By Ward Fenley

John wrote:

"Question No. 2: I have always believed that the physical resurrection of all people took place at the second coming of Christ. I differ from the Dispensationalist in that I believe in a general resurrection of the saved and lost. However, they would agree with me that neither the saved or the lost have yet been physically resurrected simple because we believe that the second coming has not yet taken place. Is the physical, general, resurrection past? Were all the graves opened at 70 AD? If so, do we right now have new and glorified bodies?"


Yes, true believers in Jesus Christ are completely resurrected in the fullness of the spiritual body mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15. I argue first from the time perspective which no one has addressed yet. In fact, I am somewhat astounded that the time references have virtually been ignored. It really seems that the Berean spirit has significantly wavered on this issue. Therefore I will argue from the imminence perspective and then the nature perspective concerning the resurrection.

First, the Bible is very clear concerning the imminence of the resurrection:

If, as you say, salvation was a completed event in the hearts of the first-century believers, then how can you explain that to which Paul was referring? He equates salvation with the day of the Lord, hence, "the day is at hand." Peter associates the resurrection and judgment with this same day and says it is at hand:
  Peter also confirms that complete salvation was not yet fulfilled: Peter says "salvation READY to be revealed in the LAST time." Within the same context he says:
1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
1 Peter 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
The imminence implied is so utterly clear. Not only this, but Peter explicitly says that the salvation of their SOULS (not physical bodies) was about to take place at the revelation of Jesus Christ, hence, " the grace that is to be brought unto YOU at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

Peter tells THEM to gird up their minds. This is without a doubt referring to the second coming of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of the dead.

The writer of the book of Hebrews says:

What is the promise? We must remember that the writer of Hebrews is addressing the people who knew of one promise: This is resurrection of the just and the unjust is no different than the statement of Peter: Paul said: Why was Paul speaking in such clear language? Why would he write in such a manner as to lead the Thessalonians to believe that Christ would return soon? Paul was addressing the Thessalonian church, not the twentieth century church.

He also strongly implied that the gathering together would take place in their lifetime:

This was not a possibility to Paul. He was speaking in the strongest language using the second person plural to address these Thessalonians. The language is indisputable. He is writing a letter to a first-century church. He was sending this letter of encouragement while this church was going through such awful tribulation.

What was Paul implying here in regard to the resurrection? :

Just how were the Corinthians to interpret this? Again, this was not a possibility, this was a promise to take place in their lifetime. Paul said, "we shall be changed." He was speaking to the Corinthians and the first-century church.

What would the Corinthians have thought regarding these verses?

What day was this? Paul promised them that God would confirm THEM to the end. What about this "END"? Paul, both in Galatians and Philippians equated righteousness with the coming of the Lord. Both contexts are in contrast to righteousness which is of the law: Obviously Paul did not think that righteousness was yet complete, for he knew that the Parousia of Jesus Christ could not be separated from the transforming work of righteousness that was taking place during the first century. The question you have to answer is, why was Paul saying that the Galatians must wait for the hope of righteousness if in fact they already had total and complete righteousness? Where it the Scriptures, particularly the Old Testament Scriptures does it ever speak or prophesy of two separate righteousnesses or salvations? Even Peter recognized that the prophets were speaking of one salvation: Peter addressed the same group of people with these words: There was a fiery trial that was trying them, not the twentieth century church. Peter encouraged them that Christ's glory would be revealed in them as a result of their sufferings. Paul said the same thing but with a time and audience reference: That glory was Christ in them. Previously they only had the Spirit as a guarantee of their inheritance: Jesus spoke of the sending of the Comforter (Pentecost), then the actual dwelling of the Father and the Son at the Parousia: Jesus said:
John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that WHERE I AM, THERE YE MAY BE ALSO.
He also said: Compare this with Paul's words: Jesus specifically prayed that His servants would behold His glory. Paul is implying that this prayer of the High Priest was already being answered. They were beholding the glory of the Lord to a greater and greater degree as they were being brought into the holiest of all: Yet, John, you said:

"Show me one text in Acts or the Epistles where believers were ever told their right of entrance into the very presence of God was in the "process" of being accomplished."

