Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 30
I CORINTHIANS 15:35-16:24
There is probably more on resurrection in this 15th Chapter than the rest of The Bible put together. It’s interesting that Paul uses the word “mystery” that is so intrinsic to his writings. For example in verse 51:
I Corinthians 15:51
“Behold, I shew you a mystery;…”
This word `mystery’ comes from the Greek word `musterion’ which simply means `secret.’ Those two words can be interchanged throughout Paul’s letters when he says, “Behold, I shew you a mystery or secret.” And when we speak of secrets we have to look at the Book of Deuteronomy Chapter 29. I like to use this verse especially when there’s a reference to Paul’s use of the word `mystery.’ God in His Sovereignty has every right and reason to keep things secret as long as He wants to keep it secret. But once He reveals it then He expects mankind to believe it. Take it by faith! Another expression for faith is God said it and I believe it! or Taking God at His Word!
“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
Now this was written for the Nation of Israel, but it still shows in the attributes of God that He has the prerogative to keep things secret. For example, look at Ephesians 3:1-9 things only revealed to Paul, and then for the Gospel of Salvation, Romans 16:25, I Corinthians 15:1-4 and Romans 10:9-10 which He kept secret until He revealed it to the Apostle Paul for us, the Body of Christ. For the Rapture of the Church was given only to the Apostle Paul. Look at I Corinthians 15:51-58 and I Thessalonians 4:13-18. And there are many more examples given only to that great apostle for us. Remember God doesn’t have to reveal secrets until He’s ready. So this is one of the basic things it takes to understand the Word of God. He does not reveal everything all the way up, but rather at the right time. Now let’s look for a moment at Luke Chapter 18. And here that is so evident that God actually, with the Twelve disciples, kept things secret from them that they did not understand until He was ready to reveal it. Remember this was at the end of His earthly ministry, just before they went up to Jerusalem.
“Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, `Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.’ And they understood none of these things: (Well was The Lord speaking in some foreign language? No. Well why didn’t they understand?) and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.” That was one of God’s prerogatives to keep things hidden until it’s time to reveal it.
As you come back to I Corinthians 15, Paul now says he is going to reveal a secret, or a mystery, which means it has never been revealed before. I can not emphasize this enough. All of these things that were wrapped up in that ball of knowledge, in that whole sphere of doctrines and revelations that have now come to us through this apostle, were for the most part, kept secret in the mind of God until He revealed them to the Apostle Paul. Paul makes reference to the fact that it was to him first that God revealed these things. God had the right to keep it secret. So keep that in mind now, that what He’s now going to unveil to Paul had never been alluded to, or hinted at. It has certainly never been spoken, and that is that at a point toward the end of time there will be a group of believers who will not die physically.
I Corinthians 15:51
“Behold, I shew you a mystery: (secret) We shall not all sleep, (die physically) but we (remember Paul only writes to believers so he’s not including the lost world here) shall all be changed,.”
That is why I took so much time previously to show that our resurrected body is going to be fashioned after Christ’s resurrection body, it’s going to be a lot like our physical body, but it’s going to be different. It’s going to be a spiritual body without blood. It’s going to be flesh and bone and going to be activated by the spirit. So Paul says, “there’s coming a group of people who will not die physically, but they shall all be changed.” And of course Paul writes as though it would happen in his lifetime. And so those of us who adhere to this line of teaching, we speak of it as the imminent coming of Christ for the Church, which means it could be tonight; it may be tomorrow, it may be ten years from now, but we are to expectantly look for it at any time. There is no set prophetic program that must be fulfilled for this event to take place.
Now contrary to the Rapture of the Church you have a completely different event in the “Second Coming” when Christ actually comes to the Mount of Olives (we’ll be looking at this soon) in fulfillment of the second coming that will have prophetic events leading up to it, so by these events there will no doubt when He will be coming to the Mount of Olives. But for the Rapture of the Church there are no prophetic signs, there is nothing to indicate at what day or year that we can expect this to happen. Now let’s read on:
I Corinthians 15:52
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump for trumpet (singular) shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” We shall be changed from this body of corruption to a body of incorruption in that split second at the trumpet call.
I Corinthians 15:53
“For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal (this body that is prone to death) must put on immortality.”
This body we have now must lose the flesh and blood concept, and become flesh and bone, and be activated by the Spirit. Let’s talk a little about the trumpet. Let’s go back to Revelation Chapter 8, and look at the trumpet. This is the one that people are always throwing up to me. For some reason or other the best of people want to tie the trump of God in Paul’s teaching concerning the Rapture, with these trumpets in Revelation which will occur about the mid-point of the Tribulation. But let me point out something.
