Is The Resurrection of Today's Calling Unique?

Posted in: 2004
By Tom L. Ballinger
Mar 1, 2008 - 7:39:55 PM

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


Part I

Is the resurrection of the calling of today’s Church unique? The short answer to the question posed is; “Yes.” There are a number of reasons why the hope of the resurrection of the Church (Ecclesia), which is His body (Ephesians 1:22-23) is unique. The Church which is His Body will enter its inheritance before any other of God’s callings. We will be the first to be raised or changed—that is to say, translated into the Kingdom of God’s Dear Son (Col. 1:13).

It should be mentioned, at the out-set, that our “blessed hope” anticipates the appearing (i.e. the epiphaneia) of our Great Savior God—Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). Those who have been positioned in this “high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14) will enter into its reality, either by means of resurrection or change. By “change” we mean that Christ; “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto Himself” (Philippians 3:21).

The resurrection associated with the Hope of the Mystery is unique inasmuch as it is not connected with, or related to, the resurrections mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:22-23;

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming (Parousia).”

When the Apostle Paul wrote these inspired words, he knew nothing of the Sacred Secret of the present dispensation. As we know, the Mystery was “hid in God,” and was “not made known to the sons of men” until Paul made the truth known after the Acts of the Apostles ended. He also stated that the Mystery had been hid from ages and generations, but NOW is made manifest to His saints (Colossians 1:26). Therefore, the Ecclesia over which Christ is the Head cannot be incorporated into the resurrections mentioned in, “but every man in his own order.”

Not only that, but our great expectation is not found in the secret Paul makes known in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52;

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

Here, Paul revealed a mystery (i.e. secret) to the Corinthians pertaining to the Consummation of the Kingdom—the (Parousia) Coming of Jesus Christ. The mystery is that the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and those who are alive at the time shall be changed.

There is a distinct Jewishness associated with this particular mystery. Israel was always associated with the call of a trumpet. Check this out by referring to a concordance. Under Moses, the sound of the trumpet was a signal for the gathering of Israel.

“ … when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount” (Exodus 19:13).

The sound of the trump or trumpet will signify the gathering of believing Israel at the Second Coming (Parousia) of Christ. Trumpets are never associated with the “Church which is His Body.”

An astute student will notice when this trumpet sounds for Israel—it is said to be “at the last trump.” For it to be “the last” trumpet blast, it MUST be preceded by others. In Revelation, we read of seven angels standing before God and they had seven trumpets.

“And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound” (Revelation 8:6).

When the seventh angel sounded the seventh trumpet the Great Tribulation comes to an end, this is the “last trump” that Paul was writing about:

“And the seventh angel sounded [the trumpet] ; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).

This ushers in the 1000 year Parousia of Christ upon the earth.

The realization of the hope of the present calling is also unique; in that, it is prior to all other future resurrections or changes.

“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming (Parousia) of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).

This is foreign language to the hope of our calling. The Ecclesia of the Mystery is not tied-in with the archangel, or the trump of God. Our resurrection and change is unique in that sense.

Here, again, is the Jewish flavor; the voice of the archangel (Michael) with the trump of God. This is at the Parousia of Jesus Christ. The “dead in Christ” who shall rise first are, more than likely, to be the martyrs who will be killed after the “beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8), and when it can be said, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world” (Matthew 24:21).

1 Corinthians 15:51-52, and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 should be read in the context of the events mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12:

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [Day of the Lord] shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming (Parousia): Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

When God’s will is done in earth as it is in heaven, one of the significant facets of His will; will be that of resurrections. When the Kingdom of God becomes manifest in the earth, then He will begin to judge the living and dead (2 Timothy 4:1). That is to say, He will determine [adjudicate] who qualifies to live under His benevolent Government. This will be an era when resurrections take place in an orderly manner—every man in his own order will be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:23), to live on earth during the Kingdom of God. Every man in his own order does not speak of a general resurrection.

This will be “the last day” that Martha spoke about when she said of her dead brother, Lazarus; “Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (John 11:24). The “last day” is another phrase used to identify the Kingdom.

The resurrection and change which 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16 speak about occur with the Parousia of the Lord Jesus Christ which is the consummation of the pre-millennial Kingdom of God.

Today’s believers of Present Truth will experience a unique resurrection or change prior to the resurrections/changes mentioned in this paper. We will be the first to be raised, or changed. This fits in with a Biblical principle: The last shall be first, and the first shall be last.

