Tag Paul’s Two Scheme Dimensional System

Paul’s Two Scheme Dimensional System [Part-2]

The Rapture in Technical Terms – 1st Corinthians 15 

35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come? 36 Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. 

Paul states that a death – a destruction of some sort – is necessary in the resurrection process. This requirement is a mystery in the same sense that God’s vicarious sacrificial system also required the death of the offering. We could infer from Peter’s statement that death is required in order to take on spiritual form. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit. 1 Pet. 3:18. And Jesus’ example of the seed was both a prophecy about the fruitfulness of His crucifixion and a statement that resurrected life requires a foregoing death. But Jesus answered them, saying, The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” John 12:23, 24 

In the following verses Paul explains “How?” and “What body?” because it is ultimately stated that we will all be changed. Presumably, all means all; both the living and the resurrected dead must be changed. This assumption will also prove to be in agreement with First Thessalonians 4:17, which says that the dead in Christ which have been resurrected will be changed together with the living to meet the Lord in the air. 

1 Cor. 15:38 But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body. 39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. 40 There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. 

Paul demonstrates in preceding verses that God is able to create different life forms and various celestial objects with unique bodily forms. These examples provide support in the following verses that God is the creator of both the natural (mortal) body, and the spiritual (immortal) body. 

1 Cor. 15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body (σῶμα ψυχικόν – soma psuchikon), it is raised a spiritual body (σῶμα πνευματικόν – soma pneumatikon). There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body… 

The existence of the soma psuchikon, the natural body, is self- evident. Paul expects the reader to concede the existence of the soma pneumatikon based on the existence of the natural body and based upon faith in what is not seen by his redundant assertion that there is both a natural body and a spiritual body in this passage. This argument is strikingly similar to Paul’s assertion in First Thessalonians 4:14 If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who are alive and remain at His coming. Paul states what is known to be fact, and then what we as Christians should believe by faith also to be true. 

1 Cor. 15:45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual (pneumatikon) is not first, but the natural (psuchikon), and afterward the spiritual (pneumatikon). 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as 

we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 

Just as flesh and blood cannot withstand the consuming fire of God’s glory, in order to lay “physical” hold on the more enduring possession we must be transformed into the spiritual state. Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:6; That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit

  1. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed… 

Only some people will be left alive at Christ’s coming, but all, whether previously dead or alive, must be changed. (This point has been well established above.) 

  1. in a moment (ἐν ἀτόμῳ – en atoma)… in the twinkling of an eye… 

The Greek word, “tom” means “to cut.” Therefore, a-tom means “un-cuttable.” This word is meant to imply the smallest indivisible particle. When referring to time, ἐν ἀτόμῳ describes a segment of time that cannot be measured – an instant. 

52 Continued… at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 

Because this study will develop by logic its own witness for the timing of the rapture, we will not investigate the rapture in relationship to the sounding of the trumpet at this time. 

At this point we must take note of how many times in Chapter 15 Paul has reiterated that we all must be changed. This change encompasses every aspect of man’s mortality: 

Death to Life – from the temporal to the eternal 

Corruption to Incorruption – from the degenerative to permanence, from entropy to indestructibility 

Dishonor to Glory – from what is shameful, dark and dull to what is glorious, illuminated, and brilliant 

Weakness to Power – from tiredness and fatigue to inexhaustible ability 

Natural to Spiritual – we do not yet know what we shall be or how we will appear 

Earthly to Heavenly – from dust, born of flesh and blood, to the regenerated heavenly form 

Image of Adam to Image of Christ – from the image of the first man, to appear as Jesus appears, for we shall be like Him 

  1. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 

Here Paul reiterates his argument from verse 50. That is, the necessity, whether once dead or alive, for the soma psuchikon to be destroyed and replaced by the soma pneumatikon

  1. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 

The Greek word for “swallow” in the original language is katapino, literally, “to drink down.” Katesthio and kataphagein can be literally translated, “to eat down,” and are used extensively in the Greek Septuagint to mean, “devour” or “destroy.” 

In the same epiphany in which it was revealed to Job that he would see his Redeemer, it was also revealed that Job’s natural body would be destroyed by force. But then, in some type of resurrected body, Job would see his Redeemer. 

Job 19:24-27 Oh, that my words were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book! That they were engraved on a rock with an iron pen and lead, forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed . . . this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! 

