We were back, ready to continue the discussion Kathy had begun accidentally the day before. Prepared this time, I’d brought Hot Pockets and lemonade. They’d invited a couple more friends and asked to go outside for lunch. The Fall weather was perfect. We settled down on a bench in the shade of a maple tree.
“So what questions have you thought of since yesterday?” I began.
“Well, we were wondering how will bodies go to Heaven if they’ve been in an accident like an explosion, or lost at sea, or burned up in a fire?” Kathy spoke for the group, and I was pleased to see that they hadn’t lost their sense of adventure. No longer playing “stump the teacher,” they were curious about the whole subject. God had answered my prayer.
“You guys are awesome; you know that?” I genuinely wanted to hug each one. But they were serious, so we began. “Do you remember the story of the valley of dry bones in the Old Testament? God told Ezekiel to preach to those bones. Then the foot bone connected to the leg bone and the leg bone…” At that, they laughed.
“Seriously, though, since God made the first man out of dirt, He can remake us from ashes or pieces. Revelation 20:13 says the sea will give up its dead when Christ returns. I think Jesus will manage. How about you?”
Dusty grinned and said, “He can manage.” The rest smiled and agreed.
“Since there will be life but no death, let’s talk about bodies in Heaven. You see, when God created us, He made us in such a way that we could inhabit Him as part of His Body, the church, and He could inhabit a human body and be Jesus, God incarnate. Are you following me so far?”
A few nods showed me they were, so I continued. “When Jesus was here, He showed us how life in the Kingdom was to be. He extinguished sicknesses, storms, Satanic presence, and death on many occasions. We have His teachings. Christ painted our world with words to heal hearts and minds and relationships. Then He battled sin and death and declared victory for those willing to serve Him. Do you see now that He was showing what Kingdom living will be?”
“I’d never thought of it that way,” Kathy said. The others, lost in thought, were uncharacteristically quiet. Kathy tilted her head, wanting to make sure she understood what I was telling them. “You mean our BODIES were supposed to live forever or just our souls?”
“Earlier, you all described Jesus’ activities after He resurrected. What came out of the tomb? Was it a body or just a spirit?” They waited for me to answer my own question. “The answer’s obvious. He ate. He had skin; they touched him AND his scars.”
Kathy smiled and nodded. “Yeah, that’s right! They touched him! That was a body”.
Continuing, I explained, “The separation of our spirits from our bodies will only happen between death and our resurrection. Being ‘disembodied spirits’ is not how we were created to be. And how do we know this? Because we will be like Jesus and Jesus took His body with Him out of the grave AND with Him to Heaven. But remember that His new body was different, too. His new body could go through walls, time-travel, and ascend into Heaven. Your new body will be recreated and changed, also. It will become a spiritual body. Beyond that, I can’t describe how that will feel. Neither could the Apostle Paul.” I found 1 Corinthians 15:41-44 on my Bible app and read it to the kids.
“It will be the same when those who have died are raised to life. The body that is ‘planted’ in the grave will ruin and decay, but it will be raised to a life that cannot be destroyed. When the body is ‘planted,’ it is without honor. But when it is raised, it will be great and glorious. When the body is ‘planted,’ it is weak. But when it is raised, it will be full of power. The body that is ‘planted’ is a physical body. When it is raised, it will be a spiritual body. There is a physical body. So there is also a spiritual body.” ERV
“And John wrote, ‘Dear friends, now we are children of God. We have not yet been shown what we will be in the future. But we know that when Christ comes again, we will be like him. We will see him just as he is. He is pure, and everyone who has this hope in him keeps themselves pure like Christ.’ I John 3:2, 3, ERV
“So Jesus’ spiritual body went to Heaven and is STILL alive!” Kathy exclaimed. They all were talking at once now. It seemed something had clicked.
Animated conversation erupted. Suddenly, Heaven was something they could better imagine. “So there will be places to go and things to do in Heaven?”
“We’ll have places to live, too! Jesus said He was building us all something!”
“And we’ll get to see what David really looks like!”
“What JESUS looks like!”
“And I can recognize my Grandpa!”
“Hey! Maybe I’ll finally be good looking!” I could count on Dusty for comedic relief.
His friend added good-naturedly, “Yeah, and maybe you’ll finally be smart!” They seemed happy!
I waited for their fun and excitement to run its course. “Yes, it will be all that and more. We will finally exist the way we were meant to exist when we arrive in the new Heaven and new Earth God is now preparing. Everyone will finally be able to have all that’s needed to live well with God without a worry or a heartache. Death and everything that comes with it will be out of the picture for good. We’ll enjoy being part of God’s world and thrive without interference from anyone or anything. It’s going to be everything our hearts reach for now and can’t quite grasp in this world. Finally being all about God and ‘doing His thing’ will be the norm. It’s an everlasting adventure! What a life! So you see, Heaven is not just a place to go, but a Life to live fully alive!”
They all sat looking at me, somewhat stunned. Finally, Dusty said, “Cool.”
“A Country” Heb 11:16
“God’s Will holds sway” Matt 6:10
“Nothing there that doesn’t fit in God’s presence” Matt 18:3-35; Mk 10:14ff; Lk 16:16-31; Lk 18:16f
“No more struggle. Finally safe” Rev 7:17; 21:4
“New Heaven New Earth” Isa 65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13;Rev 21:1; John 14:2
“We are in Christ” Rom. 6:3 & Gal 3:27
“Jesus in a human body” John 1:1&14; Heb 11:
“Living in God’s world” 2 Cor 5:1; John 14:2-3
“Fully alive” John 10:10
Interesting Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfgWzo3k9MM