Resurrection, Part 12

So, in our last video presentation we left off at verse 50 which says:

1st Corinthians 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

And at this point Paul goes from describing the realities of the general resurrection (which I believe has been ongoing for every individual at their respective deaths since the destruction of Jerusalem) and he now speaks directly to the believers at Corinth IN THAT DAY, saying at verse 51:

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall snot all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 

56  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

From here he then wraps the chapter up with a super important passage, beginning with therefore and saying

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Alright, I think verse 50 helps lead us into verse 51, so let’s start there as Paul says:

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

We have covered this principle fairly well over the past couple of videos so let’s move on as Paul says at verse 51:

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

When Paul says, behold, I show you a mystery he is saying, “Look!  I am going to explain (show) you something that has not been understood before.”

What is he going to show or explain to them?  He has been describing resurrection of the dead for those OF THEM who were around when Jesus returned as promised.  The whole chapter has been aimed at getting to the root of that.  

The Bride was also being told by the apostles that Jesus was coming back to get them – to save them – from a pending doom that Jesus described before being crucified.

The mystery Paul is going to explain to them is what will happen to those OF THEM who are not dead, who had not died prior to His coming.  And so he says:

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

In other words, Paul seems to be saying, “there is a solution to the fact that when Jesus comes or returns some of us will not have died.”  So how will we experience obtaining this promised heavenly body at that time?

Because they WERE expecting His return for them WHILE THEY WERE STILL ALIVE this is a reasonable mystery that needed some sort of explanation – and Paul gives it to them right here, saying:

“We shall not all sleep” (a colloquialism for, “we shall not all die.”  Again, he has been teaching on the resurrection of the dead.  But what about the resurrection of the living when He comes back for His Bride as promised?

Remembering that His return would launch the resurrection so since He promised to come and save them – who will the resurrection apply to them . . . or as Paul says, to “us” – to “we.”

So, he says, “let me now address what has been a mystery,

We shall not all sleep.”

Note here the use of “we” here by Paul.  He is writing to that audience then and uses WE – to  me this suggests that he thought it possible that he might live to the time when Jesus returned too, otherwise he would have said, “but all who are alive” or something to that effect.

Anyway, Paul wrote to them in the church at that time, “we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.”

In other words, “if we are alive when He comes, and have not died, we will all experience that shift from the corrupt to the incorruptible.”  We will all go from the earthly body of flesh, blood and bone to a heavenly body.

Again, note that this was a letter to the believers are Corinth.  He tells them/then, “we shall not all die but we will all be changed.”  They read this epistle.  They trusted Paul and his words to them as their apostle.  Imagine if they received this epistle and read it with great hope, and then a generation passed without these things happening.  What would the next generation of Christians at Corinth have thought of Paul’s words?  What about a third generation?  I could hear the great grandkids to the original believers at Corinth asking their teachers of the epistle:

Why did Paul say to our grandparents, “We shall not all die, but we will all be changed?”  when all Christians at that time died and none of them were changed as Paul described?

Context allows us to see the reality of His words folks, and what he wrote to them/then he meant exactly what he wrote, saying:

We shall NOT all die, but we will all be changed . . .

How?  What will that change look like for those who were alive at His coming?

Paul tells them, saying, “We shall not all die but we shall all be changed (verse 52)

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

So, let’s work through this together.

The Greek term translated by, “in the twinkling of an eye” is “atomos”.  That means an indivisible portion, in a micro-second or in the fastest span of time imaginable.  In our day, “Boom, there it is.”

What do you notice about this right off that bat?  First, there is a change, it is immediate, and there is no body to be rising out of a grave!  So, the change living people would experience in receiving their heavenly body would happen instantly, by the power of God (who else could cause this to occur) and their fleshly earthly body would turn in a micro second be fitted for heaven with a non-earthly body.

This is just another illustration of the resurrection all will receive, whether dead or alive – the change into a heavenly body.

So that is one thing – those who were alive at his coming would change in an indivisible point of time by the hand of God.  

