Monday, September 19, 2011
“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 Corinthians 15:51,52 KJV).
Save Enoch (Genesis 5:24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:11), every believer has died physically. Today’s Scripture speaks of a secret (“mystery”) that the Lord did not reveal until He showed it to our Apostle Paul. There is a group of believers who will not experience physical death (“we shall not all sleep”). It will be some members of the Church the Body of Christ.
The Old Testament only spoke of the Lord Jesus Christ as coming to earth to meet believers and set up His kingdom (Job 19:25,26; Zechariah 14:1-4)—this is called the “prophetic program.” But, when we come to Paul’s epistles, God has interrupted that program, split it into two segments of time, and has inserted our “mystery (secret) program” into that gap. Before Jesus Christ can come earth (as prophesied in the prophetic program), He must first conclude our mystery program.
Our mystery program, the Dispensation of Grace, will terminate at an event we call the rapture (derived from the Medieval Latin “raptura,” meaning “caught up”). According to 1 Thessalonians 4:17, all believers of this dispensation will be “caught up…to meet the Lord in the air.” Contrariwise, believers in the prophetic program will meet the Lord on the earth (His Second Coming).
While we do not set dates, the Bible teaches a pre-Tribulation (pre-seven years) rapture. The rapture may or may not occur in our lifetimes. However, we have the prospect that if the Lord Jesus Christ would come now, we Christians would not experience physical death! Our bodies would just be instantly changed, without dying, into glorified bodies fashioned like unto Jesus Christ’s body (Philippians 3:20,21).
If you have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, keep looking up! We may be that group of believers who will not see physical death…. 🙂