The following is a reproduction of chapter four of
Salvation of the Soul
By Arlen L. Chitwood
The Breath of God
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath [neshamah] of life; and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)
All Scripture is God-breathed [theopneustos] and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16, NIV)
(Background material for “the breath of God” can be found in chapter 3.)
Man’s “life” following his creation in the beginning was produced by “the breath [neshamah] of God” (Genesis 2:7). This establishes a first-mention principle in Scripture concerning “life” in relation to man, and this principle remains unchanged throughout all subsequent Scripture. Man’s life throughout time and eternity, as in the Genesis account, must emanate from God; and this life cannot be generated, continued, or sustained apart from the neshamah of God.
In scriptural terminology, the neshamah is identified with both the “Holy Spirit” of God and the “Word” of God. Life, which comes from God alone, is always produced through “breathing in.” Remaining within basic teachings drawn from the types in Genesis 1:2-5; 2:7, God, through the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit, “breathes life into” unredeemed, lifeless man today. Once imparted, with the man possessing spiritual life (having been redeemed), this life is then continued and sustained through the same principle — the breath of God remaining with man (past dispensation) or remaining in man (present dispensation), and the breath of God continuing to be breathed into man.
Through the abiding presence of the breath of God (which, during this present dispensation, is through the Spirit indwelling the one in whom He had previously breathed life), the believer remains secure in his positional standing before God; and through a continued impartation of the breath of God (the Word of God flowing into man’s saved human spirit, with the indwelling Holy Spirit leading the individual “into all truth”), the believer receives living nourishment for spiritual growth unto maturity.
“Scripture,” unlike any other writings, is alive:
For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword . . . . (Hebrews 4:12a).
“Life” can be attributed to Scripture only on the basis of the fact that the “oracles of God” emanated from the Giver and Sustainer of life. Scripture is “God-breathed.” It is the neshamah, the “breath” of God.
This is what sets Scripture apart from all other writings. That which God has to say in His Word is alive, not subject to error, and will endure forever. But that which man has to say is, on the other hand, lifeless, subject to error, and will endure only for time.
Thus, the Holy Spirit today initially imparts life to man who is “dead in trespasses and sins,” continues this life through His abiding presence, and sustains this life via the living Word of God flowing into man’s saved human spirit. The indwelling Holy Spirit takes the Word of God received into man’s saved human spirit, and, through man’s spiritual perception, changes the water to wine (cf. John 2:1-11). A continued process of this nature — revealing the things of the Spirit to the man of spirit through man’s spiritual perception — progressively results in growth unto maturity.
The great difference between redeemed man and unredeemed man is possession or non-possession of spiritual life derived from the “breath” of God.
Unregenerate man, who is spiritually dead, is alienated from everything associated with the “breath” of God in this respect, for that which has no life is completely incompatible with that which has life. Thus, the living Word of God is not for him; it is alien to his fallen nature, the only nature that he possesses.
Regenerate man, on the other hand, possesses spiritual life that was “breathed in.” He possesses a new, non-alienated nature; and, on this basis, there can now be a continuance of life “breathed in.” Thus, the living Word of God, because it is the very life-giving “breath” of God, is for redeemed man alone.
Redeemed individuals are divided into two classes in Scripture — “spiritual,” and “carnal” (1 Corinthians 3:1, 2). Both possess spiritual life that was “breathed in,” both are capable of spiritual discernment, and both are in a position to allow God to continue “breathing in” life.
The carnal Christian though rejects the leadership of the Spirit. He follows the fleshly man rather than the spiritual man; and, although his eternal salvation remains secure through the “breath” of God remaining in him (based on Christ’s finished work at Calvary), he experiences no growth. He does not allow God to continue “breathing in” life.
But the spiritual Christian governs his life in an entirely different manner. He follows the leadership of the Spirit; He allows God to continue “breathing in” life; and, through his spiritual discernment, as led by the Holy Spirit, he is able to begin grasping the great spiritual truths of the Word of God, progressively growing from immaturity to maturity.
A continued inflow of the breath of God into man’s saved human spirit in this manner, following his salvation, will result in what Scripture calls “the filling of the Spirit” and “be transformed” (“the metamorphosis”). These are actually two different experiences in the lives of Christians that occur in a progressive, concurrent manner. These experiences, however, are so closely related that one cannot occur without the other, and neither can occur apart from the Word of God and the Spirit’s work in the life of a believer in relation to this Word.
