Saturday, December 28, 2013

Day 28 (21): In the Twinkling of An Eye - Scene 2 (47-48)


Wikisource has a recording for Movement 48 only. HERE is a link to Choir of King’s College, Cambridge singing both Movement 47 and 48: 

Scene 2 - "The Day of Judgement and general Resurrection" 

47. Accompanied recitative (Bass)

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. (1 Corinthians 15:51, 52)

Note: Pay attention to how the music quickens at "twinkling of an eye" and how the strings make way for the valveless trumpet in the aria! I attended my first Messiah performance in 2013, and that trumpet player works VERY hard in this movement because valveless trumpets are very difficult to play!

48. Aria (Bass)

The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:52b-53)


1 Corinthians 15:51-53

Paul wanted the Corinthians to be wise about the resurrection because, as I mentioned before, Greeks did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. When Paul preached in Athens, some even laughed at his assertion that Jesus had risen from the dead (Acts 17:32). Most Greek philosophers considered death a welcome deliverance from the bondage of the human body. Why do we need to be resurrected? The philosophy of the Greeks had infiltrated the church in Corinth, and Paul wanted to give them a solid foundation and answer all their questions about resurrection. 

The Corinthians thought that they would be carried off to heaven at Jesus' second coming, and they thought that event would happen in their lifetime. Now, their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ were dying, and they had many questions about the resurrection of those living at His return and those who had already died. 1 Corinthians 15 is Resurrection 101 for the Corinthians and all of us! 

Just as Christ took on an eternal resurrection body (Mark 14:58), we will be transformed at His second coming from our temporary, decaying, death-doomed, imperfect, earthly bodies of flesh and blood into perfect ones that will last into an eternity in heaven with Him (2 Corinthians 5:1). Our fleshly bodies cannot be there (1 Corinthians 15:50). Also, we will be like Him (1 John 3:1-2). The trumpet is going to sound, and in the time it takes to blink, we will be transformed! 

Those who died believing in Christ will pop out of their graves with their new resurrection bodies first (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17), then those who are still alive at that time will go through the bodily transformation. The Greek word here is allasso which means "to make other than it is," "to take in exchange." We will be totally changed. YIPPEE! 


I am so looking forward to a new body! I am in my 50's, and I am in great shape, but I certainly cannot do what I did in my 20's. I have also had the physical affliction of a bad back since I was in junior high school. All of our bodies have physical flaws and were "designed for decline"! 

A new resurrection body fills me with hope! It helps me know that all our physical affliction will not last forever and are only temporary. We are designed for eternity, and we need to live in light of that in the here and now!

I was intrigued by the thought that Paul was laughed at by the Athenians when he talked of the resurrection. I wondered what Americans thought about the resurrection today, and I was pleasantly surprised when I looked it up on at
Surprisingly, the most significant Bible story of all - "the story of Jesus Christ rising from the dead after being crucified and buried" - was also the most widely embraced. Three out of four adults (75%) said they interpreted that narrative literally, while only one out of five (19%) said they did not take that story literally. The more highly educated respondents were, the less likely they were to take the story literally, although even two-thirds of college graduates (68%) believe the resurrection narrative is literally true. One of the most substantial differences of opinion occurred between mainline Protestants (83% of whom take the resurrection literally) and non-mainline Protestants (among whom 95% accept the resurrection as fact). Overall 82% of Catholics embrace the resurrection narrative as being true. Black adults were much more likely than either whites (74%) or Hispanics (80%) to consider the resurrection to be true. 
There were very consistent patterns related to people's political inclinations. Of the six [Bible] stories examined, just one story (the resurrection of Christ) was considered to be literally true by at least half of all liberals, in contrast, among conservatives, only one of those stories was taken literally by less than 80% (the 76% who embraced the six day creation as absolute truth). Similarly, the data showed that Republicans were more likely than either Democrats or Independents to accept each of the stories as literally accurate. For all six narratives, Independents were the voting group least likely to hold a literal interpretation, an average of twenty percentage points lower than the norm among Republicans.
(From: "Most American Take Well-Known Bible Stories at Face Value," October 27, 2007, Barna Group. See article HERE.) 

What is your perspective on eternity? Are you living in light of it or just for the temporary here and now? 

Also, a fun application might be to ask people you meet if they believe in the resurrection! I think it would be fun to do street interviews and film them.
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