Pastor David B. Curtis


A Rebuttal to Ward Fenley's "Absent From the Body"

(An analysis of 2 Corinthians 5)

By Dan Harden

Dear sovereign grace preterists,

In examining the various posts concerning the resurrection, I find that those who deny heaven and the holiest of all and the presence of God now for believers pretty much stay away from texts dealing with transformation. 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. But then again, he is a futurist.

The point is irrelevant here. Murray Harris doesn't touch it because it isn't his focus. He is concentrating on 'resurrection' and the after-life state, not on any spiritual transformation during life. In fact, I think your whole statement here is erroneous, for I think they would hearily agree that the Spirit is at work in the believer today. I don't think this goes unnoticed at all. Harris just doesn't see it as relevant to the topic.

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.

Now you are calling it imagined? Interesting.

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.

Nobody is suggesting anything different. What I question is your contention that man is fully in his spirit body now, while in the physical body. The OT is filled with verses that show man has a physical body, and a spirit, but nowhere does he have a spiritual body while in the physical body. Doesn't the physical body house the spirit?

Question: is there any individuality for the dead believer? If so, can we then assume that they can commune with God and each other? Does this assume that the form they have has 'senses' of a type? Certainly the angels did. So if the dead believers are able to communicate with one another, would you say they can do so in a way that we don't utilize now? Remember, God is
the God of the living...

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:

Gal 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 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 GLROFIED 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):

Heb 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:

Heb 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 Cor 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.

And what was that temple, an actual temple or a body? Context!

Interesting that you rely on an account of somebody who is accusing Christ, rather than Christ himself. However, the allusion may be to John 2:

2:18 The Jews therefore answered and said unto him, What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?
2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
2:20 The Jews therefore said, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou raise it up in three days?
2:21 But he spake of the temple of his body.
2:22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he spake this; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

What was the temple? His physical body. And what was meant by 'when he was raised'? When he physically died, was crucified and buried, but on the third day rose again. The 'raising' was the spirit living and coming back from Hades. And it is in conjunction with the raising up of the temple of the body. When He was raised from the dead, he raised up his temple/body
as PROOF that He had risen.

Compare what Peter says:

2 Pet 1:13 And I think it right, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;
1:14 knowing that the putting off of my tabernacle cometh swiftly, even as our Lord Jesus Christ signified unto me.
1:15 Yea, I will give diligence that at every time ye may be able after my decease to call these things to remembrance.

Also Paul himself in the first epistle:

1 Corinthians 6:19 Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own;

Same typology as the other verses -- the temple or tabernacle as a reference to the physical body. Only in Peter's case, when he put off the tabernacle, he wouldn't need to put it back on, because:

5:1 For we know that if the earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens.

He knew he had no more use for it, having another eternal, not made with hands.

Remember, this (2 Cor 5) follows closely on the heals of:

2 Cor 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves;

"vessels" are never used corporately in the NT, and are used individually:

2 Tim 2:20 But in a great house there are not only vessels <4632> of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth (same word as 'earthen' in 2 Cor 4:7); and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel <4632> unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, [and] prepared unto every good work.

Rom 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel <4632> unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
9:22 [What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels <4632> of wrath fitted to destruction:
9:23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels <4632> of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

Also, later in 2 Cor 4, Paul says:

2 Cor 4:16 Wherefore we faint not; but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day.

In fact, this is in the setup to verse 5:1.

4:16 Wherefore we faint not; but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day.
4:17 For our light affliction, which is for the moment, worketh for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory;
4:18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
5:1 For we know that if the earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens.

Outward man, inward man. Temporal, eternal. Earthly house, heavenly house. The setting here is the man, on an individual basis.

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

Heb 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.

But WHERE does the term "body of death" mean "OC creation" which means "house of Israel"? Certainly not Rom 7, where Paul is describing his struggles against the sins that he can't seem to stop committing.

