Summary: Jesus is the First Born from the dead; raised in a glorified body. Every human from Adam onward will also be raised from the dead. What will our bodies be like? What do the Scriptures say?
Colossians 1:15-23 (please open your Bibles as we read this passage)
The entire gospel is based on the fact that Jesus was and is the one and only Son of God who was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified, buried and rose again from the dead for our salvation. And, last Sunday was a day specifically set aside to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
There were a few others in the Bible who were also raised from the dead such as Lazarus but when they were raised from the dead it was very different from the resurrection of Jesus or the resurrection we will all experience at the end of time.
Let’s go ahead and read Colossians 1:15-23
Colossians 1:18 NIV
“He (Jesus) is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy.”
Man has a material nature, the body, and a spiritual nature, the soul.
“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.”
“For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him?”
And of course this is obvious from Jesus’ conversation with the repentant criminal on the cross when He said to him in Luke 23:43, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise.”
We know that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took Jesus’ body down from the cross, embalmed it, wrapped Him in burial cloths and rolled a stone over the entrance of the tomb.
And, we know that the repentant criminal was not buried with Jesus so obviously Jesus was not referring to the tomb as “paradise”.
Jesus’ spirit was separated from His body and the repentant thief’s spirit was separated from His body.
OK, we know that Jesus was crucified between the two criminals. What He said to the repentant criminal is amazing and we can forever be thankful that Jesus is merciful. But, at the same time, what Jesus did not say to the unrepentant criminal shouts out to us as well; Jesus never told the unrepentant criminal that they would be together in paradise and that is something that should shake our very souls if we ourselves are not repentant.
So … where did they go?
Look with me at Luke 16:19-31
Here we see Jesus giving an account of a rich man whose spirit went to one destination and a poor man whose spirit went to another.
So, let’s go ahead and read Luke 16:19-31
What usually happened to the destitute in Jesus’ time was that they would be buried in an unmarked grave in a field such as the one the Jew’s bought with the thirty pieces of silver Judas threw back at them after he had betrayed Jesus.
On the other hand the rich man would have been properly embalmed and buried in a tomb.
Both their bodies when to different locations and their souls also went to different locations.
Lazarus’ soul went to paradise where Abraham’s soul was also waiting. This is also where the repentant criminal’s soul would be with Jesus after the crucifixion.
The rich man’s soul went to Hades. The word Hades is never used in the New Testament in relation to the departed souls of righteous individuals.
OK. So, we have seen that we are both material and spiritual, both body and soul and that the material and spiritual are separated at the time when our body ceases to function so our body is dead and our soul is still alive and relocated to the place we chose when we were on earth.
If we chose to follow Jesus as Lord and Savior our soul will go immediately to His presence. If we chose to follow our own sinful desires our soul will go immediately to Hades the same as what happened to the rich man in Luke 16.
But, you say, “How do we know that our spirits will go to be with Jesus when our life on earth is ended?”
“For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with Him the believers who have died.”
But, we won’t be bodiless spirits forever. One day our bodiless spirits will be united with bodies. There will be resurrections. Two different resurrections with two different types of bodies.
The bodies of those who are “in Christ”.
“So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.”