Today's Foundations Devotional: Two universal appointments
Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men
everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge
the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given
assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.
What awaits each departing soul as it steps from time into eternity? What is on the other side of time?
Doubtless there are many mysteries and things unknown that await each departing soul, concerning which the Bible does not lift the veil separating time from eternity. However, beyond the immediate threshold of eternity the Bible reveals two things which are the ultimate destiny of all souls: the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgement.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive (1 Cor. 15:22).
Just as death is the universal fate of all, through their descent from Adam, so resurrection from the dead is the universal appointment of God for all; and this is made possible through the death and resurrection of Christ.
To this universal appointment of resurrection from the dead, the Bible admits only one class of exceptions. The exception is a wholly logical one: Those who never die will never need to be resurrected from the dead.
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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality (1 Cor. 15:51-53).
When Paul says here “we shall not all sleep,” he is referring only to Christians. He means that all true Christians who are alive at the time of Christ’s return for His Church will not sleep – that is, they will not die or will not sleep in death. Instead, their bodies will be instantaneously and miraculously changed, and they will find themselves arrayed in bodies of an entirely new and supernatural kind. Corruption will be replaced by incorruption, mortality by immortality. Thereafter there will remain no further possibility either of death or of resurrection from the dead.
Besides this class of true Christians who will be alive at the time of Christ’s return, we may leave open the possibility of two other exceptions to the universal appointment of resurrection from the dead. These are provided by Enoch and Elijah, the two men recorded in the Old Testament who were translated from earth to heaven without seeing death.
The Bible nowhere gives clear details as to what will be the ultimate experience of these two men. But one thing remains certain: Those who never die will never need to be resurrected from the dead. On the other hand, the Bible does clearly reveal that all who do die will also be resurrected from the dead.
Father, thank You for the wonderful realization that if we have already
lost loved ones in Christ in this life, the above also means that we will
see them again and that the "sting" of death has disappeared as a result.
Thank You for Divine comfort for those who mourn, but also for me and
all my loved ones to whom these Biblical truths give this hope.