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Asleep in Christ: Where Are Those Who Have Died?

What happens when the flesh body dies today? Is there a life after that event, and if so, what is it like now? Are those who have died in Christ in some outer chaos state of ‘nothingness’, with no awareness of anything? Some would have us believe that’s the way it is, and even worse, that our loved ones who have died are in the ground out there somewhere. It can clearly be seen that a personality which showed vitality and activity in their flesh body when alive, suddenly departs when their flesh dies. Just where does that ‘expression’ of personality go? Our LORD told us in His Word where that “spirit” goes, and His apostle Paul was sent to give believers comfort in the resurrection Message.
     Our LORD and Saviour does not want His to be ignorant of this matter of the resurrection, for our Lord Jesus Christ Himself rose on the third day, defeating ‘Death’, and Jesus Yashu’a Messiah became the “firstfruits” of that resurrection unto Life (Matt.16:21; Matt.28; Acts 10:37-43; Hebrews 2:14; 1 Cor.15:20).
     “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). If you were raised a Christian, as a believer on Christ, then no doubt you’ve heard that verse more than once. But because of the ‘commandments of men’, how that John 3:16 verse applies to those who “sleep in Christ” now is not often properly taught to Christ’s Body, The Church (Ekklesia). Many have distorted what Paul clearly preached on the resurrection, and because of man’s traditions, it has caused many brethren in Christ sadness and a wearisome hope for loved ones who have already passed on, when our Heavenly Father did not intend any faltering hope in Christ Jesus.
     The resurrection of the dead is the main subject of 1 Corinthians 15. It covers our Lord Christ’s resurrection, how It applies to those who are now “asleep” in Christ Jesus, and for how those still alive at Christ’s coming are “changed“, at the “twinkling of an eye”. I reference this 1 Corinthians 15 Scripture often in my studies for the same reasons Paul was having to renew this understanding among those at Corinth, because of some among them who twisted God’s Truth.
     I may have to cover this subject in two separate studies because of its deep spiritual nature, so let’s get to it, as we ask a Word of Wisdom from our Heavenly Father, in Christ Jesus’ Name, Amen.

1 Cor 15:1    Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2    By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3    For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that 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:

     Those at the Church in Corinth had some problems staying focused on what Paul had taught when he had first preached The Gospel to them. Because of the pagan abominations happening around Corinth at that time, some had left off The Gospel of Christ. Elements of paganism obviously were twisting The Gospel among them. So Paul was trying to help renew That Spirit of The Gospel in them again, and he is making known within this 1 Corinthians 15 Chapter how Christ’s resurrection is the beginning of Life for those who believe on Him.
     When Paul says he preached Christ crucified and risen “according to the scriptures”, he’s talking about The Old Testament Scriptures! The Old Testament Scriptures of God’s Word is all that was written at the time. God declares new things before they come to pass (Isa.42). Yahaveh (YHVH), through His Old Testament prophets testified that His Son Immanuel (‘God with us’), would come to die on the cross, be buried, and rise on the third day (see Psalms 22; Isaiah 53; Isaiah 7:14; Zech.13; Dan.9:24-26; Gen.3:15; Ps.16:10-11; Hosea 6:2; Isaiah 61:1-2; Zech.9:9; Jonah 1:17; Matthew 1:23).
     Furthermore, our Lord Christ struck Paul (Saul) down on the road to Damascus, as Paul was His “chosen vessel” (Acts 9). Paul was an excellent scholar in the Old Testament Scriptures, having studied with one of the best scholars of his day (Gamaliel; Acts 22). Yet Paul was zealous in ‘traditions’ of the Pharisees, instead of being given the missing link of God’s anointing through The Holy Spirit to put The Scriptures aright in his mind. Our Lord Christ did that for Paul, and thus Paul received The Gospel from no man, but directly from The Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Cor 15:5    And that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
6    After that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
7    After that, He was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
8    And last of all He was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

     Our Lord Jesus was seen of Peter (Cephas) after He had risen, and then of the rest of the Apostles. Then Paul saw our Lord at a time when he was persecuting Christ’s Church, and our Lord Christ claimed Paul as His “chosen vessel” with a commission to further The Gospel (Acts 9).

