Why did Paul say “in the twinkling of an eye”?

Posted by on Jul 22, 2020

Question: Why did Paul say “in the twinkling of an eye“?

Answer: In 1Co 15:51-52, we read that Apostle Shaul (Paul) refers to a secret or miracle that will occur “in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet”,

Look, I speak a secret to you: 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 shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1Co 15:51-52)

These verses in 1Corinthians are very often quoted in the context of 1Th 4:13-18, as we read,

Because the Master Himself shall come down from heaven with a shout, with the voice of archangel, and with the trumpet of Elohim, and the dead in Messiah shall rise first. Then we, who remain alive, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Master in the air. And so shall we always be with the Master. (1Th 4:13-18)

So, what does the phrase “in the twinkling of an eye” mean?

Most evidently, the apostle refers in his letter to the Corinthians to the resurrection of the dead, which he calls “a secret” not without a good reason.

We can liken “in the twinkling of an eye” to a momentary event of the resurrection of the dead. This is how quick the resurrection will take place: with just a blink of the eye the corruptible bodies will be changed to incorruptible.

But, how about those who are dead for years, even hundreds or thousands of years? In their case, we can liken “the twinkling of an eye” to their resting in sleep.

And indeed, when one falls asleep in a deep and dreamless sleep, he or she is in a state of unconsciousness and wakes up in the morning fully rejuvenated. From that person’s perspective, the deep night rest will be like “a twinkling of an eye“; this is what he or she would remember: closing and opening of the eyes and nothing in between.

For instance, the first man Adam: when he died his eyes were closed and in the moment he is raised from the dead, his eyes will be opened. For Adam it will be instantaneous like the twinkling of his eye, even though there were about 5,000 years between the two events.

This is why we find in the Scripture the phrase “and he slept with his fathers”, because death is not the end of the soul but a transition from one realm to another, and the state between them is like a twinkling of an eye.

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