More will be forthcoming on the uniqueness of our resurrection/change.

Tom L. Ballinger

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


Part II

For forty years, I have never wavered from a firmly held conviction that a dispensational change took place when the Apostle Paul pronounced a judicial blindness upon Israel. Paul was finally delivered to Rome, as a prisoner, in order to appeal his arrest which took place back in Jerusalem. Shortly after his arrival in Rome, the captain of the guards allowed him to meet with the chief Jews of Rome. The Roman Jews said they had not heard of Paul, nor had any Jews passing through Rome said anything derogatory against him. However, they had heard of the sect called “Christians.” They wanted Paul to elaborate about this new sect because it was so reviled. The Jews selected a day in which they would meet with him. Many came on the appointed day. From the morning and well into the evening, Paul expounded and testified to them concerning Jesus Christ’s relationship to the Kingdom of God. He did so out of the Law of Moses and out of the prophets.

“And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed …” (Acts 28:2-25a).

It is evident that the Jews’ mixed reaction, and their departure, signified that “the hope of Israel” was set aside. This “departure” resulted in all of the signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Spirit to “shut down.” With Israel no longer being God’s people, there was no necessity for evidentiary signs as described in Mark 16:17-20.

Upon their departure, Paul pronounced the word; “Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it” (Acts 28: 25b-28).

After forty years of study, I am more fully persuaded than ever that Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Titus, Philemon, and 1 & 2 Timothy brings to light a unique calling; the Ecclesia (Church) over which Christ Jesus is the Head. It has many unique features about it.

One of the most unique features is the timing of the realization of its, hope. True Bereans recognize it is not to be associated with the hope of resurrection and change to take place as described in 1 Corinthians 15:23, or 51-52, and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.

Keep in mind that the Dispensation of the Grace of God can end at anytime. Nothing has to be fulfilled. No Temple has to be restored. No stars have to fall from heaven. The sun doesn’t have to be darkened. The Spirit of God doesn’t have to be poured out on all flesh. The sons and daughters of Israel don’t have to prophesy. Israel’s young men don’t have to see visions, and her old men dream dreams. Elijah does not have to come to restore all things before the notable day of the Lord. No, all that our calling is waiting for is for Him to speak from Heaven.

If we are live when this call is made, our bodies of humiliation will be instantly transformed:

“Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:21).

We are to live now, looking for and anticipating the blessed hope of the blazing forth of the glory of our Great Savior/God, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). If, however, we are dead when the Blessed Hope takes place, He has an “exit strategy” from the grave for us. It is RESURRECTION!

It will be BEFORE the resurrections of “every man in his own order,” as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:23a.

Many folks have been taught that the Epistle to the Philippians is one which basically relates to our “walk” and “service.” I must disagree with this assessment. It is a well rounded epistle which presents doctrinal truths. These doctrinal truths are balanced-out by giving very practical applications in light of specific doctrines.

Philippians, very likely, was the first one Paul wrote after Israel was set aside. A careful reading suggests that the Apostle Paul hadn’t, as yet, received the revelation of the Mystery. He knew the Hope of Israel was placed in abeyance. He was a prisoner. Others were preaching Christ; hoping to add affliction to his bonds. He had every reason to despair. But, he didn’t. In fact, he was set for the defense of the gospel.

His real concern was not to think, or do, anything that would cause him to be ashamed:

“According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death” (Philippians 1:20).

He didn’t feel as though he in was limbo. There was no, “Woe is me!” in this epistle. It was perhaps the most up-beat one he ever penned. It was full of joy, hope, and rejoicing. Using a present-day expression, as it is read and re-read, I sense that Paul was really “pumped-up” when he wrote it.

This epistle clearly delineates Paul’s indomitable spirit, and his unquenchable faith in his Lord Jesus Christ. As Philippians was prayerfully read, I transported myself back in time as if I was in Philippi reading it. I caught the fervor of Paul’s exhortation. Ten times in this short epistle, the word “rejoice” is used. Despite what had transpired—the setting aside of Israel and our association with them, as Philippians what were we to do? What were we to think? Our beloved Apostle was suffering humiliation? Some claimed he was out of the will of God! His years of preaching the Word of Christ, and His Kingdom were “not-down-the-drain.” Of course not! What did Paul tell us in Philippians?

“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4).

When I closed the Book on Philippians, I thought; What a great pep-talk that was!

We will get to the “exit strategy” from the grips of death for those who die before the Epiphany of 2 Timothy 4:1, but not yet. More needs to be said.

