What happens to our bodies when we die? If you’re a child of God, this is your future we’re talking about, so you need to know, “What happens to my body? Are the dead raised? How?” The Bible says something wonderful will happen to these bodies of ours when we die. Heaven is a real place for resurrected bodies, and there’ll be a place for you to put a resurrected foot on. Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you.”
Let’s back up a minute: At the moment of death, our soul is separated from our body and immediately enters the presence of the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). You may have a loved one whose body lies in a cemetery. If they were a believer, their spirit is with the Lord this moment, rejoicing with Jesus face to face, while their body stays here for a while to rest in the earth.
But dear friend, one day there’s coming a resurrection of the body. These literal bodies of ours are going to be raised up.
I heard about a man in England whose name was Solomon Peas. He thought he’d have a little fun, so he arranged before he died to have this put on his tombstone:
“Beneath this sod and beneath these trees
Lies the body of Solomon Peas.
But this ain’t Peas, it’s just the pod.
Peas shelled out and went to God.”
Our earthly body is just the pod we live in. The Bible calls it “Our earthly house” that will one day be resurrected.
The Apostle Paul knew our first question upon hearing this would be, “How is that possible?”
“But some man will say, ‘How are the dead raised up?’” (1 Corinthians 15:35).
Right then, he anticipated our next question: “and with what body do they come?”
Some people think it’s impossible for a human body to be resurrected. Scientifically it may be, but we’re talking about Almighty God. Once again, Paul said something so logical. Talking with King Agrippa, who doubted the resurrection, he said, “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead?” (Acts 26:8)
If you acknowledge God exists, you won’t have any difficulty with miracles! Friend, listen. If you can get past Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” if God can make the Heavens and the earth out of nothing, He can certainly raise a human body out of something. Know these five things about your resurrection body:
A grain of wheat placed under the soil decays, but it only appears to die. A germ of life stays in that seed and reproduces another grain of wheat, rising beautiful and brand new.
There’s a part of you that never dies: your spiritual nature. Jesus said, “He that lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:26). Your eternal spirit is what your resurrected body will be raised up around.
God makes no copies, only originals. No two stars are alike, no two snowflakes, no two sets of fingerprints. He is a God of uniqueness and infinite variety.
At the Mount of Transfiguration, when Moses and Elijah appeared, the disciples didn’t need an introduction; they knew right away who these two were. We will know one another in Heaven, and we are each absolutely unique.
Your resurrection body will be infused with perfection. Paul explains,
"So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. 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." 1 Corinthians 15:42-44
Day by day, our body decays; we’re dying by degrees. But it will be “raised in incorruption”—changed from dishonor to glory.
Think of a lump of coal and a diamond. Both are made of carbon. Coal is carbon in humiliation; a diamond is carbon in glory. Same substance, only the diamond is coal improved and changed. A caterpillar is a humble creature; a butterfly is the creature in glory—the same, but changed. Our resurrection body will go from corruption to incorruption, from dishonor to glory.
Centuries of sin have marred, scarred and debilitated mankind. Our glory has been dampened and disfigured by sin. One day in our resurrection body, all the limitations of this earth will fall away—no more weakness, crying, or dying. It’s raised a literal, actual body, but liberated from soulish principles, now motivated by spiritual principles.
Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 15:45-49 that Adam, our ancestor, was born of the earth and is “earthy.” But Jesus Christ, “the second Adam,” is the Lord from Heaven. Although we now carry the sin nature of the first Adam, one day we’ll have the image of Jesus and be like Him. Is that not incredible? We’ll be individuals, it will be our same bodies, but they will be like the Lord Jesus Christ. God will conform us to the image of Jesus Christ.
As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Thy likeness. Psalm 17:15
Our earthly body goes down to the grave. Resurrection morning, it awakens just like the Lord Jesus Christ, yet the individual you. Not even the Apostle John knew precisely what we’ll be like (I John 3:2). But we’re going to be like the Lord Jesus Christ, and the resurrected Jesus had a real body. He was not a phantom or a ghost after His resurrection.
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ v. 57
Paul says this is a mystery. In the Bible, “mystery” means a sacred secret you could only know by divine revelation, not human reasoning (v.51-57)
Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep [not everyone on earth will die; millions may never die if they are alive when Christ returns], but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [which can die] must put on immortality. So when this corruptible [that can decay] shall have put on incorruption [that can never decay], and this mortal shall have put on immortality, [now watch this] then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the law, but thanks be unto God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
This is the two-fold anthem of the redeemed. Jesus promised we’re rising from that grave with a resurrected body. That’s victory.
When Jesus was on the cross, the demons said, “Jesus is defeated. Satan has won!” But Calvary was Satan’s biggest mistake. Jesus defeated the enemy at Calvary. And on that Easter morning when the fog lifted, we saw the rest of the story: our Savior who suffered, bled and died and walked out of that grave.
“Therefore,” Paul says, “my beloved brethren, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (v.58)
It pays to serve Jesus. It’s all of this and Heaven, too.