:2-10)
Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” (Revelation 1:12-18)
The resurrection completed the work of redemption, and the glorified body of Christ is a model of the glorified bodies of the saints. Whatever we suffer, fear, or endure during our lives, the promise of Easter is hope for unity with Christ in heaven. We are all mostly software. One would think we ought not to be overly concerned about us grub-worm caterpillars hatching into a glorious butterflies.
At the resurrection, the transformation of the body, you have are wearing, into the body you are receiving, will be instantaneous. All believers in Jesus will receive this gift at the same time. What do we know about this new resurrection body? There’s continuity, but also changes. Here are four of them.
So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. (1 Corinthians 15:42)
Lazarus was raised from the dead (John 11), but the body he came back in was the same body, not a resurrection body, which meant that at some point he would have to go through the whole miserable business of dying again!
But Jesus rose in the power of an endless life (Hebrews 7:16), and he’s never going to go through death again, and neither will you in the resurrection. Your resurrection body, like his, will be a body that will never die. Your resurrection body will never age, and it will never decline.
People say you can’t put an old head on young shoulders, but in the resurrection the wisdom of maturity will be combined with the strength of youth. All of Christ’s people will flourish to their full potential.
It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. (1 Corinthians 15:43)
Think about the face of Moses, when he came down the mountain after he had been in the presence of God. His face was shining. Why? Because he had been in the presence of the Lord of Glory.
Think about the transfiguration of Jesus: He goes up the mountain with Peter, James, and John, and their faith was strengthened with a preview of the future glory of Jesus! There was a brightness and a radiance about him. And there will be a brightness, a radiance, and a glory, not only around you, but in you (in the resurrection body).
It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. (1 Corinthians 15:43)
The [resurrection] body is going to have more energy, more physical capability, more stamina, more athleticism, more speed, more coordination, more durability than it ever had because we’re not going to need the body less, we’re going to need it more and use it more
Think about what this will mean for all of our friends who have been restricted to wheelchairs, or have physical challenges that have restricted their lives in this world. What will it mean when finally and fully Jesus’ words will come true in all of their fullness? The blind will see, the deaf will hear, and the lame will walk.
The Garden of Eden offered scope for the pursuit of art in all its creativity, the pursuit of science in all its forms, and technology as well as theology. The same will be true of the world to come.
Donald Macleod says it well:
Not only the Creator but the Creation, too will be an object of wonder to the redeemed. It will challenge their intellects, fire their imaginations, and stimulate their industry. The scenario is a thrilling one: brilliant minds in powerful bodies in a transformed universe
If you work out at the gym, and you want to engage someone in conversation, try asking them, “How would you like to have a really strong body, a really powerful body?” Then you can tell them, “You will have one on the resurrection!” I guarantee if you ask them this question, though, at first they’ll think you’re trying to sell them some kind of supplements!
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. (1 Corinthians 15:44)
I use the word “godly” here, because the word “spiritual” is often misunderstood. A “spiritual” body! What is that? That doesn’t sound like a body in which you could go bungee jumping, snorkeling, or snowboarding!
The resurrection body is a physical, material, flesh-and-bones body. When Paul speaks about a spiritual body, he’s speaking about a body that is fully responsive to the Holy Spirit. That is a marvelous thought! In the resurrection body, you will never feel or think or say, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Your resurrected body will be as eager to do the will of God as your redeemed spirit.
Here’s what you have to look forward to in the new heaven and the new earth: A body that is adapted to life forever and will never decline, a body that is glorious and powerful, a body that is fully responsive to the Holy Spirit.
You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
Christ has the right to determine where you live, what you do. He bought you with his own blood, and over every area of your life, Jesus Christ says, “Mine.” You are not your own! Your life is his to spend, and the great calling of your life is to glorify him.
Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)
“Since we have these promises,” not “since we have these rules.” He could have appealed to the law, but he is going for a higher motivation.
There is a glorious future for your mind, so use your mind in a way that glorifies God. Don’t pollute your mind! Fill your mind with what is pleasing to God.
It’s the same with your body. Don’t use your body as a vehicle for sin (Romans 6:13). Use your eyes, ears, hands, and feet in ways that honor Christ. Let your tongue speak words of kindness. Let your hands be a means of helping (not hurting) others.
I appeal to you…brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1)
It is common in church circles to speak about “giving your heart to Jesus.” We understand what is meant by this, but the obvious question is: Why should it only be your heart? It’s not enough to say that your heart is in the right place. God wants more than your heart.