“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” (Philippians 2:1-2).

Notice the word “consolation.” The Greek word is parakleesis. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament lists five uses of the word. (1). A calling near, (2). Supplication, (3). Exhortation, (4). Comfort, and (5). A persuasive discourse, a stirring address, a powerful hortatory discourse.

Number 5 is a fitting description of the Philippian Epistle: a persuasive discourse, a stirring address, a powerful hortatory discourse. Hence, a Divine pep-talk to those Philippians who wondered what had happened and what would become of them.

At the very outset of this epistle, Paul was absolutely confident of this very thing, that He Which hath begun a good work in you will most certainly bring it to completion right up to the time of the Day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6). His confidence rested in the faithfulness of God.

If Paul had not received the revelation of the Mystery when he wrote Philippians, and as I have said that I don’t think he had; he was still confident in Him who had called him. The idea given him was that they (the believers and him) were to keep pressing forward. They were not to look back as did Lot’s wife (Luke 9:62; 17:32). Looking back usually ends up going back. As it is said today, “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.”

Paul offers himself as an example, but he does so in an attitude of humility. Remember, he had said he placed no confidence in the flesh; meaning his confidence was in the Lord Jesus Christ, not in himself.

“If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead” (Philippians 3:11).

This verse has caused many students of the Word to wonder, if Paul wasn’t sure he was to “attain to the resurrection of the dead;” then, how can we be so sure we will? That is the wrong question to ask. So many times our questions center around, “how does that affect us.” By nature we are self-absorbed. Let’s set aside, for now, our own self-interest and try to understand what Paul means. We know what he said, but we need to know what he meant. When we understand the meaning, we will no longer have the nagging question; “If Paul wasn’t sure, how can we be so sure?”

The Apostle was a most humble man. Perhaps, the most humble in all of Scripture. In fact, I have referred to him as the “Apostle of Humility.” When his apostleship was questioned, he detested having to boast in the Corinthian epistles. It hurt him to do so. “If by any means” is an expression of humility, NOT OF UNCERTAINTY!

“If by any means” is not implying the uncertainty of the issue, but rather Paul’s struggle and the indefatigable means which he would expend in order keep on pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).

“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12).

What he is saying, in all humility, is: “Don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying I have already obtained a perfect knowledge of Christ, or that I am perfected, that is, is crowned with the garland of victory, or my course already completed: but I press-on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of me and made me his own.”

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,” (Philippians 3:13).

If this verse were placed in plainer words, it would say, “Brothers, I don’t count myself as one who has already arrived, those who do deceive themselves: but the one thing I do is to forget those things which I now count as dung and to stretch out after the things which lie ahead.”

It could be likened to stretching-out like a runner in a race, bending forward toward the tape at the finish line. This expresses a never-ending struggle, striving for the masteries; yet, he is not crowned except he strives lawfully (2 Timothy 2:5).

“I press toward the mark for the PRIZE of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

Verse fourteen tells us what Paul was really trying to obtain by any lawful means. It was not the resurrection out from the dead (vs. 11); he was assured of that, just as we are. What he was reaching and striving for was THE PRIZE OF THE HIGH CALLING OF GOD. “The prize” will be the “crown of righteousness” mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:7-8:

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

“That day” is the day of 2 Timothy 4:1, when His Kingdom blazes forth, and He begins to judge (krinoo) the quick and the dead. Krinoo means to separate, to pick out, select, choose, to approve, to deem, to determine (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon) who shall live again under His Divine rule. That is when Paul and all those who love His appearing (epiphaneia), will be presented a “Crown of Righteousness” by the Righteousness Judge Himself.

By the time Paul wrote 2 Timothy, he was assured of the prize. The resurrection, in Philippians 3:11, was never in doubt.

In our next study we will focus on the unique resurrection.

Tom L. Ballinger

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


Part III

Our English word for resurrection comes from the Latin word “resurrectus” which means the act of rising from the dead.

There are three New Testament Greek words which are translated “resurrection.”

The first we will look at is the word, anastasis which is used forty-two times. It means “standing up again.” Anastasis is Strong’s number 386. It is translated as “rising again” in Luke 2:34. In Acts 26:23 it is translated “that should rise.” It is translated “raised to life again” in Hebrews 11:35.

The other thirty-nine times it is translated “resurrection.” We will not list all of the thirty-nine occurrences because of space limitations. Here are some samples:

“Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection (anastasis)” (Mark 12:18).

