Today’s selected reading continues in the second New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Corinth. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters five through eight of this New Testament book. ”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” (2 Corinthians 5:1-8). “Wherefore we labour, that whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 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. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of God constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pay you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:9-21).
“We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: but in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, IN MUCH PATIENCE, IN AFFLICTIONS, IN NECESSITIES, IN DISTRESSES, IN STRIPES, IN IMPRISONMENTS, IN TUMULTS, IN LABOURS, IN WATCHINGS, IN FASTINGS; by pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness, on the right hand and on the left, by honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; AS DYING, AND, BEHOLD, WE LIVE; AS CHASTENED, AND NOT KILLED; AS SORROWFUL, YET ALWAYS REJOICING; AS POOR, YET MAKING MANY RICH; AS HAVING NOTHING, AND YET POSSESSING ALL THINGS” (2 Corinthians 6:1-10). “O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? OR what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 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 dwel in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:11-18).
HAVING THEREFORE THESE PROMISES, DEARLY BELOVED, LET US CLEANSE OURSELVES FROM ALL FILTHINESS OF THE FLESH AND SPIRIT, PERFECTING HOLINESS IN THE FEAR OF GOD (2 Corinthians 7:1).
“Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man. I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you. Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort. I AM EXCEEDING JOYFUL IN ALL OUR TRIBULATION. FOR, WHEN WE WERE COME INTO MACEDONIA, OUR FLESH HAD NO REST, BUT WE WERE TROUBLED ON EVERY SIDE; WITHOUT WERE FIGHTINGS, WITHIN WERE FEARS. Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus; and not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comorted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more. For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea what zeal, yea, what revenge! IN all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter” (2 Corinthians 7:2-11).
“Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; how that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saint. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave of their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God” (2 Corinthians 8:1-5).
EARTH IS NOT YOUR HOME, AND YOUR EARTHLY BODY IS NOT YOUR FINAL REALITY! When you begin reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find the apostle Paul making an emphatic and bold statement concerning this natural and physical life within and upon the earth. If you begin reading with and from the first and opening verse of the fifth chapter you will find the apostle Paul emphatically declaring that 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. I am absolutely and completely convinced that we must needs pay close and careful attention to this, for how we view our physical and natural bodies—and not only how we view our physical and natural bodies, but also how we view this earth—can and will determine how we will live our lives as disciples of the Lord Jesus the Christ. Perhaps one of the greatest truths that is found in the New Testament book of Acts—and not only in the New Testament book of Acts, but also during the days of the early Church—is that while it was indeed true that for a certain period of time there would stand two temples within the earth, there would come a point when the temple which was made with and by human hands would be destroyed by human hands. Oh it is necessary that we understand this, for that which is made by human hands can indeed and can in fact be destroyed with and by human hands. Conversely, however, that which was made without human hands cannot be touched by human hands, and therefore cannot be destroyed by human hands. One of the greatest truths that is found within Scripture is the narrative of a temple that was made without human hands, and therefore is entirely and altogether untouchable by any human hands upon the earth. Within Scripture we find the question being asked whether or not the living and eternal God will dwell in a temple made with human hands, and the truth of the matter is that after the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, and after His resurrection from the grave, and after His ascension unto the right hand of the Father which was in heaven the living God would no longer dwell within and inhabit temples made with human hands, but would indeed dwell within a temple made without human hands.
If and as you study the history and narrative of the second Jewish Temple—and not only the second Jewish Temple, but also the temple of the living God and the temple of the Holy Spirit that was created within and upon the earth—you will find and discover that there would come a point when that second Jewish temple which was made with and by human hands was destroyed by human hands. Eventually there would come a point in time when the second Jewish Temple would be destroyed with human hands and would be burned with fire. Even with that being said, however, we must needs recognize and understand that despite the fact that the earthly Temple which took forty and six years to rear up and build according to the words of the Jews in the second chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle John, it would indeed and would in fact be destroyed by the Romans. The Roman army would invade the land of Judaea, would lay siege to the city of Jerusalem, and would ultimately destroy the Temple which stood upon the Temple Mount. What we must needs understand concerning this tremendous reality is that although the physical temple which had been made with human hands was indeed destroyed by human hands there was still a spiritual temple that was made without human hands which would remain upon the earth. What’s more, is that I would dare say that what happened and what took place within and upon the Temple of the Lord was a powerful picture and portent of what would eventually happen to the temple of the living God and the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Temple of the Lord which stood in Jerusalem would be destroyed and would be burned with fire, and eventually and ultimately there would come a point in time when the Christians which were alive and present during those days would experience intense suffering and persecution—the likes of which had not been experienced before. Christians during those days would not only be thrust into the arenas where they would be slaughtered by gladiators, but they would also be thrust into arenas where they would be mauled by wild beasts. Moreover, Christians during those days would be burned at the stake, and would even be nailed to a cross and crucified. Additionally, there would be Christians who would be imprisoned, who would be tortured, who would be beaten, and who would even be beheaded. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for as the physical temple would be destroyed with fire, so also would Rome seek to target and destroy the spiritual temple of the living God within and upon the earth.