“Present your bodies.” The body is what gives us the capacity to act. Spend your strength in ways that honor Christ! This is the greatest motivation for living a sacrificial life. One of the implications of the doctrine of the resurrection is that you don’t have to worry half as much about your bucket list; you can afford to live sacrificially. You can afford to lay down your life if need-be.
The new earth will be better than the earth we have now. The resurrection body will be better than the body you have now. And you will have forever to savor the pleasures that God has in store for you.
That is the whole basis on which the Christian can say, “I will spend my life doing everything that you call me to do in this world until I see your face.” Otherwise, you will live another life, because you didn’t really believe in the resurrection.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
“Therefore…” Because you will soon savor the joys of life in the resurrection body. Because your struggles with sin in this world will soon be over. Because the weariness that comes with being stretched to the limit will soon be a thing of the past. Because you are pressing toward the resurrection…
Keep giving yourself to everything that God is calling you to do. Don’t hold back in any way!
Do it with joy, and do it knowing that if even a cup of cold water will not go without its reward, you can be sure that a life of faith laid down in service for Jesus Christ will be a life that cannot be lived in vain.
St. Thomas maintains that all glorified bodies are still made of the elements (sup, 82). This was of course in the pre-periodic table days, but nevertheless element refers to matter and energy. St. Thomas asks whether the elements composing a body stay the same? Do they act the same? How can they really remain the same substance if they do not act according to their nature? St. Thomas concludes that matter does persist, does retain its properties, but becomes more perfected.
For they say that the elements will remain, then, as to substance, yet that they will be deprived of their active and passive qualities. But this does not seem to be true: because the active and passive qualities belong to the perfection of the elements, so that if the elements were restored without them in the body of the man that rises again, they would be less perfect than now. (sup, 82, 1)
The same principle that creates elements and forms bodies is the same principle that perfects them—that is, God. It makes sense that if real bodies are made of elements, then so are glorified bodies. It is possible that the electrons and all the other subatomic particles in glorified bodies are no longer governed by free energy, the energy that a thermodynamic system has available to do work, the driving force for stability that explains why atoms and molecules organize the way they do. In Christ’s resurrected body, the elements would be subject to the power of Christ, “that of the Word, which must be referred to the essence of God alone” (Synod of Toledo, 43). This fits with St. John’s Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word. . . . All things were made by him. . . . In him was life” (John 1:1-4).
All creation is held in existence by God. Suffice it to say that a glorified body has living powers that an unglorified body does not have. Glorified bodies are incorruptible (incapable of decay) and impassible (incapable of suffering). They are stronger. In the hierarchy of creation, St. Thomas says, the “stronger is not passive to the weaker” (sup, 82, 1). We can, with St. Thomas, conclude that the elements retain their qualities but are perfected to a higher law. Glorified bodies, and all they contain, will be “perfectly subject to the rational soul, even as the soul will be perfectly subject to God” (sup, 82, 1).
THE AUTHOR Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.
I believe we all have been created by God as tripartite men and women. The Bible teaches that we (Man) are the true temple where God ultimately dwells. While he was on Mt. Sinai, Moses was shown the temple in heaven from which exact copies were to made in the Jewish Tabernacle, and the two temples in Jerusalem which followed. Visit The Temple Mount in Jerusalem for more.
The physical body is described in the Bible as an earthen vessel, a house for soul and spirit. To Christians, “...we have this treasure (Christ) in earthen vessels so that the excellency of the power might be of God and not of us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7) Our bodies are mortal, running on 4-dimensional time (length, width, height & time). Because of sin our bodies age, get tired, become sick, and eventually “die.” Of course our bodies, though fallen, are fearfully and wonderfully made, equipped with amazing files and systems.
The resurrection of the mortal does not mean that our present bodies are not redeemable. They are, and will be, redeemed and made new when Christ returns. The redemption of our bodies and the resurrection of the dead are important teachings in the Bible. Therefore my discussion on Man as tripartite is naive and incomplete. For the sake of my model, our mortal bodies are containers for our Soul and Spirit which are not physical places, or tangible entities. These invisible dimensions number at least ten, according to Chuck Missler. The Bible locates the invisible, unseen realities in “the heavenly place,” Hence, Romans 6:7-12.
A relevant teaching from the Bible is found in 2 Cor. 5:1-5. Several words from the original Greek are of interest. Notice that our present bodies are likened to a temporary tent and our resurrection bodies are instead solid and permanent. Note the verb tense is present tense, “now.” Our present bodies (limited to only four dimensions) are dying but the "dearly departing" as he or she is leaving earth-time experiences immortality immediately. That is, he or she time travels in an instant --"in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" --to the First Resurrection--to join all other believers from the departure in this life into the presence of God, as described in 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18. Not all men enjoy a personal relationship with the risen Lord Jesus. Though loved by God, some reject Jesus to their dying day. When they die they cannot join the redeemed in heaven. They will be granted their foolish heart's desires and be excluded forever from the presence of God.
