Commentary — From the Margins
Among theologies that address immortality, Apostolic Christianity is unique in its claim that a person had to be born of divine breath (Pneuma ’Agion — i.e., of the Holy Spirit), or born-from-above, or born anew, or born again, or born a second time before the person had immortality. Its claim differed from the Greek philosophical claim that every human being has an immortal soul that cannot be destroyed, but must journey somewhere after death. Apostolic Christianity’s claim was, simply, that a son of the Most High God was literally born into the fully functioning body of an air-breathing human being, and would reside in the particular body until the death of the person. This son of God would not die, but would await in a state of timelessness the receipt of an incorruptible body and the revealing of its judgment upon the coming of the Messiah (1 Cor 4:5). And herein is where the lacuna occurred that allowed the insertion of Greek philosophy into Christianity. Where and in what state does this living son of God await its change? [This son of God is neither male nor female, so “it” is the appropriate pronoun.] Does this son of God, created of divine breath, return to heaven, from where it will return to earth to receive an incorruptible body at the second coming of Christ Jesus? Or does this son of God “sleep” in the grave while awaiting its change?
Human beings are creatures of time, or space-time, an extremely low viscosity fluid in which all air-breathing creatures live as fish live in water—in this juxtaposition, water isn’t analogous to the earth’s atmosphere, but rather; the atmosphere is analogous to dissolved molecules of oxygen. Time has been created, for it can be written as a function of gravity, or of the attraction of mass. Space-time has, therefore, a very low amount of mass as evidenced by otherwise unoccupied space having a temperature of three degrees Kelvin. So time, or space-time is part of the creation, and not part of the heavenly realm. And if time has been created, then the properties of time such as the past, the present, and the future—each occurring because of the expansion of space-time at the decay rate of heavy mass particles—pertain to the creation, and not to the heavenly realm. Outside of the created universe, time is not marked by expansion through decay. The moment remains for there is no decay as human beings understand death and decomposition.
The apparent solidity of energy in the form of matter requires the passage of time to prevent the contradiction inherent in a paradox: two things cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Change must occur to allow for the movement of solid objects. One moment must pass into the next moment to allow matter to change locations, or to change states. This passing of one moment into the next allows for changes that are not compatible (or in unity) with what presently is to occur. But in a timeless realm—the timeless heavenly realm—all that is and all that will be must coexist. This state of timelessness precludes solidity, and precludes the bodily entrance of human beings, meaning that timelessness precludes any bodily rapture of disciples.
The presence of life and the absence of life cannot coexist in the same entity during the same moment. Therefore, in a realm or dimension without time, life is everlasting for the moment lasts. The moment never becomes the next moment, so the death of entities that have life cannot occur. Plus, all activity occurs within the same moment. The movements of every entity must coexist with the movements of every other entity in a perpetual dance of oneness. And this is what’s encountered when reading Jesus’ prayer (John chap 17) shortly before He was taken.
Finding iniquity or lawlessness in an anointed cherub (Ezek 28:15) created a condition of disharmony that prevented the functioning of entities as one unit, and thereby necessitated the introduction of extraordinary measures, one of which was the physical creation of the universe that begins suddenly and expands rapidly as matter is flung outward to produce distance. The living entities [angels] that joined with the anointed cherub in whom iniquity was found were then confined within this creation, which is itself lifeless. The creation is, therefore, dead and by extension dark, and the rebelling angels are confined or imprisoned in this outer darkness (“outer” because it is outside of, or not a part of the timeless heavenly realm). The Apostle Peter had no better word to describe where these rebelling angels were imprisoned than tartaroo, a location derived from the deepest or farthest reaches of the Greek concept of Hades. These rebelling angels were bound in a death chamber, with death assured if, when judged by glorified saints, mercy is not extended to them on an individual basis. They are presently as Satan and his reigning hierarchy will be when cast into time—and again, the analogy of time being like water is appropriate, for Satan, like a cat being drowned, will when cast into time come as a roaring lion for he knows his time is short.
All life from the heavenly realm that is confined within time, or within the created universe is subject to death, as is all air-breathing life. Yes, this includes angels that are cast into time (Rev 12:9 — compare with Ezek 28:18-19), as well as sons of God dwelling in tabernacles of flesh. These sons of God are subject to the second death, which isn’t separation from God but the permanent end of conscious existence. They, too, if judged worthy of death, will be ashes under the feet of glorified saints. So the principle tenet of post-Apostolic Christianity, taken from Augustine’s On Christian Doctrine, Book One XXI, that “neither the soul nor the human body may suffer complete annihilation” (D. W. Robertson, Jr’s translation) is false. The anointed cherub that rebelled will be (and from the perspective of the timeless heavenly realm, already has been) cast into time and destroyed.
Again, when living entities from the heavenly realm enter into time, these entities become subject to death, even the godhead. The Logos, or Theos, who was with Theon from the beginning (John 1:1-3) and who actually produced the physical creation, entered His creation (John ) when He was born as the man Jesus of Nazareth (John ). He entered to die, to create the last step necessary for the Father [Theon] to procreate through the birth and glorification of many sons. And before entering His creation, Theos saw Satan fall like lightning. So when tempted by Satan, Jesus knew what Satan’s fate was. His disciples today know what Satan’s fate is. But from the perspective of life within time, the Adversary will die sometime in the future; he will fall like lightning halfway through seven endtime years of tribulation, and will have fire come from his belly after the Messiah has reigned for a thousand years.
