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HEAVEN, AND OUR BODIES THERE!

 ACCORDING TO ... 2nd  CORINTHIANS 5:1-8

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

"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. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 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. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."

2nd Corinthians 5:1-8

 

 

LESSON 1, AN OVERVIEW:

For some time I have wanted to study 2nd Corinthians 5, that Passage where Paul discusses the state of our loved ones, saved loved ones, who have gone before us to Heaven.

Today I have more motivation to do so than ever!

My darling wife passed away late Wednesday night, 11:24 PM to be exact. I was "numb" all day yesterday. I still can't believe it. The word "emptiness" has a meaning that I didn't know existed.

It's not that I don't have hope! I do. I know where my precious wife is today. She's gone to Heaven!

But even armed with that Truth, I still hurt!

I guess I'm being selfish in a way. But I've lost my best friend. My confidant. My loyal companion. Nearly, for these past four years anyway, my life.

The more Sister Norma could not do, the more I tried to do for her. That's only natural, expected really, for a husband who knows the Lord.

Where am I going to find comfort?

Help for these aching days?

Among other good sources; the Holy Spirit, family and friends.

The children and their wives and husband have been great! I didn't know they could do all these things! They would not leave me alone all day yesterday. Not for a minute! Someone must have been assigned "Papa duty" every second of the day! I think I even had to sneak to the bathroom to shave. And, crazy as it may seem, I love them for that kind of concern. I was in terrible shape.

But here's another place we get help in times like these, the powerful Word of God!

Listen to Paul. "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. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 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. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." 2nd Corinthians 5:1-8

There's the clause I've quoted dozens of times since Sister Norma's death: "Absent from the body, present with the Lord." That's the way this Text ends!

And it's true for the saint of God! "Absent from the body, present with the Lord."

The infinitive "to be absent" is part of the verb "ekdemeo." It means to be "away from" the "people!" Absent from some "group." Really, "demos," the whole root, means "the people, the masses, the congregation." And "deo," the parent verb, "to bind or tie" together.

Sister Norma and I were "tied" together in God's eyes! In the best of senses! "Cleaving to each other." Two having been made one!

But now she is "absent."

Even from her very "body." I'll go into little detail here. It's just too precious, too private to share. Her body is now empty. It will be respected and loved and visited at that hillside gravesite, but she no longer lives there. The Greek teachers tell us that "soma," their word for "body," is derived from the verb "sozo," to be "saved!"

I love that!

Jesus has not only saved our souls!

He is some day going to redeem our bodies too! Precisely Jesus , "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body." Philippians 3:21

My wife is "absent" down here this morning.

But, glory to God, she is "present" with the Lord!

That verb, best one I've ever studied, means "with" the "people." It's the very opposite of "ekdemeo." It's spelled "endemeo!" See those prefixes? "Ek" and "en" are polar extremes. One means "out of" and the other means "into the middle of!"

Sister Norma left an emergency room full of nearly twenty doctors and nurses frantically trying to save her life, and one weeping husband standing in the corner ... to enter into the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ and a company of angels and saints!

From one group ... to another!

From earth to Heaven!

From pain to ease!

From confusion to peace!

From shock to joy!

From sickness to healing!

From sadness to ecstasy!

She left us!

She's with others!

Primarily, according to our Text again, "with the Lord!"

The Lord she adored!

"Kurios," the "Master" of her life! Her Saviour! Her Deliverer! The One about Whom she loved to write! The One she knew before I ever met her! The One to Whom she prayed! The One Who helped her through diabetes and lymphdema and kidney failure and all the rest!

Her Everything!

But she is not only with the Lord.

The "absent ... present" verb duo demands that "people" be around too!

We were thinking yesterday about those whom she has already seen!

Jesus, first of all!

But two little babies who died in her womb!

Miscarriages, the world called them.

Souls in God's Eyes!

She's already loved them I believe.

Our little departed Grandson Michael, too! He died in the womb, the day before his little body was born. And Sister Norma was so sick she couldn't even go to the funeral. Impossible! She had never even seen his little burial plot either! Now, she's seen him!

And my Mom and Dad! A couple who admired her and loved her so! They appreciated her utter faithfulness to their "preacher" son!

Also Grandma Green and Aunt Sadie ... and so many more!

Preacher fiends of ours who have already made the journey!

Yes, she's with quite a crowd this morning.

And, oh, how she loved people, God's people especially!

I am a loner, she was gregarious to the core!

Give me a corner near the back in any Church! She of course always sat with me back there, but her heart was with the "folks!" Chatting, smiling, sharing prayer requests, loving, singing, all the rest!

