|1 Corinthians 15 |
1 Now brothers, let me remind you of the gospel that I preached to you, which you have received, and in which you stand;
2 And by which you are saved, if you keep fast what I preached to you, unless you have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.
5 And that he was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.
6 After that, he was seen by above five hundred brothers at once; of whom the greater part remain to this present day, but some are fallen asleep [in death].
7 After that, he was seen by James and then by all the apostles.
8 And last of all he was seen by me also, as to one born out of due time.
9 For I am the least of the apostles, who is not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am; and his grace, which he bestowed upon me, was not in vain; for I labored more abundantly than all of them. Yet it was not I [who labored so hard], but the grace of God that was with me.
11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, this is what we preach, this is what you believed.
12 Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not risen.
14 And if Christ has not risen, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is also in vain.
15 Yes, and we are found to be false witnesses of God because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ,whom he has not raised up, if it were true that the dead do not rise.
16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ could not have been raised
17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still locked in your sins.
18 Then also those who have fallen asleep [died] in Christ, have perished.
19 If our hope in Christ applies only to this life, we are the most miserable of all men.
20 But now Christ has risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those dead [to the life of God].
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all are dead [to the life of God], even so in Christ, shall all be made alive.
23 But each man in his own rank and order.1 Christ, the first fruits; then the anointed at his coming. [This is an individual experience for those who crucify their selfish nature on the inward cross of self-denial. He appears in the hearts of the pure.].
24 Then comes the end, when he [Jesus, the Son] delivers the kingdom to God, the Father; when he has put down all rule and all authority and power.
25 For he must reign, until he has put all enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.
27 For he has put all things under his feet. But when he said all things are put under him, it is evident that the one [God the Father] is excluded, who put all things under him.
28 And when all things are subdued to him [Jesus, the Son], then will the Son himself also be subject to him who put all things under him, so that God [the Father] may be all in all.
29 Else what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?2
30 And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour?
31 I affirm, by the boasting in you that I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, that I die daily.3 [When you take up the daily cross, to wait on God persistently and patiently, hearing and obeying His commands, you die a little each day, until Jesus Christ is revealed in your body. George Fox said: "there must be 'a coming into his death, a suffering with Christ;' and this is of necessity to salvation; and not temporarily, but continually: there must be a 'dying daily.'"]
32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus,4 what advantage do I have, if the dead do not rise? Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die.
33 Do not be deceived. Evil companions corrupt good manners, morals, and integrity.5
34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. [Paul is shaming those believers in the church who think they are righteous while still sinning, just as John warned us not to be deceived in the same. From the Word of the Lord within: "Aim at and pursue righteousness, without which no one will see the Lord. Do not be misled over righteousness; all sin is unrighteousness. If you are still sinning, you belong to sin and not to Me. Do you agree with any who in their arrogance have stated that God excuses evil in believers? It's not fair, but they don't care. The cross is offered to all. In this process of carrying your cross, your sin gradually disappears, within and without, to your satisfaction." There is not even an imputed righteousness until the death of the sinful nature on the inward cross of self-denial. See the definition of righteousness in Footnote 3 of 1 John 3.]
35 But someone will say, "How are the dead raised? And with what body do they come?"
36 You fool, [like seeds] what you sow does not come to life unless it first dies.
37 And the seed that you sow is not what body it will have later [after it grows]; but it is bare grain that may be of wheat or of some other grain.6
38 But God gives it a body as it has pleased him, 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 beasts, another of fish, and another of birds.
40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It 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, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
45 And so it is written, The first man "Adam was made a living soul;" the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
46 However, what was spiritual was not the first, but what was natural; and afterwards came the spiritual.
47 The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.
48 As was the earthy man, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are heavenly.
49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
50 Now this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. [A man still in his flesh walks according to the ways of the world, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and the thoughts of his mind. The man of the flesh with its corruption must be crucified and incorruption put on; then the kingdom can be entered, and all this must occur while you are still on the earth to avoid being banned from heaven when you die. "Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and its fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by its fruit." Mat 12:33. From the Word of the Lord within: "A tree that is holy is a good one."]