The remainder of this chapter will be taken up with “the breath” of God producing a Spirit-filled Christian and, at the same time, working the metamorphosis in his life.
Filled with the Spirit
Being filled with the Holy Spirit is an experience that occurs after one has been born from above. At the time of the new birth, an individual is immersed (baptized) in the Holy Spirit, and, through this immersion, becomes part of the “one body,” the “one new man,” in Christ (cf. Matthew 3:11; Acts 1:5; 1 Corinthians 12:13 [“with” and “by” should be translated “in”]; Ephesians 2:15). The Holy Spirit, from this point forward, indwells the believer, forming a “temple of God” — an earthly tabernacle in which deity dwells (1 Corinthians 3:16, 17; 6:19, 20).
But the Spirit filling the tabernacle is an experience in the life of a Christian that occurs subsequent to the Spirit indwelling the tabernacle. Christians, ones in whom the Spirit dwells, are commanded to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18); and the biblical manner in which this is accomplished is clearly revealed to be in connection with life continuing to be “breathed into” man following the initial “inbreathing” that generated life at the beginning.
Scripture reveals an inseparable relationship between being filled with the Spirit (the neshamah) and dwelling deeply in the Word of God (the neshamah). This is clearly taught by comparing “scripture with scripture” in Ephesians and Colossians — companion epistles, which parallel one another in a number of places.
One such parallel can be seen in the section in Ephesians where Christians are commanded to be filled with the Spirit and in the section in Colossians where Christians are commanded to let the Word of Christ dwell in them richly in all wisdom.
In Ephesians, Christians are told:
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:18-20)
In Colossians, Christians are told:
Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:16, 17)
Note the contextual parallel between the commands, “Be filled with the Spirit” in Ephesians and “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” in Colossians. Both have to do with the same thing. One is substituted for the other in its respective, parallel counterpart. And the clear inference from this parallel, in conjunction with related scripture, leads to only one conclusion: A Christian who is filled with the Spirit is one who has allowed the Word of Christ to dwell in him richly in all wisdom.
The indwelling of the Spirit is consummated at the time God initially “breathes life into” an individual, and the filling of the Spirit is progressively accomplished through God subsequently continuing to “breathe life into” that individual. The “God-breathed” scriptures flowing into man’s saved human spirit — a continued impartation of life into man — progressively produces, through the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 16:13), a Spirit-filled Christian.
Relative to the filling of the Spirit, note further the relationship to one another of husbands and wives, children and parents, and servants and masters in the verses immediately following these two sections in Ephesians and Colossians.
Wives show that they are filled with the Spirit through their submission to their husbands, “as to the Lord” (cf. Ephesians 5:22-24; Colossians 3:18).
Husbands show that they are filled with the Spirit through their love for their wives, “even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it” (cf. Ephesians 5:25-33; Colossians 3:19).
Children show that they are filled with the Spirit through their obedience to their parents, “in the Lord” (cf. Ephesians 6:1, 2; Colossians 3:20).
Fathers show that they are filled with the Spirit through not provoking their children to anger, but bringing “them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (cf. Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21).
Servants show that they are filled with the Spirit through being obedient to their masters according to the flesh, “with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as to Christ” (cf. Ephesians 6:5-8; Colossians 3:22-25).
And masters show that they are filled with the Spirit through treating their servants just and equal, “knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with Him” (cf. Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1).
God desires that all Christians be filled with the Spirit, and the manner God uses to bring this to pass is clearly revealed in His Word. There must be a continued “breathing in” of life into the one who has initially been given life through the “breath” of God, and this cannot be accomplished apart from the “God-breathed” Oracles.
In view of this, it is no wonder that the living Word of God — the neshamah — remains under constant attack by Satan, his emissaries, and those who do his bidding.
The Word of God is either what it claims to be or there can be no continued “inbreathing” of life into redeemed man. And, apart from this continued “inbreathing” of life, redeemed man can not grow spiritually, for only that compatible with spiritual life can provide nourishment for this life, resulting in growth. Apart from the God-breathed Word, every Christian, throughout his entire pilgrim walk, would remain in a carnally immature state rather than grow in a spiritual manner to maturity.
Such a Christian would be indwelt by the Spirit, but, apart from the living Word, he could not be filled with the Spirit. He would remain carnal, immature, and powerless. Nor could he ultimately realize the salvation of his soul, for there would be no continued inbreathing of life to bring this to pass.