I respond:

This passage answers directly against what you just said. Again, one can try to argue against the present tense, but what is the alternative. We both would agree it is NOT future tense from the writer's point of view. The only other alternative would be to say it is completely past. Why then would he give a CLEAR past tense reference to Christ having ALREADY entered, but believers in the PROCESS of entering?

The above verse is a perfect example, not to mention the fact that Hebrews four clearly equates rest with the holiest of all:

Otherwise why would the writer say: The rest of the promised land that was about to come is equivalent to the holy place. This is precisely why the writer implied the same thing in chapter 10: Six verses later the writer urges them to be ready: Finally, in regard to the imminence of the resurrection, we find Revelation declaring the events contained then to take place shortly: Not only does John commence the book with this statement of urgency, he also ends the book with the same: The question is, what things? The significance of the first chapter and the last chapter stating the same thing concerning the evidence contained within the Apocalypse should not be overlooked. It must be concluded that all the things contained in the book of Revelation were to be fulfilled shortly, not longly or 2000 years later. Of the things that would take place shortly, the judgment and resurrection are two of them: This corresponds perfectly with the expectation of the apostles that Christ was about to judge the living and the dead: Therefore, I must conclude with numerous others that these statements at the end of Revelation are true: Compare this with: Paul believed this: Paul firmly believed Jesus Christ's words promising that some of the apostles would not die until Christ came in His kingdom and glory and rewarded each according to their works.

John R. wrote:

"Question No. 3 John says, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure (I Jn 3:2-3). I do not believe that "this hope" which has a purifying effort on believers is the second coming. I believe the hope that purifies is "seeing Christ as He is and being like Him." However, either way, I have always believed that the hope is still future and is connected to the second coming of Christ. I assume you that believe that since the second coming place, we have already seen Christ "as He is" and have been transformed into His image."


First, I am not sure what your question is pertaining to this verse, but based upon previous encounters I have an idea. So I will go from there. Most futurists would say that the physical resurrection body of Christ is the exact same body He has now in heaven. Let us say this is the truth. Christ showed Himself to the apostles and to over 500 brethren. A question the futurist needs to ask is, if Christ is in that exact same physical body, and the body is that to which the apostle John is referring, then why were those who saw Christ, as John says, "as He is" not changed back then? Would there be something different about Christ's second appearing that would have a physical changing effect on them? Just what exactly would be the difference? Why were not those saints changed when they saw Him? John specifically says that the reason they shall be like Him is because they shall see Him as He is? The futurist literalist must answer this question if they are to put such heavy emphasis upon a physical resurrection.

Obviously then, I need to address the issue of seeing Christ as He is. The Greek word for see is "optanomai." This same word is used elsewhere to refer to seeing Christ as revealed through the Gospel:

In the sermon on the mount Jesus said: Of course we believe this is fulfilled through faith in Jesus Christ: This is clearly a fulfillment of What He spoke on the mount. Jesus also said: Certainly in Christ we are called the children of God: Jesus said: Have we obtained mercy? Related to our present subject, Jesus said: First, if we were able to find each one of those events as fulfilled in Christ, how could we possibly leave out vs.8? This is a prophetic Psalm concerning the Messianic kingdom. Notice that God's face shines IN ORDER TO make His way known upon the earth and His SAVING health known among all nations:

First we must recognize that one aspect of this must BEGIN to take place (God shining His face) before the other (revelation of His saving health). The question is, has God's saving health (His way) been made known among all nations?

Is this Gospel really salvation? Is this salvation really a revelation of God's saving health: Having the righteousness of God is having His saving health, or having the Gospel (Christ crucified), which Paul said was "made known among all nations."

The Psalmist says, "that Thy WAY may be known among the earth." What is this WAY? Futurists are very quick to identify Jesus Christ as the WAY the truth and the life, with which we agree:

We see that not only has this saving health been revealed, the Way has also been revealed.

