The subject of the resurrection is a highly emotional one. There are few different variations to what some believe but the most popular belief is shared amongst Old Schoolers, New Schoolers, Arminians, Calvinists, Catholics, etc., alike. With that, it makes me think of what Jesus said as recorded in the book of Luke. “And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” (16:15) In this verse we see Jesus clearly proclaiming that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination to the Lord. The words “that which is highly esteemed” is just one word in the Greek and it simply means “high, lofty, exalted” and the word for “abomination” at the root means “to stink, to detest.” Notice that which is highly esteemed is “abomination” but not “an abomination.” Or in other words “it stinks in the nostrils of the Lord” or “it is detestable to the Lord.” Because of this truth it has caused me to look closer at what I have been taught for as long as I can remember on this glorious yet emotional topic. By no means am I trying to persuade anyone nor convince anyone of what I believe to be the truth. This is simply a venue that has been granted to me.
This fifteenth chapter is a very powerful and straight forward writing on this wonderful topic.
1 Corinthians 15:12-19 “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then our preaching vain, and your faith also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (Italicized words removed. TA)
What is Paul saying here? Is he not stating the fact that if there be no resurrection than all is vain? all is lost? all is worthless? So what does the word “resurrection” literally mean? It is the Greek word “anastasis” and it simply means “a standing up again.” How can a believer say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If one can truly say that there is no resurrection then what they are saying flies completely and one hundred percent in the face of what Paul is saying in these verses. If there IS no resurrection of the dead then there WAS never a resurrection of the dead and therefore Christ was not raised and is still in the tomb. If Christ is still in the tomb then His children have no hope. Therefore, His children who proclaim the good news of His resurrection are to be found false witnesses. But we know that not to be true!
Notice what the two verses above say and what they don't say. Verse twelve states, “resurrection of the dead” and verse 13 also states “resurrection of the dead”. What don't they say? They don't say “resurrection of the body.” Nowhere in Scripture will you find the term, “resurrection of the body.” We need to take Scripture as Scripture and not put in our own meanings or bring our own baggage and preconceived ideas into it. If the Holy Spirit intended for Paul to say the “resurrection of the body” than Paul would have said “resurrection of the body”.
1 Corinthians 15:20-34 “But now is Christ risen from the dead, become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man death, by man also resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy shall be destroyed death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die. Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak to your shame.” (Italicized words removed. TA)
In the previous verses Paul refutes the fallacy of those that don't believe that there is a resurrection of the dead. In these verses above Paul goes right into the fact that Christ is risen from the dead and that He is the firstfruits of them that slept. Death came by man which points back to Adam and resurrection (a standing up again) came by man which points to Christ. In the Greek; the word for “the” which is the definite article is not present before the word “resurrection” in verse twenty-one. This is simply pointing to standing up again after death. Though if we look in the book of John when Jesus goes to raise Lazarus after he has died and Martha comes running out to him he says something very interesting. Martha meets Jesus on the road and is complaining to Him that if He would have been there sooner than Lazarus would not have died. Jesus tells her that he will rise again and that is when Martha says, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” (John 11:20-25) Jesus then gently and lovingly corrects her when he says “I am the resurrection.” In this verse the definite article is present and is used in reference to Jesus referring to Himself as “the resurrection.” Was Jesus talking about a future one time event for all of mankind at the same time as Martha supposed? or was He talking about a continual ongoing event? If Jesus was talking about a future event then He would have agreed with what Martha said but instead we see Him correcting her. As a side-note, if Jesus was pointing to a future one-time resurrection of all the saints at the same time with his comment “I am the resurrection” then we must conclude, because the wording is the same, that when He says; “I am the bread of life”, “I am the light of the world”, “I am the door of the sheep”, “I am the good shepherd”, “I am the way”, “I am the truth”, “I am the life” and “I am the vine” (John 6:35,41,51; 8:12; 9:5; 10:7,9,11,14; 14:6; 15:1,5) than they all must also be referencing a future one-time event. That makes no sense!
