We Shall be Like Him
Glorious and Immortal
The Bible contains many promises for believers.
Many talk about sitting around on clouds playing harps. You probably know the picture. But, this fiction aside, the Bible describes many wonderful promises. These are promises you can look forward to at the resurrection.
Note that the imagination of man cannot begin to come up with what the Bible actually reveals. Hindus look forward to being assumed into the oneness of god. People of Islam look forward to lounging around in a garden on couches with streams of water or having their own personal virgins in the gardens reserved for special achievers.
While these images seem pleasant, they are nothing compared with the promises of God.
I Corinthians 2:2-10
But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him"--these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.
The Apostle John was inspired to write that we are now God's children and our image will be like God's image when we see God in person.
I John 3:2
Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
What is Jesus Like?
The Bible reveals that Jesus was the creator of the entire material universe (Revelation 4:11). It was Jesus who lead the children of Israel out of Egypt and who was the God of the Old Testament (1 Corinthians 10:1-4).
Even then, he appears in flaming fire. His luminous appearance is described as a devouring fire or a the
So, what does Jesus look like now?
During his life, Jesus took some of his disciples up a mountain. While there his appearance was changed. This experience showed his disciples the kind of glory Jesus would have restored to him after his mission on earth was completed. This is usually called the "transfiguration."
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.
The Apostle John saw a vision of Jesus. He saw Jesus with his face shining radiantly. While John was not familiar with powerful modern electric lights or the light produced by arc welding, he was familiar with fire.
Here John describes what he saw using the concepts with which he was familiar:
Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lamp stands, and in the midst of the lamp stands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white like wool, as white as snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.
The Apostle Paul provided several accounts of his first encounter with Jesus. Here, he indicated to King Agrippa how he saw Jesus as a brilliant light, shining brighter than the sun.
In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me.
And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.
But, perhaps the most exciting news is that this glorious nature is not confined to Jesus. But, when we are resurrected ....
We Will be Glorious
Jesus described what was in store for those who are declared righteous.
Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
Jesus' words reflect what the prophet Daniel said many years before.
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
While Jesus was with the disciples he took three of them up a mountain and they saw Jesus' face shining brightly. His robe was spectacularly white. This is often called the "transfiguration".
But, Moses and Elijah also appeared with Jesus. And, not only did Jesus appear to give off light, but Moses and Elijah also appeared just like Jesus.
Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him. Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.
The writer of Hebrews declares that we will also be glorified along with Jesus. As children of God our bodies will be changed from physical, material composition that reflects light to a spiritual composition that transmits light.
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
Paul in his first letter to the Corinthian church made the distinction between physical, material bodies and spiritual bodies clear. At the resurrection, our bodies will be changed. Their composition will change.
He starts out comparing heavenly bodies like the stars that give off light to earthly, material bodies that reject light from other sources. He indicates that our physical bodies are mortal while our spiritual bodies will be imperishable.
I Corinthians 15:40-55
There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written,
The first man Adam became a living being;
the last Adam became a life–giving spirit.
But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.
Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
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 imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?
These glorious bodies will never see decay. They will never age, never die. Our bodies will never perish.
We Will be Immortal
Jesus described the results of the new agreement to Nicodemus, one of the ruling Jewish Pharisees. Jesus indicated that those who would have a relationship of faith with Jesus would never be destroyed but have life everlasting.
For God had such love for the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever has faith in him may not come to destruction but have eternal life.
The "book of life" was a scroll that was maintained in each city. It contained the names all the people who were born there. Scrolls were expensive and had to be used for as long as possible. When people died their name was blotted out so the space their name occupied would be resued to record another birth.
God has his own "book of life" in which he records all who have lived. God can blot peoples' names out if they become too wicked.
In Psalms 69:13-29, King David cries out to God about foes who cause shame and dishonor to the King. David asks God to curse his enemies with blindness, fear, desolation and other punishments. He finally asks God to blot them out of the book of the living and not be written with the righteous.
Clearly, David wrote about a heavenly book, not the earthly scrolls maintained in physical cities.
It is this heavenly book that Jesus referenced in his message to the church in Sardis. He indicates that those who are steadfast in their faith will not be blotted from this heavenly book of life. That is, they shall live forever.
He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Paul, in a letter to Timothy indicates that Jesus made immortality available to mankind.
2 Timothy 1:8-12
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.
These promises are truly something to look forward to. These promises should be preached in every congregation throughout the world.
I welcome your comments:
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