Now we must deal with the issue of SEEING His face, which CLEARLY (according to the Psalmist) would take place at the time of the revelation of the Way of God and His saving health. The Psalmist says:

As a true believer in sovereign grace, I would be negligent to point out the fact that the Psalmist was a STAUNCH believer in sovereign and irresistible grace when he says "CAUSE His face to shine upon us." This effective working of God's power is seen elsewhere in relation to the Messianic period: Of course rivers (Christ, the living waters), straight way (Christ, the Way), the HOUSE of God (the church, the Temple), are all syonymous with Jesus Christ. This Messianic time would be a time when God would do the impossible-bring forth the salvation of helpless sinners, previously just a prediction, but under the New Covenant a reality: Concerning the "shining of His face" upon us, here is a passage that clearly teaches that the face of God was becoming clearer and clearer as the first-century church was coming to its maturity into the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: The first-century church was in the process of "being changed" (NKJV) into the New Covenant image of Christ, out of the Old Covenant glory, hence from glory (OC) to glory (NC). Notice that they were "WITH OPEN FACE BEHOLDING as in a glass the GLORY of the Lord" : This is very likely the quotation of which Paul was speaking.

Paul addresses this subject even further in the next chapter of 2 Corinthians:

As they grew closer and closer to the fullness of the stature of Christ their "SEEING" became clearer and clearer. This seeing was through the Gospel, which cannot be referring to a physical seeing, but a spiritual seeing: Even in the Gospel of John this aspect of spiritual seeing is addressed in relation to the rejection of the Gospel: Even futurists sing the song, "Open our eyes, Lord, we want to SEE Jesus; to reach out and TOUCH Him and say that we love Him. Open our EARS Lord, and help us to LISTEN; open our EYES Lord, we want to SEE Jesus" etc.

What do they mean by "TOUCHING, SEEING, LISTENING, EARS, EYES" etc.?

We believe that the kingdom of God is NOT meat and drink, nor (I might add) flesh, eyes, ears, etc. but rather, the kingdom of God is Christ in us, something the first-century saints did not quite have:

They were WAITING for the consummation of the HOPE of righteousness: The Spirit had begun the work of changing them into the righteousness of Christ: Not to get too detailed, but the verb 'perform' is in the future active indicative tense implying that Paul was telling these first-century believers POST-PENTECOST that the SPIRIT would still be doing a covenantally transforming work PRIOR to the return of Christ to indwell them.

This was the glorious hope of all believers prior to Christ's presence at the destruction of the Temple:

