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“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)

The Basket Case Chronicles #192

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 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” (1 Cor. 15:50–52).

Paul here uses “flesh and blood” as a shorthand way of talking about our bodies in this fallen world. He is not referring to our materiality, but rather to the fact that our material bodies will decompose in the grave. After His resurrection, our Lord referred to His “flesh and bone” (Luke 24:39), dismissing forever the idea that the resurrection body is in any way ghostly or immaterial. We can see that Paul is not rejecting the material resurrection through how his parallelism works. He says that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom, and then in the next phrase he says that corruption does not inherit incorruption. In this parallel set up, the kingdom of God is the incorruption. That means that the flesh and blood is the corruption.

So then, he shows us a mystery. We shall not all sleep—meaning that we shall not all die, but we will all be changed. Some who have died will be changed, and those who have not yet died will be changed. Dead bodies will put on incorruption, and dying bodies will put on incorruption. That last moment will happen in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye. The last trumpet will sound, and at that moment, that resurrection morning, the dead will come out of their graves, and they will arise out of that corruption in an incorruptible state. Those who had not yet seen corruption, but who were susceptible to it, but who had not yet died, will also be changed.

I cannot let this passage go by without mentioning here that one wit once put a copy of 1 Cor. 15:51 on a poster on the wall of the church nursery. “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.”

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7 years ago

Thank God! There is One who can and will deliver us from “this body of death”!