The next question given to this writer concerning death was the following:
Does our son go to heaven immediately when we die, and if so, when such a death occurs, as mentioned in the last question of the last article, are we taken from heaven and put back on earth? The death referred to was the death of one who was brought back to life on this earth.
In our last article, we pointed out that the only cases of one truly suffering death and being given again an earthly life are those recorded in Scripture. Thus we limit our response to these cases. It is obvious that we have already answered the first part of this question in our last article. The soul passes immediately on to the wondrous state of conscious glory upon death, (see our last article-the first answer). Upon death, our soul life is taken to glory and we experience the fulness of salvation-communion with our God in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. There all sins are forever past and put away and there shall be no tears.
In light of the above, we must remember that the Scriptural examples of the miraculous raising from the dead were types. These types served the special purpose of God to reveal the life-giving power of our Lord and Savior. And thus, too, were typical of the saint’s resurrection in the Lord Jesus Christ. But then as types, their resurrection was not the final resurrection, but a resurrection to their former life in the midst of this sin cursed world, and was a restoration to this life which is a vale of tears. Hence, this was not the end, and those so raised must yet die again to be raised to the new and heavenly life.
Thus, our only conclusion can be that God provided a special dispensation for these cases (such as Lazarus) whereby their soul did not pass on to heaven, but was kept in a special state of (for lack of a better term) unconsciousness. For surely God would not take those who had passed on to glory and cause them again to walk in this life of sin!
The next question given me has to do with death from a different perspective:
What will it be like on Judgment day: that is, will there be babies in heaven? Will there be retarded people in heaven? Will there be old and young or will everyone be around the same age? Finally: What about abortions and miscarriages-these human beings that have been barely conceived and die-will they be a formed person on the last day?
It is best that we treat these questions together, and a proper understanding of resurrection life will give us the basic answer to these individual questions.
We begin with the understanding that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” In this life, we are sown a natural body; but we are raised a spiritual body. cf. I Corinthians 15:46. The characteristics mentioned in the questions above are natural characteristics and are distinctions of the flesh. These are put away with death and resurrection unto glory. Read Jesus’ answer to the Sadducees concerning earthly relationships in Luke 20:27ff. Further, we read in 1 Corinthians 15:42ff,” So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption: it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: in is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.” Thus, all of the elect shall receive glorified bodies with the above spiritual characteristics. And the earthly distinction of age, or souls who have been but conceived, or the retarded, fall away. We shall receive perfect and glorified resurrection bodies.
However, this is not to say that there is no distinction between saints in glory. We receive distinct and personal resurrection bodies in heaven. This is shown by the appearance of Moses and Elijah on the mount of Transfiguration. Further, while all the members of Christ’s church are members of His body, we are not all hands, or arms, etc. Each has his special place determined by the counsel of God in that body. There is a distinction of spiritual talents which God has bestowed upon the members of the body of Christ. The aged saint has different talents honed by life, than the unborn elect. But, each receives to his full measure the riches of glory in heaven, and is perfectly satisfied.
The final question is closely related to this last one:
When we arise in the last day will we raise with a whole body? What if we were blown apart-different parts of our body here and there-will our bodies be whole?
The grave is the end of all flesh. It is the place of decay and corruption. And whether our bodies return to the dust in one place or many, it but reveals the corruption and mortality of our natural bodies. Indeed they are sown in corruption! But they are raised in incorruption: glorified, new, spiritual! Each elect is given his resurrection body, and not in parts; but it is perfect as he is raised to perfection! Thus the child of God, a stranger and pilgrim here, dwelling in the valley of the shadow of death, surrounded by all the effects of sin, looks with certain hope to the day when he knows, ‘‘that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” II Corinthians 5:1.