This filling was IN THE PROCESS of taking place: The glorious hope of these believers was to have their Husband come and have intercourse with them, His bride, His wife. Christ was her desire, her tree of Life: Many are still waiting for some physical sight of Christ or tree of life, but to those whom God has given sight, our vision is clear and it is sweet: Under the Old Covenant no man had seen God at any time. Some professing Christians maintain that no man still has ever seen God. This would mean that we are still under the curse of the Old Covenant ministration of death. One of the blessings of the New Covenant is dwelling in the light of Messiah, i.e. dwelling with Messiah, God with us. If God is not with us then Matthew 1:23 has no meaning to us: There was no postponement of this promise because of a supposed failure on the part of Jesus Christ, as many dispensationalists affirm. In fact, there is not even going to be a second separated phase two thousand years far-removed from this event. Those who are Christians are dwelling with God and have seen Him. This may seem ridiculous to those whose hope is in earthy, physical things. However, to those who have the mind of Christ, i.e. spiritual men (1 Corinthians 2:9,10), this is one of the great blessings of the New Covenant fulfilled in Jesus Christ. John explains the fact that we have beheld His glory (John 1:14). Some would argue that John was speaking of the Son and not God. This is simply a denial of the deity of Jesus Christ. They have forgotten the well-known cross-reference: "We," John says, "beheld His glory." Is Christ our Light? If so, then we are beholding His glory. If not, then we are not under grace and truth but still under the law. John said, in reference to the ministration of death, "the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining" (1 John 2:8). It is to be assumed that for God to dwell with us is for us to "see" God. John said (referring to those under the Old Covenant), "No man hath seen God at any time." If we stop there then we have radically distorted the con-text of the first chapter of John. John added an enormously important statement after He said this: "the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." The word declared is defined by Strong's concordance as 1834. exegeomai, ex-ayg-eh'-om-ahee; from G1537 and G2233; to consider out (aloud), i.e. rehearse, unfold.--declare, tell. Jesus is the manifestation or the unfolding of God to His people, thus we have seen God. Though there are several Greek words used for "seen" or "see," John chose to use the word horakane. This word is defined by Strong's as 3708. horao, hor-ah'-o; prop. to stare at [comp. G3700], i.e. (by impl.) to discern clearly (phys. or ment.); by extens. to attend to; by Hebr. to experience; pass. to appear:--behold. One might argue that, yes, in Christ, we have seen Christ, but certainly we have not seen the Father. This sentiment is dispelled by Jesus Himself in the fourteenth chapter upon Philip's inquiry regarding the Father: Every time Jesus used the word seen in this passage it is the Greek word horakane. This is very important when considering John's statement that until the time of Messiah no man had seen (horakane) God. Yet John's added statement that the only begotten Son had declared God agrees perfectly with the statement of Jesus that if His people see Him, they have seen the Father. The objection might be raised that in the epistle of first John John states the same idea that no man has seen God: He reiterates this point in vs.20: One might conclude upon a careless glance of these two passages that God was remaining unseen even in the New Covenant. Aside from the blatant contradictions this would impose upon the Scriptures we have examined, this assumption deforms the theme John is implying. The context of this passage and a comparison with the fourteenth chapter of John will clearly show that the statement that no man has seen God at any time refers to those who do not love God or His children. Here is the context: Under the bond of the New Covenant, love for God and His people is the explicit proof that a person is born of God (vs.7). It also proves that a person knows God. John recorded the words of Jesus speaking about the same topic as He prayed to the Father: Once a person is in Christ, to know God is to love God. This is why Jesus spoke so forcefully regarding the necessity of love among those professing to believe in Him. In his first epistle, John teaches that the person who does not love does not know God. Verses 11,12 are very interesting to say the least: It always perplexed me when I merely glanced at this passage. I wondered why John interjected what seemed to be unrelated mate-rial in saying that no man hath seen God at any time. The context before and after speak of the love of God and the love of His people. Why the sudden interjection regarding the seeing of God? If we remember John's words in the first chapter of his Gospel it becomes apparent: To know God is to love God is to see God: The clear implication of this passage is that in contrast to those who sin (trust in self- righteousness shown by hatred for the breth-ren), who have not seen God, those who do not sin have seen God. Otherwise the believer in Jesus Christ is no different than the unbeliever in terms of knowing and seeing God.

God is seen as Jesus Christ. This revelation of Jesus Christ is proven when we love one another. This was not the case un-der the law of Moses:

This is exactly why John recorded the very next verse: The two verses are basically proverbs explaining the same principles: the law given by Moses is synonymous with no man having ever seen God, even those who loved God and His people. Grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ are synonymous with the only begotten Son in the bosom of the Father declaring God, i.e. the Father who is seen as we see Jesus.

This, explains John in his epistle, is proven by our love for one another as believers in Jesus Christ. But in the first epistle John does not stop there. He asso-ciates one other element of the New Covenant kingdom directly related to our love for God and His people and our knowing God, and that is our dwelling with God.

