What Happens When A Christian Dies?

October 23, 2012

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NIV

There is confusion, and perhaps some concern, about the timing of when Christians receive their new bodies. Does it occur at the moment of death or is there a waiting period before they are issued? When a Christian dies, the physical body begins to decompose, but our spirit is immediately with the Lord in heaven. But when Christ is preparing for His return, there will be the rapture. While the word “rapture” itself doesn’t appear in Scripture, 1 Thessalonians 4:7 does talk about being “caught up together” (which is what the word “rapture” means). So, those who are alive when Christ comes will be joined in the clouds with those who have already died and are with the Lord. Those who have already died will, at that time, be given a resurrected body that is like Jesus’ body. Those who are Christian and alive here on earth will also receive a new body. It will be a body that will not get sick. It will not be contaminated by sin. It will be a new body like Jesus’ – a resurrected body that never dies. The bottom line: as best as I can tell, we receive our new bodies at the rapture, not the moment we die.

If you’re not a Christian, not sure if you die today your spirit will be in Heaven with the Lord, don’t wait any longer to be sure. You don’t want to miss out on Heaven and you don’t want to miss out on a new body that never gets sick and dies.