Our last reading for this week is from 1 Cor 15:50-58
v50: Brethren: What Paul is going to be revealing here is uniquely designed for the believer (male and female).
- Flesh and blood cannot inherit: If we want to inherit the Kingdom of G-d (where the very presence of G-d can be experienced in its fullness) there has to be a change. We have to undergo a transformation. There has to be an influence that brings about a change.
- Corruption: That which decays. That which is in the process of perishing.
v51: You: Fellow believers.
- Mystery: In the Scripture, within a Biblical context, a ‘mystery’ implies something that the prophets didn’t speak about – something that they were unaware of. Mysteries (new revelation) are revealed in the New Covenant Scriptures as G-d revealed them to His Apostles (in this case, Paul).
- Sleep: Die. When someone sleeps (dies) there’s an expectation that they will rise up again. The Scriptures use the term ‘sleep’ for death because it anticipates a rising up (a resurrection).
- All be changed: In our natural bodies, as we are now, we cannot inherit the Kingdom of G-d. There has to be a change. Even those who don’t die at the time of the rapture (our ‘blessed hope’) are going to experience this transformation, receive a new body.
v52: Twinkling of an eye: It’s going to be a very quick transition.
Note: Messiah is going to leave the highest heavens and is going to descend into the lower heavens (the sky/clouds). The archangel (probably Michael) is going to blow the shofar (the trumpet) and at that time there’s going to be a transformation. The ‘blessed hope’ or the rapture is going to happen for those individuals who are IN Messiah (those who died in Messiah and those who will still be alive IN Messiah at that time).
- The last trumpet: This is not speaking about the last sound/blast that the trumpet makes. In the book of Revelation there are many trumpets, but there is one designated for the last days. This is referring to that last day’s trumpet.
- The trumpet will sound: This trumpet has a distinct sound. Those who hear it will recognise that it is sounding out the fact that the time of the end has arrived. Why a trumpet? The trumpet (shofar/rams horn) reminds us of G-d’s provision (G-d provided a ram in the place of Isaac – Gen 22:13-14).
- The dead will be raised: Referring to those who died believing in Messiah. The dead don’t raise themselves. It is an action done to them.
- Incorruptible: Imperishable. No longer able to decay or wear out.
- We shall be changed: Paul emphasises this throughout this portion of Scripture.
v53: This has to happen in order for the will and purposes of G-d to be fulfilled.
- Immortality: Everlasting life.
v54-55: Paul again refers back to (OT) Scripture – Is 25:8
- Death…victory: Paul contrasts these two terms. Every human being is going to experience one of these two things – either eternal death (curse) or victory (blessing).
v56: The sting of death is sin: We were born into this world in a state of corruption – we have a sinful nature. If nothing had been done about it, then we would experience the sting/punishment of sin which is death (physical and spiritual).
- The strength (power or authority) of sin is the law: Through the law, G-d gave us an aid to turn us to faith (Gal 3:21-25). The outcome of faith is righteousness. The law also reveals to us what G-d’s expectations are – how He wants us to live and how He doesn’t want us to live. It’s through the law that we realise how far short we fall of G-d’s expectations, but it is also through the law that we are shown faith that leads us to change…that leads us to righteousness (Roms 4:3-8).
v57: G-d’s grace (through the work done by Messiah Yeshua) leads us to victory. Yeshua is the solution to our problem of sin and death.
v58: In this verse Paul now reveals how this victory should play out in our lives.
- Brethren: Again emphasising that this is only applicable to believers.
- Steadfast: We should not waver from the hope that we have. Truth leads to victory.
- Immovable: Don’t move away from, don’t collapse. We are on sure ground.
- Abounding in the work of the L-rd: There are no ‘off’ days. We need to surpass in doing the L-rd’s work – always. Without ceasing.
- Labour: Effort (Heb 6:10-12)