2 Corinthians 5:1-11
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.
11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
Our “Earthly House:”
Here in 2 Corinthians 5, Paul makes a contrast between our “earthly house” and “an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” The earthly house is, of course the sinful body, which is headed for the grave. This “body of sin” (Rom. 6:6) is “groaning” (2 Cor. 5:2 and Rom. 8:23) and is burdened down with care, pain, trouble and sorrow.
Notice how the “earthly house” is called a “tabernacle.” Notice Peter’s use of the word as well:
2 Peter 1:13-14
13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;
14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.
In the Old Testament the tabernacle was the place where God dwelt on the earth. In fact, His spirit resided above the mercy seat in the Holy of holies:
Ex 25:22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.
In the New Testament (after Calvary – see John 7:37-39) the believer’s body is said to be “the temple of the Holy Ghost” (1 Cor. 6:19). And, in eternity, the temple will be no more, “for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple” (Rev. 21:22).
“Our House which is from Heaven”
As Christians we groan in this tabernacle waiting to get another body – a glorified one. In verse two Paul calls it “our house which is from heaven.” We will get this new body at the rapture (see 1 Cor. 15:51-57), and it will be like the resurrected body of the Lord Jesus Christ. Note the following:
20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
1 John 3:1-2
1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
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.
Below are some of the characteristics of our glorified body:
1. It will be immortal – it will not die (1 Cor. 15:51-57).
2. It will be incorruptible – it has NO SIN – and cannot die and rot (1 Cor. 15:52-54).
3. It will not have corruptible BLOOD in it.
1 Cor 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
Luke 24:39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
Eph 5:30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
4. It will be able to go through solid objects.
John 20:26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
7 They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks:
8 Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded.
[Note: Joel 2:11 defines WHO this army is! It is the Lord’s army – synonymous with Rev. 19:14.]
5. It can travel faster than the speed of light (John 20:17). [This is taking for granted that Jesus went to the third heaven and returned the same afternoon.]
Clothes in Heaven
The wording of 1 Cor. 5 along with a few other passages seems to indicate that our clothing in heaven will be based on our personal works. In other words, as a Christian, you are “sewing” your clothes that you will wear when you see the Lord. Following the scriptures we get this:
1. Paul said that he wanted to be “clothed” (verse 3) when he gets to heaven, so he will not “be found naked” (verse 3).
2. There is a shame that comes with being unclothed:
Ex 32:25 And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)
Nah 3:5 Behold, I am against thee, saith the LORD of hosts; and I will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will shew the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame.
3. This shame is also connected with how some Christians might feel when they see the Lord return.
1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
4. The believer’s clothing in heaven is called “fine linen.”
7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
Rev 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
5. Since the church is the bride of Christ (see 2 Cor. 11:2 with Eph. 5:23-32 and Rev. 19:7), she is also called the “queen” in Psalm 45.
6. The queens clothing matches her “house” (verse 2) – GOLD!!!
Ps 45:9 Kings’ daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.
Ps 45:13 The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.
Rev 21:18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.
Rev 21:21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
The City IS the Bride
There is also a connected between the city New Jerusalem (the abode of the church) and the bride of Christ herself. In Rev. 21:1,2 the city is said to be “prepared as a bride:”
1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
But, when the angel tells John he is going to show him “the bride, the Lamb’s wife,” he shows him the city itself:
9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.
10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
Absent from the Body
One thing is for sure: when a Christian dies they are immediately with the Lord Jesus. There are no spirits walking around this earth waiting to “cross over,” nor is there such a place as purgatory where you burn some of your sins off in order to make it into heaven. Paul affirms here and in Phil. 1:23 (which see) that a Christian goes to be with Jesus when they die. Also, in 1 Thessalonians 4:14 the scripture tells us that departed souls that “sleep in Jesus” are with God, for He is said to bring them “with him” when He comes from heaven.
What is the assurance that all of this is true? Verse 5 – He has given us a down payment (if you will). It is called “the earnest of the Spirit.” Earnest money is the money a person puts down on a purchase. If you are saved, you have been purchased:
1 Cor 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
1 Peter 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
The Lord does not have your body yet (that is why you are told to present it as a living sacrifice in Rom. 12:1,2), but He will get it at the rapture. But, until then, He sends His spirit to bear witness with ours, and we can KNOW that He is with us, and one day we will see Him – our Father, our Master, our Saviour, our King!
Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: