“In a moment, in the twinkling of eye, at the last trumpet call, for a trumpet will sound, the dead in Christ will be raised imperishable and we shall be changed , for this perishable must put on the imperishable and this mortal part of us must put on immortality”. (1 Corinthians 15: 52, 53)
Every discipline uses “short-cut” words for brevity. Christians call verse 52 “The Rapture” and 53 “Glorified bodies”. The concept is at some future time Jesus will return in the clouds and call to heaven all the dead souls in Christ and the Christian souls alive at that time and provide them glorified bodies. They will then be with Jesus for eternity … complete: body (glorified), soul, and spirit.
There is, however, another concept often overlooked.
“But I am hard pressed between the two. My yearning desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far, far better; but to remain in my body is more needful for your sake” (Philippians 1: 23, 24)
Here Paul is saying if he were to die he would be with Christ. Many people suggest when Paul died, he had to wait for the Rapture in some unconscious state for thousands of years to obtain his glorified body and be with Christ.
There is a sounder explanation.
“And in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.” (Luke 16: 23).
Clearly, those dead souls were recognizable and did NOT have glorified bodies. The question becomes how people can be recognizable when their bodies are dead and they have not yet received a “glorified” one.
The answer can be found in John 20: 17:
“Jesus said to her, Do not cling to me for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brethren and tell them I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.”
Jesus didn’t want Mary to touch Him for He did not yet have a glorified body. Later, that morning, He encounters Mary again (after ascending to the Father) and allows her to touch Him.
“And, behold, Jesus met them and said, Hail! And they went up to Him and clasped His feet and worshipped Him.” (Matt 28:9)
So, how does all this fit together? When Christians die our mortal bodies return to the earth (never to be needed again). Our souls emit some kind of image that is recognizable, like Jesus did before He ascended. Christians immediately go to be with Christ when they die because their souls are inseparably linked to their born-again spirit which is permanently connected to the Holy Spirit.
Lastly, the only Christians who were in limbo when they died (and only for a short period of time) were those saints in Matthew 27: 52, 53.
The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep in death were raised, and coming out of their tombs after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.”
Those were the people who accepted Christ and believed on Him, but died while Jesus was still alive and before His resurrection