Today’s Text: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:50-57
CHRISTIAN LIVING 21C
Christians streaking through the sky . . . cars crashing on the highway . . . planes falling to the earth . . . worldwide mayhem . . .
Artist’s depictions add a level of drama to Imminent Rapture teaching that people find intriguing. We try to envision what is taught in Scripture about the “snatching away” of the church. However, the apostle Paul’s description of the mystery surrounding the Rapture is difficult to capture with visual representations.
1 CORINTHIANS 15:51-53
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
What can we expect to experience when we hear the Lord’s shout, the voice of an archangel and the trumpet of God?
A NEW BODY
Previously, Paul addressed a logistical problem: “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption” (v. 50). He predicated his teaching with a new revelation, “Behold, I tell you a mystery . . .” (v.51).
What we commonly call the Rapture was a mystery—a previously hidden truth that has only been revealed in the context of the Church Age. During that instantaneous event, something amazing happens to every authentic Christian. Whether previously deceased or alive, we will all be changed.
While we instantaneously streak through time and space to meet the Lord, our bodies will undergo a dynamic transformation. The Greek word allagesometha translated “changed” communicates a complete transformation. Our corporeal body will be transformed with capabilities far exceeding those we currently enjoy.
We will leave the earth in our mortal corruptible bodies and a nanosecond later will arrive in His presence with immortal and incorruptible bodies like Jesus’ post-resurrection body (Lk. 24:36-43).
The apostle John comments,
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 Jn. 3:2).
To enjoy life in the presence of Christ for eternity, we must be changed.
THE FINAL VICTORY
The set time when multiplied millions leave this earth to meet the Lord in the air will certainly be dramatic. More significantly, however, the Rapture will signal a final victory.
“So when this corruptible [body] has put on incorruption, and this mortal [being] has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’” (1 Cor.15:54).
Although we look forward to and will enjoy the benefits of new bodies that will never experience fatigue, illness or deterioration, there’s more!
The change is essential to gaining entrance into the heavenly realm where only immortality and perfection exist. In a moment described as “the twinkling of an eye,” people of authentic biblical faith from the entire Church Age will experience the reality that, “Death is swallowed up in victory” (v. 57). Satan who introduced sin and death to humanity is defeated with finality!
Every person surrounding Jesus Christ at that spectacular meeting in the air will be a visible testimony that He won the victory. That’s why Paul concludes with a resounding:
“Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 57).
Physical transformation is at the heart of Rapture teaching (Phil. 3:20-21).
What took place spiritually at the moment of conversion is instantaneously completed on a physical level as our bodies are also transformed during the Rapture (2 Cor. 5:17; Rm. 8:18-19). The earth may well reel in the aftermath, but the biblical focus of the Rapture is the mysterious truth that we will all be changed. With new bodies demonstrating our Lord’s decisive victory over sin and death, we will be ready to meet Him in the air.
Are you looking forward to being suddenly changed? It could happen today . . .
Charles E. McCracken is an international Bible teacher, long-time friend of Israel and advocate for the Jewish people. Rev. McCracken authentically communicates biblical truth making his presentations relevant for those seeking to understand the significance of Israel and the church in Bible prophecy. He staunchly supports the nation of Israel and the Jewish people’s right to exist and live in peace.
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Emphasis added.)
1) Detail: Jesus Christ Returns for the Church. Background, Lehava Activity 2012 Pikiwiki Israel [CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons; other images, [Public domain]. Digital composition: MKM Portfolios.
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