by Van Tanner
35 Women received their dead raised to life again. 36 Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. NKJV
We see in these two verses that there is; a victory over death (verse 35) and a “better” resurrection (verse 36). In Young’s Literal Bible it is even clearer.
Women received by a rising again their dead, and others were tortured, not accepting the redemption, that a better rising again they might receive,
There are two options for the believer in these passages. First; we can be content with a resurrection that comes on the far side of the grave, which offers little more that an eternal existence in heaven. Or we can obtain a “better resurrection” if we refuse to accept deliverance from the tortures of this life?
The first “rising again” or resurrection life is received through mercy and grace. This kind of resurrection is what most of the church is hoping for, yet it is presented as the lesser of two options. The second “better” resurrection is the resurrection life that can be obtained, while we are still alive. Verse 35 could be seen as the event that all believers who pass through the grave partake in. However, verse 36 tells of a people who desire to ‘obtain’ resurrection life now. This kind of Life must issue directly from Jesus Christ, the life giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45).
1 Cor 15:44-45
44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
Therefore He must be birthed in us so that we can obtain that which He has.
In John 15:1-6 Jesus shows us the difference between having a profession of life and the giver of life. In the illustration of the vine and the branches, we can be “IN Him” not bringing forth fruit and thus be in danger of being cut off. Or we can be “IN Him” AND “He IN us” and bring forth the fruit of life, which is Christ’s presence unveiled in the “good ground” prepared through trials and tribulation. Again, we can be “IN Him” by accepting the grace of salvation, but it takes surrender and obedience to become a dwelling place or throne for Jesus Christ. This is the better resurrection; a Christ life needed NOW in the lives of believers assaulted with ‘sin’ and ‘death’.
Romans 8:2 says it is the Spirit of LIFE IN Christ Jesus that will set us free from the law of sin and death. We need Christ in us to impart such life and once He does, then we can dwell in victory NOW. This “better resurrection” will rise us up above the sins that stumble us and ultimately above death itself. Then death will be swallowed up in victory and a generation will step over the grave (1 Cor. 15:54).
Those who seek a better resurrection have a vision and desire to be part of a generation who has died to this world and thus “risen” in Christ. They refuse to wait for a future “by and by” redemption of the body as their sole eternal reward. They have a vision of the resurrection seen in John 8:51 where Jesus tells us that if we will believe on Him and do His works then we need never see death. It is the better resurrection of a generation so filled with the eternal life of God that there is nothing of self remaining in them to pass through the grave. They have completely died and entered into their resurrection on this side of the grave.
Levels of Glory
Resurrection life is not something to be obtained and then taken for granted. We must continue to strive for the fullness of God. Unfortunately, even among those who desire more that just a ticket to heaven, there are levels of commitment. “Partness” is not an option for God’s true servants. They desire to be filled to all the fullness of God and are not content with the “in or out” mentality of lukewarm, Laodicean Christians. For those of us who desire all of Christ then NOW is the time to seek a deeper life with Christ which will ultimately leads “to all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19).
In I Corinthians 15 we see the ascending levels of Christ’s resurrection life. Each stage of glory represents our move into the fullness of God. Therefore, as His presence in us increases we begin to be a reflection of His resurrection life.
1 Cor. 15:41-42
41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
These scriptures tell us that there is more to eternal life than just what we say or believe. We as believers play a part in the greater plan of God. God is looking to manifest “suns” (sons) who are so dead to this world that all that shines forth is Christ’s life. Like Paul, they are dead but live, yet it is not them living but Christ living in them.
I Cor. 15:42 shows us that this true abundant resurrection life can only be obtained as we sow into corruptible bodies the incorruption of Christ. It is only while we are here in this world that we have a life to give. Heb. 11:36 tells us that the better resurrection can only be obtained through a better death. It is in the killing of these corruptible lives that the Lord finds futile ground to bring forth a better resurrection.
A Risen Generation
Back in Heb. 11:35 we saw that some believers will let God do whatever it takes so that they are qualified to obtain the better resurrection. Today Christ is rising up a remnant generation of people who challenge the rest of us because they have made such a choice. In Romans we read…
Rom 8:18-19, 22
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
All of creation will benefit from a generation who, like Paul, count all suffering joy and refuse deliverance so that they can become a greater container for the resurrection life of God. Today, trumpeters are sounding the alarm and God is calling forth His army. The “better death” is the ‘boot camp’ for those willing to heed the call and allow God to rise them up to sit in heavenly places. Remember the last enemy to be defeated is death.
Part of article not included in Revelator…
Our Part of Life
We should be clear that it is not by suffering alone that we obtain the reward of this resurrection life, for that stands in direct contrast to all we know about the Lord’s working in our life. If we could obtain eternal life through our efforts then we would be the recipients of the glory, not the Lord. We cannot die a better death or receive a better resurrection by works or by effort, even if they play a part in the ultimate weight of glory supplied to our lives.
So, what are we to do? The answer is simple…nothing - at least nothing in the natural sense of the word. What I hear the Holy Spirit saying to those of us who want this better resurrection is, “Just let me do the work I desire in you, until I accomplish my desires for you”. My part is to rest, trusting in faith that “all things are working for the good,” as I allow the Lord to kill my flesh so that He can resurrect me in His life.
The Rising of the Dead
The hope for all of us today is that we are at a critical point in God’s timetable. Because it is His desire in this third day, for His life to fill the whole earth, He must intervene and help many of us die, so that we may be resurrected as the vessels of His glory. While other generations did not obtain a corporate resurrection, we are now at the end of the second millennial day and Christ said He will rise again on the Third Day. This is the day He will rise in resurrection life among those who are dead to this world so that the whole earth will see His Glory. He will be lifted up…in us.
1 Thess 4:16-17
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
The Lord is beginning to make Himself known within the shout of those who are dead to this world. They stand in direct contrast to the self-life which rules so many Christians today. It is the trumped call of these “archo aggelos” or “chief messengers” that will reveal Christ to the world again. His glory will be seen through them because they are un-veiling (apokalupsis) Him.
When he shall come to be glorified IN his saints, and to be admired (made visible) IN all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: (2 Thess 1:10-11).
Are you worthy to be a vessel in which the Lord will be reveled? He said of Himself that if I be lifted up I will draw all men neigh unto me (John 12:32). Jesus has been waiting for a people who will die to this world so that they can be lifted up in a better resurrection, and when they are lifted up, Christ will draw all men to Him through His reflection in them. Our role is to die, not through self- effort or even self-determination, but in submission and trust. It is this sold-out relationship with Jesus Christ that will keep us at peace while the Lord destroys the kingdoms of my/our world and sets His dominion over them.
Death is something then to be desired, but is not easily obtained. We read in Revelation…
6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. KJV
Natural men will desire to obtain what they are seeing revealed in these resurrected, headless saints, in the same way that Simon the sorcerer offered money to receive the power and authority he witnessed in Peter and John. These dead-to-self servants of God will exhibit a form of Christ-life that is so powerful, so lovely and so freeing, that everyone will desire it. However, they will not be able to obtain it because they are unwilling to pay the price. Like the foolish virgins, they will refuse to get prepared and trim their wicks. They will go on with THEIR life until the day comes when they will wake up and see that they have no Christ-life in them. Then it will be too late. Today is the day given to us to be a part of that remnant the Lord is raising up that will bear the testimony, “They loved not their lives unto death” (Rev. 12:11). Choosing a better death, they have also chosen a better resurrection – the abundant fullness of the life of Jesus Christ.