by Robert Brow ( Kingston, Ontario February 2008

At the age of 83 I think about my resurrection body. I used to imagine
that when I die my body would lie rotting in the grave until one day
it would be raised. I now see the New Testament teaches that my
earthly body is left behind. A butterfly moves out its cocoon and
caterpillar body with a new body that is freed to enjoy all the
flowers in the garden. Jesus said to the thief on the cross, "Truly I
tell you, today you will be with me in the garden" (Paradise is a
Persian word meaning an enclosed garden, Luke 23:43). He did not say
"you will lie in the grave for over 2000 years till the day of

This why Paul could say, "I am hard pressed between the two: my desire
is to depart and be with the Messiah, for that is far better; but to
remain in the flesh is more necessary for you" (Philippians 1:23-24).
I can't say that right now I myself desire to depart, but I can
imagine a day when weakness and pain might make that preferable. And
when I put on my resurrection body I don't want my family and friends
to mourn my old body.

Paul puts it this way: "We know that if the earthly tent we live in is
destroyed, we have a building from God, not made with hands, eternal
in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with
our heavenly dwelling" (2 Corinthians 5:1-2). Nowhere does he suggest
a long period lying in the grave waiting for our resurrection body to
be given to us. "Our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there
that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus the Messiah. He will
transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the
body of his glory" (Philippians 3:20-21).

What then will our resurrection body be like? That is like a
caterpillar trying to imagine what butterfly life could be like. "What
no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what
God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9).
C.S.Lewis used to say that no earthly pleasure will be less than what
God has in mind for us. I used to love dinghy racing, swimming,
tennis, ballroom dancing. Others love music and art and mountain
climbing. I wonder how each of these pleasures could be a hundred
times greater in heaven?

The last book of the Bible gives us a wonderful picture. "The city has
no need of the sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its
light, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light,
and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it" (Revelation
21:23-24). The next chapter suggests there will be the joys of a
perfect city and also the peace of a river in the country. That vision
is so wonderful that I cannot imagine entering all that heaven offers
us the moment we die. There will surely be growth and exploration from
glory to glory.

But I don't have to earn it. Since the death and resurrection of Jesus
the Messiah all who would enjoy the perfect love of God are welcome.
That is not a hope for a future day of resurrection and awful
judgment, but a certainty for me the moment I end this life and Jesus
me welcomes to his heaven.

Robert Brow

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