T h e F i n a l V i c t o r y
-- Part Two –
Important note: It is absolutely necessary that you read part one before you continue. This teaching is a little bit involved and advanced in many ways. Please do not skip over one part before you have read the previous part.
And that he was seen of [by] Cephas [Peter], then of the twelve. -- I Corinthians 15: 5
We are beginning in part two to set in order the times that Jesus Christ was seen in his resurrected body. In chapter 15 there were six appearances of Jesus Christ after he was resurrected from the dead. The above verse five illustrates an interesting truth. If Christ was seen by the 12 apostles after his resurrection, then who must have been present? Judas Iscariot must have been there, or else the Scripture would have to say “eleven.” When philosophers and religious idiots claim that Judas was already replaced, they are mistaken. Judas went out and committed suicide after he saw the Lord Jesus Christ resurrected. He simply could not deal with the condemnation that was eating away at him, so he took his own life. Verse six gives us a great deal of information about this subject of Christ being seen in his resurrected body. This is the third time that he was seen by people after God raised him from the dead.
After that, he was seen of the above [more than] five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present [now], but some are fallen asleep [some are dead]. -- I Corinthians 15: 6
While this record was being written many of these people were still alive, but some had fallen asleep which means that they had died.
After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. - I Corinthians 15: 7
Now we are up to five appearances. Let’s continue.
And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. - I Corinthians 15: 8
“And last of all he was seen of me also…” His appearance to the apostle Paul is appearance number six. “As of one born out of due time…” literally reads “as if I were an important one” – it’s a figure of speech. In contrast to the other apostles of verse seven, Paul did not fulfill a complete gestation period by being with Christ during his time on earth during the Gospel Period. (Paul was a premature birth. He did not see Jesus Christ during Christ’s ministry on earth or after the resurrection. He only saw Christ in a vision after Christ ascended to the heavens.)
The exact number of appearances of Jesus Christ during those 40 days after his resurrection I do not know. We have six listed including two appearances to the apostles (I Corinthians 15: 5 and 7). The third appearance to the disciples is mentioned in the 21st chapter of the Gospel of John. Let’s take a look at that verse.
This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead. - John 21: 14
All of these people that are mentioned in I Corinthians 15 and elsewhere had seen the Lord Jesus Christ in his resurrected form. If you were to go in a court of law, the primary witness is always the witness who was an eyewitness to a specific occurrence. Other statements are secondary to the eyewitness. So any man who says that he doesn’t believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead is not a judge at all, because he is refuting the numerous eyewitnesses. These critics, 2000 years later, are still saying that the resurrection did not occur. This is sheer stupidity and influence by possession from the god of this world.
We even have proof today that Jesus Christ is alive. Speaking in tongues is our proof and assurance of his return to gather the Church and it is proof of the future resurrections. This chapter, delving into all of these things in the first eight verses, have been just a warm-up. Once we get into the innermost part of I Corinthians 15, we’ll see that there has been a resurrection and that we have the proof of that resurrection when we manifest the power of the Holy Spirit. Let’s move on to that innermost part.
For I am the least of the apostles, that I’m not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. - I Corinthians 15: 9
I have been trying to get some of you interested in figures of speech and Orientalisms. There is an Orientalism in this verse that you should understand. It is called Meosis and it means ‘a be-littleing’. When Paul said he was the least of the apostles, we surely know that that is the farthest thing from the truth. But Paul felt bad in his heart for what he had done in the past and that is why he makes this humble statement. It is not true to fact, but is a way for him to express how he feels about what he did in the past. This Orientalism indicates humility, which is appropriate.
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain [did not prove to be fruitless]; but I labored [worked] more abundantly than they all [the critics of the apostle]: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. - I Corinthians 15: 10
Paul is saying that he worked harder than the critics, and was specifically referring to verse 12 and following which we will examine next. Paul was a man of great discipline, a man who was driven and a man of great concern. In this day and age, we need to find somebody once again to become disciplined and to stand for God regardless of the adversary’s tricks. We have to become more competent in rightly dividing God’s Word than any of God’s critics which are trying to tear it apart. We have to remember that the Word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword. You can be that person. What’s it going to be?
Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so you believe. – I Corinthians 15: 11
Now if Christ be preached that he rose [out] from [among] the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? – I Corinthians 15: 12
Except for all of the rest, only Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the only one that has ever risen from among the dead and that is why it says “out from among the dead.”
But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen. -- I Corinthians 15: 13
“. . . Then is Christ not risen” literally reads, “not even has Christ been raised.”
And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain [to no purpose], and your faith [believing] is also in vain. – I Corinthians 15: 14
Yea, and [more over] we are found false witnesses of God; because we have [delete have] testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. – I Corinthians 15: 15
For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised. – I Corinthians 15: 16
But if Christ has been raised from the dead, then those that are now dead are also going to rise from the dead. The logic is so clear that it is stated in two ways.
And if Christ be not raised, your faith [believing] is vain [of no purpose], ye are yet in your sins. – I Corinthians 15: 17
Romans chapter 10, verse 9, states clearly that if you confess your sins with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, you will be saved. That is the one thing that you must do to be born again. But that confession has no purpose or meaning if Christ was not raised from the dead. This is what verse 17 is saying and that is what it means.
Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. - I Corinthians 15: 18
This verse is trying to tell you that those who fell asleep, died, in Christ, and are perished. This is because there is no possibility of future life if Jesus Christ was not raised from the dead.
In this life only [alone] we have [are having our] hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. - I Corinthians 15: 19
If there be no realization in the life hereafter of what we hope for in this life, we are of all men most miserable. We need a resolution to the hope we have in this life. Without that hope of the return of Jesus Christ, we have nothing.
“We are of all men most miserable” means that we are to be more pitied than all men. This is because we believed in something that was a lie. To have been led astray is worse than if we had never even considered the possibility of eternal life.
We need to understand that the word hope is always used in the Bible regarding something that is not available at the present time. Hope always pertains to something that is in the future; believing pertains to those things which man can have immediately. Today, we have the hope of Christ’s return because we cannot have it right now – in the present. But if a person needs to be born again, then that person can believe right now and receive salvation. That is the way the words “hope” and “believing” are used in the Bible.
As I said time and time again, you need to understand figures of speech that are used in the Bible. Most believers do not realize that a parentheses is a figure of speech. Now take a look at verses 20 through 28. They are a parentheses. The verses are used as a figure of speech called parembole, which means “an instructional sentence,”. Now we should realize that verses 20 through 28 are a sentence, words, to the believers to instruct them. And the instruction is very important. Let us now go through those verses that are in parentheses and you will be able to see how these verses instruct the believer pertaining to Christ being raised from the dead.
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. - I Corinthians 15: 20
We need to understand the literal translation of many of these verses. Remember, the King James version was written in Old English.
“But now is Christ risen…” is literally worded “but now Christ has been raised.” The words “and become” are not in any critical Greek texts except the Stephens. So you can justify the fact that you can scratch those two words from this Scripture.
Literal translation according to usage: But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of them that slept. “Them that slept” are those who have fallen asleep. The word “firstfruits” has everything to do with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christ is the firstfruits of them who have fallen asleep because he was raised out from among the dead. He is the only person that ever lived that was raised from the dead and is still alive at the right hand of God.
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. - I Corinthians 15: 21
You should be learning very much by going over I Corinthians chapter 15. This Scripture is also very important to understand how we came to be in our present position. “By man came death” refers to the first man who was Adam. He disobeyed God and brought death upon himself and all of his descendents. Do not forget that some of us will still be alive on this earth when Jesus Christ returns. I look forward to that time. In order to overcome this situation in which we are in, mankind needed a Savior. Since it was man who had brought about his own death, it would legally take a man to overcome it and that man was Jesus Christ.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. - I Corinthians 15: 22
Isn’t this a tremendous verse? It is a sharply divided verse in which it is said “For as in Adam all die,” cannot be true of the Church to which you and I belong because verse 51 says, “Behold I shew you a mystery; We [the Church] shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.” This is what I just said previously. The members of the Church to which you and I belong are not all going to die. Some will be alive when Jesus Christ returns to gather the Church. Therefore, the Church is not going to be resurrected, because to have a resurrection everyone involved must be dead. Since the context of verse 22 deals with the resurrection, we cannot be talking here about the Church of the Body. The Church of the Body consists only of those people who get born again of God’s spirit between Pentecost and the gathering together. That is the Body of Christ. The word “all” of verse 22 must be “all with distinction,” including everyone else who is not a member of the Body of Christ. It is this “all” to whom the word “resurrection” pertains. In other words “resurrection” in verse 21 refers to all Israel as well as all unbelievers who have died. This is the subject matter of this entire section of Scripture.
