by Oscar M. Baker
The congregation or church in the wilderness will have a resurrection. Our Lord said that the gates of hell will not prevail against it, that when He calls they will come forth. You can read about this hope in John 11, I Corinthians 15, I Thessalonians 4 and others. All these will be raised when the King comes to setup His kingdom.
But some have a question concerning the church of the dispensation of the mystery. Some even think that each member has a resurrection right after death and is taken to heaven.
We are warned about false teaching that the resurrection is already past (2 Timothy 2:18) John declared that no one had yet ascended up to heaven except the Lord, and this was sometime after Acts 28:28. (John 3:13)
Those who think resurrection and being raised to heaven come immediately after death have failed to take into account some things that are most important. In the first place wicked principalities and powers and angels still hold forth where the church is to rule. They have not been cast out yet, so the place has not been prepared. They will be cast out at the beginning of Israel’s tribulation.(Revelation 12)
Also they forget that our Lord is not yet manifested in the heavens, but is invisible so far (1Timothy 1:7). Even while living here in this sinful world, the members of the body have a life that is hid in God, not made manifest (Colossians 3:3). And at the last Paul himself was awaiting his departure, his analysis or return to the dust. Of course the believer will not be conscious of any time lapse between the departure and the resurrection for it will be like sleep.
Our great comfort comes in Ephesians 1:19, 20. It is the prayer of the apostle that we might know the exceeding greatness of God’s power to usward who believe. And what was this power? It was resurrection power which raised Christ from the dead and took Him into the heavenly places. That same power is to us who believe (not the unbeliever). That same power will someday raise us from the dead and actually and bodily seat us with Christ at the right hand of God. Potentially this is true even now. For the promise is sure. (Ephesians 2:6)
It can be seen that there is more to this power than mere bringingto life again. And that simple fact is the hope of Israel, i.e. being made alive here on this earth again. With all science and works of men, they have sent a man to the moon which is very near the earth. But God, in His mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and set him at His right hand in heavenly places, is going to make alive a whole church someday and transport it to heavenly places far above all principality and power. No man-made rocket will accomplish the feat of resurrection.
When in the fulness of time the heavens are cleaned and made ready, then the church of the mystery will be placed there and manifested with Christ, sharing with His glory. Keep in mind Colossians 3:1-4. It is a help in dark times. Also it is the prayer of Paul that we should know this. (Ephesians 1:15-23)
by Oscar M. Baker