Hello friends! So, for awhile now I have been asking lots of questions, and trying to do lots of research, on the timeline of things that occur after we die. Of course I am trying to use my bible as my resource, but would also love to hear everyone's opinions, what you were taught, etc.
When we discussed the topic in our bible study, probably about a year ago, we came to a conclusion, but not one that I've been 100% satisfied with. So, here's what I know to be true: The bible is very clear about the resurrection that will occur when Jesus returns. 1 Corinthians 15:23 states that there is an order in all of this, and that "all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back." Verses 35 to 57 explain that we will receive our new bodies when the last trumpet sounds and "those who have died will be raised to live forever." Even the Old Testament speaks about this certain future, Isaiah 26:19 says that those who die will live, "their bodies will rise again, those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joy."
Now, 2 Corinthians states in 5:1-5 that when we die and leave this earthly body we will have a house in heaven and an eternal body made by God. But, the "and" in between "when we die" and "leave this early body" could be two different moments...
So, it's clear that our BODIES will remain in the earth until Jesus comes again, and at that point our earthly bodies will be resurrected and transformed into our eternal bodies. That, I understand. So what's happening to those who have already passed, as we all wait for Jesus to return? One explanation I've heard, without scripture to back it up, was that our SOULS go to Heaven (or Hell) immediatly after death and it's only our BODIES that are not transformed until later. That made sense to me... until I read 2 Corinthians 5:3 that says "we will not be spirits without bodies," unless that's just referring to after Jesus comes?? I'm so confused....
So, what's my deal? Well, I want to know why pastors and loved ones encourage and comfort those who mourn by talking about those who have passed being up in Heaven. Heck, I've even done it. But, I want to know if they're really up there. Right now. Or if we will all be face to face with Jesus in the future. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 states:
13 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. 15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18 So encourage each other with these words.
The conclusion that Kyle, and our bible study came up with is that our minds cannot comprehend the timing of all of this. I, in my weakness and my desire to know, can only think about things in reference to the timeline of my own life. So, I know that at this point my grandfather died, and then Gabriel died, and then Nanny died. So, my desire is to know what they're doing/where they are until the end of this timeline, my own death OR Jesus' second coming. BUT, if the answer is that those who have already passed will not meet Jesus until he comes back, right before those still living on this earth meet him, that could feel like, and be, only a second in God's time. So, that doesn't mean that they are hanging out in the ground just waiting and waiting. This much I know.
So, now it's your turn. Do you think about this? What are your thoughts and beliefs? And, most importantly, what scripture would you use to back this up??
ADDITION: Here are a few websites I found REALLY helpful after writing this blog...