Bodily Change

People experience a BODILY CHANGE upon their physical death from this life on earth.  Christ has destroyed death’s hold on all Christians through His own death and resurrection.  He has defeated all of His enemies, including the last one, which was death (condemnation under sin to eternal death in the Lake of Fire)(1 Cor. 15:20, 26).

The NT writers talk about the glorified Jesus after the Ascension having a new kind of body.  It was still the self-same body, but changed or glorified into a kind of body that could inhabit heaven.

“42So also is the resurrection of the dead.  The body is sown in corruption, IT IS RAISED IN INCORRUPTION. 43It is sown in dishonor, IT IS RAISED IN GLORY.  It is sown in weakness, IT IS RAISED IN POWER.  44It is sown a natural body, IT IS RAISED A SPIRITUAL BODY.  There is a natural body, and THERE IS A SPIRITUAL BODY.” (1 Cor. 15:42-44).

“16Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the FLESH. Even though we have known Christ according to the FLESH’ yet NOW WE KNOW HIM THUS NO LONGER. (2 Cor. 5:16).

“2Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM, for we shall see Him as He is.” (2 John 3:2).

The above verses were written after the Ascension, but before the Parousia.  Paul says that now we know Him according to the flesh no longer.  John says that at the Parousia (AD 66-70), we will “BE LIKE HIM,” because we will see Him just as He is (glorified) after the Ascension.  Christ was the only human who was ever able to resurrect in His “self-same” body that He had during His Incarnation before the Cross because He had never sinned, and therefore His flesh body was never corrupted.  Yet, His uncorrupted flesh and bone body still needed to be “changed and glorified” at His Ascension in order to dwell in the heavenly realm.

50Now this I say, brethren, that FLESH AND BLOOD cannot inherit the Kingdom of God; NOR DOES CORRUPTION inherit incorruption.” (1 Cor. 15:50).

We need to understand that after the Ascension Christ no longer had the “self-same” flesh and blood body, as flesh and blood  cannot dwell in the heavenly environment.  Christ’s body was changed, glorified, and befitted for heavenly existence.  We will also “BE LIKE HIM” in order to dwell in the heavenly setting (unseen realm) for eternity.

Jesus offered His body as a sacrifice for our sins.  He was sinless so He could lay down His body and take it back up again!  He could ascend going to heaven with that same body.  But His physical flesh and blood body was then changed and glorified into His body for the heavenly life as God, the Son in the heavenly realm (Phil. 2:6-9; John 17:5).

We also need to know that having a “spiritual” body does NOT mean that we do not have an individual, visible, heavenly body.  Each individual “seed” gets its own body (1 Cor. 15:38).  Those first century saints had their bodies CHANGED at the last trump, which was at His Parousia.  AFTER AD 70 we have a different kind of bodily change then those living believers had at the AD 66 rapture.

Since AD 70, upon the physical death of a believer our old flesh and blood body drops away to dust and decay, never to be seen again.  We instantly “PUT ON” our new visible, immortal, incorruptible, glorified, heavenly, bodies.  We instantly go into the presence of Christ in the heavenly realm of the New Jerusalem and shall be with Him forever. (2 Cor. 5:8; 1 Thess.4:17b).

53For this corruptible MUST PUT ON INCORRUPTION, and this mortal MUST PUT ON IMMORTALITY. 54So when this corruptible has PUT ON INCORRUPTION, and this mortal has PUT ON IMMORTALITY, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY”. (1 Cor. 15:53-54).

Paul was living in the very generation anticipating the Parousia return and rapture of the Lord and they eagerly desired to live to that day and be one of those who would not have to physically die, but would be one of those still alive to be changed in the twinkling of an eye into the unseen heavenly realm into their new immortal spiritual heavenly bodies (1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thess. 4:15-18).  However, he knew that even if he did die prior before the Lord returned that he had the soon coming joy of the Parousia where he would be resurrected and receive from God an eternal heavenly body He had reserved for Him in heaven.  He looked forward to it and was given the Holy Spirit as a guarantee that he would receive his new heavenly body immediately when he died so that he would not experience a period of nakedness with no body at all.

1For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, IS DESTROYED, we have A BUILDING FROM GOD, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be CLOTHED WITH OUR HABITATION WHICH IS FROM HEAVEN, 3if indeed, having been clothed, we shall NOT BE FOUND NAKED.  4For we are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, BUT FURTHER CLOTHED, that mortality may be SWALLOWED UP BY LIFE. 5Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us THE SPIRIT AS A GUARANTEE.(2 Cor. 5:1-5).


See also related “Topic Studies & Terms”:



For a more in-depth study see the related full “Study Series”:

Study Series 14 Lesson 2 Resurrection: 1 and 2 Cor. And Acts

Study Series 14 Lesson 3 Resurrection: 1 Thess. 4:13-17

Study Series 14 Lesson 4 Resurrection: Expectations/Experiences