Consequently, apart from this continued “inbreathing” of life, God could not ultimately bring “many sons” unto glory to occupy the numerous positions of power and authority as joint-heirs with Christ in the coming kingdom. The “many sons” whom God will bring “to glory” are those who will be adopted — placed as firstborn sons — at the end of the present age. And occupying positions of this nature as sons — occupying positions as firstborn sons, with “sonship” implying rulership — will be entered into only by those Christians who realize the salvation of their souls.
(Adoption in connection with the salvation of the soul is dealt with in a more extensive manner at the end of this chapter. Refer to the parenthetical data at the end.)
The Metamorphosis — Present
And do not be conformed to this world [‘age’], but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)
In this verse there is a negative command followed by a positive command: “Do not be conformed . . . but be transformed . . . .”
1. Be Not Conformed
The Greek word translated “conformed” is sunschematizo. This is a compound word with the preposition sun (“with”) prefixed to the verb form of the word schema (“outline,” “diagram”). The English word “scheme” is an Anglicized form of the Greek word schema. The word has to do with a schematic outline, and the thought inherent in this compound Greek word along with its negative command is to not outline or diagram your life in accordance with the present age.
During the present age there is a world kingdom in which the Gentile nations rule the earth under the control and dominion of Satan, the “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Fallen man is ruling the earth, which is under a curse, directly under the one who has disqualified himself to rule (Satan, along with his angels — ruling from a heavenly sphere over the earth through the Gentile nations [cf. Ezekiel 28:14; Daniel 10:13-20; Luke 4:5, 6; Ephesians 6:11, 12]).
Everywhere one looks there’s something wrong with the structure of the present kingdom: The Gentile nations are out of place, Israel is out of place, Satan and his angels are out of place, and Christ and His co-heirs (those destined to occupy regal positions with Him in the kingdom) are out of place. These conditions have continued unchanged, in part, for the past 6,000 years (since the fall of Adam, which resulted in the entire creation coming under the curse produced by sin); and they have continued unchanged in their entirety for the past 2,600 years (since the beginning of the “times of the Gentiles” [Luke 21:24], with Israel being scattered among the nations). And no change will occur until Christ returns and takes the kingdom.
The rightful place for Satan and his angels is in the abyss and ultimately in the lake of fire; the rightful place for Christ and His co-heirs is ruling (from the heavens over the earth) in the stead of Satan and his angels; the rightful place for Israel is dwelling in the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, within a theocracy, at the head of the nations; and the rightful place for the Gentile nations is dwelling in their respective lands, out from under the dominion and rule of Satan, in a position subservient to and blessed through Israel.
When Christ returns and takes the kingdom, He and His glorified followers, rather than Satan and his angels, will rule from the heavens over the earth. Satan and his angels (cast out of the heavens slightly over three and one-half years prior to this time) will be chained and imprisoned in the abyss (awaiting consignment to the lake of fire 1,000 years later), the curse will be lifted, and Israel will be placed in her own land at the head of the nations. And all the Gentile nations entering the kingdom will then occupy subservient positions to Israel and be under the dominion of Christ and those who rule as joint-heirs with Him.
Presently, “the whole world lies in wickedness [lit. ‘in the evil one’]” (1 John 5:19b). The positional standing of the believer is “in Christ,” and the position occupied by the world is “in the evil one.” These positions are diametrically opposed, one to the other. Scripture clearly commands the believer, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world . . . .” (1 John 2:15a). Why? Because the world lies “in the evil one.”
The entire present system is under Satan’s control and sway; and, whether the world realizes it or not, the programs, aims, ambitions, and aspirations of the incumbent ruler are being carried out within the present system. All of this will one day reach an apex under the reign of the “man of sin,” during the coming Tribulation. And, from that apex, it will come to a sudden and climactic end. Then, in conjunction with this end, Satan and his angels will, by force, be removed from their present position — that of ruling the earth through the Gentile nations.
Thus, it does not become Christians to involve themselves in the affairs of this present world system, during the present age. By so doing, they are, in effect, defiling their high calling “in Christ” through stepping down into an arena occupied by those “in the evil one.”
Christ, rejected by the world, is in a place removed from the world. And Christians are to share this rejection by and separation from the world with Christ. It is not possible for Christians to involve themselves in the affairs of this present world system, during the present age, and, at the same time, share Christ’s rejection by and separation from the world.
(The preceding is dealt with at length in the books of 1 & 2 Samuel, in the typology surrounding Saul and David. Refer to the author’s book, Judgment Seat of Christ [revised edition], chapter 12, “Crowned Rulers,” for a discussion of this type in the light of the antitype.)
