How Does the Timing of End Times Events and the Resurrection Work?

Question from a reader:

Do we get our new permanent bodies only after everything is finished here and Jesus sets up the New Heavens and New Earth? Or if we are raptured, do we get our new bodies at that time? If we do not get new permanent bodies at the rapture, what kind of bodies do we have during the Millennium?

Answer from Stephanie Anderson, EPM staff:

These are good and interesting questions, but there are no easy, clear-cut answers. Much depends on one’s views of the end times, including the rapture and of the millennium.

Regarding Revelation 20:4-5, the ESV Study Bible says, “Premillennialists think this means that these resurrected believers will assist with Christ’s thousand-year reign as righteous King over the whole earth.” It also says, “Amillennialists think this means deceased believers now (and during the entire ‘thousand years,’ which means the time from Pentecost to the second coming) are ‘reigning’ with Christ from heaven. Postmillennialists see it as a future triumph of Christianity in the world.”

About the end times, Randy writes, “I don’t consider myself an expert on the details of the end times. It’s not my thing, and I think there is too much that is highly speculative.”

You can read Randy’s thoughts on the rapture here. He writes, “I’m not sure of the rapture’s timing. I affirm the second coming of Christ and am premillennial, but depending on what Scriptures one goes to, a case can be made for pre-trib, post-trib, mid-trib and various adaptations of those positions.”

Also, see his thoughts on the millennium here.

At the end of the article on the Millennium, Randy writes, “The Millennium question relates to whether the old Earth will end, and the New Earth will begin, immediately after the return of Christ, or a thousand years later after the end of the Millennium. But regardless of when the old Earth ends, the central fact is that the New Earth will begin. The Bible is emphatic that God’s ultimate Kingdom and our final home will not be on the old Earth but on the New Earth, where at last God’s original design will be fulfilled and enjoyed forever—not just for a thousand years.”

The same could be true of the exact timing of when we’ll receive our resurrection bodies: regardless of our views of the Millennium, and questions related to its timing and the precise details, the central fact is that the resurrection will happen, and we will live forever with Jesus on the New Earth. That’s good news and should unite us all in our theology!  

For further study, one book Randy suggests is The Complete Idiots Guide to the Book of Revelation. He writes, “The ‘Idiots Guide’ series are really not for idiots, of course; they just try to be very clear in their communication. This one’s on the book of Revelation.”

Something I heard recently on a Bible podcast is, I think, helpful. The host said it's often useful to ask what a passage is telling us. Is it information, or is it telling us something we should do? If it's information, we can read it as such. If it’s instruction, then we should ask God’s help to do what it says. In the case of the exact details of end times events, this is information. It can also be quite difficult information to interpret; the meanings of these passages have been debated for thousands of years. So, while study of the end times can be fascinating, and of course all of God’s Word is inspired and should be studied, instead of getting hung up on exact details, we need to put it in perspective and remember “the main thing.” And that is following Jesus faithfully each day, loving Him and loving the other people God puts in our path today, and living for eternity.

Photo: Unsplash

Stephanie Anderson is the communications and graphics specialist at Eternal Perspective Ministries.