After Death, What Then?

by Dody Gibson

"Behold, I show you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, for the trump shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible and we shall all be changed" (I Cor. 15:51-52).

What a wonderful vision this brings to our wondering minds. But the total reality is far from what we could ever perceive in our mortal state.

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel and with the trump of God and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then those which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we shall ever be with the Lord." (I Thes. 4:16-17).

So then, the last resurrection is two-fold. First, the faithful of God's people whose names are listed in the Book of Life will be raised from the grave and join the faithful still living.

Job gives us this information. "And though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God" (Job 19:26).

Yes, the physical body will come forth again from the grave where it lies to be reunited with the soul now in Paradise.

Luke tells us about our Lord's appearing. "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11).

Amazing! The same Jesus, the same one that they had just seen rising up into the clouds will come again in exactly the same manner as He went away.

I've often thought how very fortunate those people were who just happened to be living in the first century and on that particular place on this earth when He came the first time. To see Jesus, to hear Him and witness the many mighty miracles He performed would be incredible. Is it possible that for a "twinkling of an eye" we shall see His physical likeness as He was when He walked on this earth? To also see many bodies being resurrected and from their graves and then transformed into a new and immortal form with the others standing nearby? A mighty miracle indeed!

Then the saddest of all, those who were not prepared for this last great day. This is many times the number of the first group resurrected.

But every eye shall see Him, even those that drove the nails into His flesh (Rev 1:7). It will be too late for them, no more opportunities to change their evil ways. And the last thing they will ever see will be the heavenly souls, in their new immortal bodies disappearing out of sight above.

The heavenly kingdom, going home to the reward promised the faithful. Will they look back? Will they be sad for the family members who did not make it? Will they even have fond memories of the life they enjoyed here on this earth?

"For behold, I create a new heavens and a new earth and the former shall not be remembered nor come into mind" (Isa. 65:17).

Heaven is so beautiful that this life will never be remembered. It will seem we've always been there and we always will be. All this is taking place in the "twinkling of an eye." Time is relative. We know it began at the creation of the earth.

"In the beginning..." (Gen. 1:1).

We know it will end at Jesus second coming when this earth will be destroyed. There is no need for time to be measured in heaven.

"For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past and as a watch in the night" (Psa. 90:4).

Therefore, "a twinkling of an eye" is an indefinite term to include the events on that last great day. From the moment we hear the first blast from the trumpet and rising up to stand at our grave site, to seeing our Lord coming again as He left this earth, rising up to meet Him, having our vile earthly bodies changed (Phil 3:21) to that new one which shall never die.

Then following our Lord and going home. There God awaits us and the Holy Spirit, all the angels, all those loved ones we've longed for and to personally meet all the ancients we've only read about and then all the faithful of God's people we've never met.

Many things are difficult or impossible to comprehend with our physical minds. For example, how can everyone see Jesus coming when we live on a globular planet? How can all the people who ever lived, even just the righteous stand together in the crowded space here? And what about bodies blown up in outer space or drowned in the depth of the ocean and swept away in the tides? But we know all things are possible with God.

I would like to think that somewhere in that brief "twinkling" that I will be able to hold my Savior's hand in mine, to touch the bruised and raw wound caused by the nail even at that moment 40 days old as it was when He left this earth. Then I can personally thank Him for this unspeakable sacrifice He made for me.

And that's the Amazing Truth!
Millstadt, IL 62260

Dody Gibson See other articles by Dody Gibson