“To Be Absent From the Body is to be Present With the Lord” – Said No Bible EVER!
In 2 Cor 5:8 and its context, Paul equates our earthly house (body) as being clothed with MORTALITY. And our heavenly house (body) as being clothed with IMMORTALITY.
But between the transition from the earthly house to the heavenly, there is a middle stage where we aren’t clothed with anything. And there’s no going around it. Paul referenced it as being naked or unclothed (2 Cor 5:3-4), meaning, being without a house (body)… which is a reference to the condition of DEATH.
And that is the part that is conveniently ignored by the confused- the immortal soul advocates who claim that when we die, we go immediately to heaven (or hell), without interruption of consciousness. NOT TRUE!
Paul nowhere implies that we will arrive in heaven WITHOUT a body; but rather, that we will not have THIS body.
Here’s what he really said:
2 Cor 5:1 – For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2 Cor 5:2 – For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:
2 Cor 5:3 – If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
2 Cor 5:4 – For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
2 Cor 5:5 – Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
2 Cor 5:6 – Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
2 Cor 5:7 – (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
2 Cor 5:8 – We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
2 Cor 5:9 – Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
All that Paul was really saying is that we are confident of our future ETERNAL dwelling. And therefore, that he preferred, or was WILLING RATHER at that moment in time, to be absent from our temporary, earthly bodies, and be present with the Lord in OUR GLORIFIED HEAVENLY BODIES. WITHOUT having to die and find ourselves unclothed, naked, and void of life. In other words, he was willing instead, to be absent from this mortal life and already be present with the Lord in our heavenly, immortal life.
Nothing of a mystery there! I’m sure we’d all PREFER to be clothed with immortality NOW, and be with Christ in heaven NOW, rather than to ACTUALLY feel the sting of death someday, and then be with Christ LATER, or AFTERWARD at His Coming, at the Resurrection of THE DEAD.
So, Paul IS NOT advocating that we are immortal, or that anyone goes immediately to heaven upon an earthly death. Remember, he also wrote that God ALONE is immortal (1 Tim 6:16). So, that means we’re not! It doesn’t get more explicit than that.
If Christ WOULDN’T return one day to resurrect us from the dead- we’d be eternally lost into oblivion. For the simple reason- as Paul said, we don’t have inherent immortality. God ALONE is immortal. Think about it! This wouldn’t be the case if we automatically went to heaven consciously at death by way of immortality.
Once again, LISTEN CAREFULLY as Paul expounds this point:
1 Corinthians 15:16 – For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
1 Corinthians 15:17 – And if Christ be not raised…
1 Corinthians 15:18 – Then they also which ARE FALLEN ASLEEP in Christ ARE PERISHED.
1 Corinthians 15:20 – BUT NOW is Christ risen from the dead, and become THE FIRSTFRUITS of them THAT SLEPT.
1 Corinthians 15:21 – For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:23 – But EVERY MAN IN HIS OWN ORDER: Christ THE FIRSTFRUITS; AFTERWARD they that are Christ’s AT HIS COMING.
So, once again, we see that Christ is THE FIRST of those WHO ARE asleep to have been resurrected and gone to heaven. And the rest of us WILL NOT go to heaven until Christ returns for us AT HIS COMING- at the resurrection, AND NOT AT ANY OTHER TIME.