BY: GEORGE R. HAWTIN
THE CHILDREN OF THE RESURRECTION
The Word of God frequently uses such meaningful terms as these; children of light, children of darkness, children of Israel, children of Abraham, children of the devil, children of God. Each of these terms has its origin in the omniscience of the divine mind and consequently is full of truth and meaning. Books without number could, I suppose, be written about any one of them. The beautiful designation, children of light, describes God’s redeemed and blood-bought children in such a way that they themselves would instinctively flee from all darkness and, as lights set upon a hill, dispel its gloom by their presence. Children of light will certainly be those who walk in that light which is Jesus Christ Himself. “He that followeth Me,” said the Savior, “shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
As for me, my one ambition for men is that they might become followers of that one true light that Jesus Christ Himself might walk not only with them and beside them, but in them. It is by beholding the light which He is that we are changed from glory to glory into the image of Christ, each degree of glory superseding the glory that shone before it as the glory of the sun, shining in his strength, supersedes the glory of the stars or the moon. My heart is always filled with pain when I see religious books filled with pictures of smiling preachers who are proclaimed, usually by themselves, as notable men, great healers, eloquent preachers, ready writers, superior organizers, – in short. God’s men of the hour. We need a little more of the spirit of the beloved Paul who said, “We are the circumcision who worship God in the spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ, Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” Phil. 3:3-9. Let not the shining light reflect me! Let no spot light hold you in its dazzling glare! Let Christ be all and in all that men may never be constrained to say, “How great a man is this! How eloquent! How striking! How godly! How learned! What a wonderful ministry!” Rather far that men, seeing the light which He is, should fall down at His feet with tear-stained faces and cry in adoration, “How great Thou art! How great Thou art!”
Anything anywhere, whether it be person or sermon, talent, gift, ability, or song, that fails to leave men overawed with the presence and glory of Christ belongs not to the realm of the spirit, but to the realm of the natural, the sordid realm of the flesh. What an abomination this make believe church system is in the eyes of God, so full of false advertising and the exalting of men and women as great and notable ones whose appeal we find, after we have seen and heard them, is not to our spirit but to the dimness of our natural mind. How abominable before God is a system so full of pride and boastfulness, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, loving pleasure more than God, dispensing human philosophy instead of truth, and denying not only the blood that bought them but the Christ who shed His blood for them. Church history records that during the dark ages it was doubtful whether in all the world there could be found a congregation gathered together on truly scriptural grounds, and, though my feeble voice will sound as one who mocks or as one crying in a desolate wilderness, it is most doubtful whether in our day there is in all the world any congregation meeting upon truly scriptural grounds. Do not their ministers minister for hire? Are their elders separated unto the Lord and by the Lord? Does the love of God prevail among them? Does the Holy Spirit guide them? No, verily, it is not so. “They err in vision; they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.” Isa. 28:7–8
The hour has come when all who are children of light must become one with the light. All the teaching the world can produce will utterly fail to bring us to the likeness of Christ. Our only hope is in beholding Him. In Israel‘s ancient wilderness tabernacle a great veil hung between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. The heavenly light of God’s presence, the Shekinah or the glory light of God presence, always filled the Holy of Holies, but that glory light was hidden from the priests who ministered in the Holy Place. The veil represents the flesh. No man dared to pass by it except the High Priest, and that but once a year, but when Jesus Christ died upon the cross of Calvary, and you and I died there in Him – at that awful moment when His flesh was rent and His blood was shed – a great miracle occurred in the temple. The veil was rent in twain from top to bottom, opening the way for us all into the Holy of Holies itself, that we might see His face, behold His glory, and by His Spirit be changed into the very light which He is. See Heb. 10:19-22. “Seeing then we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech. And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament: which veil is done away in Christ.
