Dale Spencer - The Order of the Resurrection

When the Queen of Sheba came to see Solomon, she was amazed. She said, "The half has never been told." I was thinking of the first time I came here in 1947, to the Denver, Colorado convention. About the same number of people gathered there that day as are here today, and I was overwhelmed. I was so overwhelmed! The person that brought me left early to serve in the kitchen, and I was left alone. Everybody in the meeting got out and I didn't know they had left. I thought a steam roller had run over me! I was overwhelmed. I said to myself, after looking for 12 years and hunting for God, going and going again, I have finally come into the presence of God's people for the first time in my life, and I have seen Truth. You do not know what your testimonies mean to me. I said, "These people know God; they are speaking from their hearts." My friends had lots of theories about God but here for the first time I had met people who actually knew God. These are the true Servants of God and they're going out like Jesus did. That is what I felt when I came amongst God's people.

I wonder how the Queen of Sheba really felt. It says that when she "… had seen all the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her." I can relate to that experience. It's wonderful to come out of the things of this world and to sit together for a few quiet hours in a place like this where God is present. We are so thankful for this experience. 

When I set foot on the grounds here, my first thought was "There is order in this place." There is order. I have been speaking about order recently, and we have been hearing a lot about order here. I think I will try and finish what I was trying to say the other day-what we heard about the home and the order of life, the ministry and the order of His service on a Sunday morning, the perfect order of God. We heard about the order of salvation, how you can come to know the Lord and how you can look into the scriptures for these things. So I would like to speak to you about the order of the resurrection today. 

In 1 Corinthians 15, we will take a little look at the other order I had in mind. Verse 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 first-fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming." Only those in Christ, and every man in his own order. Now we are going to speak about God's perfect order in the resurrection. Maybe a little later in the meeting we will speak about some other things that God has planned in His perfect order. As for God, His way is perfect; it's a perfect order and what we experience when we gather in a place like this is His presence. Every man in His own order in His presence, Christ the first-fruits, and afterward those that are Christ's at His coming. Verse 24-27, "Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For He hath put all things under His feet. But when He saith all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him." Christ, the first-fruits. We were hearing about the resurrection. That is what I have been thinking about: Christ the first-fruits. How can Christ be the first-fruits from the dead when He raised three people from the dead, and there were others before that?? How can He be the first-fruits from the dead?? There is no ministry about that. When Jesus raised Lazarus, they had to roll away the stone. But the stone was rolled away by the Angel in Jesus' resurrection. They didn't have to remove the grave clothes from Jesus. But they did from Lazarus; He said "Take away the grave clothes." When He was raised from the dead, the grave clothes were bound about him but with Jesus, they were left in the grave. Jesus raised them from natural death to natural life. But when He arose, He rose the first fruits unto eternal life. Jesus rose in His resurrection body, didn't He? The napkin about His face was still lying there. He came out of the clothes and there they were. He was the first-fruits from the dead, the first one in His resurrection body. That was the first resurrection. 

Who was next? Every man in his own order, then those that were of Christ at His coming. There is a meeting (and it hasn't happened yet) when the last trump shall sound and the dead in Christ shall meet in the air, and the living shall be changed. How quickly shall they all be changed! The living will be changed in a moment, as quick as you can blink an eye. This corruptible will become incorruptible, this mortality will become immortality. He is the coming Prince. At the sound of the last trump, the resurrection will come and the sons of God whose names have been written in the book, those who have been sealed with the Holy Spirit unto the day of their redemption when Christ calls, His people, will be with Him. Then there is a second resurrection, a second time which speaks about His children here, and everything in between. "Then cometh the end when He shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory. Death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?'" 

There is a day coming when there will be no more death. The last enemy shall be destroyed: death. That day is coming. He is talking here about a future, a day when He will turn over Himself and His Kingdom to the Father, even unto God. Do you believe those words in the Bible? I think you do. No man has ever seen God at any time. Do you believe that? No man has seen God at any time. Jesus said that, "No man hath seen My Father. I came from My Father." (This means that all appearances of God, Lord God, or Lord in the Old Testament were Jesus, the Son of God.) "The words that I speak unto you are not My own words; they are the words of My Father. I came to declare Him. I gave you all these things, but no man hath seen God. Why is it in the Book of Isaiah it says that a little child will be born and He shall be called the Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace? Jesus had those names. God was with Jesus. He had those names and was called and for us, all power was given unto Him. He has come, sent from the Father and no man has seen the Father at any time. But there is a day coming when Jesus will turn Himself over and be a bride to the Father. All the saints will see God then. That is the order of the resurrection; that is God's divine plan. First, we have Jesus rising from the dead 2,000 years ago. Those who are His at His coming, when the last trump sounds and we do not know when, He will turn over His kingdom to His Father. That is the plan of God. I would like to read the next two or three verses to you. We're still in 1 Corinthians 15, verse 25-28, "For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For He hath put all things under His feet. But when He saith all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all." I have asked some people on occasion, to put away their pronouns like "the man" and the word "is" in these two verses, and read Christ and God. He was talking with Christ, or God. I have asked people to put the proper name in instead of the pronoun, but what a muddle they come up with! They just could not read it. It is Paul's writing and a bit difficult to read. I am going to do it for you. If you understand what we are trying to do, you can do it yourself. You might have a little trouble reading those two verses and putting the right name in the right place but I will do it for you: 

"God hath put all things under Jesus' feet. All power is given unto Him in Heaven and Earth." Those are Jesus' words. When God sayeth all things are put under Him (or under Jesus), it is manifest that He is excepted. Who is excepted? Jesus. Everything in creation is put under the feet of Jesus, except His Father. Do you see and understand that? He has put all things under His feet and He (Jesus) is excepted. Not God. Jesus always saith in His prayer, "I do always those things that please the Father." He always did the things that showed His Father's will. All other things will be subject unto Him. When Jesus has put everything under His feet then shall the Son Himself be subject unto Him (God) that put all things under Him (Jesus). Unto God, who gave Jesus all power and put all things under His feet. Maybe you think that is a little bit tedious and maybe it is. What He simply said, "One day, I am going to turn the Kingdom over to the Father, that God may be all in all."

What I want to do this morning for a little while is take you to the parable in Luke 19. I found this parable very interesting in connection with God's eternal plan and His eternal order. Maybe we can follow it up in the rest of this meeting. Luke 19:11 tells us of some of the details in God's eternal plan, and the order it has. It is the parable of the nobleman. Let us start with verse 11, "And as they heard these things, He added and spake a parable, because He was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear." Not often is a parable told before it is told but the Lord tells us why He is telling it. Usually Jesus gives the parable and its meaning; He also tells us why He told it. But in this parable He tells us why He tells us it, before He tells it. He told it because they thought the Kingdom of God would immediately appear. The Jews knew there was a good bit said about the Kingdom of God and the return of the Lord, but they didn't know there were two comings. They didn't know that Jesus was going to be returning a little later on, and going into Jerusalem on a colt, the King of Israel. The Jews thought that He would be riding a great white horse, this King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And He will when He comes back again. This is how He will be coming. They had the two comings mixed up and thought the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ would be when He came as a Messiah. They didn't know His coming was the New Testament Church. He told them the parable of a certain nobleman going into a far county, etc. and they said, "We will not have this man reign over us."

There is quite a bit in this parable, much more than what meets the eye to the casual reader. The Son of the King was sent from a far country. He came from Heaven. Where did He come to? He came to the earth. He said He is going to go back to His Father. You know very well the events of His return. How long was He in the world preaching? How long did He live? 33½ years. He lived until He ascended then rose on the third day. He was three nights in the grave and was seen of His children. How many times was He seen? Eleven times during those 40 days. He was seen on those many occasions, from time to time for 40 days. The last time He was seen by the eleven apostles. Jesus has gone now. But He was with the eleven on the Mount of Olives, and the day of His ascension arrived 40 days after His resurrection, and He is taken up. Can you blame those apostles staring open-mouthed, looking up into Heaven and wondering where their Lord went? He was standing there with them, and now there He goes. He was taken up into Heaven in a cloud. Two angels appeared and said "Why do you stand gazing up into Heaven? He went back to His Father, to sit down on the right hand of His throne in Heaven, and now He is waiting until the day of the last trump." He said, "I do not know when that day is, but My Father knows." He is waiting for the last day as we are waiting for that day, when the trumpet will sound and the dead in Christ will rise first, and the living will meet Him in the air. We are filling in a few blanks here, from these parts of scripture. They didn't understand that there was a second coming. They looked for these later things in the first coming. He told them He would return but had returned now to His Father. What I like about this parable is that it tells us about the past, the present and a little about the future. Everybody would like to know something about the future. It also tells us a few things that help us to see how we can get along in the little time we have here on earth. 