I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this particular passage and I can’t help but be brought face to face with how we view this earthly house of this tabernacle, and how tightly and how closely we hold on to it. The more I read and consider the words found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought to terms with the awesome and powerful truth that how we view and how we treat this earthly house of this tabernacle can indeed and can in fact directly impact how we live our lives as disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul wrote unto the Corinthian saints and emphatically declared unto them that if this earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved or destroyed we have a building of God, which was an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. This is something worth noting and pointing out, for within Scripture—not only do we find it described and declared that the eternal God does not and will not dwell within temples made with human hands, but we also find that we have a building of God and an house which was not made with human hands, and which was eternal in the heavens. Oh dear reader—please lay hold of and pay attention to this awesome and powerful truth, for not only do you worship and serve an eternal God who does not and will not dwell within temples made with human hands, but so also do we as His saints, and so also do we as disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ have a building of God, and a house that was made without human hands. Oh there is indeed a house and a building for you which was not made without human hands, and which is not of this earth, nor is of this natural and physical realm. In truth, this was one of the greatest realities which was found in the first epistle the apostle Paul wrote unto the Corinthian saints, for if you turn and direct your attention to the words found in the fifteenth chapter of that epistle you will find the apostle Paul writing about resurrection—and not only resurrection, but also our own ascension, translation and transformation. In all reality, I am convinced that if you want to truly understand the words which are found in the fifth chapter of this second epistle written unto the saints which were at Corinth you must needs turn and direct your attention to the words that are found in the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle written unto the Corinthians. What’s more, is that it is within this chapter where the apostle Paul—when speaking unto the matter of resurrection—writes concerning if there be no resurrection from the dead then we are of all men most miserable for there would be hope found in this life alone. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints:
“Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is on resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. IF in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead? And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die. Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:12-34).
“But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die; and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. IT IS SOWN IN CORRUPTION; IT IS RAISED IN INCORRUPTION; IT IS SOWN IN DISHONOUR; IT IS RAISED IN GLORY: IT IS SOWN IN WEAKNESS; IT IS RAISED IN POWER: IT IS SOWN A NATURAL BODY; IT IS RAISED A SPIRITUAL BODY. THERE IS A NATURAL BODY, AND THERE IS A SPIRITUAL BODY. AND SO IT IS WRITTEN, THE FIRST MAN ADAM WAS MADE A LIVING SOUL; THE LAST ADAM WAS MADE A QUICKENING SPIRIT. HOWBEIT THAT WAS NOT FIRST WHICH IS SPIRITUAL, BUT THAT WHICH IS NATURAL; AND AFTERWARD THAT WHICH IS SPIRITUAL. THE FIRST MAN IS OF THE EARTH, EARTHY: THE SECOND MAN IS THE LORD FROM HEAVEN. AS IS THE EARTHY, SUCH ARE THEY ALSO THAT ARE EARTHY: AND AS IS THE HEAVENLY, SUCH ARE THEY ALSO THAT ARE HEAVENLY. AND AS WE HAVE BORNE THE IMAGE OF THE EARTHY, WE SHALL ALSO BEAR THE IMAGE OF THE HEAVENLY” (1 Corinthians 15:35-49).