Two millennia ago, Jesus said that He had seen Satan fall like lightning, meaning that He had seen the glorification of saints, His thousand year reign, and the great White Throne Judgment before He entered His creation—and here is where the quality of timelessness causes undereducated or unimaginative disciples problems. Heaven is simply a dimension that coexists with the physical creation in a manner analogous to the third dimension [height] coexisting with two dimensions [length and width]. Everything in the third dimension can observe a point on a plane, but a point on this two-dimensional plane cannot perceive height, or any aspect of the third dimension. Likewise, a living human being inside space-time cannot perceive even the existence of the heavenly realm or dimension unless other living beings from this dimension reveal knowledge of its existence. And according to the testimony of Holy Writ, such living beings are and have been among men. Angels and even Theos, Himself [not Theon], have appeared to various men and women in sundry times. Jesus repeatedly encountered fallen angels, or demons. So from these encounters has come into most cultures a partially informed awareness of the heavenly realm.
The Adversary is a liar, and has been one from the beginning of creation. He is not a reliable source of knowledge. And the lie he told the first Eve, and the lie that the last Eve has believed is that she would not die (Gen 3:4). So she ate and she died, for she had not first eaten of the tree of life (vv. 22-24). She had no immortal soul. She was of Adam, who was of the elements of the earth—who was of spiritually lifeless red mud. The life that Adam had was no different from the life of a beast (Eccl -20). Same for every other human being who has ever lived who has not been born a second time, or born of divine breath [Pneuma ’Agion]. Until a human being has been born of Spirit, the human being has no life other than that which is imparted by physical breath. The person has no immortal soul, but is a spiritual corpse as the first Adam was a physical corpse prior to when Elohim [singular in usage] breathed the physical breath of life into him, and Adam became a naphesh, or breathing creature. Until God the Father gives a human being His breath (i.e., the Holy Spirit), the person is spiritually lifeless. But with receipt of divine breath, a new creature is born into an existing tabernacle or tent of flesh. Life in the heavenly realm has been given even though this life remains confined in time and subject to the second death.
From the perspective of the heavenly realm, God can see both the end and the beginning of a matter, for the moment when the matter begins is the same moment in the heavenly realm as when the matter ends. There is no other moment but the one that is. The testimony that Jesus saw Satan fall like lightning is testimony that He had, indeed, come from the heavenly realm. But His testimony has not been well understood, for it includes those things that pertain to entering into His rest…the promised land of Judah is the physical representation of God’s rest (Ps 95:10-11). The weekly Sabbath is a physical manifestation of God’s rest (Heb ), as is Christ’s millennial reign. The reality of entering God’s rest, though, is crossing dimensions and entering the heavenly realm, where there is no death.
But no one can enter God’s rest until life from the heavenly realm is given through receipt of the Holy Spirit.
Being “saved” now becomes a problematic expression.
A person receives the Holy Spirit when drawn by the Father (John , 65), not when baptized as is errantly
taught by many denominations. A son of disobedience (Eph 2:2-3) would not leave
the world, nor know to leave (Rom 8:7) unless the Father made the first
overture by drawing the person. This drawing is when actual spiritual birth
occurs. The drawn person becomes like a Hebrew male infant of less than eight
days of age. Baptism is now analogous to physical circumcision, which forever
identified a Hebrew male as an Israelite. The household of God is today the
holy, spiritual nation (1 Pet 2:9) of
Disciples who enter the kingdom of heaven, who cross
dimensions, will keep the words of Moses that are found in the second covenant
Human beings are not born with immortal souls. They are born with no life but that given through the cellular oxidation of sugars. But every human being has been created as a spiritual corpse into which divine breath [Pneuma ’Agion] will be breathed—every person will be born a second time. For most individuals, this second birth will occur following physical death, will occur when resurrected in the great White Throne Judgment. But for chosen individuals, for disciples of Christ Jesus, this spiritual birth has already occurred. They have, or were given spiritual life as ones born out of season, but they remain confined in time until their judgment is revealed upon Christ’s return (again, 1 Cor 4:5). They will then either cross dimensions in incorruptible bodies, or they will be cast into the lake of fire where they will experience the second death. They have no other fate offered. Therefore, hearing the words of Jesus and believing the One who sent Him is not a trivial matter for those of the household of God. Today is their day of salvation. And if their righteousness does not exceed that of the Pharisees, who were hypocrites, they will not enter the kingdom of heaven…is this blunt enough? If disciples will not hear Moses, they will not hear Jesus. If disciples will not believe Moses, they will not believe the One who sent Jesus. They will not enter the kingdom of heaven, for Christ never knew them.
Disciples who are born of Spirit have real life in the heavenly realm even though they are confined in time. Therefore, when the tabernacle of flesh in which they have been dwelling perishes, they “have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor 5:1). But from the perspective of those living in time, the dead in Christ will not receive an incorruptible body until He returns after seven endtime years of tribulation. However, from the perspective of the heavenly realm, they are as souls under the altar of God. Their breath, which was from the Father, returns to the timeless heavenly realm, but they rest in sleep within time until the full number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete (Rev 6:9-11). And as time passes without awareness when physically asleep, time within the creation passes without awareness when the sons of God spiritually sleep, awaiting their resurrection. Again, they await their change while still confined within time, not in the heavenly realm, for some will awaken to life, and some to condemnation (John & Dan 12:2). Those who teach lawlessness will be denied by Christ Jesus regardless of the good and mighty works they did in His name. Their shame will be everlasting, for they will cease to exist forever. So it is only from the perspective of being in time is there a dilemma concerning the breath of a saint returning to the heavenly realm upon death, and this living son of God spiritually sleeping until the coming of Christ Jesus. The moment in the heavenly realm when the breath returns is also the same moment when the saint will be glorified even though millennia of earth years have passed between time…time and its passage only occurs inside the creation. Time is a function of decay, of darkness, not of life.
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"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."