See how I bare you on eagles’ wings and brought you unto myself.” Ex.19: 4.

Royce Kennedy ◊ 909 Whistling Duck Drive ◊ Largo, MD 20774



“I WILL AWAKE WITH THY LIKENESS” February 2014, Part 3, Page 1.


As we continue to examine all of the dynamics involved in the process of what his likeness really is, we have a number of scriptures yet to examine with an open mind. Much of this chapter will be centered upon the reality of how the human body fits into God’s ever unfolding plan of salvation. It has been said over and over, time and again by ministers in my hearing that the body cannot be saved, so we should concentrate upon saving the soul.

           But I beg to differ on the basis of what the scriptures attest to. Paul wrote in his letter: “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1st Corinthians 6: 20. If my body cannot be saved, it would be rather futile on the part of the apostle to exhort me to glorify God in my body. The path that I shall follow in this chapter can be woven into what I used to call in sermons many years ago: “Body Felt Salvation.” Let us listen to Jesus as he directed his disciples on what they should do when they left the mountainside and returned to Jerusalem.

           “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued [clothed upon] with power from on high.” Luke 24: 49. “It is not for you to know the times and the season that the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1: 7, 8. “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared [being made visible] unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.” Acts 2:2, 3. This was a visible demonstration of a divine phenomenon that critics can argue and even contradict to their hearts content. Each person among at least the hundred and twenty gathered in the room could see the cloven tongues of fire sitting upon the others. It was not merely a warm and fuzzy feeling inside: it was something seen by all. Fire shut up in your bones can only affect you!

     Listen to Peter’s explanation! “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” Acts 2: 33.If you think that this was merely an isolated event, watch what happened later on! In his defense before the council of the apostles in Jerusalem, Peter accounted for his actions and the reasons behind them. “And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us.” Acts 15:8. It is safe to conclude that what happened at Pentecost was replicated here, in the house of Cornelius a Gentile, including all who were present with him that day.

    It brings to mind the words of a prophet long ago. “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” Isaiah 60: 1-3. We are told that upon the mount with three of his disciples, Jesus was transfigured before them and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.” Matthew 17: 1, 2. We will refer to this again later on!

Actually, as one preacher explained in his sermon: Jesus was always that bright but human eyes could not behold it; not until he lifted the veil for a few moments. Notice the term used in the verse above! His raiment was white as the light. That is because real hot heat is not golden or yellow; it is white and we can readily remind ourselves that white raiment is referred to in scripture, but for some reason or other, it has been shunned or glossed over, or simply talked about in passing, as if to fill in space until we move on to the major subject slated for discussion.

Jesus counseled the church of the Laodiceans to “buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.” Revelation 3:18. So then, what do we do with raiment? We wear them! And where do we wear them? Upon our bodies! This is where the concept of a “body felt salvation” comes in. Paul made it quite clear that we are the children of light, and both Jesus and Peter in their individual ministry exhorted us to let our light shine before men that they might see our good works [resulting from our light] and be led to glorify our Father which is in heaven.

 Let us continue in this same train of thought. “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed. But let me interject this observation! Paul is writing to saints who knew by experience the new birth, the infilling of the Holy Ghost, and I am sure that they operated the gifts of the Spirit. Yet Paul refers to another salvation, or another aspect of salvation that they were yet to receive. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. So what is the armor of light that Paul alluded to?

 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” Romans 13: 11,12,14. Let us be clear about this one thing! The very idea of “putting on” anything such as clothes relates to an outward adorning of the body, and not merely an internal experience. Should we really put on the Lord Jesus Christ? Here is Paul again! “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ [not merely into a pool, a river, or into the ocean] have put on Christ.” Galatians 3:27. This leads us to conclude that the white raiment of which Jesus spoke in Revelation 3:18 can be traced back to himself, not merely as the Lamb that takes away the sins of the world, but also as God’s light that is made available to his people. Listen to the reality that Jesus affixed to our experience in him, as we follow after him, or as we duplicate all that he is, and all that he wants us to be.

 “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8: 12. The language used in this statement suggests that he who follows after Christ, the light of the world, will have that same light. To have means to possess. Watch how clearly this idea is underscored by Christ himself.

           “Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have the light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.” John 12:35, 36. Jesus said that out of the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word shall be established; so let us examine the cases of three events exhibiting fire or light that was seen by the natural eye.

           Moses had gone up the mount to receive the commandments from God, and here is the account of what happened next. “And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not [knew not] that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him. And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face. But when Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out.” Exodus 34: 29, 30,33, 34.

           This phenomenon as recorded in the scriptures was not a mirage or some sort of illusion; and it goes to show how real this subject is in our studies. The face of Moses shone so brightly that the people were afraid to look upon him. That is witness number one! Here is witness number two! “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and his face did  shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.” Matthew 17: 1,2.  Let us move on to witness number three! “And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, [Stephen] saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.” Acts 6:15. So here we can look upon the cases of these three witnesses and do testify that God’s word is established.