She's with people, happy people, God's redeemed!

Oh, what a promise!

"Absent form the body, present with the Lord!"

I'm simply talking about the Verse, my darling has already lived it!

You all, excuse me.

The tears are flowing so freely that I can't even see the keyboard any more.

Pray for me please.

I've shared my hope with you today.

Now, most of all, I will miss reading what I've written to my sweetheart. She's gone ... present with the Lord.

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, PRAISE THE LORD:

I just noticed it about an hour ago!

It's a single Greek word, a verb.

But to me, today, it's powerful!

In the last Sermon I preached before Sister Norma died, the Bible Text was John 10:35. "The Scripture cannot be broken." I emphasized the inerrancy of the Word of God! It has no mistakes!

The verb, however, for "broken" is "luo," a rather strange selection by the Holy Spirit. It means "to loose," especially if you're talking about a rope in a knot or a colt in a corral. But it also means "to dissolve," if you're talking about something that's transient, temporary.

Get it?

The Scripture, God's Holy Word, cannot be "dissolved." It is eternal! Jesus of course well knew Psalm 119:89 too. "For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven."

God's Word ... everlasting!

But here's the exciting thing to me, today.

In today's Bible Text, Lesson number two from 2nd Corinthians 5:1-8, we find these words: "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." Talking about death, Paul is comparing our earthly bodies to "tabernacles," the Greek noun usually used for "tents!" Paul was a tent-maker you remember.

Now watch carefully.

The Greek verb for "dissolved," that which occurs to our bodies at death, is "kataluo," just a variation of "luo." This is the very same "luo" that's used in John 10:35 as we just discussed.

The Bible will never be "dissolved!"

My body, when I die, this earthly abode, will be "dissolved!"

Oh, keep in mind, I will get a new one!

When Jesus comes again!

"Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body." Paul promised this, even more so, Jesus promised this in Philippians 3:21.

But before that change, dissolution!

Now here's the blessing to me today!

Our bodies will be "dissolved."

The Word of God will never be "dissolved."

My wife's earthly house, astoundingly beautiful as she was, will not last.

But ... I will see her again some day!

And, really, she is not dead!

Not at all!

She is very much alive!

More than ever!

In Heaven!

With Jesus, her precious Saviour!

And I shall be with her again!

At the Rapture!

Or when I die!

We shall spend eternity together!

Blessed, comforting thoughts today!

And how do I know all these things?

From the Word of God!

The Book that will never be dissolved!

All I believe about the afterlife, about Almighty God and His Son, about the Cross of Calvary and Blood-bought Salvation ... I have learned from that eternal non-dissolvable Volume we call the Bible!

Norma, honey, I will visit you regularly on that hillside over at the cemetery. I will some day be "planted" there right beside you, if fact. Our bodies will "dissolve" together, our earthly "tabernacles" as Paul called them.

But remember this, Darling, we've lived by a Book that is eternal.

We've been saved by the Grace of God!

And we will yet spend eternity together, strolling Heaven and fellowshipping around the things of God, much like we've done these forty-four years and five months on earth, endlessly happy!

And why are we so sure?

It's that Book again!

It will not pass away!

It will never dissolve!

It cannot be broken!

Glory to God!

So, Baby, goodbye down here!

I'll meet you over there!

We have God's Word on it!

Therein we rest our faith.

                                                                  --- With all my love, Mike

 

And you know what folks will say about Mike and Norma Bagwell? And it will be true indeed. "And they lived happily ever after!"

How do we know?

Jesus said it to His Father. We claim it too. "God, in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Psalm 16:11

Happily ever after!

 

 

LESSON 3, VERSE 1:

I just can't get away from individual thoughts taken from 2nd Corinthians 5:1-8. Usually I just approach a Text on a verse-by-verse basis, which I eventually intend to do here also.

But I just noticed something about Verse 1 of our Text. "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." 2nd Corinthians 5:1

The verb "know" as used here is "oida," a perception that is God-given more than humanly acquired. "Inherent knowledge" one teacher called it. Some things we learn from books, others from the Holy Ghost Himself! This "knowing" is from the latter Teacher!

The "if" clause here is called a "third class condition" in Greek. It means "most likely so." Or as one Textbook has it, "more probably so."

Paul is not exactly being insistent.

We are talking about our future lives in Heaven. And the future lives of our departed loved ones.

Even about the very "body" a departed saint will have, or will not have.

