51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
mystery (v.51) — revelation, previously withheld, that can only be obtained by communication from God
we (v.52, 1st use) — those living at the time
sleep (v.51) = should be “fall asleep”
last trump (v.52) — perhaps a reference to military trumpet calls
The last trump should not be confused with those in Revelation, but rather be taken of the last trumpet that was blown in the series of the Jewish feasts. To Israel were given the two silver trumpets as a memorial before their God. They had a fourfold use. First, for the gathering of the congregation and of the princes before Moses; second, for the trek of Israel through the desert; third, for the alarm of war; and fourth, for the call to the glad feasts in Israel. This was the last trump, and this trump will gather the redeemed unto His glorious presence. The Apocalyptic trumpets cannot be blown until after this has taken place.
This last trump of our passage is evidently the same as the trump of God in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. This trumpet blast is a special privilege for God’s peculiar people (Numbers 10); but in Revelation they blast forth against the ungodly. The trump of God and also the voice of the archangel belong to the redeemed people of God only. — Bultema, pages 151-152.
dead (v.52) — believers only
we shall be changed (v.52) — the dead rise first, followed immediately by those still living, and all will receive a new, incorruptible body
corruptible (v.53) — those who have died before the Rapture
mortal (v.53) — those still alive at the Rapture
put on (v.53) — The verb rendered “put on” (metaphorical of the putting on of a garment) is in the aorist tense, signifying the momentary character of the event. It specifies the nature of the change, and confirms what was set forth in verses 42 to 44, that there is an element involving a definite connection between the former body and the raised or changed body. The change is more fully described in Philippians 3:21, and in 2 Corinthians 5:4, which repeats the metaphor of the clothing and adds that what is mortal shall be “swallowed up of life.” — Vine, pages 116-117.
then (v.54) — death is not now swallowed up, but will be at the resurrection
written (v.54) — Isaiah 25:8 — the Aramaic word for “victory” is similar to the Hebrew word for “forever”