What does the Bible say a spiritual body will be like in heaven? When people go to heaven, do they look the same or similar to what they looked like on earth?
Christians, those who believe in Jesus Christ, often wonder what will heaven be like? Maybe you have wondered what will our body be like in heaven? The Bible explains that the spiritual body of a believer in Jesus Christ will be like Jesus. Let’s discover what the Bible teaches about our spiritual body in heaven.
Christians Will Be Like Jesus
1 Corinthians 15:45-49 tells us that Adam was a man of dust, and Christ is a man of heaven. In verse 49, the apostle states that believers in Christ will be like Christ in heaven. Philippians 3:21 says that our humble bodies will be conformed to “the body of His glory.” That is, believers will have a glorious body like that of Christ. Romans 8:29 states that believers will be conformed to the image of Christ.
1 John 3:2 adds that our spiritual body will be like Jesus’ body when He appears, either at the rapture or at His second coming.
We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 1 John 3:2 (NAS)
That is the result of the Son of God taking on human flesh and blood. That also agrees with 1 Corinthians 15:45-49. This is the result of His bodily resurrection three days after His death on the cross, and the plan of the Father.
So, we have discovered that a believer’s spiritual body in heaven will be like the body of Christ. Therefore, we will now discover what the body of Christ was like at His resurrection. That will help believers discover something about our spiritual body in heaven.
Description of Jesus’ Resurrected Body
First, the gospels indicate that after Jesus resurrection, He looked different than His previous body. Mary Magdalene and His own disciples did not recognize Him when they first saw Him. Mary was the first one who did not recognize Jesus.
When she had said this, she turned around, and beheld Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener . . . John 20:14-15 (NASB)
The passage makes it clear that Mary thought Jesus was the gardener. She did not recognize Jesus after His return to life. We are not told what He looked like. Unlike other religious books, there is no exploitation of this event. He is not described as having glowing hair, being semi-transparent, being ghost-like, or standing taller. The gospel writers were brief and to the point with their information. The events are not sensationalized.
Some of Jesus’ disciples did not recognize Him on the Emmaus Road (Luke 24:13-35), nor did the eleven disciples recognize Him when He just appeared in a locked room (John 20:19-20). That reveals another important characteristic of the resurrected body of Christ. Jesus was able to move through walls or just suddenly appear anywhere.
And while they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst. But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” Luke 24:36-39 (NASB)
As a result, the disciples thought that they had seen a spirit. But Jesus explained that a spirit or a ghost does not have flesh and bones. His new body was very different. What will our bodies look like? They will be something like Jesus’ new body.
Second, Luke 24:36-39 and John 20:26-27; 21:1-23 also teach us that Jesus was able to speak to the disciples and hear them after His resurrection. The disciples were able to touch Jesus.
Third, Jesus was also able to eat food and drink liquids. according to Acts 10:41.
Fourth, Luke 24:41-43 adds,
And while they still could not believe it for joy and were marveling, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; and He took it and ate it before them. Luke 24:41-43 (NASB)
That is, Jesus was able to broil some fish, and then handle the fish and give it to the disciples. An important passage is John 21:9-15. It echoes this truth.
But the best news was that Jesus has an immortal and an eternal body (Mark 16:12-14; Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9-11). He is now in heaven. Someday believers will join Him.
The gospel of Mark says that Jesus appeared in a different form (Mark 16:12). So our bodies will be very much like Jesus’ resurrected body. We will able to see, hear, speak, talk, eat, drink, touch, handle, and walk. We will be like Jesus but not look like Jesus. Heaven is going to be fun!