The wrongly dividing by private interpretation of verse 22 has caused no end of confusion that has resulted in throwing the Church into the first and second resurrections spoken of in the Book of Revelation. Jesus Christ is the firstfruits, he is the one and all who has been raised out from among the dead. But there is a time coming when the dead are going to have a surprise party. They are going to get up. Even those who haven’t believed are going to get up. They getting up has nothing to do with their believing; it has everything to do with the return of Jesus Christ.
Again, since not all of the members of the church will die, the Church as a whole cannot be resurrected. The Bible never speaks of the Church of the Body where we belong as being resurrected, because resurrections apply to Israel and unbelievers. The Church of the Body, on the other hand at the return of Christ will be gathered together. Those of the Church who are dead will be raised and those who are alive at Christ’s return shall be caught up together with them “to meet the Lord in the air,” according to I Thessalonians 4: 17. Let’s take a look at this verse even though we will learn more about this later in the chapter.
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. - I Thessalonians 4: 17
Since not all are dead, this gathering together of the Church technically is not a resurrection. You should be able to understand this since it is not a very complicated principle. Now let’s take another look at verse 22 and I will give you a literal translation according to usage so that the Old English will not confuse you in any way.
For as in [the] Adam all die, even so in Christ [also] shall all be made alive [Israel plus the unbelievers]. - I Corinthians 15: 22
Now try to concentrate on this. Israel is involved in the resurrection of the just. The plus in the bracket (see verse 22) is about the resurrection of the unjust spoken of in Acts 24: 15. I am going to let you look up that verse on your own. We must learn to function with God Almighty and not to depend on any man. Referencing Acts 24: 15, this is when the unbelievers are resurrected, made alive. Now watch how sharply this is divided. First, I want you to see that in the book of Revelation, there are two resurrections. One is the resurrection of the just which is Israel and the other is the resurrection of the unjust – all of the unbelievers from the beginning of time. Let’s go to verse 23 and examine this very closely. You need to concentrate on what is being taught.
But every man [each one] in his own order [sequence]; Christ the firstfruits; afterward [then] they that are Christ’s at [with] his coming [Israel, not the Church of the body, since the context is that of resurrection]. - I Corinthians 15: 23
And when will all of this take place? After what? After the occurrences of those things which Paul had already written in Thessalonians concerning the return of Christ to gather the church. After the gathering together of the Church, there is going to be a resurrection.
You can be able to see how the scribes did not pay proper attention to small words such as prepositions which can make all the difference in the world between accuracy and error. Let’s take a look at one of these examples from verse 23.
“…. They that are Christ’s at his coming” should not say “at” his coming but “with” his coming (see verse 23). And the “with” is the resurrection after the Church of the Body is gathered together. That is the accuracy with which that Scripture is written.
[End of Part Two]
Since we have gone over a great deal of important material pertaining to the rightly dividing of the Word of God, I feel it is best for your understanding to end this part two at this point. When we return for part three, we’ll talk about the end. So let’s look forward to that and God bless you for your diligent study of these materials of which no church that I know of teaches the rightly divided Word like it is taught here. I give the glory to God because He through others helped me also to understand God’s Word as I am trying to get you to do the same. Teachings that are too long can be a detriment to the reader. I am not going to make that mistake so let’s conclude part two and may God bless you in all your efforts to renew your mind. Remember, that the Word of God never comes back void. There is always profit in your efforts learn His Word.