There are some startling comments made in the Holy Scriptures. Few as startling as one stating that says there will be no genetic or gender criteria separating those who qualify to be in the resurrection, not for male or female and not between Jew or Gentile (Galatians 3:28 Galatians 3:28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
American King James Version×). That has some powerful meaning for eternity. In this world and in the Millennium to come, God clearly shows His special concern for the Israelites. The Bible is filled with caring comments about how God will rescue them and work with them. Of course, as many as 50% of the Israelites were women, so that whole group is special to God and not only the males. However, Paul clearly foresaw another time in the future when being a descendant of Abraham would no longer be a consideration. What will have changed? What is the importance of that stated change and how does that blend in with the concept that being male or female will also lose its importance? These are strong spiritual values that we need to consider and think about.
Jesus was asked a question by the Sadducees who did not believe in a resurrection from the dead. They posed a question of a woman who had had seven husbands and asked whose wife she would be in the resurrection (Matthew 22:28-32 Matthew 22:28-32 28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.
29 Jesus answered and said to them, You do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have you not read that which was spoken to you by God, saying,
32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
American King James Version×). Jesus states that those in the resurrection are like the angels – and are not given in marriage. In Galatians 3:26-29 Galatians 3:26-29 26 For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you be Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
American King James Version×Paul also looked forward to the distant future and used the example of equality before God even while we are “in the flesh,” to show that equality would be certain once we are spiritual. Paul understood God’s great sense of justice and love. He wrote that there is no partiality with God (Romans 2:11 Romans 2:11For there is no respect of persons with God.
American King James Version×). Paul continued to explain that all who repent and turn to God are considered “Jews” in God’s sight (Romans 2:28-29 Romans 2:28-29 28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
American King James Version×). Paul also stated in Romans 3:23 Romans 3:23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
American King James Version×that all had sinned and in Romans 3:29 Romans 3:29Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
American King James Version×that God was the God of the Jews and the Gentiles.
True and lasting equality
In this life we often hear of anti-Semitism and our history books have much to say about the persecution of those who are “different” to us. Non-Jews strike out against the Jews and Jews try to defend themselves. In a similar vein we see the many times when women are not treated with the same respect and honor that the males demand for themselves. Women have long felt the lack of appreciation and being treated with equality within our societies. We would be wrong to claim that all women are equal to all men in all things – just as we would be wrong in stating that all women are equal to each other. There are tall and there are short. There are lean and less lean. There are more intelligent and gifted and less intelligent and gifted. That is obvious among men as well as women. It is when we consider ourselves as standing before God that we realize that all of us need the sacrifice of Jesus Christ because we have all sinned. In that way we are all equal and we all need the help of God. Having said that, though, it is also apparent that even among ourselves there are the more zealous of God’s way and the less zealous. There are some who are not using the Holy Spirit as they should. That must be true or Paul would never have felt the need to admonish Timothy to “stir up the gift of God” (the Holy Spirit) (2 Timothy 1:6 2 Timothy 1:6Why I put you in remembrance that you stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the putting on of my hands.
American King James Version×).
In 1 Corinthians 15:41-42 1 Corinthians 15:41-42 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differs from another star in glory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
American King James Version×Paul writes about the different “glories” with which people will be resurrected. Some will be greater because they have been more zealous and more perfect in following Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that the Son will always be subject to the Father (I Corinthians 15:28). We too will always be subject to the Son and to the Father. In some instances we will be subject to one another. However, there will be no barriers such as male and female, Jew or Greek, cultural or racial differences, that will play a role in the place we hold as children of God. There will be no jealousy and dissatisfaction. The only factor will be how well we have pleased God and walked in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. Thus anyone who is not an Israelite, but who is closer to God than other Israelites, will be accepted into a higher position of responsibility. God is fair and just. There will be cases where the wives of men who are also in the resurrection will be given a more glorious body and greater responsibility. They will no longer be husband and wife. Race, culture, intelligence or eye color will not play a role in where we fit into God’s future. The only factor will be the degree of our obedience and humility before Him.
No room for pride
We ought to know these facts from the history that is indicated in the scriptures. Noah was not an Israelite and in all likelihood Job was not an Israelite. Yet, they are highly favored by God and will obtain a position higher than most in the resurrection. Hebrews 11 gives a list of people who are highly favored by God – but some were not Israelites. Those listed are Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Rahab. The term Israelite did not exist until the descendants of Jacob appeared.
Like the Jews of Jesus’ day and people of certain races or nationalities today, we see ourselves slipping into a “holier-than-thou” attitude (Isaiah 65:5 Isaiah 65:5Which say, Stand by yourself, come not near to me; for I am holier than you. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burns all the day.
American King James Version×). There has been an ongoing struggle among many people to be the ones who are closest to God and chosen by Him. Prejudice and bias creep in without us noticing - and suddenly a problem appears. God does make it clear that He designed people to be different. He wants different races, cultures and nations. Removing prejudice does not mean “blending.” But to think that we are more favored by God just because of our skin color, DNA makeup or intelligence is a sure recipe for failure. Peter tells us that God resists the proud (I Peter 5:5). Peter also learned that God showed no partiality and all who were righteous were accepted (Acts 10:35-36 Acts 10:35-36 35 But in every nation he that fears him, and works righteousness, is accepted with him. 36 The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
American King James Version×).
We can see from the interaction between God and some of the women of the Bible that He placed a great value on righteous women. The prayers of Hannah (I Samuel 1:11-12) and the righteousness and goodness of Elisabeth and Mary (Luke 1:6 Luke 1:6And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
American King James Version×, Luke 1:28-38 Luke 1:28-38 28 And the angel came in to her, and said, Hail, you that are highly favored, the Lord is with you: blessed are you among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said to her, Fear not, Mary: for you have found favor with God. 31 And, behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give to him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34 Then said Mary to the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said to her, The Holy Ghost shall come on you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God. 36 And, behold, your cousin Elisabeth, she has also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible. 38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it to me according to your word. And the angel departed from her.
American King James Version×) reveal the favor women also found with God. God has chosen to use men in the ministry of the church, but part of the qualifications for the married ministry is to have a worthy wife. In the body of Christ that exists today we are commanded to maintain a high sense of value and respect towards any and all converted people. There is no line of distinction between male and female, Jew or Greek in the area of respect and value. That does not mean we have no differences or that all could or should be ministers within the body. It does tell us that God values each person, and evaluates them on their own merit. God assigns certain tasks to us and the way in which we obey is what counts. Christ gives the various talents (Matthew 25:15 Matthew 25:15And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
American King James Version×). It is what we do with the responsibility and position that God gives us that pleases Him.
Now is the time to put the knowledge God has given into practice. Now is the time to develop a fervent love for the brethren (I Peter 4:8). We are to recognize the various offices, but not think less of those who have what seem to be lesser responsibilities. Our physical accomplishments will fade and vanish in time, but our spiritual development will remain forever for men and women, Jew or Gentile. We are all to take on the nature and character of God. We are all children of God for whom Jesus had to die and for whose sake He now lives as the High Priest before God the Father (Hebrews 4:14-15 Hebrews 4:14-15 14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
American King James Version×).