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Most Recent Update
June 21, 2012
This Mortal Body Will Become a New Spiritual Body When the Rapture Happens
I would like to start out by giving you some of the background to I Corinthians 15: 51 - 54. It speaks of a mystery hidden to those who lived in Paul's day, until Paul revealed that mystery to the Christians in Corinth. But oddly enough, it is still a mystery to most people today. And it may have been a mystery to most individuals throughout the Ages. Mainly because they did not study it closely enough. But I believe we, who are alive in the end times, are to know what Paul revealed to those of his day. At least the Christians are to know it (I Cor. 15: 51). If we Christians study this passage carefully, I believe the Lord will reveal it to us by His Spirit. So, let's begin now by looking at the background of this passage.
"But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming (in the Rapture)." (I Cor. 15: 23)
So, Jesus has become the first fruits of those who sleep (have died) in Christ (I Cor. 15: 20). And Jesus will also be the first fruits of those who are alive at the time of His coming (I Cor. 15: 23). The dead in Christ will be resurrected, and the living in Christ will be changed, when He returns in the Rapture. Both groups will be changed and will be the first fruits of Christ. If Jesus had not risen from the dead there would be no first fruits at all. Because He is risen from the dead, both the dead and the living in Christ, when He returns, will be a kind of first fruits. (See James 1: 18.). Then Paul goes on talking about how there are different kinds of flesh in verse 39.
Paul tells us about celestial (spiritual) bodies and terrestrial (earthly) bodies and how they too are different one from another. He also tells us how we will be raised (resurrected) incorruptible, in glory, in power, and with a spiritual body. Not only that, but he tells us that all things differ one from another (each one is different, that's what Paul is trying to say). In due time he will show us how these earthly bodies of ours must be changed into spiritual bodies, whether they live, or whether they die, in Christ.
Paul continues by saying,
"So also is the resurrection of the dead. (The resurrection body is also different from the earthly body.). It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:" (I Cor. 15: 42) (See I Cor. 15: 53 - 54.).
"It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:" (I Cor. 15: 43)
"It is sown a natural body; it (this mortal body) is raised a spiritual body...." (I Cor. 15: 44)
Paul said all of this to show us that, when the Rapture takes place the bodies of the dead and of the living will be changed. This will happen because their bodies, whether they are alive or dead, are earthly bodies and they must be changed into spiritual bodies to go to Heaven. These bodies are different, one from another. Did you notice that he constantly used the word "raised"? It means to be resurrected. That's what Paul was referring to here in this chapter. And when do the dead rise? At the time of the Rapture. He is setting the context for what he is about to say concerning the Rapture and how our bodies, whether they're dead or alive, will be changed "immediately" when the trumpet sounds (I Cor. 15: 52, I Thes. 4: 16), and as to how they (our bodies) will be changed, some resurrected (those who are alive in Christ when the Rapture happens will not need to be resurrected), and caught up (taken up) into Heaven at the same time.
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit (enter) the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption." (I Cor. 15: 50)
Those fleshly (earthly) bodies have to be changed into spiritual bodies which cannot sin and that can inhabit space. Here now are those verses that I want to expound upon to prove to you that Paul is indeed referring to the resurrection, and the Rapture, at the same time. He tells us how the dead and the living in Christ need to be changed into new, heavenly, (spiritual), glorified bodies because this physical body, as it is, cannot go to Heaven. But don't say it will be left behind. It will not be left here on earth. It will be resurrected and raised at the time of the Rapture.
"Behold, I shew (show) you a mystery;..." (I Cor. 15: 51)
Paul is now going to reveal that mystery to the Corinthians.
"...We shall not all sleep (die),..." (I Cor. 15: 51)
The phrase "We shall not all sleep" (die or, in this case, the body will not remain or continue to sleep in the grave) would be referring to those people (Christians) who Paul was writing to. It is true that all the believers whom Paul ministered to died. But when the Rapture takes place their "bodies" will be resurrected. They will not remain in their graves. However, that above phrase is also referring to those who are alive and remaining at the time of the Rapture as well. Because of the doctrine of The Imminent Return of Christ, Paul had no idea whether the Rapture would happen the next day or more than 2000 years later. Up to the time of the Rapture, when it happens, not all will sleep (die) in Christ because there will be a vast multitude of believers alive when it (the Rapture) happens. That fits in with what I Thessalonians 4: 16 - 17 says. It says, "...the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up (raptured) together with them..." (the dead in Christ). For this to happen, the bodies of the dead and the living, must be changed into new spiritual bodies (I Cor. 15: 42 - 44).
So, we will not all die,
See I Thessalonians 4: 13 - 18 (16 - 17), Revelation 4: 1, and Philippians 3: 20 - 21, they're talking about the same event. Take notice of the key phrases in these chapters and verses, such as: "the trump of God"; "the dead in Christ shall rise first"; "we which are alive and remain shall be caught up (raptured) together with them (the dead in Christ)"; "Come up hither"; "Who (He) shall change our vile body". They're referring to the same thing, the same event that we have in I Corinthians 15: 32, 40, 42 - 44, 50 - 54, but with additional details; such as: "we shall be changed"; "at the last trump"; "the trumpet shall sound"; "the dead shall be raised incorruptible"; "it is raised a spiritual body"; "this mortal (body) must (shall) put on;" etc..., and words like raised, rise, changed, and resurrection. They will help you to understand the resurrection (bodies being raised from the dead), and the transformation of those mortal bodies, of the dead and the living, in Christ, and of those bodies being changed into spiritual bodies at the time of the Rapture when the trumpet will sound. Now read the rest of I Corinthians 15: 52.
That is exactly what takes place when the Rapture happens. The trump (trumpet) of God will sound, the dead shall be raised (that's the resurrection which takes place when the Rapture occurs), and not only that, but the dead and the living saints (Christians) will be changed (immediately), and they (the dead and living saints) will be caught up (raptured) together to meet the Lord in the clouds, in the air.
And at the same time,
"So when this corruptible (this corrupt mortal body, the same one, not another one) shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal (body) shall have put on immortality (it shall be changed into a spiritual body), then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."
Now look back over the things that I described earlier in this chapter (See the above starting with I Cor. 15: 44. Read also "Who is Caught Up at the Time of the Rapture?".), and see if you notice the resemblance between I Thessalonians 4: 13 - 18 (15 - 17) and I Corinthians 15: 40, 42 - 44, 51 - 54, 55.
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||Glen A. Duitman
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