"For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, [Greek: skenos, a tent] is destroyed, we have [present tense] a building [Greek: oikos, a permanent building] from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him."
The soul of man interfaces with the body and the external world on the one hand and the Spirit on the inside. The boundary between Soul and Spirit is generally thought as somewhat diffuse. The Soul is usually modeled as “Mind, Emotions, and Will.” The Spirit of a person is thought to dwell in the “Heart” and “Mind” but these entities cannot be localized in our physical brain or our heart muscle. The role of our emotions, our self-image, our personal history our genetic and cultural valises, and such, are probably recorded in data files resident in the body and the soul. From the Bible we can be assured that God has a long memory and does not forget anything we say or do.
“How shall we escape if we neglect such great salvation...” (Hebrews 2:3)
He does promise us, “For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12)
“Soulish” or “Carnal” Christians (old terminology) are said to have excluded Jesus Christ from the control room of the Spirit, allowing Him to influence them only from the Soul. Many professing Christians have not yet surrendered to Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives. This step makes all the difference in the world! If Jesus is not my Lord then my final authority is some other god, not Jesus. In terms of man as tripartite, my spirit attempts to live my life from the soul rather than from the innermost chamber, the Holy of holies of my body. My surrender to the Lordship of Christ, allows God the Holy Spirit to rule over all areas of my life. God has my permission to sanctify me. This is step two in His work of making me holy (whole). The three stages of Christian life are often categorized as Justification, Sanctification and Glorification. (See Romans 8:30) Those persons who do not yet know Jesus in a personal way are described as “dead in trespasses and sins.” But giving Jesus permission to take residence in our Spirit changes everything! “...and you God made alive when you were dead in trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan], the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among whom we all once lived...” (Ephesians 2:1-10) The benefit of the tripartite model of Man (in my opinion) is that I can check the state of the Most Holy Place where my spirit lives in union with the Spirit of the Living God. (1 Corinthians 6:17)
One final word, the Bible speaks of “man” in the generic sense. Most of the time this term applies to both men and women. Ray Stedman taught that men and women were identical in spirit but different in soul and body. God addresses all of us as living spirits. He speaks to us Spirit to spirit.
My present body is a masterpiece of design, but it leaves somethings to be desired. It hurts, aches, groans. When injured it hurts a lot! My body must be carefully maintained and fed. It’s trapped in time. I’ll get less than a hundred years of service in this body before it’s time for an upgrade. My resilient old body is getting old and seems nowadays to be shutting down. My body fights valiantly against diseases, tolerating much abuse, and still works overtime to repair itself when diseased or damaged. The Second Law of Thermodynamics is at work. Repair, healing, rebounding systems are working less well every day. Not only that but my body is porous spiritually regarding many deleterious outside influences—such as lust, greed, covetousness, envy and selfishness.
For example, the world outside (and within me) besieges all the time enticing me from the reality of knowing and obeying Jesus:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
By nature I was previously dead and unresponsive to Jesus—who is the Source of Life. I may have hoped for a better life, but I was still trapped in an old body in an evil world. Now at least I have been given an entirely new life which struggles against decadence, death and destruction—because Jesus lives within me and His resurrection power countering death is evident in me every day.
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4)
The good news of the Bible is that my upgraded body is not only on order, it is ready for immediate occupancy!
“Brothers, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” (Philippians 3:17-21)
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing (epiphaneia) of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” (2 Timothy 1:8-12)
“For our citizenship (politeuma) is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform (metaschēmatizō) our lowly body (tapeinōsis) that it may be conformed (symmorphos) to His glorious body, according to the working (energeia) by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21)
“For we know that if our earthly house, (epigeios oikia), this tent (skenos), is destroyed, (katalyō) we (now) have a building (oikodomē)from God, a house (oikia) not made with hands, (acheiropoiētos), eternal in the heavens. For in this (oikia) we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked.
For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:1-7)
My present body is adjusted and calibrated to last me 70-90 years (Psalm 90). Apparently God can not trust us with more than a century of life on His good earth? This number (70-90 years) is down from the ~900 years people lived before the Flood. We can anticipate moving into our on-order new body starting now! We are actually enabled today to live now “in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” as if we were already wearing our new bodies today. This is evident by looking at the verse tenses in the New Testament passages that describe what actually happens when anyone of us allows Jesus into his life as Lord!
