– We Shall Be Like Him –
his resurrection Jesus was not LIMITED to the fleshly realm, but was
raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible,
not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand
by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from
their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. Then their eyes were
opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight.
that, He appeared in a different form to two of them while they
were walking along on their way to the country.
resurrection was totally unique in history and nature. He was the ONLY
one the Scriptures ever promised would NOT suffer corruption i.e., see
decay. His resurrection though touching the physical was primarily
"covenantal" in nature.
the Christ would suffer, that He would be
the first to rise from the dead,
and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles."
know Jesus WAS NOT the first to rise "physically" from the dead. His
resurrection though indeed physical was vastly different than any prior
or since, for Christ's resurrection was beyond the physical, it was
covenantal and permanent. Yet in this very real sense Jesus WAS the
first to rise from the dead, for He had to rise physically to fulfill
the Scriptures, being the "natural" testimony of such
fulfillment – no other person's resurrection was the promise of
power of the resurrection initiated the restoration of the Presence of
God to man, healing the spiritual-relational separation [true death] of
lost humanity – humanity was brought back into covenant with God. And it
was in that time-frame, the "this generation" era that his "soon
to be" Parousia would consummate the work of the Cross; the
Cross-Parousia event being the book-ends of God's final redemptive act
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet
what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him,
because we will see Him just as He is.
According to John it was "not yet apparent what they should be."
It would be presumptuous to ASSUME he was speaking of physical
resurrection in this verse, considering the post resurrection
manifestations so many witnessed – they knew what Jesus was like
– [Lk 24:31, 35-43; Jn 20:24-29; 21:1-14; 1Cor 15:5-8].
There were numerous witnesses: Paul on the road to Damascus encountered
a very different Jesus [in form] than did Thomas. Paul speaking said: "we
[Paul and his audience] now know Christ no longer
after the flesh" 2Cor 5:16. Seeing Him as He is
speaks of them, the first century first-fruit saints,
experiencing their "GLORIFIED" Lord in His coming [Mt 16:27-28],
and subsequently sharing in that glory [Rom 8:18]. All are raised
up in death into that same presence of God, as Paul says: "from glory
to glory" 2Cor 3:18. Yet this is not something to be awaited,
it is entered upon even now, from the moment one comes to the revelation
of their covenant relationship with God, through faith in Christ.
Jn 17:1, 5, 22, 24
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and
said: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also
may glorify You… And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself,
with the glory which I had with You before the world was… And
the glory which You gave Me I have
given them, that they may be one just as We are one:
"Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I
am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved
Me before the foundation of the world.
in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired
among all those who believe, because our testimony among you
Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in
Thus "…we shall be like Him for, we shall see
Him as He is" [1Jn 3:2] speaks of the glorified Christ and
the glory that the first-fruits saints would thus experience in His
Parousia when the Old Covenant was finally done away and the New
Covenant fully realised.
further interest and note was the 1st century Jewish
concept of resurrection. The Jews had a penchant for all things
literal – even the disciples [Jn 6:15; Act 1:6]. Apart
from the sceptical denials of the secular ruling class of Sadducees, the
fundamental Jewish expectation of Jesus' day was that of a fully
literal, creaturely, this body back into this world physical
resurrection; as is obvious from the Sadducees' question [Mk
12:23]. And clearly this Jewish expectation was not unfounded:
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who
had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it
was said, "In Isaac your seed shall be called," concluding that God
was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also
received him in a figurative sense.
British biblical historian and scholar N.T. Wright notes:
good creational monotheists, mainline Jews were not hoping to escape
from the present universe into some Platonic realm of eternal bliss
enjoyed by disembodied souls after the end of the space-time universe.
If they died in the fight for the restoration of Israel, they hoped not
to 'go to heaven', or at least not permanently, but to be raised to new
bodies when the kingdom came, since they would of course need new bodies
to enjoy the very much this-worldly shalom, peace and prosperity
that was in store.
Wright: The New Testament And The People Of God p. 286
very physical and literal creaturely bodily resurrection
fulfilled this very Jewish expectation [Lk 24:36-38; Jn 20:20, 27].
Again, life after death or as N.T. Wright says: "life
after life, after death" i.e.,
resurrection life, for
the Jew was all about bodily resurrection
back into this
life, into this world, never to die again – this Jesus
fulfilled [Act 13:33-35]. Without doubt, Jesus was
resurrected back into this
world – not Heaven. True, post resurrection he
ascended into the heavens, but after his death and burial he was
raised up to life "on the third day" [Act 10:40; 1Cor 15:4]
back into this creation, to which Scripture attests – many gave
Christ's resurrection was wholly and solely unique –
never to see decay [Act 2:31;
Psa 16:10], and cannot be said to be the primer for any
subsequent "physical" resurrection.
already stated; the Biblical text clearly makes evident that Jesus was
in fact NOT the first to experience physical resurrection from
biological death – which indicates that rejuvenated physicality
is not the true essence of what resurrection was all about – though in
Jesus' case his literal bodily resurrection was the sign and testimony
to his followers that "He ever lives to make intercession for them"
[Heb 7:25]. He was in fact, the first to rise up out from
among the dead [Act 26:23; Col 1:18; Rev 1:5] of Old Covenant
Israel, into New Covenant Life – the true essence of resurrection.
Resurrection was all about covenant renewal and covenant transition –
the passing of the Old Covenant age by that which was perfect, the New
Covenant world of righteousness in Christ [2Pet 3:13].
subsequent resurrection/s could not and cannot be said to be like
his, IF by resurrection is meant the physical reanimation or
rejuvenation of the body back into
as per Jesus' resurrection. Paul clearly shows us this:
For if we have been united together in the likeness of His
death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His
Further, it becomes obvious then that going to heaven when you die
was NOT the focus of Christ's resurrection – but rather the
restoration of man to God in this life, in this world, right
where Jesus was raised to newness of life. His resurrection, "according
to the power of an endless life" [Heb 7:16] was a testimony
and declaration that He was "the Son of God with power"
through the Spirit [Rom 1:4], and then entering the heavens
himself, cleansing it on our behalf [Heb 9:23-24], that we in
this life might enter before Him.
The bodily death that Jesus died was a death to
sin, not to biological death [Rom 6:10]. It was the
precursor of his ability to dethrone the power of sin, stripping it bare
in defeat [1Cor 15:56]. Jesus came "that he might put away
sin by the sacrifice of himself" [Heb 9:26]. In
contradistinction to the covenantal death [relational death] Adam
died in the garden, Jesus promised: "If anyone keeps my word, he
shall never see death" [Jn 8:51]. When Jesus proclaimed: "I
am the resurrection…" [Jn 11:25], the last thing he was
referring to was any notion of physicality – resurrection was and is so
In not perceiving the covenantal reality
of 'The Resurrection' some may bemoan "where then is our hope!?"
– to which I must reply – Our hope has been fulfilled, mankind has been
redeemed and restored back to God; Heaven was never in doubt,
only "self-righteous religion" ever said it was. John's clarion call to
the first-fruit saints "…we shall be like Him…" was to confirm to
them that they would share in the glories of the soon to be fully
accomplished New Covenant – what Jesus had established IN His
Ministry, and ratified THROUGH His Cross, was consummated
AT His Parousia.