Today I'll share what happens to the human body at the 'rapture', what about the people already in heaven - and next week I'll cover if the whole body goes, or is there a bride apart from the overall body of Christ, and close out this series at 7 weeks, somehow a rather poetic number considering the subject. lol.
What happens at the rapture?
Paul says 'this corruption (perishable) must put on incorruption (imperishable), this mortal (part of us) must put on immortality' in I Corinthians 15:50-55 when the Last Trump is blown. But what exactly happens?
Jesus' resurrection is the type and shadow of our own resurrection. Romans 6:4 says Jesus was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father. Jesus' dead human body was made of earthly material, just like ours. But when the glory of the Father was unleashed, the power was so strong when His spirit and soul were reunited with His body, it not only brought that body back to life, but went beyond that to change the molecular structure to transform it into a body made of heavenly material.
Now Jesus' body is made of heavenly material, and being made of heavenly material is no longer subject to the lower laws like death, aging and even gravity. During my teen years I was expressing awe of the Father and out of the blue, like a father telling something to his son he knew would excite him, He said:
"You'll find when you receive your glorified body it isn't subject to the natural laws of the earth." I asked what He meant and He replied: "If you want to walk you can walk, if you want to run you can run. If you want to float you can float, if you want to fly you can fly. If you want to be somewhere at the speed of thought you can be there." I can hardly wait!
"Slain in the s(S)pirit"
Our bodies are made of the earth, and are therefore a poor conductor of the Spirit of God. Our bodies are like a heating coil on a stove that resists the electricity flowing into it, and so it heats up. The more electricity you put into it the more it heats. So it is with the Holy Spirit flowing into our bodies.
If the Spirit comes on a person heavily, their body becomes affected by it. With a little power a person may feel lightheaded or sleepy, get 'goose bumps' or chills, seem drunk, wobbly, or even fall down.
Healed of cancer, but 'drunk' in the Spirit
In 1980, my 27 year old boss at the time told me of his Jewish wife who was scheduled to have a hysterectomy due to tumors on her ovaries which caused her great pain and threatened her life. The night before surgery I asked to meet them at a park so I could explain how healing belonged to her.
Because she was Jewish I knew believing in healing would not be an issue like it can with 'church people'. I showed her Christ in the Old Testament, explained Abraham's covenant and walked her through much of the Old Testament to Isaiah 53, then into the gospels, showing how Jesus is the Father's Word made human.
I did as the Lord had taught me, shared with her the Mark 11 event of the fig tree withering away from the roots, and told her that would happen to the tumors when I commanded them to die. She understood and believed, having been taught healing in her Jewish faith, and now seeing Christ Jesus throughout the Old Testament and as the suffering servant of Isaiah 53.
As I laid hands on her and commanded the tumors to die and wither away, she became woozy, so 'drunk in the Spirit' she passed out for a time, and even 45 minutes later she required her husband under one shoulder and me under the other to carry and walk her to their truck. The next morning before surgery she made them take pictures again of the tumors, and to their surprised confusion they were gone, so they released her with a clean bill of health.
If the power is turned up a bit more the body continues to resist because it is of the earth: Your spirit is made of God so doesn't resist, but your body is made of earth so is naturally resistant to the Spirit of God.
Maybe a person gets 'knocked out' or their physical functions and senses are suspended which is a trance. During this time they may be like Peter, who in Acts 10:10-17 was in a trance and had a vision.
I was ministering in a chapel at a Bible school and one of the ladies on the platform worship team fell into just such a trance. She stood completely still, one arm slightly raised, for over 90 minutes. My eyes were opened to the Spirit realm and I saw a shaft of light from above encompassing her. Finally the chapel meeting closed and the next instructor came to teach his class, and I told him to just let her stand there until the Lord was done with her. She stood like that for nearly his whole class, then suddenly 'came back' and reported what she had seen and heard. I've seen things like this dozens of times and it still amazes me.
If the power is turned up enough, it will kill this earth-body. That is what happened in II Samuel 6:7 when the man tried to steady the Ark of the Covenant which David was improperly bringing into town on a cart rather than on poles on priest's shoulders (he later repented and moved the Ark of God the proper way).
BUT...if the power is turned up beyond that, it not only kills the body, but goes beyond death to change the molecular structure to heavenly material - and THAT is what happens when mortal puts on immortality, perishable becomes imperishable! That is what happens to the living at the 'rapture'. The power unleashed will be so great to many millions of people, it will raise the dead, change the living, and we will be in heaven with glorified bodies just as our Lord has now.
But what about those already dead in Christ?
Paul said that when a person dies they go directly to heaven. In II Corinthians 5:8 he said 'to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord'. In Philippians 1:23 he expressed desire to leave this world and 'to be with Christ, which is far better'.
But what part of a person goes? It is the spirit and soul, which are united as one and only the Word, the Lord Jesus, can divide by critique. Hebrews 4:12 says "the Word is like a two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and is a discerner (to critique) of the thoughts and intents of the heart...and all things are open and naked before Him with whom we have to do." The point isn't being made that He literally divides the two, but that He knows our thoughts and motives and all our inner being is open and naked to Him. Amazing that He still wants us, isn't it?
Your soul is your personality, your mind, your sense of humor, the part that is renewed by learning to think and be as He is - it is the part people know when they get to know you. Your spirit is the part that is born again and can be sensed, for you can sense a meek or gentle spirit, a sweet spirit, a strong and dominating spirit, etc. We cannot separate spirit and soul just as no one can separate the Father from His Spirit.
As Jesus said in John 15:26, the Spirit proceeds from the Father. So too does our soul proceed from our spirit. These 2 parts are the eternal part of us; when a person dies it is their spirit and soul that go to heaven.
What about old people in heaven?
They look like they do here, but having been to heaven I can tell you that older people lose all that gravity and earth and the world caused, so that all people look like they are about 35, yet if they were older when they died you can tell that. It's hard to describe because there isn't anything on earth to compare it to, I can only say that which earth etched in the face is gone, and that which is etched in the countenance from walking with the Lord for decades remains. Lines of wisdom and a look in the eyes that reveal age and wisdom, but outwardly about 35...like I said, hard to describe.
The dead in Christ who are the first resurrected, receive their glorified bodies. How He does that I don't know, for the question naturally arises, What if they've been dead so long their body has returned to earth? The short answer is science tells us matter cannot be destroyed, it merely changes form.
That means the leaves you burned in the autumn of 1973 still exist. What rose as smoke particles went into the air, was carried by wind, a water molecule latched onto it, and it fell as rain into a lake or ocean. A body returned to the earth still exists in its most elemental form. Matter cannot be destroyed, but only changed. Spiritually that is because God created it, so it cannot be destroyed. But it can be changed just as those leaves were changed into smoke particles or ashes that became part of the dirt beneath the fire.
I've always wondered if He will gather the particles from human bodies through the centuries that now make up our soil and the bottoms of lakes and seas, which would dramatically change every landscape, or if that is not even relevant when giving someone a glorified made-in-heaven body. Does He need the earthly to change its structure, or does He just create a body for them? I don't know, but will be fascinated to learn.
Next week - is there a distinction between the body of Christ and the bride of Christ? In other words, are carnal Christians NOT going to be raptured?
Until then, blessings,