But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless, when it (the heart) shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face (unveiled face), beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Cor. 3:12-18
In chapter one we pointed out, as best we could, how all inclusive was the work that was finished when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died upon the cross of Calvary. Here God gave His only begotten Son and received His blood as a remission of sins for the whole world. On that memorable day of the cross Jesus Christ did not die alone. My old man was crucified with Him; my flesh was crucified with Him; the world was crucified with Him. The law was nailed to the cross with Him, and I, with you, Oh beloved, was crucified with Christ. There are those now reading these lines who have begun to discover the almost incomprehensible change that began to transform their lives when the full force of the meaning of the cross shone like an eternal ray of truth into their souls. The carnal thing you struggled with yesterday you discover today has already been crucified, yes, crucified with Christ before you were born or saw the light of day, and the new life that has now begun, though you are yet in the body, is lived by the faith of the Son of God who loved you and gave Himself for you. No more shall I be intimidated or brought into bondage by that which was smitten a mortal blow when God nailed my old carnal self with His Christ to the cross of Calvary.
Henceforth the life we now live in the flesh shall not be lived to the lusts of men but lived as God lives in the Spirit. May it please God that all who read these truths shall receive from Him wisdom, light and understanding that they being children of light might also walk in the light of the truth which He is. Let our understandings, darkened as they have been through the centuries of human tradition and the doctrines of men, now be enlightened that we may behold what goodness and mercy was bestowed upon us when God having included all men in the last Adam, nailed Him to the tree and, having offered in sacrifice His priceless Son, He wrote finis to everything that pertains to the old creation. Tearing asunder the dividing veil (Matt. 27:50-53), He opened wide the door that we might live in His presence, and, beholding His face, be changed into that same image from glory to glory. 2 Cor. 3:18.
CHILDREN OF THE RESURRECTION
There was a day when the Sadducees, who deny that there is any resurrection or angel or spirit, came to Jesus, saying, “Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man’s brother die, having a wife, and he died without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children. And the second took her to wife, and died childless. And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children and died. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? For seven had her to wife. And Jesus answering said unto them. The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the CHILDREN OF THE RESURRECTION.” Luke 20:27-38
It is a mistake to tell men about sin, but fail to tell them about the Savior. It is wrong to bring men under condemnation while withholding from them the blessedness of a realm where there is no condemnation. Rom. 8:1. It is folly to magnify the evils of a life after the flesh while failing to portray the glories of a life lived after the Spirit; and it is equally useless, if not hopeless, to preach the crucified life to Christians if we succeed only in hanging them on the cross or leaving them lying dead in the tomb. Let heaven and earth be called to witness that the Via Doloroso (the way of the cross) is also the way of the resurrection. If there had been no cross, there would have been no burial, and, if there had been no burial, there would have been no resurrection.
The things I now write are of such infinite importance that our failure to see them as a revelation from God will bar our progress to those sublime and eternal peaks of spiritual experience, leaving us in the doldrums of the tomb or, worse still, trudging the weary pathway of the uncrucified flesh, hopelessly striving against the dictates of the carnal mind and the old Adam nature. May the divine Spirit of the omniscient God send His rays of revelation into the darkened recesses of our hearts to reveal to each of us what it really means to be in Him. Let the light of God clearly show that all who sinned in the first Adam paid the penalty of death for their sin as they died in the last Adam, Jesus Christ our Lord. Let them also remember that He in whom we died was taken down from His cross and buried in Joseph’s new tomb, and we are buried there with Him. Furthermore, let our hearts rejoice in this magnificent confidence; that we who died in Him and were buried in Him also rose in Him triumphant over death, triumphant over the world (age), over the flesh and over the devil, having become, indeed, the children of the resurrection. Hallelujah!
We cannot speak too forcefully, too carefully, or with two great humility concerning our identification with Him. When God says I am in Him, then / am in Him, and no reasoning of the carnal mind will ever alter such an eternal fact. It is good for God’s children to be able to give an answer for the hope that dwelleth in them with meekness and fear, but always remember that you do not owe an explanation to any man. Can I ever explain to a carnal mind that I died with Christ? Never! Can I satisfy the reasoning of the Sadducees by explaining to them that, when Christ arose from the dead, I arose from the dead with Him and in Him? I do not owe them an explanation for my hope in Him, and neither will I attempt to give one except I see a heart that is open and longing for the truth.
Our association with church systems means less than nothing; our association with Christ means everything. Our identification with groups, denominations and sects is nothing but a faith destroying fraud; our identification with Jesus Christ is life from the dead. “It is in Him, and through the shedding of His blood, that we have our deliverance – the forgiveness of our offences – so abundant was God’s grace, the grace which He, the possessor of all wisdom and understanding, lavished upon us, when He made known to us the secret of His will. And this is in harmony with God’s merciful purpose for the government of the world when the times are ripe for it – the purpose which He has cherished in His own mind of restoring the whole creation to find its one Head in Christ; yes, things in heaven and things on earth, to find their one Head in Him.” Eph. 1:7-10. (Weymouth)
Can we not see by the Holy Spirit how great is God’s plan in Christ and how great is His merciful purpose for all those who dwell in Him through faith in the eternal Logos, that we should abide in Him and He in us? This vain world with all its dreadful violence, its iniquitous taxation, its inequity, its greedy unjust wars, its filthiness after the flesh, its sickness, sorrow, heartache, disease, and death, is soon to lose all its carnal governors and rulers, for the resurrected Christ, together with those blessed children of the resurrection, will reign in splendor over all the earth. This is our inheritance and the beginning of our glory in Him.
Behold further how great a crown of glory divine inspiration has placed upon the heads of all who, identifying themselves with Him, dwell securely in Him, “In Him, too, we have been made heirs having been chosen beforehand in accordance with the intention of Him whose might carries out in everything the design of His own will, so that we should be devoted to the extolling of His glorious attributes – we who were the first to fix our hopes on Christ. And in Him you also, after listening to the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation – having believed in Him – were sealed with the promise of the Holy Spirit; That Spirit being a pledge and foretaste of our inheritance, in anticipation of its full redemption – the inheritance which He has purchased to be specially His for the extolling of His glory.” Eph. 1:11-14. (Weymouth) “I always beseech the God of our Lord Jesus Christ – the Father most glorious – to give you a spirit of wisdom and of insight into mysteries through knowledge of Him, the eyes of your heart being enlightened so that you may know what is the hope which His call to you inspires, what the wealth of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what the transcendent greatness of His power in us believers as seen in the working of His infinite might when He displayed it in Christ by raising Him from the dead, and seating Him at His own right hand in the heavenly realms, high above all other government and authority and power and dominion, and every title of sovereignty used either in this age or in the age to come. God has put all things under His feet, and has appointed Him universal and supreme Head of the church, which is His Body, the completeness of Him who everywhere fills the universe with Himself.” Eph. 1:17-23 (Weymouth)
No wonder Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me.” How little of His plan He could then reveal to His disciples who had not yet received the Spirit! But unto the children of the resurrection He now reveals some of the things concerning that new world, that kingdom age, when a new creation of men with resurrected spirits, resurrected minds and resurrected bodies will reign in splendor with Christ, the first begotten from the dead, for they are the completeness of Him who everywhere fills the universe with Himself.
“0 Lord, Thou has searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising; Thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compasses! my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not aword in my tongue, but, lo, 0 Lord, Thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid Thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it … My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in Thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, 0 God! How great is the sum of them!” Psa. 139:1-6, 15-17 The children of the resurrection are the completeness of Him who everywhere fills the universe with Himself. They are the people who are fearfully and wonderfully made into the mystical body of Christ, whose substance was not hid from God when He made them in secret and curiously wrought them in the lowest parts of the earth. These are the people who were written in God’s book while they were unperfect and who were fashioned according to God’s liking when as yet there was none of them. How can we help but weep with David as we repeat his words of worship, “How precious are Thy thoughts to me, 0 God! How great is the sum of them!”
Identification with Christ in His cross means death in all its completeness to all that is old. There in His cross, as nowhere else, old things pass away. Now that we have come to the end of the church age, we shall have to include among the old things all our Babylonish church system, every ist and ism, every sect and denomination of whatever name it may be. We, the children of the resurrection, must walk out and forsake them all, counting them all as old things that belong to a dying age. The trumpet of God is sounding the blast that proclaims, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh! …Go ye out to meet Him.” You dear people who are fervently proclaiming that before the coming of the Lord the church system must be restored as it was at Pentecost are figuratively battering your heads against a stone wall. You are as far behind the times as the Judaizers who proclaimed that believers must be circumcised and keep the law before they could be saved. You are like the fervent Apollos who, knowing the baptism of John, preached it and made many disciples, but did not know that twenty years earlier Jesus had died and the Holy Spirit had been poured out at Pentecost. Acts 18:24-28. Your great trouble is that you do not know what the church is. When you speak of the churches (plural), you refer to the church system with all its divisions. The truth is that this wretched thing is not the Church, but the harlot. It is not the Ecclesia of God, but Mystery Babylon. You are clutching the oyster instead of the pearl of great price. You are polishing the mud instead of the diamond. You are cultivating the weeds and not the wheat. The thing you are nurturing is always in trouble and confusion, falsehood and make-believe, because it is the product of the carnal mind.