Job didn’t describe the destruction of his flesh as a natural process. The word Job used to depict the destruction of his flesh is 

Strong’s 5362, ֙נ_ ף nâqaph, naw-kaf’; a primitive root; to strike with 

more or less violence (beat, fell, corrode); by implication (of attack) to knock together, i.e. surround or circulate:—compass about, cut down, destroy, go round (about).45 

It appears that Job anticipated a sudden, violent attack upon his bodily remains; followed by a reconstitution of his body which would enable him to behold his Redeemer with his own eyes. In fact, such a supernatural “redemption of the body” would be entirely dependent upon the existence of a Redeemer. Job’s was under the conviction that God was able, and would indeed raise Job from the grave in some type of body; and that Job himself would behold the One responsible for his regeneration – who would Himself be standing on the earth in some type of bodily form. Paul echoed a similar observation when he asked the rhetorical question; Who will deliver me from this body of death? To which Paul acknowledges the Redeemer who is able to accomplish this supernatural feat; I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! 

Paul expounds further in Second Corinthians 5:1-5; that because God’s plan for man includes such a supernatural transition, God has also prepared us to undergo this change. 

For we know that if our earthly house, this tent (the soma psuchikon), is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (the soma pneumatikon). For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed… 

We don’t want to be found naked; that is, we don’t long to become disembodied spirits. We want to be further clothed; to have an even more enduring body. And God has not prepared us to be mentally comfortable with the prospect of life outside the mortal body. That was never God’s plan for the ultimate glorification of man. Instead, death will be the process by which the saints will become further clothed. . . that mortality may be swallowed up (devoured, destroyed) by life. 

…Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 

What is “this very thing” that has been guaranteed? For which our earthly tent must be destroyed? Once again, this thing is the destruction of the natural body, and its replacement with the spiritual body. We have the Spirit as a guarantee that this replacement process will be completed at some time in the future. 

Job 19 made a direct connection between the Redeemer and the resurrection of Job’s body. Paul’s discourse on the restoration of the creation in Romans Chapter Eight also describes this glorification of “we ourselves” as the redemption of the body. Here, the first fruits of the Spirit stand as our guarantee. 

For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. Rom. 8:22, 23 

We who have the first fruits of the Spirit know that our spirits have already been redeemed, because we “have received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out Abba, Father.” Rom. 8:15 We are, nonetheless, still waiting for the redemption of the body. From Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, we derive that this event, this thing that has been guaranteed by the Spirit, consists of the ablation of the soma psuchikon and the creation of habitation from heaven (the soma pneumatikon). And, He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 

In Ephesians Chapter One, Paul adds further assurance of the coming redemption of the body; stating that the Spirit is, Himself, both a promise and a guarantee of the coming redemption. 

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. Eph. 1:13, 14 

Paul’s most concise statement on the future glorification guaranteed by the indwelling Spirit is given in Colossians 1:27; 

Christ in you, the hope of glory. The hope of a ransom from sin was realized when Jesus laid down his life for the sins of the world. This hope has already been realized in the forgiveness of sins, the deliverance from judgment, and Christ’s righteousness imputed to those who believe. But there is another hope which has not yet been realized, the hope of glory. This unrealized hope in a future transformation into the glorious state of existence is part of the knowledge of our salvation. 

For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Rom. 8:24, 25 

The Indwelling Spirit Promising the Redemption of the Body 
Passage Indwelling, Spirit Sealing, Promise, Guarantee Redemption, Glory 
Rom 8:22,23 we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit  eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body 
2 Cor 5:1-5 who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God 
Eph 1:13,14 with the Holy Spirit you were sealed…of promise…who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession 
Eph 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption 
Col 1:27 Christ in you  the hope of glory 

Paul concludes his discourse on the transformation from death and mortality to life and immortality, by quoting two Old Testament prophets. He begins with Isaiah 25:8; Death is swallowed up in victory. And then he alludes to Hosea by asking; O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? 

Hosea 13:14 reads; 

I will ransom them from the power of the grave I will redeem them from death. 

O Death, I will be your plagues! 

O Grave, I will be your destruction! 

This verse implies that both death and the power of death will be conquered. The bodies of the dead will be raised from the grave, and the bodies of the living will not go down to the grave. This comprehensive verse covers the altruism that we will all be changed and that there are two distinct groups that will experience the Thessalonians resurrection/rapture – the dead in Christ and the living, respectively. 

In conclusion, Paul’s First Thessalonians rapture will be a dimensional change with the meeting/gathering to follow. The rapture will be the physical realization of putting off the old man and putting on the new man. When “this tent” is destroyed (notice: not when we die, or breathe our last breath) we will immediately be clothed with our heavenly habitation which has been prepared for us, and for which we have been prepared. 

