If I was to ask, who has been in some sort of pain this week, I think everyone would put their hands up and if I was to ask who had been to the doctor about their health, I imagine there would be a fair few people as well who would put their hands up. And I also imagine that there are some people in the hall now that are struggling with some sort of pain.
For myself, I can answer yes to those questions. The other week, while playing sport, I did myself an injury and had to take a few days off work, and I had to go to the Chiropractor and be rearranged. Thankfully I am feeling better now, but for a few days, I was in a lot of pain.
Now, we talk a lot about having a vision of the kingdom because we know that it is important for us to having something to look forward to, so today I want to focus on the vision that we can have for our bodies, because currently the bodies that we have now are frail, sickly and sinful and I will just preface my words by saying that a lot of my thoughts this morning have been taken from a set of talks given by Brother Ron Cowie on Angels which I recommend very highly.
So at the moment in our current state, I think the apostle Paul summarises our position in Romans 7:24
Rom 7:24 O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
We need to look forward to the day when our bodies will no longer be a body of death but rather that they will be made new or perfected.
Of course the answer to Paulís question is only the Lord Jesus Christ. Only he has the power to change us. Paul makes this point in Philippians 3:20-21
Php 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Php 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
This Vile body or this body of humiliation will be changed to one that is like Christs. Peter describes it a little bit differently in 2 Pet 1:4
Peter describes that we will be given divine nature, which is immortality. But what will immortality be like?
2Pe 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
We are given some detail, by looking at Jesus Christ; he has been given immortality, and so letís just briefly consider what we do know from the account of him after he was raised from the dead.
Lets just to Luke 24 and see what we can find.
Luk 24:28 And they (Cleopas, his companion and Jesus) drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he (Jesus) would have gone further.
Luk 24:29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.
Luk 24:30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.
Luk 24:31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.
Now letís come down to verse 36
Luk 24:36 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
Luk 24:37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
Luk 24:38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
Luk 24:39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
Luk 24:40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.
Luk 24:41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?
Luk 24:42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.
Luk 24:43 And he took it, and did eat before them.
So from these verses we find that Jesus, could hide himself from peopleís eyes, he could eat and that he still had his scars of the wounds in his hands and sides.
The other reference we have to Christ in glory is when he was transfigured on the mount and his fashion of countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistening.
But apart from that, we donít know anything more about the immortal Christ. So can we gather anymore information about immortal life and what it would be like?
If we turn to Matthew 22:30, I think we can find out who we can gather information off.
This passage talks about the people who are resurrected and granted immortal life will be like the angels. Therefore, I think we can have a look at scripture and see the characteristics of the angels, and so see a bit closer what immortal life may entail.
Mat 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
Well, the first point I think we need to make, is that we will all still retain our individuality in appearance and character. Genesis one tells us that we were made in the angelís image and likeness, and in verse 27 it says male and female created he them, so we donít become clones or robots that all look the same. Job says in chapter 19
We will still have the same bodies and appearances as we do now but it will have been perfected or as the psalmist says in Ps 149 that the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. Isnít that an amazing thought, that God will beautify us because we have been saved?
Job 19:26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
Job 19:27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
Perhaps one of the most sought after benefit of being immortal will be that there will be no more need for sleep, as we wonít be fatigued and we wont need the benefit of sleep to restore us each day. We know this verse so well, but letís listen to it again.
Isa 40:28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
Isa 40:29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
Isa 40:30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
Isa 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Another thought following on from the verses in Isaiah in regards to our physical bodies is that we wonít just receive strength again and have no more fatigue but our bodies will return to its youthfulness.
In terms of angels, the Angel that was seen in the tomb by Mary is described in Mark 16 as a young man.
Psalm 103:5 speaks of thy youth being renewed like the eagles and in Job 33:25 it says that His flesh shall be fresher than a child's: he shall return to the days of his youth:
So for some of us, this is something really to look forward to, a return to youthful bodies and the strength and vigour that is supposed to go with youth. For myself, I think I am in the age bracket of youthfulness, but I think I still need to be beautified.
So having thought about our physical bodies, what about out brains? Well, it has been said that we only use about 10% of our brain capacity. I believe that the rest of our capabilities will be unlocked and we will be able to use our full potential. We will be able to comprehend so many concepts and ideas that we donít understand now. I donít think we will instantly know everything there is to know, as the angels themselves do not know everything now.
The angels were ministering without knowing the end result and they desperately wanted to know and understand. Further to this Christ says concerning the end time and his return to set up the kindom
1Pe 1:12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
So whilst we will not know everything, we will become as wise as the angels. This wisdom is spoken of in 2 Samuel 14:19-20. The context is when Joab sends a woman to David to provoke him to reconcile with Absalom his son
Mat 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
Whilst this term is used as flattery by the woman in that David is attributed the wisdom of angels it still shows to us that indeed the angels are very wise.
2Sa 14:19 And the king said, Is not the hand of Joab with thee in all this? And the woman answered and said, As thy soul liveth, my lord the king, none can turn to the right hand or to the left from ought that my lord the king hath spoken: for thy servant Joab, he bade me, and he put all these words in the mouth of thine handmaid:
2Sa 14:20 To fetch about this form of speech hath thy servant Joab done this thing: and my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth.
