July 12, 2012

Today’s conversation is a follow-up to the recent conversation on The Imperative of Identity Replacement in the Believer. Ray wants to know what “identity replacement” will actually look like in the manifest kingdom. Will we be recognizable? Or not? If so, how? This conversation takes a mild stab into the unknown for an answer, opening our minds to considerations “outside the box” beyond what we might tend to assume about life in the age at hand. (For context, you can read the original conversation at the bottom).
Be blessed, all.
Chris Anderson
From: Ray Ashmore
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 1:45 PM
To: littleflock
Subject: Re: First Love Readers Circle: Conversations - The Imperative of Identity Replacement in the Believer
Hello Chris,
Having read this and your response, my thinking is still not completely clear--especially as to resurrection identities. Would you please email me your insights about our bodily resurrection from a spiritual identity perspective? And also what the resurrection kingdom will look like?
I'm not sure my question is even clear. But. . .
From: littleflock
Sent: Saturday, June 30, 2012 12:33 PM
To: 'Ray Ashmore'
Subject: RE: First Love Readers Circle: Conversations - The Imperative of Identity Replacement in the Believer
Thanks for writing, Ray. These are great questions, and not easily answered at this point in the eternal journey. Following is what I can say.
On Resurrection Identity
The best phrase I can use to describe my understanding of resurrected identity is “unrecognizable yet recognizable.” The best examples of this from scripture are of the relationship between Jesus and his disciples after the resurrection but before the ascension, and John’s encounter in Revelation. In the gospel stories of the road to Emmaus, and also the early morning “fish fry” by the sea, we are told that the Lord was not immediately naturally recognizable to the disciples.

This unrecognizability speaks to the transcendent aspect of resurrected identity.  Yet at the same time, the Lord then somehow became recognizable as Who He had been among them before the crucifixion. The Emmaus road story especially tells us it required special revelation for this recognition to occur.
Perhaps the title of the Book of “Revelation” speaks to this more than anything. The book is about the “revelation of Jesus Christ.” This revelation is of the resurrected Jesus.  The fact that God transmits to us a “revelation” about this resurrected identity is I think significant and offers us clues that help answer your question. (Sometimes the answers to our questions are hidden in plain sight.) Let’s look at some of these clues then.
When the Lord first appears in chapter one, John does not say, 13 and in the middle of the lampstands I saw Jesus…. “
Instead, he says,
13 and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. 14 His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. 15 His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.     
In this we see that unfamiliar unrecognizability factor, which we’ll come back to.
Now prior to this encounter, John is inspired to write by faith in his first letter,
3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.
First, John is answering your question to me. He says, “I really can’t answer what our new identity is going to look like, how we will be known, etc.” But then he exceeds that observation to say, “But when He does appear, we will be like Him, because we shall see Him for who He really is.”
John is telling us key things here. First, he is admitting that how Jesus really is now different than who He was in this life. That’s what the phrase “just as He is” means. John is saying in reverse, “He is not the Jewish Jesus we all knew here below.” And of course, he had already had some experience with this, being one of those who saw the Lord after the resurrection, but had to first process that cognition through the unrecognizability veil.
But then we come to the actual “revelation of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 1 is the personal fulfillment of John’s expectation in I John 3:2. For the first time, John sees Jesus “just as he is.” But what does he say? How does he identify Him? Again, he does not say, “I saw Jesus.” He says, “I saw one like a son of man.”  He is taken aback by Who he is beholding. He doesn’t even have a name for Him.
[As an interesting aside, after this first encounter, Jesus does not identify Himself by His original name until the very last chapter: 22:16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star." And so John wraps up in the recognizability of: 22:20 “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” As patterned right after the resurrection, we see a passage from unrecognizability to recognizability in the book of Revelation itself. And I would say that it is the concluding declaration of Jesus’ name in ch. 22 that gives John the basis for his “preamble” in ch. 1 to declare that this is the “revelation of Jesus.”]
But the point here is that at the beginning of the encounter, John is beholding Jesus “as He is” in unveiled resurrected glory for the first time—and he is so undone by the appearance that he has to reach for language to identify the “one” he is seeing. It is not the name he is used to from the incarnation.

He ends up using the same language Daniel uses (7:13) who did not at the time even know the name “Jesus:”  "I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him.”  (And how much this sounds like Revelation 5:7 where the “Lamb” approaches the throne to take the scroll)
Again, to keep to the point—the appearance of the resurrected Lord is so otherworldly that his identity is clearly beyond anything by which He was recognized in His original incarnation.
How does that apply to us? Well, remember that John also said above, “we shall be like Him.”  Jesus is the “pattern Son” (as the Latter Rain teachers are fond of saying.) What is true about Jesus as the firstfruits of resurrection (firstborn from the dead) is true of those who follow. In glory therefore, we will have a quite otherly appearance and identity. We will be carnally unrecognizable, though we will yet mysteriously become recognizable for who we had been here below. 

