Read 1 Cor 15:49-58
The mystery revealed.
Describe the theme of the chapter. Resurrection.
Tremendous changes will take place at the resurrection. v. 49.
“As we have borne the characteristics of Adam in our natural body, we shall also bear the image of Christ in our resurrected body.” v. 50
“Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.”
Paul now addresses the subject or the change of transformation or the change that will take place in the bodies of believers, living and dead at the time of the resurrection.
First of all, our present body, subject to disease, decay, and decomposition is not suited for the eternal kingdom of God. Quote.
It must be changed.
Note the phrase, “flesh and blood.”
“Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.”
The natural body, “flesh and blood”, cannot enter an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, 1 Peter 1:4. Natural bodies in the Millenium.
Lev 17:11 testifies that, “the life of the flesh is in the blood.”
The blood is the life give, and life sustainer of the body. The blood absorbs the food, and carries it to every part of the body for nourishment and growth. Then the blood carries away the unwanted parts of the growth process, thus purifying the body.
When the blood stops flowing, the body dies. A corruptible body like this cannot enter into the incorruptible kingdom of God. 1 Peter 1:4
In contrast to this, note the words of the Lord in resurrection. Luke 24:39. “A spirit that not “flesh and blood” as you see Me have.” “Flesh and blood” “The Lord took His life again, but not His blood.”
Every drop of the Lord’s blood had been poured out at Calvary. The absence of blood speaks of redemption accomplished. His resurrected, imperishable, bloodless body was fitted for the eternal kingdom of God. Never again will that blood be required.
Our natural bodies, sustained by blood are not suited for heaven, therefore, we too must be CHANGED.
At the Rapture, we will be given a body like the Lord’s glorious body. Phil 3:21.
In v. 51 Paul reveals a mystery which had been hidden in the heart of God from eternity.
“Take notice, I am about to tell you one of God’s great secrets.”
This secret was hidden from the saints in previous dispensations.
“We shall not all sleep.”
“But we shall all be CHANGED.”
The mystery Paul reveals was not the fact of the resurrection. Job. “Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold.”
It is rather the fact that there will be a generation of believers who will not die, and that all believers, dead or alive, will be changed.
We hall not all sleep. It is the body that sleeps. The value of the body.
The real person, the spirit and the soul, live on forever. “Absent from the body present with the Lord, which is far better.”
The bodies of our deceased loved ones are sleeping, waiting to be awakened, but the real person, the spirit and the soul, are at home with the Lord.
Paul gives us some idea of their blissful state when he was caught up into the “third heaven.” 2 Cor 12:2
“I know a man in Christ, who, fourteen years ago, had the experience of being caught up into the third heaven. I do not know whether it was an actual physical experience; only God knows. While in this enraptured state he heard sacred secrets, which no human lips can repeat.”
Quote 1 Cor 2:9 “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard.”
Describe Paul’s experience outside Lystra. Acts 14.
The mystery here is not the Rapture. See 1 Thess 4.
Neither is it the Resurrection. Some O.T. saints knew of it. Job?
The mystery was “We shall not all sleep.” “We shall all be changed.”
Millions of believers will be alive when the Lord returns. These will not experience death or corruption.
But whether we die or are still alive.
Terrestrial … Celestial
Imperishable … immortal
This change will be dramatic.
It will take place in an instant – microsecond. “In a moment” – “in the twinkling of an eye.”
In the downward blink of the eyelid, dead saints will be raised, and living ones changed. In the upward movement of the eye-lid we will all be transported to the realm of glory. “The heaven will glow with splendor”, etc.
Suffering saints, enduring excruciating pain, in a moment will be changed – made differently – and raptured into the Lord’s presence.
At the blowing of the last trumpet there will arise from the depth of the world’s oceans the dust of saints lost at sea.
From solitary graves on the far flung battle-fields of the world.
From the mass graves in the jungles of Thailand from cemeteries (sleeping place) throughout the world, graves old and new will yield the bodies of the saints who have died in Christ.
What a gathering of the ransomed that will be.
Unborn children in the womb of unbelieving mother’s will be snatched into heaven.
How long will this take?
Between one heart beat and another, every saint will be changed and raptured into the Lord’s presence.
When will all this take place? Today!
“It may be morn when the day is awaking.
It may be mid-day, or it maybe at twilight.
It may be perchance, that the blackness of
Midnight will burst into light, in the blaze of His
Glory, when Jesus receives His own.”
“Even so come Lord Jesus.”
Now let us look at the remaining verses in the chapter.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption
This mortal must put on immortality.
These who are mentioned here, the “corruptible” and the “mortal” are two different groups of people. This corruptible refers to those bodies which had returned to dust.
In resurrection they will put on incorruption. On the other hand, refers to those who are still alive. When the Lord comes both groups must put on immortality.
When the dead in Christ are raised and the living are changed. Then shall be brought to pass Isaiah’s prophecy. “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“Death is utterly vanquished forever.”
“Death will be triumphantly destroyed.”
This verse may well be the victory song of the believers as they rise to meet the Lord.
“O death where is thy sting?”
“O grave where is thy victory?”
The power of sin, the grave, and death will be completely broken and annulled. Millions of believers whose bodies have returned to dust will spring up into immortal life and eternal glory in the twinkling of an eye.
Well may we thank Him for giving us absolute victory over sin, death, hell and the grave.
The King of Terrors is at last robbed of its terror.
In our glorified bodies we are immortal, imperishable, incorruptible, indestructible, deathless. We will have bodies like unto our Lord’s glorious body.
The practical applications of all these overwhelming events and great spiritual truths is that we should be:
Steadfast in the day of declension and departure. Inflexible … uncompromising … unyielding … standing our ground for the truth.
Unmovable, when many are being tossed about with every wave of teaching. Heb 2:1
We must remain firm … unwavering … unshaken.
Always abounding in the work of the Lord. Excelling in service for the Master in the day of lukewarmness and apathy.
“Your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
The Divine promise.
Your labor for the Lord is not futile … lost … it is never wasted.
See also Isaiah 55:10, 11; Eccl 11:1
“Cast thy bread upon the water.”
“Be not weary in well-doing, for we shall reap if we faint not.” Gal 6:9
Quote: 1 John 3:1-2 “Behold what manner of love.”
Every man who has this hope, pure faith, himself, etc.
So it is with the resurrection of the dead.
The body that is sown is perishable and decays.
The body that is resurrected is imperishable, and is immortal.
It is sown in humiliation, it is raised in honor and glory.
It is sown in infirmity and weakness; it is resurrected in strength and power.
It is sown a physical body; it is raised a supernatural, spiritual body.
As surely as there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body.