The Rapture (our new natures)

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series rapture

The Nature of Our Resurrected Bodies


The nature of our raptured bodies is best understood from a text which does not specifically speak of the rapture, but rather, the spiritual body:

1 Corinthians 15:35-49 (NIV)35 But someone may ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.
42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44
 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
     If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being” ; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.

While this text is not speaking in terms of a rapture, it is giving a description of the spiritual body which believers will have in eternity.  1 Corinthians 15:5, examined sentences ago, declares the fact of a spiritual body which was described earlier in verses 35-49.


The first chief observation of the spiritual body one receives upon rapture is noted in verse 42:  “The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable.”  The imperishable nature of the resurrected body, simply stated, determines that the spiritual body does not deteriorate.  It does not die.  Because it does not die, a second deduction can be drawn, which is that it does not sin.  Scripture teaches clearly that sin brings death.[1]  Thus, a body which cannot die is necessarily one which cannot sin.  Both ideas are represented in the description of imperishability.


Verse 43 states “it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory.”  Glory infers worthiness or dignity.  It is a state foreign to sinful man, yet is true of the resurrected body. 


 Continuing in verse 43 is the statement “it is raised in power.”  The transliterated Greek term translated “power” in the NIV is Gk. dynamis, which infers great power, rather than general power.  It is associated with miraculous power and is used parallel to Christ, angels and spiritual powers in scripture.[2]  This description indicates a power on a greater plain than man currently experiences.  It is by definition, therefore, “supernatural” power.


Lastly, in verse 44 it is noted “it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.”  The concept of a “spiritual body” is one foreign to man’s experience.  Humanity has long understood a defining line to exist between the physical and the spiritual.  The body is understood as that which is physical while the soul is understood to be that which is spiritual.  The eternal body of man, however, is of a different constitution.  It is a spirit-body, specially designed for existence in the spiritual world of Heaven.

The descriptions noted in this text create something difficult to define completely.  It seems probably, however, that the spiritual bodies man will be transformed into at the rapture would be similar, if not near identical, to the body Christ received upon his glorification.  The risen Christ demonstrated characteristics which may indeed give insight into the nature of the resurrected body.  Christ was able to “appear” in a room without using a door.[3]  He also disappeared in similar fashion.  Yet, the risen Christ was able to be touched by the disciples to prove that he was not a ghost and was able to eat.[4]  While it is impossible to know if these characteristics were due to Christ’s glorified body or his deity, these are not characteristics of Christ’s body while he lived on earth, nor did his deity manifest itself in those fashions.  It seems probable, indeed, that the characteristics of the risen Christ’s body are likened to those which will be normative of the glorified bodies of all men.

[1] Romans 6:23, Genesis 2:17

[2] Dynamis is rendered “power” in 1 Corinthians 1:24 “…Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

[3] John 20:19

[4] Luke 24:39-41

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