On the Resurrection of the Body and the Beatific Vision

Dr. Jon Rainbow was a pastor and scholar who was a great encouragement to me in my preparation for the ministry. He wrote a fantastic book “The Will of God and the Cross” which answered RT Kendall’s claim that Calvin wasn’t the “Calvinist” of the later position taken by Dordt on limited atonement. Shortly after his death due to brain cancer, his wife Pat gave me a copy of his thoughts on the resurrection of the body and the hope that awaits the believer. His words have been an immense source of encouragement to me since that time and so I share a short selection here to encourage you, dear believer, of the glory that awaits us of beholding Christ face to face in the resurrection.

When I learned that I had cancer, it meant that what I need is the resurrection of the body. I knew this already, but now I knew it immediately, sharply, brilliantly, and gloriously. The world that God created is ours to posses and to enjoy. Right now it’s blighted by our sin, but II Peter promises that it will be cleansed and made new. We keep it, not the godless. We get to enjoy it, not the godless, they get only lake of fire and outer darkness. We get the world, the creation, the beauty, the light, the resurrection bodies. So… I want the world, the physical world, that is mine in Christ. I want the new heavens and the new earth, and I want the resurrection body as part of its glory. I don’t just want a soul, or even a soul floating in heavenly cloud, I want my body back, and I want the earth back. I want the spiritual and physical presence of Jesus Christ forever and ever. I want to be with him. I want to see him with my risen eyes, and I want to hear his voice with my glorified ears. I want him physically and spiritually and emotionally. I want to encounter him, body and soul, in the new creation. I want to touch him, in the body, I want a direct encounter—body, soul, and spirit emotions, with the risen Christ. I want the wicked gone forever, I want my sin gone forever, I want pain and weariness gone forever. Right now, since cancer, the overwhelming reality is weariness. But I want power, explosive, unending power of body and soul and emotion. I want to never be tired again. The body aches, and hurts and all around is sickness and pain and weakness and longing for life. But the hope of being absent from the body and present with the LORD is not the hope. The hope is the sound of the trumpet, the hope is the resurrection and victory, the hope is the possession of the world, the hope is not to be left behind. The godless will be left behind. The hope is to win, to conquer, the hope is the resurrection of the body, Christ’s body, and mine, and all who belong to Christ by faith and predestination.

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