If we go immediately to Heaven when we die, but do not receive our glorified bodies until the Lord returns, what will we look like in the interim state? Will we look like “ghosts”? Will we be recognizable? The Bible does not tell us everything about this, but it does give us some interesting facts that indicate we will be able to recognize one another before we receive our glorified bodies.
Shortly after Jesus died, Mary Magdalene went back to His tomb and found it was empty. She was very upset by this.
JOH 20:11-17But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; and she beheld two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” When she had said this, she turned around, and beheld Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren, and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’”
Jesus had yet not ascended into Heaven. He had yet not received His glorified body. But He did not look like a ghost. He obviously was recognizable as a human being. However, Mary was not able to recognize Him instantly by His appearance. He did look somewhat different than He did before.
Mary was talking to a recognizable human being, but she thought it was the gardener, even after He spoke briefly to her. Then, this man spoke her name, and she immediately knew it was Jesus. He apparently looked somewhat different than He did before He died. His voice probably was a little different. However, for some reason, when He spoke her name, she immediately was able to recognize Him.
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