1 Cor 15:9    For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet 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 was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
11    Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

     By God’s Grace, He sent His Son to die on the cross for the remission of sins of all who would believe. That Grace includes the preaching of The Gospel, the hearing of The Gospel, and believing It by Christ’s sent ones who were witnesses. For those reasons, many of the Corinthians, and us, have also believed.

1 Cor 15:12     Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

     Now we get down to one of the problems Paul noticed among those of the Church at Corinth. There were “some among” them that were distorting the Truth about the resurrection, and how our Lord Jesus became “the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Cor.15:20).
     The non-believing Jews sought to have Paul killed for preaching The Gospel. Because the sect of Sadducees refused belief in any type of resurrection, Paul only had to bring the matter up between the Sadducees and Pharisees when they were ready to do away with him (Acts 23:6). The sect of Pharisees accepted the doctrine of resurrection, but refused Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah, and sought to execute those like Paul who were preaching The Gospel. We can easily see these parallels still existing today of those who distort The Gospel, i.e. that Christ rose on the third day after being buried in the sepulcher tomb which Joseph of Arimathea provided.
     What’s Paul really asking those at Corinth here? To not believe that there is now a resurrection of Life after flesh death is to refuse that Christ Himself rose. It’s as simple as that. Think about it. If there is no such heavenly operation put into effect by The Father, then how could He cause His Son Christ Jesus to rise on the third day, as written? When our Lord Jesus defeated ‘Death’ upon the cross, that’s when that operation of passing from death to Life ‘in Christ Jesus’, began. It doesn’t have to wait for Christ’s second coming to happen, our Lord put it into operation after He rose!
     God gave us a clear example of what happens upon death of the flesh body in The Old Testament. Let’s turn to Ecclesiastes 12:

Eccl 12:5    Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:
6    Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.

     In these Ecclesiastes 12 verses, we are being given a view of flesh death approaching in later life, when many of the visions of our youth are but memories, and we prepare to go to our “long home”. In the Hebrew the phrase “long home” is ‘owlam bayith’, meaning ‘everlasting or perpetual’ ‘place or house’ (Strong’s nos. 5769; 1004). That means our Heavenly home. For one still in the flesh, it exists behind a spiritual veil today. If the “silver cord” is “loosed”, it means the band which keeps the joining of our ‘spiritual body’ within our ‘natural body’ (i.e. flesh body), is totally removed (“loosed” – Hebrew ‘rachaq‘, meaning ‘removed‘; Strong’s no. 7368). The “golden bowl” being broken, and the “pitcher” being broken at the fountain, are metaphors for the flesh body which is formed from the clay of the earth. The analogy is to an earthen ware jar being broken, symbolic for the flesh clay body losing the breath of Life Which sustained it.
     “Put all that into plain English please,” you might say? Alright. Our flesh body is not the real part of our ‘self’ or ‘soul’. The flesh was formed of the elements from the ground, and though our Heavenly Father performed a marvelous work with its design and operation, it was never meant to last forever. Because the flesh is earthy, it must have food from the earth to help sustain it, but it must also have the breath of Life (see Gen.2:7-8). As an unborn fetus in a mother’s womb, we lived from the Life of the mother’s blood. We moved around in the womb, kicked a little here, or a lot there, until we finally came out and took our first breath. That first breath allowed us Life independent of our mother. Our ‘soul’ while in our mother’s womb was then able to express itself outwardly, immediately showing a personality all its own. The ‘soul’ (Hebrew ‘nephesh’) is our intellect, mind, or expression of character.
     Then what happens to our flesh and our soul when our “silver cord” is “loosed” at flesh death? –

Eccl 12:7    Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God Who gave it.

     The flesh body, being from “the dust” of the earth, goes right back “to the earth as it was”. That means at death it immediately starts breaking down in decay, going back into the elements of earthly matter which it was formed from. That flesh part will never be needed any longer, ever; we’re done with it at death.
     But the “spirit“, which is the breath of Life spiritual part from God, immediately goes back to The Father Who gave it. The Hebrew for that word “spirit” in the above verse is ‘ruwach‘ (Strong’s no. 7307). That Hebrew word ‘ruwach‘ is used and translated many different ways, but it is meant here in Ecclesiastes 12 as the spirit intellect in man which God gives (see Proverbs 16:2 & Psalms 104:29-30). Some interpret this part of man as ‘air’ only, like the earth’s physical air which we breath. We will discover later in this 1 Corinthians 15 Chapter that there is more attached to man’s “spirit“, i.e. that it has the part of of us which we call ‘self’, personality, mind, intellect, or our ‘soul’. This is the part of us some call our ‘inner self’, and it continues after the flesh body dies, as written in that Ecclesiastes 12:7 verse.
     Continuing back in 1 Corinthians 15…

1 Cor 15:13    But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

     To deny that man has a “spirit” which God placed in the flesh at birth, which returns to The Father at flesh death, is to deny the “resurrection of the dead”. Not believing that as written, would also mean to deny that Christ rose from the dead.

1 Cor 15:14    And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

     The basis of Christianity and Salvation through God’s Promised Saviour Immanuel Jesus Christ, is our Lord’s death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. Our Lord’s flesh was transfigured for a further proof that He rose from the dead (Matthew 28). Anyone who denies that has denied Salvation through Christ Jesus as The Saviour.
     What does Paul mean with the preaching of that point? If it sounds like he is linking the subject of where the dead in Christ are now, to our Lord Jesus’ resurrection, then you’re correct. Paul is doing exactly that to those who refuse to believe that man’s ‘spirit’ resurrects at flesh death (Eccl.12:7). Paul is saying something like, “Why are you listening to my preaching of The Gospel if you don’t believe the dead now rise? My preaching is in vain, and your faith also means nothing, if that’s what you think. For it would mean that you also don’t believe our Lord Jesus rose from the dead!” And that’s exactly the false doctrine which some at Corinth had fallen into, by listening to “some among” them say there is no resurrection, instead of listening to The Word through Christ’s apostle Paul.

1 Cor 15:15    Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: Whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

     Paul continues the rebuke at Corinth to those who have believed on false prophets among them in denying that the resurrection is already in effect now. “Here we’ve been preaching to you how God raised up Christ Jesus from the dead, and you mean you really didn’t believe The Gospel we first preached to you?” That’s what it means to deny the resurrection. It’s saying Christ did not rise. That would make Paul and all those who preach The Gospel liars to God’s Face.
     Right now some might be thinking to themselves, “But Dave, what this Scripture really means is the resurrection must wait until Christ returns on His second Advent, ushering in His Kingdom. Until then, all who die in Christ are ‘asleep’ in their grave!” Afraid not! That is not Paul’s Message here with this rebuke to those at Corinth, for even our Lord Jesus taught us what happens to those in Him after He rose:

John 5:24     Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him That sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
25    Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
26    For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself;
27    And hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man.

     In that John 5 Chapter, our Lord Jesus was hinting of His being delivered up to die on the cross, and then during His resurrection, He would go to the “spirits in prison”, who were in a state like the “rich man” of Luke 16, i.e. in Satan’s prison, the pit, and He would preach The Gospel Salvation to those who would also believe on Him as The Saviour. Then those who believed, would be brought out, and live according to God in the spirit! Where else is that written? I want to make sure to leave no doubt with this, so turn with me to 1 Peter 3…

1 Pet 3:18      For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
19    By which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
20    Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

     When our Lord Christ resurrected, He was “quickened by the Spirit”, and angels, authorities, and powers were put under His Authority (1 Pet.3:22). Our Lord gave us in Luke 16 that there is a “great gulf fixed” border in Heaven, right now, where the ‘pit’ of hell is on one side, and God’s Paradise is on the other side, and that all “spirits” which pass through flesh death, go to one place or the other. According to our Lord in that John 5:25 verse, Christ preached to the “spirits in prison”, and led many of them out.
     Another example in 1 Peter 4…

1 Pet 4:5     Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
6    For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

     When The Gospel Salvation Message is “preached“, is Salvation through Christ Jesus offered along with It? Yes, of course. If the “dead” are literally ‘asleep’ in their graves, and ‘know nothing’, as some misinterpret Ecclesiastes 9:5, then how could they hear and understand The Gospel being preached to them by our Lord Jesus, as written above? So how is it that some say that the dead do not rise?
     Who are the real false witnesses concerning this subject of the resurrection? I’ll say it; it’s those who would rather listen to popular traditions and further them, either for gain, or out of ignorance through lack of deeper Bible study. That Christ rose from the dead is the major foundation of our belief in God’s Promised Salvation, thus this matter is not a light thing to play with.
     So I’m telling you to ‘rejoice’ in Christ Jesus, because our loved ones who have died and have also believed on Him, are with Him now!