Paul’s Two Scheme Dimensional System 

Chapter 10 of Reclaiming The Rapture : Paul’s Two Scheme Dimensional System 

Paul provides enough information throughout his epistles to understand the technical aspects of the rapture and to explain why he chose the Greek word which has been translated as 

“rapture.” The authors reject the proposition that the rapture was something first revealed to the Apostle of the Gentiles. Nevertheless, a wisdom was given to Paul by revelation about how the spiritual realm operates. Peter admitted that some of Paul’s teachings were hard to understand. But we need to understand some of his deeper insights in order to view the rapture from Paul’s perspective. Spiritual concepts are not necessarily complex; but they are contrary to worldly thinking, so that certain definitions and rules we might be accustomed to using could need to be redefined. 

Paul’s concepts of material and spiritual existence were far different from the Dualistic ideas made popular by the Greek Philosophers. To appreciate the weight of the Greek influence upon first century Christians, just remember that Paul’s epistles were originally written in Greek. The rapture is easier to visualize once we realize that Paul described the same dimensional system throughout his writings. When Paul commented on different forms of existence, he was sharing his knowledge of ontology. According to Wikipedia, “Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, becoming, existence or reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations.”44 

The Apostle John made an ontological observation in his statement on what “we shall be” in his first letter. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2 

This verse contrasts two forms of appearance. Both of these forms have, or will be, seen. “Appear”, by definition, means that something is observable. Because Jesus will appear in glory, we understand that these appearances represent existence in both the natural realm, and in a form beyond the natural realm. 

Although the word “metaphysics” has taken on a negative aspect through association with religious spiritualism and existential philosophy, metaphysics examines the form and substance of objects that exist beyond the physical world. We might say – outside of this dimension. This is the very sort of ontological discussion we need to become familiar with in order to recognize and interpret dozens of New Testament verses dealing with the seen and unseen; the natural and the spiritual. Appearances, forms, and schemes are mentioned throughout the gospels and epistles. 

The resurrection – the reconstruction and resuscitation of decayed and scattered molecules – is a miracle. But the rapture involves the transition from one state of existence to another. From the natural (physical, material), to the spiritual (glorious) state of existence; nevertheless, retaining some type of metaphysical bodily form. 

When the Bible speaks of a spiritual body, it does not mean to imply that the spirit will escape from bodily form and become a disembodied spirit. Platonism, Gnosticism, and Dualism all pit a theoretical perfect spirit against the imperfect elements (matter). Within these philosophies, spirit is nothing more than the opposite of matter. The Gnostics insist that the spirit is real and that the material is less than real. Whereas, modern humanists believe matter to be real, and the spiritual realm to be nothing more than superstition – something that is a matter of personal choice. But the living God of the Bible is Spirit, and He is infinitely more than the opposite of matter. 

When we think of body, soul, and spirit, it is logical to contrast the human body, which has form, with the human spirit, which has no visible form. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. Rom. 8:16 Only a few times in the Bible does the Holy Spirit appear to take on a representative form; such as smoke, flames of fire, or the dove at Jesus’ Baptism. But generally, when we think of spirit, we have no form or image associated with either the Spirit of the Godhead or the spiritual component of man. So a spiritual body would seem to be an oxymoron. 

But spiritual form, or embodiment, is the very concept that the Apostle Paul was expressing when he wrote about the spiritual bodies that we will receive in the instant of the rapture. 

Spiritual bodies are heavenly objects, possessing real substance. This spiritual substance is (usually) unseen to the physical eye but is just as real, and even more substantial, than the substance of material things. The spiritual form has an appearance, a form that can be manifested into the material world. Jesus began to manifest His glorified (spiritual) body at the time of the transformation. Yet He showed Himself in a more natural form to a select few after his resurrection. 

Now that we have established the biblical concept of spiritual form, we should address some of the errant philosophies plaguing the Christian church today. The spiritual realm is not merely a nebulous World of Souls dwelling in some ethereal cloud. The heavenly state consists of some type of media or substance. Dimensionality of some type will define our heavenly habitat. Otherwise, how might beings in the spiritual realm know where their identity ends and another person or object begins? How would they communicate or have community? Heaven must have dimensionality or else Moses could not have been shown the pattern of the heavenly tabernacle – the heavenly realities. 

Carrying this logic further, for activity to occur in heaven, something must move or change. Some recognition of time over which change can be observed is necessary to recognize that something has happened. Life without measurable activity would resemble our definition of death, not the abundant life promised by Christ. 