The man who does not love his brother cannot love God. There must first be love for God before there can be love for our brother. There seems to be what one might call an order agape or an order of love. That is, God loved His people and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the sacrifice that satifies the wrath of God) for their sins. It is because of this that we love Him. Hence, "We love Him because He first loved us." The inevitable result of God's love for His people is that they will certainly love Him and His people. Therefore he that is born of God (a child of God) loves God and his brother, showing that God dwells in him and God is seen by Him. The man who does not love His brother has first never loved God and therefore has never seen God. In other words, under the bond of the New Covenant revelation and giving of the Spirit (vs.13 cf. 1 Corinthians 2:9-14; Ephesians 3:5,6), seeing God (looking upon things eternal cf. 2 Corinthians 4:18; Romans 15:21) and dwelling with God is proven by our love for the body of Christ. Christ seemed to make reference to this idea in the Olivet Discourse: The relation to the theme of God dwelling with His people is clear. The prophets predicted that God would dwell among His peo-ple. Matthew recorded the angel's words to Joseph that Jesus Christ was Immanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. John says nothing different: At this point it is critical to remember the reference Jesus makes to the believer having learned of the Father: Jesus associated this learning and being taught of the Father with resurrection life (vs.44). John and Paul, however, imply that this learning and teaching of the Father was already a reality in the hearts of these first-century Christians. It is not, as some say, an already but not yet reality. Rather, the New Covenant transformation which began at Pentecost (Philippians 1:6) was working in the hearts of these believers. What Jesus was saying in John 6:44,45 was that by the time the resurrection at the last day (a day which was approaching for the first-century believers cf. Hebrews 10:25) came, the elect of God who had trusted in Christ would all be fully taught of God. This teaching is not referring to the intellectual knowledge of the intellect of God. It refers to the knowledge of Jesus Christ as the Husband, Savior, and fulfillment of the kingdom of God. Even Hebrews speaks of this same subject: The knowledge of God is no different than the spiritual things of 1 Corinthians 2: These are the things that refer to the knowledge of Jesus Christ and eternal life: Jesus then continues relating everlasting life with seeing the Father: This is inseparable from eating the bread of life: Through believing on Jesus Christ, the believer eats the bread of everlasting life. It is this everlasting life that is equivalent to having learned and been taught by God. These once again are the spiritual things of 1 Corinthians 2. Through eating the bread of life, we come to the Father.

The Jews strove among themselves when Christ told them that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood. This especially aroused them when Jesus declared that through eating His flesh and drinking His blood a person would obtain eternal life:

Christ clearly spoke of eating His blood and drinking His flesh. He equivocated this with believing on Him: To believe Christ is synonymous with eating His flesh and drinking His blood. Eating His flesh and drinking His blood is synonymous with eternal life. It is in the very next chapter that the timing of this life and its relationship to the things of the Spirit of God in 1 Corinthians 2 are clarified: Notice that thirst is quenched through coming to Christ and also that the Living Waters are that which quench the thirst. These Living Waters represent the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was not yet given because Christ was not yet glorified (risen from the dead). There is only one account of a generally redemptive giving of the Spirit and that was at Pentecost. It was at Pentecost that the Living Waters, which Jesus promised to the woman at the well, would be given. These Living Waters were that which would quench the thirst of those who believed. This is precisely why Peter, though he had believed, had not yet been converted.

Hence, Christ's words to him:

It would be through conversion (the giving of Living Waters) that believers would enter into the kingdom of heaven: Finally in John 6 Jesus really exposes the heart of the people. He had already exposed their obsession with wanting to be satisfied physically. Upon their murmuring, however, Jesus addresses a far more serious issue, the root of the problem: the works of the flesh: Not only does Jesus decimate the physical hopes and dreams of the Jews, He utterly contradicts the method by which they thought they could attain the physical pleasures for which they were longing. Jesus bluntly tells them the truth of the attainment of spiritual life: You wrote:

". I assume you that believe that since the second coming place, we have already seen Christ "as He is" and have been transformed into His image "

I will now address the issue of the image.