51 Behold, I show 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.7
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption,8 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.
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, since as you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
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1 Each man in his own rank and order. Note each man in his own order. This describes the coming of Christ as an individual experience, belying the popular myth that there is going to be a mass "rapture" of all believers (still slaves to sin) into heaven. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus is recorded saying that some then standing with him, 2000 years ago, would see his glorious coming with the Kingdom before they died.
We know there are not people 2000 years old walking around; so for some, Christ has already returned in His kingdom.
His resurrection is not the return, because after he was resurrected, his disciples asked, was the Kingdom to be established then?
and he said, "it is not for you to know the time or dates," and then rose to heaven, leaving them. Acts 1:6-9
Neither does the record of how he appeared to the disciples when resurrected faintly resemble the prophecies:
they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. Mat 16:28
till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. Mark 9:1
he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels. Luke 9:26
Nor does his resurrection match Matthew, Mark, and Luke's prophecies to be fulfilled before that generation passed away.
Heaven appears to our spiritual eye as in a mist or in clouds — so, his coming is on the clouds of heaven, within the hearts of purified believers — just like he ascended: he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight. Acts 1:9. Even Daniel in 538 BC saw Jesus coming on the clouds of heaven: I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. Dan 7:13.
(Heaven appears to us in our soul's eye as a place of great glory existing in a cloud or a mist).
His glorious appearance and reign has already occurred for some that were standing there with him 2000 years ago.
One of those standing with him who saw his glorious return with his Kingdom was his disciple John, who later wrote in the Book of Revelation:
I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ. Rev 1:9
Paul said: Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. Col 1:13
The some are those who repented to become purified for the Kingdom.
This is an individual experience, Each man in his own rank and order. For more on how the "meeting in the air" was misunderstood, see the Footnote to verse 52 below..
2 This is one of the strangest statements in the Bible. Since if flies in the face of Christian doctrine, the only explanation is that Paul is saying this: since even the pagan Greeks believe in a resurrection, by baptizing for the dead, why don't you believe in the resurrection? Just north of Corinth, (the church he was addressing), was a city named Eleusis. This was the location of a famous pagan religion where baptism in the sea was practiced to guarantee a good afterlife. This religion was even mentioned by Homer in Hymn to Demeter. The Corinthians were known to be heavily influenced by other customs. So Paul is citing the widespread belief of the Greek culture to support the belief in the resurrection.
Interpreting this scripture literally, the Mormons baptize people for the dead in their temple, which is a great source of revenue to their sect, (follow the money); this accounts for their research into their ancestors, thinking they can save them from Hell by being baptized into the Mormon sect after they are dead, by them standing in their place as their surrogates. They ignore the words of Jesus: For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Mat 16:27. And they ignore John in Revelation: And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works, Rev 20:12-13. The fire will try and test every man's work, of what sort it is. 1 Cor 3:13. Everyone who is not purified on Earth enters Hell, regardless of religious profession. There is no act by the living that can influence the judgment of the dead. George Fox has said, do not pray for the dead; they have had their time when prayer could help them. And sacrifices for the dead are forbidden by scripture. Psalm 106:28-29 — They joined themselves also to Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead. Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions. Mormons, paying their sect a fee, and being baptized in water for their dead relatives, is clearly a sacrifice for the dead.
3 I die daily. Always bearing about in the [our] flesh the same death [of the inward cross] of the Lord Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who live are constantly progressing to death [crucifying the old man] for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus might be revealed in our mortal flesh. 2 Cor 4:10-11. As our selfish spirit, the old man, dies on the inward cross of self-denial, Jesus increases in us, like bread is leavened.
