in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.1 Corinthians 15:52(NASB)
The most comprehensive and informative treaties on the Rapture of the Christian Church and the physical resurrection of believers who have died in Christ, is found in this fifteenth chapter of Corinthians.
Paul found it necessary to confirm the certainty of our bodily resurrection and refute sceptics who refuse to believe in a physical resurrection. He detailed Christ’s own glorious Resurrection from the dead and meticulously described what will take place when the dead in Christ rise from their graves at the return of the Jesus Christ, in the clouds, for His Church.
We discover that the foundational laws of God’s universe, where the spiritual follow the natural, are maintained at the resurrection of the dead. Just as a physical being comes before a spiritual being and a natural birth must precede a spiritual birth, so our bodily resurrection must take place before our spiritual resurrection.
Just as the first Adam was a terrestrial man who came from the physical dust of the ground, so the last Adam (Jesus Christ the righteous) was the spiritual Lord Who came from heaven above. Jesus was the first-fruit from the dead. He was the very first member of a new race of people Who would rise to life immortal.
Paul explains that the physical resurrection of the 'dead in Christ' whose decomposing bodies are lying in the cold, dank earth, are returned to life in a split-second - in a moment of time, which the apostles describe as 'the twinkling of an eye'. At that very moment, dead Christians will be raised with incorruptible bodies, which will be like the resurrected body of the Lord Jesus.
Christ was raised with a body of flesh and bone, because His blood was shed at Calvary to pay the price for our sin, and in like manner we will also be raised with bodies of flesh and bone – for when we see Him we shall be like Him. However, instead of blood pulsing through our bodies to energise us with life, it is the Spirit of God Who will enliven our resurrected bodies with His eternal, inbreathed life-breath.
We have been told exactly what to expect when this Church age closes, and we reach that moment when Christians will go to be with the Lord. God had designated that those in their graves will be raised into life-immortal first, and immediately thereafter the living saints will also be changed into eternal beings - and together, both living and resurrected saints will be raptured into the heavens together. Paul describes this progression of events as a 'mystery' and indeed, it is wonderful.
Although physical death is an inevitable consequence of fallen man, the astonishing truth is that not all Christians will die – for at the return of Christ for His Church, the trump of God will sound and the physical bodies of living saints will be changed into immortal bodies, while the decomposing corpses of those who have died in Christ – will be raised up with an incorruptible body. All this will take place quickly: "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump of God." Praise His holy name.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your wonderful plan of redemption. Thank You that by faith in Christ I am part of that new creation, who will be changed in a moment - in the twinkling of an eye, when the last trump of God wakes the dead in Christ and we are all clothed with incorruptible bodies. Thank You that Jesus is the First-Fruit from the dead and because He lives – we too shall live. Thank You that by His sacrificial death and glorious Resurrection, death is swallowed up in victory. Thanks be to God Who always gives us resurrected victory, through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN.