In our daily meditations, we have been meditating on eternity and the rapture of the church. I believe that the event we call the rapture is the same event we call the resurrection in a different passage of Scripture. At the church's rapture, our bodies will be instantly changed, just as Jesus's body was changed when He rose from the dead. Paul wrote to the church at Corinth about the raising of the dead:
50Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52in 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 15:50-52).
The blast of a trumpet precedes this coming of the Lord for His Church, and at that time, the dead will be raised. There are not two raising of the dead. The rapture and the resurrection are the same. Our earthly tent, this sinful body we all have in this world, will be changed instantaneously. This change occurs in "a moment" (v. 52). The Greek word used is atomō; we get the English word “atom” from this word. It describes an atomic particle of a second—instantaneously, our bodies will transform. Twice in the Scripture verses above the word "changed" is used and only in this passage of Scripture. The Greek word is allagēsometha. It means to change, alter, transform. Before he wrote about this transformation, Paul the apostle introduced the topic by writing about what happens to seeds. Let’s try and understand what he is communicating. We need to go back in the passage a bit as he writes about the process of how we as Christians come to receive a glorified body:
35But someone may ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?" 36How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. 42So will it be with the resurrection of the dead (1 Corinthians 15:35-42).
Paul uses the analogy of a seed. Just as a seed differs significantly from the plant that grows from it, in the same way, our physical body is a seed that, when sown at the death of the body, will be significantly changed when this sinful age is over, and the resurrection of the body occurs. In a different letter, Paul wrote that God “will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21). The older I get, the more I long for that day of transformation. It will happen! Just as the sun will rise tomorrow, this transformation will come to all who repent, turn from their lives of serving self, and receive the gift of new life from the Lord Jesus. Before we talk more about the resurrection body, we have to talk about how this transformation happens. We'll do that tomorrow. Keith Thomas
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