CATECHESIS

Or

Scriptural Instruction on Mortality,

Immortality, and Judgement

By Dr. John Thomas

 

"This is Eternal Life, to know the only true Deity, and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent." -John 17:3

 

1.      What was "the first man Adam," and where did he come from?

He was dust "formed into a living soul," and came "out of the ground." -(Gen. 2:7; 3:19.)

2.      What does Paul term "a living soul?"

       "A natural body:" soma psuchikon. -(1 Cor. 15:44,45.)

3.      What does Paul term a body, or nature, that comes out of the earth?

His words, in 1 Cor.15:47, are ek ghes choikos, "out of the earth, EARTHY."

4.      What does experience teach are the characteristics of a body, or nature, created out of the dust of the earth?

That the earthy body is corruptible, without honour, or "vile," weak, and natural.

5.      Was the earthy body of the first man before he sinned like what experience teaches us our bodies are?

Paul, speaking of Adam at the epoch of his creation, says, "As the earthy, such are they also that are earthy," or earth-born (1 Cor.15: 48.): hence his earth-born body was capable of corruption, weak and natural, soulish or sensual; yet, as an earthy body, 'very good." -(Gen.1: 31.)

6.      Does the fact of a body, or bodies, many or few, being created out of dust some 6,000 years after the creation of the first man from dust, destroy the principle contained in Paul's words, "out of the earth, earthy?"

Certainly not: time works no change in the principles of the Deity.  Hence the new creations of dust, when they "come forth" from the earth to judgment, are "earthy, " and being earthy, their earthiness is corruptible, honourless, weak, and soulish or sensual.

7.      If all come forth from graves "earthy bodies," do they come forth to one and the same end?

No; some come forth to justification of life; and others of them to condemnation. - John 5:29.)

8.      What causes this divergence of results?

The accounts rendered by each class at the judgment-seat of Christ. 

Those who, in the present state, have become saints, but, instead of patiently continuing in well-doing, and so seeking for glory, honour, incorruptibility and life, (Rom. 2:7), have turned aside to "live after the flesh, shall die," and "reap corruption" (Rom. 8:13; Gal. 6:8); while those saints who "walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit," "shall not come into condemnation; but of the Spirit shall reap everlasting life." (Rom. 8:1,13; Gal. 6:8.)

9.      What is MORTALITY?

An earthy body in living action; or life manifested through an earthy body; and therefore from constitution of the body, terminable life.

10.  Does mankind in particular stand related to any other kind, or sort, of body or nature, than to the earthy?  If so, what is it?

Yes, a portion of mankind is related to what Paul terms the spiritual body, or "quickening spirit." -(1 Cor. 15:44, 45.)

11.  Where does the spiritual body come from?

"Out of heaven;" ex ouranou; "the Second Man is the Lord from heaven." -(1 Cor. 15:47.)

12.  Does not the spiritual body come out of the grave?

How is that possible, in view of Paul's principle, that what comes “out of the earth is earthy,” not spiritual; and that the spiritual body is "our house, which is FROM HEAVEN?" -(2 Cor. 5:2.)

13.  Is there any principle involved in the development of the spiritual body? and if so, what is it?

There is: as contained in the words, "that is not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward, that which is spiritual." -(1 Cor. 15:46.)

14.  What is to be understood by this?

The meaning obviously is, that in the development of a spiritual body there must FIRST be an earthy body as a BASIS for the spiritual.  A man must first exist, before the tailor can make a gentleman of him by clothing him in broadcloth.

15.  But could not the Deity make a spiritual body in the grave, and bring it forth a finished creation?

There is nothing impossible with Him.  The question, however, is not what He can or cannot do; but about what He has revealed He will do, and upon what principles He will develop His work.  According to the principles Paul has laid down, the spiritual body cannot come out of the earth.  It must come "out of heaven."

