The Chrysalis Conjecture
By George E. Schwalm
In this commentary we will take a look at the resurrection, or more specifically our resurrection, and the effects it will have on us. Starting at, well, the beginning, Adam and Eve being spiritually innocent were perfectly justified running around in the buff. Had they never sinned one wonders if we would all be doing the same today! But sin they did and immediately became aware of their nakedness, fashioning for themselves garments of vegetation. Seeing that this was insufficient, the first blood sacrifice for sin occurs with God’s provision for a better protection in the form of animal epidermises and a promise of a more permanent solution. Mankind effectively dons a cocoon, hence the title of this installment. When I see all the trendy apparel styles of today parading around, I want to yell out, “Nicely decorated encasement there!” Considering the basic reason why we are clothed, a little humility would seem to be in order. A little fabric wouldn’t hurt, either! If each of us were individually responsible for securing our own leather hides, perhaps that would help drive the point home. Personally though, for the sake of our animal friends, I’m relieved cotton is the more practical choice!
And so, we have become a chrysalis, a caterpillar waiting to be reborn as a butterfly. An entity morphing into a higher state of being, but still the same entity. That rebirth can’t happen, however, unless one is willing to relinquish their life as they knew it and undergo the transformation; otherwise, the pupa atrophies and disintegrates inside the cocoon. For the Christian, this equates to repentance of sin and faith in God’s fully sufficient sacrifice, Jesus, conforming to His likeness and awaiting resurrection. The nonbeliever can only expect his cocoon to become a coffin, with nothing more to look forward to than being eventually swept up and thrown into the trash (1 Corinthians 15:49-50)
Then without warning, a butterfly finally emerges from the cocoon, and what a miracle it is! Once it crawled, now it can fly! Previously chromatically challenged, presently a prism on wings! And if you look closely, you’ll see the same familiar face it once had, but now glowing with an aura of life formerly only hinted at. And so it is for the Christian. Continuing in chapter 15 of the first letter the apostle Paul wrote to his Corinthian assembly, “…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.” At the Rapture we will also burst forth from our own cocoon, both physical and spiritual, changing from mortal to immortal in a time frame so infinitesimal as to be indivisible. Shedding our earthly clothes that were a covering of who we once were, now our very essence will be shining forth via the Holy Spirit, revealing our newly resurrected, now perfect nature (ex: Matthew 17:2). Then, as we are caught up to joyfully meet the Lord in the air, we will discover our transformation is in the very likeness of the resurrected Jesus Himself, as we finally see Him as He is (1 John 3:2)!
How ecstatic we will be, having all the qualities and characteristics of our Savior physically bestowed upon us! We can kiss every last ache and pain we have been enduring goodbye forever! Because of the scars He bears for us from His crucifixion, all of our scars and age deterioration will have vanished! No longer subject to the laws of physics, we will be able to do all the things with which Christ was enabled upon his resurrection and, as also described in many scripture verses, before His resurrection as well. Luke 24:31,36 and John 20:19,26 demonstrate our Lord suddenly appearing at will from out of the blue and then vanishing again in the midst of His disciples in various locations, sometimes even behind locked doors, something I like to call ‘random access’. Then, of course, there is the famous sea walking incident found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and John. Even self-levitation will not pose a problem, citing Jesus’ ascension to Heaven (Acts 1:9) and even our own excursion up into the sky to meet Him at the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
Yet we will still retain some of our human qualities, carried over into our immortal state just like our beloved caterpillar turned butterfly. The masculine or feminine nature of our personalities, our thoughts and memories, and our acquaintances still familiar with one another, but all wonderfully without the taint of sin. And though even those close to Jesus usually did not recognize Him in His resurrected form right away (Luke 24:16, John 20:14), that awkward situation was quickly rectified as Jesus began displaying some of His personal mannerisms before His friends and followers. He spoke with them and breathed upon them (John 20:16,22), broke bread and ate with them (Luke 24:30-31, 42-43), and validated His identity to them by offering the touch of His crucifixion scars (John 20:20,27; Luke 24:39a). Scripture indicates, however, that the corporeal component of blood may be absent in the resurrected Jesus (Luke 24:39b) as His life (and ours in the future) is now sustained strictly by the Holy Spirit, His blood having been shed at Calvary.
How utterly incredible the life we have to look forward to, all because of His infinite love for us if only, by faith, we would receive it! So, when you get dressed in the morning, think of it as donning your cocoon, also keeping in mind the spiritual cocoon you inhabit as we wait, work, and watch for our blessed resurrection at the always imminent return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
In rapt anticipation!,
George E. Schwalm