One last thought regarding our minds, we of course will be free from sin. No longer will we have the bias to sin that we currently have, and we will not even consider for a moment rebellion against God and his commands. It will be natural for us to do good and serve to our full capabilities.
So, what else do we know about Angels that we can look forward to when we are made immortal?
When angels appeared to man, they often shone bright with the glory of the Lord. At the birth of Christ in Luke 2, the angels sang before the shepherds.
Letís turn to Mathew 28:2-3
Luk 2:9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
We also know that when Moses spent time on the mount in contact with the angel of the Lord, he came down and had to wear a veil because his face glowed with Godís glory.
Mat 28:2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
Mat 28:3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
From these passages I think there will be definitely times when we will shine forth Godís glory, but there will be times when we will have to hide that glory, as we know that angels visited men and they appeared as ordinary people. For example when Abraham entertained the angels unawares and also Joshua when encountering the angel outside Jericho wanted to know who he was and whose side he was on.
Angels also had the ability of only appearing to certain people. For example, the angel that appeared unto Balaam and his donkey. At first only the donkey could see the angel, but after a time, Balaam also had his eyes opened and he saw the angel as well.
This is the same with Elishaís servant at Dothan. In 2nd Kings 6, the servant was afraid for his life because the were surrounded by enemies but in verse 17
Just because the servant couldnít see the angels, doesnít mean that they were not there.
Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
So the angels can make themselves invisible and I am sure there are a whole lot of them in this room now so I think that we too will have this ability to become invisible if the need arises.
Well, what about travel? How do the angels move about?
Please turn with me to Judges 13 and see an unusual method of departure.
At other times, the departure was immediate. We know about Philip in Acts 8
Jdg 13:20 For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground.
Angels have the ability to fly, as well as time transport themselves immediately from one place to another. How amazing will it be to have that ability, to be in Australia or some place else working for God at one moment and then in the blink of an eye, be at the temple to worship? We have so much to look forward to!
Act 8:39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
Act 8:40 But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.
What shall we wear? I think we have already answered this question in some of the quotes that we have already been to, but we will be clothed in white robes which symbolises our righteousness, but letís just confirm this by reading together from Revelation 7
How precious will these robes be? No longer will we have to worry about what to wear or whether this matches with that, but it will be just the one dress code that all the saints will rejoice to have.
Rev 7:13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
Rev 7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Another thing to consider is that there may be a special angelic language. Zephaniah 3:9 says
. This language will be pure, no swearing or blasphemy is even apart of this language. This language is used only to worship God.
for then will I turn to the people a pure language that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent
How about eating, we read earlier that Jesus ate, and we also have mention on Angels eating. Abraham prepared a meal for the angels. But we also have the promise of the marriage supper of the Lamb to look forward to.
Rev 19:9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
This is a time when we shall sit down and eat with our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. This is not a meal because we are hungry or because we need to eat to sustain our bodies, but rather it will be a meal of fellowship.
One last point to think about, the angels had perception of others thoughts, these they used to help do the will of God and work in the peoples lives. The Angel knew that Sarah laughed when the angel told Abraham that he was going to have a son even though she was in another tent. Just as Jesus knew what was in man we too will be able to know the mortal populations thoughts and intents, and we will be able to help them. Isaiah 30:21 says
Isa 30:21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
We will be able to guide and direct the lives of others just as the angels are doing with us today, but we will be able to be visible to them and be able to speak and talk them about their decisions.
So my dear Brethren and Sisters, how much do we have to look forward to!
Wonít it be fantastic to have a body that no longer corrupts, but rather we will be strong and vibrant and willing to serve and worship our Father in Heaven and his Son the Lord Jesus Christ.
But now, let us come back to earth and the reality of today. For now, at this moment in time, we do have these bodies that are weak and fleshly and it is hard to keep going day by day, but perhaps now we read 2 Corinthians 4 with a little more bit more to look forward to.
This treasure that we have, in these earthen vessels, these bodies of sin, is the hope of eternal life, that one day we will be made perfect, and we have now the opportunity to be renewed today in our outlook for the coming week.
2Co 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2Co 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
2Co 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
2Co 4:9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
2Co 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
2Co 4:11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
2Co 4:12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
2Co 4:13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;
2Co 4:14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.
2Co 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
2Co 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
2Co 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
2Co 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
As we now partake of the Bread and Wine, this symbol of our Lordís body which knew no sin, we have the opportunity to examine ourselves, to consider our lives in comparison to the Lord Jesus Christ, and to renew our conviction and determination to become more like him.
We need to remember the words that were spoken to Paul when the Lord said
My dear Brethren and Sisters, I pray that this week, we may all grow closer to our God and his son, and that we may endure what ever sufferings that we may be experiencing with a little more joy and thanksgiving, for we have such an amazing hope to look forward to.
2Co 12:9, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. And our response needs to be like Paulís response - Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2Co 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.