16.  Why must an earthy body be first formed?

Because of the existence of an earthy body in a previous state.  To restore a person, who has no present existence, to identify him with a former self,

he must be created anew after the old model, and be impressed with the mental and moral characteristics thereto belonging.

17.  What is that which comes "out of heaven?"

All-subduing energy, or power, (Philip.3:21), styled in Rom.8:11, "Spirit of the Father."

18.  When this power operates upon an earthy body, or basis, what is the result?

"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye," it changes the "vile" or earthy basis, or body, into a like form with the body of Christ's glory; in other words, it transforms the earthy body into a spiritual body; which becomes thus "a house which is from heaven."

19.  What are the characteristics of the spiritual body?

It is incorruptible, glorious, powerful, and immortal "flesh and bones." -(1 Cor. 15:42,43; Luke 24:39; Eph. 5:30.)

20.  What is IMMORTALITY?

Incorruptible body in living action; or life manifested through an incorruptible body.  The Deity, who is the life, is the only being in the universe who has it underived from anything exterior to Himself. -(1 Tim. 6:16.)

21.  What is the relation of the resurrection-earthy body to the resurrection-spiritual body?

Its relation is that of a "terrestrial" inferior body to a "celestial" superior body; bearing a similar relation the one to the other, that the acorn does to the oak.

22.  What is the transition from the lower terrestrial body to the higher celestial, or heavenly, termed?

It is an ascent, in which the subject of the ascension is exalted and "RAISED" from the one to the other. –(John 19:17.)

23.  What was the Body that came out of Joseph’s sepulchre?

The same that was crucified, died, and was buried there -"out of the earth, earthy." An earthy body is not consubstantial with the Father, who is Spirit.  At the emergence from the tomb, there was inequality of substance between the Father and the Son.

24.  What was necessary in order to remedy this imperfection?

It was necessary that the Body which had come forth, and which is the example that illustrates "the Way," should be "made perfect" by ascending to the Father, in the twinkling of an eye.

25.  Are the ascent and the assumption of Jesus the same?

No; they occurred forty days apart.  The assumption of Jesus was the taking of him up into heaven, where he now is. -(Acts 1: 1 I.)

26.  What did the crucified body become on its instantaneous ascent to the Father, on the third day?

It became "the last Adam for a spirit-imparting life." -(1 Cor. 15:45.) He was "made both Lord and Christ." -(Acts 2:36.) He became "the Lord from heaven." -(1 Cor. 15:47.) "The Lord the Spirit"-(2 Cor. 3:17); and "the exact likeness of the Father's substance." -(Heb. 1:3.)

27.  What is it to be "clothed upon with the house which is from heaven?"

To be "swallowed up of life."

28.  At what time does the swallowing-up of life occur?

After the coming forth of the earthy body from the grave, and after it has subsequently passed the scrutiny of the judgment.

29.  What does Paul say it is that, after coming forth from the grave, is swallowed up of life?

"THE MORTAL"-to thneton: his words are, "that the Mortal might be swallowed up of life." -(2 Cor. 5:4.)

30.  By what other form of sound words does he express the same thing? 

By the words in 1 Cor. 15:53, "this corruptible must put on incorruption, and THIS MORTAL (to thneton touto) must put on immortality:" incorruption and immortality are vestments to be put on to a corruptible and mortal thing.

31.  What is "the mortal" and "the corruptible" he refers to in these texts?

It is not to dust and ashes in the grave, for they are neither corruptible nor mortal.  He refers to what he plainly expresses in Rom. 8:1 1, where he says "The Spirit of Him who raised the Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal bodies:" ta thneta somata.  Dust and ashes resulting from decomposition, are not mortal bodies.

32.  Has the aforesaid promise to the saints in Rome, of quickening their mortal bodies, ever been fulfilled?

Instead of their mortal bodies having been "quickened," they paid the debt of nature, and have been dead ever since.