Chapter 15 of First Corinthians devotes several verses to contrasting natural and spiritual bodies. The spiritual form is the more substantial, more enduring, appearance of things. 

Schemes, Forms, and Appearances 

In the following verses Paul described the natural world as a “scheme.” The first verse refers to a future transformation of the world – from the natural scheme into another appearance. The second verse comments on the humility of Christ when He took on the scheme of this world. 

For the form (Gr. σχῆμα, schēma) of this world is passing away. 1 Cor. 7:31b; (also interpreted as; the world in its present form is passing away.) 

And being found in appearance (σχήματι, schēmati) as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Phil. 2:8 

The appearance (form) of Jesus was changed from His original glorious appearance, to the form of a bondservant (natural man). Jesus took on the scheme of nature. The natural and spiritual schemes are both very real and apparent forms of embodiment. 

In the verses above Paul referred to the present natural form of existence as the scheme of this world. Both examples describe a change in outward appearance based on the assumption there is more than one scheme of existence. 

Paul also used another term that can be interpreted as “form” or “appearance”. It is the Greek word morphē. Morph is the root of the English word, metamorphosis; “to change in form or appearance.” Both Matthew and Mark use the word μετεμορφώθη (metemorphōthē) to describe Jesus’ transfiguration. This expression for one of Paul’s two schemes of existence is also found in Paul’s Letter to the Philippians. 

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form μορφῇ (morphē) of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. Phil. 2:5-7 

This passage, through the end of the third chapter, is a key section for understanding Paul’s schemes of existence. We will see shortly that this passage even contains the Greek word which has been interpreted into English as “caught up!” 

Mark also used the Greek stem “morph” in his account of the road to Emmaus encounter. After that, He (Jesus) appeared in another form ἑτέρᾳ μορφῇ (hetera morphē) to two of them as they walked and went into the country. Mark 16:12 

Now we can look at schēmati and morphē used together to describe our transformation into the spiritual scheme of Jesus’ glorified body. Paul calls this a “trans-schematic” transformation. 

Who will transform μετασχηματίσει (metaschēmatisei) our lowly body that it may be conformed σύμμορφον (symmorphon) to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. Phil. 3:21 

Not to belabor the reader with exhaustive Greek studies, please consider the significance of just one more word used prolifically in the New Testament. In the preceding verse we read, “He appeared in another form…” The Greek word for “appeared” is ἐφανερώθη (ephanerōthē). The root word, “phan,” is where we get the word “phantom.” In English we are used to thinking of a phantom as an apparition – something less than real – perhaps like a vision. 

But in the nine occurrences of “appeared” (ἐφανερώθη) below, every single one of them relates to a very real transformation between the spiritual and the natural forms of bodily existence. 

Mark 16:14 Afterward He appeared (ephanerōthē) to the eleven John 21:14 that Jesus was manifested (ephanerōthē) to the disciples 

Col. 1:26 but has now been manifested (ephanerōthē) to His saints 

1 Tim. 3:16 God was manifest (ephanerōthē) in the flesh 

1 John 1:2 and the life was manifested (ephanerōthē), and we have seen 

1 John 1:2 was with the Father and was manifested (ephanerōthē) to us 

1 John 3:5 You know that He appeared (ephanerōthē) in order 1 John 3:8 Son of God was manifested (ephanerōthē), that 

  1. John 4:9 In this was manifested (ephanerōthē) the love of God 

To conclude this preliminary study of bridging the dimensions, we must not neglect the most famous references to Christ’s appearing to the material world; stated below as “appearing” ἐπιφάνειαν (epiphaneian). (Obviously, this is where we get the word “epiphany”.) 

  1. Tim. 4:1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing (epiphaneian) and His kingdom 

2 Tim. 4:8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing (epiphaneian). 

Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing (epiphaneian) of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. 

Above we looked at the two forms of appearance, and the transition from glory into the physical state. Now we will begin to look at the essence of the rapture. We could call the rapture our “transfiguration” into glory; or our transition into the glorious state. 

When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Col. 3:4 

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Rom. 8:18 

Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. Rom. 8:30 

Power, Resurrection, and Subjection 

What kind of power will be asserted by God when He transforms corrupted matter from a state of entropy – the fallen state – to the state of glorious immortality? This power to manipulate the very fabric of the universe was the most powerful force imaginable in Bible times, and is still being pursued by scientists today. The prophets and Apostles referred to God’s exceeding great power as the force by which He would overcome and subdue both the fallen creation and the waywardness of men and angels. 

