Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.1 Corinthians 15:51-53 NIV
There are a variety of ways that people have come to understand the events that surround Jesus’ return. How does a millennial reign or tribulation period fit into how we understand it? Is the church raptured? And if so, when? Much has been written in support of the various views. And many are passionate in defense of their particular eschatological viewpoint.
We Will Be Changed
But what, in this discussion of Jesus’ return, is really important? I believe that Paul expresses it in this chapter of 1 Corinthians. There will be a resurrection of believers at the end of the age. And we will be changed. Whether we are alive or in the grave when he returns, we will all be transformed. These mortal perishable bodies will be clothed with immortal imperishable bodies.
There is much about this that I do not understand. What we will be like? Where are the dead before this resurrection? What else is going on when this happens? But none of that is really all that important. What matters is that Jesus is returning for me. And when he comes, I will leave this earthly tent behind and move into the heavenly dwelling he has prepared for me (2 Cor. 5:1-5). That is the hope we have in Christ. And it should encourage us to live for him now, in spite of anything else that might be happening.