Job, an Old Testament patriarch asked: “If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come.” (Job 14:14). He and countless others wondered about life beyond life — is there a resurrection from the dead to another form of existence? This article answers, at least partially, that very question.
In the beginning, humans were created with a physical body, spirit body and soul. In addition, they were given the potentiality for becoming at one with God the Father to such an extent that they would possess divine nature, some of God’s attributes, and some of His divine essence. This in turn would have given them a consciousness of immortality – of never ceasing to exist. When the first humans rebelled against God and sinned, this potentiality died, while the soul and spirit continued indefinitely and the physical body continued for many years after the act of disobedience.
Now, what happens when the physical body dies? There will be no resurrection of the physical body nor another fleshly reincarnation. There is, however, a resurrection that is common to all. At death, all humans rise in a spirit body that has been with them throughout their lives.
The spirit body came into an individualized form at conception and in prenatal development. It is an integral part of each of us and contains our senses and reasoning powers. The material body is needed in this life for the utilization and awareness of these senses or for manifesting the powers of the spirit body. It, however, limits the function of the senses and faculties inherent in the spirit body to purely material things, which are grosser and more compact than spirit. Phenomena and gifts such as clairvoyance occur independently of material organs. Upon its being freed from the restraints of the physical body (incarnation), the spirit body can see both material and spiritual phenomena.
This resurrection at the moment of death (“in the twinkling of an eye”) has been occurring throughout human history and before the time of Jesus. The continuation of life in the spirit world has been understood by various people around the world. Some even witnessed the manifestation of this reality in encountering spirit appearances of those who had died. However, in addition to this universal resurrection, Jesus taught another resurrection, one vital to human salvation. This was new information not understood before.
As mentioned above, when the first humans sinned, the potentiality of at-onement with God the Father with its accompanying immortality, was lost to them and in that sense they died. Jesus brought the news and exemplified the fact in his life, that this potentiality has been restored. This is the true resurrection – resurrection to divinity and immortality.
Jesus then, by his living example and teaching that humans can attain immortality, was the resurrection and the life (John 11:25). He taught that to obtain this resurrection, humans must earnestly seek and pray for the Divine Love which will transform their souls from divine image to divine essence and make them at one with God. This opportunity is available to both mortal humans and inhabitants of the spirit world, but it must be chosen and sought. Those who haven’t received this resurrection, imparted by the Holy Spirit in the form of Divine Love in the soul, don’t have the gift and consciousness of immortality and in that sense are still in a condition of death.
Reference: Angelic Revelations of Divine Truth, Vol 1, Chapter 13