T h e F i n a l V i c t o r y
-- Part Four –
Important note: It is absolutely necessary that you read part one, two and three before you continue. This teaching is a little bit involved and advanced in many ways. Please do not skip over one part before you have read the previous part.
Howbeit [nevertheless] that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward [after the natural] that which is spiritual. - I Corinthians 15: 46
The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord [omit “the Lord”] from heaven. - I Corinthians 15: 47
The 47th verse reads “The first man is of the earth, earthy [dust]: the second man is the Lord from heaven.” Instead of using the word “from,” use the words “out of” because that is the text:
The first man is out of the earth, dust: the second man is out of heaven. – I Corinthians 15: 47
This is the proper translation according to usage from the Greek and Aramaic texts.
As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. - I Corinthians 15: 48
And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. - I Corinthians 15: 49
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot [are not able to] inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. - I Corinthians 15: 50
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, – I Corinthians 15: 51
Now everything starts to come together and the whole focus changes. The text reads “I shew you a mystery; We shall not all be sleeping.” Remember that some of us will be alive when Jesus Christ returns. That’s what Paul means when he says we shall not all be sleeping. And then we must examine the word “we”. When Paul uses this word, he must be referring to all of those who are in the Body of Christ of which he also is a member. Surely you are aware that God’s family today is made up solely of those who are born again of God’s Spirit, members of the Body of Christ. It has nothing to do with whether one is a Jew or a Gentile, for God is no respecter of persons. Since Pentecost, a Jew has had no better standing with God than a Gentile. Both are responsible to believe and to be born again to become a member of the Body of Christ.
Now we can more understand the two resurrections that will take place in the Book of Revelation. The resurrections pertain to all those outside of the Body of Christ. For those within the Body, those born again, the situation is different. Paul unveils to us this mystery. The revelation is that not all of the Church is going to die. When Jesus Christ returns to gather the Church those Christians who have died will be raised up. At this time all Christians, whether they have been dead or alive, will be changed. The following verse gives us some more information about this change.
In a moment [atomos] * , 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. – I Corinthians 15: 52
* From the Greek word atomos is derived the English word “atom.”
In the gospel of Matthew, it also talks about the last trumpet but there it is in reference to Israel. This trumpet that is mentioned in I Corinthians 15: 52 is in reference to the Church of the Body. As I said, this teaching is rather involved so if you put Israel in here you will get your trumpets all mixed up. There is no particular reason why the trumpet mentioned in Matthew has to be the same trumpet as the one mentioned in Corinthians. You can surely see how important it is to rightly divide God’s Word. When it is not rightly divided, you get confusion and illogical thinking. It is the Word of God Almighty so we must study it carefully.
“In an atom, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible.” It does not say they will be “resurrected” because there are others involved who will still be alive. If the dead will be resurrected incorruptible, what happens to those who will still be alive?
For this corruptible [that which has died] must put on incorruption, and this mortal [living at that time, not asleep] must put on immortality. - I Corinthians 15: 53
The word immortality is used here to refer to a mortal who is living at the return of Christ, one who is a part of the Church of the Body. Everyone in that Body will be changed at the return of Jesus Christ. Those that are dead will be raised and will put on incorruption. Those who are living will put on immortality. These are the changes that will take place to the Church at the return of Christ. What if Christ came right now? Are we dead? No. Therefore, we could not be raised from the dead, but we would put on immortality. It has been taught that when a person dies he does not really die because the soul is immortal and it goes to God. This is not the truth of God’s Word. Immortality refers only to the time of the coming of Christ for his Church. At that time the dead in Christ shall be raised incorruptible and the mortals that are living at that time shall put on immortality. That’s the beauty of the accuracy of God’s Word rightly divided.
This is a tremendous reality to any born-again son of God. It is such a glorious hope pertaining to what we can look forward to in the future when Jesus Christ returns. We are all going to be changed and we will all have a body fashioned like unto Christ’s. We will meet him in the air and “so shall we ever be with the Lord,” according to what is recorded in I Thessalonians 4: 17.
So when this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and [when] this mortal shall have put on immortality, then [not until then] shall be brought to pass the saying [word] that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. - I Corinthians 15: 54
Paul has covered a great deal of information pertaining to the subject and we also have done the same. Paul told us of the gathering together of the Church, when the dead are raised and when everyone else is changed. Before that, he told us of the resurrections which will come to pass much later in the Book of Revelation. Now he tells us that death is swallowed up in victory. According to verses 24 – 26 this will occur at the telos, the final point, when death, the last enemy, is destroyed. But we must keep in mind that before any of that happens, the dead in Christ shall be raised, and those who are alive and remain shall be changed. Then, after all of that and about 1000 years of work, as told in the Book of Revelation, death will be swallowed up in victory. We really have something to look forward to because believe me, this will happen.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? - I Corinthians 15: 55
In the new heaven and new earth, there shall be no more sin, so there can be no more death. There was no death until after man sinned, as stated in the book of Genesis. This new earth that we can look forward to is referred to as the third heaven and earth. We are now living in the second heaven and earth.
The sting of death is sin; and the strength [power] of sin is the law. - I Corinthians 15: 56
But thanks be to God, which [who] giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. - I Corinthians 15: 57
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. - I Corinthians 15: 58
This has always been one of my most favorite Scriptures. Can you imagine how long I have sat here and done these teachings one by one for year after year and the thought tries to get in my head that there seems to be no reward. But even this evening, after going through some crucial tribulation, when I started to work on this teaching, I got healed. I felt like there was nothing could bother me ever again. That’s what this Scripture is saying – that all of your work pertaining to the Word of God is not in vain. There is great profit to studying and working the Word of God. Now I can feel it tonight and experience is the best teacher as you will learn if you haven’t already. So don’t let Satan talk you out of it. Believe me, he’s very good at what he does and he will whisper negatives into your ear. Tell him that you belong to the true God and that he has no rights over any part of your life. Keep confessing to this. Here is a great confession that I would like you to learn and never forget. Just say to yourself “I confess to be delivered from all of the power of darkness by my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Eventually, this will become a reality in your life. And when the enemy attacks you again and he will, say the same thing: “I confess to be delivered from all the power of darkness by my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”. The enemy hates and despises with all his might the name of Jesus Christ.
In the same Scripture, God beseeches you to be unmovable. Do you know what that means? Someone once said it is like a person who steps ankle-deep in cement and then lets the cement dry. Even though we stand in jeopardy every hour we are always “stedfast, unmovable, always abounding [effervescing] in the work of the Lord.” Man, you just can’t help but get excited. I’m ready to jump off my chair. The Word of God is so dynamic – so dynamic, why, it just wants you make to jump for joy! We are just to tell it like it is; we open up our hearts and we share God’s truth, “knowing [active participle] that our labour is not in vain [without purpose] in the Lord,” because our labor will absolutely, positively be rewarded. Salvation is by grace, but rewards, after being saved, are granted to us by God because of our labor. Let’s repeat some of those Scriptures as we close this teaching out.
“But thanks to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, my beloved brethren, be stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not without purpose in the Lord.” Do you see why we live with an effervescence and the peace of God; why we can take a stand in our day and time and be steadfast? Because ours is the final victory through our resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.