Based on the evidence in both the gospels and Revelation, this will apply whether we are on earth or in the heavens.  John’s description of the glorious unrecognizable “one like the son of man” in Rev. 1 agrees with the description of “us to be” that both Jesus and Daniel give here:
"Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.” Mt. 13:43
"Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” Dan. 12:3

That “shining” of the saints will carry the same unrecognizability to the natural perception as it did for John at the opening of Revelation. Our true spiritual identity as children and sons of the heavenly Father beyond and apart from Adam will be manifest in that shining and glory and brilliance. 

We also want to note that in accord with this, we are promised “new names” (Rev. 2:17). New identity follows new nature. That identity becomes manifest when the nature becomes fully manifest. So it is that at the manifestation of our resurrected identity we will receive new names (with an appendage that goes something like “formerly known as Ray Ashmore!”). Even Jesus gets a new name! (3:12).
So that is my best insight at this point on resurrection identity.
Let me offer two last asides of interest in this regard:
It is to be surmised that John’s statement, “when He appears, we will be like Him,” had  special meaning for John personally which may help explain something of the mystery of the Book of Revelation’s dissemination and John’s destiny. ….  For the following insight I have to credit my friend Bruce Hehl, but I am persuaded of the following:
The Book of Revelation is not merely a supernatural revelation, but the circumstances surrounding its writing and transmission are equally supernatural. As I said above, John’s encounter with the Lord of Glory on Patmos was the fulfillment of his expectation that “when He appears, we shall be like Him.”

The most consistent conjecture then is that at this encounter, and when John was “called up above” in Chapter 4, John did not merely have a “vision,” but it was here that he was finally translated himself to permanently leave this life…. John wrote the revelation in glory as he encountered it and thence transmitted it as instructed to the unknown angel messengers of the seven churches, which he would have been able to do from a glorified position, something which is not really explainable any other way.
Also of note is John’s use of the past tense to describe where he “was” at the time of the encounter. ….
1:9 “I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”
….. Meanwhile, in the opening verses of chapter one, he gives present tense greeting from a heavenly-oriented location:
4…Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.”
This sounds like where he “is,” as opposed to Patmos where he “was.” It is a present tense position in the heavenlies “before His throne.” He writes as one standing next to the spirits themselves. In any case, a most fascinating conjecture…..

[Ed. Note to the reader: There is no actual record of John’s death. Eusebius, a Roman writer of the fourth century, is reported to have said that John’s body could not be found. All other traditional accounts as to what happened to John—such as he was released from Patmos, went back to Ephesus, did some sheep herding and that a church is built on the site of his tomb—are not based on any immediate witnessed reports, but are held by tradition.]  

The second aside is more to the point of identity and your question.  I just want to refer you to the testimony of Howard Pittman, one of several people who have recorded testimonies to heavenly encounters resulting from clinical death experience. Pittman’s testimony at one point describes what he saw regarding the passage of spirits of the Lord’s people from this life to the next life, as through a tunnel. What he was given distinctly to notice about each spirit is that each was ageless, without gender and without race—yet each possessed the intrinsic uniqueness by which he was known. For Pittman’s detailed description of this, please listen to minutes 34-41 of the message linked here.      
On Resurrection Kingdom
As to what the resurrection kingdom will look like (and by the way, I like your term for it), I have offered some thoughts in my treatises on Israel about this. Specifically, I have postulated a dimensional concept of “spiritual physicality” which you can read about in more detail here

To sum it up though, what I say there is that in the age of glorification, certain supra-creational properties which now only manifest within the heavenly plane itself will be made visible to and interface with natural creational properties as we know them now. Those higher properties when written about in the prophecy of scripture have a “fantastic” sound to the mind here below, a sound that leads men of the present dimension to dismiss them as hyperbole or allegory. But they are not. They are simply of a dimensional plane that has not been introduced yet to the earth.
In the Israel treatises, I also postulate what certain governmental structures will look like, as the extensions of what we now call spiritual law will become the realized standard by which earth’s peoples function. You can read more about that in the three sections of the treatise that begins here.  (I’ll keep this short so as not to reinvent my own wheel. But if after reading these sections other questions arise, maybe we can take a look at them.)
This is my very short summary of insight on Resurrection Kingdom
Thanks, Ray. Again, great questions.
Chris A.


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