"Absent from the Body
Present with the Lord"
The Scripture verse in 2 Corinthians 5:8 is often misquoted and misunderstood. Many like to use this as if it's proof that we are immediately in the presence of the Lord upon dying. This teaching is far from the Word of God but is a tradition believed by the majority of Christians. It is the root of all spiritism and began back in the Garden of Eden when Satan uttered the first lie:
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.(Gen. 3:4,5)
This first lie should not be glossed over. It is the opposite of what God told man in the garden:
Gen 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
God says "Thou shalt surely die"
Satan says "Tho shalt NOT surely die..thou shalt be as gods (spirits)
Does this have a familiar ring?
Most Christians believe that you don't really die but your immortal soul goes up to heaven if a believer or to a burning hell if an unbeliever.
This is in complete contradiction on God's description of death:
Gen 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Only Christ is said to have immortality at this time, (1 Tim. 6:16) There are no "immortal souls" floating around in heaven or hell. Did you know that the term "immortal soul" cannot be found in the Bible? It is man-made term. Search and see.
There are many scripture verses that tell us of a "raising" out of sleep, and a"putting on" of immortality, which Christ gives to us at that day (2Tim.4:8).
The passage in Corinthians has to do with the saints whose hope was to dwell with Christ at his Kingdom on earth. It is obvious that this resurrection is postponed, because the King did not return to set up His kingdom, due to Israel's blindness and lack of repentance, see Acts 3:19,20 and Acts 28:25-28.
The Bible tells us that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God
(1Cor.15:50) and Paul knew this. Therefore, Paul had a desire to escape this
"naked state" spoken of in verse 2Cor. 5:3. He did not want to feel the sting of death that so many other saints before him felt. He groaned to be clothed with the glorious body he so longed for, so that he could be present with Christ. He knew that, while he was in that mortal body, he could not be present with Him at His Kingdom. (v.2) He expected Christ to return at any moment to give immortality to those saints whose hope was the Kingdom on earth.
The subject of 2 Cor.5:1-8 is not about dying and immediately being in the
presence of the Lord. It is about a desire to be clothed with the spiritual body at Christ's coming. If you read the verses preceding v.8, you will see the subject concerns resurrection and a longing not to suffer the naked state, but to be clothed in the glorious resurrection body at His coming, in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor. 15:52). It has nothing to do with the Satan-generated lie of the "immortal soul." It has to do with resurrection and a desire to escape the naked state (death) at His coming.
Paul knew, that while he was in his mortal body, he would not be present with the Lord. 2Cor 5:6 - "Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord." It is obvious that he'd rather be absent from that mortal body and present with the Lord. Paul, who was flesh and blood at that time, knew that could only happen in resurrection, when that mortal MUST put on immortality and when the corruptible MUST put on incorruptible. (1Cor.15:53,54) It is only Christ, dwelling in the light (heaven), who has immortality (1Tim.6:16). The saints, whose hope was the Kingdom on earth, will one day realize their hope in resurrected bodies from the grave (Hosea 13:14).
" I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction..." (see also, 1Cor 15:55). “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”
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Study concerning 2 Cor. 5:1-8
1. He groaned in his tabernacle (mortal body), which is described as his earthly house. (vs.1)
2. What did he groan about? Paul groaned (desired exceedingly) to be clothed with his resurrection body. (vs.2)
3. He did not desire to be found naked (dead) (vs.3) - see also Job 1:21,26:6 - but wanted to experience his change in the twinkling of an eye (See also: 1Thess. 4:15-17).
4. He groaned to be clothed with his immortal body, so that he would not see death (be naked), that mortality might be swallowed up of life (vs.3,4, See also 1 Cor.15: 53,54).
5. His Spirit is given to the believer, and thereby sealed until the day of redemption (vs. 5, See also 2Cor. 1:22, and Ephesians 1:14).
6. He knows assuredly that while he is at home in his mortal body, he is absent from the Lord (vs. 6). But when the Lord returns, he will put on immortality and thereby be ever present with the Lord. (1Thess.4:17)
Paul could surely have declared "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory", if the Kingdom had not been postponed. Paul's desire in this passage was to not taste the sting of death at that time. But after the Kingdom was postponed at Acts 28:28, Paul was resigned to death and resurrection. He looked for His appearing "in that day" (2 Tim 4:6-8).
7. They walk by faith, knowing that they will be clothed. (vs.7)
8. Paul was willing to be clothed with his immortal body and be present with the Lord. This is like saying, I'm ready and willing to be present with the Lord in my immortal body, and be absent from this mortal body thereby not experiencing the sting of death (vs.8, see also 1Cor.15:55).
9. He knows that while he is at home in that mortal body, he is not present with the Lord. (vs.6,8) No one could enter the kingdom that was not clothed with their immortal body because "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God". (1Cor.15:50)
In conclusion, do these passages have to do with resurrection? Or, do they have to do with dying immediately and floating up to heaven as some platonic "immortal soul"?