I have been in studying in Acts 2-8 the last few weeks. The apostles and disciples were fearless in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, despite tremendous opposition and persecution. One reason for this fearlessness was the indwelling of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in Acts 2. There are other reasons, but I have been meditating on their loss of fear of death after seeing Jesus resurrected. Up until this point resurrection was theoretical, but afterward it was a settled fact for the apostles and disciples.
Paul said when a disciple dies they ” …depart and be with Christ…” [Philippians 1:23b]
Also Paul said: We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. [2 Corinthians 5:8]
We know our bodies will be in the grave so this means our soul will be with Jesus. Then in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 Paul describes the future rapture of the saints physical bodies from the grave and those still alive.
John said these raptured bodies while be like the resurrected body of Jesus: Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. [1 John 3:2]
Then Paul described the Rapture: 1 Thessalonians 4: 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
Note in the picture that the persons who rejected Jesus on earth are not resurrected at the rapture in the scripture above. Represented by the unopened grave, man working in the field and a person asleep in bed.Their resurrection will be later and their judgment described in Revelation 20:11-15.
Henry Luke August 19, 2016, Revised 7/18/2017