Paul, under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is suggesting that he believes we will, after death and before the Rapture, receive some type of a body in which to dwell, even after arriving in Heaven.

Many good people believe that we will just be "disembodied spirits" there.

Paul is most likely saying otherwise here.

Let's get back to the verse.

"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."

The earthly "house" in which we've lived means our bodies right now. Fat or skinny, tall or short, pretty or not ... our human frames. But Paul uses an adjective that's extremely accurate. I mean for "earthly," spelled "epigeios," signifying "upon" the "earth, ground, dirt," terrestrial in nature.

But these "earthly houses" of ours will be "dissolved." We distantly studied this verb yesterday. But let me add this. It's the word Paul's generation used when they "folded up their tents" to make a journey!

Further proof of this analogy is the noun "tabernacle." It's "skenos," merely a "tent!"

Dying for the saint of God is no more complex that packing a flimsy tent into its place and striking out for a better destination!

My wife traded a frail physical body for a beautiful heavenly home last Wednesday night! Glory to God! I must find peace and victory in truth like this. Otherwise I would grieve myself to death.

If my physical tent (my body) wears out, and it will, God has something better waiting for me on the Other Side!

Paul calls that other "body," one in which we shall live from the time of our deaths until the Rapture when we will be given our glorified bodies, a "building" of God.

This is a far superior word to the "tent" metaphors we've seen so far. The body that awaits us is not going to be disappointing, not at all.

Paul uses "oikidome," awkwardly defined by Brother Bagwell as "a house with a dome on it!" A fancier house than we've had on earth! One "not made with hands," having no human father or mother.

Given us by God Himself to temporarily inhabit ... until the Trumpet sounds! Then, and only then I think, the Lord will give us that eternal just-like-Jesus' glorious Body.

The word "eternal" must be attached to anything heavenly. A child of God, even after death, will apparently never be disembodied! For all the ages, "aoinios," we will indwell a "house" of His making, a body He has designed and given us.

That's whether physical (on earth), intermediate (in heaven but before the Rapture), or glorified (after the Rapture and for evermore) ... a God-given body!

God's in the body-building business!

I mean that in the highest possible way, in all due honor and respect and adoration.

He is still the Creator!

Not everyone will agree with me.

I am open to correction.

But keep it Biblical.

I believe Sister Norma today is in Heaven, rejoicing and fellowshipping and worshipping ... in a non-lymphedema, non-diabetic, non renal-diseased body!

If I'm wrong, if I've interpreted Paul erroneously here, God will understand.

Until then, I'll take the Verse literally. "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."

Yes!

Meanwhile, we must all remain faithful to Jesus. Some day, and soon perhaps, we shall see our precious loved ones again.

And when we do, they will be lovelier than ever!

God says so.

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, VERSE 2:

Paul had often talked about the Rapture of the Church.

He firmly believed he would be alive when Jesus came to "catch away" His Bride.

Notice he uses "we" as the subject here. "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." 1st Thessalonians 4:17

But, apparently, by the time he wrote 2nd Corinthians 5:1-8, the Apostle had just about realized that he would walk the "valley of the shadow of death," rather than being raptured away to Glory.

For example; "For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven." 2nd Corinthians 5:2, as "Pauline" as it can be, seems to indicate its author's very desire to go to Heaven and don that new body!

Sister Norma and I are the same way.

We thought the Rapture would be our means of exiting this life. Now we know better.

I spent quite a while at her grave yesterday, the first full day her body had lain in the ground. And I still pondered the Rapture, very much so, but now as a subsequent event, death having first come to us.

I truthfully can say I agree with Paul, wholeheartedly. "For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven." 

The verb "groan" is spelled "stenazo," coming from a root word, "stenos," that means "narrow, tight, straight." The conditions of life can so "squeeze" a person, the pressures can become so "heavy," that he or she actually longs for that new body!

However, this is particularly a groaning that is based as much on sheer desire as anything else. It's not simply a wish to "get away" from things as it is a hunger to "get into" something, that something being one's new heavenly "body!"

"Earnestly desiring" translates "epipotheo," a very intense "craving or yearning." Once in the King James Version it's even rendered as "lust!" Think of the irony! Paul "lusting" for Heaven, the body he will enjoy there! Coveting his new house, his future dwelling place, simply terms for that intermediate body.

The infinitive "to be clothed upon" represents "ependuo," a triply compound verb. It uses "epi" and "en" as well as "duo." It means "to enter into, to plunge into, to sink into," terms often used for wrapping oneself in lots of clothing!

