2002-10-15 - Revivification
1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first.
If you like to work with terms you know that vivification refers to the process of sanctification in our lives as we live more to Christ and die to self. Revivification is something different. Revivification refers to the resurrection. There are several places in Scripture where we see a bodily resurrection and Christ even calls Himself the, "resurrection and the life," (John 11:25), but what I have in mind today is the final resurrection when the dead in Christ shall rise.
I am not going to play "TV preacher" and pretend that I have all the answers on the resurrection. I am not going to pretend that I know all about how it will look and when it will come and profess where all the signs point to "soon". I have read enough history to know that Christians have been saying "soon" and pointing to the signs that prove "soon" since 1 Thessalonians was written. In regard to the manner of the resurrection we must confess that we know very little. Human speculations are mere guesses.
In truth, and like any other issue, we are left to what the Bible says. Scripture teaches that God's call gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist, Romans 4:17. Christ, who is God, claims in John 6:39, "And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day." Taken together we see that the resurrection of the dead is something that involves the Trinity. This makes it an awesome act. The verse we started with tells us it has to do with the second coming of Christ. This is backed up by 1 Corinthians 15:23. The righteous will be raised first.
Practically it is hard to say much about the resurrection because we are on the other side of death. However, as much as the resurrection is worth living for, it is also worth dying for. I will never forget, as a young teenager, attending the internment of a body after a funeral and hearing the pastor say, "The ground upon which you stand is resurrection ground." That is an awesome thought. In the resurrection we participate in the glory of God. In the resurrection we will become like Christ (1 Corinthians 15:44). The resurrection will be our true liberation from sin. And while Scripture speaks in many places of how we are different from the angels in heaven, it also tells us that because of the resurrection, in Luke 20:39, that we shall be like the angels also.
There is clearly some relation between the earthly body and the resurrection body in Scripture. The early church father Origen and others have said that appearance is part of that. Many others have said that it is only the survival of the individuality, or the essence of nature, that continues. There are many views on this and that is why I have said above that I will not pretend to know all the in's and out's of this topic.
Here is what I do know...As I said above the resurrection is worth living for. It is worth sacrificing for. It is heaven, in truth, that we are living for. The resurrection is, as it were, our "beam up" to heaven. This revivification is what we long for. Right now we are living towards vivification, seeking to be holy, and live in holiness before the Lord, but what we really live for is heaven and heaven comes in our revivification.
Soli Deo Gloria,