The Three - Body Resurrection Theory: A look at the Two Views of life after death, the one found in Scripture vs. the one Imported from Romanism and the Jewish Plato still heard in most Judeo-Christian Churches.
In evangelical Judeo-Christendom the continuing controversy about the present state and final resurrection of departed saints divides God's saints into two basic camps:
Camp "A": Those who hold that the answer is to be derived from the Scriptures alone, namely that the present state of all departed dead is a mystery-state of total unconsciousness, likened to sleep some 50 times in the Old Testament and 11 times in the New Testament; and that God will resurrect them all at the same time by the voice of Jesus, per John 5:28-29; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; 2 Corinthians 4:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:14; 2 Peter 3:13, and Revelation 20:11-15. Not until then will the saints of all ages be endowed with new bodies, and immortality with Christ forevermore. At the same time all others of mankind will also be raised to stand in Judgment before God's Throne and be sentenced to the Second Death never to be seen again, per Revelation 20:12-15; 21:7-8.
Camp "B": Consists of those who have been taught (and continue to accept) what is called the "traditional" or "orthodox" Judeo-Christian view that what we call "death" merely sheds the earthly body while the life of one's "immortal soul" continues unbroken in a new and temporary state; a state of conscious bliss with Jesus in heaven, or of conscious misery or torment in some kind of "hell," depending on one's previous behavior or state on earth; and that this temporary state of bliss or misery will come to an end on a "resurrection day" yet to come, a "day" whose sole purpose will be to unite each such "soul," after centuries of such bliss or misery, with its old earthly body but this time "changed." Per Job 14:14; 1 Corinthians 15:51; 2 Corinthians 5:1.
The "change" of body for the "good souls" will be to suit them for the New Heaven they will then inherit for eternity, and the change of body for those who were "bad" on earth (regardless of their behavior in the intermediate "hell" ever since?) will be to ensure that they will endure perpetual conscious torment in the "Real Hell," i.e., the Second Death to which they will be sentenced at God's Final Judgment Throne.
Those in Camp "B," are thus taught that the glorious Resurrection Day depicted in John 5:28-29; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 etc., is for the sole purpose of a "change of body," both for saints and sinners, each of which will have lived some 70 years on earth and as much as 7,000 years in the above "intermediate heaven or hell." Each will then continue thereafter in a suitable Third Body which God will design for a final state of that person.
In view of the above, it would be more truthful to entitle the future Resurrection Day as merely "Body Change Day," since the (supposed) immortal and transient soul in every body remains alive and unchanged from the moment of conception in the mother's womb, through two successive "body changes" until eternity!
The Essential Difference Between Camp "A" and Camp "B"
Camp "A" holds to a Two-Nature Two-Body view of the redeemed "man" from conception to eternity (i.e., "man" simply being the "soul" as defined in Genesis 2:7) namely,
1). A corrupt-natured person at birth, a "person" who ceases to live at death and whose body then decays or is consumed, and
2). The same person called to life "from the dust" on Resurrection Day, but there given (for the first time) immortal life in a new body endowed with a Christ-like nature, as promised in 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 and 2 Peter 1:4 (i.e., a divine nature, called "the new man," of which every saint gets a mere sample in this life, per Ephesians 4:24 and Colossians 3:10).
Camp "B" On the other hand, is taught to believe "Man" is an Immortal-Soul/Two-Nature/Three-Body creature arrived at by mixing the Jewish Platonic notions, Holy Scripture, and the Roman Creeds of the 4th and 5th centuries, which the "Great Reformers" unfortunately continued to venerate.
This resulted in the following mixture of truth and error that prevails to this day under the guise of "Judeo-Christian doctrine."
1). The thing called "man" in Genesis 1:26 was what God created from the "dust of the ground. Into the Original Adamic body God formed it and then "breathed" a "living soul," which was the real "person," a pre-existent conscious immortal being which departs to another realm whenever the body "dies?"
2). Adam and Eve were formed with sinless natures and perfect bodies (assumed from Genesis 1:31, but ignoring Jesus' plain teaching to the contrary in Matthew 7:17; 12:33; 15:18-19.
3). When Adam and Eve both disobeyed by eating the forbidden fruit, their bodies suddenly became "corrupt," i.e., changed into sinful Body #1, subject to decay and death (a noting contrary to Genesis 3:22); their natures ceased being sinless, i.e., became Sinful Nature #1; and their reproductive systems changed so that their new body and new nature would be reproduced in their children. Note again that none of this supported by the Genesis record, see not #2.
4). Though their bodies and their natures supposedly changed when they ate the forbidden fruit, their "immortal souls" (and those of their future children) remained immortal and incorruptible (a piece of foolishness imported from the Jewish Plato and heathendom)!
5). At Adam's death his ever-conscious immortal soul (which carried his "nature") flew away to some kind of never-never-land, where it received another suitable body (Body #2) to live in bliss from then until "Resurrection Day" provided he died a believer; but designed to live in misery if he had remained unrepentant when he died. And this would also be so for all his descendants, i.e., each would be born with an immortal soul and a Sinful Body #1 (like Adam and Body #2 until Resurrection Day (like that of the Rich Man in Hades, or of Lazarus in Abraham's bosom per Luke 16:22-23, some teach)!