Paul then states the obvious, “For as in Adam all die...” This is pointing to the natural aspect of man or in other words the outer tent of dwelling that each of us have is what dies. If the Holy Spirit had Paul stop at that point then there would be no hope for anyone because we all are in Adam. But by God's grace he doesn't stop there and he continues with, “even so in Christ, shall all be made alive.” Notice that ALL those that are in Adam die and ALL those that are in Christ shall live. Do both these aspects include every single person on the face of the earth? Is every single person on the face of the earth in Adam? Yes! So, the dieing includes every single person. Is every single person on the face of the earth in Christ? No! So, the living ONLY includes those that are IN Christ which are only those that were given Him from all eternity. This points us to that glorious truth of the eternal vital unity of Christ and His bride.
The next sentence (verse) is very interesting. It says, “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.” What does it mean when it says “every man in his own order:”? Does it mean that at “the Resurrection at the last day” all of Christ's elect will be lined up in some sort of order? If so, what would that order be? Would it be in order of importance? in order of death? in order of age? in order of height? in order of stature? or some other order? It doesn't say either way, so to even think about it would be pure speculation and bordering on absurdity IF this is speaking about a future one-time event. On the other hand, could this possibly mean that there are different times for man to be resurrected? Before going further with this topic notice again what these verses in this chapter don't say. The word “second” is nowhere to be found in these verses. Just like the term “resurrection of the body”, the term “second coming” is nowhere to be found anywhere in the Scriptures. This verse simply says “at his coming.” Could that coming have been when Jerusalem was judged or are we still looking for it to happen? Is this verse limiting Christ to only one coming yet in the future to when this epistle was written? Or, one other thought, could Christ's “coming” that he speaks of in this verse be at the death of each and everyone one of His saints when He takes them on into glory. The latter makes the most sense when it is taken in conjunction with the statement “every man in his own order.” Taking that in consideration it would appear that this verse is contradicting the teaching of a conglomerate future resurrection of all the saints at one single time! Look at another section of Scripture and let Scripture interpret Scripture. Paul says in his letter to the saints at Ephesus:
Ephesians 2:4-10 “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised up together, and made sit together in heavenlies in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Italicized words removed. TA)
These verses clearly proclaim that the saints are “already” seated in the heavenlies (the word 'places' is not in the Greek) “in Christ” (another beautiful truth pointing to the eternal vital unity of Christ and His church). So, if the saints are already seated in the heavenlies than the obvious conclusion must be that they have been raised already which is also clearly proclaimed from these verses in Ephesians. The saints were raised up together with Christ in His resurrection even though we don't see it as completed yet in our flesh (1 John 1:2).
Going back to 1st Corinthians and starting in verse 24, it says: “Then the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy shall be destroyed death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (24-28)
There is nothing in these verses that would of necessity point one to a future one-time resurrection of all mankind. In context of Paul's statement, “every man in his own order” these verses are simply talking about after all have been resurrected.
Now we get into the section of verses that speak of the body of the saints and what is raised.
1 Corinthians 15:35-50 “But some will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. All flesh not the same flesh: but one flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, another of birds. Also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial one, and the of the terrestrial another. One glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for star differeth from star in glory. So also the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam a quickening spirit. Howbeit that not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man of the earth, earthy: the second man the Lord from heaven. As the earthy, such they also that are earthy: and as the heavenly, such they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” (Italicized words removed - TA)
This is a very enlightening paragraph if one can read it without bringing baggage into it or read what they want into it. Nowhere in this paragraph is it mentioned about the raising of the same body that is put in the ground. In the first four verses, Paul by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit uses an example in nature to show spiritual truth. In them he first asks a question and then answers it himself. It must have been a question that he had heard from others because of the way it is worded. “Some will say...” His answer is: “Fool ...” Right off the bat he calls them a fool for asking such a question. Paul doesn't mince words and is saying here in essence; “Why ask such a question, don't you see the perfect example in nature that the body that goes into the ground is not the same as the one that comes forth and it is God who gives it a body as it pleases Him.” Again, let me quote the verses as they stand.
