What will happen to our bodies at the Rapture?

By: Dr. John Walvoord; ©1996
Bible Prophecy Questions Answered by Leading Christian Scholars.


What will happen to our bodies at the Rapture?

Dr. John Walvoord: In connection with the Rapture of the Church in I Thessalonians 4, he indicates that Christians who are living will be caught up to meet the Lord. And this, of course is taught in I Corinthians Chapter 15. In this chapter he is dealing with the subject of resurrection and he deals with this matter of the Rapture of the Church and he brings out in verses 51 and following these wonderful truths: “Behold I tell you a mystery: we shall not all sleep but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye at the at the last trump; for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”
Now, those of us who are living as Christians in the world recognize we have some problems. First of all, we have a body that is given to us by our parents and it’s a sinful body. It’s able to sin. In fact, every Christian sins. It’s also a body that grows older, and whether you resist it or not, eventually you grow older. And finally, it’s mortal; that is, it can die.

Now, these three things have to be changed. And I believe when the Rapture of the Church occurs, instantly we are going to be changed and given bodies patterned after the resurrection body of Christ and this will make us suitable for being in the Lord’s presence in heaven. You see, we couldn’t stand it to be in the presence of a holy God in our present bodies. We need an entirely different body and that will be given to us at the Rapture of the Church. So a whole generation of Christians would go to heaven without dying.

In the Old Testament you have the illustration of Enoch and Elijah who went to heaven without dying, but they’re the only exceptions. Everybody else is born, raised, and dies in history. But now here’s a whole generation that’s going to be changed and this is our wonderful prospect. And so whether we’re young Christians or middle age or older, we have this wonderful hope that if Christ comes any day, that we’ll be raptured and our bodies will be instantly changed.


  1. sadie willis on January 19, 2016 at 10:43 am

    these are some good reading knowledge of the Rapture; continue to send them to me

    [email protected]

  2. mike samuel on May 10, 2021 at 2:58 am

    Question: If I’d be raptured at the age of 100, will I remain at that age for all eternity when I’m raptured except that I’ll be as strong as a very young man? IF that’s the case, then I do NOT mind at all being raptured at 100!!

    • Summer Gunter on May 10, 2021 at 3:36 pm

      Hi Mike! The Bible does not specifically mention our age at the time of the rapture. It does teach each believer will receive a new eternal body and be with the Lord forever (1 Cor. 15:51-58; 1 Thes. 4:13-18). Age will no longer be important as we will dwell with the Lord for all eternity.

      The John Ankerberg Show

  3. Susan Carmona on July 11, 2021 at 3:34 pm

    Rather ridiculous question (I’ve been told), but when alive Christians are raptured, is it done so without a trace, or are their clothes left in a heap behind on earth?

    • John Ankerberg Show Staff on July 12, 2021 at 3:27 pm

      Susan, this is a common question and a natural thing to wonder, but unfortunately, we can’t be sure of the answer. The Bible doesn’t specify what will happen to their clothes. We’re sorry we couldn’t be of more help on this one!


  4. Teekay on September 6, 2021 at 7:46 pm

    When we are taken up,do we do so with our current consciousness,what happens to our mind and everything we know,will our memories be wiped out or what?

    • John Ankerberg Show Staff on September 10, 2021 at 2:21 pm

      After we are taken up, it appears from what we read in the Scriptures that we will have our memories and knowledge. We will be rewarded for what we have done for our Lord (so it would make sense that our life flashes before us) at the judgment seat of Christ. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). People often wonder how we could be happy in heaven knowing that people we love are not there. But we read in Revelation 21:4 that when the Lord creates the new heaven and new earth: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” We aren’t told how He will take away the pain, but it could be because then we will be able to understand everything from God’s perspective: “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

  5. gordon barry on September 22, 2021 at 1:17 pm

    do we become about the same age as jesus that would be around 33 years of age when he went to stay in heaven. I thought I saw this ,but can’t remember where .If we no longer have pain and other issues at 74 than why would’nt we have new and better bodies?

