“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” we will be changed. Most Christians believe this, but have you given thought to what it means? Spiritually it will mean a sinless state worthy of being in God’s presence. It will also mean immortality and the right to eat of the Tree of Life. But what will we look like physically? We had a request from a reader to speculate on what “changed” might mean and what our resurrection bodies might be like.
I stress the word “speculate.” Absolutely no one knows with certainty what our bodies will be like. The Bible isn’t clear, but we have some biblical clues and an intriguing piece of evidence from the secular world.
FIRST: A question that is often asked is will we have the same body we currently have or will we exhange it for a new one? Let’s look at the primary verse that describes what will occur:
Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (1 Cor. 15: 51-52 NASB)
The verse says “changed” or transformed, not that we are given an entirely new body. Our bodies will still be “our bodies”, just better. Our bodies are part of our identity. This concept is re-enforced by this verse as well:
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. (Phil. 3: 20-21 NASB)
In the resurrection God will “reassemble” our bodies from the dust of the earth, but these passages indicate they will be transformed versions of our bodies, not new ones.
SECOND: Notice that in the passage right above, Paul said our body will be like Jesus’s glorified body. John confirms this and tells us we will be like Jesus in his resurrected body:
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is (1 John 3:2 NASB)
If we continue to examine the passage in 1 Corinthians, we learn more about these “resurrection bodies:”
Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly. Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable . . . perishable must put on (Gk: ENDYSASTHAI, meaning “clothe”) the imperishable(1 Cor. 51: 49-50 NASB)
From this we learn that we will bear the “image” of heaven. The Greek word translated “image” is EIKON from which we get the English word icon. This means more than just “looks like,” but carries the meaning of “identical copy.” Notice the end of the passage says we will put on indestructibility like a garment.
Also notice it says “flesh and blood” cannot inherit the kingdom. Are we something different than flesh and blood? Perhaps.
THIRD: Both Jesus and Daniel seem to indicate that our bodies will “shine” like the sun or stars:
Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. (Matt 13: 43 NASB)
Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven. (Dan. 12:3 NASB)
Evidence in the Kanji Characters
Almost unbelievably there is evidence for this “glowing” of bodies found in the secular world. You may or may not be aware, but the ancient Chinese Kanji characters (Chinese pictograph writing) is based on the accounts from the book of Genesis. What that means is that various pictograms of words are “picture stories.” These stories are based on the history found in Genesis chapters 1 – 11. For instance, the word for ship is “a boat for 8 people” (Noah, his wife, his 3 sons and their wives; eight people). There are literally hundreds of these Genesis based pictograms.
Yes, I know this is incredible. I will write a future blog on this at some point. It will amaze you. Obviously backing up a statement like that now will take more explanation that I can give in this post. For now, please accept it so you can understand the explanation below. Then you can challenge it when I write that future post.
At this time, let’s concentrate on the Chinese character for a glowing person. The character for man is 人. The Chinese also have a character for a man “on fire” or “glowing man:” 火. The flames are seen flickering from the man. By itself, this character is actually translated “fire.” In the pictographs, however, it frequently carries the meaning of “man.” It is found in pictographs that involve events that happened to Adam and Eve before the Fall. For instance, the word “converse” is 談 is a combination of the word for talk 言 and two glowing persons (Adam and Eve.) 火火 Obviously this is not two fires talking, but two glowing persons talking; the first “conversation.” The ancient scribe who invented the language could have chosen “talking between two persons” using the symbol for man 人 , but instead chose “talking between two glowing persons.” This is only one example of many that use this “glowing man” example.
So were Adam and Eve “glowing” before the fall? One may wonder why Adam and Eve were not aware they were naked until after the Fall. Was the loss of their “glow” part of what revealed their bodies as naked?
The Appearance of Christ
Earlier in this post, we have seen that we will conform to the image of the heavenly and to Christ. In the Book of Revelation, John had a vision of the risen Christ:
In the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. (Rev. 1: 13-16 NASB)
Christ is clothed in linen (as the saints will be.) Also notice his legs and face shine like the sun and burnished (heated) bronze. This confirms our thoughts about our resurrected bodies glowing. If we are going to be “like Christ” that must includes some aspects of this appearance.
What our resurrected bodies will look like is not the most important aspect of the resurrection! Being with Christ and enjoying his presence for eternity is what we should be looking forward to.