“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” — 1 Thessalonians 4:16 MEV
“Listen, 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, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible will put on incorruption, and this mortal will put on immortality.” — 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 MEV
As I was meditating on the second passage today, I was reminded of the first one. It specifically says the dead in Christ will rise first. What if the dead in Christ are those of us who recognize we are crucified with Christ, and our life is hidden with Christ in God? We are the “dead” In Christ… And we have arisen first! At least, I feel like I have.
When I came to realize all my problems were over because I had died, then I was able to grasp the resurrected Life, true life in Christ. In this life, he is your life. To live is Christ! In this resurrected life, there’s no fear, because you’re already dead. Death in its physical sense has no terrors for you. Joy is your natural state of being, because you are being transformed into Christ himself — into love — and thus being pulled into the divine dance of the Trinity, your true home and where you have always belonged.
The dead in Christ have risen first — they do rise first — and they will rise first. Just as Christ is here, Christ is crucified, Christ is risen, and Christ is coming again. It’s a different way of looking at the Scriptures, but I like it.
Because it means everyone who hasn’t yet come into this resurrected life is still on their way; when Christ appears — maybe in clouds of glory for everyone — but if not, when Christ appears to them, specifically, then they will realize their deadness and embrace the resurrection.
Surely this is the best news. If you recognize that you are dead right now — and great suffering will surely convince you that you are — you are in the perfect position to hear the call of Jesus to the resurrected life and to follow him.
If you are still very much alive — and the pleasures of good health, a happy family, enough to live on and such will certainly convince you that you are — then you will have a happy life. And when Christ appears, you will realize that all that happiness was just a living death, and there was a joy so much greater, so much beyond your wildest dreams, that you will want to lay it down and take up your resurrected life.
It’s the win-win of being dead (or alive) in Christ. He’s just that good.