Saturday, 8 August 2015
We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:8
This verse finishes the interrupted verse which began at 5:6. If taken together without the insert, they would say –
“So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. … We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”
However, verse 7 was inserted as a very appropriate thought before coming to the words of verse 8. This verse literally reads, “…to be away from the home of the body, but to be at home with the Lord” (Pulpit Commentary). The change from “at home” to “present” in the translation began with William Tyndale and has been used since then.
The thought here is almost identical to that found in Philippians 1:21-25 (and particularly verse 23) with the exception that here he desires not to “depart” but rather to be done with the body without the need for dying. In other words, it is a strong case in and of itself for both the imminence of Christ’s return (which Paul thought may even happen in his life), and for the doctrine of the rapture, which he clearly speaks of on several occasions in his epistles.
The idea conveyed in this verse is described by Charles Ellicott quite well –
“We are content,” he says, “if death comes before the Coming of the Lord, to accept death; for even though it does not bring with it the glory of the resurrection body, it does make us at home with Christ among the souls who wait for the resurrection.”
What this tells us is that if we die before the rapture, we will be “at home” with the Lord, but not in a glorified body. It is the resurrection which brings that about. Until then, our souls will be kept safely by the Lord as we await the glorious day when the trumpet sounds and we are changed.
Arguments for an “interim body” are not sound and there is nothing written by Paul to indicate such a state. The order is 1) This present life; 2) Either death in this life or rapture; 3a) If death, then our soul is “present with Christ awaiting the resurrection body, or 3b) If rapture, we translate directly from this life to the next in the twinkling of an eye.
Life application: The doctrine of the rapture is so clearly stated in Scripture that if you dismiss it, you have been misapplying Scripture. Remedy: Stop misapplying Scripture.
Heavenly Father, I have a blessed hope which I anticipate might be soon. It says that at some point the church age will end and those who have received Christ and have died will be raised to new and eternal life. And for those who are alive at His coming… well that will be pretty wonderful – they will be changed in the blink of an eye. I could do without the death part if that time is near, but if not, I will just be content to go off and be present with the Lord. Either way, it is a win-win situation. Thank You for my blessed hope because of Jesus. Amen.