1 Cor 15:16    For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
17    And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

     If the dead do not rise right ‘now’, then Christ Jesus did not rise from the dead either. That’s what Paul just said here. And if God didn’t raise our Lord Jesus up on the third day, then neither do we have forgiveness of our sins through Him. It would mean we are left with no hope, and would still be in our sins with our ‘faith’ a vanity.
     Who wants us to refuse to believe that God raised up The Christ? The devil is that one which continuously hinges on denying the resurrection of Christ. Even the devil’s own tried to bribe the soldiers guarding our Lord’s tomb, to get them to testify that Christ’s Apostles came in the night and stole His Body away (Matthew 28).

1 Cor 15:18    Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

     Where does refusing to believe in the resurrection of the dead place those in Christ who have already died? It would mean that their “spirit” didn’t go back to God Who gave it, but instead that their flesh body went back to the dust, and that’s it, no life after death, “perished“, period (“perished” = Greek ‘apollumi‘, ‘to destroy fully’; Strong’ no.622). Through Christ Jesus we know there is Life after death, for He conquered ‘Death’ on the cross for us.
     Adding the lie that those ‘asleep’ in Christ are out back in the graveyard somewhere, and not in Life with Christ in the Heavenly dimension, is denial of the resurrection. That includes the false teaching that the flesh body which decayed in the casket in the grave is resurrected in the future at Christ’s return. We just learned from Ecclesiastes 12 that we have both a flesh body, and a spiritual body. That flesh body will not rise, as it’s gone back to the earthly elements after it dies. So at death today, that’s the only part that dies and perishes, i.e. the flesh body. Our “spirit” continues on to God. Then after that, the only possible death remaining is to the spirit body, i.e. mortal soul, being thrown into the “lake of fire” at the end of Christ’s “thousand years” reign (Rev.20; Matt.10:28). Those who are “asleep” in Christ now, and those of His who remain on earth at Christ’s coming, will not suffer that future “second death”, which is the casting of the soul into that ‘lake of fire’. Paul will explain more about these different bodies later in this Chapter.

1 Cor 15:19    If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

     If Christ did not rise, and there is no resurrection of the dead, then where is our hope? We would be like the non-believers wouldn’t we? How is their hope? Past this flesh life, they have none, because they have refused to believe on Christ for their Salvation. Since the flesh is all there is to life in their mind, they try to live flesh life to the fullest, thinking that when you die, well…, that’s it, it’s all over. So “let’s party”, they might say. What about us? What would it mean for all our persecutions and sufferings for our Lord Jesus, doing our best in following His Commandments and denying a fleshy lifestyle of the worldly? Wouldn’t that be misery for us, if we had no hope in eternal Life through Christ Jesus?
     That’s exactly what the non-believers consider of us. They think we’re foolish for believing on Christ for our Salvation, and that we’ve ruined our lives by not taking part in their “drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die” type attitudes. They reason that because they don’t believe in ‘any’ life after flesh death, thus many of them want to prolong flesh life with the attempt at cloning, etc.
     But we who belong to The LORD, are not miserable, because we have believed on Christ Jesus our Saviour, and He gives us The Holy Spirit Comforter to ‘know’ His Truth is Life, and not foolishness. Moreover, He gives us to ‘know’ Heavenly matters which puts the worldly wise to shame.

1 Cor 15:20    But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

     When our Lord Jesus Christ was raised up from the dead, He became the First to resurrect to a Glorious Body. We know that Enoch and Elijah did not die, and that God buried the body of Moses. All others have died, and will continue to die in the flesh, all the way up to our Lord’s coming on the “seventh” angel sounding (Rev.11:15).

