Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). Jesus said to His disciples, “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…They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence” (Luke 24:39, 42-43). Thomas physically touched the body of Christ following His resurrection proving that Jesus’ body was real (John 20:27-28). Christians will have a physical and eternal body in heaven, although not the same type of “physical body” that we have while we’re on this earth.
Prior to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Hades was divided into two compartments. One compartment was Abraham’s bosom and the other part was the place of torment for unbelievers (Luke 16:19-31). These Old Testament believers couldn’t be taken into heaven at their death because, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4). “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth…But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:13-16).
“The graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many” (Matthew 27:52-53). “When Jesus was crucified He went to where the Old Testament believers who died in faith were being held (Isaiah 26:19, 61:1; Ephesians 4:9-10; 1 Peter 3:18-20). These Old Testament believers were raised in their eternal bodies and went into heaven when Jesus ascended into heaven in Acts 1:9-11.
“The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man” (1 Corinthians 15:47-49). When a Christian’s body dies their spirit leaves time as we know it and moves into eternity and we receive our eternal and heavenly body. “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven” (Psalms 119:89). “Known to God from eternity are all His works” (Acts 15:18-19).
“For 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” (2 Corinthians 5:1). When a Christian’s earthly body dies our spirit will instantly enter into God’s presence and receive our eternal and heavenly body. We will have a new body that is related to our earthly body in some mystic way and we’re not sure just how but when we get there we will discover what it is. There are many things that God has left for us to know in the future that we cannot know now while we’re still living on this earth.
“For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked” (2 Corinthians 5:2-3). As Christians we often ache, are tired and yearn for the next life that this mortal may be swallowed up by that which is immortal, incorruptible, and eternal. When a Christian’s earthly body dies, Christians will not be left “naked”—that is, without a body to live in.
“For we who 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” (2 Corinthians 5:4). When a Christian receives their new heavenly body we will go from being an earthly mortal being to an immortal being eternal in heaven. Paul had a strong desire to be with Jesus Christ, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain…For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Philippians 1:21, 23). “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17).
The believers who have died have preceded us into God’s glorious heaven. They are with Him now in their heavenly body, and when Jesus comes for His church in the rapture He will bring those Christians that have died with Him. Have you put your faith in Jesus Christ so you can receive a heavenly and eternal body? It’s your choice!