Allasso: The Great Change

Word of the Week

March 30, 2024

Allassō: The Great Change

 

We will all be changed . . . we will be changed.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 NASB

 

I am writing on Saturday, the day before Easter.

On a Saturday two thousand years ago, a crushed assortment of men and women were dealing with the death of their Master. His battered corpse was lying in a tomb, and their hopes were shattered.  After all, everyone knew that death was the end.

We still deal with the pain of death today.  My wife and I have attended our share of funerals in the last few months, and a close family member recently lost her father.  Paul was right when he called death “the last enemy” (1 Corinthians 15:26).

Even while we are alive, we live with reminders that the human body is a matchless machine, but it is still subject to unplanned obsolescence.  As you age, your back, your feet, your lungs take turns reminding you that time is passing.

It would be enough to drive you to despair . . . if it were not for Easter.  Resurrection Day, as it should really be called, reminds us that Christ reversed the course of death.  Genuinely dead, He became physically and actually alive again, and He will live forever!

This Easter, read 1 Corinthians 15.  It stands as the classic statement about the resurrection and what it means for us.

Highlights:

  • The basic message of Christianity is that Jesus died and rose again.
  • His resurrection was not merely a hallucination or a spirit floating around; He returned in a recognizable, visible body.
  • Because Christ rose, we too can experience a similar resurrection.
  • He defeated death so that it would no longer have power over us.
  • We too will some day exchange our frail bodies for imperishable bodies characterized by glory and power.

Near the end of the chapter, he reveals something totally unexpected:

“Behold, I show you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed.  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1Corinthians 15:51-52).

God has set a day on His calendar when the last trumpet will sound and Christ will return for His people.  At that moment, every believer in Christ will receive a new body, one that is no longer subject to sickness or death.  Even those who are still alive at that moment will experience that Great Change.

Paul promises twice that “we will be changed.”  How drastic is that change?  Is it like changing the oil in your car?  Is it like dropping a new engine into it?  Or is it like waving a magic wand and turning my used Pontiac into a new Porsche?

Let’s examine the Greek word he uses.  The word allassō appears only six times in the New Testament, and in each of the other four uses, it is more than a minor adjustment.

Acts 6:14 – Looking for a guilty verdict against Stephen, the Jewish leaders recruited false witnesses who claimed that this follower of Jesus was trying to change the customs that Moses had established.  This new religion was such a drastic change that it was a threat to the Jewish religion!

Romans 1:23 – Paul describes the downward plunge of the human race, who refused to honor or thank God.  Instead they exchanged the worship of the glorious God for the worship of images carved from stone or wood.  It was a complete reversal of allegiance from God to idols!

Galatians 4:20 – The apostle is writing some harsh warnings to the fickle Christians in Galatia who are dabbling with false teachers.  If only he could be there in person, so that he could change his tone from harshness to gentleness.  In effect, it was a switch from the stick to the carrot!

Hebrews 1:12 – This chapter argues that Jesus, God’s Son, is eternal.  We think of the universe as unchangeable, but even heaven and earth will one day pass away.  Quoting from Psalm 102, the writer says, “They will perish, but You remain; and they all will become like a garment. And like a mantle you will roll them up, like a garment they will also be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end.” The word here described the end of the old universe and the beginning of the New Heaven and the New Earth.

When the Bible says that we will all be changed, it doesn’t mean that God is just going to do a little tinkering, a minor tune-up.  It means a completely new model!

On Saturday, there was every reason to see nothing but blackness.  But Sunday was coming!

And today, it’s understandable when you grieve over deaths and grumble about aches and pains. But Resurrection Day is coming!

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace

to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.

(1 Peter 1:13 NIV).

 

 

Study Hint:

This word for “change” comes from the word allos, which means “other, another.”  Logically, it describes a switch from one thing to another.

Outside the New Testament, it was used in interesting ways:  changing the nature of a hyena, changing the color of stones, or Jesus on judgment day changing the sun, moon, and stars so that they would lose their radiance.

The word can sometimes mean “exchange,” but that is not the meaning in the passages we are studying here.

 

Coming Up

The Bible says that we are to “Pray without ceasing,” but that seems out of reach for us.  Next week we will examine the Greek word to find out what God is really asking us to do.

©Ezra Project 2024

 

 

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