2. Be Transformed
Following the command in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this age,” the Christian is commanded to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The Greek word translated “transformed” is metamorphoo. This is the word from which the English word “metamorphosis” is derived. This word refers to an inward change brought about completely apart from the power of the individual himself. The individual Christian is powerless to bring about this metamorphosis.
In 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, Satan is said to be “transformed into an angel of light” and his ministers “transformed as the ministers of righteousness.” In the Greek text the word “transformed” is not the same in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 as it is in Romans 12:2. The word used in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 is metaschematizo, referring to an outward change; and, textually (v. 13), this change is brought about through an individual’s own power.
Satan, thus, seeks to counterfeit the work of the Spirit by substituting an outward change in place of the inward change. And the nature and source of this pseudo change often go unrecognized.
Christians who seek to bring about the change of Romans 12:2 themselves will always effect a metaschema (outward change) rather than a metamorphosis (inward change). At the time of the birth from above the Spirit of God began a work in the Christian that He will continue “until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). No effort on the part of Christians can help the Spirit of God effect this change.
Man’s way finds man actively involved, seeking spirituality through either quitting certain things or doing certain things, subsequently producing a metaschema. But God’s way finds man passive, and God performs a work in the individual, ultimately producing the metamorphosis.
The endless list of “do’s” and “do not’s,” taboos formed by Christian groups; invariably have to do with a metaschema, not a metamorphosis. Any effort on the part of Christians to help the Spirit of God bring about the transformation of Romans 12:2 will always result in pseudo-spirituality. God’s way is an inward change accomplished through the power of the Spirit, not an outward change accomplished through the power of the individual.
3. The Renewing of Your Mind
Note according to the text how this inward change, the metamorphosis, takes place: “. . . be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The word “renewing” is a translation of the Greek word anakainosis; and the action of the preceding verb (“transformed”) directs attention to a continuous renewing process, one which is to keep on taking place. In 2 Corinthians 4:16 we are told that “the inward man is renewed [lit. ‘is being renewed’] day by day.” This renewing process is to keep on taking place day in and day out for the entire duration of the pilgrim walk here on earth.
Then, Colossians 3:10 reveals how the renewing of the mind is accomplished:
And have put on the new man, which is renewed [lit. ‘is being renewed’] in knowledge after the image of Him that created Him.
Note the word “knowledge” in this verse. The regular Greek word for “knowledge” is gnosis, but the word used in Colossians 3:10 is epignosis. This is the word gnosis (knowledge) with the prefix epi (upon). Epignosis, thus, means “knowledge upon knowledge,” i.e., “a mature knowledge.” The word translated “renewed” is a past participle of anakainoo (the same word used in Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 4:16) and could be better translated, “being renewed.” The only way a Christian can acquire this mature knowledge, which allows the Spirit of God to work the metamorphosis in his life, is through receiving the living Word of God into his saved human spirit.
Christians must allow God to continue “breathing in” life. The living, God-breathed Word must be allowed to flow into man’s saved human spirit or there can be no metamorphosis. The renewing of the inward man “day by day,” through receiving “the implanted Word,” producing the metamorphosis in one’s life, is the manner in which the salvation of the soul is presently being effected.
As previously seen, receiving “the implanted Word” in James 1:21 and 1 Peter 2:2 is preceded by “laying aside” everything opposed to purity (ref. chapter 3). It is the same with the metamorphosis in Romans 12:2. The words, “do not be conformed to this age [lit. ‘stop being conformed to this age’],” appear prior to the words, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Those “in Christ” are commanded to remove themselves from that which lies “in the evil one” prior to receiving “the implanted Word,” which will effect the metamorphosis in their lives.
Thus, Romans 12:2; James 1:21; and 1 Peter 2:2 all teach the same thing relative to laying aside everything opposed to purity prior to receiving “the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls.”
The Metamorphosis — Future
Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.
Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves;
and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.
Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Matthew 16:28-17:5)
The change presently taking place in the lives of Christians is inward. But within the culmination of the work of the Spirit in that future day of Jesus Christ, the change will include the outward also. The metamorphosis actually cannot be completed apart from this culmination, outward change. The Spirit of God “who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
The day will come when we will put off “the body of this death” (Romans 7:24). That will be the day when He will “fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of His glory” (Philippians 3:21a, ASV). The work of the Spirit in this part of the metamorphosis is set forth in Matthew chapter seventeen.
