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The study begins promptly at 7:00 pm Central time (8:00 pm Eastern & 5:00 pm West Coast). It is best to call in 5 or 10 minutes early to avoid technical delays. If you have any questions, you can contact me at BibleStudents1@GMail.com. Find more information about our studies by clicking here:
Our approach will be topical Bible Study where we examine all the scriptures on a particular topic and harmonize them all. You can find our study book here: It is Volume 1 of Studies on the Scriptures; or an abbreviated version of it here: God’s Grand Plan of the Ages. You can prepare by answering the questions below:
Vol. 1 “NATURES DISTINCT”
God has created several levels of being. Understanding the ransom and resurrection and restitution of Adam requires an understanding of several of these levels of creation. This study will examine Scriptures about the different levels. It will examine the nature of man, the natures of Jesus, and the natures to be given in the resurrection. We will see that Adam, created without any imperfections, was a human being, not part human and part spiritual. So Jesus, equal to Adam while on earth was also all human, not part human and part spiritual. As a reward for his faithfulness in giving his human nature for a ransom, God gave Jesus a resurrection to the divine nature, again, not part human and part spiritual. So too we will see that the human beings who follow Jesus in sacrifice will give up their human nature at death and receive the divine nature in their resurrection. The rest of the human family will receive human nature when they are resurrected to earth. We will also consider the meanings of the two words mortal and immortal; and see how they refer to God’s creation.
The next study begins with question #39.
Read: 1 John 1:5-2:5; Romans 12:2; Philippians 3:7-15; Hebrews 3:13-14.
39. When God begets us with His spirit, do we immediately become perfect, and worthy then of a spiritual resurrection?
Answer: No, the spiritual resurrection can only be attained if we serve God faithfully each day of our lives. We must try continually to understand His word better, to find in the bible the direction of our life, and then obey that direction.
Read: 1 Corinthians 15:44, 51-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18; 2 Timothy 4:8.
40. Will the change at death, of the true disciple of Jesus, to the same divine nature he has be immediate?
Answer: Yes, the Apostle Paul assures us that in “that day” (at Christ’s second presence) then his true and faithful disciples will be resurrected to the divine nature. He also shows that those who die after Christ returns (in his second presence) will be resurrected as soon as they die. The others who died before Christ returned had to wait for his return.
41. When the Apostle Paul says that the “mortal must put on immortality”, how can this be accomplished? (201)
Answer: We have seen that the mental faculty of reasoning, of moral judgments, of character qualities in the human are like (in the image of God) those of the spirit nature. So the resurrection of a human to a spiritual body is simply the transfer of the character of a person to the new body (spirit body). With the divine nature’s body the person has an extremely enlarged capacity to know things and to do things.
42. How will the effort now, as a human being, to dwell on spiritual interests effect a spiritual resurrection? (202)
Answer: The transforming of the mind to dwell on spiritual interests rather than natural will develop a character with suitable interests for a spirit body.
43. How will we know ourselves in the resurrection?
Answer: We will arise with the same character with which we died. Each morning we arise with the same character with which we went to sleep the previous night. The process of recognizing oneself will be the same in both occasions.
Read: Romans 6:8; John 17:5; Romans 12:2; 2 Peter 1:4; Hebrews 1:4; 2 Timothy 1:10.
44. Since Jesus received the divine nature at his resurrection, what may we expect at ours?
Answer: The divine nature will be the reward for all of Jesus’ faithful disciples. They will receive it as a result of faithfully obeying the transforming influences of God’s word in their lives.
Thus we see that God has different levels of beings in His creation. The angels are the lowest level in God’s heavenly spirit beings. Man is an earthly creation, and lower than the spirit beings. Man is the highest of God’s earthly creations because he has the highest level of intelligence. All of God’s creation have received their blessings of life and circumstance from God as a favor. Man’s creature included the capacity to choose between right and wrong, obedience or disobedience to God’s law. Man chose to sin, and thus incurred God’s wrath, judgment of death. God’s love arranged for man’s redemption through a redeemer, Jesus. As a reward for sacrificing his life for humanity, Jesus was resurrected to the divine nature. This resurrection was a change of nature for Jesus from completely human to completely divine. So the offer to Jesus’ disciples is the same change of nature if they use their human nature in God’s service. The hope of the resurrection applies to the entire human family, too. But the nature they will receive will be the human nature, the same nature they would have if sin had not brought death.
These various levels of being, given originally at creation, and given again in the resurrection are all favors from God.
Vol. 1 Chapter 9,
Read: Genesis 2:7; 1:26-31; Psalms 8:5-8; 1 Corinthians 15:47.