1 Cor 15:21    For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22    For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

23    But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.

     The power of death started with Adam for breaking God’s Commandment. Except for Elijah, Enoch, and possibly Moses, since then all die. Likewise through Christ’s resurrection, “all” shall be made alive. Yes, that includes the ungodly also, but it does not mean they receive Salvation as one ‘in Christ’. Some of those will still have to make it through Christ’s “thousand years” reign. Many of them will not, as per Revelation 20. Therefore, the phrase “every man in his own order:” means according to God’s Plan of Salvation, not ours. Even as Paul stated in Acts 24 –

Acts 24:14     But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
15    And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

     Look up those KJV terms “just” and “unjust” in your Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. The resurrection of the dead applies to both the ‘righteous’, and to the ‘wicked’. The wicked must be raised also just to stand in front of Christ for Judgment, if not for any other reason (2 Cor.5:10). It’s also important to realize that Satan and his fallen angels only, have already been judged and sentenced to ‘perish’ (Jude 1; Rev.20; Ezek.28:18). Only Christ Jesus has sole Authority to pass judgment unto everlasting damnation, which is the casting of the soul into the ‘lake of fire’, and called the “second death” (Rev.2:11; 20:6; 20:14; 21:8; see also Matthew 10:28; John 5:22).
     It’s easy for those in Christ to fall into the trap of pre-judging the wicked to condemnation of everlasting hell fire, when our Lord has not done so yet. That practice has helped further some of the false traditions which clouds proper understanding of the “resurrection of the dead” per this 1 Corinthians 15 Chapter. Of course those ‘in Christ’ pray and hope for deliverance from the hands of the wicked, but we must be careful about seeking ‘eternal revenge’ which only belongs to God. Other than Satan and his angels, all others are still under our Lord’s warning of being damned to perish in the lake of fire for doing wickedness (Matt.25:37-46). None have yet been cast into that “lake of fire” of Revelation 20:10-15. Am I saying that the truly wicked are going to receive everlasting Life in Christ Jesus? No. I’m saying that we know by The Word which ones have already been judged to perish, i.e. Satan and his evil angels (Matt.25:41). But for all others, we need to restrain our ‘own’ ideas of eternal vengeance upon those not judged by Christ yet. Vengeance belongs to our Heavenly Father, not us (Deut.32:35-43; Ps.94:1; Nahum 1:2; Rom.12:19; Rom.13; Rom.14).
     This does not mean for those in Christ to just lay down either. We are to be a little ‘salty’ for Christ (Matt.5:13). Enforcing God’s Law against the evil, as given to those whom God setup in authority on earth, is still required (Rom.13). But the term ‘to judge’ is often misunderstood within Scripture. A flesh judge of The Law sentencing a murderer to death is not ‘judging’ a ‘soul’ to eternal condemnation in the ‘lake of fire’. Only Christ can judge a soul to perish for the eternity, which is the “second death” (Matt.10:28).

1 Cor 15:24     Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

     This “end” Paul is speaking of here, is the ending of this second world age we are now in today. Christ’s “thousand years” Millennium reign upon earth is included as the last part of this second world age (Rev.20). The beginning of The Father’s Kingdom is the Eternity, and “third heaven”, or third and last world age, which Paul spoke of in 2 Corinthians 12. That age is when God will make all things new, i.e. the “new heavens and a new earth” as written (Isa.65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13). But first, Christ must reign, putting all enemies under His feet, as per Rev.20 and here in 1 Corinthians 15. So I hope you realize that between that previous 1 Cor.15:23 verse and this 24th verse, there is a long stretch of time. Read these 1 Corinthians 15:23-28 verses in the way our Lord Christ read from Isaiah 61 in the Temple at the start of His Mission as Saviour (Luke 4:16-21).

1 Cor 15:25     For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.
26    The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

     Our Lord Christ Jesus will reign, and ‘all’ knees will bow to Him as KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS (Isaiah 45:23; Rom.14:11; Philippians 2:10; Rev.19:16). The final enemy that will be “destroyed“, or vanished (Greek ‘katargeo‘), will be Satan himself, as “Death” is another one of his many titles (Rev.6:8; 1 Cor.15:54). Satan’s destruction along with the wicked is written at the end of Revelation 20, and 21:8. That event is the “second death”, and occurs at the end of Christ’s “thousand years” reign, before He delivers up The Kingdom to The Father for The Eternity.

1 Cor 15:27     For He hath put all things under His feet. But when He saith, “all things are put under Him”, it is manifest that He is excepted, Which did put all things under Him.

