Q. I have a question regarding the rapture. I get the impression from books, commentary I have read, and from bad movies I have seen that when the rapture occurs all those who are in Christ will disappear from the earth, however I don’t understand why God would have any use for our physical bodies. It seems to me that when the rapture occurs God will receive our spirits and that the corpses of all those who believe will the left on earth. Is my understanding incorrect?
A. The Lord’s resurrection is the example we’re to use, and it applies to both the living and the dead. On the evening of the resurrection He made sure we understood that He was still a physical being with a tangible body, not just a spirit (Luke 24:36-39). And when He ascended into the clouds He didn’t leave His body behind, but ascended in physical form (Acts 1:9). These two events tell us we’ll have physical bodies in eternity.
Since the bodies of those who die quickly decompose, their spirits, who have gone to be with the Lord, will receive new physical bodies. This is what Paul meant by saying the dead will rise (1 Thes. 4:16). But in 1 Cor. 15:51-54 he wrote that living believers will not die but will instantaneously be changed, transformed from mortal to immortal. Therefore we won’t leave any corpses behind when we depart in the rapture.