- Parent Category: FAQs
- Category: Bible Questions about Mankind or Humanity
- Published on Monday, 07 February 2011 10:12
THE INTERMEDIATE STATE
If we enter at the very moment of death into our Lord’s presence, do we enter bodily?
If so, in what kind of body do we enter?
If this immediate entry were true, would not resurrection be superfluous; and how reconcile it with 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17?
Certainly the Scriptures do not teach that at the moment of death the believer enters “bodily” into the presence of Christ, and yet the Apostle Paul says very plainly, “To depart and to be with Christ, which is far better” (Philippians 1:23). He adds however, “nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you;” so that the presence with Christ is not “in the flesh,” it is not bodily: the body is laid in the grave, it sleeps awaiting the resurrection.
Then again in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 the apostle describes his earnest desire to depart and to be with Christ, which was so great, that he was willing even to enter the disembodied state, so as to be with Christ, evep in that imperfect condition. “We are confident and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
The passage in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 describes quite another thing, namely, the coming of the Lord; the raising of the sleeping saints (sleeping, that is as to their bodies and whose spirits God will bring with Christ); and the changing of the living saints—two companies which will be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air. This will be the perfected condition.
2 Corinthians 12:2-4 is clear proof that the human spirit can exist consciously and intelligently apart from the body, for Paul, when he was caught up, knew perfectly that he was at the third heaven, and in Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for man to utter, and yet he twice assures us that he could not tell whether he was in the body or out of the body. This shows that he believed in the possibility of spiritual existence apart from the body.