George Fox wrote of this dying in his Journal:
.. you must come into his death, and die [the spiritual death of the inward cross of self-denial] with him, as the apostles did, if you will live with him. This is a nearer and further advanced state, to be with him in the fellowship of his death, than to only eat bread and wine in remembrance of his death.
You must have fellowship with Christ in his sufferings. 1 Pet 4:12-13
If you will reign with him, you must suffer with him. 2 Tim 2:12
if you will live with him, you must die with him. 2 Tim 2:11
And if you die with him, you must be buried with him, Rom 6:4
and being buried with him in the true baptism, you also rise with him. Col 2:12
There must be "a coming into his death, a suffering with Christ;" and this is of necessity to salvation;
and not temporarily, but continually: there must be a "dying daily."
Then having suffered with him, died with him, and been buried with him, if you are risen with Christ "seek those things which are above where Christ, sits on the right hand of God." Eat the bread which comes down from above, which is not outward bread; and drink the cup of salvation which he gives in his kingdom, which is not outward wine. And then there will not be a looking at the things that are seen, (as outward bread and wine and water are), for the apostle says, "The things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal." So here are many states and conditions to be gone through before people come to see that, and partake of that which "comes down from above:"
For, first, there was "a taking of the outward bread and wine in remembrance of Christ's death." This was temporary, and not of necessity; but at their liberty, "As often as you do it,..".
Secondly, there must be "a coming into his death, a suffering with Christ;" and this is of necessity to salvation; and not temporarily, but continually: there must be a "dying daily."
Thirdly, a "buried with Christ."
Fourthly, "a rising with Christ."
Fifthly, after they are risen with Christ, then "a seeking those things which are above, a seeking the bread that comes down from heaven" and a "feeding on that and having fellowship in that." For outward bread, wine, and water are from below, and are visible and temporal; but, said the apostle, "We look not at things that are seen, for the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal."
4 Paul is speaking figuratively about his opposition in Ephesus that threatened their trade in silver idols of their city's god, Artemis.
5 Do not be deceived. Evil companions corrupt good manners, morals, and integrity. You cannot socialize with the people of the world without being influenced by their evil conversation and conduct. You must be polite and friendly to the people of the world, which your job and responsibilities bring you into contact, but you should cease socializing with them. As you begin to deny your former evil activities in the world, the basis of your friendships will diminish. As you deny foul language, revelry, drinking, carousing, etc., your friends will become uncomfortable and begin to attack your commitment to goodness. You will no longer have anything to gain from socializing with them. For what fellowship can light have with dark or righteousness with lawlessness? Yes, they think it strange that you do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation, and they speak evil of you. Your former social friendships will necessarily disappear, else they will hate you and persecute you; or worse, drag you back into the world as you seek their approval. Are you trying to win the approval and favor of men, or of God? This doesn't mean that you won't be kind and courteous to those of the world with which your occupation brings you into association; just that you will not socialize with them because it would be painful and harmful to you.
6 And the seed that you sow is not what body it will have later [after it grows]; but it is bare grain that may be of wheat or of some other grain. Paul is chastising those who believed the earthly bodies will be resurrected. If someone believed that the earthly body was to be resurrected, then they might have concerns over organ donation, body preservation, cremation, etc. But Paul is clearly telling everyone that the body which goes into the ground is not the body that is resurrected. George Whitehead wrote further on this subject:
For the Doctrine of the Resurrection. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable; 1 Cor 15:19. We sincerely believe, not only a resurrection in Christ from the fallen, sinful state here, but a rising and ascending into glory with him hereafter; that when he at last appears we may appear with him in glory; Col. 3:4, 1 John 3:2. But that all the wicked, who live in rebellion against the light of grace, and die finally impenitent, shall come forth to the resurrection of condemnation. And that the soul or spirit of every man and woman shall be reserved in its own distinct and proper being, so as there shall be as many souls [or spirits] in the world to come as in this; and every seed, yet every soul, shall have its proper body, as God is pleased to give it; 1 Cor 15. A natural body is sown, a spiritual body is raised; that being first which is natural, and afterward that which is spiritual. And though it is said this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality; the change shall be such as flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption; 1 Cor 15:50. We shall be raised out of all corruption and corruptibility, out of all mortality; and the children of God and of the resurrection, shall be equal to the angels of God in heavens.
