Summary: At the Rapture, the dead in Christ shall rise first and then those who are alive shall be instantly changed. How will New Testament believers who have slept (or physically died) be raised? What is the resurrection body like at the Rapture?
Intro: Because Jesus rose from the dead, we shall live also (John 11:25-26). All true Christians wait for the glorious appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ (I Thess. 4:15-18). At the Rapture, the dead in Christ shall rise first and then those who are alive shall be instantly changed (I Cor. 15:51-52). How will NT believers who have slept (or physically died) be raised? What is the resurrection body like at the Rapture?
I. IT’S AN INCORRUPTIBLE BODY (I Cor. 15:42, 52)
Our physical body of skin, flesh, bones & blood weakens, dies, rots & worms eat it (Job 21:26). Praise God, we have hope for a new body like Christ’s body. It is sinless, perfect and neither too old nor too young! (I John 3:2; Phil. 3:21) It is a body that can still eat though physical food is not needed to keep it alive (Luke 24:40-43; John 21:12–14).
II. IT’S AN IMMORTAL BODY (I Cor. 15:53)
Our present mortal bodies need to be maintained with food, water, air, rest, sleep, and exercise. Every sensible person avoids abuse and evil vices to live long. We seriously care for our body or it will one day weaken and fall ill. You see, vitamins & food supplements are billion-dollar industries! For as long as people get sick or old, medicines and cosmetic products like deodorants, shampoos, toothpastes, anti-aging creams, or treatments by dermatologists are here to stay!
The truth is, no matter how you eat balanced diets, exercise, or no matter how healthy your lifestyle is, you’re dying away slowly as the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years are being spent (Job 14:10). Well, glory to God, if you are a true believer in Christ, He promised you a brand new immortal body that will never be weak, tired, sick or dead again! (II Cor. 5:1) This is great news for us who are often tormented by various pains, infirmities & disabilities!
III. IT’S A GLORIOUS BODY (I Cor. 15:43; Rom. 8:18).
The word “glory” in the Bible does not only mean “honor or beauty” but also literal “brightness and radiance.” The Lord is not only likened to light but is LIGHT Himself! (John 8:12; I John 1:5 cf. I Thess. 5:5). The implications are clear. For as the moon reflects the light of the sun, at the resurrection, believers with their new resurrection bodies will brightly shine and reflect the literal glory and brightness of the Lord (I Cor. 15:41-43; Dan. 12:3). Fantastic truth!!
IV. IT’S A POWERFUL BODY (I Cor. 15:43)
It will be a body in which the spirit predominates (I Cor. 15:44, 49). It will be a body unlimited by time, space or gravity. It is capable of appearing & disappearing at will or passing through solid objects (Luke 24:31; John 20:19, 26). It is able to travel faster than 186,240 miles/sec– the speed of light (John 20:17 cf. v. 27). Praise God!
Conclusion: As we close in our study of our resurrection body, one word comes to my mind – Metamorphosis – which simply means “a transformation in bodily form.” Some insects and amphibians demonstrate to us this miraculous process of Metamorphosis. Land-based frogs were originally water-born tadpoles. Who has not observed and admired a colorful butterfly? Who has not known that a beautiful butterfly was once an ugly, crawling, destructive worm? Even so, when this weak, sickly, aging and dying body is raised, it will be a very beautiful, incorruptible, immortal, glorious and powerful body like that of the Lord Jesus’!