Absent From the Body to Be With Christ?

absent from the bodyDo not Paul’s words, “absent from the body present with the Lord” and “to depart and to be with Christ; which is far better” show that the believer goes immediately to heaven at death?

2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

Philippians 1:23  am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;

The only comfort Paul offered the Thessalonian Church was that the dead in Christ would be resurrected when Jesus comes again (1 Thess. 4:13-18). Likewise, 1 Corinthians 15, the resurrection chapter, puts forward no hope other than the resurrection of the dead.

Looking at 2 Cor. 5:8, in context, we note the following:

1. The hope expressed in the context is that of resurrection (2 Cor. 4:14);
2. The “earthly tent” is our present mortal body (5:1a);
3. The “building from God”, the “eternal house in heaven” (5:1b) is our future resurrection body;
4. The clothing metaphor (2-4) elsewhere is used of the resurrection (1Cor. 15:53-54);
5. The “swallowing up” of the “mortal” by “life” (5) also occurs at the resurrection (1Cor. 15:54);
6. It is in anticipation of this hope that we “groan” (2,4 c.f. Rom. 8:22f);
7. Paul’s use of such terms as “naked” (c.f. 1Cor. 15:36-27 with 42 and following) and “unclothed” describe the intermediate state and it is clear from the passage under consideration that Paul does not desire to be in this state (3,4) despite how Paul’s Greek contemporaries may have felt.
8. Note lastly that the context concerns our appearance before the judgment seat of Christ (10), which occurs only after Christ returns.
Paul speaks only of future resurrection from beginning to end.

So Paul’s controversial words are best understood as teaching Paul’s preference to be away from this mortal body, having put on his immortal resurrection body as a consequence of Christ having returned.

In Phil. 1:23 the use of the term “depart” suggests a journey in which the beginning is death and the end is being with Christ. The “gain” which Paul has in mind throughout the context is that which comes of dying a martyr’s death.

david

About David Burge

David Burge was the Editor of From Death to Life for 6 years and the chairperson of the Conditional Immortality Association of NZ from 1993 until his death in 2010 from Leukemia.

"He was a genuine leader, a gifted, enterprising, focused and humble person who could be relied upon to make the most of his own gifts and to take others with him. David was not afraid of responsibility, but rose to every opportunity granted him to serve His Lord and Saviour. He was inspirational, a man of courage and vision, who earned the complete confidence of all who knew him. He carried heavy burdens lightly, and displayed unfailing, cheerful good will towards all."
from A Tribute to David Burge by Warren Prestidge . He was the father of eight and dearly loved husband of Tarnya . He pastored the Takanini Church for 12 years and he had cerebral palsy.

Comments

  1. Bill McCracken says:

    While I agree with the major points put forward in this post, I still think that Paul is talking about some type of being “absent from the body”, some type of possible intermediate state between death and resurrection. Paul doesn’t say that he wishes that he were absent from his mortal body and present in his resurrected body, he simply states that being absent from the body is being present with the Lord.

    I’m glad you admit that these words from Paul are “controversial.” But I would enjoy seeing a better exegesis done on this topic rather than just implying that Paul was speaking of his future body. If he was, he should have said “to be absent from this body is to be present in the future body”, a statement he doesn’t make.

    This verse, to me, is a tough one to deal with when confronting those who believe that when we die, we all go to heaven. It supports their view.

    What does Jesus have to say about the “intermediate state”? Surely Paul can’t be the only one in scripture to talk about this subject? Does Jesus shed any light on this?

  2. Chuck McClellan says:

    It would seem that from the perspective of a dead guy, time itself has no meaning, right? (Like division by zero)

    So… even if clocks keep ticking in this “world” for thousands of years beyond his death, the next thing Paul would have been expecting to see would be Christ. Especially in the case of martyrs, as Paul had observed years before with Stephen.

    The phrase “absent from the body” is what he knows folks will perceive in this world five minutes after his heart stops.

    Why does it need to be more complicated than that? I didn’t make it to seminary, so help me out….

  3. Jonathan says:

    would you please elaborate what does Paul mean by saying “to be present with the Lord” after being absent with the body… I do believe in the unconscious survival in the intermediate state but i was having a hard time dealing with this passage. please help me.

  4. David Parker says:

    If Paul knew that to depart this life and to be with Christ was referring to a future time when he would have a resurrection body, THEN he would have contradicted what he said in II Cor. 5……..where he clearly said he did NOT want to be unclothed…….that is without a body.

    In other words, if Paul was going to leave this life and NOT be with Christ……..then he would be unclothed……..right?