7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
7:15 For that which I do I know not: for not what I would, that do I practise; but what I hate, that I do.
7:16 But if what I would not, that I do, I consent unto the law that it is good.
7:17 So now it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me.
7:18 For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me, but to do that which is good [is] not.
7:19 For the good which I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I practise.
7:20 But if what I would not, that I do, it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me.
7:21 I find then the law, that, to me who would do good, evil is present.
7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
7:23 but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members.
7:24 Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of the body of this death?
7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then I of myself with the mind, indeed, serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

This is pretty clearly describing Paul's constant battle against sin.  Incidentally, the verse should read "who shall deliver me from the body of this death". The body of death was that which was subject to sin, his physical body, which warred against his spiritual desires. Is the 'law of sin' in verse 25 OT law? Not at all, for:

7:12 So that the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good.
7:13 Did then that which is good become death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might be shown to be sin, by working death to me through that which is good; --that through the commandment sin might become exceeding sinful.

So the law wasn't death, but rather it showed Paul sin, and sin was working death.

6:20 For when ye were servants of sin, ye were free in regard of righteousness.
6:21 What fruit then had ye at that time in the things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
6:22 But now being made free from sin and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end eternal life.
6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And note that 6:22 that the fruit was sanctification, purification. Does the free gift of God, eternal life, cancel out death or only take away it's sting?

1 Cor 15:54 But when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
15:55 O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?
15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law:
15:57 but thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Again, was death canceled?

15:26 The last enemy that shall be abolished is death.

The word 'abolished' literally means 'to make null' or even better, 'to make of no effect'.

What does that leave us with? At 70 AD death was made null because the sting of death, sin, was completely atoned for, and the power of that sting, the Law, was fulfilled for us. Thereby we could enter in to the holy of holies.

Physical death was a result of the transgression of Adam.

Beginning when he ate the forbidden fruit, he was denied the Tree of Life, thereby assuring death. And what's more, it was part of the pronouncement over him:

3:17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in toil shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
3:18 thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
3:19 in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, ***till thou return unto the ground***; for out of it wast thou taken: for ***dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return***.

Prior to this, he had access to the Tree of Life, which negated this. Now, because of his transgression, he had physical death as his future.

This is a point I think all 'heaven now' advocates entirely miss. Look also at:

11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth on me, though he die, yet shall he live;
11:26 and whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die. Believest thou this?

Setting: Lazarus had just died, physically. Christ says that He is the resurrection and life, that though he die (or is dead) physically -- not OT body, but physically -- even so shall he live. Physically death would not triumph over the one who believes in Christ. Notice the progression -- even though he is dead, even so he shall live, and whoever then lives (after he physically dies) shall nevermore die. Verse 26 comes after 25 because it is sequential. the 'liveth' in verse 26 is the same, that is, life after
physical death, as in verse 25.

Sometimes I think that you are so eager to show covenantal continuance, that you miss what is actually being said.

Under the law they were unclothed or naked because of Adam's transgression. 2 Corinthians says:

2 Cor 5:2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:
2 Cor 5:3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.

The final goal of clothing was predicted:

Psa 132:13 For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.
Psa 132:14 This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.
Psa 132:15 I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread.
Psa 132:16 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 Cor 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.

Actually, we have discussed this verse before. The word FURTHER is not an accurate addition, but rather CLOTHED UPON.

Notice the groaning. This is precisely the groaning of Romans 8. The body of death in Romans 8 and here are the same.

Where has Paul made any indication to the Corinthians of any 'body of death' meaning OC sin-death? Where has he used the word 'body' in this way for the Corinthians?

Paul said he did not wish to be found naked (or having his own righteousness):

Phil 3:8 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,
Phil 3:9 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:
Phil 3:10 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 God" 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:

Isa 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.

Not so:

Gal 3:26 For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus.
3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ.

The translation is: "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ HAVE CLOTHED YOURSELVES with Christ. THAT clothing they already had.

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 Cor 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 Cor 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.

Good translation. Not 'are being changed' but 'are changed'. That is the same as the fact that they had already put on the clothing of Christ!

