A friend in Ohio has very kindly sent me some leaflets and pamphlets, including one dealing with Phil. 3:20. Just whether this is connected with an article in the October, 1958, issue of The Differentiator, on "Earth our Future Home?" I am not aware, though possibly it might be. The pamphlet was "Truth for Today," but undated. It dealt with the Greek word Politeuma, generally taken to mean our citizenship, homeland, or home, "in heavens."
I do not know the writer, but it is evident that his knowledge of Greek was limited. The Greek has two little words meaning "out of which," ex hou, which the writer twice spells as ek hou.
But he is quite correct when he says the words "out of which" refer to our citizenship or commonwealth in heavens. Yet he says the key to the verse is that it is out of our citizenship in heaven that we derive our hope. "Paul's point is not that the member of the joint-body is looking for the Lord to come down out of heaven. It is rather that by virtue of a citizenship in heaven we have a hope, an eager expectation."
The Revised Standard Bible says in this verse "we await a Savior." Most of the modern translations read thus, or use wait for, expect. The roots of the Greek verb (apekdechomai) are from-out-receive. From and out of our Homeland in heavens we are to receive Someone in due course. The Lexicons give the meaning as: expect, look for, infer; assiduously and patiently to wait for. In Modern Greek the meaning is wait for, expect, look for, hope, wait for with earnest expectation.
Hebrews 9:28 says that Christ will be seen a second time by those awaiting Him, apart from sin. Does this mean that they will ascend to heaven somehow to see Him? Or are they to wait where they are? We too are awaiting sonship (Romans 8:23). We cannot reach it by ourselves; it will come to us when God grants it.
But we are earnestly awaiting a Saviour who will transfigure our humble body, and make it like His own glorious body. Does it not look as though His coming and our change will take place at the same time, just as in 1. Thess. 4 and 1. Cor. 15:51-52? Our writer says the verse does not mention anything about the Lord coming out of heaven for the church of the Mystery. "Rather Paul is giving the source of our hope to be far above all. Therefore the glorious change described in v. 21 will take place for His body, not in a resurrection accompanied by a shout of command, the archangel's voice and the trump of God, but in a quiet, secret one where Christ the Head and the church which is His body are united and manifested in glory (Co1. 3:4)."
Indeed, it would be most interesting if we could get more information about this secret removal of the church. Where do we find it mentioned? When Paul wrote in 1. Cor. 15:51-54 that "we shall all be changed in an instant, in an eye wink, in the last trump. . . ." he included himself as one who would then be changed. But where does he later on write that he would be changed in a quiet and secret manner, quite different from that mentioned in 1. Cor. 15 and 1. Thess. 4:15-17? Will it not be a great honour for the Body of Christ that the Lord Himself should descend from heaven for us? Is it not good enough for us that we should meet Him in the air?
Apparently our writer thinks 1. Cor. 15 and 1. Thess 4 are just not good enough for believers who are to be "far above all," not only in location, but in rank and honour. But there is no word in the Greek of the Bible which means "far above all." Our writer refers to Col. 3:4, which does not state; that we should be seeking that which is "far above all," but merely that which is above, "where Christ is", one sitting at the right hand of God." The manifestation mentioned here could well be that described in 1. Thess. 4.
A.T. Last updated 22.10.2005