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, BUT WE SHALL ALL BE CHANGED, IN A MOMENT, IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE, AT THE LAST TRUMP: FOR THE TRUMPET SHALLSOUND, AND THE DEAD SHALL BE RAISED INCORRUPTIBLE, AND WE SHALL BE CHANGED. 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. O DEATH, WHERE IS THY STING? O GRAVE, WHERE IS THY VICTORY? THE STING OF DEATH IS IN; AND THE STRENGTH OF SIN IS THE LAW. BUT THANKS BE TO GOD, WHICH GIVETH US THE VICTORY THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. THEREFORE, MY BELOVED BRETHREN, BE YE STEDFAST, UNMOVEABLE, ALWAYS ABOUNDING IN THE WORK OF THE LORD, FORASMUCH AS YE KNOW THAT YOUR LABOUR IS NOT IN VAIN IN THE LORD” (1 Corinthians 15:50-58).
We have great need to pay close and careful attention to the words which are found in this chapter, for within this portion of Scripture—not only does the apostle Paul speak of resurrection, but the apostle Paul also writes and speaks of ascension and translation. What’s more, is that as you read these words you will find the apostle Paul describing how whether you are dead and sleep and experience the resurrection of the dead, or whether you are alive and remain when the Son of God descends with a shout, and the voice of an archangel, and at the sound of the trump, all those in Him shall be changed and transformed. It is this reality of our being changed and transformed that brings us face to face with the tremendous truth of that which the apostle Paul wrote once more in the second epistle written unto the Corinthian saints. With these words the apostle Paul writes and speaks of this earthly tent and this earthly house, and how this earthly and natural house is not only temporary and fleeting, but it is also sown in corruption. The apostle Paul made it perfectly and abundantly clear that there is a new temple that was made without human hands which is found and secured in the heavens that awaits us—and not only awaits us, but awaits us whether or not we experience the resurrection of the dead, or whether we experience the translation and ascension as those which are alive and remain. We must needs recognize and understand this, for it brings us to terms with the awesome and powerful truth that while we are indeed in this physical form of flesh, and while we are indeed in this natural and earthly tent it is not our ultimate dwelling place.
The more I think about and consider the reality of what is found here the more I can’t hep but ask and wonder what holds greater value and worth to you in this life—your earthly and natural tent which is temporary and fleeting, or that spiritual house and building which has been made without human hands and which is secured in heaven. As you are living your life within and upon this earth—are you one who places a great deal of emphasis on this physical, this natural, and this earthly tent and house which is sown in corruption, or do you place your desire and your hope for that spiritual building, that spiritual house, and that spiritual temple in the heavens which was made without human hands? Oh I am absolutely and completely convinced that how you answer this question and how you view this reality can and will determine what type of disciple and follower of the Lord Jesus the Christ. There are those who would like to hold on to their life, and who would like to hold on to their physical bodies so closely that they have absolutely no room for the ability to look forward to a spiritual house and building in the heavens which is made without human hands. Jesus made it perfectly and abundantly clear when speaking unto His disciples that those who seek to save their lives will lose them, and those who lose their lives will gain them. What makes the words which the apostle Paul wrote within this passage of Scripture is when you think about the fact that the apostle Paul would go on to speak of our groaning as we earnestly seek and desire to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven. The apostle Paul would then go on to write that if we are so clothed with that spiritual body we shall not be found naked. The words which are found within this passage of Scripture is actually quite remarkable when you think about it, for the apostle Paul writes and speaks of this inward groaning, this inward burden, this inward longing, and this inward conflict he had between being present in this physical and natural body and being absent from the body. The apostle Paul realized and recognized that being present in this physical and natural body would mean to be absent from the Lord, but he also recognized that to be absent this physical and natural body would mean that he would be absent from the churches and the saints of God. Oh we must needs pay close and careful attention to this, for there was this deep and abiding conflict that was found within the heart and soul of the apostle Paul, for the apostle Paul was one who would wrestle with being present with the body and absent from the Lord, and being absent from the Lord and being present within this body.
