The Rapture of the Church, Part 9

Read Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5, 6, 7, and 8.

The glorified bodies of believers

Paul’s reply to the questions asked by the Corinthian church about the resurrection body is highly significant and enlightening. First, the substance of that body will be different: “And what you sow [in death, like a seed that is planted], you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain—perhaps wheat or some other grain” (NKJV, 1 Cor. 15:37). It is amazing how different is the substance of a stalk of corn from the substance of the tiny kernel that is planted in the ground—from which it came!

On the other hand, the identity of the body that is raised or raptured is the same as the non-glorified body from which it came. “But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body” (1 Cor. 15:38). Perhaps we will even have the same fingerprints!

This principle of continued identity in the midst of changing substance can be illustrated quite easily. I have crossed the great Mississippi River many times. It is always the same river, but not one particle of water in that part of the river I crossed is the same—even an hour later. As for our human bodies, every molecule that was in me 10 years ago has been replaced by another. It has the same identity—but with a different substance.

The glorified body of Jesus

When the Lord Jesus Christ arose from the dead, His glorified body could pass through the tightly wrapped grave clothes, through the huge stone that blocked the entrance to His tomb and through the door of the room where the apostles were hiding—without having to open them.

Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. (Luke 24:36-40)

How amazing were the properties of His resurrection body! Yet there was more. “But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, ‘Have you any food here?’ So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence” (Luke 24:41-43).

During the 40 days that elapsed between His resurrection and His ascension to heaven, Luke states that Jesus “assembled together with” His disciples (Acts 1:4). The word “assembled” can literally mean He “ate” with them.

What a wonderful confirmation of His continued identity with His pre-resurrection incarnate state as the God-man. He is still, now and forevermore, totally human as well as totally divine. Yes, today and forever, “in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9).

In a similar way, all born-again believers will be glorified, yes, but still human—neither partly angelic nor partly divine, but totally and permanently human, yet without sin, sickness or sorrow.

[node:bio/john-c-whitcomb body]

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