33.  Where are the mortal bodies of the saints to whom Paul wrote?

There are no such bodies in existence, upon the earth or under it.  The mortal bodies to whom Paul wrote are now no bodies, and nowhere.  There is nothing left of them but dust and ashes, and their record written in the Lamb's book of life. -(Mal. 3:16; Rev. 21:27.)

34.  Hath the promise failed, then? if not, what must ensue to make its fulfilment possible?

The Roman saints must be recreated from the dust, and come forth with the same kind of bodies that were laid in the grave, namely, with earthy bodies.

Being earthy bodies as they were when Paul wrote to them, that part of their number which, at the judgment-seat of Christ (see Rom. 14:10, 12; 2 Cor. 5:10) in the account rendered, shall be able to make it appear that they have "walked after the Spirit," will be "quickened;" but those of them who have "lived after the flesh," (and many we know do this, who profess to be saints,) we remain earthy bodies, as they came forth, and "die" a second time, and "reap corruption of the flesh." -(Rom. 8:13; Gal. 6:8.)

35.  What is it for a living, earthy body to be "quickened?"

It is for "the life of Jesus to be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” -(2 Cor. 4:10, ll.) That is, for those saints "who are alive and remain for the presence of the Lord, to be changed in a moment." -(1 Cor. 15: 51, 52; 1 Thess. 4:17.) It is a change of body, nature, or substance, by the transforming power of Spirit, which makes the earthy, living body so intensely vivescent, that all its earthy properties are “swallowed up," or obliterated; in other words, its earthiness is superseded by incorruptible, glorious, powerful, and deathless consolidated spirit.  This being the result of the energy of Christ, "who is our life," "the Lord from heaven," the body into which the earthy body is transformed by quickening, is styled "the house which is from heaven."

36.  Seeing that Jesus came forth from among the dead, why is he styled "the Second Man, the Lord from heaven?"

The earthy body that came forth from the tomb, was not "the Lord from heaven." The Lord from heaven was the Father, by whose Spirit the earthy body was anointed with incorruption, power and deathlessness, in its instantaneous transformation or ascent into the Divine Nature; and by which it was "made Lord and Christ."

37.  What relation did the first man sustain to mortality and immortality? 

That of a candidate for the one or the other.  If obedient to the law, he would obtain the right to eat of the tree of life, and live forever. -(Gen. 3:22; Rev.22:14.) If disobedient, he would incur the penalty of the law, which consigned him to the dust from which he was taken. -(Gen 2:17; 3:19.)

38.  Having come under the penalty of the law, when did it begin to take effect?

After he had given account of himself at the judgment which sat upon his case, and sentence of death was pronounced upon him.

39.  What is DEATH?

The cessation of the life of an earthy body.

 

40.   What is CORRUPTION?

The returning of a lifeless earthy body to its primeval dust.

41.   If the first man by obedience had obtained a "right" to immortality, when would he have realized “the gift?”

After giving account of himself at the tribunal of the Life-giver, and receiving permission to eat of the tree of Lives.

42.   What effect would the eating from the tree of life have produced upon his earthy body?

The effect produced by quickening, has already been stated in answer to Question 35.

43.   Does this order of things, in regard to the first man, vary in relation to his posterity who may hereafter be re-created from the dust?

Not in the least.  They come forth earthy bodies; they then appear at the judgment seat of the Spirit; they there give an account of themselves to Christ, who, according to the account rendered, sentences them to life, or condemns them to 'fiery indignation" (Heb. 10:27), death, and corruption.

44.   What follows the pronunciation of the sentences according to the verdicts rendered?

The execution of the sentences pronounced.  The righteous saints have "the Father's Name written upon their foreheads" in being quickened (Rev. 3:12; 14:1); the others continue bound hand and foot in their primeval earthiness, are exiled from the King's presence, and driven into the darkness of the outer Babylonish world, then still subject to "the Devil and his angels," -(Matt. 25:30, 41; 22:13); where, in the judgments by which the Beast, False Prophet, kings of the earth, and their armies, are destroyed, they are subjected to the punishments decreed, and which end in the corruption of "THE SECOND DEATH." -(Rev.19:19, 20; 20:15.)