Paul will be dressed in a body of some type, when he gets to Heaven. He will not be a naked spirit, a disembodied soul! At least, that's what he strongly believes here.

Then again the Holy Spirit uses a compound term, "oiketerion." The usual word for "house" would have been "oikos." When compounded like this, the meaning blends both the house and its inhabitant.

That after-death body with Paul's spirit in it, Paul can hardly wait!

My darling wife already is draped in hers too!

She is not, I believe after scouring this Text, merely an invisible "spirit." Just as she had an earthly body, a lovely one I might add, she now has a body of some kind there in Heaven, one not made by human hands.

I am human. I can easily miss the meaning of a Text of Scripture. But Paul says this again and again, several different ways, in 2nd Corinthians 5:1-8.

We will not be naked "spirits" in Heaven!

We will be "clothed" with appropriate bodies. And though they are not what will later be called "glorified" bodies, they are surely gorgeous and more than sufficient for the sojourn in Heaven, until Jesus comes again!

Thank you Lord for this truth.

I want to learn everything I can about Heaven. And what's going on there right now. And whether or not they can see what's happening down here. All the Word reveals I am a candidate to learn.

Why?

Because my wife lives there now.

It soon will be my home too.

And yours as well, if you've been saved.

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, VERSE 3:

It's foggy outside this morning. Dark too, being only 3:00 AM. And that's the way this thing called "grief" feels as well. Dark and foggy!

And if you think the child of God can never walk in darkness, better read Isaiah 50:10. "Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his Servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God."

I'm there right now.

Sister Norma, my lifelong sweetheart, died last Wednesday night. Quite unexpectedly, really.

I'm probably still in shock.

Grieving.

The word "grief" comes from a Latin verb, "gravare," which means "to load down with a heavy burden." Grief is "deep mental anguish most often caused by bereavement."

The more I sit by her graveside the more I wonder about the afterlife, about Heaven. The more I want to know.

First of all, tell me about her state, her mode of existence.

Is she now just a spirit, one without a body?

Or has the Lord given her some type of "covering," a "house" so-to-speak, a body in which to live?

Paul tackles such questions in 2nd Corinthians 5:1-8. The great Apostle gives himself away in Verse 3. "If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked."

Yes, Paul!

Thank you, dear man of God!

Talking about the saints of God after death, Paul spills his heart right here!

Paul is not only expressing a desire. He also is revealing a fact! Grammatically so.

The "if" here, just "ei" in Greek, is not conditional, not the way it's constructed. This is not a "maybe so" thing.

The "ge" that accompanies "ei" in the Verse's opening line means "indeed or truly or doubtless!"

We, when we get to Heaven, even if we die before the Rapture, are positively going to have some kind of body!

We are going to "be clothed" somehow.

"If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked."

The supporting participle, a verbal adjective, is "enduo" again. Translated "being clothed" and possessing an aorist sense of timing, it suggests we are going to be "wrapped" or "plunged into" a body of God's design!

The middle voice "enduo" brings here means that we shall never be the same again! Changed forever, for the better undoubtedly!

And therefore, logically, to the devil's chagrin, "We shall not be found naked." 

No disembodied people there, not in Heaven!

Interestingly, the Greek word for "naked" is "gumnos," our word "gymnasium!" Seems that when the Greeks exercised, they did so without clothing. They even competed in the Olympic Games that way! Males only participated and most often ladies were not even allowed to attend. The Greeks, as a culture, nearly worshipped the human body, when in its best form.

Paul says "no" to all that!

We will not be naked in Heaven!

We will have a body, properly displayed too.

Excuse me, but I can hardly wait to see my darling wife.

In fact, I'm already eager!

Here's one reason I like to be at her graveside before the sun rises! "My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning." Psalm 130:6

Waiting for the Lord, and those He brings with him, the departed saints!

Back to our verse for that final verb. "If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked." 

"Found," really "be found," translates "heurisko," meaning "to meet with something or someone after diligent search."

When I get to Heaven, I know the Lord will be the Center of my attention. But honestly, at least today, with my heart aching like it is, I will be near the Lord partly because I'm planning a search mission! A search for Norma Jean Bagwell, child of God, whom I know will be somewhere near Jesus!

And after I find her, in that lovely God-created body of hers, whole and well, we together are going to worship the Saviour ... for a few hundred years.

And we will say to each other, as did the angelic Seraphim of Isaiah 6, "Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory."

You all are welcome to join us too.

Well, I think I'll kiss her first.

Kissing her forehead as she sat in her chair is one of the things so far I think I miss most.

And her kind sweet countenance.

