In the last installment, we learned the mystery was revealed by Paul. We will explore the need for change.
Now this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption.1 Corinthians 15:50 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
A Change to the nature of the Body is Necessary
The bodies we inhabit today are mortal. The flesh is corrupted with death. The flesh became corrupted when Adam ate of the forbidden fruit.
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”Genesis 2:16–17 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
And to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ Cursed is the ground on account of you; in hard labor you will eat of it all the days of your life. Thorns and thistles it will bring forth for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, because out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you will return.”Genesis 3:17–19 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Until the fall, the bodies of Adam and Eve were not corrupted. There was no death. As they ate, mortality entered as God had ensured the body would return to the dust. We know that is true. When our bodies die, they deteriorate into a skeleton, and given enough time, the skeleton also disintegrates back into the dust.
The mortality is passed onto the entire progeny of that first man. The mortality is inherited.
Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, so death has spread to all men, because all have sinned.Romans 5:12–14 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
For until the law, sin was in the world. But sin is not counted when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of Adam’s sin, who was a type of Him who was to come.
Sin is not passed down, death is. Because these bodies are corrupted. They’re dying.
With these bodies, we cannot enter the eternal state. There needs to be a change.
We Shall be Changed
Listen, 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, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.1 Corinthians 15:51–52 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
We shall be changed, and the change will be faster than instantaneous. Not all of the Spirit baptized believers in the body of Christ will not die. Some will remain and be changed instantly. (But not before those who have previously passed on.)
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who are asleep.1 Thessalonians 4:15 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
We shall not all sleep. All will be changed. Not all of us will die. But all of us will be changed. Some will not undergo the process of physical death. All will undergo a change in that moment. The dead would be raised up incorruptible, no longer to die. And those mortal believers alive will put on immortality.
The change will happen in the twinkling of an eye. The Greek word for moment is atomos, it is from where the English word atom comes. It is a small measurement of time. It can be likened to the amount of time it takes to recognize a face on someone. That flash of recognition is the twinkling of an eye.
For this corruptible will put on incorruption, and this mortal will put on immortality.1 Corinthians 15:53 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
The dead whose bodies had deteriorated into dust will put on incorruptible bodies. Their bodies will no longer suffer death. In the same way. The living mortals will instantaneously put on immortality.
Looking back at another text, we see clearly that Paul identifies himself with the living and not the dead.
Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall be forever with the Lord.1 Thessalonians 4:17 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Death is Gone
Paul knew that the rapture was imminent. It was his hope to be caught up, and he identified with the living. This is an important concept as we move forward in 1 Corinthians 15.
When this corruptible will have put on incorruption, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then the saying that is written shall come to pass: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”1 Corinthians 15:54 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
The instant this happens for anyone s the voiding of death. This is the victory, and as we’ve learned from previous installments this is the proclamation to principalities and powers. Those that rule in the unseen realm do not have victory over death. Believers are beyond their grip and control.
Paul is citing this:
He will swallow up death for all time, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces; and the reproach of His people He shall take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken it.Isaiah 25:8 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
It is also cited in Revelation 21.
“O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?”1 Corinthians 15:55 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
This is another citation from the Tanakh. This si another reference to the writing of a prophet.
I will ransom them from the power of Sheol. I will redeem them from Death. O Death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion is hidden from My eyes.Hosea 13:14 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
In this case, God has no compassion for death, his enemy.
This is the victory the church-age believer has. Death is swallowed up. It has no power.
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!1 Corinthians 15:56–58 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
That is the exhortation. Our belief in God is not in vain.