Saturday, 1 August 2015
For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Corinthians 5:1
In the last verse, which ended chapter 4, Paul spoke saying that “the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Building on that, he speaks words of absolute certainty. The hope of the resurrection isn’t a “hoping hope” but rather a “certain hope.” For this reason, he begins with “For we know…”
Paul isn’t hoping that the things he is speaking of will come to pass. He has every certainty that they will. And that certain hope is concerning “our earthly house, this tent.” This is in reference to the bodies we now possess. In other areas of the Bible, he equates them to “earthen vessels.” Here he equates them to a “tent.” Being a tent maker, his wording would be personal, both to him and to those who knew him.
But there is more than just Paul’s words on this. The Bible is replete with the imagery of the tent being a picture of our present body. In John 1:14, it says –
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
The word “dwelt” is literally “tabernacled,” as in a tent-dwelling. This stems from the Feast of Tabernacles of the Old Testament and points to the dwelling of Christ in human flesh as a “tent.” Paul uses this same terminology to describe “our earthly house.” In 1 Corinthians 15, particularly verses 35-54, he writes about our earthly bodies and our coming heavenly bodies. It is this same concept which he speaks of now, noting that if the earthly is destroyed, “we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
The word used to describe our earthly body being destroyed is katalythe. It carries the literal idea of “…loosened down. Appropriate to taking down a tent” (Vincent’s Word Studies). When our current “tent” is no longer acceptable for use (meaning at our death or at the rapture), God has an eternal house ready for us. It is wonderful news and it is a sure guarantee because it is a part of God’s word.
Life application: We currently reside in temporary dwellings which break down, get old, and eventually come to an end, but God promises us bodies that will never wear out. We don’t yet know what they will be like, but they are prepared by God to last forever, so they will be marvelously wonderful. In your times of sickness or sadness, don’t lose hope! Something far better lies ahead.
Heavenly Father, Your word says that all who have received Jesus Christ will receive a body which will be eternal. Personally, I can’t wait for that. This tent I’m living in now seems to have more problems every day. I long to be clothed in the new house that You have prepared for me that will never tire, never break down, and never get frustrated. Anytime is ok with me. Even so, come Lord Jesus. Amen.