“And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection (anastasis) of the just” (Luke 14:14).

“And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection (anastasis) of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection (anastasis) of damnation” (John 5:29).

“Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection (anastasis) at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection (anastasis), and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:24-25).

“And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection (anastasis) of the dead, both of the just and unjust” (Acts 24:15).

“And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection (anastasis) from the dead:” (Romans 1:4).

“But if there be no resurrection (anastasis) of the dead, then is Christ not risen” (1 Corinthians 15:13).

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection (anastasis), and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Philippians 3:10).

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection (anastasis) of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection (anastasis): on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6).

Here was a sample of the uses of the word anastasis in which it was translated “resurrection.”

The second Greek word translated resurrection is egersis which means “a resurgence from death.” It is Strong’s number 1454. Egersis is used only once.

“And came out of the graves after His resurrection (egersis), and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many” (Matthew 27:53).

The third Greek word translated “resurrection” is the subject of these studies. It is only used once in the Greek New Testament. Its usage is most profound. The word is EXANASTASIS, and it is found in Philippians 3:11.

“If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection (exanastasis) of the dead.”

It must be extremely significant that exanastasis is used in Philippians 3:11 instead of the commonly used anastasis. It is believed that the Holy Spirit was very precise in the selection of words given to the inspired writers of Scripture. The God-breathed words should be treated with the utmost respect. The words of God were not haphazardly given by inspiration. In Philippians 3:10, the word chosen by the Spirit was anastasis, and in verse 11, the word chosen was exanastasis. Notice the two verses:

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection (anastasis)” vs. 10.

“If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection (exanastasis) of the dead” vs. 11.

Is it significant that the Holy Spirit used anastasis forty-two times referring to resurrection, but He changed the word to exanastasis for resurrection in Philippians 3:11? The prefix “EX” is added to anastasis—EX-ANASTASIS.

There is bound to be a reason for the difference. Why the use of different words unless exanastasis carries with it a more unique and profound meaning than anastasis? If this is the case, as a student of the words of God, then, by His grace, I must earnestly seek the truth that the Holy Spirit is conveying.

“This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words” (1 Corinthians 2:13) NIV.

In the next study, our purpose will be to set aside words taught us by human wisdom, concerning exanastasis, and try to be a diligent seeker of the truth of the word “taught by the Spirit.”

Tom L. Ballinger

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


Part IV

As it has been pointed out, the only time the Greek word exanastasis is used in the New Testament is in Philippians 3:11 and it is translated as “resurrection.” I have researched this word—EXANASTASIS. While I certainly am not a student of the Greek language, I have learned, in some instances, in order to get clearer meanings of the words or phrases; the Greek words or phrases have to be consulted. My research has shown that exanastasis is the word anastasis with the preposition ek or ex joined to the word anastasis. Ek, when joined to a noun such as anastasis, becomes ex.

Ek or ex is a primary preposition meaning – from out of, out from, or forth from. It is denoting the origin (the point from which action or motion proceeds), from, out (of place, of time, or cause; literal or figurative; direct or remote): Strong’s # 1537. Thayer’s Lexicon of the New Testament.

This provides some insight into what ek or ex adds to the meaning of the word anastasis (resurrection). It is a resurrection from out-of-the-place-of-the-dead. The action proceeds out from those who are dead and remain so.

But, that’s not all; it should be noted that in the Greek, the word which follows exanastasis is ek, which stands alone. According to the Interlinear Bible, which uses Nestle’s Numbers, note:

         1513             2658              1519    3588            1815           1537     3498
If by any means   I might attain     unto      the        resurrection        of       dead

From the above, we notice that ek (ex) is attached to anastasis, and then, we have ek standing alone. That means we have a double use of the word meaning from out of, or out from.

Literally, it seems to say; “I might attain unto the out-from-resurrection from-out of the dead.” This doesn’t make grammatical sense in English. I have no quarrel with the King James translators, but it seems to me they oversimplified it when they translated the verse as, “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”

The double use of the Greek word ek certainly seems, to my untrained eye, to cause one to pause. W. E. Vine, in his Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, certainly tried to address this problem, when he wrote, “when exanastasis is followed by ek, the literal translation would be, ‘the out-resurrection from among the dead.’”

