When Paul Speaks . . .
Paul struck blind from wol.jw.org
Rev. Sudha Mehta©
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1 Corinthians 15: 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 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. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 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.”
55“O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”(NKJV)
After a short stay in Thessalonica, Paul moved on for his own and the safety of others. The Jews that did not believe Jesus, now hated Paul for converting. He went by the name was Saul before . . . but he had a dual name. (Acts 13:9) I am thinking he wanted a new beginning, and so chose to use his other name Paul after the conversion. Interesting, because there is no record of the Lord changing it! Not that uncommon, if you think about it.
The Jews loved him while he remained a loyal Pharisee, a teacher of the Law, taught by Gamaliel, a highly respected Pharisee and teacher. They loved him when he was passionate for the Law of the Old Testament enough to persecute all of Christ’s deiscples (Acts 8:3). They loved him when he minded the cloaks of those who stoned Steven to death. (Acts 7:58)
They even loved that Saul ardently desired to go to Damascus and arrest believers and bring them to Jerusalem to stand trial for heresy and blasphemy (Acts 9: 1,2). But . . . when on the road to Damascus Jesus intervened, knocking him off his high horse, striking him blind, questioning his mission and motives, and revealing Himself as the Messiah, everything changed! In that moment of revelation, the rock-hard heart of this young Pharisee changed to a heart that bled repentence, and remorse for his own actions.
Saul fell from the horse and Paul rose from the dust. Saul was blinded but Paul saw with blinded eyes. Saul fell from grace and favor in the eyes of the unbelieving Jews, but Paul rose anew by grace and favor from Christ to a new life. The name change was fitting! I would want the same!!
The Jewish religious community’s love for Saul- the young and upcoming Pharisee with a promising future, a member of the Sanhedrin; changed fast to hatred for Paul the disciple of Jesus Christ. They realized quickly that this new Paul answered now to a different Master. His mission changed, he was now commissioned by the Messiah instead of the High Priest.
Speaking of Paul to Ananias, Jesus said this:
Acts 9: 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”(NKJV)
And indeed the change was undeniable. Those who were his enemies, now became friends.
Acts 9: 19 So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.(NKJV)
This new convert couldn’t keep his mouth shut:
Acts 9: 20 Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.(NKJV)
Perhaps you have heard the argument that the new Testament was written by ignorant fishermen and therefore not to be trusted or valued. It is far from true!! If you are one of those skeptics yourself, I invite you to check out my series Holy Trinity Seminary . . . Part I
They were far from ignorant! However Paul was in a different class unto himself. He wasn’t trained by the Messiah for three years as the others had been, he did however have the best education a Jew could have at the time. He was a great scholar of the Old Testament, so once he had his “spiritual” eyes opened by the Lord Himself, he was able to see how all the Old Testament prophecies now fell into place. Jesus certainly did not discount his understanding of the Scriptures, He used Paul to pen the bulk of the epistles in the New Testament. Paul’s writings were very well respected by the other apostles as well (2 Peter 3:15,16).
When Paul spoke, people listened! They understood and respected his knowledge. His boldness was clear. So when this Paul spoke about the church getting raptured before the coming of the tribulation, it was safely assumed that God had revealed it to him. And God did!
Paul teaching from youtube
Now with that in mind, let us read the opening Scripture from 1 Corinthians 15 again! Here Paul is decribing what happens in the moment of Rapture. Our natural human bodies will change. No one needs to tell me my body is given to decay. Yours is as well. I am finally at the age when I don’t care to look in the mirror as much as I used to 😁. This body is one that will die, given time. It will meet it’s end and lie in the dust one way or another.
Hebrews 9: 27And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, (NKJV)
cemetary photo from flickr
The only way I escape death as we know it, is if the Rapture comes during my lifetime, which at this point I am confident of for all the reasons I have stated in my previous posts in this series. Our bodies in that moment will put on immortality. What will that look like? . . . I will look like me, you will look like you! We will recognize each other, but we will no longer be subject to death, injury, sickness or decay. We will have a body like that of Jesus when He rose from the dead.
W will be like HIm:
1 John 3: 2 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. (NKJV)
The resurrected Jesus was able to disappear and appear at will. He was able to walk through walls, able to eat and drink. He was tangible and so could be touched. He could travel great distances and at great speed. He could be airborne! He could feel all the emotions humans do, He had His memory intact so He remembered all his friends. He could think, reason, speak, communicate and above all care and love about people same as before.
John 20: 19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. (NKJV)
Jesus appears to his disciples from Youtube.com
He could even make breakfast:
Jesus makes breakfast after resurrection from biblefunforkids
You and I will be like Him, except we will all be in Heaven!😃
The question people wanted answered was: “What happenes to our loved ones that have died already? They are dead, buried and their bodies have turned to the dust. They lie six feet below in a coffin sealed, or cremated, or lost/buried at sea.” They feared the loved ones had believed in Christ’s imminent return in vain.
Paul’s take on this question was anything but without hope! He didn’t even see them as dead, they were asleep! Now, there are those that teach “soul sleep” as doctrine, but that is heresy, for Paul made it clear that to be absent from body means present with Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord (KJV)
So, the moment you take your last breath here on earth is followed by your first breath in heaven. Do not fear! You will not lie comatose in a state of limbo somewhere in this vast universe. If you are a believer, you will be in heaven instantly, your physical body will join you healed and whole when the trumpet sounds. (1 Thessalonians 4:16) This is what removes all fear of death from the believer: the assurance of eternal life in Heaven with Almighty God is salvation, all paid for by our Lord Jesus!
This mortal body will put on an immortal one during the rapture, yet before that, if you should die and your body be in the grave, you are still a spirit body that looks like you in heaven. The spirit body is not formless like Casper the ghost. It doesn’t float around like a white sheet with holes cut out to see.
The Bible calls the physical body a tent we live in. As I get older, I find my tent (physical body) doesn’t fit me (Spirit body) as well. It is losing shape . . . spots, sags and bags appear as time goes, yet my spirit body still feels young and strong. Infused with the Holy Spirit when He took residence within me at the moment I received Christ, I started my eternal life back in 1975, even though I had this same physical body.
One thing you should know, whether you die as a Christian before the Rapture or you simply get transformed in the moment of Rapture, once you are in heaven you do not ever face death again. Death has lost it’s victory over you. Christian, for you death has no sting! If you belong to the Lord, physical death means only a forever life in heaven.
BUT . . . for those that reject so great a Salvation offered free of charge by Almighty God there waits a SECOND death:
Revelation 20: 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (NKJV)
My friend, this is what Jesus says in the closing chapters of the Bible:
Revelation 21: 6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”(NKJV)
I am absolutely sure you do not want to be linked with the awful crowd described in verse 8, you are better than that!! Aren’t you??
I am sure you will make the right choice and be one that He will call as His own child (son or daughter).
Welome to heaven Photo from pinterest
In my next post I will write about what to expect if you do not make the Rapture! Things will change after we are gone, and they will be much worse than you can imagine!!
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