The Rapture of the Church: The Resurrection Body Lesson # 7
The rapture is something every church age believer should be eagerly anticipating because at that time they will receive their resurrection bodies.
Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven—and we also await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 3:21 who will transform these humble bodies of ours into the likeness of his glorious body by means of that power by which he is able to subject all things to himself. (NET)
In Philippians 3:21, Paul teaches the Philippians that the Lord Jesus Christ will transform the believer’s humiliating into conformity with His glorious resurrection body.
Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship exists from eternity past in the realm of the heavens, out from which also we ourselves at the present time are eagerly anticipating as Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ 21 who will cause our humiliating body to be outwardly transformed to be identical in essence with His glorious body because of the power that will enable Him to marshal all things created to Himself. (My translation)
The expression “to be outwardly transformed” is the third person singular future active indicative form of the verb metaschēmatizō (μετασχηματίζω), which refers to the Lord Jesus Christ causing the believer’s physical body to be transformed in outward appearance into a resurrected body at the rapture of the church.
Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines the verb transform: (1) To change in form, appearance, or structure, metamorphose (2) To change in condition, nature, or character; convert (3) To change into another substance; transmute.
If we were to paraphrase this definition, we would say that the church age believer’s physical body: (1) Will change in form, appearance, or structure, metamorphose at the rapture or resurrection of the church. (2) Will change in condition, nature, character; convert at the rapture or resurrection of the church. (3) Will change into another substance; transmute at the rapture or resurrection of the church.
The predictive future tense of this verb expresses the certainty that the believer will have his physical body transformed into a resurrection body that is patterned after the resurrection body of the Lord Jesus Christ’s resurrection body.
The active voice of this verb is a causative active voice where the Lord Jesus Christ as the subject is the cause or ultimate source of the transformation of the believer’s physical body into a resurrection body.
“Humiliating” is the noun tapeinosis (ταπείνωσις), which describes the believer’s physical body, which is mortal and refers to the state of humiliation that the believer experiences in his mortal body because it contains the old sin nature as a result of Adam’s original sin in the garden (R. 5:12; cf. 7).
The physical body of the believer is humiliating in comparison to the resurrection body and is being corrupted as a result of the old sin nature (Eph. 4:22) and is subjected to death (1 Cor. 15:42-44) and is thus mortal whereas the resurrection body is immortal.
The mortal body of the believer is governed by the old Adamic-nature whereas the resurrection body is governed by the new Christ-nature.
Christ crucified the old Adamic-nature at the cross (R. 6:6) and which Adamic sin nature tempts the soul to commit mental, verbal and overt acts of personal sin and produces evil (Col. 3:9).
The mortal body of the believer is in bondage to the sin nature (R. 7:14) and its actions can never please God and wars against the Spirit (R. 8:3; cf. Ga. 5:18-21).
“To be identical in essence” is the adjective summorphos (σύμμορφος), which is employed in an eschatological sense and is composed of the preposition sun, “with, together with,” and the noun morphe, “essence” and thus literally it means “having the same essence or nature,” or “identical in essence or nature.”
The believer’s resurrection body will not only look like the resurrection body of the Lord Jesus Christ but it will be in essence, identical to His, composed of flesh, bone and spirit and no blood because it will be minus the old sin nature.
It will be composed of the same molecular structure and will function in the same manner as the resurrection body of Christ, which He first modeled after His resurrection.
The resurrected body of the Lord Jesus Christ serves as the model for the resurrected body of the believer.
Every church age believer will receive a resurrection body at the rapture of the church (1 Cor. 15:50-58; 1 John 3:2).
In Philippians 3:21, “the power” is the noun energeia (ἐνέργεια), which refers to the divine omnipotence of God the Son.
The humiliating body of the believer will be outwardly transformed to be identical in essence to the glorified resurrected body of Christ at the rapture of the church by means of the omnipotence of God the Son.
The same power that raised the humanity of Christ from the dead will raise every church age believer from the dead at the rapture (Rom. 8:11).
Therefore, Philippians 3:21 teaches that the omnipotence of the Lord Jesus Christ will be responsible for the believer’s new resurrection body and that the believer’s physical body is a body of humiliation compared to the resurrection body which is called the “body of His glory” (Phil. 3:21).
The apostle Paul describes the nature of the resurrection body in 1 Corinthians 15:35-49.
1 Corinthians 15:35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 15:36 Fool! What you sow will not come to life unless it dies. 15:37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare seed—perhaps of wheat or something else. 15:38 But God gives it a body just as he planned, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. 15:39 All flesh is not the same: People have one flesh, animals have another, birds and fish another. 15:40 And there are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. The glory of the heavenly body is one sort and the earthly another. 15:41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon and another glory of the stars, for star differs from star in glory. 15:42 It is the same with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. 15:43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 15:44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 15:45 So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living person”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 15:46 However, the spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and then the spiritual. 15:47 The first man is from the earth, made of dust; the second man is from heaven. 15:48 Like the one made of dust, so too are those made of dust, and like the one from heaven, so too those who are heavenly. 15:49 And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, let us also bear the image of the man of heaven. (NET)
1 Corinthians 15:52-53 teaches that the believer’s resurrection body will be an imperishable body and not like the one believer’s now have and will be immortal (1 Cor. 15:53).
The believer’s resurrection body is a result of our Lord’s victory over death at the cross (1 Cor. 15:57).
Our Lord delivered us from the fear of death (Heb. 2:14-15).
The believer in a resurrection body will no longer be able to sin because it will be minus the old sin nature which tempts the believer to commit acts of sin-mental, verbal and overt.
The resurrection body will be an eternal monument to the grace policy of God.
All church age believers will receive a resurrection body regardless of whether or not they were faithful in time.
The only requirement for receiving a resurrection body is believing on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.
Faith alone in Christ alone is the means of receiving a resurrection body.
It only takes one non-meritorious decision to receive a resurrection body.
The resurrection body will be totally governed by the Spirit, made alive and sustained by the eternal living power of the Spirit.
The resurrection body of the believer will have the same identical attributes and properties that the resurrection body of Christ has.
Paul uses the stellar universe analogy to illustrate the fact that there will be varieties of resurrection bodies in heaven (1 Cor. 15:40-41).
The resurrection body will be composed of flesh and bone and will not have blood as the physical body now has.
It will have a different molecular structure which will enable it to walk through walls as our Lord did in John 20:19.
It will be able to leave the earth vertically as our Lord did in Acts 1:9.
It will be able to travel through space in an instant and appear in heaven.
The believer will still be able to eat and drink in a resurrection body (Luke 24:42-43).
The resurrection body will never get tired or sick and will be minus the old sin nature. It will be a spiritual body with flesh and bones (1 Cor. 15:35-50).
The resurrection or “rapture” of the church will mark the permanent eradication of the sin nature from the existence of the believer and will be the completion of the believer’s deliverance from the sin nature as well as the believer’s sanctification.