     When it was written in Psalms 8:6 that GOD The Father (YHVH) has put all things under Christ’s feet, The Father Himself is excepted in that, as His Son will reign in Authority over His enemies (Psalms 2; Isaiah 53; John 5:19-23; Eph.1:17-23). That is how The Father has declared Authority over all things, and during that “thousand years” reign of Revelation 20 by Christ Jesus and His elect servants. (See also John 1, as ‘The Word’ is Jesus Christ, and all things were made through Him).

1 Cor 15:28     And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him That put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.

     All will be subdued, and bow the knee to Christ Jesus when He reigns upon the earth. All will confess that Christ Jesus is Immanuel ‘God with us’, GOD’s Promised Saviour (Isa.7:14; Matt.1:23). When our Lord Jesus has fulfilled that “thousand years” reign upon earth, then He will deliver The Kingdom to The Father. Our Heavenly Father will then return to this ancient earth which He created (Rev.21:3; Zechariah 8; Ezekiel 48:35).

1 Cor 15:29     Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?
30    And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?

     Don’t let this KJV translation from the Greek confuse you. Keep to the subject Paul has been teaching us on, which is those who refuse the resurrection of the dead, and thus also that GOD raised His Son Christ from the dead. Paul is still mocking those who refused to believe in the resurrection. In so many words, he’s saying, “If you don’t believe that the dead now rise, then you don’t believe that Christ Himself rose from the dead. So what in the world are you baptized in The Name of Christ for? If Christ did not rise, then that is being baptized for the dead!”
     Further, “If you don’t believe that Christ rose, but you still see fit to get baptized in His Name, then why do you suffer ‘jeopardy’ (perils) everyday, if it is for the dead, that is, if you don’t believe Christ rose?” For one not believing that Christ rose, then to get baptized in His Name, it would be doing works in the name of the dead. Boy, ole’ Satan must really love those who would do that! Paul’s rebuke to those at Corinth for listening to those false prophets among them must have really stung them, showing their ignorance on a silver platter even. Imagine today, if a non-believer who refuses that Christ Jesus rose, gets baptized in Christ’s Name!?*@!. (I won’t discuss it here; but it happens.)
     But GOD The Father did raise His Son Jesus Christ up from the dead. Those who believe on Him and are baptized in His Name, suffering dangers in this world to work for Him, are baptized into Life, not death!

1 Cor 15:31     I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
32    If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.
33    Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

     Paul is saying, “I protest your boasting in tribulations and trials for Christ, since some of you don’t believe Christ rose. But I suffer daily persecutions for Christ Jesus, yet I have His Promise of Life, which some of you have refused!” Moreover, what Paul did suffer through at Ephesus by the children of Satan (“beasts“), because of the work GOD did through him there, would mean nothing, “if the dead rise not”!
     Many of those events of our Lord’s work through Paul at Ephesus was much like the spiritual warfare in the days of Moses against Pharaoh’s false priests. One Demetrius, a silversmith who crafted pagan idols for the false goddess Diana, had a strong contention against our Lord’s Work through Paul (Acts 19:24 forward).
     Truly; don’t be deceived. Companionship with corrupt men has been the ruin of many a good man. Paul and those with him did not go through Ephesus to have companionship with corruptness, but to preach The Gospel of Christ and help our Lord deliver many out of that corruption of false idol worship and associated practices. He knew he was walking literally into the halls of death at Ephesus, and even had prepared in his heart to die, as one already sentenced to death:

2 Cor 1:7     And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.
8    For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
9    But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God Which raiseth the dead:
10    Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in Whom we trust that He will yet deliver us;

     How could Paul and those with him have such resolve in their hearts against the fear of death? How did they overcome that fear in such a dangerous place? They overcame it through The Blood of Jesus Christ, knowing and believing in His Promise of Life!
     Do you think many of those in Christ who faced death on the battlefield were also helped by our Lord to overcome their fear of death, just as Paul and Christ’s disciples were? Yes, without any doubt whatsoever. Paul knew what the “resurrection of the dead” through Christ Jesus meant. We as belonging to Christ Jesus today, should also.

     I’ll stop here for this study, and pick it up again beginning at 1 Corinthians 15:34, as we will learn more about the “resurrection” in the next Part of this study.

Peace to you in Christ Jesus,
Dave Ramey.

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