Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

WE SHALL NOT ALL SLEEP!
 
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 NKJV — Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall 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 incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
 
Notice the “WE’s”
Paul is writing to encourage the church at Corinth and thus he encourages us today.  When Paul says we shall not all sleep, he is talking about the death of a Christian.  Whenever a believer dies, the scripture describes that person as sleeping.  The body sleeps but not the soul.  In Luke 16 and on the Mount of Transfiguration, it is quite clear that people who die are conscious.  This is also true of martyred saints in the book of the Revelation.  
 
Sleep is pleasant but the process of dying is considered an enemy.  Most do not look forward to dying and that is why Paul is encouraging us with this truth “WE SHALL NOT ALL SLEEP.”  But when will this occur?  It will occur at the last trumpet.  The trumpet was used to warn, to call assemblies and to lead armies into battle and to herald the arrival of kings.  This will be the last command given to the church since this trumpet will end the church age. It will be the church’s call to “come home.” 
 
1 Thessalonians 4:18 also mentions the trumpet. These two passages explain the mystery, that is, truth that is hidden in the Old Testament that is revealed in the New.  The Lord has promised in John 14:3,  “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”  Paul believed in that promise and explains how it will happen in these two passages.  I also believe in that promise.  The unsaved society that we live in does not.  Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:3-4 “Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’”
 
The Hope of the Christian
A Christian does not hope to be saved but a Christian has hope, that is, we have a certain blessed future that we can confidently look forward to.  Our future is called a blessed hope and it is called  a purifying hope.  When I look at the state of the world today, I get discouraged.  When I look at the way Christians have gotten involved with trying to change an immoral world into a moral world through politics, I get discouraged.  But when I realize that my home is not here but it is in heaven and the Lord has promised me a place in His Father’s House, I get encouraged.  My only discouragement is that my part in the rapture might take place after I die;  but, even then, I am told  by Paul that I get to be caught up before the living in 1 Thessalonians 4 should that happen.  When our political leaders make promises, you can be pretty sure that they won’t keep them.  But when my King makes a promise, He will keep it.  I may not know when and I may not understand how, but I can be sure that what the Lord has promised He will perform (see Romans 4:18:22).
 
WE SHALL NOT ALL SLEEP! It would be great to be one who does not die, but who is caught up directly to heaven.  Paul uses the pronoun “we”  in both passages so I think he expected to be in that group.  He wasn’t.  But if we are saved, perhaps we will be in that group.  We don’t set dates, we just wait expectantly.  Maybe today!
 
Bruce Collins
 
Meditation for the week of September 6, 2020

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