And that smile.

And those sparkling eyes.

Honey, you do have a body over there.

I love you.

                                                         --- Your Lover, Your Husband

And to everyone else ...

                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, VERSE 4:

I suppose it's best just to say that the Bible is a vast Book! That's how someone can study it for years and still find places that are absolutely new to his or her memory!

Not just new, but fresh and invigorating too!

Our current Text is such a place.

Today Paul adds clarity to the whole concept, our "bodies" after death but before the Rapture!

Saved people, in heaven, right now!

"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." 2nd Corinthians 5:4

"Tabernacle" here is still "skenos," merely a "tent." Paul, you remember, was a tent-maker. As he writes, expressions from his daily life find their way into his material.

Our bodies, like tents: are moveable, wear out, get "holes," leak, "sag" with age, are subject to surrounding conditions, can get spots and blemishes, must often be repaired, and will soon require replacement!

Paul likes the analogy, the word picture.

Peter adopts it too. "Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me." 2nd Peter 1:14, where "tabernacle" obviously means his physical body.

All this keenly interests me because of my wife's death, a week ago tonight.

The verb "groan" is "stenazo," just meaning "to sigh, to grieve," even "to grudge" once in James. The word originates in "stenos," anything "narrow, straight, tight," picturing emotional claustrophobia! Pressure and all that suffocating feeling!

"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." 2nd Corinthians 5:4

But Paul is not "groaning" because of approaching death! He's groaning "to get it over with!" To go to Heaven! To make that journey!

To be "clothed" with his heavenly body.

This is still not necessarily the "glorified" body Jesus is going to give us all at the Rapture. All us New Testament Believers.

But it's got Paul excited!

The verb "burdened" is "bareo," a passive present participle. "weighed down." Heavy!

Paul is carrying a load!

These physical bodies of ours constitute a heavier and heavier load the older we get too! The last chapter of Ecclesiastes provides a a classic look at old age! That is, more specifically, Ecclesiastes 12:1-7.

"Barus" in Greek is a "load" so heavy that it bends me over, being cruel and violent and unsparing!

Here's a partial list of Paul's burdens. "I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches." 2nd Corinthians 11:23-28

Wow!

Now Paul goes to one of his favorite word combinations, in this Text anyway. He uses it, at least in part, three times in eight verses! That's the "clothed, unclothed" metaphor.

"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." 2nd Corinthians 5:4 

Paul is currently preaching around a bunch of heretics who deny the benefit of things physical!

Later called Gnostics, they did not believe that Jesus even had a physical body. Corporality was to them evil, entirely! Nor did they believe in the resurrection of one's body from the grave!

To them, things spiritual were good!

Things physical, evil!

But, wait a minute!

God created the material world and promptly said, "It is good!"

And Jesus came in a real physical body; virgin-born, but still human! God and man!

So, Paul wants to make sure he conveys that truth that in Heaven we shall be "clothed."

Not "unclothed" naked spirits!

"Unclothed" is "ekduo." It means "to slip out of something that had been surrounding you." To undress. To strip oneself of his garments.

In Heaven, after death and before the Rapture, we're not going to be unclothed!

But "clothed upon," that's "ependuomai." Wrapped back up in something! Really wrapped, both "epi" and "en" prefixing "duo" in this case.

Paul is committed to the doctrine of corporality in heaven. Material bodies of some kind.

"Tents" down here, our present bodies!

"Clothing" up there, our future bodies!

Yet both are types of material.

The first, the "tents," being more rough and abrasive while the second, the heavenly bodies, are apparently more domesticated! The first one we wore to work, here on earth! The second one, the heavenly one, will undoubtedly be for worship, for fellowship, for suppers, things like that!

My heavenly body, something with substance!

I now believe something that can be seen.

This whole concept may link to Paul's litany in 1st Corinthians 15:53-54. "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 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."

Here in our verse today it's shortened: "That mortality might be swallowed up of life." Same thing though, same thought.

"Mortality" incorporates the Greek noun for "death," spelled "thanatos." To pass away, "to die" is "thnesko."

"Swallowed up" translates "katapino," literally, "to swallow down!" The prefix "kata" means that, "down." Here we have a subjunctive aorist verb in the passive voice.

Paul is sure.

And since the Holy Spirit is inspiring him, motivating him, writing for him really, I am sure too!

"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." 2nd Corinthians 5:4  

Looking forward to Heaven!

Yesterday, and the day before, Sunday for that matter as well, I stood and later sat by Sister Norma's grave. While there, near the earthly body my darling inhabited, I had the very same feeling Paul did!

