Instantly Changed at the Rapture
Christians streaking through the sky . . . cars crashing on the highway . . . planes falling to the earth . . . worldwide mayhem . . . Artist’s depictions add a level of drama to Imminent Rapture teaching that people find intriguing.
We try to envision what is taught in Scripture about the “snatching away” of the church. The apostle Paul’s description of the mystery surrounding the Rapture, however, is impossible to capture with visual representations.
Behold, I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality (1 Cor. 15:51-53).
What can we expect to experience when we hear the Lord’s shout, the voice of an archangel and the trumpet of God?
AN INCORRUPTIBLE BODY
Previously, Paul addressed a logistical problem. “[F]lesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption” (v. 50). He predicated his teaching with a new revelation, “Behold, I tell you a mystery . . .we shall be changed” (v.51).
What we commonly call the Rapture was a mystery—a previously hidden truth that has only been revealed in the context of the Church Age. During that instantaneous event, something amazing happens to every authentic Christian. Whether previously deceased or alive, we will all be changed.
While we streak through time and space to meet the Lord, our bodies will undergo a dynamic transformation. The Greek word allagesometha translated “changed” communicates a complete makeover. Our physical body will be transformed with capabilities far exceeding those we currently enjoy.
We will leave the earth in our mortal corruptible bodies and less than a nanosecond later will arrive in His presence with incorruptible immortal bodies like Jesus’ post-resurrection body (Lk. 24:36-43).
The apostle John comments,
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 Jn. 3:2).
To enjoy life in the presence of Christ for eternity, we must be changed.
The set time when multiplied millions leave this earth to meet the Lord in the air will certainly be dramatic. More significantly, however, the Rapture will signal a final victory over death.
“So when this corruptible [body] has put on incorruption, and this mortal [being] has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’” (1 Cor.15:54 cf. Isa. 25:8).
Although we look forward to and will enjoy the benefits of new bodies that will never experience fatigue, illness or deterioration, there’s more! The change is essential to gaining entrance into the heavenly realm where only immortality and perfection exist.
In a moment described as “the twinkling of an eye,” people of authentic biblical faith from the entire Church Age will experience the reality that, “Death is swallowed up in victory” (v. 57). Satan who is responsible for introducing sin and death to humanity is defeated with finality!
Every person surrounding Jesus Christ at that spectacular meeting in the air will be a visible testimony that He won the victory over death. That’s why Paul concludes with a resounding, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 57)
Physical transformation is at the heart of Rapture teaching (Phil. 3:20-21). What took place spiritually at the moment of conversion is instantaneously completed on a physical level as our bodies are also transformed during the Rapture (2 Cor. 5:17; Rm. 8:18-19).
The earth may well reel in the aftermath, but the biblical focus of the Rapture is the mysterious truth that we will all be changed. With new bodies demonstrating our Lord’s decisive victory over sin and death, we will be ready to meet Him in the air.
Are you looking forward to being instantly changed? It could happen today . . .
1) Featured image and Photo montage, all images [Public domain]. Digital composition, MKM Portfolios
2) Banner Detail: Jesus Christ Returns for the Church. Background image, Lehava Activity 2012/Pikiwiki Israel/Wikimedia Commons. Foreground image, [Public domain]. Digital composition, MKM Portfolios
© 2018 Charles E. McCracken, commentary only. Repost/Reprint with permission. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.