    So he meant just what he said, and confirmed in II Cor 5 where he said ”absent from the body, present with the Lord”.

  5. Not all conditionalists believe in ‘soul sleep’, so called. For example, Edward White, the celebrated nineteenth century champion of conditionalism (and author of ‘Life in Christ’, 1846)believed in consciousness during the intermediate state.I believe, as a conditionalist, that the big issue is the ultimate extermination of all that is evil and rebellious. Am I naive to suggest that survival of the soul in the intermediate state does not threaten the basic tenet of conditional immortality? At the same time, it needs to be stated, that ‘soul sleep’ does not weaken the believer’s joy at the prospect of post-mortem existence with Christ; for the time gap between death and final resurrection will be as nothing (cp. the awakening after anaesthetic). Luther and Tyndale believed in ‘sol sleep’, but they did not appear to embrace the doctrine of eventual annihilation. (Please read my thesis on the above website.)
    Ray Bromham

  6. Have any ascended into Heaven?
    Joh 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
    Jesus said clearly that no man has ascended into heaven but he (Christ) who came down from heaven.
    Ac 2:29,34-35 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
    David was dead and buried and was not in a conscious state. The above scripture says clearly that he didn’t ascend into heaven.
    Read Hebrews 11 where it clearly says that all God’s people died without inheriting the promise and verse 40 is crystal clear that they all can’t be perfected apart from us.
    To be in heaven where God dwells is perfection which will only happen when all will receive their new bodies on the last day.
    Heb 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
    40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
    There are also crystal clear verses as Hebrews 6:20 and Hebrews 9:24
    Heb 6:20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
    Jesus is our forerunner who has entered heaven for us(all elect, whether dead or alive) and so doesn Heb 9:24 tell us.
    Heb 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
    I also had quoted Job 14:12 in my last post which also tells us the state of man when he dies.
    Job 14:12 So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.
    I want to ask you a brainstorming question. When Lazarus and the little girl died Jesus referred to them as sleeping and since they were the elect of God they went to heaven, then when they came back they should speak and describe what heaven looks like, How God looks like, what it is like being in heaven.But did this happen, no becoz they didnt ascend into heaven but were asleep. ie. In an unconscious state.
    1Jo 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
    Paul some years later would have shown us that there were some exceptions like Lazarus and the little girl saw everything that happens in heaven who were in heaven and their souls were called back into their bodies and were raised.
    1Co 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
    But Word of God is clear Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard.
    The most common example is given of Moses and Elijah who appeared to Christ on the Mount when he was transfigured but again that can be seen that it was just a vision and not reality.
    Mt 17:9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.
    There was nothing that the Lord of glory had to discuss with mere men Moses and Elijah or seek their counsel as the first blush meaning may suggest as stated in Luke 9:30-31.
    Lu 9:30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:
    31 Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.
    Jesus is God and He needn’t take counsel or instructions from Moses and Elijah regarding His death.
    Isa 40:13 Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him?
    14 With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?
    For discussion sake if one says that Jesus emptied Himself and became man and needed counsel then it definitely will not be from man but God Himself and He had it in fullness.
    Isa 11:2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
    What Peter ,James and John saw was only a vision. This is another symbolism God uses to teach spiritual truth. Moses represents the Law and Elijah the prophets and both the law and the prophets showed the suffering that the Messiah needs to go.
    Ro 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
    Mt 17:9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.
    I also just want to share the mortality of man and the immortality which only belongs to God.
    Tradition teaches that man’s soul is immortal. Let’s see some scriptures to see whether it is so.
    Eze 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
    The effect of sin is the death of the soul which everyman in Adam has to undergo. It’s so severe that Paul said 1Co 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
    Job 4:17 Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?
    Only God is Immortal: 1Ti 6:16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
    Speaking of ressurection that will happen when Christ will come on the last day Paul says 1Co 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
    Mortal will put on immortality: When Christ comes he will transform mortality to immortality as we all shall be like Him
    1Jo 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
    Death which regined and stung the soul as a result of sin will be swallowed up in victory when Christ will raise it up on the last day to be immortal.
    2Co 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.
    Col 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
    Chist’s soul was the only soul that was not left in hades ,the below scriptures shows all other souls whether elect or non elect souls were and are left in hades.(of course only till ressurection happens)
    Ac 2:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
    That’s why Christ is called the firstborn from the dead: Col 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
    If Abraham, Issac, Moses , David etc all their souls went to heaven then tell me how can Christ be called the firstborn from the dead?
    Resurrection of the Elect
    I was pondering on the following words of Jesus to the thief on the cross.
    Lu 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
    The first blush meaning seems that the thief directly went to heaven but a closer examinaton shows that Jesus plainly told him that Today he will be in His kingdom and not heaven.
    The key words are ‘Today’ and ‘Paradise’.
    Heb 3:15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
    Today is referring to the day of Salvation which was available for the thief even though it was his last moments on the cross.
    Paradise referring to the kingdom of God.
    Re 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
    The Bible says no man has ascended to heaven. Christ is the only one who came down from heaven and has ascended into heaven.
    Joh 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
    Eph 4:10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.
    Christ is the only one who is the forerunner who is for us entered into the very heavens where God dwelleth.
    Heb 6:20 – Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
    I am willing to be corrected if anyone can show me that true believers have already entered into heaven.
    The body of Christ ie. the elect are awaiting the resurrection
    Revelation 6:9-17 9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
    If we examine the passages below we see what Paul meant by being absent in the body to be present with The Lord. He wasn’t talking about our individual body but the entire body of Christ that will enter into glory.
    2 Corinthians 5:1-8 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 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 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. 5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
    9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
    10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
    1 Thessalonians 4: 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent F10 them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort F11 one another with these words.
    So the question is where do the elect go when they die?
    There are also verses such as these:
    Joh 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
    29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
    Notice the word all that are in the graves. Coming back to the thief on the cross Christ told him that he would be in paradise along with him and the Bible states that Christ was in the heart of the earth for 3 days and 3 nights.
    Mt 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.
    Lu 23:46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
    Well we may say that his body was in the grave but His spirit was with the Father but what about this verse
    Joh 20:17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
    So where was Christ in between His death and ressurection ie. the three days and three nights? So where do we think this thief was?
    We know that we shall not all sleep as some will be translated when Christ comes but there are those who have fallen asleep. What do we understand by the word asleep?
    1Co 15:51 ¶ Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
    Da 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
    1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
    These are the words God told Daniel Da 12:13 But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.
    If we say that Christ will come with the spirits of just men on the last day and these spirits will be given spiritual bodies this hardly sounds ressurection to me. If they dwell in heaven then what difference would it make if they dwell with or without a body.But when we examine the below verse it makes us think and see beyond.
    Paul says if there is no resurrection of the dead then this means Christ is not raised and then this means all who have fallen asleep as perished. Resurrection is a state of being made alive or woken up from the sleep one was in.
    1Co 15:18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
    19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
    20 ¶ But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
    Now concerning Moses and Elijah appearing to Christ ,there is a spiritual significance to this as this was just a vision which Peter, James and John saw.
    Mt 17:9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.
    The vision had a meaning, Moses represented the law and Elijah the Prophtes and throughout we say Jesus saying He came to fulfill the law and the prophets.
    Mt 5:17 ¶ Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
    Ro 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
    There was nothing that Christ who is God to discuss with mere men Moses and Elijah about His death,this vision was given to them that they believe that the law and the prophets testified of Him. Moses and Elijah can’t be elevated above Christ that Christ needed some consultation from them before he went to the cross.
    Contd…..Peter accounts the whole vision and leaves out Moses and Elijah and lays down the Spiritual
    2Pe 1:16 ¶ For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
    17 For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
    18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
    19 ¶ We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
    In Psalms there are also verses as:

