Bible Questions and Answers


Bible Question: I understand that Christians will receive their resurrection bodies at the rapture. Does this include the Old Testament saints? For unbelievers, is it after the 1,000 year kingdom? At what point in time will believers who die during the seven year Tribulation be resurrected?

Bible Answer: When we die, our souls depart for either heaven or hell, and our bodies remain here. When Christians die, they meet the Lord here, in heaven, or in the rapture.

. . . we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. (NASB) 2 Cor. 5:8

When we speak of resurrection, we are referring to the body's returning to life on some future day. When the body does return to life, it will be immortal.

For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality . . . (NASB) 1 Cor. 15:53-54

There are four major resurrections in the scriptures. Two of them occur before the Tribulation and two occur after.

Resurrection of All Men and Women

Before The Tribulation. The first major resurrection has already occurred. It occurred just after Jesus' death. The Apostle Matthew tells us that many of the Old Testament saints were resurrected and walked around Jerusalem.

. . . and the tombs were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. (NASB) Matt. 27:52-53

I can just imagine how the people in Jerusalem reacted. Many must have finally understood who Jesus was when they saw their dead relatives, or maybe their once notable citizens, walking around.
The next major resurrection will be the rapture. At that time those believers in Jesus who had previously died will have their bodies resurrected and united with their spirits in heaven (1 Thess 4:14-16). Their dead bodies will return to life and be transformed into an immortal body. These immortal bodies will be perfect (1 Cor. 15:51-52). 2 Co. 5:1-4 helps us understand that there will be a time delay before we receive our resurrection bodies.

For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven . . . For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed, but to be clothed, in order that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. (NASB) 2 Cor. 5:1-4

When Paul says that he does not want to be unclothed, he appears to be referring to the time that his spirit will not have a body. At the rapture all of remaining the Old and New Testament saints who died will also be resurrected. The prophet Daniel predicted that this would occur when he said the following,

And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. (NASB) Dan. 12:1-2

Daniel predicted that the Old Testament saints would be resurrected at a time of great distress.
After The Tribulation. At the end of the Tribulation, Jesus Christ will return with those who have been resurrected and the souls of all the saints whose bodies were not resurrected (Rev. 19:11-15). After He defeats the armies of the Anti-Christ (Rev. 19:19-21), Jesus then resurrects all of the bodies of those Christians who died during the Tribulation. Revelation 20:4 includes the Tribulation saints.

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (NASB) Rev. 20:4

The final resurrection is for the non-Christians. These men and women will unfortunately go to the Lake of Fire. There they will suffer forever.

Conclusion:When will the Old Testament saints be resurrected? The answer is actually given in the Old Testament in Daniel 12:1-2. These saints receive their bodies after the Tribulation is over. it is important to remember that these souls are already in heaven enjoying God. What a great joy it will be to be with God!


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