The church, on the other hand, is something different altogether. It is the mystical body of Christ. It is mystical because no man can point to it and say there it is. It is mystical because God alone knows its members. It is mystical because neither the world system nor the church system assimilates it. It is mystical because it does not belong to this age and, like Noah’s dove, can find no rest on earth’s turbulent waves and floating filth. The church system with its massive edifices and towering spires is the Ishmael, born after the flesh and the carnal mind. Ishmael, indeed, was to be a great nation, but “In Isaac shall they seed be called.”
Instead of embracing the impossible task of perfecting the harlot system, instead of trying to convert the world in this age, you would do good to yourself, to the world, and to God if you would lay aside all such vain efforts and come instead with fasting and consecration before God, having no request of your own, but with open heart and ear listening to the voice of the Logos, the living, speaking Word, that He might instruct you concerning your need and acquaint you with His wonderful purpose for the ages and His purpose for you personally. Why are Christians obsessed with the notion that they must always be doing something? God is not interested in your much doing. Do what He bids you and nothing more. The earth with all its works will soon be burned up. It is he that doeth the will of God that abideth forever, not he that is “up and doing”.
Wherever did Christians get the idea that God wants to bring everyone in the world to the knowledge of salvation here and now? What makes them imagine that God ever intended to bring all men to the knowledge of the truth in this age? Such belief is not and never has been God’s plan. Give ear to the inspired words of the apostle James as He places the plan of God for man’s redemption in a veritable nut shell. “Simon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, after this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles upon whom My name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world. ACTS 15:14-18
The church system as we see it today with all its confusion, pomp and pride, riches and increase of goods coupled with abject spiritual poverty, is the counterpart of the dispensation of law in the days of John the Baptist and Jesus. It is old and ready to vanish away. There was only one message for the Jew of John’s day. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”, and for this decadent, earthly-minded church system, wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked, (Rev. 3:17), there is but one message: “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” “Come out of her. My people” should be the watch cry of every true saint of God, but instead of this there is an almost fanatical frenzy to build up the church system. There is no more hope of building up the church system than there is of restoring the present world order. Both are integral parts of Babylon and both shall be destroyed and not restored.
Long centuries ago Paul wrote, “He who now letteth (hindereth) will let until he be taken out of the way. Then shall that wicked be revealed.” Who is it that has hindered the work of that wicked one throughout the entire church age? It was not the church system; but it was the elect children of God who were scattered in it, those who dwelt in it as Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego dwelt in Babylon. During the last few years God has begun to remove His elect from the confusion of this multi-headed monstrosity that dares to masquerade as the church. The result has been that iniquity has burst forth both in the Babylon of the world’s political systems and in the Babylon of the church system. Corruption of doctrine and truth has fallen into a bottomless pit and sunken to such degradation of ideas that it is a shame of face even to mention them. There is but one message for those elect children who reign with Christ and share His glory. “Come out from among them, and be separate, and touch not the unclean thing. Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.”
Thus the cross is the end of all that is old. It is the end of the flesh to all who believe its marvelous message. It is the end of the carnal mind, the end of fleshly striving for perfection, the end for us of Babylon‘s abominable confusion. Yea, even our earthly citizenship comes to an end in the cross. Here we begin to find ourselves increasingly alienated and ostracized from all the ways and the doings of earth. Even its business and politics become a passing show and a mist that the wind driveth away.
This loss of interest in this present age comes as a direct result of the knowledge that old things are indeed passing away. Here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come whose builder and maker is God. Heb. 13:14. The continuing city, which we seek, is that holy and heavenly Jerusalem, which we ourselves are. The gold of that city includes all that is divine. The silver of that city is redemption. The precious stones are its inhabitants, the living stones, chosen of God and precious. The light of that city is not the light of a candle nor yet the light of the moon or the sun, for the Lord Himself is the light thereof, and all nations shall walk in the light of it.
