Questions, Bewilderments, And Answers.
In some manuscripts of the Apostle it stands written “We shall all sleep, but we shall not all be changed”; yet in others “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed”. (1 Corinthians 15:51) Please, I beg thee, show me which version should be received and what the things written therein mean?
I think that if one were to honestly and in all piety receive both versions, he will by no means derail from the Apostle’s teaching, for even the most ancient of manuscripts contain them both.
The first one, “We shall all sleep, but we shall not all be changed”, must be understood in the sense that we shall all one day have to suffer the falling-asleep through death, but not all of us shall be changed by the receiving of the glory and courage. That this is so is shown by the same Apostle more clearly in another place, by saying: “If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked” (2 Corinthians 5:3).
And the second one: “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed” must be understood in the sense that not all of us shall fall-asleep with the falling-asleep for a certain time, so that we might be needing a grave and share of the falling-apart through corruption or decomposition, but rather that those living at that time will suffer only a short death, having no need for the falling-asleep for a certain time, for only shortly thereafter will the resurrection take place. Yet all will be changed, that is, they will be clothed in incorruption.