“But some will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.” (35-38) (Italicized words removed – TA)
The next three verses are simply showing and stressing the difference in the different types of flesh. Not all are the same, there is the flesh of men, of beasts, of fish, and of birds. There are also different bodies and different glories which leads into the resurrection.
“So also the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” (42-44) (Italicized words removed - TA)
Paul starts verse 42 with the two words “So also...” which points back to the beginning of the paragraph and his reference to the seed. I have heard it proclaimed that the word “it” in these verses refer to the body, but if it is taken in context of the whole, the word “it” equals seed – it is the seed within. Does a seed that falls in the ground come out of the ground with the same body? Though I put the seed in the ground IT is still the same and yet something completely different comes out of the ground because that which was inside of the shell was the trueness of IT and that is what came forth from within the shell. The outer shell (the flesh) stays in the ground but that which sprouts (the seed within) comes forth in a new form. We see essentially the same teaching from the book of Hebrews chapter 2 but only going the opposite way.
“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;” (verse 14) (Emphasis added - TA) -- They were “children” before they partook of flesh and blood (the flesh)
The children are only partakers of flesh and blood here on this earth in time. So, then why is there such an emphasis on the raising of what is only being partaken of? Why do we lift up this wretched, sin-filled, glory hungry, temporary tent or carcass? How does the world view this body? this tent? this carcass? this hide? It is idolized, it is worshiped, it is set up on a pedestal. The gyms and the body spas have become the new religion of the US. We spend millions of dollars every month on membership dues at these places not to mention all the time that is spent there. We spend millions of dollars being pampered at these spas, getting facials, manicures and pedicures. We pay millions of dollars to the athletes who are in the best shape to entertain us. The girls all have certain fashion models, pop-stars or sports players that they look up to and want to look like. The guys also have certain actors or sports players that they look up to and want to be just like. We spend millions of dollars annually on designer clothes to look good. We spend hours and hours sun-bathing or tanning to darken our skin because that is what the world tells us looks good. To be a little overweight almost seems un-American to some. Then at death we spend even more money infusing the body with chemicals. Not to mention all the money that is spent on a fancy air-tight casket. Why? So that this body of ours doesn't decompose as fast. Then this chemically infused body in an air-tight casket is put down in a concrete box, covered with a concrete slab and then covered with dirt. So, neither the body nor the casket has any dirt touching it. Do the Scriptures concur with this practice?
Let's start off at the beginning.
Genesis 2:7 “And the LORD God formed man the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
Genesis 3:19 “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Italicized words removed – emphasis added. TA)
Man was created from the dust of the ground and it is very clear that back to the dust shall he return. It doesn't matter how much money is spent on trying to not let that happen, it's going to happen! Do we not believe God nor take Him at His word?
Job 34:15 “All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.” (Emphasis added – TA)
Again, another verse teaching that man shall return again to the dust of the ground.
Ecclesiastes 12:1-7 “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; while the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, and the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low; also they shall be afraid of high, and fears in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets: Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Italicized words removed – emphasis added. TA)
I bring these verses up with the emphasis on the last verse. I have quoted the whole paragraph to show the context and to show that it is in reference to man. Notice the separation. The dust (man's body) shall return to the earth as it was and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Speaking of separation look with me again at the book of Job.
Job 19:23-27 “Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! For I know my redeemer liveth, and he shall stand at the latter upon the earth: And after my skin destroy this, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; my reins be consumed within me.” (Italicized words removed - TA)
What I want to focus on in these verses is specifically verse 26. “And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:” The words in italics are added words and therefore do not belong. Below is what each Hebrew word means.
