What about our glorious new bodies? We now know when we shall be changed. But what will this change be?
Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
The word changed in Philippians is a stronger word than in Corinthians. The earlier word simply indicated a change. In Philippians we see the extent of this change. This change comprises everything in a person which strikes the senses, the figure, bearing, discourse, actions, manner of life, etc.[i] From the inside out, our glorious new bodies will be fashioned like unto his glorious body. We will show forth the glory of the risen, ascended Christ in our appearance, bearing, speech, and actions.
I Corinthians 15:48-49
As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
I Corinthians 15:42-44
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
When the trumpet sounds, our earthly, physical bodies will be transformed into heavenly, spiritual bodies. We will all be clothed with the glorious, incorruptible, heavenly garments of our new bodies.
Jesus’ Resurrected Body
Jesus, when he appeared in his resurrected body, was at times instantly recognized and at other times was not. Mary mistook him for the gardener. The men on the road to Emmaus spent hours with him but did not recognize him at all until he broke bread.
Once when Jesus appeared to the disciples, he showed them the imprints of the nails in his hands and they put their hands into the gash in his side. These wounds must not have been there on the road to Emmaus!
How will our glorious new bodies appear that day? Perhaps similar to Jesus? appearance to John.
Revelation 1:13-15, 16b
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
. . . and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength
The attributes in these verses communicate Jesus? exalted position and authority as God?s Grand Vizier[iv]. Our appearance will be different than his, as he alone holds that position. But, we will be transformed to appear beautiful, glorious, powerful, and awe-inspiring. Our clothing and appearance will be such as is fitting for sons and daughters of the Most High God!
Our Witness to the World
Before we knew the timeline, we may have assumed that everyone that was changed would just disappear, perhaps leaving behind their clothes or a pile of dust, but they would just disappear. Now we know that is not the case.
The impact of our gathering together on the rest of the world will be unprecedented. It will not be just us and our family, our friends and our loved ones that will be changed. It will not be just our church or even all the devout in our community ? the entire Body of Christ will appear in their glorious new bodies as a witness to all the world.
Millions and Millions
The Hartford Institute for Religious Research compiles information concerning religious life and issues in North America, and has been for almost 40 years. Their latest data is from 2010,
They estimated that of the 77 million Protestant worshippers at that time, 50 million were evangelical and conservative protestants. Of those, over 11 million attended churches or fellowships with an emphasis on scriptural study programs and their members? personal study of the Scriptures.
These figures were just for the US and Canada. It is safe to say that if only those alive today were to receive their new bodies, millions of believers would be transformed at once, all over the world. But a short moment before we are changed, millions and millions more will appear, all those that have been risen from among the dead. All those who believed on Jesus Christ since the Church began and have fallen asleep, they also will instantaneously appear in their glorious new bodies.
What an awesome display of God?s glory and power!
All Rejoicing Together
I Corinthians 15:53-54
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
The words swallowed up is the figure of speech metalepsis, or double metonymy. A metonomy shows an association. A metalepsis is a compound association, where one association is stated and a second requires more thought.[v]
How can death be eaten and swallowed? The figure or picture is of death ?swallowed up,? gone, never to appear again, like food that has been eagerly devoured.
Then there is a second association that takes a little thought. What else do we do with our mouth? We speak! What do we speak? Words! The swallowing is associated with both the swallowing up of death and the speaking of words.
So what will we be speaking? Words of victory! Do you think there could be some rejoicing going on? Some celebrating?
Absolutely! Those that have put on incorruption and those that have put on immortality will together release a triumphant shout of victory, one that will consume all our sorrows. An immediate, simultaneous outburst of joy, thanksgiving, praise and worship, from the hearts of millions and millions of transformed saints, will echo around the world.
All memory of death and loss and toil and sorrow will be so insignificant compared to the glories of that day.[vi] All will be swallowed up and forgotten as our cry of victory satiates our hearts and pervades the astounded ears of those around us.
I Corinthians 15:55
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Where? Where? They no longer exist (for us with new bodies). Gone and forgotten.
As we are rejoicing a voice from heaven will begin to speak – the voice of the archangel.
[ii] From the Greek Dictionary of the New Testament in the back of James Strong?s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (McLean VA: Macdonald Publishing Company, n.d.), p. 76.
[iii] Psalm 139:14
[iv] Jon O. Nessle, Our Lord Jesus Christ Seminar, ?Aspects of the Ascended Christ.?
[vi] Romans 8:16-18