“...you have come (not ‘will come’) to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel(. (Hebrews 12:22-24)
“And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
“Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:4-11)Therefore, your resurrection body already exists (if you know Jesus):
1. It comes “Ready to Wear.” The new body is not to be found in this life, nor available to be test driven in the present space-time domain, where we are presently imprisoned.
2. Your new body is disease-free, tangible, fully functional home for spirit and soul. No sin, no sickness, no disease, self-renewing.
3. Resurrection bodies are apparently capable of time travel. This is a difficult subject for secular science, confined as science is to very limited spatial and time dimensions. Flights of fancy and fairy tales from SciFi miss the mark as well.
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-15)
The Radical Resurrection
But there was a third element that Peter and John proclaimed on this day which made all the difference in the world. It is the most dramatic element of all about the truth of the resurrection of Jesus. They undoubtedly explained to these people that the death of the body, some day, is strangely linked, in a way that we do not fully comprehend, with the death which is at work in our inner lives, right now. That is, death is all one thing, whether it takes place and affects the physical body some day, or whether it is taking place within the spirit of man today. It is all of a piece. And that inner death is what we experience in a thousand ways -- sometimes as loneliness, sometimes as bitterness, sometimes as emptiness and despair, as depression of spirit. Sometimes it is a boredom, sometimes it is hate, sometimes it is malice and resentment and violence. Whatever it may be, it is not what God intended for man. It is an enemy which has seized man and lives with him, sleeps with him, and eats with him, and haunts him in everything he does. The glorious proclamation of the truth as it is in Jesus, is that Jesus Christ, in dying and rising from the dead, did something about this form of death as well, that he overcame it by his risen power. And the result can be, and is, peace instead of restlessness, acceptance rather than guilt, love in place of lust or hate, power to replace weakness, joy for mourning, beauty for ashes, hope for despair, courage in place of cowardice, and cleansing from all dirt and filth of spirit.
Resurrection power is like no other power on earth. It is unique, and has no possible rival. It is a power that operates in the midst of death and despair. It operates when the entire world seems, bleak, dead, and barren. It explodes into life and light in the midst of an empty, dark cemetery--for that is where it was first demonstrated. When Jesus Christ was resurrected, He came out from among the dead. So if you learn to live by resurrection power, you can experience life, hope, and vitality when everything and everyone around you is dead, hopeless, and lifeless.
Resurrection power is a "stealth" power--silent and invisible. It makes no sound, it operates below the radar scope of this world. Other forms of power are noisy and obvious--they pound, pulsate, throb, hum, roar, buzz, or explode. But resurrection power is silent. It accomplishes its purpose without ostentation, flash, pizazz, or neon lights. Christians who live by resurrection power don't use it to dazzle others or advertise its affects. That's why the distinguishing marks of Christian character are humility and servant-hood rather than showiness. Genuine Christians demonstrate the reality of resurrection power through the quiet evidence of their lives: love, joy, peace, endurance under hardships, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
God has a marvelous way of illustrating spiritual truth through nature. He demonstrates His resurrection power every year through every returning springtime. Out of the cold, barren, death of winter, God brings new life, color, warmth, and glory by means of a quiet, invisible force which gradually transforms the whole landscape into a fairyland of beauty.
Resurrection power is irresistible. It cannot be thwarted or turned aside. It takes absolutely no account of any obstacles thrown in its path, except to use them for further opportunities to advance its cause. When Jesus came bursting from the grave, He didn't give the slightest attention to the obstacles man had placed in His way. There was a large stone in front of His tomb; He passed right through it. He was wrapped in yard after yard of linen cloth; He left the grave clothes undisturbed behind Him. There were Roman guards in front of His tomb; He ignored them. He took not the slightest notice of the decrees of Caesar or the orders of Pilate or the fulminations of the Jewish priests.
What does that mean? It means that a glorified body is still a body, but it is not subject to corruption.
As we would say in modern scientific terminology, the glorified body is not subject to the forces and laws of physics and chemistry. Human bodies, made of the elements on the periodic table, belong to rational souls. Although our powers of intellect and will give us control over what our bodies do—we can smile, wave, wear our favorite color, or read a book—our bodies are still subject to the natural order. For example, all the wishing in the world cannot take away our wrinkles or un-grow our babies. Neither can the unglorified body avoid death. Bodies are highly organized physical systems, and like all physical systems they follow the laws of enthalpy and entropy. They need energy to remain alive, otherwise they will decompose, marching with the rest of the universe towards disorder.