If you read the words which are found in the fourth verse of this passage of Scripture you will that we which 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. What I find to be so absolutely captivating when reading the words which the apostle Paul wrote in this passage is how it directly builds upon that which he wrote in the previous and first epistle. It was in the first epistle the apostle Paul spoke and wrote unto the Corinthian saints concerning the immortal and incorruptible body that would be received at the resurrection of the dead for those who were asleep in Christ, and which would be experienced by those which are alive and remain in Christ upon the earth when He returns. The apostle Paul made it very clear when writing unto the Corinthian saints in that first epistle that there was indeed a spiritual, a heavenly, and an eternal body that awaited those who were in Christ—despite and regardless of whether or not they were dead in Christ, or whether they were alive and remain when the Lord returns in the air to gather together all those in Him. It would be in the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints the apostle Paul would speak unto them concerning resurrection and ascension—and not only of these two realities, but also of spiritual bodies which would be laid hold of and taken up by those who are in Christ. There is absolutely no mistake about it when reading the words found in the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle written unto these saints the apostle Paul desired to bring them into the place where they understood the resurrection of the dead, as well as the ascension of the saints of God who are in Christ. The apostle Paul sought to directly link and tie together the resurrection of Christ—and not only the resurrection of Christ, but the ascension of Christ—to that resurrection of the dead which the dead in Christ shall experience, and the translation and ascension those who are alive in Christ can and will experience at the coming and return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Upon reading these words found in this second epistle there would have been those among them who would have remembered the words which were written in the initial epistle and would have considered resurrection and ascension, and how both of these realities are intrinsically linked and connected to our taking up and putting on spiritual bodies.
What you find in the fifth chapter of this epistle is not only additional language concerning this spiritual body—this spiritual house and temple of you will—but also the conflict and struggle that surrounds it. There is not a doubt in my mind that we must needs pay close and careful attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture, for one of the things we must wrestle with in our own hearts and minds is whether or not we are experiencing this same inner conflict and struggle within our hearts and our minds. The apostle Paul was not only one who experienced the conflict and the struggle between the flesh and the Spirit as was referenced in the epistle written unto the saints at Rome, but the apostle Paul also experienced the conflict and the struggle that was present within his heart, within his mind, and within his spirit while he was present in this earthly tent. You cannot read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture without coming face to face with the tremendous and powerful conflict that was present within the heart and mind of the apostle Paul, for the apostle Paul realized and recognized that his citizenship was not here of this earth—his citizenship was not of this world, nor of anything this world could offer him—but his citizenship is in heaven. Oh the more we think about and consider the awesome and incredible truth concerning these spiritual bodies and tents we have been given the more we must needs understand where our citizenship truly lies. There is a great need within our hearts and lives to encounter and come face to face with the awesome truth that we cannot be citizens of this world and citizens of heaven at the same time. It was James who wrote that friendship with the world is enmity with God, and the apostle John wrote that those who love the world and the things of the world have not the love of God in them and are in fact enemies of God. Perhaps one of the greatest questions we must ask ourselves is where our citizenship truly lies—and not only where our citizenship lies, but also where our treasure lies. It was the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews that writes concerning this citizenship in heaven, as well as the apostle Paul who wrote about our citizenship not being of this earth, but in heaven. What’s more, is it was Jesus the Christ who spoke about seeking and pursuing treasure here on the earth versus treasure in heaven—and not only this, but would also declare that we must lay up for ourselves treasure in heaven where thieves do not break in and steal, and where moth and rust do not corrupt. Oh, consider if you will the following words which are found in the epistle written unto the Hebrews, as well as the words which are found in the writings of the apostle Paul, and the words which our Lord spoke unto His disciples and followers:
“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:8-10).
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But not they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11:13-16).
“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:24-27).
“Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) 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 3:17-21).
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
“And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: and he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:16-21).
It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture, for they bring us face to face with the tremendous truth that where our treasure is—it is there in that place our heart will be. The words which is found within these passages of Scripture point to a citizenship that is not here within and upon the earth, but one that is present in heaven where the eternal Father is. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand within this life it’s that this earth is not our home, and it is that these bodies aren’t our spiritual bodies. Right now at this time we have been relegated to living as strangers and pilgrims within and upon this earth, however, that does not mean that our citizenship, our conversation and our hope needs to be present within this earth. Perhaps one of the greatest truths that is found within these passages of Scripture is that hope that is before us—a hope that is not wrapped up and bound in the earthly, the natural and the temporal. The apostle Paul had within him a tremendous conflict that existed within his heart and spirit concerning being present with this body, but being absent from the Lord. The apostle Paul had this constant tension within himself—not only a tension between the flesh and the Spirit, but also between the earthly and the heavenly. You cannot read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and not encounter the absolutely astonishing truth that the apostle Paul realized and recognized that so long as we were present within this physical and natural body we were absent from the Lord, and it was this tension that so gripped the apostle Paul. What we must needs recognize, however, is that it this tension within his heart, within his mind, and within his spirit actually enabled him to live in a place where he would give freely of himself, and would not think of his life dear unto him that he might not only finish the work and course that was before him, but that he might fully and completely give himself unto the work of the ministry. This tension that existed within the heart and spirit of the apostle Paul was one that entirely and altogether necessary, for it was this tension that allowed him to live in that place where he would not consider, nor count his life as dear unto him, and would freely offer himself upon the altar of the ministry. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the third chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the saints which were at Philippi:
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 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, 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: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:7-14).