Let the saints of God arise to the stark but positive reality that the cross has ended all that is old, has ended, I say – not will end. At this very moment every man who now believes in his heart that by the cross of Christ God dealt with and abolished everything pertaining to the old creation shall find deliverance and freedom from all that is old and passing away because of the certain knowledge that God on Golgotha nailed to the accursed tree everything that belonged to Adam’s fallen creation. Henceforth all who truly identify themselves with the cross and the last Adam, who died upon it, shall be free indeed from all corrupting things that have hurt and defiled their spirits, bringing them into lifelong bondage. With such wonderful knowledge in our hearts how can we help but proclaim, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” By the cross I am crucified. The old Adamic “I” is crucified. In the cross the old man was crucified, the flesh was crucified, and the world was crucified. It is executed. It is dead. The executioner’s axe has cut off its head. The hangman’s noose has broken its neck. The cross has taken its life away, and it shall be no more.
That which immediately follows the cross is not the resurrection, but the burial. It was not enough in the sight of God that the old “I” should be crucified. It did not satisfy him that my flesh was crucified and the world was crucified as well, but, having put an end to it by nailing it to His cross. He wrapped it in grave clothes and buried it in the tomb, putting it out of the way, putting it out of His sight, identifying it with the deadness of the earth from which it sprang. Oh, thou man of God, wherein lies thy faith? Do you not now see that God has in truth caused old things to pass away and that He has by one omnipotent stroke nailed to the cross every crafty enemy of your soul ? And since the law has no power over men that are dead. He placed you in Christ and in Him He nailed you to the cross.
Thus, making the law powerless and ineffective. He robbed every principality and evil spirit of the power they held over you, and the law itself with its ordinances, now rendered powerless by reason of your death with Christ, was taken out of the way, being also nailed to the cross. “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” Col. 2:14-17 “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power; in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with Him in baptism wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.” Col. 2:8-13
Wonderful as is the indisputable fact that old things have passed away forever in His cross, it is in the resurrection that the transcending glory of all new things begin. Without the cross there could be no resurrection, for “that which thou sowest is not quickened (made alive) except it die.” 1 Cor. 15:36 “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Cor. 15:20-22
My heart’s desire and prayer to God is that we who have seen our identification with Christ in His cross and burial may now also see our identification with Him in His resurrection. The moment divine revelation shows us that everything belonging to the old Adam died with Christ and has in very truth passed away, then in that moment we experience deliverance from every ancient bondage of the old creation. But let us learn here and now that death does not end all, for if there be no resurrection, the Christ died in vain. But Christ is risen from the dead to become the first fruits of the resurrection. Thus it follows, not in theory but in fact, not in doctrine but by faith, that we who have identified ourselves with Him in His cross and burial are just as certainly identifying ourselves at this moment with His resurrection. We who saw old things pass away in our death with Him now behold all things new in our resurrection with Him. Just as certainly as Jesus rose from the dead, I now stand risen in Him, a child of the resurrection. However sickly and weak my understanding may be, however frail my faith, however wobbly my spiritual legs, I rose with Him, and the devil himself shall not rob my soul of that faith that here and now teaches me that I am a child of the resurrection. Henceforth we look out upon a world that is swiftly passing away, an age that is in the throes of death, an hour that holds no passing interest. The thought of restoring the transient things of the old creation is madness and the efforts of the zealot to do so are a sorrow and sickness to the heart. How earthly and bound by this age were the minds of the Sadducees who hoped to annul the truth of the resurrection by speaking of a woman who had in consecutive order married seven brothers, ending their supposed case with the words, “Therefore, in the resurrection whose wife shall she be, for the seven had her.” When Jesus replied to their cunning question. He showed the two great reasons for the million errors that cluster like demons over the minds of men, robbing them of faith and destroying their understanding. “Ye do err,” He said, “(I) not knowing the scriptures, nor (2) the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” Matt. 23-33. What a soul destroyer is the natural mind that dares to question the authority of scripture, imagining by its unbelief to make God devoid of power!
