At the end of the world, when Jesus comes back, all the dead will be raised. Some will be raised to eternal life, some to everlasting shame (Daniel 12:2). How your resurrection body will be, is dependent on which group you belong to. That is the most important question of your life!
The bodies of the condemned
Maybe the most earnest words that Jesus ever uttered, were “Fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). This is not about the devil, as some people assume. It is about God, because God is the one who judges. We can learn from this verse that those condemned to hell have a body. This is confirmed in Revelation 20. All the dead come to life. Then John says “and I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne […] if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:12; 20:15).
The Bible does not tell us a lot about the bodies of the condemned. Jesus says about people in hell that “their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48). This is a picture (not a literal description) of on-going suffering. The most important thing we know about the bodies of the condemned, is that they make it possible to suffer forever. However, God offers salvation from that dreadful future. Everybody who puts his trust in Jesus, will rise to eternal life.
The bodies of the believers
The believers will get a resurrection body as well. We know a lot more about this resurrection body. Let me pull out a few of the important things which are taught in the New Testament about the resurrection body of the believers.
1. There is much the same between the old and the new body
About believers who are alive when Jesus comes, Paul writes “we shall all be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52). So the old bodies are not discarded. It is still the same body, but it is changed. It remains the same in that it still can be recognized, like Jesus was recognized after his resurrection (John 20:16). It can still eat and drink, like Jesus did after his resurrection (Luke 24:43), It still has flesh and bones, like Jesus did after his resurrection (Luke 24:39). There still will be male and female, though no marriage (Matthew 22:30), and different ethnicities (Revelation 7:9).
2. In the resurrection body we will be like Jesus after his resurrection
Philippians 3:20-21 tells us that He “will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body”.
3. In the resurrection body, we cannot die again
It is imperishable (1 Corinthians 15:42). So resurrection is not a second chance to get it right. It is the fulfillment of all our dreams and desires. Everything will be perfect. In the resurrection body, we will not know death, but neither will we know mourning, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4).
4. In the resurrection body, we will be glorious (1 Corinthians 15:43)
In the Old Testament, Moses reflected God’s glory in such a way that people could not look at his face. In the resurrection body, we will be even more glorious than that (2 Corinthians 3:11).
5. In the resurrection body, we will be able to do much more than we can do now
Compared to our resurrection bodies, our current bodies are but weak (1 Corinthians 15:43). One of the capacities that we seem to receive in the resurrection body, is to move at will from one place to another, without being restricted by doors or distance. At least, that was the case for Jesus (John 20:19), and if our bodies will be like his, we could very well get the same capability.
6. In the resurrection body, we will be focused on doing God’s will
We will have a ‘spiritual body’ (1 Corinthians 15:44). As explained above, the resurrection body has flesh and bones. So that the body is ‘spiritual’ does not mean that it is less bodily. It means that it does not bring temptations to take us away from God. “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” is true about our current body, but not about the resurrection body. Therein we always will be ready to do God’s will, and our bodies will be the perfect instruments for that. That is what it means to have a ‘spiritual body’.
How will the resurrection body be?
If you are a believer in Jesus, your resurrection body will be imperishable, glorious, powerful, and a perfect instrument to serve God. It still will be you, but your body will take on the characteristics of Jesus’ body after his resurrection. So put your trust in him, and look forward to this eternal glory!