There are many theories about man being made in the image of God. Some believe it is physical (Mormons). Others believe it is a trichotomous image (Dispensationalists). I believe that being made in the image of God refers to having the righteousness of God. That is, the righteousness of God is the image of God. This is that for which David hoped:

Notice that David equated beholding God's face in righteousness with having God's likeness or image. Paul essentially quotes this: The context explains that the OC glory produced death but the NC Glory produced the life and righteousness of God: Two glories: OC glory and NC glory. The problem comes when we try to say that this NC glory and righteousness was TOTALLY fulfilled at the cross.

You made a big point in your post to me to that that my view is unbiblical in that I "have totally missed the message of Hebrews and literally denied the all sufficiency of Christ's cross work." You say that because I believe that the accomplishment of salvation was not complete until the destruction of the Temple. First, please consider these objections to the futurist soteriology: Where in the OT does it ever speak of two salvations to come or two kingdoms or two resurrections or two satisfyings of hunger and thirst? Nowhere, absolutely nowhere. This is a futurist fancy. That is also one of the chief reasons they crucified Christ. He did not give them the physical satisfaction for which they were longing. In this respect both the amil, postmil, and dispensational interpretations are all the same, with the exception of the fact that the amil and postmil generally agree that the kingdom is here, but with no Scriptural support to argue for a double fulfillment or two aspects of any of the OC prophecies.

Now, concerning the image of God being the righteousness of God, Paul says:

This cannot be separated from the previous chapter: Or the two chapters later: In chapter 3:18 Paul specifically says they were BEING changed into the NC image of Christ. This change CANNOT be referring to outward practicality as so many teach for at least two reasons: First, if it is outward practicality then this MUST force the conclusion that all who are saved will be CLOSER in outward obedience and INWARD thought to that which Christ had while on earth. Not only is this preposterous, this ultimately is the doctrine of the perfection of the flesh, a doctrine which Paul blatantly denies: Supposing this doctrine of gradual conformity to the sinless perfection of Christ is true, what happens when a Christian has a major fall or sinful setback? Does this take them back several years on the scale of progression? Do they have to build back up to that LEVEL of conformity where they were before they sinned? How could anyone possibly teach that we could even get REMOTELY close to the practical lifestyle of Jesus Christ in action and in THOUGHT???? At what level are you? After 60 plus years of living are you closer to the practical perfection of Christ's thoughts and actions than you were 5, 10, 20 years ago? Somehow this doctrine makes the fulfillment of the righteousness of the law of no effect: I think we both agree that this is NOT a physical transformation, for this would force us to conclude that as our years as a Christian increase, we are physically becoming more like Christ. This is absurd.

Some then might argue that it is speaking of a spiritual transformation, with which I would agree. Therefore it could NOT be argued that the end of this transformation resulted in having some similar materiality of Jesus. Otherwise the transformation is first spiritual then suddenly made material. There is no Scriptural support for this. Even Paul says regarding the soul, "That which is natural (psuche=soul) is first, THEN that which is spiritual." It would serve us well to consider how Paul compares the two:

There is the natural OLD man versus the spiritual NEW man: This is exactly that to which the apostle John is referring when he says: Compare to Jeremiah's words concerning the OC: Unless you believe there is a future for national Israel, you have to believe these things are fulfilled. The rivers in the desert are none other than Christ as the living waters giving life to His people. Jesus said: Clearly in this last verse it declares the TIMING of the giving of the Spirit and WHEN these living waters would begin flowing-Pentecost. This is when the tranformation into the NC image of the Lord began: Notice the phrase, "even as by the Spirit of the Lord." This is totally related to the NC image addressed in Romans 8: Here, Paul is extremely clear: the truth of the NC is that all those elected in Christ who believe in Christ were called, justified, and glorified. Where does the Bible ever speak of two glorifications. Also, it is an inescapeable fact that the conformation into the image of God is equivalent to the glorification. Jesus prayed for this: Just how much glory was given Christ? Jesus says this SAME glory He gave us. But notice what Christ says, "That they may BEHOLD MY GLORY." Paul says that YES, they were BEHOLDING His glory, yet, "as in a glass" and that they were BEING changed into the same image or BEING conformed into the same image FROM OC glory to NC glory. Also Christ said, "the glory which thou gavest me I HAVE GIVEN THEM; THAT they may be one." In other words, without the IMPARTATION of this glory Christ's people could NOT be one. Yet at least part of this glory had to have already been given, for Paul said: Because this giving of glory was a process, Paul also said concerning Christ being "all in all": Because they were in the process of being filled, Paul still had this hope for the people of God, that one day soon they would be FILLED with ALL the FULLNESS of God. This fullness is nothing short or different than that mentioned in Romans 11: Paul addressed the unity of Jew and Gentile in Ephesians 2 and here in Romans 11 He again emphasizes this unity and ultimate fullness that had not been consummated until the destruction of the Temple.

