Q: #144. When will we receive our new glorified bodies?
By: Steve Shirley
A: The Bible makes it clear that those who belong to Christ will receive their new bodies at Christ's return (1 Cor 15:23)(1 Th 4:16). The bodies of those in Christ who have died will be resurrected and glorified first, and "then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds" (1 Th 4:17), at which time we will receive our glorified bodies.
For those in Christ who had died previously, this will be the time when their soul/spirit, which has been in Heaven in a disembodied state, will be reunited with their body which had been "sleeping." ("Sleeping" is equivalent to dying. Our bodies "sleep," but our soul/spirit is never shown to "sleep" [See: Q: #2].)
Exactly when this event will happen is a matter of contention that depends on one's eschatological point of view. Most agree that this is the rapture ("caught up" 1 Th 4:17 = Latin word "raptus")(a "mystery" not previously revealed in the Old Testament 1 Cor 15:51), but disagree on when the rapture takes place. Regardless of the view one has, this event will take place somewhere within a 7 year time frame called the Tribulation: either at the beginning, midpoint, or end of it.
There is also some difference of opinion as to whether the bodies of the Old Testament believers will be raised at the same time as the New Testament believers. Some believe that New Testament believers will be raised at the start of the Tribulation and Old Testament believers at the end of it. (This is why I don't spend a lot of time on eschatology .)
The Bible clearly tells us that the bodies of believers AND unbelievers will be resurrected (Jn 5:29-29)(Acts 24:15)(Dan 12:2). There seems to be fairly universal agreement that the bodies of unbelievers will not be resurrected until after the millennium or 1000 yr reign of Christ, which occurs after the Tribulation. When they are raised, they will be judged at the Great White Throne judgment, and then cast into the Lake of Fire for eternity (Rev 20:5,11-15).
In the next question, I discuss: What will our new glorified bodies be like?