Sunday, February 22, 2015

1 Corinthians Chapter 15 Part Three

1 Corinthians 15:38-41

It is not in our power to say what our body will be like. Just as the Lord created us in the first place, He will give us a new body at resurrection. When we are resurrected, He will not make a new thing, but make the old new.
11 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new."
Notice that He did not recreate man. He took the old man and changed him. You see He started with the seed and gave it a new body. Focusing directly on the resurrection body, Paul gives 4 sets of contrasts to show how the new body will differ from the present ones: (1) No more sickness and death (corruption); (2) No more shame because os sin (dishonor); (3) No more frailty in temptation (weakness); and (4) No more limits to the time/space sphere (natural).
The variety in Creation reflects the will of the Maker (Gen_1:1-26). The differences in the animate creation (men… animals… birds… fish) "Flesh" means the body that is opposed to the spirit. This type of flesh is different to other life, such as in vegetation. Notice that the flesh of men is mentioned first showing men are to rule over the beasts, fishes and birds. The word "celestial" means above the sky. "Terrestrial" means worldly, earthy, or of the earth.
Here are some of the definitions for Terrestrial: Of or relating to the earth or its inhabitants; Having a worldly, mundane character or quality; Of, relating to, or composed of land: Biology Living or growing on land; not aquatic: a terrestrial plant or animal.
This just means that God made some things for use in the heavens and other things for the earth. They are not the same and cannot be. For us to live in heaven, we would have to be changed, so that we could function in the heavenly realm. Flesh and blood do not inherit heaven. We must be changed to a spiritual being to inherit heaven.
And inanimate creation the sun… moon… stars give expression to the splendor of God and bring Him praise (cf. Psa_148:13). We know that there is great variety in heaven, the same as there is on the earth. No 2 stars are the same in heaven. None of them have the same job to do as another, either. They each have their purpose. There is order in heaven.
God did not make any two people on the earth exactly the same, either. We all, one at a time, have a purpose for being. God has a plan for each of us. It is not the same plan that He has for all.
One star in heaven is not greater than another, just has a different purpose for being.
The differences in splendor between the earthly bodies and the heavenly bodies suggested to Paul the differences between a natural and a spiritual body (cf. Dan_12:3 where resurrected saints were compared to stars; also Mat_13:43).

1 Corinthians 15:42-44

An earthly natural body is fallen and so is temporal, imperfect, and weak. A heavenly spiritual body will be eternal, perfect, and powerful (cf. 2Co_5:1-4). "Corruption" means decay, ruin, destroy, or perish. All of these meanings fit this Scripture. The body decays, ruins, is destroyed, and perishes. The seed, within that body, takes on new life, perfection, restoration, and life everlasting. This new body will never die. Like a seed sown in the earth and the plant which proceeds from it, there is continuity but a gloriously evident difference. The flesh of mankind is like the dust of the earth, in that it has no honor. The weakness of the flesh is what causes death to come to the body. It is not the flesh that partakes of everlasting life, but the spirit.
The flesh has caused man many problems. All temptations and downfalls were because of lust of the flesh. That flesh must die for the spirit to live. I love the Scripture about the dead bones. Can these old bones live again? Yes, if the breath of God revives them.
Ezekiel 37:5 "Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:" The breath is the Spirit.   The body of flesh {carnal} must die and return to the dust, that the spirit may be totally born. I have spoken to a few people who have had the near death experience. They nearly all saw themselves leave that body of flesh. They had a body, very similar to the body of flesh, but the spiritual body rose out of that carnal body they left behind. We will someday leave this body that has caused us so much trouble here on the earth.
Even if we are caught up into heaven when the trumpet sounds without benefit of the grave, this body will be changed in the twinkling of an eye. We will lay down this earthly body and take on a heavenly body. This heavenly body will not be controlled by the gravitational pull of the earth. This heavenly body will know no pain. It will not age.
In Verses 45-49 Paul answers the question more specifically by showing that the resurrection body of Jesus Christ is the prototype. He begins with a quotation from Genesis 2:7 with the addition of two words, “first” and “Adam”. Adam was created with a natural body, not perfect, but good in every way (Gen 1:31).
The “last Adam” is Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:19 and 21). He is saying that through the first Adam we received our natural bodies, but through the last Adam we will receive our spiritual bodies in resurrection. Adam’s body was the prototype of the natural, Christ’s body of the resurrection. We will bear the image of His body fit for heaven (Acts 1:11; Phil. 3:20-21; 1 John 3:1-3) as we have borne the image of Adam’s on earth.
 1 Corinthians 15:45-49