Returning to the image of Christ, Paul says:

It is fascinating that Paul associates this PROCESS of the image being changed with Christ's people being one and Christ all in all. This is what Christ meant when He said: It is the complete transformation into this image "where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all." The image was being renewed in KNOWLEDGE. This has nothing to do with intellectual knowledge of God but rather the intimate knowledge of the Husband/Bride relationship: This brings us to the issue of knowledge and knowing as we are fully known. Many today argue that the gifts of the Spirit ceased in the first century. They argue it from this passage: This passage so clearly declares that the gifts would NOT cease UNTIL the church was perfect (complete vs 10), no longer a child (vs.11), face to face (vs.12) and having FULL knowledge (marital status) of God (vs.12)

This is precisely the picture given in Revelation 21:

Consider the next verse: The church, once married, had the full glory of God, for Christ, her Husband now had consummated the marital relationship by DWELLING IN HER. The Husband had become FACE to FACE with His bride, and now His bride had fully known Him. This was NOT the case prior to the destruction of the WHORE: But Paul, nevertheless, taught the Romans of this glorious concept and contrasted it to the OC relationship to the natural or old man or old BODY OF DEATH: It was this NC New Man's image into which the first century believers were being translated from OC glory or old man. Again, compare the elements mentioned here with Colossians: Christ is the image into which they were being renewed. This is putting on the body of Christ: There are two images-an earthly image (old man under the law) and a heavenly image (new man under grace). One must ask the question: How many IMAGES of Christ are there? Now, virtually every one of these passages would have unanimous agreement that this image is something we as Christians have now. Second, I think we all would agree that there is only ONE image of Christ-a heavenly image. Therefore, based upon the grammatical use of the word image and the context of 1 Corinthians 15 we must conclude that image here is referring to the same image: Remember, there are two covenants, two kingdoms, two glories, two men, two bodies, two realms, and two images. There is an earthly image which corresponds to that under the law of sin and death. Then there is the heavenly image which corresponds to that under righteousness and life.

The problem is with the future tense of 1 Cor 15:49 as opposed to the present tense of 2 Cor 3:18 and Col 3:10. As we have already noted, the first-century church was in the process of being filled with the fullness of God:

The consummation of this fullness would be Christ in them, not just the Spirit who was the deposit of the guarantee of their inheritance, who was Christ: "By faith" reminds us of that for which Paul was hoping: The full righteousness or IMAGE of Christ was not yet consummated. They were BEING CHANGED into His image. They were being filled. Because it is likened unto a meal, hence, "hungering and thirsting after righteousness, for they shall be filled," this analogy would be appropriate:

If a meal has begun with an appetizer of sauteed garlic shrimp and a side salad with some bread, by the time you get to the middle of the entree you will certainly be getting full. You turn to your friend and say, "I am going to be stuffed by the time I am done with dessert." Your friend responds, "NO kidding! I am already getting full." Your statement that you will be stuffed (future tense) does not negate the fact that you are already getting full." This is where the already-but-not-yet proponents have the biggest problem. The only explanation they have for seemingly contradictory passages is, "Well, in a sense we are in the kingdom spiritually, but one day we will physically be there two." They are trying to have their cake and eat it too. They want to claim the OBVIOUS references that teach that there was ALREADY life in the first century believers, but they also want their physical deliverance and rapture and food and peace etc etc. This desire is completely foreign to the nature of the kingdom as Christ presented it. Christ NEVER presented two separate kingdoms. In fact, it is amazing when the statements of