THE INTRINSIC LINK BETWEEN THE SPIRITUAL BODY AND SUFFERING! THE INTRINSIC LINK BETWEEEN THE SPIRITUAL TEMPLE AND TRIAL AND TRIBULATION! I sit here thinking about and consider the words which are found within these passages of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the tremendous reality that there is without a doubt an apparent and intrinsic link and connection that exists between the suffering we experience in this present life and the glory we shall experience in the coming life. We would be incredibly remiss to think about and consider the fact that there is not a strong and powerful link and connection between the suffering, the affliction, the trials, the trouble, and the tribulation we face and experience in this life. If and as you read the words which the apostle Paul wrote—specifically within this second epistle—you will find the apostle Paul linking the suffering of this present world and that which we experience in the earth and the glory we can and will experience in the coming age. You cannot read the words which are found in the fifth chapter of the epistle written unto Corinthian saints this second time and not be brought into the fact that we cannot ignore the incredibly powerful link that exists between suffering in this life and the glory that is found in the next. IN fact, I would dare say that what enabled the apostle Paul to bear up under and bear up in the midst of the suffering which was experienced in this life was the fact that his citizenship, his conversation and his hope was not in this life. The apostle Paul was able to bear up under the tremendous suffering, opposition and affliction he experienced and encountered in this life, for the apostle Paul realized and recognized that if man destroyed his physical and natural body there was a spiritual body that would wait for him in the eternal and spiritual realm.
IF YOU DESTROY THIS BODY THERE IS ANOTHER BODY WAITING FOR ME! IF YOU DESTROY THIS HOUSE THERE IS ANOTHER HOUSE THAT IS PREPARED FOR ME! I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which Jesus spoke unto His disciples when He declared that He went unto His Father to prepare a place for us that where He is, there we might be also with Him. I am also reminded of the words which Jesus spoke concerning there being many mansions in His Father’s house. The question I can’t help but ask is what if when Jesus spoke about going to prepare a place for us—that which He was speaking of was not necessarily a literal place within the Father’s house, but rather a spiritual body, a spiritual house, a spiritual temple that would be present in heaven with both He and the Father? The apostle Paul declared unto the Corinthian saints in the first epistle that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and he would then go on to write and declare how we must needs put on the immortal and the incorruptible and the spiritual that we might abide and dwell with the living God where He is. The more I think about and consider this the more I am brought face to face with the absolutely overwhelming truth that what if that which the Lord Jesus Christ was preparing for us in His Father’s house was not necessarily a literal dwelling place, but rather that means by which we can dwell and abide with Him in eternity? I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that even now as Jesus is at the right hand of the Father He is preparing a place for us—a spiritual dwelling and a spiritual tent and temple—in order that where He and the Father are we might be also. We have often thought about Jesus’ words concerning His preparing a place for us as being a literal place and dwelling in heaven, however, the apostle Paul seems to suggest that what Jesus Christ is actually preparing and what He is actually making ready for us our those spiritual bodies which are reserved in heaven waiting for that moment when we can shed this physical body and this physical tent and put on that which is spiritual. We must needs recognize and understand that when Jesus the Christ descends from heaven with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trump, and with a great shout, the dead in Christ will rise first, and then we which are alive and remain will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air.