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:

Eph 1:13 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,
Eph 1:14 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:

Eph 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:

Rom 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:

Eph 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 Cor 1:21-22 Now he which IS ESTABLISHING US WITH YOU IN CHRIST, and hath anointed us, is God; 22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

This is a good rundown on what the earnest of the Spirit is, and I don't disagree with it. What I do disagree with is that 2 Cor 5 deals with a spiritual transformation. But rather, this section, which began at 4:7, is a description of what we have in our 'earthen vessels' as a result of the transformation that the Spirit effected.

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.

This is EXTREMELY contrived and not in the text AT ALL. You have to read it all in. In particular, when Paul says: "whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord", you have to FORCE the phrase "body of death" here when there is absolutely no reason for doing so. Paul did not in the least say anything about any body other than the 'earthen vessels' of 4:17.
In fact, what's more, nowhere in either epistle of the Corinthians, is the word 'body' used in the way you suggest. It is used to mean either the physical body or the 'body of Christ' as the church. Paul doesn't introduce the concept of 'OC body of death' to them at all. And coupled with the fact that Paul already told them:

1 Corinthians 6:19 Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own

Your explanation of this passage flies right out the window. Note this well: it is poor hermeneutics to throw a concept casually in where it hasn't been introduced! The Corinthians couldn't possibly have understood the 'OC body of death' from the one word 'body' without some sort of clarification. And Paul is very careful to be clear with them. He wouldn't leave them with a cryptical context without some sort of explanation.

There is not one shred of evidence here that Paul means anything other than the physical body in 2 Cor 5:6-8 !

2 Corinthians 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

2 Corinthians 12:2 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.

2 Corinthians 12:3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)

Those are ALL the occurrences of the word 'body' in 2 Cor, and none of them suggest a 'body of death' or 'sin-death'. You cannot reassign a simple word in the middle of a section or book just because you want it to have a different meaning. 'OC body' is totally out of place here.

This holds true with 1 Cor as well. Nowhere does Paul tell the Corinthians about a 'body of death' or 'OC body' -- you have to force it in inexplicably in both 1 Cor 15 and 2 Cor 5, without first defining the concept to the spiritually immature Corinthians. That was not Paul's way. He specifically told them they weren't ready for anything too complex.

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:

Gal 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:

Col 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is BEING renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Rom 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 Cor 15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is being sown in corruption; it is being raised in incorruption:
1 Cor 15:43 It is being sown in dishonour; it is being raised in glory: it is being sown in weakness; it is being raised in power:
1 Cor 15:44 It is being sown a natural body; it is being 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.

That's because IT ISN'T THERE! These are not progressive verbs. You cannot prove that these verbs MUST be progressive or transformational.

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 Cor 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 "YE (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.

Are these references the same? The passage in Matthew is clearly an individual setting -- urging us that our foundation MUST be on the rock, which is Christ. Where is sand equal to OC?

But the passage in 1 Cor 3 is dealing with the Corinthian congregation. Look at the setup:

3:4 For when one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not men?
3:5 What then is Apollos? and what is Paul? Ministers through whom ye believed; and each as the Lord gave to him.
3:6 I planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
3:7 So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
3:8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: but each shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.
3:9 For we are God's fellow-workers: ye are God's husbandry, God's building.

Paul is clearly alluding to the division among the congregation. And that is made even clearer when he said "WE are God's fellow-workers: YE are God's husbandry, God's building". The YE was of the Corinthian congregation here, and didn't include Paul. Paul is basically telling them to pull it together, for they are one congregation and needed to quit their petty squabbling.

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?

Context is everything. Of course the NC everlasting temple would never be destroyed. And the verse you are quoting is clearly contrasting that temple to the OT temple. But that doesn't negate the fact that Peter, Paul, and Christ all refer to the body as a temple -- note well! -- because a temple is that in which we worship God, whether temporal or eternal. The context
is completely different than in 2 Cor 6.


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


Well, it does show how you are forced to force or overlay a meaning on the passage, when it hasn't been introduced as such. You have Paul being quite cryptic, especially in verses 6-8. When in doubt, read with a fresh mind and take the simple passage. You are expecting a contrived and complex understanding which the Corinthians weren't ready for.

In Christ,


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