Exactly as he expressed in our Verse today!

"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." 2nd Corinthians 5:4  

More than ever, I'm looking forward to Heaven!

My motives may not be as pure as they should be either!

I want to see my beloved wife!

Oh, how I miss her yet today!

She's already been "clothed upon" with such things as we can only dream! The half, I'm sure, has never been told!

Herein I search for comfort.

And I'm finding it too, a little more each day.

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, VERSE 5:

There is some kind of a link between our future bodies, in heaven, and the dear Holy Spirit of God.

Here's what Paul wrote in 2nd 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 destiny of each child of God is Heaven. We are learning this week that we will have bodies there. We will not be unclothed spirits. We will not be "naked" there, as Paul words it.

We will have some kind of a body!

For each saved person God has "wrought" some things. Here's the verb "katergazomai," a compound meaning "to work intensely." That little "ergon" root in its middle is our word "energy!"

God has been at work!

He's preparing us something!

"In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."

Jesus just told us one thing that's been prepared.

Here's another of his work projects, our heavenly bodies. "Earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven." This is verse 2 of our Text, where "house" means "body."

"Selfsame thing" is "auto touto," the "thing itself." Again I tell you, our future "bodies" are the subject of this construction plan!

These are not the finally glorified bodies that we will receive after the Rapture. They are something like "intermediate" ones, from death until Jesus comes again to "catch away" the Church.

When that happens, the Rapture, the dead saints (perhaps a paradox) will return with Jesus and receive their newer yet bodies!

Is this clear to you?

Or am I further confusing the issue?

"Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit." 2nd Corinthians 5:5

God is the architect!

The Designer!

And Builder!

Of our future bodies!

This "selfsame thing" must have an antecedent. It does. In the previous verse, verse 4. It's the "tabernacle" Paul has been discussing. "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." Paul here mentions both an earthly "tabernacle," one's physical yet frail body on earth ... and an immortal body in Heaven, one that "clothes" us in Glory!

When God designed earth, He did a good job!

When He created the solar system, He perhaps displayed infinity!

When He made Adam and Eve, He worked a miracle!

In like manner He has also "crafted" or "wrought" a heavenly, between-death-and-rapture body for us.

And, rest assured, He's done well again! He always does! "And they were beyond measure astonished, saying, He (Jesus) hath done all things well." Mark 7:37

But this "body" the Lord has given my dear wife, as of late last Wednesday night, is accompanied by the witness of the Holy Spirit.

Somehow.

"Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit."

Then again, maybe this mention of the Holy Spirit is for us, we who remain on this side of the grave.

It's implied that God "gave" this new body to the appropriate recipients. He also "gave" the earnest of the Holy Spirit! "Didomai" is the verb, common as it can be. Used 413 times in the New Testament. "To grant, to bestow," most often of one's own will, simply because he wants to do so.

The word "earnest" has been studied by every student of Scripture, at least to some degree. It's "arrabon" is Greek, basically a "down payment" or a "pledge," guaranteeing the future and final fulfillment of some promised item!

Wow!

Maybe Paul is saying that, whether on earth or in heaven, the child of God has the accompanying Holy Spirit, Who is the "Foretaste" of all God is!

Surely!

He is, in fact, God Himself!

I right now live in a fleshly body, indwelt by the Holy Ghost! Ever since I was saved anyway.

I some day shall live in another body, that is, if I die prior to the Rapture. It too being substantive, apparently comparable to my earthly identity, though heavenly, will be indwelt or supervised or overseen by the same Holy Ghost of God!

There is linkage here!

I don't see how the Holy Spirit could indwell some nebulous, disembodied entity in Heaven. A saint having died some years ago.

No!

He guarantees a real body of some kind, "not made with hands" and certainly, "in the heavens."

Thank you, Lord!

Each day as I stand by Sister Norma's graveside, thinking of her being in Heaven with Jesus, I need to know the truth of the verses we're studying. This 2nd Corinthians 5:1-8 Text is helping me immensely.

She does have a body over there!

And she, at the Rapture, will trade it for a glorified body, one remade from her earthly house. "We shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." 1st Corinthians 15:51-52

Glory to God!

Here's a good summary of the whole event. "For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 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." Philippians 3:20-21

I pray it again and again at the grave.

"Even so, come, Lord Jesus." Revelation 22:20

"Even so, come, Lord Jesus."

Herein is peace.

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8, VERSE 6:

The language of the New Testament is so precise. Today's Verse gives us a sterling example of this fact.

