Immortality 1st and 2nd class
Many Christians resist, but a few of the studious are seeing that it was not necessary for Jesus Christ to come to earth, in physical form as a man born of woman, in order for man to gain preservation for his soul. Practice under the Mosaic Law, if followed faithfully, was quite adequate and effective to accomplish "soul saving " (Lev. 17:ll, Ezek. 18:4). Jesus came and sacrificed to bring about a new and improved covenant. The old contract was washed out by his death. He was the Yahweh of the Old Testament who made the earlier covenant, and the old covenant could not be valid after His death. Jesus came to offer undying and also glorified life for the physical body - added to preservation for the soul.
But in the Old Testament times, was it not possible to have undying life in the physical body on earth? Yes, and no! "If you obey all My commandments, I will leave none of the diseases of Egypt upon you. I am the Lord who heals you." Literally, "I am the ever-being One who is your doctor." (Ex. 15:26, Jer. 7:23). Is death not a disease? Is it well with anyone who is dying? God does not change. God does not play favorites. God took Enoch without his seeing death, because Enoch walked with God. He also took Elijah. Elisha saw him go and others searched diligently and unsuccessfully for his body afterward. But the Law alone was not strong enough. It did not have the strength to keep the wayward and untrained children of Israel from violating the rules of good health. So they died.
Jesus again confirmed this in His statements, made before His resurrection. He said He is the Truth and He is the Life. Through David, He said the Law is the Truth and the Law is Life (John 14:6, Ps. 119:142-144, Ps. 19:9). And He also said that the man who continues to feed on Him, the Word of God, would not die at all; as did those Israelites who ate the manna in the wilderness (John 6:57-58). Indisputably, He was talking about physical death. Then in just a few months, Jesus made His sacrifice, took on His glorified body, and made His glorified seed available to all who would receive it. In that transfer, He established a nucleus of righteousness within a man's heart and soul which could grow and accomplish all that which the law alone could not do (1 Pet. 1:23; Ro. 6:23). Further, Jesus made available an empowerment by an inflow from His Holy Spirit which would instantaneously cut away, purge, and burn out all vestiges of temptation from the soul, as by a consuming fire (Mt. 3:10-12, 7:17-19, Co. 2:11-12) - .instantaneously at the moment of a true baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Therefore, we know from the Word of God that physical immortality on the earth plane is available to whoever will prepare himself and qualify. We know also that there is a celestial immortality available through a glorified body just like the glorified body Jesus Christ now has (Phil 3:21). We know that Jesus had an earth plane immortal body before He was glorified (John 10:18). We also know that Jesus is the pattern for every man to follow, for He is the Way. There is no other way to the Father except by His example.
But is it required that each man gain an immortal physical body on the earth plane before he can qualify for an immortal glorified body, which can operate in either the celestial or the terrestrial? The answer is emphatically, NO! But how is that true, when Jesus is the pattern? Let's not fracture the Word of God. Let's be sure to understand that man must live by the wholeness of the Word of God. If we lift out verses or even chapters we like, to support ideas we wish to prove as fact, we endanger our Rock foundation upon which we are told to stand for protection against deceits and error.
The wages of sin is death (Ro. 6:23, John 8:21). Therefore the wages of no sin must be no death, or immortality. It should be obvious that the overcoming of sin is necessary, both for immortality on the earth plane and for immortality in the glorified state. The absence of sin is vital for each type of immortality. If we limit the analysis momentarily to only this overcoming and sinlessness, there are two classes of Christians who can qualify for immortality . The believer in the 30-fold estate coming toward Christ is not one of these classes. He is on his way toward Jesus and will not be cast out as long as he continues to come toward Him, but he has not arrived at Jesus or in Him. Jesus has yet no place within the believer in the 30-fold. (John 6:37).
But when the immortal seed of Jesus is planted within the soul, there is no way for that one to be separated - that one is then in the 60-fold estate (John 10:28). With that core of righteousness in place permanently, there is continuous impelling into righteousness. With proper environment, the seed will grow rapidly and it can only grow into what it is - righteousness, which is the character and nature of the Father-donor. The earnest and diligent 60-fold Christian can then attain a sinless life by rigid self-discipline, conforming to the rules of good health for spirit, soul and body. There is a nucleus within to build on and it is very adequate. The 60-fold Christian can immediately begin to live his sin-free life as progressive revealing is received.
Water baptism in the name or nature of Jesus Christ was to picture that which has already been experienced, a washing away of the old sin life and a rising up in sin-free life (1 Pet. 3:20-21). As long as one remains in the 60-fold estate, not progressing to the next higher fold, he cannot receive a glorified body, but he has the potential of experiencing a change in the blood chemistry within his body which brings undying earthly life, such as Jesus had before the crucifixion.