     When I first visited America and ministered in the City of Baltimore, Maryland, I spoke a lot on the fact that Jesus said to the disciples that they would be clothed upon when the Holy Spirit came. I had many people around that altar seeking to be baptized not only with the Holy Ghost, but also with fire as John announced even before Jesus came on the scene. Many responded positively in those meetings. I had to go to Jamaica to file my papers with the U.S. Embassy in Kingston. After about seven months not hearing from the embassy, I went there and applied for a second visitor’s visa that would permit me to enter the U.S. on my way back to London. In these meetings on my second visit I had people around the altar for hands to be laid upon them. During the process, as I laid hands on a young lady, she said as if with relief: “It feels so good to feel the fire again.” We are told that Jesus Christ went with the disciples, confirming the word with signs following. But if we do not speak it, there is nothing for him to confirm.

    Let me show you what I mean! “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2nd Timothy 1:10. Is this statement a fact? Is it “gospel truth?” But we are left to wonder how is it that we are not being told by preachers the world over what the scripture just taught us! So then, since no one is preaching it, there is nothing for Christ to confirm. While we are busy preaching death, Christ is not going to insert himself, take over the sermons and change them from celebrating death, into life, and that more abundantly. We see death! We are told that we all must die one day. Did Christ abolish death or didn’t he?

     Some pastors even encourage their members to draw up their last will and testament, not to wait too long to secure their burial plots down at the cemetery. The late Sister Thelma Chaney told me in Brooklyn, New York: “Brother, recently I attended a church service and listened to a dead preacher, preaching a dead sermon to a dead congregation; and when I came out I felt dead myself.” The truth is that we produce after our kind, and death cannot produce life, neither can both co-exist. The source of death is the carnal mind or sin-consciousness that pervades Christendom at large.

           We used to sing a little chorus back home that said: “Come tell me what more, what more can Jesus do. Come tell me what more, what more can Jesus do. He laid the foundation, he opened the door, come tell me what more, what more can Jesus do.” Isn’t that the truth? We have shared a number of scriptures that underscore and substantiate the idea of us being light bearers. Indeed, Paul reminded us: “Ye are all the children of the light, and the children of the day: we are NOT of the night, nor of the darkness.”1st Thessalonians 5:5.

           How, or when, do we put on his likeness? I love the contribution John made in his epistle.

It is like a moment of reflection for the apostle, and he seemed to invite us to join him in reminiscing over our good years walking and living with Jesus Christ. As we join him in his gazing upon the wonders of God’s love, he boldly remarked: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” 1st John 3:1,2. A colleague of mine in Birmingham, England, once said of this passage: “When we begin to see him as he is, he has appeared to us, and we become like him.” There is a lot of truth woven into that concept, because the overwhelming reason why we continue to fail to be like him is because we continue to see him, as we see ourselves. That being the case, there is nothing to be changed from or into.

           I love the language used here in the affirmative. “But we KNOW that when he shall appear.” We know, that we know, that we know! This is not shooting in the dark, or living with ifs and buts, perhaps and maybes! Ladies and gentlemen, notice how all the roads lead us to where we are clothed in his likeness. To be like him, seems to be God’s ultimate intention and desire for us. He does not seem to have any interest in taking us to heaven. Jesus was never keen about taking us out of the world, and promised to be with us until its end.

    As we have shown in other studies, Paul exhorted us not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, and he showed us how God foreknew us and predestinated us to be conformed to the image of his Son. To accomplish this, those whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. Romans 12:2; 8:29,30.

           Over the many years of our Christian experience, we have gone through repentance, baptism, learned the doctrine of justification, and the operation of the gifts. But we have not heard very much being said about us being glorified. This aspect of our salvation has been relegated to the event of the Rapture, followed by our entrance into heaven, and I suppose that we are slated to be glorified when we meet Jesus around the throne. 

For instance, we read: “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Romans 8:11. I have heard it preached and taught over the years that this verse of scripture relates specifically to the event of the Rapture, and that is what “shall quicken your mortal bodies” really means. No! To quicken means to make alive!

 But since we are being changed from glory to glory into the image of Christ by the Holy Spirit, we have to appropriate this mighty working of God to ourselves in this our day. See 2nd Corinthians 3: 18. Notice again what John said! When he shall appear, we shall be like him.

    We must understand that an appearing of the Lord is not the same as the coming of the Lord. The writer of the Hebrews puts it this way! “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Hebrews 9: 28.

           I like J. B. Phillips translation of this verse. “To those who look for him, he will appear a second time, not this time to deal with sin [after all he already settled the question of sin] but to bring to full salvation those who eagerly await him.” We must emphasize at this juncture, that this is not an event in which Christ and his hosts of angels descend upon the clouds with trumpets blaring and graves opening. This is an appearance, only to those who eagerly await him, not in anticipation of riding the clouds to heaven, but to obtain full salvation, when our mortal bodies will be changed like unto his glorious body. Think of Christ’s glorious body! He could eat like us, but he did not need food as a life source. He did not need to use a door to enter or exit. Night and day, heat and cold did not control his life, yet he walked and talked and even ate in the presence of the disciples.

           How is that so? Because as Paul outlined in Ephesians 1, when we received the Holy Ghost, all we received was a down payment, or an “earnest” of our true inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession. This is what the appearance of Jesus Christ to those who are eagerly awaiting him is all about. For this change, Paul said we are in travail along with the whole creation: waiting for the redemption of our bodies. As we said before, this means the loosing away of all restrictions: and this signifies our putting on the exact image and likeness of Jesus Christ that will be to the glory of God the Father.

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