What Will Our Resurrected Body Be Like?

Lately I have been considering my own health, fitness and appearance. I am 60. I think that I can say that I am in pretty good shape. But I have to add the qualifier: for a 60-year-old. If I were 25, I couldn’t say the same. Our health and appearance is a downward trend. God’s promise is not just that we escape the body. It is that we will receive a resurrected body at Judgment Day. Do we know anything about this resurrected body?

We do. First, it is not merely a repaired body. There were people raised from the dead in the Bible. They were fixed not resurrected. Resurrected is a more comprehensive overhaul. Jesus is the “first-born of the dead”. In other words, Jesus was the first resurrected human. He is also the Son of God incarnate. So as we look at the properties of Jesus’ resurrected body, we can’t be sure if it’s a resurrection property or a property of His divinity.

What stands out as different about Jesus post-resurrection? He is still touchable, He still eats, He still has scars from the crucifixion. These things are actually a little surprising, but good. Jesus is recognizable, but not always. The disciples on the road to Emmaus do not recognize Him until He breaks bread and then He disappears. Did Jesus change His appearance or mess with their minds? We don’t know.

Jesus also is able to appear inside the house where the disciples are hiding. The doors were locked. While I do not expect to be a shapeshifter or to impede the thinking of others, I would not be surprising if a resurrected body can move differently. The phrase “new heavens and new Earth” refer to the remaking of this universe. I don’t expect our domicile to be just another planet. I expect it to be a whole universe. If that is not enough to keep us engaged forever, I have an even stronger expectation that we will be able to move from Earth to Heaven and Heaven to Earth.

References to “heavenly bodies” in 1 Corinthians 15 and to “further clothed”, “eternal in the Heavens” in 2 Corinthians 5 leads me to understand that we will have a body that is meant for the time-space of Heaven, which I expect is parallel to this universe. A resurrected body is for this universe. To connect them both is a gift that makes us similar to angels as far as movement. This may also give us the ability to move at will great distances in this space.

Resurrected bodies also come into play in Isaiah 65. As noted in the article Wrestling with Isaiah 65, https://wordpress.com/post/afterdeathsite.com/1982, the text of Isaiah 65:17-25 may not be very literal. Some possibilities that arise from this section are: the ability to procreate; the ability to age well, die, and regenerate; the ability to work without laboring; and the ability to live in harmony with nature.

Will the resurrected body be indestructible? 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 speaks of this body:

42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

1 Corinthians 15:42-44 (ESV)

The resurrection of our bodies is something that happens to both the righteous and the unrighteous according to Daniel 12:2-3. But those whose names are not “written in the book” because they are not connected to Jesus will have a different fate.

For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts.

Malachi 4:1-3 (ESV)

The resurrected bodies of the unrighteous are apparently not imperishable. Imperishable, even for the righteous doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t damage them. The Trees of Life found in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 22) are for the healing of the nations. “Healing” can mean a lot of things, but it could be a reference to resurrected body repair.

It typical for people to just think of going to Heaven. A New Earth, much less a resurrected body, is not on their radar. But these things are written about more than Heaven. A resurrected body is part of the package. Perhaps you are looking forward to the trade-in.

An Insight into Heaven

I am fascinated by those who were chosen as prophets. They tell us what they have received from God, but rarely give any insight into how they received it. As a pastor I have a “semi-prophetic” role. I don’t produce a sermon out of brute biblical research. I do experience ideas that are true to the text or texts, and they seem to come so easily. Too easily for me. It is a spiritual gift. No visions. No voices. No out-of-body experiences. What happened to John as he received Revelations? Was it a vision or a field trip?

This week is All Saints Sunday. It is a day to remember those who have gone before us, and a day to think about what comes next after we die. The text I am using is Revelation 7:9-17. It makes you think. Was it a trip or a vision? Where is this? When is this? There are clues. Here is the first part:

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Revelations 7:9-14 (ESV)

I believe that it is very possible for God to take us anywhere in Creation, even forward or backward in time. That said, I believe that other visions of God’s throne room in Heaven, Isaiah 6 and Daniel 7 for example, are visions not trips. The reason is that Jesus said no one has gone into Heaven, among humans to that date, except Him (John 1:13). The reason, I believe, is that we could not tolerate it prior to our sin being atoned for by Jesus. John wouldn’t have that restriction. Still, the last line quoted above gives away that this is a vision.

Jesus’ blood cleanses souls not robes. The robes are symbolic of the human soul. Therefore, I think it likely that this is vision. Being a vision doesn’t make it unreal or just a dense metaphor of some sort. It is much like being there. Still, it is an input straight to his mind or right before his eyes.

Where is there? It could be Heaven, but it could be the New Earth. God’s throne room is currently in Heaven, but will move to the New Earth post-Judgement Day. There are no telltale clues in the text. The context places this in Heaven because it is in the midst of the opening of the seven seals. John’s Revelation moves across the breadth of the Earth’s remaining time several times. But this is in the midst of it. Judgment Day happens on the next page with the seventh seal and time resets.

When is it? Before Judgment Day, to be sure, but is it at John’s time? The clue is who is seen. John sees millions of people. By John’s date there would be the Old Testament righteous and those converted since Jesus (maybe 55 years), that might be a big number. But John notes that there are people from every tribe and nation. That wouldn’t be true then and not yet even. This is future, just before God wraps things up. The people are also described as “those who have come out the great tribulation”. It doesn’t say that they were martyrs as Revelation 6 and 20 note. So I don’t see that Heaven is only for those martyred. The great tribulation could be a period of time just before Judgement Day when persecution is very high, but it could also be a reference to every period and place in this life. Living under the curse and with sin and Satan is tough. Relatively speaking this world stinks.

The last part is exciting:

15 “Therefore they are before the throne of God,
    and serve him day and night in his temple;
    and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
    the sun shall not strike them,
    nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
    and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Revelation 7:15-17 (ESV)

At first blush, maybe serving God in His temple “day and night” doesn’t sound exciting. It is hard to conceptualize what it will be like to see God and what exactly we will do but expect it to be very exciting and a type of duty that you will covet. Also, don’t think that this is your whole existence.

The end of 15 and all of 16 describe a curse-free existence. All the things that make life now uncomfortable and frustrating will be gone. That is true for the redeemed after Judgment Day as well. In fact the similarities between Heaven and the New Earth lead some people to conflate them. They are two distinct things.

Finally, verse 17 is an intriguing one. Jesus, the Lamb “in the midst of the throne” will be their shepherd. Maybe we are thinking about the throne as just a large chair. It could be a whole world, or even a whole universe parallel to this one. We will be will Jesus doing many things beyond our comprehension. And there will be no reason to grieve and we will have a reconciled memory of what we went through here.

When you consider even the little that we know about Heaven from this text. It is hard to imagine that there could be more. But God plans more. The resurrection of our earthly bodies and a new Heaven and Earth.

%d bloggers like this: