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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Present Reality

Are you an IBD? Do you hold the CBV or the IBV? Respectively, these terms stand for 'Immortal Body at Death ( can't forget IBN-Immortal Body Now ), Corporate Body View, and Individual Body View; but what do they really mean? There are probably more interpretations of these phrases than there are fingers on your hand or toes on your feet!

Let's start with the last one first ( 'the first shall be last', etc., right? )! The Individual Body View, especially as opposed to the Corporate Body View, should be fairly self-explanatory, right? Wrong! To understand what the hell this person is talking about, one must first be at least somewhat familiar with the Story. In particular, it is best to have a firm grasp on the Resurrection! ( I know; that's asking a lot, nowadays )

'The Resurrection', you say, 'isn't that where, at the end of time, everyone will be raised back to biological life, and the good people of the world will rise to Heaven, and the bad ones will descend into Hell?' That's likely, to one degree or another, what you grew up believing if you were brought up in a traditional church congregation ( I mean, even the movies teach you that! )!

Sorry to disappoint all you escapists out there, but that just isn't the Resurrection; NO, far from it!

The Resurrection, embodied in Jesus the Christ ( John 11:25 ), did not involve individual bodies being reanimated and rising up through the atmosphere. Yes, like the Gospel of Matthew records ( 27:51-53 ), individual bodies were raised from their tombs/graves after the biological reanimation of Jesus' physical body, but that may be a story for another day!

The Body of Israel had died! We see this throughout the Prophets, and Ezekiel 37 shows us the clearest picture of what the Resurrection looked like. It was not an individual, biological body being reanimated, although individual bodies were involved, as they are simply a part of the whole; it was a Corporate Body ( if you are wondering what 'corporate' means, find a dictionary! ), that of Israel who had died! The resurrection of Lazarus, as of those who appeared in the Holy City after Jesus' Resurrection, along with others as well, was simply a physical picture of a spiritual Reality!

Well, we've already discussed the Corporate Body View, but it could still bear some more clarification, no?

Corporately, or as a whole, a conglomeration, you might say, the Body of Israel who had died ( metaphorically ) needed New Life breathed into Her! We see this most clearly happen in Ezekiel 37, as was mentioned above. To get the clearest picture though, you should go back to Genesis 2:7!

The Individual Bodies within Israel were resurrected only as a part of the whole, the body politic, you might say! Although, as we read in Matthew 27:52, 'the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised', these bodies were raised for the same reason that Jesus' biological Body was raised, to show those weak in faith & slow in understanding that the death had indeed been defeated!

There are those even today, who still speculate that a Corporate Body Resurrection is in progress! Indeed, it is! Because both the Corporate Body of Christ & the Resurrection Himself exist for Eternity, this will always be the case! There IS a slight difference, however ( okay, maybe a little greater than 'slight' ); we today, are living IN the Resurrection, whereas those of Jesus' Day were looking forward to gaining entrance!

Is there a Resurrection to be looked forward to, after our biological bodies stop functioning and assume room temperature? It's a good thought, but as we've explored elsewhere, it is just that, a good thought, a pleasant speculation, if you will! This is where we come to the Immortal Body Now view!

The Immortal Body Now view is a bit harder to explain, and A LOT harder to believe!

Individualistic thinking has gotten the Church into a lot of trouble over the long ages, and especially since the second and third centuries AD! Understood correctly, from a corporate or covenantal view-point, this is the more correct of the various views at hand, but if not understood correctly, and from a non-covenantal and individualist viewpoint, it sounds like its proponents are saying that our individual biological bodies will never perish!

Jesus did say, as recorded in the Gospel according to John ( 11:26 ), that 'whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die'. Most, if not all Christian accept that Jesus was not speaking here of biological death, but others stubbornly hold on to the notion that Jesus was speaking of some future resurrection, because a more literal translation reads, 'and every one who is living and believing in me shall not die -- to the age' ( YLT ), or 'And every one that liveth, and believeth in me, shall not die for ever' ( Douay-Rheims 1899 ). However, in context, especially with what Jesus told Martha just prior to this, 'I am the resurrection and the life', that theory is quickly dissipated ( or should be )!

The Immortal Body that is now, is none other than the Body of Christ, the Church! The individuals within that Body, while their biological clocks will eventually run down ( happens to the best of us ), in this sense, because they are part of the Body, DO have the Immortal Body Now! Though we have been blessed with biology, in order that we might be God's Hands & God's Feet, we are, in Reality, One with our Heavenly Father, and One Spirit, as He is! Because we believe in Him & keep His Word, and are the Offspring of the Heavenly Marriage, we will never die; when our biological bodies cease to function and perish, then our spirits separate from our biology, but we remain in Close Communion with our Heavenly Father!

Though held by those ( primarily ) who hold to the principles of Fulfilled Eschatology, the Immortal Body at Death view is probably the most futuristic, and likely the most damaging of these proposals! I should point out that, in one form or another, this false belief is also the 'darling' of any self-respecting Futurist! 

Immortal Body at Death, or IBD, is about as individualistic as it gets! This belief assumes, first of all, that the Body, or even individual that Jesus spoke of in John 11:25, as living forever, or at least not dying forever, was a biological one. It could not be more wrong! Jesus promised this Eternal Life in other Gospel passages, most famously John 3:16. The Promise of Eternal Life NEVER referred to individual, biological bodies; it ALWAYS referred to the Corporate Body of Israel, She who had died!

Throughout the pages of History, we can read how those who had died, as Adam did in the Garden ( 'in the day you eat.......you  shall surely die' -Genesis 2:17 ), would one Day, in THEIR future, have New Life breathed into them. This was Israel, not according to the flesh, but 'the Israel of God' ( Galatians 6:16 ), not as individuals, but as a Corporate whole, who would be raised to New Life ( in Christ ) and would inherit the Promised Resurrection!

We too, as part of that Body, the Body of Christ/Israel, and Sons of God, are inheritors of the Resurrection, though we are born into it. There is a sense in which, even now, Individual Resurrections occur on a daily basis, as non-believers accept their position within God's Temple and exercise their responsibility to maintain a healthy Communion with His Body! Since we though, as believers in the 21st century, never belonged to that Dead Body know as Israel according to the Flesh, being 'sons of the resurrection' ( Luke 20:36 ), we 'merely' live in that Present Reality!

Another view, which has recently came to my attention, is the Energetic Body View, or EBV. Not having done any research into this view, and because this post is already in danger of becoming too lengthy, we will suffice to say that this Energetic Body may be summed up in the words of a famous Spaniard,

 'I do not think it means what you think it means'!

Charles Haddon Shank




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