Discussion of the contrast between Adam and Christ (mentioned earlier in 1Co_15:22) is resumed here. Adam exemplified the earthly (1Co_15:40) natural body (the word trans. being, 1Co_15:45, psychē, is related to psychikos, which is trans. natural in 1Co_15:44). Adam gave his nature to all who followed him (the man without the Spirit is the natural [psychikos] man; cf. 1Co_2:14). The last Adam, Christ, exemplifies the heavenly spiritual body (1Co_15:22) which those who belong to Him (1Co_15:23; cf. 1Co_2:15) will likewise dawn a spiritual body at His coming from heaven (cf. Php_3:20-21). Genesis 2:7 "And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."
Notice from this Scripture above, that man was nothing but a clay doll, before God breathed the breath of life into him. This breath of life that God breathed in him is what the life of man is. The fact of becoming a living soul means, that God gave him the will to choose. We are a spirit which is housed in a body. The soul of man determines whether the spirit will rule, or the flesh of man will rule. The flesh of man is earthy and carnal.
The spirit of man desires to follow God. Adam, in the garden, was a free-will agent. The entire burden of decisions to follow God, or flesh, was on his own back. When Jesus quickens our spirit to everlasting life, there will be no more problems with the flesh, because we will crucify that flesh and leave that dead body of flesh behind. The spirit man will live on. Man, born of woman, is born in the flesh. This is the natural body of man which begins to die the day it is born. The flesh of man is made from the dust of the earth and that flesh will return to dust. This natural man {woman or man} is a human. He is born in the world, and he is of this world, until he has a spiritual experience and becomes a spirit man.
John 3:6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
We are all flesh, until we allow the Lord Jesus Christ to quicken us to the spirit. When we make our decision to follow Christ in baptism, we are buried in a watery grave, and the new man which comes forth out of that grave is spirit. After we have buried that man of flesh and become spirit, we are no longer of the world. We are in the world, but we are not of the world. Our spirit cries out for that home where only the spirit man can go {heaven}.
 "Earthy" means he was made of the dust. Jesus was not a man when he was in heaven, He was God the Word. His manhood came when the Word of God took on the form of flesh. He took on the body of man so that He could better relate to our limitations in the flesh on the earth. Jesus did not use His Godhood to make Him any less vulnerable to the earth. He tired in His flesh, as we do. He did not even use the fact that He was God to keep from suffering on the cross. He had to defeat Satan as a man, because it was a fleshly man that had succumbed to the wiles of the devil.
Jesus took on the flesh of man to put Himself in the position of man. He had to set the pattern in the flesh for us to follow, so that we could, also, follow Him in the Spirit. His flesh was so that He could suffer completely for us on the cross. He took the full punishment that we deserved. He became earthy, to pave the way for us to become heavenly. Jesus Christ and His people all bore the image of the earth in that we are in the house of flesh on this earth. We shall vacate this house of flesh and we, like Jesus, shall take on the heavenly.
If we are truly Christians, we are like Christ. He owns us. We are His property. He bought us with His precious blood. To be a Christian, means to be Christ like.
The full harvest will be like the firstfruits (1Co_15:23; cf. Col_1:18). First the seed must die; then the spiritual body will emerge.
1 Corinthians 15:50

Answers about the Rapture of the living
What about those who are not dead at Christ’s coming? Paul now turned to answer that unexpressed question. With all that had preceded about the need for the natural body to give way to the spiritual, it followed that flesh and blood, the natural body, could not enter the eternal state (cf. 1Co_15:24-28). This is speaking of the house we call our body on this earth. This body must return to the dust from which it came. Saying that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, is just saying that we do not carry our shortcomings and the cause of those shortcomings with us to heaven. Or put another way, people cannot live in God’s eternal heavenly glory the way they are on earth.
The inheritance we are looking for is described in the next verse I Peter 1:4 "To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,"
Look with me in the next verse how this all comes about. I Peter 1:23 "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."
1 Corinthians 15:51-52

Paul had revealed the same truth to the Thessalonians (1Th_4:15-17). The Rapture of the church was a mystery (mystērion) in that it had not been known in the Old Testament but now was revealed. (Cf. other “mysteries” — now revealed truths — in Mat_13:11; Luk_8:10; Rom_11:25; Rom_16:25; 1Co_4:1; Eph_1:9; Eph_3:3-4, Eph_3:9; Eph_5:32; Col_1:26-27; Col_2:2; Col_4:3; 2Th_2:7; 1Ti_3:9, 1Ti_3:16; Rev_1:20; Rev_10:7; Rev_17:5.) The dead in Christ will first be raised, and then the living will be instantaneously transformed. The “Mystery” is a term referring to the truth hidden in the past and revealed in the New Testament. The rapture of the church was never revealed in the Old Testament. It was first mentioned in John 14:1-3, when it is specifically explained and is detailed in 1 Thes. 4:13-18.
There is a generation of people that will be alive when the Lord comes back to catch up His own. They will not taste of death. This is commonly spoken of as the rapture of the church. Really it is the catching away of the believers into the heavens to be with their Savior Jesus Christ. The silver trumpet of redemption shall blow in the sky, and we will be redeemed from this earth, ever to be with the Lord.
The trumpet, as in the Old Testament, signaled the appearance of God (cf. Exo_19:16). It is the last blast for the church because this appearance shall never end (cf. 1Co_13:12). (There is no basis for posttribulationists equating this trumpet with the seventh trumpet in Rev_11:15-19. The trumpets in Rev. pertain to judgments during the Tribulation, whereas the trumpet in 1Co_15:52 is related to the church.) To really understand read all of this account. I have chosen just two verses from the account for here.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:" “Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
This will happen so quickly that you would not even have time to blink your eye.
This was Paul’s way of showing how brief the “moment” will be. The Greek word for “twinkling” refers to any rapid movement. Since the eye can move more rapidly than any other part of our visible bodies, it seems to well illustrate the sudden transformation of raptured believers.
“Trumpet will sound”: To herald the end of the church era, when all believers will be removed from the earth at the rapture.
1 Corinthians 15:53-54