We wonder about the creation of heaven and earth and all that in them is.  Postulations are that it took him actual days to do His work, others think it took God six spans of time.

I think he said it and it was.  In an indivisible span of time.  If all who were alive would be changed from their earthly bodies of corrupt flesh, bone and blood in an undividable span of time, everything that is could have been done in the same way.

Can’t fathom it but ascribe him the ability to do it that way.  To help support this idea, I am going to shift my eschatological stance to that of the futurist stance for a moment and pretend to believe that Jesus is still coming to initiate the resurrection on earth at his coming.

Because this stance suggests that at that time EVERYTHING would be over, and all would receive their heavenly bodies in an indivisible period of time – at least believers – then we are talking about multi-billion people all receiving their differing heavenly bodies in an indivisible span of time – at once.

Again, if to do this for a couple thousand people or a billion in the future is all the same to God, then so would be the creation of all things and we can abandon the need for God to do things in time and space parameters and to merely have the power to say it, and it be done.

Since we are on this stream of thought, I want to pause here and say something that we do not often really give much thought to:

God is way, way, waaaaaay beyond our meager comprehensions and imaginations.  We tend to humanize him and box him into a corporeal shape with long hair and beard but we are talking about the single most supreme power and glory, who balances all things – macro and micro everywhere with full knowledge and wisdom.

He speaks and it is done, He is self-existent and cannot be comprehended in full, and yet loves us his creations.

In my estimation the only viable response to Him is humility, contrition, and a desire to do His will.  (beat)

Anyway . . . Paul says:

 We shall NOT all die, but we will all be changed . . . in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye . . .

 . . . at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

This phrase, at the last trump, is truly Jewish and we find it used in their history, literature and rabbinic teachings to describe what will sound before the end.

In describing the end of the age Jesus said to Peter, James, John and Andrew on the Mount of Olives (in Matthew 24:31) 

And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

To the church at Thessalonica, Paul, describing the coming resurrection to them who were concerned about it, wrote:

1st Thessalonian 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not precede them which are asleep. 

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

So, with these words Paul affirms some of the substance of the tradition of the sounding trump – that there shall be the sound of a trumpet sounded on this great day, all who are alive will immediately change, raised incorruptible and forever changed.  And Paul reiterates (verse 53):

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

(A concept he has repeated several times, and then verse 54)

 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

So, at the resurrection of the dead, and the immediate changing of the living, when corruption will put on incorruption and the mortal will have put on immortality, Paul says:

THEN SHALL BE BROUGHT TO PASS THE SAYING THAT IS WRITTEN:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

These words are a quote from Isaiah 25:8, where we read:

Isaiah 25:6 And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.

7 And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. 

 8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.

Isaiah’s words were to them then, but like many Old Testament prophecies they also had application to a later date, and Paul uses them to speak to the coming later date of the end of that former age.

The Septuagint reads:

Death having prevailed, or conquered, hath swallowed up forever.”

Here death is here personified and represented as a devouring being, swallowing up all the generations of men; and by the resurrection of the body and the destruction of the empire of death, God is represented as swallowing him up, gulping him down; so that he is endlessly lost and absorbed.  

Death is a metonym for all things that contain elements of dying – disease, illness, infection, and the actual ending of whatever was once alive.

I believe, and I could be wrong, but I believe that if Jesus has had the victory over death it is all death.  It does not reign.  It cannot reign.  He has had the victory over it – as the second Adam, as the first Adam, who introduced death to us has been overcome as has the Law, which was nailed to His cross.

And as noted in the past, where there is no law, there is no sin.

So, it appears that all elements that could potentially render the result of death have to have been overcome – by Him – Spiritually.

Now, note.  We are all still dying, getting tooth-decay, experiencing the death of our cells, etc.

How is this so IF or SINCE Jesus has had the victory over death?  