And as the celestial bodies do far excel terrestrial; so we expect our spiritual bodies in the resurrection shall far excel what our bodies now are; and we hope none can justly blame us for thus expecting better bodies than now they are. However we esteem it very unnecessary to dispute or question how the dead are raised, or with what body they come; but rather submit that to the wisdom and pleasure of Almighty God.
It was a frequent ploy of the devil to provide a "revelation" to some immature member of the Quakers society about the type of body one will possess when resurrected, causing that person to announce their "revelation" in order to create a dispute, and divide the believers into two groups; yet what sort of body-to-come is totally immaterial and irrelevant to the task for all: to be freed from sin, enter the kingdom of heaven while alive, and then to be born again in union with God and Christ. Such disputes only served to stymie the task at hand.
Who will change our vile body, so that it is transformed to be like His glorious body,
according to the working by which he is able to subdue all things to himself. Phil 3:21.
7 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. This is the entrance of a crucified, purified, resurrected believer into the Kingdom of God — to have been translated into the Kingdom of Christ. Paul expands this in 1 Thes 4:15-17 — For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain till the coming of the Lord will not precede those who are asleep [in Jesus]. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will ever be with the Lord. Paul testified that this had occurred for himself and others, referencing God, Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. Col 1:13. This had occurred for the Apostle John as he reported: I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ. Rev 1:9.
8 The corruptible must put on the incorruptible. We will all be changed in the twinkling of the eye at the last trumpet ... the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. This is true; the last step in a long process of change, (death of the selfish spirit on the inward cross). But before the twinkling-of-an-eye change, we must learn the extent of the evil in our hearts and learn to hate evil so much, that we would never consider returning to our selfish ways. Then we, having been alive in corruption, but dead to the life of God, are raised to the incorruptible and everlasting Life of God. But corruption cannot inherit incorruption; the corruption in us must be seen, detested, abhorred, and finally destroyed. That which shows us our sins, takes them away; as you abide in the cross, as you abide in his word (from within your heart) you are freed from the sin, freed from the corruptible — until at last, at his coming, he crushes the head of Satan under your feet — completely destroying the incorruption, and replacing it with His (Christ's) resurrected spirit in you — the incorruptible.
The journey to the Life of God, the incorruptible, is arduous: through the inward cross of self-denial, fundamental of which is to sit in humble silence while waiting on God as you listen, watch, hear, and then obey.
The cross is also to stand apart from the world; we are in the world, but not part of it. Functioning, but not socializing; rather spending as much time as possible in seeking the Lord: His words, His commands, His encouragements, His correction, His discipline, and His love. From the Word of the Lord within:
- "Every man should retire to his own house until the foundations of the world are destroyed.
- Blessed be those who do not wander about.
- You must stand apart from this fast paced world; you can't be in it.
- In order to succeed, there must be a transformation from one state to another. You start by lowering your actions and words.
- Paul went to the desert for three and one half years, until springtime."
The desert for us is to withdraw from all unnecessary activities in the world, making every effort to add to our faith and enter the rest. We fulfill our obligations to our family and remain employed, but we don't seek financial gain, power, status, prestige, security, entertainment, socializing, or pleasures for the Father knows what you need; and the promise From the Word of the Lord within: "Seek first the kingdom, and all else will be provided — provided you stay on course."
Those who indulge in the pleasures of the world: entertainments, resorts, elegant dining, concerts, socializing, sports, etc., will find their interest in the new wine wanes. To put on the incorruptible, you must starve the corruptible first.
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