“And after” = behind, hinder, afterwards
“my skin” = skin, hide, leather (in other words the outer covering)
“destroy” = to strike with more or less violence (to rip)
“this, yet in my flesh” = flesh, body, person
“shall I see” = to see, perceive, look, behold, prophesy, provide
“God” = a deity or the deity (God)
So, this verse is literally saying: “After this hide is ripped off, this flesh sees God.” Or, “After this hide is violently stricken, this person beholds God.” There are two distinct Hebrew words for “skin” and “flesh” in this verse. They are not one and the same! Also notice that there is no time reference here. It simply says after this happens then he will see God. This very well could be saying it would be thousands of years from the time his hide was ripped but it also could be saying that it is instantaneous which would not contradict what I have been saying through this article so far.
Back to our verses in 1st Corinthians: “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam a quickening spirit. Howbeit that not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man of the earth, earthy: the second man the Lord from heaven. As the earthy, such they also that are earthy: and as the heavenly, such they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” (45-50) (Italicized words removed – TA)
In these verses we see a reference to different times and we also see distinctions. First was the natural (Adam) and then that which is spiritual (Christ). Also, first is our natural body and then our spiritual body. We also see the distinctions between that which is of the earth and that which is of heaven. They are two completely different aspects because that which is of the earth is earthy and that which is of heaven is heavenly. We see the same distinctions in what Jesus said to Nicodemus in the third chapter of the book of John. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (verse 6) The two can never be the same, they will always be distinct and separate. The paragraph ends with an often quoted section of a verse. “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;” I have heard and read that this doesn't really mean literal flesh and blood. But continuing on with the verse, Paul adds to this by saying, “neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” Looking back to some of the previous verses we see a similar example when Paul says, “It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption.” “It”, being seed, is sown in corruption which points to the flesh being in the ground. So, when both examples are taken together we see clearly that this is speaking of a literal flesh and blood and that this flesh of ours shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
One attempt at a refutation of this that I have heard is when Jesus was raised from the dead. But when looking closely at the incident it is by no means a refutation but instead a confirmation. In the book of John chapter 20 we see the account of when Mary went to the tomb and found it empty. She also saw two angels in the tomb and cried unto them. Then starting in verse 14 it says: “And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. (14-16)” I have heard it said, taught numerous times and I believed it for the longest time that Jesus came out of the grave exactly as He went in. He was still all scarred and maimed, and that is why Mary didn't recognize Him. But this brings up quite a few questions.
- Could a man who looked so detestable that he was unrecognizable as a man be mistaken for a gardener?
- If it was true that Jesus came out of the grave exactly as He went in then why didn't Mary recognize Him? She was right there at the cross when He died and obviously saw his appearance.
- Why wasn't Mary and the two on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-31) repulsed by His appearance? If He came out the exact same way then he should have still been bruised all over His body, beaten, pieces of His beard still missing, holes in His head from the crown of thorns, and His back missing chunks of flesh and still raw from the whips.
- In the book of John when the disciples got anxious and went out to go fishing, Jesus met them on the beach and called out to them. It says that they “knew not that it was Jesus.” It wasn't until he performed another miracle that they were given eyes to see whom it was on the beach. (John 21) Why is it that none of the disciples recognized him? (John was also there at the cross when Jesus was crucified.)
I was discussing this topic with a very dear friend and brother when he brought up a verse that I have read numerous times before but never put in context of this topic. The verse was “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” Right when he said it my first thoughts were, “now wait a minute, if this body of ours is raised then how does this verse fit? How can we be absent from the body and yet still be in the same body?” Here is the verse in context of how it was written.
2 Corinthians 5:1-8 “For we know that if our earthly house of tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (Italicized words removed – emphasis added. TA)
Now some could say and do say that this “body” that is being referred to here is not the physical body but simply the “body of Christ” or the church and taken with just this verse it would seem to make sense. But taking it in context of what is being presented here that explanation doesn't fit. Looking back at the first verse we see that it clearly makes reference to our earthly tabernacle or this physical body that we are dwelling in here on earth in time. The Greek word for “house” means “residence or abode” and the word for “tabernacle” means “hut or tent.” When I think of a hut or a tent I don't think of something that is permanent but something that is temporary.
