Q. I have read many articles stating that all who have died remain in the grave until the second coming.What about the transfiguration where Moses and Elijah were present? The rich man and Lazarus has also been discounted as some kind of parable. I have always believed “absent from body present with the Lord”. Your thoughts?
A. Since the cross, the spirit of a believer leaves the body at death and goes to be with the Lord. So all during the Church age, “absent from the body, present with the Lord” is the general rule, (2 Cor 5:8) but there have been exceptions. Many holy people came out of their graves following the Resurrection. (Matt. 27:52-53) The Spirits of all other dead believers will be re-united with perfected models of their physical bodies at the Rapture, not the 2nd Coming.
Moses and Elijah appeared on the Mt. of Transfiguration before the Resurrection. Many believe they will appear again as the two witnesses of Revelation 11. They are exceptions to this general rule, brought forth to serve God’s special purpose.
Many scholars don’t believe that the story of the Rich man and Lazarus is is a parable because the names of both central characters are known. (the rich man’s name was Dives) In the Lord’s parables the characters weren’t named.
So, although the story does teach the truth that there’s no chance after death to change one’s eternal destiny, the circumstances used to illustrate the point come from accepted Jewish thought about the afterlife and aren’t meant to symbolize something else.