This is not so with glorified bodies. While we cannot take samples of a glorified body into the lab to run a set of elemental analyses, we can reason through the question.
Translated "Prince" in Acts 3:15 (marg., "Author") and Acts 5:31, but "Author" in Hebrews 2:10, RV, "Captain," RV marg., and AV, and "Author" in Hebrews 12:2, primarily signifies "one who takes a lead in, or provides the first occasion of, anything." In the Sept. it is used of the chief of a tribe or family, Numbers 13:2 (RV, prince); of the "heads" of the children of Israel, Numbers 13:3; a captain of the whole people, Numbers 14:4; in Micah 1:13, of Lachish as the leader of the sin of the daughter of Sion: there, as in Hebrews 2:10, the word suggest a combination of the meaning of leader with that of the source from whence a thing proceeds. That Christ is the Prince of life signifies, as Chrysostom says, that "the life He had was not from another; the Prince or Author of life must be He who has life from Himself." But the word does not necessarily combine the idea of the source or originating cause with that of leader. In Hebrews 12:2 where Christ is called the "Author and Perfecter of faith," He is represented as the one who takes precedence in faith and is thus the perfect Exemplar of it. The pronoun "our" does not correspond to anything in the original, and may well be omitted. Christ in the days of His flesh trod undeviatingly the path of faith, and as the Perfecter has brought it to a perfect end in His own person. Thus He is the leader of all others who tread that path. “Trailblazer” "A person who makes a new track through wild country. A pioneer; an innovator."
"To make holy" (from hagios, "holy"), signifies to set apart for God, to sanctify, to make a person or thing the opposite of koinos, "common;"
For both He who sanctifies (hagiazō) and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying:
“I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly.
Greek (ekklēsia I will sing praise to You.” (Psalms 22:22-31)
The Hebrew people collectively is a holy community (Numbers 15:15). Every circumcised Hebrew from twenty years old and upward was a member of the congregation. Strangers resident in the land, if circumcised, were, with certain exceptions (Exodus 12:19; Numbers 9:14; Deuteronomy 23:1-3), admitted to the privileges of citizenship, and spoken of as members of the congregation (Exodus 12:19; Numbers 9:14; 15:15). The congregation were summoned together by the sound of two silver trumpets, and they met at the door of the tabernacle (Numbers 10:3). These assemblies were convened for the purpose of engaging in solemn religious services (Exodus 12:27; Numbers 25:6; Joel 2:15), or of receiving new commandments (Exodus 19:7 Exodus 19:8). The elders, who were summoned by the sound of one trumpet (Numbers 10:4), represented on various occasions the whole congregation (Exodus 3:16; 12:21; 17:5 ; 24:).
After the conquest of Canaan, the people were assembled only on occasions of the highest national importance (Judges 20; 2 Chronicles 30:5; 34:29; 1 Samuel 10:17; 2 Samuel 5:1-5; 1 Kings 12:2; 2 Kings 11:19; 21:24, 23:30). In subsequent times the congregation was represented by the Sanhedrin; and the name synagogue, applied in the Septuagint version exclusively to the congregation, came to be used to denote the places of worship established by the Jews.
In Acts 13:43, where alone it occurs in the New Testament, it is the same word as that rendered "synagogue" (q.v.) in ver. 42, and is so rendered in ver. 43 in RSV.
I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me, And heard my cry.
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps.
He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the LORD.
Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust,
And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works
Which You have done;
And Your thoughts toward us Cannot be recounted to You in order;
If I would declare and speak of them, They are more than can be numbered.
Sacrifice and offering You did not desire;
My ears You have opened.
Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.
Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.”
I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness In the great assembly;
Indeed, I do not restrain my lips,
O Lord, You Yourself know.
I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth
From the great assembly.
Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O Lord;
Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me.
For innumerable evils have surrounded me;
My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up;
They are more than the hairs of my head; Therefore my heart fails me.
Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me; O Lord, make haste to help me!
Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion Who seek to destroy my life;
Let them be driven backward and brought to dishonor Who wish me evil.
Let them be confounded because of their shame, Who say to me, “Aha, aha!”
Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
Let such as love Your salvation say continually, “The Lord be magnified!”
But I am poor and needy;
Yet the Lord thinks upon me.
You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God.
Revelation 1:18 - “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.
Revelation 6:8 - So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.
Revelation 20:13 - The sea gave up the dead who were it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.
Revelation 20:14 - Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
by Joe Donohue
Song: My Lord Knows the Way Through the Wilderness