6). Come "Resurrection Day" (of John 5:28-29), at Jesus' call all the immortal souls in Never-never-land (good and bad) return to receive a new body (Body #3). Those who had died repentant would receive again the Sinless Nature (supposedly) created in Eden, while their new Body #3 (perhaps the same as the Original Bodies given Adam and Eve, some teach!) would be suitable to eternal life forevermore in the New Heaven and New Earth then to be revealed (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21).
7). But on this same Resurrection Day for 1,000 years later, (some teach) those who had died unrepentant, and had been kept in misery (Body #2) in another part of Never-never-land, some for thousands of years, would now be fitted with a third sinful body (Body #3), this one designed by God to withstand perpetual torment in a Lake of Fire without being destroyed. There they would be sent after Judgment Day!
A Modern Example of Camp "B" Thinking
Those who may think the summation given above too far-fetched for sensible 20th century Christians, should consider the following example from the Roanoke Times of February 12/97. It is typical of what might be found on obituary pages (or even heard at "Christian" funerals) in America and even Britain every week.
"XXXXXX - In loving memory of Nxxx Fxxx Txxx. Today, one year ago, you went to be with the Lord. We've talked so many times of what it must be like for you in Heaven. You are walking, running, jumping, dancing, and doing all those things you could never do before. We have mixed feelings. We are so happy for you because we know you are so happy. But our hearts are broken because we miss you so...
Because of your life, we have seen other lives change, including ours. Not a day goes by that we don't see that Smile that touched our hearts...We know Heaven has been blessed by that smile...
We have a void in our hearts that can never be filled. XXXX, we miss you so very much, but we are happy for your new and perfect life with Jesus. We Love You! Mom, Dad $ Sis."
The "letter" is surely heart-touching in the bereavement expressed; and it is written with such evidence of genuine Judeo-Christian conviction that to question its truth on any point would only add further grief.
Yet we must remember the fact that the most noble and sincere utterances on earth may often be couched in wishful thinking-belief that something impossible is true simply because it is greatly desired or deeply believed. Thus the borderline between true faith and superstition becomes fuzzy, even though one must tread gently where broken hearts have not yet come to Biblical truth.
Consider then the six phrases in the above example shown in bold print:
1). "Went to be with the Lord;" surely one of the most frequent statements in Judeo-Christian funerals, supposedly condoned by 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23; yet literally forbidden by Acts 2:34; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 15:18, 52; John 5:28; 2 Corinthians 4:14, et al. The answer, of course, is that departed saints, being "asleep in Jesus" and sure of being "with the Lord" in person on Resurrection Day, can be spoken of as "with Him" figuratively now (just as a sleeping baby in the home is "with the mother" at all times. Yet very few pulpits have the will or the insight to make that distinction for fear of treading on cherished notions in the audience about departed loved ones.
2). "For you in Heaven" builds on "with the Lord" and adds the extra notion that prevails in Judeo-Christendom, that life after death will be "in Heaven." The New Testament however, clearly teaches it to be in a new heaven-and-earth world "wherein dwells righteousness" and this only after Resurrection Day, per 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 20-21.
3). "You are walking, running, jumping, dancing..." all clearly describe operations of a 2nd Body received immediately at death, while one's 1st Body is scarcely yet buried; and, if this is so, then the changed body promised to every saint on Resurrection Day (per 1 Corinthians 15:44-52; 1 Thessalonians 4) must be a 3rd Body, as mentioned earlier. And if so, what was wrong with the 2nd Body (supposedly based on 2 Corinthians 5:1 which is said to be "eternal in the heavens," and where does it go when a saint gets the 3rd Body which Jesus will call forth from the grave, per John 5:28-29.
4). "We know you are so happy" certainly implies belief in conscious presence with Jesus, rather than "asleep in Jesus" between death and Resurrection Day, as plainly taught in Job 14:12; 1 Corinthians 15:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:15.
5). "We know Heaven has been blessed by your smile" continues the delusion of phrases 3 and 4, adding the sentimental notion that the Heavenly Host is blessed by seeing all the happy saints there, arriving one by one as they die. The notion, of course, comes from hymn books but has no basis in Scripture.
6) "Your new and perfect life with Jesus" contains the implication that arriving in heaven at death, and there given a new body is the sum total of blessing promised in Scripture in the afterlife.
Why does such a notion subvert Biblical truth? Because it totally erases from God's Grand Plan for His saints namely the triumphant picture of 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 and of 2 Peter 3:13, and of the "New |Jerusalem adorned as a Bride" to be received by God's Son and indwelt forevermore by God the Father, per Revelation 20-21.
In short, then, such a moving obituary is as far from the wealth of truth given in Scripture as would be given us by reading about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. And it bespeaks a large fraction of Judeo-Christians today who live and worship and read their Bibles like children not yet matured.
