What does the phrase to be “absent from the body” and “present with the Lord” mean?


This answer is also available in: العربية हिन्दी

Paul wrote,…to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).

This passage says, “We are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”

In verses 1-8, the apostle compared our present mortal state with our future immortal life in heaven. He was showing us the difference between our earthy bodies that will someday perish and the new, perfect bodies that will be ours in heaven.

Notice the expressions he used for the two conditions:

Present mortal state: earthy house, this tent, mortality, in the body and absent from the Lord

Future immortal state: building from God, house not made with hands, our habitation which is from heaven, absent from the [mortal] body ,and present with the Lord

The Bible is clear that when we die, we’re simply dead until the resurrection. So, being absent from the body means to be absent from the infirmities of our earthy bodies, such as disease, sickness, and death. To be present with the Lord means to have our glorious immortal bodies that we’ll receive when Jesus comes.

Because we have no consciousness of time in death, it is certainly true that following the moment of death, the believer’s next conscious thought is in his or her glorified body. But that does not happen until the return of Christ and the resurrection. Paul made it clear when this change from mortality will take place. In 1 Corinthians 15:52,53, he wrote, “The trumpet will sound…and this mortal must put on immortality.” This change will take place only when Jesus comes.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

This answer is also available in: العربية हिन्दी

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