Christ's claims are analyzed. Christ said:

We would all agree that this is spiritual. Is this a fulfillment of biblical prophecy? Compare with: Christ said: This too is spiritual. Is this a fulfillment of biblical prophecy? Compare with: The darkness of the OC was passing away and the true light of Christ was already shining more and more unto the perfect day when Christ would actually dwell in them: Isaiah predicts: Fascinating how God equates light and glory. There is no 2000 year separation. Related to this is: What was this crown of glory? Christ is our crown of glory that never fades away.

Clearly Isaiah compares light and darkness:

This is said to be fulfilled in Christ: Jesus said: Is this a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy? Are these references to the WAY really speaking of Christ or are there two ways? There is only one way, with which I am sure you do not disagree. Where in the Scriptures do you ever find reference to two or more ways?

Jesus said:

Martha, just like every other Jew, had her mind evidently set on a physical resurrection. Christ obviously knew this. Yet Christ corrects her erroneous view of resurrection, by saying, "I AM the resurrection and the life." But He does not stop there. He explains ONE resurrection life and that this life is attained THROUGH FAITH: We should be reminded of the phrase NEVER DIE: Is this fulfilled?

II. Resurrection fulfilled in Jesus Christ

Please consider this observation of 1 Corinthians 15:54-57: If these believer were already delivered completely from the law of sin and death, and this is speaking entirely of a PHYSICAL resurrection, then why does Paul associate the law in the SLIGHTEST. What effect could the law of sin and death have upon a yet FUTURE physical resurrection? In other words, what did Christ come to abolish? The curse of death because of sin. Notice the use of the word "victory." Were the first century Christians without this victory completely? If one who affirms a physical resurrection tries to deny the present tense in this passage, then what is their alternative? To say that Paul is saying they ALREADY HAD the victory of a PHYSICAL resurrection? The theme of victory is obvious in the passage. Also, just like Romans 7 consider the deliverance: Again, I challenge you to find anywhere in the OT that supports two resurrections. In fact, what we need to ask is, has Christ ransomed us?

Jesus said:

Hosea prophesied: Where in the OT Scriptures do you find TWO ransoms or for that matter TWO deaths? The Bible says ADAM would die the VERY DAY He ate of the fruit, not hundreds of years later. He died spiritual death. Romans 5 speaks of ONE death incurred by ADAM's sin. Again, if the handwriting of ordinances and its curses were merely to remove a spiritual curse, WHY does Paul associate the law in Romans 5?

Finally, in regard to the resurrection body of Christ, the church is that resurrection body. We are raised together with Christ. Yes, it is a spiritual resurrection. The Church is His body, not some material form with literal arms and legs. OF course Christ was raised physically, but that was the outer sign to show that He was the first to rise from the dead spiritually. He was the firstfruit of the firstfruits (after all, Jesus said the harvest was plenteous then and Paul and James and John both affirmed first-fruits in the first century Rom 8; James 1; Rev. 14). Christ was the firstborn AMONG many brethren. Jesus died to bring many sons to glory (Heb 2). His bride cannot be separated from His glory resurrection, for she is ONE FLESH with Him. Just as the Husband is the glory of God, so the Bride is the glory of the Husband. When we speak of a man leaving His mother and Father cleaving to His wife and the two shall become one flesh, we speak of Christ and His church. Christ left His Father (God) and His mother (Mary and/or more likely, Israel under the law) to become one flesh with His Bride. Hence, the following passage:

Compare this with: The church is married and she has ALREADY been presented to Christ as a spotless bride. Christ is face to face with His Bride dwelling in her for her to enjoy Him and Him to enjoy Her forever: May God grant you the eyes to see the fullness of what His free and sovereign grace has accomplished for His elect.

For the kingdom and pleasure of God.

Ward Fenley