  6. mark on August 26, 2022 at 2:25 pm

    I still think the passages could be interpreted as our spirit is immediately taken and put into the new body as the dead are. That leaves our vessel bodies to just drop. Not sure why everyone keeps interpreting it as the body changes and no longer exists. All the passages could mean the spirit is changed from one body to the new and still be consistent with God’s word. Jesus, Enoch and Elijah, did not technically die, but Jesus was not a Rapture, His body had to go to fulfill prophecy. I believe Enoch and Elijah did not die as they are the two witnesses that come back and will die in Jerusalem to be resurrected after 3 days. So they will fulfill Gods command that every person shall see one death. As for not sleeping, that’s easy, sleeping is what the dead do waiting for the endtime, we will simply not sleep as our spirit will be removed instantaneously, thus no “sleeping.” I think this view is more in line with the whole bible and how God stated things would happen and leaving our corrupt bodies will give satan the explanation of the virus killing the mostly unvaccinated to explain it. Only the wise will know it was the Rapture. I think people today wanting the bodies to disappear is another example of our ego and self loving, we love these bodies and don’t want to see them corrupted, and we shouldn’t, they are corruption and God will give us new bodies.

    • Brad on December 7, 2022 at 10:12 am

      mark, I agree completely. Our soul will be snatched away. Our lifeless and useless husk will fall where it is. Thar will make it easier to fool the world.

      • mark on December 30, 2022 at 3:05 pm

        “What you sow does not come to life unless it dies”
         “it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. ”
        ” that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

        A few passages I believe uphold that the body drops but we translate into the new body. None actaully hold the corrupt body is removed. The Bible says everyone will die once, but some may not sleep. It doesn’t matter to us Christians as we will be taken immediately in the Rapture, but its interesting to analyze what the world will do to explain the Rapture and body or no-body are two very different explanations….
        Like the passages of Giants in Genesis, do all children get raptured, and many other passages that are hard to understand, most Christians gloss over them and move on. My Calvary Chapel Pastor down south is the best teacher I have had since becoming a Christian in the 1970s, but even he glosses over the few too difficult questions by not wanting to discuss passages that conflict with their view. This is one that is tough…I love the tough passages….

      • mark on December 30, 2022 at 3:07 pm

        Watch and be ready as Jesus says, it is real soon. The unusual rain at Petra the other day I suspect is God preparing for Ezekiel 38…. which is after the Rapture….

  7. Marc Robinson Lim on October 12, 2022 at 7:06 am

    Do we still need to eat food? Will we ever go hungry in the new earth?

  8. Brandon McGarity on February 4, 2023 at 9:21 am

    I disagree that it would be easier to explain if all the bodies stayed and fell lifeless to the ground. How would you explain millions of bodies from people all over the world who all expired at the exact same time? No virus would explain that. I think what’s more plausible would be millions of people vanishing and then very quickly being replaced by shapeshifters (Idk what the correct label or term is but basically some variation of offspring bread from the fallen angels and humans [reptilians perhaps]. There’s quite a bit of video footage on YouTube of some of these shapeshifters accidentally revealing themselves. I believe they are demonic on some level but they’re not spirits; very much in the physical realm and they definitely do have what I would call a supernatural ability to change and transform their physical appearance.) who look, walk, talk and act just like the Christian they’ve been assigned to replace.

  9. James on March 22, 2023 at 9:36 am

    2 part question. When believer’s die now their body is left behind and they are with Jesus. So in the temporary Heaven they have no bodies. So when the Rapture occurs and we are taken up, if we receive new bodies then we would be in the temporary Heaven with glorified bodies until Jesus’ return? Secondly, since we go where Jesus goes, are those in Heaven with Jesus at the Rapture?

  10. Charles on September 24, 2023 at 1:02 pm

    I have wonder about something, and hope to get an answer!
    Question: During the rapture, does our bodies go or does only our soul goes, thus leaving our physical body here on earth??

    • Billy on November 9, 2023 at 9:56 pm

      I have the same question, I think our flesh mortal bodies will be left behind and we will recieve a new body that our spirit will be in. One thing it says is you will be changed in a twinkling of a eye CHANGED so I think we won’t disappear but will be changed with a new body

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