Let's listen to Paul again. He's talking about Heaven. "Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord." 2nd Corinthians 5:6

At first this seems to be a rather obvious fact. But I think Paul is laying the foundation for the reverse truth. The fact that once we Christians are "absent" from the body, once we have died, we are then "present" with the Lord!

Oh, glorious truth!

And Paul says exactly that two verses later! "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."

The verbal linkage between these two verses, 6 and 8, is astounding too! Too rare to lack great significance!

Both Verses begin with the same word, a form of "tharreo." In Greek the first word of a sentence often carries great significance. Such is the case here.

It's as if the Verse would look like this: "Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord." 2nd Corinthians 5:6

It's almost as if the emphasis is on our "confidence!"

"Tharreo" here appears as a present participle, which is really a verbal adjective, describing us Believers who are still on earth, still at home in our mortal bodies.

"Tharreo" relates to "courage and boldness." It also contains an element of "hope." One lexicon even defines it "to be hopeful!" That's why it's translated "confident" in the King James Version. "Confidence" is a Latin word, "con" means "with" and "fides" means "faith!"

It is indeed "with faith" that we live our lives looking for Heaven! Believing that the split second we leave this body we shall be at home with Jesus!

And that "faith" as well as "boldness" is part of Paul thinking here might be illustrated by his very next statement in this context, Verse 7. "For we walk by faith, not by sight."

Wow!

The adverb "always" is the usual "pantote," literally a blending of "pas" meaning "all" and "hote" meaning "when." It's awkward, but translates like this; "at all whens," or as we would now say, "at all times."

Precise, isn't it?

The verb "knowing" is a participial form of "oida," spelled "eidotes." It, as we've said many times in these studies, hints at inherent information. Something we've been taught without human effort. The impartation of Holy Ghost truth! This knowledge did not come from the seminary or college or university! It came straight from the Lord! It possesses a dash of assurance too, of course!

"Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord." 2nd Corinthians 5:6 

"At home" is a verb, another participle. It's "endemeo." If you remember "demos" means "the people." Usually as assembly of them! A public gathering! The prefix, clearly a preposition, "en," means "with, among, on, through" as well as "in." Close association!

"Body" is "soma." And here's the beautiful thing. It is birthed from the Greek verb "sozo." You know this one too, "to save, rescue deliver!" It's what Jesus does to our souls when He indeed forgives our sins, when He "saves" us!

Our bodies, frail and temporary as they are, are built and designed to be "saved!" Redeemed! Glorified! And they will too, when Jesus comes again! "This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality," Paul again, this time from 1st Corinthians 15:51.

Glory to God! This helps me when I think of my darling wife's graveside. A new "body" some day, just like that of Jesus too! "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." Philippians 3:21

Then comes the matching verb "absent," spelled "ekdemeo." And "ek" means "away from" or "out of" that fellowship that was mentioned earlier. Except "away from" another group of people, those in Heaven ... with the Lord Jesus!

This sort of inversely sounds like the First Thing, the First Person, any of us will wish to see when we get to Glory ... is Jesus!

Rightly so!

Sister Norma's faith has been made sight!

Her trust has been realized!

Her hopes have been fulfilled!

That which was once "invisible" is now "clearly seen."

For some reason Paul wishes to emphasize the physicality of human existence, as well as the surety of our heavenly bodies, intermediate as they are.

And this reason is likely the presence of the early what-we-call-today Gnostics. They thought the body to be wicked and unredeemable. Anything material to them was out-of-bounds spiritually. Even to the point of denying that Jesus Christ came in the "flesh."

So Paul reminds them, and us, that the same God, Creator of all, who fashioned Adam and Eve also oversaw our physical being, and will some day give us a body, even in Heaven!

A heavenly "house" that somehow parallels our earthly "tabernacle."

Praise the dear Lord!

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9, VERSE 7:

Paul has talked so much about things physical, things that concern our bodies, that he now adds a disclaimer!

Here succinctly writes: "For we walk by faith, not by sight." 2nd Corinthians 5:7, which is Holy Ghost inspired!

His verb "walk" here is very instructive. It's "peripateo" and not only clarifies Paul's intention, but also teaches us a bit of doctrine.

"Peri" means "around" or "all around." And "pateo" means "to tread, trample, or advance by foot."

Thus, our Christian walk pictures our all-around behavior!

How we act as we come and go!

Our habitual manner of life.

What we do on Thursday as well as Sunday!

Barber shop language as well as Church language!

Paul loves that term as a descriptor of the whole Christian way of life, our "walk."