For many, who see His victory over the material world, and await a kingdom where there is no physical death, no spiritual death, no sin, no actual tears or pain – again IN THE PHYSICAL MATERIAL WORLD – this concept of total victory remains an impossibility, and they are therefore waiting for Him to return to bring this victory about and to wipe the material world away.

I used to teach and promoted this myself to all who would hear.  But when we take ALL the facets of scripture into account, it is just as impossible for me to see it this way any longer.

These facets include:

So, if we are able to clear the deck of a material kingdom mindset and embrace a spiritual one, we are then able to see Him as having been victorious and reigning over a fully established Kingdom ever since the 70AD destruction of that material age of religion.

In this sense, we know that death in the material world, which is NOT where He reigns, will always continue, but through His victory, physical death has been defeated by and through the RESURRECTION which is SPIRITUALLY BASED folks, not materially.

In the end, we know that resurrection is NOT material, it is spiritual, with Spiritual bodies equipped for a heavenly kingdom.

Those who propose that material bodies are going to come out of the grave are endorsers of a future material kingdom here on earth – whether they know it or not.   The one goes with the other.  

Here, seeing that the Resurrection is entirely spiritual and fitted for an economy that is not material, we have more evidence and supports for the stance that everything in the faith is based on what is above, and not what is below and that Jesus has, in fact, had the total victory over all death as it applies to the heavenly kingdom above.

And so here below we will continue to have tooth aches, and cancer, and the deaths of those we love.  And tears will flow in this realm.

But He has had the consummate victory over all forms of spiritual deaths – including the effects of sin and the grave  – by overcoming sin, death, the Law, and the accuser who abided in the face of the law – Satan.

So when Isaiah, and Jesus, and Paul speak of the Kingdom, total victory, glory, power – it is all pointed to the future destination of heaven – and when they talk about corruption, disease, pain, tears, and the like – it is always connected to this fallen physical world.

How glorious a time when the inhabitant of this world will exit into the heavenly realm and never say again,

“I am sick.  I am corrupt.  I am sinful.  I am dying.”

In His victorious Kingdom (which exists, in part, within us now) and will exist in us in FULL above, such things will forever be erased.

This is what causes Paul to write at verse: 

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 

Another passage from the Tanahk – this time in all probability Hosea 13:14 from the Septuagint:

“O death, where is thy revenge, or judicial process?  O grave, where is thy sting?”

In the words of Paul (both Death and Hades) are personified: Death is represented as having “a sting” and to the grave “victory” is attributed.

The next verse Paul repeats the first line of this verse, saying:

56 “The sting of death is sin . . .”

So first, “O death, where is thy sting . . .” and then, “the sting of death is sin.”

From these statements I think we can say and be correct, “where sin has been taken care of and removed, then there can be no sting in death.”

This is why Paul has rhetorically asks, “O death, where is your sting?”

See, first came sin, then came death.  That was the order at the Garden. The second Adam overcame the punishment and sting of death (spiritually, by the way, as Jesus Himself said when he walked the earth that if people believed on him they would NEVER die – but they all did physically).

In other words, for death to have no sting, the reason or purpose for death had to have been overcome.  And that reason is sin.  Paid for in full past present and future.

But then Paul adds the following as a means to really teach us something:

 “. . . and the strength of sin is the law.”

Remember, had Adam not been given a law (to not eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil) Adam could not have been guilty of sin, and therefore, death would not have entered in to the human equation.

But he was given a law or a command.  By God.  And in the face of it, and in the breaking of it, Adam was made a sinner, and therefore, introduced death to the world.

Of course, God knew all of this but the point remains – and it is a good one – God purposely gave Adam a law or command (a tree, if you would) and in doing so accomplished several things:

He allowed Adam and Eve the opportunity to rebel if they wanted.

He allowed for their failure to introduce misery, woe, and death – the natural outcome of rebellion against God  -to the world.

And he showed his mercy and love in providing the fallen world a solution to something we did not cause by giving us His Son.

His Son, eliminated sins committed under the law and sins that could be committed by eliminating the law or rules – so all can experience liberty from the sting of death and the grave.

