What kind of body do the dead have in Heaven?
1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A loved one dies! Their soul and spirit depart from the Body. The Body is Buried, Cremated or otherwise disposed of, prayerfully in a proper way. But what of the Soul and Spirit? Before we see what the New Testament teaches, let’s start in the old Testament.
In Genesis most of the time it says of a person “and he died”. But then we come to Enoch (Genesis 5:21-24). VS 24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. Body, Soul and Spirit.
Then the Old Testament goes on “and he died” until we get to Elijah (2Kings 2). VS 2 And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. Vs 11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. Body, Soul and Spirit.
These two men went to be with the Lord in bodies of Flesh, Blood and Bone/Soul and Sprit (not a glorified body). But where did they go? The Lord Jesus had to be the first to rise from the dead and ascend into Heaven with a Body of Flesh and Bone, He had shed his blood on Calvary.
(1 Corinthians 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept).
Now from the New Testament: Matthew 17:3-4, Mark 9:4-5, Luke 9:30-33 (And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.). These men, Moses and Elias, had BODIES and they were recognized by the disciples, they heard them speak. (Now Moses had died (Deut 34:5-6) and was buried. Elias (Elijah) had been taken to Heaven in a whirlwind). Yet here they were, in bodies that were recognizable and speaking. Bodies of flesh, blood and bone, soul and spirit?
In Luke 23:43 The Lord Jesus, on the cross, verified to the thief, that Paradise was a real place that the soul/spirit go to upon death. Either that or He lied to the thief that day.
The location of Paradise was in the center of the earth: Matthew 12:40 (For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.), Eph 4:9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?). And He went there to set free those who dwelt there: 1 Peter 3:19 (By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;). But what did they look like? It is evident they could see each other Luke 16:19-31. They must have had bodies. The rich man could see and identify Abraham and Lazarus. He could feel pain and wanted Lazarus to dip his finger in cool water and cool his tongue. (BODIES!)
On His resurrection day, many graves were opened and bodies came out of the graves Matthew 27:52-53. Were these raised bodies like Lazarus (John 11:14-44) only to die later? (Lazarus did not come out of the grave with a glorified body). Or did these perhaps follow the Lord Jesus into heaven after His ascension? The scripture is silent on this.
So, the souls/spirits in Paradise had a form (body) that was recognizable to them and to anyone else who might have seen them. But what about today, since the Lord ascended into Heaven? One dies, the body is buried, cremated or otherwise disposed of, prayerfully in a proper way. Soul/Spirit go to be with the Lord (Paul words absent from the body present with the Lord, 2 Corinthians 5:6-8). Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.). We know that the departed do not receive a glorified (Flesh and Bone) body, that is not given until the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Paul expounds on this glorified body (1 Cor 15:35-58).
But what about now? Those Souls/Spirits that are in Heaven right now. It is apparent from the brief study above, they have a form (body) that is identifiable to all and they are in perfect peace and happiness. But we who alive look for that blessed hope (Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;) and our glorified bodies.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 Behold, I shew 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 last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.