These are all from his pen:

"Walk in newness of life." Romans 6:4

"Walk not after the flesh." Romans 8:1

"Let us walk honestly." Romans 13:13

"Walk in the Spirit." Galatians 5:16

"Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called." Ephesians 4:1

"Walk in love." Ephesians 5:2

"Walk as children of light." Ephesians 5:8

"Walk circumspectly." Ephesians 5:15

"Walk in wisdom." Colossians 4:5

"Walk to please God." 1st Thessalonians 4:1

This "walk" covers everything, doesn't it?

But Paul immediately adds that our walk is "by faith." In Greek, that's "dia pistis."

"Dia" is a preposition and when used with a genitive case object most, as here, most often means "by means of" or "through."

Though we have an earthly body now, and thought we shall have a heavenly body by and by, we still live by faith.

"As seeing him who is invisible," that's the way Moses lived, according to Hebrews 11:27.

Jesus Christ, "Whom having not seen, ye love; in Whom, though now ye see Him not, yet ye believe." That's Peter in 1st Peter 1:7.

Paul continues with today's short Verse: "For we walk by faith, not by sight." Get this, "and not by sight."

Though the "body" is important, both the physical one and the heavenly one, is is not the mainstay of Christianity.

We do not live "by sight."

"Eidos" is "sight," merely the "shape or fashion or appearance" of something.

We have no idols.

We follow no demigods!

We're even careful about art and drama.

It's the spiritual things that matter most.

A great Preacher once said, "Blessed are the balanced."

That's what Paul is trying to do here with Verse 7. Balance the truth of the saint's heavenly "body," after his or her death but before the Rapture, with the corresponding truth of the "faith" life.

And, as always, a good job he does.

"For we walk by faith, not by sight."

Heavenly bodies still being allowed!

A fact in which Paul was taking obvious delight.

What a truth today!

The ocean in a thimble!

"For we walk by faith, not by sight." 

Amen!

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 10, VERSE 8:

I love to watch Paul's thoughts "develop" as he progresses through a paragraph of Scripture.

Take for example, our Text here, 2nd Corinthians 5:1-8. The Apostle began with "dissolution" and "groaning" and an "if" and some "burdens" ... but by the time he reach its latter half words like "earnest" and "confidence" and "faith" and that glorious clause "present with the Lord" began to appear!

Verse 8 is certainly the crown jewel of the whole Passage! "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." These are the words of a man who has surveyed the realms of Glory and decided that his personal desire is to be with Jesus! Even if death is the avenue of arrival!

He's "willing" to go, anytime!

The verb is "eudokeo," that which "seems good!" It's pleasant and delectable. Remember, Paul likely has already been to Heaven once! "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth; such an one caught up to the third heaven." Paul, autobiographically we think, in 2nd Corinthians 12:2.

Has he seen those intermediate bodies?

Come to think of it, Moses and Elijah each had theirs at the Transfiguration!

Back to Paul's word "confident" for a minute. "Tharreo," already used back in verse six, comes from "tharsos," courage or boldness. Actually some lexicons say "daring!"

"And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and the three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage." Acts 28:15

Remember too that the "absent/present" duo translates "ekdemeo and endemeo" respectively. "Demos" in Greek is a word typifying the "people," usually a group of assembled folks.

And even "demos" is from "deo," meaning "to tie or to bind" together! A common bond of some kind!

We some day shall leave the "bonds" of sweet earthly fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ ... only to be welcomed into His Arms, into the bonds of even sweeter fellowship in Glory!

There are, for the child of God, "good things to come!" Indeed! See Hebrews 9:11 for that exact phrase.

"Present with the Lord!"

Think about it!

"Present with the Lord!"

Reminds me of the great Rapture passage, something Paul said there. 1st Thessalonians 4:16-17 thunders: "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: 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." Again watch those last few words. "And so shall we ever be with the Lord!"

Glory to God!

Present with the Lord!

Ever being with the Lord!

The Lord Who loved us and saved us and is meeting our every need! The Lord Who is coming again too!

The Lord Whom my sweet wife saw last Wednesday night!

The Lord she believed and loved all these years!

Best of all, the Lord who saved her!

Herein I take hope. In the infallibility of God's Word, its very inerrancy. "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."

Whether rapture or death ... the Lord is our Future!

Our Destination!

Our God!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

                                                                 

While perhaps the hardest Lessons I've ever written, so filled with sadness, these Verses have been extremely rewarding! Thank God for His more-than-sufficient plan for the future, including our heavenly bodies!

 

                                                                     

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