That which occurred on the Mount, when Jesus was transfigured, is a fore-view of things that are yet to occur. The same Greek word translated “transformed” in Romans 12:2 (metamorphoo) is translated “transfigured” in Matthew 17:2. As Peter, James, and John appeared with Jesus on the Mount, Jesus was transfigured before them; and Moses and Elijah appeared and stood in His presence.
In Matthew 16:28, Christ had revealed that certain disciples would not die until they had seen “the Son of man coming in His kingdom.” Then, in Matthew 17:1-5, after six days, on the seventh day, certain disciples (Peter, James, and John) saw “the Son of man coming in His kingdom.”
Peter, as he wrote years later concerning this experience, said:
. . . we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty [His greatest regal magnificence — a superlative in the Greek text]. (2 Peter 1:16)
Peter then went on to state that the time this eyewitness account occurred was “when we were with Him on the holy mountain” (v. 18). Biblical revelation leaves no room to question or wonder exactly what is being foreshadowed by the events on the Mount, recorded in Matthew 17:1-5.
The “six days” (Matthew 17:1) foreshadow the entire time comprising Man’s Day. “Six” is man’s number. These six days extend from the creation of Adam to the beginning of the Messianic Kingdom. Each one of these days is 1,000 years in length (2 Peter 3:1-8). This 6,000-year period comprises Man’s Day, and at the end of Man’s Day the Lord’s Day will begin.
The seventh 1,000-year period dating from the creation of Adam comprises the Lord’s Day. “Seven” is God’s number. It will be “after six days” — after 6,000 years, at the end of Man’s Day — that the Son of man will be seen “coming in His kingdom,” beginning the Lord’s Day on the earth.
The “high mountain” (Matthew 17:1) foreshadows the coming kingdom. A “mountain” in Scripture, when used in this sense, refers to a kingdom (cf. Psalm 2:6; Ezekiel 28:14; Daniel 2:35). And, in this section of Scripture, the coming kingdom of our Lord is not referred to by just any mountain, but by a “high mountain.”
Jesus appeared in a transfigured body. Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus, also in transfigured bodies. Moses had died, and had been raised from the dead. Elijah had never died, but had been removed from the earth alive. Peter, James, and John, out from the nation of Israel, appeared in natural bodies and were elevated above all those at the foot of the mount. And “a bright cloud,” the Glory of God (cf. Luke 9:31, 32), overshadowed them all.
In the coming kingdom, Jesus will appear in this same transfigured body. Just as Moses (who was raised from the dead) and Elijah (who was removed from the earth without dying) appeared with Christ in transfigured bodies, so will Christians in that future day appear with Christ in transfigured bodies like unto the body of Christ.
When the Lord Himself descends from heaven to take His Church out of the world, “. . . the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we that are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in clouds, to meet the Lord in the air . . . .” (1 Thessalonians 4:16b, 17a).
Christians associated with Christ in the kingdom will possess bodies like unto the body of Christ (a spiritual body — a body of flesh and bone, with the life-giving, animating principle being the Spirit of God). These Christians will be comprised of resurrected believers (typified by Moses) and believers who have never died (typified by Elijah). And these Christians will rule from the heavens over the earth as co-heirs with Christ.
Then, the nation of Israel (typified by Peter, James, and John) will be here on earth. And the individuals comprising this nation will be present in natural bodies (soulical bodies — bodies of flesh, blood, and bone, with the life-giving, animating principle being the blood [cf. Leviticus 17:11]). As Peter, James, and John were elevated above all those at the foot of the mount, the nation of Israel will be elevated above all other nations. And the Glory of God, the “bright cloud” that overshadowed those on the mount (cf. Matthew 17:5; Luke 9:32), will be restored to Israel (cf. Isaiah 2:1-4; 6:1-10; Joel 2:27-32).
One day when the Lord returns for His Church, the Holy Spirit will complete the metamorphosis. Christians will be delivered from “the body of this death” and will receive bodies that will possess an entirely different life-giving, animating principle than the bodies that Christians possess today. The Neshamah of God — the Holy Spirit Himself — will provide this life in the completion of the metamorphosis (1 Corinthians 15:40-45).
All Christians will be changed in the outward manifestation of the metamorphosis, for the resurrection and rapture, with the accompanying change of the body, are not contingent upon the inward change during the present time. The outward change is conditioned upon one’s positional standing (“in Christ”) alone.