At this point in our message one could easily digress into a prolonged analysis of the resurrection. It would be simple to go from scripture to scripture offering proof after indisputable proof that Jesus really did rise from the dead, but however valuable such an exegesis may be to some, it usually has the unfortunate effect of leaving men full of theory but empty of experience. Far too often the resurrection is portrayed as an event of the past or left to be a hope of the distant future far beyond the reach of men in this hour of our greatest need. In the detailed story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead, recorded in the eleventh chapter of John’s gospel, the conversation of Jesus and Martha is of foremost interest. “Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him: but Mary sat still in the house. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever Thou wilt ask of God, God will give it Thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto Him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?” John 11:20-26
The words spoken by Martha are typical of the faith of us all. She believed in a resurrection as an event in the distant future even as we also believe. But the great fundamental fact that must engulf our spirits, enlightening our pure minds with revelation from heaven is this: The resurrection is above all else a person and that person is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ who died, who was buried, and who rose again. It is not our belief in the resurrection as an event either past or future that makes us children of the resurrection. It is our identity with Him that makes us one with that resurrection which He both here and now is. What else but this was Jesus daring to teach when He staggered the mind of that humble woman with these words: “He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die?” Would you not say that such daring belief identifies you with the risen Christ? Who is it, anyway, of whom He spoke, saying, “Whosoever believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live”? Dare we venture to say that he who has identified himself with Christ’s death is not, in fact, dead? Verily I say unto you that such a man has died even as He died. He is crucified with Christ. His old man is crucified. His flesh is crucified. It was the faith of such a man that brought him into the likeness of Christ’s death, and it is like precious faith that now identifies him with the resurrected Christ. “If we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.” Rom. 6:5. Therefore Jesus our Lord said, “He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” But He went much further to say of this same believing person, “Whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.”
There is a possibility that the day may soon come when devout men will put my body in a coffin and bury me under the ground, but I cannot believe that such an event can be called death to any man who has identified himself with Christ in His death and resurrection. At most and at worst the grave to such a one can be but a sleep, and I think this is the faith Paul embraced when he spoke of that blessed “in Christ” company, saying, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep but we shall all be changed.” 1 Cor. 15:51. Again, “If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.” 1 Thess. 4:14. And yet again, “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (precede) them which are asleep.” 1 Thess. 4:15 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection. Upon such the second death hath no power. It would not be possible to say that those believers who through faith have identified themselves with His resurrection were not partakers of the first resurrection. Such reasoning would make the truth void and faith of no effect.
But what shall we say of the second part of Christ’s statement to Martha? “Whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die”. There is coming a day and that right soon when God will demonstrate to every creature in the universe that this long misunderstood statement is literally true. The hour is at hand when a blood-washed company of people will be swept into immortality without even knowing sleep in the dust of the earth. For thus saith the Lord, “The dead in Christ shall rise first, and we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air…” It is abundantly clear, therefore, that we shall not all sleep. Certainly we shall not and cannot die.
The mighty, eternal, all-embracing events that concern Calvary and the Christ, who died, was buried, and rose again, are the very center and pivot of the whole universe. Each literal event of those dread hours of agony and glory bears symbolic reference to identical experiences that take place in the lives of the blood-bought saints who now through the spirit of revelation identify themselves with the eternal Logos in His death, in His burial, in His resurrection, in His ascension, and in His seat at God’s right hand. The revelation of the divine fact of our death with Him and in Him is so real to all who can embrace the truth of it that a definite and wonderful change begins to transform their very life and existence. “I am crucified with Christ,” the heart believes. “Nevertheless, I live yet not I, but Christ, liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” The “I” that I once was is dead; the “I” that now lives is Jesus Christ. No wonder John in rapture exclaimed, “As He is, so are we in this world,” 1 John 4:17
The divine revelation of our burial with Him becomes so real to those who can receive it that their spirits are enlightened by the wonderful discovery that their old Adamic past with all its obnoxious incongruities has in truth remained in the burial tomb along with the grave clothes that clothed it while it lived. Remember then, oh son of God, that it was not your striving or effort, your weeping or your prayer, that buried all that belonged to the old creation in the tomb, but it was in Christ you died, it was in Christ you were buried, and all that belonged to your old self, all that was crucified with Him was likewise buried with Him forever. Oh, blissful thought! Oh glad and glorious dawning! How could it otherwise be said that, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation, since old things have so thoroughly passed away, clearing the path and preparing the way whereby all things should become new?