Jesus came and went back to His Father. Then it speaks about the present that He gave His servants. He gave them all the same thing-one pound. I don't know, and maybe some will fall out with me when I tell them what the one pound is like. It's something that we as God's children all have. It's a gift, this one pound. I do not think that He was speaking about a preacher's service but I think He was speaking about His children. He gives each and every one of us one pound and tells us to "occupy till I come." I was in an occupation army once, a soldier in Japan for 1½ years. We were trying to revitalize that country. I think in a way we helped. I was there from the beginning of the occupation and know what it is to occupy as a stranger in another land. God's servants are strangers in their land, too. We are here, and we are strangers. The world thinks we are awfully strange; they say, "Oh you think you are the only ones that are right in the world." They get muddied down, don't they? I don't think God's people say that. I have asked them, "Did you say that?" And they tell me, "No, but you've hinted it, haven't you?" We are not talking about MY way. It is not your way at all. It's God's way. We're not speaking about our way. The world says, "You think your way is the only way there is, the only right way." All our people think that Jesus is the Way, the only Way that He is the Truth, the only One, and we want to be His disciples. We want to be the disciple of that One, and believe it is the true way of God. Jesus, the Son of God came to earth as a Nobleman, to establish a Kingdom which He called us into by His name. He has brought us into His family and made us a part of this Kingdom. Is His Kingdom territorial? Is He seeking land? Cities? Money? No. Jesus is seeking souls. "I have come to seek and save those who are lost." His Kingdom is not based on any territorial claims at all, but upon the whole world. It is not for you to know. Think on this day, right around the whole world when God's true children gather together in their homes and break bread. We won't do it here this morning, but we would be, if we were in a little home meeting breaking emblems today. He gives each one pound and then He comes back. Verse 15-27, "And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, 'Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.' And he said unto him, 'Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.' And the second came, saying, 'Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.' And he said likewise to him, 'Be thou also over five cities.' And another came, saying, 'Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: for I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.' And he saith unto him, 'Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury.' And he said unto them that stood by, 'Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.' (And they said unto him, 'Lord, he hath ten pounds.') For I say unto you, 'That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.'" 

Did he come before or after He received the Kingdom? What did He say? When did He receive the Kingdom, before He came or after He came? He came again after He received the Kingdom. What does that mean, having received the Kingdom? It is simply that the first resurrection is passed and His family, His bride, His Kingdom is eternal from the foundation of the world. The Kingdom that He loved and died for, labored for, brought into existence, He has brought that Kingdom together. Before He returns, He is going to recover that Kingdom unto Himself: that is the first resurrection. That is when He recovers that Kingdom unto Himself and with that Kingdom, the day comes when He will return with power and great glory, with the angels of Heaven and the saints of God. 

What about the rewards? When does Jesus pass out the rewards? We all like rewards, don't we? Some people think I am going to get a book reward, I am worthy of it! Now He calls them, and here is what He said, "How much have you gained by trading?" "My pound has gained ten pounds." "Well done, you are going to be ruler over ten cities." The second came saying, "I have gained five pounds." "Likewise, you will be a ruler over five cities." He came to the third and asked, "What did you do with your pound??" "I hid it in the ground, here it is." The third one was the man who received what others received. The Lord dealt kindly with him, but he did nothing with his pound and buried it in the earth. 

How do we trade? Can you think of things you have traded for more valuable things? You could trade our time for God's time. You could trade your substance for the treasure in heaven if you know how to lay it up and use it in the Kingdom. There are many things. You could trade your mind for the mind of Christ and knowing about scriptural things. I am not going to make a list. Yes, you could trade things you have naturally for your own spiritual benefit and have treasure in Heaven that is yours for eternity. He is going to judge us according to our works and what we have done. 

Revelation 22:12, "And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be."  This last chapter in the Bible tells us when He is going to come, and what He is going to give as rewards. Does your Bible say 'shall be' or 'mine?' Your reward shall be with Me. What does that mean? I thought he was rewarded for the works that had been done? When He is talking about works, works that shall be, He is talking to the servants. They had done trading and He was rewarding them for their trading, but when He came He said, "You will be over ten cities, or five cities. That will be your reward." Do you think there will be any labor in looking after ten cities? One man said that sounds like hard work, "I don't want that kind of a reward," and he probably won't get it either! There is a Kingdom coming. There is a Millennium Kingdom. Millennium just means 1,000 years in Greek. If you are talking about 100 years, you are talking about a century. If you are talking about a decade, you are talking about 10 years. We are going to turn now to Revelation. The Bible says there is going to be another Kingdom on the earth, after this world for 1,000 years, and the Lord will be King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and His Children, His saints, will be the rulers. I did not make that up! It's found in Revelation 20. These will have part in the first resurrection and are those He is talking about. Verse 4-5, "…I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection." Are these some headless wonders? Oh no, the Lord gives His children a new body. If the head is been taken off, will you get a better one? It says those who were beheaded for the witness of God, neither had worshipped the beast, etc… And they lived and reigned with Christ 1,000 years. 

