The New Testament Hope
Even though people of all religions grapple with the choice of how their bodies will be laid to rest after death – embalmed, cremated, etc. – the postmortem state of the body is not important when it comes to the power of the resurrection.
Nevertheless, many individuals, especially those who have chosen to experience bodily changes in their life, worry that their bodies will be disrespected, despite knowing that no matter how the bodies are prepared for death, to dust we shall return (Genesis 3:19). No matter who we are, what we were in life, we will all experience decay once biological death occurs (Ecclesiastes 9:2).
But their concern does beg the question of what resurrected bodies will look like: will they retain the scars of life on a flawed and sin-ridden earth?
We know that there will be a resurrection of the dead in Christ. This resurrection will include the body of the believer because Jesus was also resurrected in the body and not just as a spiritual entity, all of which Paul extensively explains in 1 Corinthians 15:12-54. Paul also clarifies that at the last trumpet, the time when Jesus returns to gather us all together, all believers resurrected and still alive will experience a change, shifting from perishable and mortal to imperishable and immortal (1 Corinthians 15:51-54).
Interestingly, our bodies are not the only things to undergo transformation. John records in Revelation 21:1-7 that heaven, earth, and Jerusalem will be renewed. In fact, the Lord proclaims, “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5 NKJV).
Some may interpret this promise, paired with Paul’s declaration in 1 Corinthians 15:42-49 that the body will bear a heavenly resemblance to Jesus, as a sign that we will sprout wings and play harps. Others believe we will look just like we do at the time of death, but without all the negative impacts of sin to age and deteriorate us further.
We can’t really know until the Second Coming.
But until then, we can hope in the resurrection of the spirit with the body, all the while gratefully proclaiming Christ’s victory over death until we too are called to rest in or join our Savior.
Connecting: What do you think the “mansions” or “house” with “many rooms” Jesus prepares for us will look like? (John 14:1-3)
Sharing: How do you think you will react to the “sound of the trumpet”?
- I’ll be praising Jesus as I ascend from the grave
- I’ll drop what I’m doing and look toward the sky
- I’ll look around frantically for my loved ones
- I’ll ask for five more minutes of sleep
- I’ll shout, “The cavalry’s comin’!” before keeling over
Applying: Many Christians believe in the immortality of the soul and the secret rapture, both of which theories have been proven false teachings by Revelation and resurrection texts. Pray for Holy Spirit to guide you through the Scriptures so you are better able to help at least one of these believers grasp the gospel truth.