1. Of what material was Adam made, and how did this compare to the spiritual being of angels? (174)
Answer: Man was made a human being, from the materials that make up the earth. This was a little below the level of being enjoyed by the angels in heaven.
Compare Psalms 8:5-8 and Hebrews 2:7.
2. To whom do these scriptures apply? What do they mean?
Answer: They refer to Adam and to Jesus. They emphasize that both were equally created human being, a little below the angels (who were spiritual). They also show that man is God’s highest earthly creation, and that as such God has put man as king of earth.
Read Genesis 1:29-31; Matthew 6:10; Genesis 3:24; Isaiah 6:2,6; Ezekiel 28:14.
3. What is the significance of a creature being created “a little lower” than another creature? (175)
Answer: It means they are on different levels in God’s scale of creation.
4. Does perfection of being relate to level of creation?
Answer; No, Adam was created a human being and without any imperfection. He was fully able to keep God’s law for mankind. So he was perfect (until he chose to sin). All God’s angelic hosts are perfect (until they sin) when they are created. So perfection is measured within a level of creation, not between levels.
5. Are there different levels of creatures within our earth? (176)
Answer: Yes. In the animal creation different levels exist as human, brute, fowl, fish. Different levels within vegetation are trees, shrubs, grasses, mosses. So in the mineral kingdom, each mineral is a different level, based on its atomic structure.
6. What ranking of higher/lower creations exist in these various levels?
Answer: Within each category the levels or natures are ranked. And the categories are also ranked; animal highest, then vegetation and then the lowest of mineral.
7. How do these comparisons help us understand the description of man’s level of creation in Psalms 8:5-8.
Answer: We can see that man’s level is in fact below angels because man is earthly and confined to earth while angels are heavenly creatures not confined to earth.
Read: Romans 5:18-19; Luke 19:10.
8. Since man was created a human being, what nature will he have in the restitution?
Answer: Human nature. That is what he lost and that is what he will be restored to.
Read: Hebrews 2:9-16; Philippians 2:7-9; John 114; 1:1.
9. Of what nature was Jesus made when he came to earth to supply the ransom price? (178)
Answer: He left the heavenly nature he had as God’s Logos, above the angels, and became a human being just as Adam was a human creation. These scriptures also show that Jesus’ resurrection to heaven was to a higher nature than he had as the Logos. He received the divine nature at his resurrection.
Read: Exodus 19:3-8; Leviticus 18:1-5; 1 John 3:4; 1 Timothy 2:6; 1 Corinthians 15:21; Ephesians 2:13-17; 1 Peter 1:18-21.
10. How does Jesus’ keeping a perfect law help us to see that he was a perfect (sinless) human being at his first advent?
Answer: The law of God was the measure of a perfect human being. Jesus keeping that law showed that he was a perfect (sinless) human being.
Read: Philippians 2:8-9; Matthew 3:16-17; Ephesians 1:18-23; 1:12-14.
11. How do the scriptures assure us that Jesus was all human, not part human and part spirit nature at the time of his first advent? (179-180)
Answer: First, the scripture says that Jesus took on the nature of man—human. Then the scripture says that God gave Jesus only an earnest (a pledge, a surety) of his inheritance (of the divine nature) at the time of his baptism. The spirit nature was not given to Jesus until his resurrection after he died as a human being.
Read: Hosea 4:6; Proverbs 8:10-14; 11:9.
12. Does knowledge change a person’s nature?
Answer: No, it expands the ability of that person who gains knowledge to be able to know and serve God more ably.
Read: 1 Timothy 1:17; Romans 2:5-7; 1 Corinthians 15:50-57; Romans 8:16-18; 2 Timothy 1:9-10; 2:11-12.
13. Do the scriptures tell us about anyone besides Jesus who might hope for a change of nature from human to divine?
Answer: Yes, the scriptures say that there is a class of human being who are striving to be faithful disciples of Jesus. The reward God has promised them for full faithfulness is to share with Jesus the same divine nature God has given him.
Read: 1 Corinthians 15:38-49; John 3:6; 1 John 3:2; 1 Corinthians 2:13; Psalms 34:7; Hebrews 1:14.
14. How much do the scriptures describe about the form of the spirit nature beings?
Answer: They tell us that spirit beings have bodies made of celestial material, not earthly materials. Therefore, spirit beings are not mirages. But we are not informed about their personal appearance beyond a statement that they are glorious.
Read: Psalm 34:7; Hebrews 1:14.
15. What do these scriptures tell us of spirit beings?
Answer: They are frequently present with human beings though unperceived by the humans.
Read: Genesis 18:1,2; Judges 6:11-22; 13:20.
16. What do we learn from these scriptures about spirit beings?
Answer: They may materialize and dematerialize at will.
