Monday, October 9, 2023

The First Resurrection

Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8 NLT)

What happens when Christians die?

The simple answer is that if you’ve put your faith in Jesus Christ, you immediately will go to Heaven. There are no stopovers or suspended states of animation. There is no purgatory or soul sleep. When Christians die, they go directly into God’s presence.

The Bible says, “Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8 NLT).

As Christians, we will go to Heaven one day, and we’ll get there in one of two ways: death or the Rapture. There is a generation that will not see death but will instead go to Heaven in the Rapture. We don’t know whether we will be that generation. But we could be.

Paul wrote to the Thessalonian believers, “We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. 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 believers who have died will rise from their graves” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-16 NLT).

He continued, “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” (verse 17 NLT).

That means we could be going about our business one day, and without warning—in a nanosecond, in a flash—we will meet Jesus Christ in the air. Not only that, but we will immediately reunite with our Christian loved ones and friends who have gone to Heaven before us.

The Bible calls this the first resurrection. Revelation 20:6 says, “Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. For them the second death holds no power” (NLT). The second death is the final Great White Throne Judgment, while the first resurrection is the Rapture.

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul referred to the Rapture, saying, “But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever” (verses 51–52 NLT).

This means that Christians do not have to fear death.

Yes, Christians will die physically. But our mortal bodies will put on immortality. The soul lives on. That will never die. It is why Paul said, “Living means living for Christ, and dying is even better” (Philippians 1:21 NLT).

Of course, Christians grieve like everyone else when we lose loved ones. But the Bible says that we don’t grieve as those who do not have hope (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13). For the Christian, death is not the end. It’s a transition from earth to Heaven.

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