    Ps 6:4 Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies’ sake.
    5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?
    6 I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.

    Ps 30:8 I cried to thee, O LORD; and unto the LORD I made supplication.
    9 What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth?

    Ps 88:9 Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.
    10 ¶ Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah.
    11 Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?
    12 Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

    Heb 6:20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

    Jesus is the forerunner who has entered into heaven for us,is the us here only those saints who are alive or does the verse mean that Christ as a forerunner has entered in heaven for all the saints irrespective of whether they are dead or alive?.

    Heb 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
    We read Rev 6 where the souls are crying out to God for vengeance.
    Could it be that there are two perspectives – God’s and our’s ? God doesn’t forget any of His children – to Him – they live and are not dead. In our perspective – they are sleeping and waiting for resurrection?
    It could be a symbolism that God is using. We can see this from what God told Cain when he had murdered Abel.
    Ge 4:10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.
    Heb 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

    We can also see this when the Sadducees came to him and told him about a woman marrying seven brothers and on last day when they are raised whose wife will she be.

    Lu 20:37 Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
    38 For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.

    Jesus show’s us God’s perspective that He is the God of the living for all live to Him whether they are in the dust or on earth.

    This is what I am seeing. That the just and the unjust are asleep and are awaiting ressurection and the just may not be in a conscious state as seen in the first blush meaning.
    Paul who said that it was better for him to depart and to be with Christ which is far better was the one who also said that there was laid up for him and not only him but all the elect the crown of righteousness which will be given on that day. Which day , of course the resurrection day. So if Paul went to heaven immediately after his death then it doesn’t make sense of him waiting to receive this crown on the last day, what crown has he now got, is he void of righteousness now? These are some brain storming questions that come to my mind.

    2Ti 4:6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
    7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
    8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

    2Ti 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

    Joh 6:39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

    Joh 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

    Joh 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

    Joh 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
    These verses show there is no intermediate place for God’s people. They die and rise to live on the last day and they will live forevermore.

    But when we see from God’s perspective all live to Him as He can’t forget any of His beloved.

    Lu 20:37 Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
    38 For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.

    We also need to examine 2 Co 4:13 which says that the all the elect will be presented on one day, notice the words `us with you’.

    2Co 4:13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; 14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.
    Psalms 146:4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish
    Ecclesiastes 9:5,6 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.
    In Isaiah we see that king Hezekia was sick and Isaiah told him he was about to die. The king turned his face to the wall and prayed. In his prayer he says the following…
    Isaiah 38:18-19, “For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth.”
    Psalms 13:3 Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
    The Bible refers to death as sleep. During this dreamless sleep, “his thoughts perish,” so, is it possible to affect the lives of others or carry on normal day to day activities in normal sleep? I think not. In the book of John we find a situation where Jesus Himself refers to the dead as being asleep.
    John 11:11-14 …Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
    The disciples thought when Jesus said Lazarus was sleeping that he would be ok. So Jesus had to plainly say “Lazarus is dead.” A few verses later we actually find out how long Lazarus would have been sleeping the sleep of death if Jesus had not raised him from the dead later on in verse 43.
    John 11:23,24 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
    The book of Job also mentions the length of sleep for the dead.
    Job 14:12 So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.
    Notice the word till in the above verse. This means the dead will not, or cannot awaken until the last day, as Martha calls it in John 11:24.
    1Corinthians 15:20-23 But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man [came] death, by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
    What shall we say about King David? See what the Bible says about him.
    Ac 2:29,34 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
    Regarding Abel maybe you can answer better since you say that Abel went to heaven on the basis of Christ’s death and resurrection. Why was his blood crying out to God from the ground and not in heaven itself?
    Ge 4:10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.
    Is it not that God can’t forget any of His children and even though they sleep in the dust of the earth yet He remembers them for He is God of the living?

  7. the above post is a message to a friend which i thought would be benficial to readers here

  8. Remember the rules of scripture,

    2 Corinthians 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

    You cannot make a doctrine out of one verse, especially if it contradicts all the other verses in the bible.

  9. This same Paul who uttered these words, “to be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord” also referred to the departed saints as in a state of sleep (see 1 Corinthians 15:17-18):

    “If Christ not be raised…then they which are fallen
    asleep in Christ are perished”.

    It is impossible to believe that a man who writes in this manner would indeed believe that he had an immortal soul which would have immediately departed his mortal body to be with his Saviour upon his physical or biological death. As a matter of fact these comments in 1 Corinthians 15:17-18 seem to be from a completely different Paul who wholeheartedly believes that he is nothing but a mortal being, and without Christ all is lost.

  10. 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 The context essentially beginning in 2:14 and extending through 6:13.

    The administration of Moses and those who refused to remove the Mosaic veil from their eyes and accept Jesus as the Messiah were perishing simultaneously there was a group/body of people that was coming to life. These are the two bodies in question, not the physical body.

    2Co 5:6 Therefore we are always confident, (because we know the promises of God) knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, (the old covenant body of sin and separation) we are absent from the Lord: (the NC is the very presence of God)

  11. Rod Hudsmith says:

    Shodan D’Souza’s post on 9/9,2010 is the most comprehensive demolition of natural immortality I have seen. It puts a huge question mark over most funeral
    orations in which priests regularly console the berieved by assuring them that the departed loved one has gone to enjoy renewed fellowship with the diseased. What then, should these orations be saying? That any hope of future reunion depends on the general resurrection when all shall be judged and treated accordingly? Not something that would go down too welll with most congregations but probably far more true than the fanciful musings we commonsly hear.

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  3. [...] is difficult to interpret at the best of times. The former text is explained in our article Absent From the Body to Be With Christ?. The latter text is explained in our article, The Souls Under The [...]

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