Evangelist & Web Minister
Lamb & Lion Ministries
Timeline of the Saved
For those who are rescued from the punishment of our sins, for those who were saved from God's wrath, for those who have accepted Jesus' gift of salvation, let's cover what life will be like for you after you die. Let's say today you go outside and a tornado sucks you up. You are now dead. The following is what happens to you if you believe in Jesus as your Savior.
1) Go Right to Jesus
Right after death your spirit will go right to Jesus. Immediately upon death you are ushered into the presence of Jesus by His angels in Heaven. You can find that in Luke 16:22.
2) Receive an Intermediate Body
When you get to Heaven, you will be given what is called an "intermediate body." It's a real body. You are not a ghost. You are not going around moaning "Ooooowwhhhh." God alone is spirit, as John 4:24 tells us, but the rest of us have bodies. You are in Heaven with a real body, and thank goodness, it is clothed. We will not spend eternity naked. I am glad for that!
Your intermediate body will also be recognizable. The people who are up there with you will be able to recognize you. We can see examples of that from the Bible, like Samuel when he came back and King Saul immediately recognized him. Lazarus and the Rich Man in Luke 16 recognized each other. Moses and Elijah when they came with Jesus to the Transfiguration, what did Peter say? "Hey, let me build a tent for you guys." We don't build tents for spirits. They were clearly in recognizable, physical bodies. And, look the Tribulation Martyrs. When the people who will die in the Tribulation are up in Heaven, what are they wearing? They are wearing white robes. They've got physical bodies. So, you too will receive an intermediate body when you die.
3) Resurrection and Rapture
You will next experience the Rapture of the Church. If you live in Heaven with Jesus up until the time of the Rapture — that time when Jesus comes for His Church to glorify their bodies and take them to Heaven to be with Him forever — you will be part of that, too. You will get to experience your own resurrection as your earthly body which is what sleeps in the ground is combined with your intermediate body, and you will receive what is called a resurrected or glorified body.
The order of it goes that first the dead in Christ are resurrected and raptured, and then those who are alive at the Rapture. But, it's like there's no discernible time between the two groups getting raptured, for it all happens in the time it takes to snap, in a twinkling of an eye. First Thessalonians 4:16-17 explains this, "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."
4) Tribulation Activities
While we in our glorified bodies are up in Heaven with Jesus, that's when the earth will enter into a stage called the "Tribulation." It's seven years of time when the world is punished for its continual rebellion against God. This punishment is only for those on the earth and is not for those who are up in Heaven.
Those in Heaven will experience three things while the Tribulation ravishes the earth:
The first activity is a judgment called the "Judgment of the Just," as 2 Corinthians 5:10 describes. But, it's not a judgment for salvation. You are in Heaven so you are already saved, right? Instead, it is a judgment of what you were doing while on earth. Remember that we were created in this life to do good works, that we were created in Christ Jesus to do on His behalf. So, you should be asking yourself just what are you doing with all your time and energy?
At the Judgment of the Just, we are going to be rewarded based on the quantity of our good works, meaning how much we used our time and talents. We will be judged on the quality of our good works, meaning how much effort we really put into trying to do a good job of reaching people for Christ and serving others in His name. And, we will be judged on our motivations. Did we do those works to glorify ourselves, or did we do them for somebody else? It will be the greatest reward ceremony in all of history, and we will get into what those rewards will be a little more later.
The second activity will be a party. It has this real eloquent name — the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Basically, it's a "Welcome to Heaven" type of party. God loves parties. He's not all gloom and doom like some people falsely tell you. God loves a good party. Jesus went to parties all the time while He was on earth. God is going to throw a big party, a celebration, for those of us who are in Heaven reunited with Him forever.
The third activity we'll be involved in while in Heaven during that Tribulation period is that we are going to prepare to return with Jesus to Earth, as Revelation 19 describes. Since Jesus will be fully decked out in warrior apparel, we too I assume will get some kind of armament. We are going to get a horse to ride back on, too. I don't really know how to ride a horse just now, but we will get some kind of thing to ride back on, and my hope is that instead it will be some kind of cool car. So, we will return with Jesus back down to earth.
5) Jesus' Second Coming
The next thing in our new life that we'll experience is Jesus Second Coming. There are about 500 prophecies in the Old Testament and one in 25 verses in the New Testament concerning Jesus' Second Coming, so there's a lot of description of this event.
We are told that we will accompany Jesus when He returns. Revelation 19:14 describes this return, "The armies of Heaven were following Him, riding on white horses, dressed in fine linens, white and clean." Well, there is my answer, I am not returning in a hot car. I'm going to have to ride a horse.
When we get to Earth, we are going to watch Jesus all by Himself defeat the worst scoundrel in all the world's history. He's ten times worse than Hitler ever was. This evil guy the Bible says will be called "the Antichrist." He's the eventual conqueror of the earth, but his rule will be short. Jesus upon His return will defeat the Antichrist and his army at a battle called Armageddon and with just a word Jesus will destroy all those armies that follow Satan.
We will witness Jesus ordering an angel to take Satan and have him chained up and dropped into a pit. Satan will no longer torment the world. Jesus will send the Devil into a deep pit for a long, long while.