Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words
Jesus came back to life after he died. In his new body, he spent time with his apostles and ate with them (Acts 10.41). Clearly this resurrection body was a real, physical body (though different in ways we don’t yet understand, cf I Cor 15.44). God the father used his power to bring Jesus back to life (Acts 2.32), and will do the same for us after we die.
The bible gives us some pretty clear information about where we’ll be going after we die, and it’s amazing. We have life now, and we don’t seriously question its reality. Death is just a blip from our perspective (cf I Cor 15.52). We’ll have life then, and it’ll be just as real. So where are we going? Our citizenship is in “the heavens” (Phil 3.20). For some reason, most translations have it singular — “in heaven,” even though this is dative plural in Greek. Jesus is going to come back from the heavens too (3.20). The plural form of ουρανος (“heavens”) is also found in Col 1.5, 16, 4.1; II Cor 5.1; Eph 1.10, 3.15, 4.10, 6.9; I Thess 1.10, Hb 1.10, 4.14, 8.1, 9.23, 10.34, 12.23, 25; I Pt 1.4, II Pt 3.5, and many other passages. It can mean “skies”, but in many contexts it means “space”. This makes perfect sense in light of II Pt 3.13 and Rev 21.1-2 (cf Is 65.17; use of παλιγγενεσια in Mt 19.28).
After our death, we’ll be given a body and source of life that cannot be killed (I Cor 15.42-49; I Pt 1.3-7). This applies to good people and bad people. The difference for good people is that we’ll get to leave Earth with Jesus, while everyone else will suffer forever. We want to avoid everyone else’s fate, so we do our best to follow God as he gives us constant forgiveness.