It is necessary and important for us to realize and recognize this truly wonderful and powerful truth, for I am becoming increasingly convinced that what the living and eternal Christ is in fact doing at the right hand of the Father is preparing dwelling places in heaven whereby we might dwell and abide with the living and eternal God. The more I think about and consider this the more I can’t help but think about and consider that what the Lord Jesus the Christ is doing right now is preparing a spiritual abode, a spiritual dwelling, a spiritual tent, and a spiritual house for us in order that we might shed this earthly tabernacle for a heavenly house. Just as the earthly Tabernacle would eventually give way for a physical Temple and house in the midst of the earth, so also must our earthly tabernacle me done away with that we might take up and put on a spiritual house and a spiritual Temple. Oh it is absolutely critical that we recognize and understand this, for we must needs recognize that what our Lord is indeed doing for us on our behalf at the right hand of the Father is preparing spiritual houses—spiritual Temples and spiritual buildings—whereby within and by those spiritual houses we might dwell and abide with the Father and the Son for all eternity and forever and ever. We have long and often thought Jesus’ words concerning preparing a place for us is limited to a literal place, and yet the truth of the matter is that I believe that what He is actually preparing for us is a spiritual house, a spiritual building, and a spiritual Temple whereby we might dwell and abide with the living and eternal God. Oh what a wonderful and beautiful thought it is to think about and consider the fact that it is very possible and incredibly likely that what Jesus is indeed and what Jesus is in fact doing at the right hand of the Father is preparing those spiritual buildings and those spiritual houses—not that we might have a house such as we understand houses in this earthly and natural sense, but rather the means whereby we might dwell with the eternal Father which is in heaven.
We know that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven, and therefore we must conclude and understand that what Jesus is indeed doing at the right hand of the Father is preparing a spiritual building and a spiritual house for us in heaven in order that when we are caught up together with Him we might lay hold of and take up those spiritual bodies and those spiritual temples. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this powerful truth, for it brings us face to face with the awesome reality that what the Lord Jesus is indeed preparing for us in heaven is not a house made of four walls and a floor and a ceiling, but rather a spiritual abode and dwelling place whereby we might dwell with the Father and the Son for all eternity. The eternal Son is indeed and is in fact working at the right hand of the Father preparing a place for us in order that when the Father instructs and commands Him to go and get His bride He might not only come and gather together His bride and His body, but might also present and give unto them something truly beautiful and wonderful. Would it shock and surprise you to think about one of the greatest gifts the Lord Jesus could and would present unto His body and bride is that of spiritual bodies which they can and will use in order to dwell and abide with the Lord Jesus the Christ in the midst of heaven? I can’t help but get the strong sense that one of the single greatest gifts the Lord Jesus Christ can and will provide for His body and His bride is this “place” which He was going to prepare for us. I do not believe that this “place” simply refers to space in heaven, but it also refers to a place as in a house, as in a temple, as in a building whereby which we can take up and put on that we might dwell and abide with Him forever. It is indeed true that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, which means that we must needs shed and release this physical and natural tent and house that we might take up and put on that which can withstand the atmosphere and environment of heaven, as well as dwell and abide within and before the presence of God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with Jesus Christ Himself. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truly astonishing truth, for it brings us face to face with the awesome reality that when Jesus returned unto the Father’s house to prepare “a place” for us—that which He was actually doing was preparing an abode, a dwelling, a tent, a building, a house, and that which was incorruptible and immortal to be able to withstand the atmosphere and environment of heaven.
Oh I can’t help but wonder if one of the greatest ways to prove that you are able to withstand the atmosphere of heaven is how well you currently handle the atmosphere in the earth. There are many who can barely stand and withstand the environment and atmosphere upon the earth, and the underlying question which must be asked of these individuals is how they think, expect and anticipate to be able to given this place in the kingdom of heaven whereby they might be able to dwell and abide with God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ for all eternity. I am absolutely and completely convinced there are a number of men and women among us in this generation who somehow think and expect that they will be able to stand in the environment and atmosphere of heaven and yet they cannot stand and even withstand the atmosphere and environment of the earth. What we must realize and recognize is the apostle Paul presented us with an intrinsic link and connection between the suffering that is faced and experienced in this life, and the trials, the trouble and tribulation we face in this world and the glory which we can and shall experience in the coming age. In fact, if you consider the words which the apostle Paul wrote in his epistle sent unto the Roman saints you will find the following exhortation and admonition delivered unto them: ”For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, and not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, ti wit, the redemption of the body. For we are saved by hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (Romans 8:18-25). We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the tremendous truth that for the apostle Paul there was an intrinsic link and connection between the suffering of this world and the glory of the next—and not only the glory of the next, but also the spiritual bodies which await us in the coming age.