45.   But if a man believe the gospel of the kingdom of the Deity and Name of Jesus Christ, and upon this belief have been duly immersed, is he not  "IN CHRIST JESUS," and therefore free from all liability to condemnation?

Such a person is, without question, "in Christ Jesus;" and, on being introduced into him, the sinner, who out of Christ is "condemned already" (John 3:18), passes from that condemnation, and comes under the sentence to "justification of life." -(Rom. 5:18; 8:1.) Being "purged from his old sins" (2 Pet. 1:9), he is no longer liable to punishment on their account; he has "passed from death unto life," in the sense of having obtained a "right to eat of the tree of life, and to enter through the gates into the city," -(Rev. 22:14.) But Paul teaches that this right may be forfeited by saints; and that persons in Christ Jesus will be condemned if they walk after the flesh; for, in writing to saints, he says, "If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die. " -(Rom. 8:13.)

46.  But does not Paul say that "there is now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus?" How, then, can there be condemnation to any such in a judgment?

Such quotation, as used in this question, is "handling the word of God deceitfully," and making the apostle stultify himself.  When the whole verse is quoted, it is seen to contain two statements: first, that there is no condemnation to them in Christ Jesus who walk after the Spirit; and, second, that there is condemnation to them in Christ Jesus who walk after the flesh. -(Rom 8:1.)

47.  What is to be understood by Rom. 14:10, in connection with 2 Cor. 5:10, in reference to the judgment-seat of Christ?

In Rom. 14:10, the apostle says to the saints, including himself, "We must all stand before the judgment-seat (bema, not thronos) of Christ." If it be asked, what are they to stand there for? he answers in 2 Cor. 5:10, saying, "For it is necessary that we all be made manifest before the judgment-seat of Christ." They stand there to be made manifest; that is, for it there to be made known whether in their former life they "walked after the flesh" or "walked after the Spirit."

48.  How is this manifestation to be made?

"Whatsoever doth make manifest is light." -(Eph. 5:13.) The light which manifests character at the tribunal, is the account which every one will give of himself; for, says Paul, "Every tongue shall confess to the Deity, -every one of us shall give account of himself to Him." -(Rom. 14:11,12.)

49.  Why are the respective classes of character to be made manifest before the judgment-seat of Christ?

"That every one may receive things according to what he has done, whether good or bad." -(2 Cor. 5:10.)

50.  Through what medium are the things to be received?

"Through the body," dia tou somatos, (2 Cor 5:10): the man who hath done well, will receive "glory, honour, incorruptibility, and life eternal;" but he that hath done bad, will remain an earthy body, and through it receive "indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish." Thus, "the Deity renders to every man according to his deeds." -(Rom 2:6-9).

51.  What is to be understood by "the Deity justified by the Spirit,” in 1 Tim. 3:16?

To be "justified by Spirit" is the second item of the "GREAT MYSTERY OF GODLINESS." The flesh in or through which the Deity was manifested was, for the brief space of thirty-three years, inferior to the angelic nature, which is Spirit. 

It had been “purified” by the sprinkling of its own blood on the cross; it came forth from the tomb an earthy body, which, in order to become Spirit, and so "equal to the angels," had to be "justified," rectified, made perfect," or quickened, "by Spirit." (See answer to No. 35.) The flesh of manifestation, justified by Spirit, is styled by Paul in Rom. 1:4, pneuma hagiosunes. ”Spirit of holiness,” or spirit-nature, which is essentially holy.  The Jesus-Body was "justified by spirit" on being raised from the earthy nature to the Divine, by ascending to the Father on the third day (see answers to Nos. 24, 25, 26, 22; Heb 2:7,9) and, forty days afterwards, was received up again in glory. -(1 Tim. 3:16, John 17:5; 3:13.)

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