Tethered to the power of the resurrection and the rapture is the power of God to assert His authority over areas of creation that have had, or were perceived to have had, free-wheeling autonomy. Just as decay and mortality will be subdued, that is to say, conformed to its perfect state; God’s creatures and creation will be subdued and submit to God’s will. This is the very thing we pray for in the Lord’s Prayer; Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done – on earth, as it is in heaven. Matt. 6:10 

The chart below shows the obvious connection between the revealing of God’s mighty power, the resurrection/rapture, and the establishment of God’s government on the earth. Our corrupted mortal bodies will be subdued under the same divine power. The fact that these three factors appear repeatedly within adjacent passages would also support the conclusion that they occur at the same time; or at least during the same event. The left and center columns are the focus of this chapter on the presence of God’s power during the time of the resurrection and rapture. 

Correlation of: God’s Power, The Resurrection, and Subjection to God’s Authority 
Passage Power / Working / Ability Resurrection / Transformation Subjection / Authority 
Rom. 1:4 declared to be the Son of God with power …by the resurrection from the dead  
1 Cor. 6:14 …by His power God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up  
1 Cor. 15:4-58  resurrection… He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power… till He has put all enemies under His feet… Now when all things are made subject to Him… 
Eph. 1:19-22 what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us… according to the working of His mighty power which He worked …in Christ when He raised Him from the dead… …far above all principality and power and might and dominion… He put all things under His feet 
Passage Power / Working / Ability Resurrection / Transformation Subjection / Authority 
Phil. 3:10-21 that I may know Him and the power… … according to the working by which He is able of His resurrection… I may attain to the resurrection from the dead… who will transform our lowly body… conformed to His glorious body …even to subdue all things to Himself 
Col. 2:12 through faith in the working of God …in which you also were raised with Him … who raised Him from the dead  
Rev. 11:17 You have taken Your great power  and have begun to reign 
Rev. 12:10 Now the salvation, and the power  the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come 

Several of these verses apply to the resurrection, but Phil. 3:20, 21 refer expressly to the transformation of our lowly bodies – the very transformation of our bodies that will take place at the resurrection/rapture. 

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. 

For those who are in Christ, the forfeiting of the mortality in order to be conformed to the image of Christ has only positive connotations. But verse 21 above indicates that from Jesus’ perspective, the process involves power and authority going forth from Him in order to subdue our lowly bodies. 

We are reminded here of the healing of the woman with the issue of blood by whom Jesus perceived that power had gone out from Him. God’s subduing of all of His enemies means rectifying all that was damaged because of sin. The corrupted mortal body of sin must be overcome/subdued by the power of God. 

The book of Revelation describes the destructive forces that God will bring upon the earth before its restoration. The appearance of the glory of the Lord will be accompanied by destructive forces such as the world has not known since the beginning. In Romans Chapter Eight, Paul says that creation has been in subjected in the hope of being restored. But even though creation has been corrupted by the fall of man into sin, the world must still undergo a final contortion before its regeneration. The plundering of the planet prior to the Second Coming was prophesied in the 24th Chapter of Isaiah. 

24:1 Behold, the Lord makes the earth empty and makes it waste, distorts its surface… 

24:3 The land shall be entirely emptied and utterly plundered, for the Lord has spoken this word. 

24:6 Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, and those who dwell in it are desolate. 

Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left. 

24:19 The earth is violently broken, The earth is split open, the earth is shaken exceedingly. 

24:20 The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall totter like a hut; 

Its transgression shall be heavy upon it, and it will fall, and not rise again. 

If we equate this time with Revelation’s bowls of wrath, it would appear that this plundering is more of a process then an event. But in Chapter 15 of First Corinthians, Paul describes a similarly destructive process which seems to be required as the natural body is exchanged or transformed into the spiritual body. Transformation into the spiritual body demands that whatever remains of the natural body undergo the death of mortality itself – the swallowing up of death. 

The destructive element in this dimensional change, from the physical state to the spiritual, will be discussed further when we study First Corinthians 15:54 near the end of this chapter. 

Just as Psalms 22 and Isaiah 53 expound upon the events during Christ’s crucifixion, First Corinthians Chapter 15 gives the details about the resurrection and the rapture which are only mentioned briefly in First Thessalonians Chapter Four. In the latter half of the 15th chapter, Paul ventures beyond his own hypothetical question of “How are the dead raised up?” in order to discuss the technical details of the glorification process. We might ask today, “What is the rapture in technical terms?” Or in our common vernacular, “What will it look like?” 

[PART-2] To be continued in the next post.