WHICH BODY DO YOU LOVE MORE? WHICH HOUSE DO YOU VALUE MORE? The more I think about and consider this awesome truth concerning this spiritual body which awaits us in that moment when we meet the Lord in the air the more I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the fact that when Jesus emphatically declared that He went to heaven to prepare a place for us—He wasn’t merely preparing a place of space, a place of dimensions, and the like. We do know that in the prophetic book of the Revelation the only reality that would truly have dimensions was the city of the new Jerusalem that would come down from heaven upon the earth. It was indeed true that the Lord declared that in His Father’s house was many mansions, and it is also true that He was going to prepare a place for us. If you take the time to think about and consider these words you almost get the sense there is an apparent contradiction between the two realities. If in the house of the Father there are many mansions then how does Jesus the Christ also go to prepare a place for us? How would there be many mansions in the house of the Father in the kingdom of heaven and yet Jesus would speak and declare that He would prepare a place for us? I am absolutely and completely convinced that when Jesus spoke of preparing a “place” for us that which He was speaking about was that abode, that dwelling, that place of habitation—or the means of dwelling and abiding with the Father and the Son. The apostle Paul would emphatically declare that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven, and it is absolutely necessary that we pay close attention to it—particularly and especially when we think about the language that is found in the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints, as well as the words which are found in the fourth chapter of the first epistle written unto the saints of Thessalonica. Consider if you will the following words which are found in both of those passages, as well as the words which are found in the gospel narrative written by the apostle John concerning the words Jesus spoke unto His disciples on the night in which He was betrayed:
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but 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. 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. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law” (1 Corinthians 15:50-56).
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 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 got and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you un to myself; that where I am; there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3).
IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE ARE MANY MANSIONS! I GO TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU! 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! Oh dear reader, please don’t miss and lose sight of these words, for within them there almost seems to be a contradiction with what Jesus the Christ was speaking. How could Jesus the Christ initially say that in His Father’s house are many mansions, and in the very next breath declare that He was going to prepare a place for us. If there are already many mansions then why would Jesus need to prepare a place for us? I firmly believe the answer to this question lies in what is found in the epistles written unto the Corinthian and Thessalonian saints when the apostle Paul speaks of a spiritual building and house that is made without human hands, and which is found in heaven. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that there might be in heaven dwelling places—spiritual bodies—which are held in reserve and waiting for us in that moment, in the twinkling of an eye when the Lord Himself descends with a shout, and with the voice of the archangel, and with the sound of a trumpet. How absolutely incredible and astonishing it is to think about and consider the awesome and wonderful truth that when Jesus declared that He went unto His Father to prepare a place for us—that which He was speaking about was going unto His Father to prepare a spiritual building, a spiritual house, an eternal dwelling place, and the means to abide with both He and the Father forever. It is truly something to think about and consider that one of the greatest gifts the Lord Jesus the Christ can and will present unto us is that gift of a spiritual house and a spiritual dwelling whereby we might abide with the eternal Father and the Son for all eternity. Oh I can’t help but think about the fact that the eternal Son is in heaven right now at the right hand of the Father and is within and from that place preparing a place for us in order that where He is we might be also. It’s incredibly astonishing to think about and consider the fact that within this text we find Jesus speaking of many mansions in the Father’s house, we find Him speaking of preparing a place for us, and we find Him speaking of coming again and receiving us unto Himself. What’s more, is Jesus goes on to emphatically declare and proclaim the underlying reason why He went away—namely, that where He is, there we might be also. We must needs recognize and understand that Jesus’ return unto the right hand of the Father was about returning unto that place of glory which He had with the Father before He came to the earth, however, it was about something else entirely and altogether different—namely, that where He was we might be there together with Him.
We read the words which are found written and recorded in this particular passage of Scripture found in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth chapter of this second epistle written unto the Corinthian saints, and we find the apostle Paul writing even further concerning the trials, the troubles and the tribulations he faced and experienced in this life, for in the sixth chapter you will find the apostle Paul writing how in all things they approved themselves as the ministers of God. What’s more, is the apostle Paul would go on to write how he approved himself as a minister in much patience, in affliction, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, and in fasting. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for within and throughout this epistle the apostle Paul directly links and connects the suffering we face in this world and in this present age with the eternal glory that awaits us. There is absolutely no mistaking the words which the apostle Paul writes within this epistle, for the apostle Paul was very clear and very adamant concerning the trials, the troubles and the tribulations he faced within this life. Oh the more I think about and the more I consider this reality the more I am absolutely and entirely convinced that how we view our physical and natural bodies can and will determine—not only how we live our lives as the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, but also how we conduct ourselves in the ministry. If you truly take the time to think about and consider this tremendous truth you will find that if we view ourselves as being absent from the Lord, and that being present in this body is as such then we will live our lives in such a way that not only glorifies the living God, but will also position us to not only meet the Lord in the air when He appears, but also to put on that immortal and incorruptible body which the apostle Paul wrote and spoke about. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome and powerful truth, for the more you are willing to give your physical and natural body to suffering, to affliction, to persecution, to opposition, to trials, to troubles, and to tribulation the more you are demonstrating and showing—not only that you are not living for this world and this life, but also that you are looking for a spiritual body that was not made with human hands and cannot be touched, nor destroyed by human hands.