“And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given (not the trump of God singular, but rather were given) seven trumpets.” (plural)
Now that’s a big point I think. These are not the trump of God, these are angelic trumpets. The angels are going to blow these seven trumpets. Now comparing Scripture with Scripture look at Chapter 15 again of I Corinthians. The seven angelic trumpets can no way shape or form, as I understand language, be a part of the trump (singular) of God Himself. In other words God has a trumpet reserved for just this event and this alone “the calling out the Body of Christ.” Now the Roman army, I think, used the trumpet to put out commands much like our American calvary used to (when the soldier blew the trumpet the ones in the very far distance would know what the command was). I think it was the same way in the Roman army. When the battle was over and the Romans were victorious, and the generals wanted to let the legionnaires know “we’re going home to Italy” then that was the trumpet call that every legionnaire could be exulted by. And what a message from that trumpet. “The battle is over, we’ve won, and we’re going home.” Every soldier gets excited about going home.
Well you see that’s where we are. We are in a battle, and even the press and Congress are finally waking up to the fact that Christianity world-wide is coming under ferocious attacks. Persecution is rampant against Christians, it’s become warfare, and it’s going to get worse. My what a joy it will be to hear that trumpet call, “The battle is over, come on home, and we’re going to be out of here.” I believe that with all my heart. We’re getting closer and closer to the day when that trumpet call will take us out of this existence and we will suddenly, as Paul says, “be changed.” Now in order to get the full picture of all this we have to go over to the corresponding portion in I Thessalonians Chapter 4. This is just an extension of this revelation of this part of the mystery which he now refers to “as being caught up.” Now I’ve had a lot of people try to corner me by saying, “Well Les, the word `Rapture’ isn’t in my Bible.” Of course it isn’t in there, not in the English anyway, but we’re going to see in a little bit two words in the Greek that mean the same thing, so what’s the big deal.
I Thessalonians 4:13,14
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, (died physically) that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, (that’s the Gospel that saves you, and it was also given to Paul as a mystery. If we believe the Gospel to the place where God has now imparted salvation. If we believe the Gospel) even so them also which sleep (or have died) in Jesus will God bring with him.”
Now verse 14 is another one of those scriptures where Jesus and God are synonymous. It’s the same God, the same Jesus. Let’s look at that a little more in the Book of Ephesians. We’re not going to look at all of them but if I’m not mistaken there are 96 prepositional phases, “In Christ, In Whom, In Him” speaking of Christ Himself in the Book of Ephesians. But we will look at a few of them.
“Paul, and apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesians, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:”
“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world,…” Do you see what I’m talking about? Over and over you have this prepositional phrase. Let’s look at a couple more.
“That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted,…”
So all the way through these 6 chapters you have 96 times, if I’m not mistaken, this prepositional phrase which is our position in Christ or the Body of Christ. Now back to I Thessalonians, and let’s pick up again with the Rapture of the Church. So those of us who are in Christ, they have been baptized into the Body by the Holy Spirit, not with water but rather by the power of the Spirit. So we are in Christ. And if those kind of people are already dead they will be raised in resurrection power, but that body that’s raised in resurrection power is still void of the soul and spirit remember because they separated at physical death. So what does God have to do to get it back into one entity again? Well the soul and spirit of that believer is already in glory, and the body is in the grave. Although it just came to me to tie all this together in II Corinthians Chapter 5.
II Corinthians 5:6-8
“Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, (while we’re living in this tabernacle here on the earth) we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
Now I had someone ask me that not to long ago. “What happens to the believer’s soul and spirit at death?” It immediately goes into paradise in heaven right into the presence of The Lord. Now back again to I Thessalonians Chapter 4 and let’s look at verse 14 again.
I Thessalonians 4:14
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” Believers only, and He will bring them from heaven down to the atmosphere. Now verse 15.
I Thessalonians 4:15,16
“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain (that’s this one group of people He’s talking about in I Corinthians 15:51 who have not died, but will be changed in a twinkling of an eye) unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (or go ahead of) them which are asleep. (or have died) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: (not the trumpet of the angels) and the dead in Christ shall rise first:”
Those that must be resurrected are going to be brought out of the tomb wherever they’re buried, and reunited then with their soul and spirit which The Lord is bringing with Him. Now verse 17:
I Thessalonians 4:17a
“Then (after the resurrected saints have their new body) we which are alive and remain shall be caught up…”
Or another name for caught up is “Raptured.” It all means the same thing. So if you don’t like to use the word Rapture just say “caught up.” Any way you put it we’re going to be out of here. If The Lord comes in our lifetime then suddenly we’re going to be out of here; whether we’re driving down the highway or asleep in bed.
I Thessalonians 4:17
“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them (the resurrected who have died in Christ) in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Now for a quick comparison of Scripture let’s go to the Book of Acts Chapter 1. Here we have The Lord and the eleven disciples on the Mount of Olives. It’s the same Mount of Olives that we visit every time we go to Jerusalem. The Lord’s 40 days of resurrection experience has now come to an end. Now verse 9:
“And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel: Which also said, `Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.'”
Now to put it in a lighter vain, I always say, “He went head first, but He’s going to come back feet first.” Now let’s look at Zechariah Chapter 14 and compare the language. Paul says, “Christ is only going to come to the air, the atmosphere as we meet Him in the air.” But here in this chapter in verse 4 it’s just like Chapter 1 of Acts.
“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east,….”
And that’s the difference between the Rapture of the Church, and the Second coming of Christ. They are exactly 7 years apart.