Glorious, indeed, and wonderful beyond human description was the cross of Christ and all that was accomplished there. Sacred and holy beyond the words of the most eloquent tongue was the burial wherein all our Adamic past was buried with Him in the dust from which it sprang, but now I know that the most exciting event of all history, whether it be past, present, or future, was the glory and wonder of the resurrection.
Death could not keep her prey;
Jesus, my Savior.
He tore the bars away;
Jesus, my Lord.
Up from the grave He arose
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes.
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!
The resurrection is the difference between gloomy, dark, and dreadful death and life incorruptible and eternal. The fact that He who died and was buried is forevermore alive is the most transforming reality in all the annals of God. “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” asked the wise and mighty angel. “He is not here. He is risen. Behold the place where they laid Him.” “He is risen,” echoed the women as they wept with indescribable joy. “Did not our hearts burn within us as He spake with us by the way,” rejoiced the men who only moments before were heartsick with bitterness and dread. “He is alive, and hath appeared to Simon,” said the eleven who were gathered together. “My Lord and My God,” murmured Thomas as his unbelief departed from him. Wonderful, wonderful beyond description is that historic event, an event proven by more facts than perhaps any other event of history including the crucifixion. However, it is not the historicalness of the event nor the multiplicity of indisputable proofs with which we are principally interested now, but let heaven rejoice and angels and demons and men bear witness that all who by faith have identified themselves with His death and burial are now risen with Him by that same faith to walk in newness of life. At this very moment it is true “that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Rom. 6:4
That you by faith in Him have become a child of the resurrection is no idle theory. It is not that insipid talk of wordy old theologians who love to drown truth in the murky seas of tradition and theory. This is truth that flows from the infinite mind of the eternal Logos. “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.” “He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth and beliveth in Me shall never die.” So true and transforming is the fact of our resurrection in Him that men of faith are brought here and now into the realm of reality. To them old things are without doubt passing away and new things are being born. The blessed discovery is soon made that things, which once held them in their iron grip, are losing their power over them. Their business and their bank accounts are losing their significance in the light of the fact that they are no longer children of death in Adam but children of the resurrection in Christ. They understand as never before the significance of the words of Jesus. “If My Kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight; …but now My kingdom is not from hence.” John 18:36. Our lives in Adam have always been filled with striving and war in a vain effort to preserve our kingdom of death, but now henceforth God’s kingdom is our kingdom. I have no interest in preserving this present realm that for 6000 years has been beset by death and futility. Loose your grip upon it, oh man, that you may fully partake of that new creation that even now has begun within the children of the resurrection.
With our entrance into this new creation begins the blossoming of the new mind, even the mind of Christ; and with the coming of the new mind physical transformations appear, for the Lord by the mouth of Paul has said, “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…” Rom. 12:2. This physical renewing will appear first in death to many old lusts that held sway in your body. That which thou sowest is not quickened except it die. Fleshly desires fall away and any effort to revive them will bring spiritual pain. Natural things such as church systems become a heaviness of heart and a weariness of spirit as in the eternal light they appear to be what they really are – the product of the Adamic mind. “My kingdom is not of this world”, and, since it is not, then I may no longer think of myself as a citizen of earth, but a citizen of the new realm. Surely men will say, “Thou art beside thyself as did Festus when Paul spoke to him of the resurrection. Acts 26:24 But well might we say, “If I be beside myself, it is to God.” 2 Cor. 5:13
In the hour in which we now live there is no fact more sobering than the knowledge that the end of the age is upon us. Evil forces are mustering on every hand for the dreadful hour of Armageddon. Fearful sights hitherto unknown will presently alarm and terrify the world as blood and fire and vapor of smoke drench the earth in torment and terror. Acts 2:19 Stars like burning mountains shall soon fall from the sky, setting off earthquakes of a violence never before known. Rev. 8:7-10. Waters will turn to blood and over half of mankind will die by war and famine and plagues. Cf. Rev. 6:8 with Rev. 9:18. Then will come the blissful moment of the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet when the in Christ ones, the children of the resurrection, joined by the dead in Christ, shall be caught up to meet the Lord for the beginning of the long awaited kingdom of God. “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and forever.” Rev. 11:15