Read: Daniel 10:6, 10, 15, 17; Acts 9:1-6.
17. What more do we learn from these scriptures about spirit beings?
Answer: As they in their spirit bodies appear to humans, the spirit beings appear bright and glorious. If they do not reveal themselves to humans they are invisible. So it was in both these scriptures. Daniel and Paul saw the spirit being. Others with the two men did not see the spirit being.
We would conclude from our study to this point, that spirit and human natures are separate and distinct. We further see that the human nature does not evolve into a spirit nature. A change of nature is only possible when God offers it as a reward or opportunity of service to Him. The resurrection of Christ’s disciples is an example of this, with their human nature dying at death, and the divine nature given to them in their resurrection. The resurrection of the rest of the human family will be to human nature.
Now let us see how the terms mortality and immortality apply to the nature of people.
18. What is the meaning of the word mortality? (185)
Answer: Mortality signifies a state or condition liable to or subject to death. It refers to a condition in which death is possible, not to a dead condition. Mortality does not mean that death is unavoidable, that it must happen. It only means that death is possible, not that it is probable.
19. What does immortality mean? (185)
Answer: Immortality refers to a condition of life in which death is not possible. It means more than a life condition. It refers to a life that cannot die under any circumstances. It may be described as having inherent life, life within oneself, life not dependent on any outside support.
Read Genesis 2:17.
20. From God’s requirement of obedience or death, which condition of life did Adam have, mortality or immortality? (185)
Answer: Adam was mortal. He was subject to death only because death was a possibility. Adam could have lived forever if he had obeyed; but, he could die if he disobeyed.
21. For what was Adam on trial? (What was to be his reward for obedience)?
Answer: Adam was on trial for the continuation of the life he then had and enjoyed. If he obeyed God, he would keep his life. If he did not obey God, then God promised Adam he would take Adam’s life from him—that Adam would die.
22. Was Adam mortal or immortal when he was created?
Answer: Adam was always mortal because he was always subject to death. His having mortal life did not mean that he had to die even though he obeyed God. It means that as long as Adam obeyed God would continue to provide him the support necessary to continue life. That support would have continued indefinitely if Adam had never disobeyed.
Read: 1 Timothy 6:16; John 5:26; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 Corinthians 15:53-54.
23. Is there any nature which has immortality?
Answer: Yes, the divine nature only has life within itself, immortality, and therefore not subject to death. It is the nature God gave to Jesus at his resurrection after the crucifixion. It is the nature promised to Jesus’ faithful disciples in their resurrection.
Read: Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:13-19; Hebrews 2:14.
24. What kind of life (mortal or immortal) do spirit beings of the natures lower than God have? (186)
Answer: They have mortal life because even Lucifer, a beautiful spirit being before he sinned, has been promised death because he sinned.
Read: Genesis 2:7, 17; Ezekiel 18:4.
25. How does the proper understanding of mortal and immortal help us to understand God’s sentence of death on man? (187)
Answer: We see that Adam, and thus the human race, was created mortal. Thus he could live forever if he obeyed God’s law; or he would die if he disobeyed God. And in dying, Adam would cease to exist, not live on indefinitely in some other form. Thus we see too that the idea of eternal torment is neither scriptural (because it contradicts the teaching that man is mortal), nor is it reasonable (such punishment is absurdly extreme for the crime Adam committed).
Read: Isaiah 29:16; Romans 9:20-24.
26. What does a creator have to endow different of His creatures with different qualities?
Answer: It is a creator’s right to create as He sees wise. If one concludes that a creator must not make any differences in His creatures then everything would be exactly alike. There would be no beauty due to variety.
27. What is the difference between justice and favor? (188)
Answer: A favor is an unmerited provision. All of the provisions of our earth, as well as life itself is an unmerited provision from God to us. We did not have any right to it, or to expect it. Justice is a provision which a person has a right to, which he deserves due to some prior agreement.
Read Isaiah 14:14; Luke 14:11.
27. What is the proper attitude of all of God’s creatures toward God’s provision and opportunities for them?
Answer: A humble attitude is the only right and wise attitude for any of God’s creatures to have toward Him and His provisions for them. It will lead men to rejoice in God’s provisions, and to use them faithfully in His service.
Read: Isaiah 45:11, 12, 18; Romans 9:16-21; 1 Corinthians 1:26-29; Job 38:all. Make sure the punctuation in Isaiah 45:11 is correct. It should read “. . . Ask of me things to come. Concerning my sons . . . command ye me)?”
28. What right does God have to create His creation as He designs?
Answer: He has every right to create His creation as He has. He, further, has the right to accomplish His purposes for His creation over His planned time period.
