The order of resurrection of the dead in I Corinthians :–, and its impact upon our understanding of the Lord’s coming for us.
Sometimes what Paul sets forth in I Corinthians :– about the order of the resurrection of the dead confuses folks when it comes to the issue of the Lord’s coming for us and our rapture/resurrection at the end of this present dispensation, because they expect that Paul would include our rapture/resurrection in the order that he gives, but it seems clear that he does not. Or sometimes they think that when he says in verse , “afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming” that this is referring to the Lord’s coming for us at the end of this dispensation. But then this too bothers them, or confuses them, because they realize that if this is what Paul is referring to then this puts the Lord’s coming for us and our resurrection at the same time as that of redeemed Israel’s resurrection when the Lord comes to establish His kingdom at the end of the final installment in Israel’s program. For it is clear that there is only one ‘coming of Christ’ spoken about by Paul in verse , and it is evident from what he says that it has to be His coming to establish His kingdom on the earth. Wherefore, as I said, sometimes what Paul says in this passage confuses folks.
However there is no need for folks to be confused, or to think that what Paul says in this passage negatively impacts, or contradicts, the truth of the Lord’s coming for us at the end of this present dispensation and before He resumes His program with Israel and this earth. For the truth of the matter is that Paul has no need to make reference to the Lord’s coming for us and our rapture/resurrection in this passage, (and so he does not mention it), for it does not belong with what he is describing.
Even though Paul is dealing with the overall subject of the resurrection of the dead in I Corinthians ; and even though the truth of the resurrection of the dead and the receiving of a changed body in connection with it is something that we are going to partake of when the Lord comes for us at the end of this present dispensation; because of what Paul is specifically dealing with in verses – he has no reason to refer to, or include, the issue of our rapture/resurrection. For what Paul is saying in verses – *only* pertains to what God has prophesied about the resurrection of the dead since death entered the world and since He declared that He would destroy death through Christ’s ministry of fulfilling the Davidic Covenant. And the reason why what Paul says in verses – *only* pertains to and *only* includes what God has prophesied about the resurrection of the dead is because what Paul is doing in verses – is proving from ‘the doctrine of the Christ,’ (and thereby from the Scriptures themselves), that the resurrection of the dead has to take place. Keep in mind that from verse all the way to verse what Paul is doing is that he is proving the validity of, and the reality of, and the necessity of, the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead; and he is doing this in view of the fact that it was being denied and was being ridiculed as preposterous.
And as he sets forth his various proofs that prove that God will raise the dead, his main proof in verses – is the fact that the resurrection of the dead is an integral part of the ‘doctrine of the Christ,’ and that in connection with fulfilling the prophesied mandates of the Davidic Covenant the Lord Jesus Christ not only has to raise the dead in accordance with those mandates, but He will resurrect the dead in perfect accordance with the timing of those mandates of the Davidic Covenant. is is what Paul sets forth in verses –.
But the issue of the Lord’s coming for us at the end of this present dispensation and our rapture/resurrection at that time is not part of the prophesied order of the resurrections of the dead as per the Davidic Covenant. Therefore Paul does not it, or include it, in what he sets forth in verses –. Instead the Lord’s coming for us and our rapture/ resurrection is part of “the revelation of the mystery of Christ,” and as such is dealt with separately by Paul later on in verses and following, after he has proven from the Scriptures that the overall doctrine of the resurrection of the dead is both true and necessary.
So then what Paul says in I Corinthians :– does not either negatively impact, or contradict in any way, the truth of the Lord’s distinct and separate coming for us and our rapture/resurrection at the end of the this present dispensation. For what Paul says in verses – deliberately excludes our rapture/resurrection from the listing of the prophesied order of the resurrections of the dead. Therefore do not look for our rapture/resurrection in this passage, or try to put into it; for it does not belong there and will not fit.
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