Paul has finished his summation of the gospel. He has adequately defended the two corner posts of salvation; Christ died for our sins, and He rose again. But now he is faced with meeting his audience’s “but how” question.
Paul has done everything he can to explain what happens next after death. He shared his analogy of the seed. He pointed out that our bodies are physical and dust and belong to the physical world while our spirits belong to the spiritual world. He also encourages us that we will “bear the image of the Man in Heaven” (verse 49).
But there is still the question of, “What will I look like?” And, “How does this happen?” Paul gives a GREAT answer. “I don’t really know. God said it and I believe it. That’s good enough for me.” “But here is what I do know…”
Paul didn’t know exactly how it would all happen but he did know a few important facts. 1) Jesus’ Kingdom was not of this world and therefore beings of this world didn’t belong in it. 2) Jesus promised to come back and get us and take us to His kingdom. 3) Jesus promised eternal life in His Kingdom.
Jesus Himself said that His Kingdom was not of this world. Our physical bodies are not capable of transforming to the demands of another world. We are this form and this form only; on the outside. So to enter Jesus’ Kingdom we have to lay down our physical bodies and take on “bodies” capable of existing in His Kingdom. Relinquish one “citizenship” to accept another.
Jesus told His disciples about the end of days. He promised that He would come and gather His followers to be with Him (Matthew 24). We don’t have an exact timeline for this. We also lack a definite progression of events. Some say He comes for the saints prior to the seven years of tribulation, some say in the middle, and some say He simply comes for all at the end. Whenever He comes, He COMES. That is not up for debate.
Jesus shared with His disciples the fact that we would live with Him for eternity. He promised “everlasting life” to those who believe in Him. “For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3).
These statements from Jesus clearly show that we will be brought to His home by His hand. The rest is window dressing. He said it; I believe it. That’s all I really have to know.
Yes, I still have questions. What our bodies look like at that time is still a mystery. Do those that are alive at that time Jesus returns remain in the state they are in? Do the saints who accompany Him from Heaven receive an imperishable physical body? Do those that enter the Millennial Rein as regular people live for the full 1,000 years? Are children born during this time? I could go on forever but I’m going to go back to Paul’s answer, “I don’t know”, and leave it at that.
Thank You Father for the hints of things to come. Thank You that I still have things to wonder about too. I would hate to be so arrogant as to think I had all the answers. I personally run the other way when I find someone espousing to have it all figured out. Yes, You have left a LOT of clues but, just like the Jews who didn’t see the truth of Jesus until in hindsight, we won’t have it all figured out until afterwards. Only You know the day and the hour. You haven’t even told Jesus. Have You laid out the full events for Him? I’m sure He knows more than we do but are You saving some of it as a surprise?
Jesus knew what His sacrifice would require too. But did He know about the required separation before it happened? He trusted and submitted to Your full plan, regardless of what the personal cost was. Did He asked for any other way but did He ask for details?
I’m afraid to ask for details some of the time and at other times I want every detail I can get. This is one of the times I have to be satisfied with not really knowing. I’ll gladly leave it all in Your hands because I KNOW they can handle it ALL.