A further tragedy in the above is the fact that so many otherwise mature Judeo-Christians who write this way are fully persuaded that their portrayal of the afterlife is totally Biblical, and that those who would gently enlighten them are to be shunned as dangerous heretics!
How To Reach Saints With Resurrection Truth
Among "evangelical Judeo-Christians" today, those we might find in Camp "A" are scarcely more than 1%, while those in Camp "B" (at first count) might be 99%. But of the latter we would also find that at least half would dismiss the subject as trivial or not worth studying, and most of the rest would refuse to discuss it because it was settled by the Judeo-Christian Church Creed, or by the "pastor's position on the subject," not to be questioned for fear of causing schism "in the body of Christ." In short then, only a few of the 99% might be willing to explore what Scripture has to say on the subject. This is a measure of the spiritual sickness of our time; a sickness identified in Scripture as that of the Laodicean Church to which Jesus wrote in Revelation 3.
But let us suppose a student in Camp "B" willing to study the question (and one in Camp "A" able, gracious, and patient to expound it). Where should such a dialogue begin?
1). Those indoctrinated in the View of Camp "B" are warned to shun those in Camp "A" as "soul-sleepers" (therefore suspect of being a Seventh Day Adventist or Jehovah's Witness, - horrors!). Therefore, the place to begin is to point out that both Camps hold one thing in common, namely, that the next conscious instant after death brings one face to face with Jesus. Therefore the only difference between the two Camps on this particular point is that:
(1) Those in Camp "B" are taught to think that at the point of death they do not really die but merely regain consciousness and suddenly find themselves.
(a) In "heaven" as it is now (where Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father making his enemies his footstool" per Psalm 110:1; Matthew 22:44; Hebrews 1:3), and
(b) "Clothed" in some kind of ethereal body (i.e., Body #2). This of course is what funeral sermons have taught them to expect, a body suitable to their temporary abode there, per 2 Corinthians 5:1-3, so as to be able to walk, speak, and hear Jesus and all the saints who have preceded them.
Our "Camp B' friends are also taught to expect that their time there "in heaven" may be many years, or just a few days, before the Great Trumpet sounds and Jesus announces the arrival of Body Resurrection Day. Then they think they must return to earth with Him to get their mouldy old bodies reconditioned into Body #3, suitable for the New Heaven and New Earth they are about to enter, Per 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 2 Peter 3:13 and Revelation 21).
2). Those in Camp "A," on the other hand, have learned from studying Scripture that
(a) They will continue wholly unconscious, from the moment of death, but in the perfect security of being "in the arms of Jesus" (Isaiah 40:11), "asleep in Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 4:14-15; 1 Corinthians 15:18), in "Abraham's bosom (Luke 16:22), or as Jesus himself put it, simply "asleep." (Mark 5:39, John 11:11).
(b) They will be awakened from that "sleep of death" (Psalm 13:3; Job 14:12) when Jesus calls them from "the grave," (i.e., "Hades"), on Resurrection Day, per John 5:28 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16).
(c) They will at the same instant find themselves "changed," per Job 14:14; 1 Corinthians 15:51, i.e., clothed in Body #2, immortal, incorruptible, "bearing the image of the heavenly" (1 Corinthians 15:49-53), and that
(d) They will then see Jesus in that first conscious instant after death (no matter how many "earth-years" may have passed); be welcomed by Him into the long expected New Heaven and New Earth of 2 Peter 3:13; be "presented" to the Father, clothed in Christ's righteousness (2 Corinthians 4:14; 5:8-10); and thereafter "ever be with the Lord" per 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Philippians 1:23.
With the above approach, the patient student in Camp "A" should have little difficulty in persuading one in Camp "B" to explore further Scripture for him/herself (as did the Bereans in Acts 17:11). It is not important that they come to agreement after the first dialogue. The seed of Scripture will have been planted, and leaving the outcome in God's hands, watered with daily prayer, there will in due time be a new member in Camp "A" and one less in Camp "B." Of equal importance, that new member will have come to perceive the truth for him/herself, not by the "shut up and listen to superior authority" tactics so common today in the Judeo-Christian churches.
Above all, another saint will have come to perceive the "precious hope" in all its simplicity, the self-teaching power of God's Spirit in Scripture will again be demonstrated, and the new member of Camp "A" will be eager to share his discovery with someone still bogged down in the confusion of Camp "B."
Note One: The phrase "is taught to believe" is used because, unlike those in Camp "A," every saint the author has found in Camp "B" (including himself in earlier days) was found to "hold the view" of that Camp solely because of some pulpit, teacher, or book, claiming that "this view is correct" because it is |"historic" or endorsed by such-and-such "great Bible scholar," and therefore not to be questioned. On the other hand, those who follow the pattern of the saints at Berea in Acts 17:11 by "searching the Scriptures daily whether these things be so" almost invariably come to the view of Camp "A."
Note Two: This notion comes from Romanism, also Pelagius, and is clearly contrary to Jesus' explicit statements in Matthew 7:17-18; 12:35; 15:18-20.
This article was taken from "Resurrection/The Witness, May-August 1997, On Death and Resurrection, pp. 10-13.