Praise God! We will have a new Spiritual body which will be immortal.
Like the dead (1Co_15:42-43), the living will exchange the temporal and imperfect for the eternal and perfect (cf. 1Co_13:10). For those who belong to Christ, death’s power will be removed. This body of flesh is corruptible and, also, is mortal. The spirit man will come forth from within this body of corruption, and we will shed the corruptible body like a person removes an overcoat, when they no longer need it. Paul enhanced his joy at the reality of resurrection by quoting from Isaiah 25:8 and Hosea 13:14. The latter quote taunts death as if it were a bee whose sting was removed. That sting was the sin that was exposed by the law of God, but conquered by Christ in His death. Jesus defeated death when He rose from the grave. We defeated death when we accepted life in Jesus Christ. This is just the moment of the manifestation of everlasting life within us. This is the moment we receive the reward of the victory that was won for us earlier by Jesus. There is no more death. We are eternal from this moment on.
We have really been eternal from the moment we received Jesus {the Life}, but this is just the manifestation of that life.
1 Corinthians 15:55

As in the allusion to Isa_25:8 (1Co_15:54), Paul again recalled an Old Testament passage which prophesied the cessation of death (Hos_13:14). (The recollections were adapted by Paul and do not correspond exactly to any of the extant Gr. or Heb. texts.) The apparent victories of Satan, in the Garden of Eden (Gen_3:13) and on Golgotha (Mar_15:22-24) were reversed on the cross (Col_2:15; Heb_2:14-15) and vindicated in the resurrection of Christ. From the vantage point of the certain resurrection of the saints, Paul voiced his taunt against death and Satan. Only those who receive Jesus as their Savior can ask this question. There is no sting to death of the body, when everlasting life of the spirit man within that body is being born. Jesus won the victory for us. It is our victory through Him.
1 Corinthians 15:56-57

As the word victory which ended 1Co_15:54 led Paul into the exaltation in 1Co_15:55, so the word sting which ended 1Co_15:55 led him into this brief digression in 1Co_15:56-57. Like other theological nuggets in this chapter (1Co_15:21-22), these verses were later given expanded discussion in Paul’s letter to the Romans (Rom_7:7-13). Death came as a result of man’s rebellion and disobedience against the command of God (Gen_3:17-19). The Law, which epitomized the command of God, was thus the mirror against which human rebellion and disobedience was starkly portrayed. James 1:15 "Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."
The penalty for sin is death. If you are a Christian, the penalty was paid for you by Jesus Christ when He shed His blood on the cross to free you from sin. Without a law, you would not be able to break the law. The law was given us to show our need for a Savior.
Like the first Adam, all who followed him rebelled (cf. 1Co_2:14). But through the obedience of the last Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ (1Co_15:45; cf. Rom_5:19; Php_2:8-11), came “victory” and life (1Co_15:22; cf. 1Co_2:15-16). The gift of the righteousness was given to us, because we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. We did nothing to earn it. We just received salvation through the grace of God. Grace means unmerited favor. The only way to heaven is through the Lord Jesus Christ.
 1 Corinthians 15:58

Paul’s doctrinal declarations led to practical directives and this chapter’s conclusion was no exception. The Corinthians were urged to stand firm in the apostles’ teaching (1Co_15:2), unmoved by the denials of false teachers (cf. Eph_4:14). This certainty, especially concerning the Resurrection, provided an impetus to faithful service (cf. 1Co_3:8; Gal_6:9) since labor in the resurrected Lord is not futile (kenos, “empty”; cf. 1Co_15:10, 1Co_15:14, 1Co_15:17, 1Co_15:30-32). This simply said is once you receive the salvation the Lord Jesus Christ provided for you, walk in that salvation. Stay with your salvation. Do not turn back into sin. Stand in Him. Do not be moved by wind of false doctrine. Then determine to work for the Lord every moment, until He comes.