As a Christian you now have eternal life. Eternal life does not start when your body dies; your eternal life began the day you received Jesus as your Lord and Savior. According to 2 Corinthians 5:17, old things passed away, all things became new, and you became a new creation. You became a part of the body of Christ. Death is no longer in your future but has been recorded in your past. The Apostle Paul put it this way, "Our old man was crucified with Christ" (Romans 6:6).
Most Christians understand that they will live for all eternity, but I am frequently asked about what kind of body we will be living in. While it is true that there will be those living on the earth during the tribulation and the millennium in normal biological bodies, that is not the case for the Christian. God has a special plan for those who are a part of the body of Christ, the church. Let me explain.
After Jesus was crucified and His body was placed in a tomb for three days, God the Father raised Him from the dead. I believe He was resurrected with a physical flesh and blood body with natural abilities. There are two basic reasons why I believe this. First of all, He did not appear outside the tomb; the stone had to be rolled away for Him to leave. And secondly, when Mary saw Him, Jesus restricted her from touching Him. The reason was because He had not yet ascended to the Father. Then He instructed her to go tell the others "I am ascending to My Father" (John 20:17).
Obviously, something dramatic took place between the time He saw Mary and the time He appeared to anyone else. Hebrews records this event in chapter nine. Verses 12 and 24 tell us that He entered into the Holy of Holies in heaven. With His own blood He paid the price once and for all for everyone who would believe in Him. After placing His blood on the altar, the sacrifice was complete, and He was now glorified.
Later that same day, He appeared to some of His disciples. Interestingly, He told them to touch Him and to place their hands in His side. Then He said, "Look at Me and see that I am flesh and bone" (Luke 24:36-39). Note that He didn't say "flesh and blood." He left His blood on the altar in heaven.
After having placed His blood upon the altar, He became the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29) and took His place as Head of the church (Colossians 1:18). I believe that upon leaving His blood on the altar, He took on a glorified body with physical attributes that defied the natural laws of physics on earth. From this point on, He could move at the speed of thought (Luke 24:31), appear in rooms without going through a door (Luke 24:36), and gravity did not affect Him (Acts 1:9). In John 12:23 Jesus prophesied His glorification when He said, "The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified."
In John 14 Jesus told His disciples that He was leaving but that He would return for them. As the years passed, His followers eagerly watched for His return. But as some of these followers began to die, Paul was questioned about this.
His reply is recorded in 1 Thessalonians where he told them that the Lord will descend from heaven with a shout (along with the spirits of those who had died in Christ) and that the bodies of the dead in Christ will be resurrected and caught up into the air. Then the believers who are still alive will be caught up also (4:15-17). While together in the air, a miraculous event will occur. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, whether our bodies are dead or living, they will be changed (1 Corinthians 15:52) to become a glorified, spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:43-44). And we will become like Him (1 John 3:2).
From this point on, throughout eternity, we will forever be with Him (1 Thessalonians 4:17). As His body we will, of course, have the same attributes as Him (1 Corinthians 15:49). The church will forever be His body and the trophy of His grace (Ephesians 2:7) separated from all other creation by this one reality: We are joint heirs with Him (Romans 8:17) and no other creation, no angel, no human, no host of heaven will be a joint heir. Just the church!
We must never forget that not everyone will be caught up to be with the Lord in the air. The earth will continue to be the residence of all who are not in Christ at the time of the rapture. During the following seven years while the Antichrist is attempting to rule the world, those living on the earth will be faced with a choice -- the choice of believing that Jesus is the Messiah or following the Antichrist and taking his mark (Revelation 20:4).
After the seven years is completed, Jesus will return to earth with the church, the saints of God, and He will set up His kingdom (Matthew 24:30-31). In this process, He will bring before Him everyone from all the nations of the earth and separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-33). Nonbelievers will be cast out and these new tribulation believers will be allowed to enter into His millennial kingdom on earth. They will continue to have natural bodies with flesh and blood and live on the natural earth.
The church, however, will rule and reign with Christ out of the heavenly Jerusalem located above the earthly Jerusalem. For this to be, our bodies must be gravity defying just like His. No place in Scripture does it say that those living on earth during the millennium will be glorified, nor does it say that they will be like Him. That is a reward reserved for His body, the church (Philippians 3:21).
Truly He is the God of grace and the church is the trophy of His grace!
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who 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 3:20-21)