Now we are at the last paragraph of this chapter: 1 Corinthians 15:51-57 “Behold, I shew 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 trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal put on immortality. 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. O death, where thy sting? O grave, where thy victory? The sting of death sin; and the strength of sin the law. But thanks to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Italicized words removed – TA)
I'll be honest to the fact that these verses are probably the hardest for me because of baggage. What I mean is that when I first read this paragraph the thing that immediately pops into my head is the rapture because that is what I have been taught for the longest time. This topic is a very popular teaching amongst the majority of those that profess Christ and even amongst those that do not. There have been numerous books (novels included) along with movies produced on this subject. But again, going back to “that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” I can only conclude that something is not right here.
Paul starts out with the words “Behold, I shew you a mystery;” A mystery is something that is hidden or secret. What Paul is showing or saying to the Corinthians is something that no one really knows how it happens until they personally go through it. He says that not all or not everyone shall sleep (die) but that all shall be changed. The word for “changed” means to “make different, to exchange one thing for another or to transform.” Or in other words all or everyone shall be made different. Paul then makes reference to a period of time. The Greek word for “a moment” is “atomos” and it is where we get the word “atom” from and it means “that cannot be cut in two or divided.” The word for “the twinkling” means “a jerk.” So, this reference to time is but a fraction of a second. We shall all be transformed from one thing to another in a fraction of a second as we measure time.
The next section in verse 52 had me stumped for quite a while. Again my first thoughts go back to my baggage and when I would hear “at the last trump” it made me think of the rapture and the teaching that Christ is calling His elect with the sound of the trumpet. But, after looking at other references of a trumpet I have come to another conclusion.
Revelation 1:9-20 “I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and hairs white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; the mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” (Italicized words removed – emphasis added. TA)
This is clearly a picture of Christ and notice that He has the voice as of a trumpet. We also see the same picture when Moses was about to go up on Mount Sinai to meet with God as recorded in the book of Exodus.
Exodus 20:18-21 “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God.” (Italicized words removed – emphasis added. TA)
Scripture is the best interpreter of itself and here we have two examples (2 Cor. 13:1) of the mention of the noise of a trumpet in reference to the voice of God. Paul says, “We shall not all sleep, but we shall 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.” Here Paul is referring to a change that is made at the last trump. The last trump is a reference to Christ calling (His voice as a trumpet) His children from this place when they die. As Paul puts it, we shall be changed or made different. This corruptible will become incorruptible and this mortal shall become immortal. Then Paul ends this paragraph with the glorious confirmation of victory over death through the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
Paul ends this discourse with the words “Therefore” which points us back to the previous verse. “Therefore since the Lord has granted us victory through the Lord Jesus Christ be ye steadfast, unmovable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord.” It is just like what John said in 1 John; “We love him, because he first loved us.” (4:19) This is not a case of IF they are steadfast, unmovable and they abound in the work of the Lord THEN the Lord will grant them victory. NO! The victory is already there through Jesus!
If the saints are raised in the exact same body in which they died, which is the accepted understanding of this chapter and of the topic of the resurrection in general, then it brings up at least one more major question. What age will they be? What I mean is: when someone dies, will they stay that age for all eternity? When someone dies of old age, will their bodies be worn out like they were here? On the other end of the spectrum, what about those that die in infancy? or those that are stillborn? Will they always be babies and infants? Will the stillborn be undeveloped for all of eternity? Will the teenager that dies during that age stay a teenager for all of eternity? All of these are the same question only put to different scenarios. But it is a very good question to ponder.
Is the flesh or outer man that which defines man? or is it that which defines the man has nothing to do with the outer man but everything to do with the inner man?
I know that I have really not done this magnificent topic any justice. But I do hope that the Lord is glorified and magnified despite my inabilities and short comings.