ABSENT FROM THE BODY
(An analysis of 2 Corinthians 5)
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It is interesting when you examine the people who deny heaven and the holiest of all and the presence of God now for believers pretty much stay away from texts dealing with tranformation. As I have examined their statements and posts they do not really even touch those. There is such a wealth of Scripture that addresses this first century change from OC death into NC life.

Another amazing thing is that this doctrine of the first century transformation goes completely unnoticed by futurist reformers and futurists in general. In fact, Murray Harris' From Grave to Glory does not even touch this subject in his observation of the seed text in 1 Cor 15.

The main reason the transformation texts go untouched is because they deal with the change from death to life and the progressive salvation that was taking place upon those first century believers. This is why there is such confusion with the imagined "already but not yet" doctrine. They, like the full preterists who deny heaven now, partition an immortal spiritual life from an immortal body. The only real difference between the views is that one affirms that the resurrection of the dead took place in AD 70 as opposed to the future. And of course there are a myriad of futurist and preterist views concerning the actual nature of the "immortal body." But the interesting thing is that there is no such term in the NT, neither can spiritual body be separated from spiritual life. Our physical body has physical life. Our spiritual body has spiritual life.

The futurists in particular are oblivious to the doctrine of the first century transformation. They fail to see the already and becoming. Again, this is the major stumbling block both for the futurists and for those who deny heaven now for all believers in Christ. They really never address passages like:

Galatians 3:3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? They will usually say they agree with it, but then never address what it was that had these "beginnings" in the Spirit, neither do they address the ultimate goal of that, which was to bring the firstfruits of the harvest (first century believers) into a final and glorious union with the OT believers who died in faith having not received the promise of the better resurrection. This is precisely what Paul meant when he said: Rom 8:17-23 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which is about to be revealed in US. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption (mortality under the law while it was passing away) into the glorious liberty (Jerusalem from above) of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. So Paul's eschatological hope was that the first century saints (the firstfruits) would be joined with the whole creation (ktisis) in the adoption together as the sons of God (i.e. Sons who would all be glorified together-the ultimate goal of complete redemption): Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. This glorification was the highest part of redemption for the complete creation of Israel under the law: Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Notice the more perfect tabernacle. Compare with: 2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have (not future tense) a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Compare the "without hands" motif and that to which it refers and is associated: Mark 14:58 We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.

Acts 7:46-48 Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. 47 But Solomon built him an house. 48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,

Hebrews 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:

Acts 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

2 Chronicles 6:18 But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!

The house of Israel or body of death or OC creation are all shown as that which was under the corruption of the law of sin and death. This whole creation was in the process of decaying and waxing old: Hebrews 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. Under the law they were unclothed or naked because of Adam's transgression. 2 Corinthians says: 2 Corinthians 5:2-3 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. The final goal of clothing was predicted: Psalms 132:13-16 For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. {14} This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it. {15} I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread. {16} I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy. Notice the association of priests (who minister in the house of God) and clothing and how these are associated with salvation. As we have seen, the first century saints were being saved from OC death into NC life. They were being clothed with immortality. This was the change into the image of Christ. The NKJV translates this correctly when Paul says: 2 Corinthians 5:4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Notice the groaning. This is precisely the groaning of Romans 8. The body of death in Romans 8 and here are the same. Paul said he did not wish to be found naked (or having his own righteousness): Philippians 3:8-10 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, {9} And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: {10} That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; Paul clearly associates the goal of redemption "That I may win Christ." He equates this with knowing Him (marital knowledge "That they may know Thee, the only true Godů" John 17:3) and experiencing the power of His resurrection. Paul did not want to be found having his own righteousness (found naked) but having the complete clothing of Christ's righteousness. Isaiah also speaks of this clothing: Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. Again, clothing and salvation are associated. Paul's clothing motif in 2 Corinthians cannot be misconstrued to be referring to a partitioned clothing to be received upon physical death. Paul was looking for the completion of the clothing of the NC in Christ Jesus-to be clothed from the nakedness under the law of sin and death.