But Christians experiencing the outward change apart from the prior inward change will realize the loss of their souls/lives. They will enter into the presence of the Lord with redeemed spirits, changed bodies, but forfeited lives. Consequently, they will occupy no position among the many sons who will be brought unto glory.
(At the end of the present dispensation, Christians will be resurrected, or removed from the earth without dying, in the same type body in which Christ was raised from the dead. Christ was raised in a spiritual body, not a natural [soulical] body [cf. 1 Corinthians 15:42-44]. He was raised in a body of flesh and bones, with the life-giving, animating principle of the body being the Spirit of God rather than the blood [which He had previously “poured out” (Isaiah 53:12)].
Christ though was not raised in a glorified body. He was raised in a type of body that possessed capabilities outside the scope possessed by a natural [soulical] body [e.g., He could appear at a certain place and disappear from that place, moving to another place, at will (Luke 24:31, 36)]. But there was no Glory connected with His resurrection body until “a cloud” received Him out of the disciples’ sight at the end of His forty-day post-resurrection ministry, when He was “received up into glory” [Acts 1:9; 1 Timothy 3:16].
This can be easily seen, for example, through noting the differences in two of Christ’s post-resurrection appearances. He appeared to the two disciples on the Emmaus road later on the same day that He was raised from the dead [appearing apart from His Glory (Luke 24:13-31)], and He appeared a few years later to Paul on the Damascus road [in connection with His Glory (Acts 9:1-5; 26:12-15)]. At Christ’s former appearance, it is apparent that there was nothing visibly different about His overall appearance that distinguished Him from any other man. However, at His latter appearance, there was a major difference in this respect. There was a brightness surrounding His appearance that was above that of the noon-day sun [Acts 26:13; cf. Revelation 1:16].
When Christians are removed from the earth at the end of the present dispensation, they will receive bodies like unto Christ’s body at the time of His resurrection — a spiritual body of flesh and bones, apart from the Glory. The “redemption” of the body will then occur at a later time, in connection with “the adoption” [Romans 8:23], not in connection with the removal of Christians from the earth at the end of the present dispensation.
The adoption of Christians can occur only following events surrounding the judgment seat of Christ, for the adoption has to do with the placement of sons in a firstborn status — something that cannot be done preceding a separation of Christians [the overcomers from the non-overcomers], based on decisions and determinations rendered at the judgment seat. Christians having been shown faithful at the judgment seat, realizing the salvation of their souls/lives, will be adopted as firstborn sons. But such will not be, for it cannot be, the case for unfaithful Christians, those having forfeited their souls/lives.
According to Romans 8:18-23, adoption as firstborn sons is in connection with rulership [in the human realm, only firstborn sons can rule in this manner within the theocracy]. And the unfaithful, though possessing spiritual bodies of flesh and bones, will be in no position to rule and cannot be adopted into a firstborn status. They can only appear as the ones seen in Hebrews 12:8 — as individuals who had previously rejected God’s child-training [vv. 5-7] and cannot now be His sons [the sons seen in Romans 8:19, adopted into a firstborn status in v. 23].
[The word “chastisement” (KJV) or “chastening” (NKJV) in Hebrews 12:5-8 is from the noun and verb forms (paideia, paideuo) of a Greek word that means “child-training.” Then, the word translated “bastard” (KJV) or “illegitimate” (NKJV) in v. 8 is nothos in the Greek text. The word, contextually refers to those who reject God’s child-training and cannot be His sons.
“Sonship,” with a view to rulership, is in view. And only those capable of spiritual perception, only those “born from above,” would be in a position to reject God’s child-training. Thus, the unsaved cannot be in view; nor is eternal salvation even the subject at hand.]
Only following the adoption can the Glory be connected with the body, with man brought back into a full realization of that which Adam forfeited at the time of the fall [at the end of six days, at the end of 6,000 years]. Man, following the adoption and the corresponding restoration of the Glory will once again be enswathed in a covering of Glory and in a position to be further clothed in regal garments [refer to the text in parenthesis on page six in chapter one of this book for additional information in this realm].
Thus, the redemption of the body in Romans 8:23 can have nothing to do with the change in the body that will occur when Christians are removed from the earth at the end of the dispensation. As shown by the context, the redemption of the body in this verse can only be a reference to that future time when “the glory . . . shall be revealed in us,” in Christians; it can only be a reference to that future time when “the sons of God,” a new order of Sons — Christ with His co-heirs [overcoming Christians, adopted and properly arrayed] — will be manifested for all to behold [vv. 18, 19].)