“Behold, I tell you a mystery, we will not all sleep, but we will 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 imperishable, and we will all be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:51-53).
Change in the sense used in this passage is defined as “to make or to become different.” Indeed, it is a mystery, something yet unknown to us, as to exactly what this change will entail. We do know it will be sudden, it will occur “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye;” and it will be loud, no one will miss the sound of the trumpet.
But how will we be changed?
The dead in Christ, those who have fallen asleep, will rise first (1 Thessalonians 4:17); those perishable bodies will put on the imperishable. Those believers who are alive, the mortal, will put on immortality, and “will be caught up together with them (the dead in Christ) in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
The souls of Christ followers who have died are already with the Lord. The apostle Paul tell us that he “prefers rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord” (1 Corinthians 5:8). At the sound of the trumpet, the bodies (the perishable) of the dead in Christ will be reunited with their souls (the imperishable).
Why will we be changed?
Everything the Lord has allowed in each of our lives has happened with the sole purpose of molding, shaping, maturing, and conforming us to the image of His dear Son, Jesus. Too, in verse 50 of 1 Corinthians 15, we read, “I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.”
As bereaved parents, we understand change…maybe even more than others. Who among us cannot attest to the life changes that have taken place after our child or children ran ahead of us? We are not the same people, even though there are those who may expect us to be. But the Lord uses these changes in remarkable ways. We find ourselves in a place to comfort others “with the comfort which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:4).
Just day before yesterday, I was in Walmart (one of my least favorite places to be), and an older gentleman, maybe even older than I, said, “Ma’am, is this your cart?”
“Yes, ” I replied.
“My wife has a cart with similar things in it, but I have lost her.” Then he went on, “She doesn’t drive anymore, not since the accident many years ago. It wasn’t her fault, but our youngest son, an eight year old, was killed.”
He choked up, and tears came into his eyes. All those years, and the pain is like it happened yesterday. I know; for one of my sons, it has been 37 years, for another only six.
It wasn’t coincidence that my basket was mistaken for that of his wife’s; it was a divine appointment.
“We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51).