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Don Stewart :: What Will the Resurrected Bodies of the Righteous Be Like?

Don Stewart
The Bible says those who have trusted the promises of God are going to be given a new body - one that will never die.

Clear Teaching

There have been some who have objected to the idea of a literal resurrection of the dead. However, the Bible is clear on this matter. Simply stated, if the dead do not rise, then Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead. Paul wrote.

But if there is no resurrection from the dead, then Christ is not risen (1 Corinthians 15:13).

Though the phrase "resurrection of the body" does not occur in the New Testament, the teaching is very clear. The Bible indicates that the bodies of believers will be changed. In fact, Scripture itself raises the question as to the nature of the resurrected body.

But someone will ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?" (1 Corinthians 15:35).

The Bible says the following about this glorified body that the righteous will receive.

1. Linked To Christ

The resurrected body of the believer will, in some ways, be like the resurrected body of Christ. John said.

Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is (1 John 3:2).

Paul wrote.

Who [Christ] will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself (Philippians 3:21).

2. Literal Bodies

The resurrection of believers will be just like that of Christ - both bodily and literal.

Then He [Jesus] said to Thomas, 'Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving but believing' (John 20:27).

On another occasion He said to His disciples.

Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have (Luke 24:39).

Our Bodies Raised

As Christ's resurrection was literal and physical, so will be the resurrected bodies of believers.

If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through His Spirit that dwells in you (Romans 8:11).


The resurrection body of Christ had certain characteristics that we should note. The body was real, visible, capable of being handled, and recognizable. Yet at the same time it was able to pass through solid objects and disappear.

3. Not Limited Capacity

The new bodies of believers will have new capacities. Jesus' body was able to suddenly appear in a locked room.

And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in their midst, and said, 'Peace to you!' (John 20:26).

Believers will have similar capacities in their new body.

4. A Transformed Body

The Bible teaches that we will receive a transformed body.

And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain - perhaps wheat or some other grain. But God gives us a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body (1 Corinthians 15:37,38).

There will be some type of physical connection between the natural body and the resurrection body. However the material identity will not be exactly the same. The key issue is not so much material identity but of individuality - memory and personality. These are the things that make up the unique identity of each of us.

5. God-Given

These new bodies will be given to us by God. They will be of divine origin.

But God gives us a body as He pleases (1 Corinthians 15:38).

6. Powerful

The resurrected body will be powerful.

It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power (1 Corinthians 15:43).

Our mortal bodies are weak. This will not be the case with our resurrection bodies.

7. Angel-Like

The bodies of believers will be angel-like. Jesus said.

For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven (Matthew 22:30).

The idea seems to be they will not have power to reproduce, or have any sexual drive. Jesus also said the bodies of believers will be deathless.

Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection (Luke 20:36).

8. Spiritual Body

The new body will be "spiritual." The term "spiritual body" seems like a contradiction of terms. Although we will receive spiritual bodies, we will not be pure spirit. The emphasis is upon the new body in which we receive.

It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:44).

9. Immortal And Incorruptible

Our present bodies decay and die, our new bodies will not.

So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable (1 Corinthians 15:42).

For this corruption must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality (1 Corinthians 15:53).

Immortality means not subject to death, while mortal means perishable, or subject, to death.

10. Adaptable To New Environment

The new body will be from heaven, adaptable to the new environment. It will be able to function both in heaven and on the new earth.

As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made out of dust; as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are heavenly (1 Corinthians 15:48).

11. Glorious

Scripture speaks of our new body as being glorious.

It is sown in dishonor it is raised in glory (1 Corinthians 15:43).

Humans were made to live with God forever - not to be buried in the ground in dishonor.

12. Luminous

The new body will be luminous. The Book of Daniel says the wise will shine.

Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the expanse, and those who turn to righteousness like the stars forever and ever (Daniel 12:3).

Jesus said they will shine as the sun.

Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father (Matthew 13:43).


Moses' face shined when he was in God's presence.

And whenever the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone, then Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with Him (Exodus 34:35).


At the transfiguration, Jesus shone with a bright light.

And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light (Matthew 17:2).

Adam And Eve Clothed With Light?

It is possible that Adam and Eve were clothed with some type of light garment before the Fall. After they fell, Adam and Eve realized that they had lost something.

Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves (Genesis 3:7).

It has been supposed that they had lost some clothing of light when they sinned. This would be consistent with the new bodies believers will receive - a bright or luminous body.

13. Perfected In Righteousness

The new body of the believer will be perfected in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).

14. Different From One Another

The resurrection bodies of the righteous will be different from one another.

There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body (1 Corinthians 15:41,42).

15. Our Same Identity

We will each keep our own unique identity. Paul wrote.

By His power God raised the Lord from the dead, and He will raise us also (1 Corinthians 6:14).

He will raise "us" up. This shows that we will each keep our identity in the afterlife.


Having looked at the relevant passages in the New Testament we can conclude the following concerning the resurrection of the body.

1. It will be a genuine body like that of Christ.

2. It will be both permanent and indestructible.

3. In some sense, it will be the same body that was put in the grave, but in another sense it will be different. There is some mystery with respect to the resurrection body that the Scriptures do not fully explain.

4. Though there will be a certain physical connection between the old and new, the nature of that connection is not explained.

5. What we do know is that our resurrected bodies will be something glorious.

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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