Suddenly[823. atomos], in a moment, an instant, a flash, the blink of an eye, the twinkling of an eye, faster than an eye can blink, a split second, we will be changed, we will be transformed, for our mortal, decaying, dying, perishable, corruptible bodies must put on immortal, imperishable, incorruptible, indestructible bodies that cannot decay, bodies that will never die, bodies that will live forever. (1 Corinthians 15:52-53) And, so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
- 823. atomos
- (from 1 /A “not” and 5114 /tomṓteros, “to cut”) – properly, not able to cut (divide) because too small to be measured, like a “split second”; an “instant; an indivisible moment of time, too short to measure” (HELPS™ Word-studies)
This is less than a nanosecond—a billionth of a second—because light travels about 1 foot in that time. This is less than the time it takes light to cross an atomic nucleus, which is about (10-24 S) 1 trillionth of a trillionth of a second. Even less than that. This is a quantum unit of time, the smallest possible increment. Only God knows how short it is, but we can be confident that it’s really, really, really, short.
Because it is a unit of time, we will be able to measure time from our birth up to this point as dying mortal bodies. And, then in a single click of God’s clock, we will be transformed! Forever after that, we will be immortal. Wow!
“I can guarantee this truth: A time is coming (and is now here) when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who respond to it will live. The Father is the source of life, and he has enabled the Son to be the source of life too. “He has also given the Son authority to pass judgment because he is the Son of Man. Don’t be surprised at what I’ve just said. A time is coming when all the dead will hear his voice, and they will come out of their tombs. Those who have done good will come back to life and live. But those who have done evil will come back to life and will be judged. (John 5:25-29 GWT)
Brothers and sisters, this is what I mean: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. What decays cannot inherit what doesn’t decay. I’m telling you a mystery. Not all of us will die, but we will all be changed. It will happen in an instant, in a split second at the sound of the last trumpet. Indeed, that trumpet will sound, and then the dead will come back to life. They will be changed so that they can live forever. This body that decays must be changed into a body that cannot decay. This mortal body must be changed into a body that will live forever. When this body that decays is changed into a body that cannot decay, and this mortal body is changed into a body that will live forever, then the teaching of Scripture will come true: “Death is turned into victory! Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?” Sin gives death its sting, and God’s standards give sin its power. Thank God that he gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:50-57 GWT)
Brothers and sisters, we don’t want you to be ignorant about those who have died. We don’t want you to grieve like other people who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and came back to life. We also believe that, through Jesus, God will bring back those who have died. They will come back with Jesus. We are telling you what the Lord taught. We who are still alive when the Lord comes will not go [into his kingdom] ahead of those who have already died. The Lord will come from heaven with a command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet [call] of God. First, the dead who believed in Christ will come back to life. Then, together with them, we who are still alive will be taken in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. In this way we will always be with the Lord. So then, comfort each other with these words! (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 GWT)
But, brothers and sisters, you don’t live in the dark. That day won’t take you by surprise as a thief would. You belong to the day and the light not to the night and the dark. Therefore, we must not fall asleep like other people, but we must stay awake and be sober. People who sleep, sleep at night; people who get drunk, get drunk at night. Since we belong to the day, we must be sober. We must put on faith and love as a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmet. It was not God’s intention that we experience his anger but that we obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake in this life or asleep in death, we will live together with him. Therefore, encourage each other and strengthen one another as you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:4-11 GWT)
There are many different groups who have divided and split and separated from each other over exact interpretations of these scriptures (and some would quibble with the translation I have chosen to use). But, the most important thing is are you ready? If we could answer your question, is there anything keeping you from accepting the free gift of salvation from the Lord Jesus Christ? As Mark Twain said, “It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”