People say Christ is the bridegroom of the Church. He isn't. The bridegroom of the Church and the marriage hasn't come yet. He is only the espoused bridegroom and the espoused bride. Paul said, "I have espoused you." He is not yet the King of Kings. But He will be when He comes and conquers. One day He will be the King of Kings and rule the whole earth. He will not only be the King but the only Potentate in the world-He is Jesus. His children will have the authority and rule with Him because they loved and reigned with Christ 1,000 years. Verse 5, "The rest of the dead lived not again until the 1,000 years were finished," and then He speaks about the first resurrection. We are talking about the first resurrection today, those that went to meet Him, those that the second death had no power over; they will be priests together and reign with Him 1,000 years. That is what is going to happen to the saints. There are others here that were not destroyed but who will rule and reign for 1,000 years with Christ. 

What is the marriage? The marriage was not salvation. During the first resurrection they were taken up, and there was a waiting spirit. The marriage and the bride were to be forever with Him. These were worthy at His coming and were caught up to Him in the air. If they had been killed, their heads taken off or shot or whatever, they were going to have a new body like unto His body at His appearing. Don't you like that? . . . a new resurrection body for those that have a part? And it'll be worthwhile, won't it? Those that have a part in the first resurrection will receive a new body. If we miss it, we will miss it all. Verse 5-6, "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: 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..." They lived again until the 1,000 years were expired. So what of the dead? They lived not again until the thousand years were expired. I will tell you who they are. They were the ones that bowed not their knees and that had no part in the first resurrection.  They were the unsaved dead. 

What is Paradise and what is hell? The thief on the cross was told, "Today thou shall be with me in paradise." That is where departed souls go: to Paradise or to hell, awaiting the first resurrection. Where do the rest in the world go to. To hell. The rich man lifted up his eyes in hell, being in torment. The rest of the dead must be regarded as every other boy, girl, man and woman that was ever born but were never born again. They were not in the first resurrection; they were not in the Kingdom. They missed it and the door was shut - they missed it like the foolish virgins. The rest of the dead lived in hell. There is no death for the soul because the soul goes from your body at death. The moment the spirit departs from you, you are alive in your spirit. Your body goes to the dust from whence it came. Your spirit returns to the God that gave it. You either go to Paradise or that other place that the rich man went - to hell and in torment. You say hell and Paradise is not the end of it. It's not. Those that were raised up, the rest of the dead went to the great white throne of judgment and the Lord looked into His book of Life to see if their name was written there. If their life was not written there, they were cast into the lake of fire which is the second death, the destiny of the unsaved. It says death and hell gave up the dead that were in them. Paradise is discontinued at the first resurrection. Believe me! There is no more paradise. It is for the souls waiting under the Altar for the second return of Christ in Revelation 6:9-11,"And when He had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held and they cried with a loud voice, saying, 'How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?' And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." Hell is the place where the unsaved will be for the next 1,000 years, and then they will be cast into the lake of fire, the second death. They will be there for all eternity. 

"The sea gave up the dead that were in it," etc.? This little parable that Jesus is telling us about, how does it end up? I will go back to this chapter and finish it in a couple of seconds. He took that from the man who had buried his token in the earth, his one pound and said, "Those who hath, to him shall be given, and whomsoever hath not, from him shall be taken, even him that seemeth to have." It would mean what He did not have. I think, and pardon me if I'm wrong for I do not usually say what I think, but I think it is the one thing that Jesus Christ gives everyone of His Saints. The coin that didn't increase was the man who didn't have the Spirit of Christ. The wise virgins had the oil; the foolish did not. Whosoever hath shall be given and whosoever hath not, to him shall be taken. The one man lost all that he had and the others received their rewards. They will rule and reign with Christ during the Millennium reign. 

Verse 27 closes this parable, "But those Mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before Me." This just better outlines what the Lord is going to do in His Kingdom. He came the first time and He will come the second time, and then will come the eternal Kingdom, one that brings judgment. He said, "The Lord is not going to reign over me." Who was that in reality? It was the Jews, the Kingdom of Israel and all those people died. They said they would not have that man rule over them and they put Him on the cross. They crucified Him. But they are not the only ones who won't have Jesus ruling over them. I know some people in this world that say the Lord Jesus is not going to reign or rule over me! Maybe some are saying that in this meeting, "I am not going to let the Lord rule over me." You can keep your own life, but it'll be to your own destruction. One day, we are going to be raised up before the Nobleman and stand before Him. Then He will ask, "Did you ever confess Me? Did you ever value Me? Did you ever deny Me?" One day you will have to confess - and you too!? The saints that have already professed have confessed to be with the Lord, and the second death will have no power over them. But the unsaved will be cast into a lake of fire. If you cannot rule over us, slay us! He cast them into the lake of fire, the second death. 

One more verse in Revelation 21:1-4, "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea and I, John, saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband and I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away."

We read of the new Jerusalem coming down unto God in the new Heaven and new Earth, wherein righteousness dwelleth, and they are with God Himself. Jesus will one day introduce His children to His Father and they will ever be with God and He with them for all time. I have enjoyed thinking on these things.