That is good news.

No longer are we under the sting of death and the captivity of the grave – His victory overwhelmed them entirely on our behalf.  How?  Why?

Look at the math!

The sting of death is SIN . . . and the STRENGTH of SIN IS . . . the LAW!

In order for death to lose it’s sting, folks, the LAW had to be put away.  And Jesus did just that.  It’s as simple as that.  Because where there is a law, there is the capacity to . . .??? that’s right, sin.

And when there is a capacity to sin, there is a potential for  . . . . ??? that’s right, death.

Jesus did NOT come to destroy the Law and the Prophets.  He admits this.  He came to complete or to fulfill them.

How?  By and through His obedience to every point and portion perfectly, fulfilling its demands.

If he hadn’t sin would still reign.  And so would death and the grave.  They do not.  Not in His Kingdom.  This is why Paul says in Romans 7:8 “For without the law sin was dead.”

And Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

And 1st John 3:4  which says:

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

Thank God we also read in John’s Gospel:

“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”

Thank God we read Paul say in Colossians 2:13 

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Thank God Paul added:

Romans 7:4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ;

Romans 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

Galatians 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.

And this last passage brings us to a question.  IF the Law is what makes us sinners, and the result of sin is death, what are we to say about the two Christian commandments to believe and love?

If we fail in it, are we sinful, and subject to death?

It’s a difficult question. And the best answer I can give to it is to appeal to James, the Lords brother, who wrote:

James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

I mention this because the Law made us all sinners.  And Jesus took care of that – and paid the price of the universal law of sin and death.

But with each of us now bearing the Spirit of God, I suggest that we are all individually accountable for our lives, and actions and responses to the Laws God writes on our hearts.

And that the sin we are responsible for is the failure to act in the way we should, and perhaps the punishment or death is that of the death of the potential rewards meted out in and through the resurrected bodies bestowed on all by God.

That is the way I presently explain that question – for whatever its worth.

So after saying that the strength of the Law is sin, Paul adds: 

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Beat

Remember in our last video how we talked about Adam and then Jesus the Second Adam?

Remember how we inherited from Adam our corruptible bodies from Him, but from Christ the incorruption?

Paul says the following about Himself in Romans 7

Romans 7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

23 But I see another law in my (physical) members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death

And here we have Paul giving thanks to God again, for the gift of the finished work of his son, saying:

25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

The flesh, the bone, the blood – the body we got from Adam – it will always fail, will always sin, and needs to not only fall in the grave, but it needs to die, allowing for the germination of our new body in Christ.

So, while our flesh will always serve the law of sin and death, Paul says that it is with His MIND that He will serve the Law of God, knowing, from all that he has said here in 1st Corinthians 15, that he was immediately given spiritual life when God regenerated Him, that he was progressively allowing that Spirit to infiltrate his soul (his mind, will and emotions) and that ultimately, he would, with the rest of us due to the finished victorious work of Jesus over all things in His kingdom, receive a glorified spirit body at the promised resurrection.

As a result of all of this, Paul leaves us off in this chapter with a recommendation to the believers at Corinth, saying something really really important – something that ties all that he has said about the resurrection to the type of Christian life they might chose to live – and so he says:

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Meaning, that somehow all that he has taught about the resurrection is connected to this THEREFORE.

THEREFORE, in light of all I have said, about new life, new spirit body, and God granting them with various glories etc., wherefore . . .

My beloved brethren, BE YE STEADFAST, IMMOVEABLE, and ALWAYS ABOUNDING IN THE WORK OF THE LORD . . . WHY?

WHY??

Because in the face of all I have said you can know that your labor is NOT in vain.

There is a purpose in ALL every Christian chooses to do. Meaning, there is a reward.  And I ardently suggest – even maintain – that such rewards are meted out in the resurrected bodies God chooses to bestow on every single human being.

Rewards of different glorified bodies that we will inhabit forevermore.

Shawn McCraney
Shawn McCraney
Articles: 108

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