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely astonishing and remarkable to think about the fact that when Jesus declared that He went to prepare a place for us—that which He was ultimately speaking and declaring unto us was not necessarily that He was going to prepare geographical and special places, but actual spiritual buildings, spiritual houses, and spiritual temples in order that where He is, there we might be also. It’s interesting to think about and consider that when Jesus returned unto the right hand of the Father He did indeed sit down, however, it would be there from that place Jesus would—I would dare say immediately—begin working on preparing a place for us. I firmly believe that the words the apostle Paul wrote in his epistles unto the Thessalonian and Corinthian saints are a powerful picture of that which Jesus has been preparing for us—namely, a spiritual body, a spiritual house, and a spiritual temple that we will lay hold of, take up, and put on that we might dwell in the kingdom of heaven and the Father’s house with both the Father and the Son. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truth, as it shines a tremendous light on to the powerful reality that when Jesus did indeed and did in fact return unto the right hand of the Father, He didn’t merely return that He might sit and reign, but He also returned unto the right hand of the Father that He might prepare a place for us. That place which the eternal Son has been preparing and is preparing for us is a spiritual habitation, a spiritual building, a spiritual house that we might take up within ourselves that we might be able to dwell with the eternal Father and the Son. I am absolutely and completely convinced when the Lord Jesus Christ referred to many mansions in His Father’s house He was in fact speaking about how there was much room in that house to dwell and abide with the Father, and when He spoke of preparing a place for us He was speaking about the means to actually dwell and abide in that place.
It is true that within the Father’s house there are many mansions and there is plenty of space and room to dwell within and abide, however, I am also completely and utterly convinced that when Jesus spoke of preparing a place for us He wasn’t merely speaking of an individual place, nor was He speaking of a spiritual house as we think of a house in our modern context and in our earthly and natural sense. The apostle Paul does indeed and does in fact write and speak unto us concerning this building being a spiritual building, and how it was a spiritual house that was reserved in heaven and was made without human hands. Oh the more I think about this the more I can’t help but think about the fact that we are the house and we are the spiritual building that is found within the Father’s house, and we are the dwelling places found within the eternal kingdom of God. Oh it would even be in the sixth chapter of this second epistle the apostle Paul would go on to write and declare that we are the temple of the living God and that God would dwell in us, and would walk within us, and would be our God. What we must needs realize is that while we are here in the earth we are the temple of the living God, and we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and that the Father and the Son dwell within us through the person of the Holy Spirit. There is, however, coming a point in time when this flesh and blood must be cast off—much like the flesh and blood of Jesus was cast off—and we take up our spiritual bodies, our spiritual nature, and our spiritual buildings. We must needs pay close attention to this, for reality, for while it is indeed true that the Lord returned unto the Father to prepare a place for us, He returned unto the Father not that He might dwell and abide with the Father as He has always done from eternity past, but that He might dwell with us and us with Him for all eternity future. Oh dear brother, oh dear sister—please do not miss and ignore this powerful truth, for when we read the language concerning Jesus preparing a place—that which He does indeed and that which He has indeed prepared for us is a spiritual house, a spiritual building, and a spiritual temple whereby we might dwell and abide with the living and eternal God. Jesus would return unto the Father’s house where there are many mansions and where there are many dwelling places—and not only would He return to the Father’s house where there are many mansions and dwelling places, but also where He might prepare a place for us that no longer would be spiritual houses and temples in which the living God would dwell, but rather that we might be spiritual houses that would dwell with the living God. Oh truly take the time to think about and consider how utterly fascinating this is, and how in the Father’s house are many mansions and dwelling places, and it is in those dwelling places where spiritual houses and buildings can and will abide with the eternal and living God as opposed to the living God dwelling within us in this earthly tent and building.