Restoration of the Kingdom of God - 9
Paul’s proclamation that “this corruptible must put on incorruption, this mortal must put on immortality” - 1 Corinthians 15:53 - clearly shows that the apostle did not think that he already possessed an immortal soul!
- So we must ask, why are there now people who say that the resurrection is an immortal soul re-entering a mortal body? That would be immortality putting on mortality! But Paul says that mortality “must put on immortality,” so that “what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” - 2 Corinthians 5:4.
When Paul’s “mortal body puts on immortality” he will be changed from a “natural body” to a “spiritual body” - 1 Corinthians 15:44, by receiving his “house from heaven.” Then the prediction will be fulfilled in him, that the Lord Jesus, when he returns,“will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” - Philippians 3:21.
- This also agrees with what Paul said before in 2 Corinthians 5:1, “if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” It is the “building” - the new body - which is “eternal”. The eternity is not in heaven - it is on this earth. Paul was a preacher of the Full Gospel, which is about both “the things concerning the name of Jesus Christ” (salvation) and “the things concerning the Kingdom of God” - Acts 8:12; 19:8. Paul explained to Agrippa about “my hope in what God has promised our fathers ” (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). God has not yet fulfilled his promise to Abraham - see Acts 7:5 -
Genesis 17:8 “The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting [Hebrew, olahm = eternal] possession to you and your descendants after you” .
- But after Jesus has returned, Abraham will receive his “house not made with [man’s] hands” - his immortal body. He must have that new body, because Paul said, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” - 1 Corinthians 15:50.
But the idea of going to heaven at death seems to be supported by the Living Bible, which has Paul saying that he expected to be ”at home with the Lord” as soon as he died - 2 Corinthians 5:8. This is not the same as other Bible versions. It is explained in the front of the Living Bible that it is a “thought-for-thought translation instead of translating the original Hebrew and Greek texts word for word”. In actual fact this version is not really translating what Paul wrote. It is saying what the translator thinks Paul means. That is why scholars call the Living Bible a paraphrase, and not a translation. Let’s compare Bible versions of 2 Corinthians 5:8 -
- The Living Bible, which is a paraphrase - “We are not afraid, but quite content to die, for then, we will be at home with the Lord.” The English Standard Version, which is a translation - “We are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord ” (other versions similar).
The translations harmonize with what the Scriptures declare concerning the state of the dead -
- “The dead do not praise the Lord, nor do any that go down into silence” - Psalm 115:17; Psalm 6:5; 146:4; Ecclesiastes 9:5-6. Quite clearly, the apostle Paul did not expect to go to heaven when he died. More next time, God willing.