Required reading: two papers about the Person and work of Jesus Christ, both asking questions like, “When Jesus died on the cross and was buried, where was His soul?”
My reaction to some of these questions has been along the line of “What difference does it make?” but then I realize that what happens to Christ and what is true of His death and resurrection also applies to all who believe in Him.
That is, where will I be after my body is dead? Do I experience some sort of limbo until the resurrection? Or do I go directly to heaven to be with Him? Or because time ends for me, will it just seem as if I’m there in an instant, even though many “earth years” may pass before that happens?
Every denomination and many of the cults have their answers to these questions, but I’ve not given this much thought. It seems that what I’ve been told was good enough because, what difference does it make? Yet after reading these papers and struggling with the wording and difficulty of them, my heart was lifted in worship. The plan of God concerning resurrection does matter; it affects my view of God and my dedication to serving Him.
Some of what God says is a mystery and not for any of us to know, yet the Bible reveals many mysteries. One of them is simply the fact that God tells us what we need to know.
But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” — these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. (1 Corinthians 2:7–10)
We may not be able to imagine eternity or heaven as it truly is, or maybe our finite minds cannot grasp a good description. However, one thing the Spirit of God does reveal is that when we die, we will be with Jesus. Also, our bodies will be like His resurrected body.
Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8)
Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust (Adam), we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:49)
What happens to my body is one thing, but to me, this is not as important as what happens to my being. 1 John 3:2 says that when I see Jesus, I will be like Him. This means perfect conformity to His character, without any sin at all. He began this process when He saved me and keeps at it while I am in my body, but when I see Him as He is in heaven, then I will be like Him. All remains of sinful unlikeness will be abolished before the glory of Christ and I will shine forth without any blemish. I will be then as He is now.
Also, when Jesus rose from the dead, His body was real (He ate and drank with the disciples), but it was not the same as before. His body is imperishable and has faculties and abilities I do not understand. Yet God’s Word says that my body will be like His body, His resurrected body. This is amazing! Exactly how that happens might be important to some, but for me, I am completely satisfied that He has promised it will happen.