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When Paul states in Philippians 3.10 that his desire is to know the "power of his resurrection" was he indicating that he would rather die than be changed at the Rapture so that he would not miss being amongst those who rose from the dead? In this way he would follow the Lord through death and resurrection.

I do not think so, for Paul elsewhere in the New Testament implies that he was prepared for the Rapture or to go to be with Christ awaiting the resurrection of the body. In 1 Thessalonians 4.17 he speaks as if he expected to take part in the Rapture. In 2 Corinthians 4.14 he alludes to the possibility of his death, and mentions being raised with others when the Lord returns. Undoubtedly, to experience the resurrection will be great, but In Paul’s writings in the New Testament there is no indication that he preferred to go through the experience of death and be raised by Christ than to participate in the Rapture.

Philippians 3 is an amazing chapter bringing before us Christian experience as seen in Paul. It is challenging to see that Christ was His passion, pursuit, and prospect. This passage in Philippians is experimental, for in it Paul expresses his aspirations after a fuller knowledge of Christ, a closer walk and a deeper fellowship with Him by whatever cost in suffering to himself. Whatever his attainments spiritually in the past, these did not satisfy him. There remained more to be possessed. When he says therefore, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection", it is not merely that Paul longed to know in his life that divine power which raised Christ from the dead, but that he desired more than this, even to enjoy Christ’s resurrection life in heaven. Christ’s life in heaven was ever the cause of Paul’s consecrated life (see Jn 14.19, Rom 5.10, and 2 Tim 2.8). There are two thoughts in this statement: soul acquaintance – "That I may know him", and spiritual animation – "the power of his resurrection". Here it is not Paul knowing the Christ of the past on earth, but rather knowing a glorified Christ in heaven. This glory of Christ eclipsed all that Paul could attain to in this world.

John J Stubbs

Why did God consider it to be an abomination for a woman to wear that which pertains to a man (Deut 22.5)? Is this an instruction for today, and, if not acceptable in assembly gatherings, why is it not applied to other times?

It should be noted that the verse alluded to states not only that "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man", but also "neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment". This section of Deuteronomy gives regulations that were binding upon God’s people under law, as they were about to enter Canaan. In the setting, this prohibition probably refers to the transvestite practices which were "all part of the corrupt and immoral context of the land Israel was about to inherit" (Raymond Brown). Little wonder that we therefore read, "…for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God". God detests transvestism.

The Lord Jesus said to the Pharisees who came to Him, tempting Him, "…he which made them at the beginning made them male and female" (Mt 19.4). It is surely God’s purpose that the distinction between male and female should be manifest in the way each would dress. There is a dignity in men appearing as men and women as women. Sadly, the world is making every attempt to blur or even remove these distinctions which clearly are according to the mind of God.

There are no specific directions given in the New Testament epistles as to the dress of men. However, Paul writes, "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety" (1 Tim 2.9). Peter also touches upon the subject (1 Pet 3.3-4). Generally, dress expresses taste; thus how a woman dresses shows what kind of woman she is. Inevitably the subject has wider implications than the gatherings of the saints in assembly capacity, for the habitual and daily apparel of the woman reflects her character.

Believing women are not encouraged to adopt some form of eccentric dress likely to attract attention because of its drabness. Paul did not expect sisters to be attired in a dowdy or untidy manner, but neither did he desire that there should be a showy display of expensive fashion.

Finally, it should be borne in mind that the New Testament epistles were not written only with the Western world in view. Any instructions must have a worldwide application; the dress of the men and the women will be different according to differing cultures.

David E West

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