The Mystery of the Rapture 1 Cor. 15:51 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
The Mystery of the Rapture
What is the mystery of the rapture (1 Cor 15:51)? It is the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to catch away his bride. It is a mystery because it was unknown to God’s people until it was revealed to Paul by the Lord.
When I first started reading my Bible at age 32, I asked was, When and how will I go to heaven? From the time I had gotten saved I was told that I would go to heaven when I die. While this was a great comfort to me, it also left me somewhat confused. You see, I had been to many funerals in my life and had seen the corpses lying in the caskets. I had seen the remains interred. So I was thinking, if I’m going to heaven when I die, what goes and what happens to this body?
The Three Parts of Man
So, I began searching the Scriptures and came across some interesting information. I learned that we are made up of three parts: a spirit, a soul and a body (1 Thes 5:23). When any man dies, saved or lost, his spirit goes to God (Ecc 3:21, 12:7). If he is lost, his soul goes immediately to hell (Luke 16:19-23). If he is saved, his soul goes immediately to heaven (2 Cor 5:6-8). In the Old Testament, their souls went to Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:19-22). His body is laid to rest in a grave, cremated, buried at sea, or whatever.
Well, I had answered part of the question. Now, at least, I understood why people said at funerals, he’s in a better place now. Obviously, his soul is better off in heaven than it is stuck in this body (Phil. 1:23). But, I was still left with the question of what happens to the body. So, I kept digging around in the Scriptures until I came across 1 Cor 15:50-55 and 1 Thes 4:13-18. For the first time, I saw that the grave is not the end for the body of a saved man.
The Bodily Resurrection
1 Cor 15 shows us that Christ bodily arose from the dead at his resurrection. We too will rise bodily one day. As his body lives forever, so our bodies are going to live for ever, as well. And thank God that we won’t be living in our bodies just the way they are. Our bodies are going to change. God is going to “change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body,” (Phil 3:21). We are going to end up looking just like Jesus (1 John 3:1-3).
We cannot go to heaven in these bodies because flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Neither doth corruption inherit incorruption, (1 Cor 15:50). So, we have to be changed. And herein lies the mystery of the rapture. According to 1 Cor 15:51, we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. Here, sleep refers to death. This change is necessary to remove the corruption from those who have already died. And God removes the mortality from those who are still alive when the Lord returns (1 Cor 15:53-54). After the change, we will look like Jesus. We will never die, sorrow, cry or hurt (Revelation 21:4). And we will have bodies of flesh and bones without blood (Eph 5:30-32, Gen. 2:23, and Luke 24:39). Moreover, we will be caught up off of the earth to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thes 4:17).
Our Ultimate Victory Over Death
The rapture is the ultimate victory over death and the grave for all Christians. Like Paul said, “death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor 15:54-55). We will hear the shout of the Lord with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God. Christians who have died will rise (1 Thes 4:16). Christians who are alive, will never die (John 11: 25-26). We “shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.”
So, following the rapture, our bodies will be joined with our spirits and our souls. And we will be reunited as one. It will be just like it was when God created Adam. According to Gen. 2:7, Adam had a live body, a live spirit and a live soul. Likewise, all three parts of our being will be alive and well with the Lord in eternity (1 Thes 5:23). Glory God!