Editor's note: This column is part seven in a series about the biblical end of days and the book of Revelation.
How will the resurrection take place? Here we are talking about only those who are saved.
Just before Jesus' second coming, there will be two groups of saved people: those who have died -- bodiless souls already in the presence of Christ in the angelic-heaven -- and believers still living on Earth.
When Christ comes the second time, the skies are split and Jesus becomes visible. There will be angels with him (Matthew 25:31, Revelation 19:14). Also with Jesus will be a multitude of bodiless souls that have already been with him in the angelic-heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:14).
At some point following the second coming, all the saved in both groups, the living and the deceased, will receive new bodies. The dead in Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:16) receive their new bodies. The angels will escort these bodiless souls down to Earth's surface where they will receive their new bodies.
Believers who are still living when Christ returns will have their bodies transformed into new bodies.
So, following the appearance of Christ, all saved people who have ever lived will be standing on the Earth's surface in new bodies -- the bodies we will have forever.
Our new bodies may be similar to our old ones in shape and appearance. The dying Stephen saw Jesus in his new glorified body and recognized him (Acts 7:54-60). What about infants and young children who were miscarried or aborted? These will be included in the saved group. See Romans 5:12-19.
Our new bodies will be like Jesus's new glorified body. Paul says in Philippians 3:21, Jesus "will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of his glory."
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, "so also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised in imperishable body."
He adds it is raised in glory and raised a spiritual body, adapted to another kind of universe, the new heavens and new earth. No more fragile bodies for us.
You may remember in a previous lesson we discussed, there are two resurrections. The first one is spiritual and occurs in Christian baptism (immersion). We're now awaiting this second resurrection.
Jay Craig of Shelbina, Mo., has worked with Shiloh Christian Children's Ranch for nearly 40 years. He's a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Craig attended Central Christian College of the Bible in Moberly, Mo. He can be contacted by email to email@example.com.