For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
1 Thessalonians 4:14
Souls Already in Heaven
There are souls already in heaven. They trusted in Jesus for their salvation, and they have begun to enjoy eternity with him. Their bodies are still in the ground, but the souls are really enjoying paradise. It’s hard for us to picture the state of consciousness of a soul without a body, but the Bible encourages us to think of it like falling asleep.
At a certain point—only God knows when—those souls will return to earth to be reunited with their bodies. The Bible calls that the “second resurrection.” The first resurrection is when those souls came to faith in Jesus, but at the second resurrection, on Judgment Day, those souls will go back together with their original bodies. It doesn’t matter how much those bodies have disintegrated. God will raise them as glorified bodies.
Is that hard to believe? When we go to the graveyard, everything seems so permanent. But the soul of Jesus separated from his body, went to heaven, and then returned to his body. Jesus rose from the dead—body and soul—and appeared to many people to prove it. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, so we believe that we will die and rise again as well.
The resurrection of Jesus was dramatic, but the resurrection of people whose souls are already in heaven will be breathtaking. Jesus will be in the sky, and he will bring with him the souls of all of those people. They will reenter their glorified bodies. It’s going to be spectacular!
In the meantime, we wait with patience. We grieve the temporary loss of our loved ones in death, but we look forward to the resurrection of the dead.
Lord Jesus, I thank you that because of your promises of sins forgiven and eternal life I am able to look forward to your return with eager anticipation. Amen.