Earthly immortality is for the purpose of extending life until the Holy Spirit Baptism with Fire is received, and its testing and proving completed. The next scheduled event beyond is translation into glorified bodies, with all others who have also made themselves ready. In this Age, there are only a few more years of opportunity. In the subsequent cycle of ages, thousands of years will pass before the next wave of glorification. In the meantime, the earth plane manifestation of immortality is the material equivalent of that on the spiritual plane. Earthly immortality develops into glorified immortality and removal of earth plane limitations.
Holy Spirit Baptism with Fire is also for the purpose of bringing about or accelerating a sinless living, through removal of all temptation. It brings an utter purging out of the soul with the "Fire" of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit baptism event with Fire opens the door to the 100-fold estate. The 100-fold estate participants will manifest God on earth. First, there is the necessary testing and proving of faithfulness to this trust of empowerment and release. Then one has to carefully continue in it until eventual change into a deathless glorified body at the Lord's scheduled time. The first "glorified body event" has been set at the blowing of the 7th Trumpet, 3-1/2 days after the Rev. 11 two witnesses begin their thunderous message to the world. The second event is precisely 1260 days after the first. The third will not be before the completion of the next "work week," of another 6000 years beyond the end of the Millennium.
Why did not Peter, Paul, and so many of the other worthies, gain the immortality for which they had as clear an opportunity as anyone later? The pattern of dramas acted out for our instruction show that of those who accepted much of the Word of God, only two adequately believed. In pattern repeat, two only emerged from wilderness travels and entered the Promised Land. Before Christ, it was Joshua and Caleb. In this age, there are again only two, the two witnesses of Rev. 11.
Absence of sin nets immortality, but there is earthly immortality and glorified immortality. More is involved than sinlessness. One in the 60-fold can gain sinlessness and sin-free immortality by disciplining himself and overcoming sinful pulls, but the desires and inclinations are still there. It is because they are mastered as they arise that the life is maintained in its sin-free status and immortality is gained and retained. His responses and actions are all sin-free, but the soul is not yet pure of pulls and desires. The human spirit under the guidance of the Holy Spirit is ruling, but inner contest continues . The 60-fold participant cannot attain to qualification for a glorified body as long as he remains in the 60-fold. Only the pure in heart, only the pure in soul may see God. Only souls are purged by the "fire" of a valid Holy Spirit Baptism can subsequently gain glorified bodies in which, and only in which they can stand before and see God.
But won't members of the 100-fold necessarily go through immortality in earthly bodies before immortality in glorified bodies? Not necessarily. In the 60-fold he must go through testing and proving whether he will consistently overcome all alien temptations and desires. Those are his portion in the 60-fold estate. But if he quickly moves on toward the higher fold, he then comes into a different class and handling. If he earnestly knocks in sincere dedication, beyond words which claim dedication to the Lord's purposes and goals, the door to the 100-fold will be opened to him. He can enter the 100-fold within just a few weeks after having become a 60-fold, though it takes many considerably longer to arrive at the dedication and earnest knocking that enable entrance.
Yet the Lord is faithful. He asks only that the 60-fold member remain in "Jerusalem," living in such a manner that He will be at peace with him constantly. But when the 60-fold person has advanced and entered the 100-fold, there is no purpose in testing him to see whether he will consistently master the temptations and desires which arise. They have already been cut off, burned out, and purged away. They are no longer there in his soul. If that one is close enough in time to the next scheduled translation, there is no real purpose in demonstrating immortality in an earth-limited body. Under the Lord's protection, he will continue to live in good health through to the translation event.
Indeed, if he should experience the change in his blood which shuts off deterioration, who would know it, even the one affected? Yet if the one truly in the 100-fold should fall short of believing for all that is in the Christ's plan for His children, and experience death physically, still he will be exposed to more and better instruction in the waiting place of Paradise. There he will be fitted to take on a glorified body in one of the subsequent translation events, and move up to be with the Lord in the New Jerusalem above. Similarly with one in the 60-fold who does not sufficiently believe for his immortality on earth. In the heavenly waiting place, after death, he too will receive the needed instruction, and will be fitted to return in a resurrection body which is deathless. Though limited to the earth plane, he will there progress into the 100-fold.
Today no truly 100-fold has to experience earthly immortality before experiencing glorified immortality. Today, earthly immortality is not a prerequisite for glorified immortality. This is part of the Good News for humankind throughout this age. Nevertheless, immortality of of first or second class should become the goal of every believer in Jesus Christ. Soul preservation is only a beginning, though it is an important step.
C. Gordon Wolcott
And He said to them, Be careful what you are hearing. The measure you give (in thought and study to truth you hear) will be the measure that comes back to you; and more will be given to you (who hear). For to him who has will more be given. From him who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away.