The Companion Bible is not silent concerning Philippians 3:10-11, on page 1778 it states in part; “Resurrection from the dead (ek nekron) implies the resurrection of some.” Meaning others are left among the dead. The CB continues; “The exanastasis must therefore mean a further selection of some before the anastasis of 1 Thess. 4:15-17.” I would add that EXANASTASIS EK must, therefore, mean those selected to be partakers of this resurrection are the first of God’s redeemed to be resurrected, or to have their vile bodies fashioned like unto his glorious body (Philippians 3:21).

This certainly makes the resurrection of the Church over which Christ Jesus is the Head, a most unique one. Unique, in that it is the only resurrection where the Spirit of God uses the phrase—EXANASTASIS EK. An “out-from-resurrection from-out of the dead.” Thus, we have the double “ek.”

This resurrection is not found in the Four Gospels, or in any of the Acts period epistles which includes the Book of Revelation. It is uniquely associated with the calling of the Mystery. The hope of our calling (Ephesians 4:4), that is to say, the “out-from-resurrection from-out of the dead” is the first hope realized in all of God’s callings. When we are raised, or changed, all of the other callings of His redeemed will be left behind sleeping in their graves. We are raised, or changed, when the Lord speaks from heaven and brings in the blessings of the long promised world-wide rule of God.

The “church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38) and the “Church of God” of the Acts period, as well as all of those who the Righteous Judge, Jesus Christ, deems worthy to live under His Divine rule will wait, in the sleep of death until He raises “every man in his own order” (1 Cor.15: 23).

The hope of our calling is not some nebulous, elusive—hard to pin down, time-frame. For a number of years as an orthodox believer in the Acts 28 position, I would have dear saints of God ask me; “In what time-frame will our hope be realized? Will it be just before the tribulation, or just before the 2nd Coming?” Alas! I had no honest answer. The only reply I could make was; “it will be at the appearing, not at His 2nd Coming.”

At the Berean Chapel in Mobile, Alabama, we had speakers from the Berean Forward Movement of London, England and prominent U.S. Acts 28 expositors at our annual “Gulf Coast Bible Conferences.” I would ask many of them the same question. I found their answers not to be definitive; just like myself—vague. As time passed by, I found myself spending time studying the Scriptures independently of the recognized fathers of “right division.” Gradually, step-by-step, line upon line, precept-upon-precept, I was weaned from the breast and delighted in His Word as one who found great spoils.

Using a metaphor, “Instead of cursing the darkness,” I sought the light of the Word. My brother-in-law, Sam Huddleston, used to tell me, “I wish 2 Timothy was not part of present truth.” He didn’t know what to do with 2 Timothy 4:1 and 18 because it mentions the Kingdom.

I found when I took 2 Timothy 4:1 to mean what it clearly says, “I charge thee before God, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing, that is, His Kingdom,” the pieces fell into place. We are raised, or changed, when the blazing forth of His kingdom takes place.

Philippians 3:11 then made sense. The Church (the Ecclesia), over which Christ Jesus is the Head, will enter into its’ “good works” when the Kingdom comes. This is prior to, or before, any of His other redeemed are called forth from the grave. The other callings will find their resurrections, after the Kingdom begins, and well before the Parousia of Christ which will be the consummation of the Kingdom.

One of the signal events which take place when the Lord Jesus Christ assumes sovereignty over the world is that the Ecclesia of the Mystery will either be raised from the dead, or changed, before every man will be raised in his own order, or rank.

A very interesting highlight should be pointed out in this respect. Let us ponder what Paul had to say;

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing (epiphaneia) ” (2 Tim. 4:7-8). KJV

Notice that it is: “not to me only, but unto all them also that love His epiphany.” Consider the implication of the statement.

Just for emphasis, look at the NIV of 2 Timothy 4:7-8:

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing (epiphaneia)”

Can we qualify to receive the “Crown of Righteousness” if we misunderstand the epiphaneia? According to the Apostle Paul, who is our authority, the answer is; “No!”

How can we love or long for the appearing when we don’t know its’ significance?

The verses certainly suggest to me that if we, as members of the Church which is His Body, comprehend His Appearing, that is His Epiphany, and long for it, we along with Paul will be awarded the prized “Crown of Righteousness” by the Righteous Judge Himself.

In conclusion, the resurrection of today’s present calling is unique. It is the first of all resurrections, and the highest in nobility. It is the best of all resurrections. As Howard W. White wrote in his study on The Resurrection, “It is in the power and likeness of Christ’s Own resurrection out from among the dead and identified with it.”

Tom L. Ballinger