When we are able to identify the first tabernacle in contrast to the second and more perfect tabernacle, and the first house in contrast to the house in the heavens, and the nakedness in contrast to the clothing, it then becomes apparent that we must also contrast the first body of death with the body of life or Christ:

2 Corinthians 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. The earnest of the Spirit was to prove that the Spirit was clothing them with NC life in Christ (i.e. the were being transformed into the image or body of Christ "as by the Spirit of the Lord"): 2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. This is all the same context. Paul begins the context in 2 Cor 3:6, as he contrasts the OC glory which was passing, with the NC glory which was excelling and remaining. Other passages associate this deposit or sealing of the Spirit with the final eschatological and redemptive climax of that transformation: Ephesians 1:13-14 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, {14} Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. That final redemption is none other than that of which Paul spoke in Romans concerning the "redemption of our body." This was the redemption or complete gathering together in one in Christ: Ephesians 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In that passage we see the whole OC creation. The fulness of times represented the Messianic time frame in which God would work a short work upon the earth to bring in righteousness: Romans 9:28 For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. Again, Paul addresses the "sealing" later in Ephesians: Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Again, this sealing of the transforming Spirit is associated with redemption. We cannot impose another redemption upon Romans 8. Luke was clear: Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. And Paul deals even more with this same sealing in 2 Corinthians 1: 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 Now he which is establishing us with you is Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; 22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. It is imperative that we do not separate this transformation idea of sealing from the text in 2 Corinthians 5: 2 Corinthians 5:5-6 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: As far as Paul was concerned, to not have won Christ or have Christ yet dwelling in his heart was to be absent from the Lord, for they were still only in the first part of the Temple in heaven and not in the holiest of all. As long as they were not in the holiest of all they were still in the OC body of death. But the main difference between them and those OT believers who had died in faith having NOT received the promises was that the first century believers were being changed and being saved and being raised into the fullness of NC life. Paul saw such importance in the holiest of all that he could with full assurance declare that while they were still out of the holiest of all they were still in the OC body of death, from which Paul was longing to be delivered. While the NC body of life or Christ was growing into completion its individuals were growing with it. Again there can be no elect corporate without the elect individuals. What Paul was declaring in Romans 8 is that without the complete salvation and growth of the first century church as a whole, there would be no complete salvation, for God promised He would save His people from their sins. That is why God was so longsuffering to Israel in Romans 11 and 2 Pet 3. He was not going to destroy Israel until the last of that elect creation would be saved. The body of life was not complete as long as there remained even one of those elect individuals of the whole creation in an unregenerate state. Once the last of the elect necessary to complete the growth of the body of life into a new man, then Christ would dwell in their hearts: Galatians 4:19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, Through the Spirit, Christ (the new Man or Image or Body) was being formed in them BY the spirit. They were being conformed into the image if Him the created them: Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Examine what is associated with this conformation into the image of Christ: "that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." Christ was the FIRST to rise from the dead and the ultimate conformation into His image would be the complete rising of the OC creation or body or image of death into the NC creation or body or Image of Life of Christ. While one was being sown in corruption and decaying, the other was being sown in incorruption and was being raised into newness of life, both on the individual as well as the corporate level: 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: {43} It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: {44} It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. The problem most people have with this passage is that they do not consider the transformational aspect that was taking place. This is identical with the passage in 2 Corinthians 5.

Paul continues:

2 Corinthians 5:7-10 (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. Here we see Paul associating judgment with the resurrection. Also verse 10 should read: 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things in body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. These "things" represented those things done whether in faith or in the flesh (self-righteousness) as those who were living during the transitional period. Compare: 1 Corinthians 3:8-17 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. {9} For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. {10} According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. {11} For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. {12} Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; {13} Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. {14} If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. {15} If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. {16} Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? {17} If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. Paul says "yes (plural) are God's building (singular). Was their foundation built upon sand (OC) or the Rock (NC)? The sure foundation was Christ: Matthew 7:24-27 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: {25} And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. {26} And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: {27} And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. Jesus is contrasting those who were trusting in the law and nationality versus trusting in Christ. Paul says that those works which had the foundation of the law would be regarded as nothing and were only profitable for burning. In other words, the very fire of the Gospel tested whether the previous works before the Gospel came were done in faith or in self-righteousness. Paul says they (plural) are the Temple (singular) of God. They were the Temple in whom God (who does not dwell in Temples made with hands) dwelt. God's Spirit dwelled in them: 2 Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. The Temple is not the physical body, for then the Temple would be destroyed. How could a NC everlasting Temple be destroyed?

I will stop there. I believe the above passages are sufficient to explain Paul's intent in 2 Corinthians 5


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