29. Does God’s creation have a right to question God about His relationship to His creation. (190-191)
Answer: Yes, we have the right, even God’s invitation, to ask Him about his purposes of creation. But no one has the right to be skeptical about God’s actions, or judge God as unfair or unjust by what that person’s lack of wisdom rather than any injustice in God’s actions.
Read: 1 Corinthians 15;38-44; Psalms 8:4-8; Acts 3:19-26; Revelation 21:4; Genesis 22:15-18; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Isaiah 35:1-10.
30. What is the Creator’s design and plan for man? (191-193)
Answer: God has created man to live on the earth as a perfect (sinless) human being. Because of sin man lost that possibility. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, God will restore man to that condition.
Read: Ephesians 1:4,5; Romans 8:28-31.
31. What exception to God’s general plan for man to live on earth exists from before God’s creation of the earth itself.
Answer: God planned to reward a group of humans with a heavenly nature. But their selection was not arbitrary. Those who are to receive a spiritual nature at their resurrection will be those who conform themselves to Christ’s character likeness.
Read: Romans 8:30 again. The word in English “glorified” comes from the Greek word doxazo. Doxazo means honored—not glorified. The honor they receive is to hear God’s word describing His plan.
Read: Hebrews 5:1-6; James 1:18.
32. Who honors any human being with the hope of a higher nature? (194)
Answer: Only God has the authority or power to so honor anyone.
Read: Matthew 16;24-26; Isaiah 42:1-8; 61:1-3; Luke 14:23;
Revelation 14:1, 17:14; 2:10; Hebrews 4:1.
33. How does God honor anyone with the invitation to become spirit beings, to live in heaven rather than on earth? (194-195)
Answer: Anyone who hears God’s invitation and has faith enough in God to believe Him, is encouraged to accept it. It is not we who issue the invitation to follow Jesus, and thus join Him in his spiritual resurrection. We can only accept an invitation as it is issued from God.
Read: 1 Peter 2:21; 2 Peter 1:4-8; Romans 8:17-18; 2 Timothy 2:11-12.
34. What must we do in order to hope to receive a spirit nature in the resurrection? (196)
Answer: We must recognize Jesus’ sacrifice as pleasing to God, and rewarded by a resurrection to the divine nature. Then we must make the same commitment to sacrifice our lives as he did, and be faithful to that commitment.
Read: Romans 6:3-8; Ephesians 4:11-24; Colossians 3:8-10; John 14:15-17; 1 Peter 1:3; 1 John 5:18; James 1:18; John 17:17; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21.
35. How do we start in our sacrifice to die with Christ?
Answer: After we have made the commitment to serve God at the cost of our lives, we then must study God’s word. As we study God’s word we learn that the full commitment is acceptable to God only through Jesus’ merit applied for us. Jesus justifies us to God by covering our imperfections with his righteousness. God then gives us understanding of the deeper things of His word. Through this understanding of God’s word a person is transformed in his life to obey his opportunities of service to God rather than the natural things of life.
Read: John 1:13; 1 John 3:9; 4:7; 5:1; 1 Peter 1:3; James 1:18; John 3:3-13; Ephesians 1:12-14; 1 Corinthians 15:49; Hebrews 6:6; Romans 12:1, 2.
36. How does God give us the hope of a resurrection to the divine nature?
Answer: He gives us His holy spirit. That means that He gives us special understanding of His word, that we may appreciate it to a depth and see a meaning in it that we could not do as normal human beings.
Now let us consider God’s justice in giving most of His creation mortal life, and giving only a very few immortality.
37. How does this “beginning” of God’s spirit help us?
Answer: This insight of understanding is two things: 1) It is a token from God of His approval of the person, and 2) it gives direction to his life, in God’s service, and inspiration and vigor to the impossible in God’s service.
Read: Romans 6:1-8; 12:1,2; Matthew 3:5,6; 3:13-17; Ephesians 4:22-32; Colossians 3:9,10.
38. What is the difference between turning from sin to live a life of virtue compared to the consecration Paul mentions in Romans 6:1-8; and 12:1,2? (198-200)
Answer: Right living, avoiding all forms of sin, should be very intelligent human being’s life standard, just as God required it of Adam and punished him when Adam compromised it. Jesus kept that standard of right living at all times. But when he consecrated at Jordan he did more than just decide to live a decent life. Jesus consecrated his life potential to God’s service. Thus he went far beyond just living a righteous life. He used all his time, talent, energy in God’s service rather than for his own advantage. So our lives must turn from sin first. Then we can additionally devote our lives to serve God rather than the normal human desire to work for our own advantages. Jesus sacrificed his will, his own desire and ability to do what he would like to do with his life. So must we if we truly follow him.