Explain on being absent from the body, but present with the Lord.

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:8
What does the Bible mean when it says, 'to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord'? Do we go to be with the Lord right after death?
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Caller: Hi. My question is regarding 2nd Corinthians 5 verse 8. I've read the whole chapter and was trying to explain it to a friend and just want further explanation.

Pastor Doug: All right Debby. I'll read that for our listeners. 2nd Corinthians 5:8: 'We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.' Now let me tell you, many people use this Scripture to say the next thing that happens when a person dies is they are resurrected and they go to be with the Lord.

Caller: Right.

Pastor Doug: That raises a lot of issues because the Bible is very clear the Resurrection takes place when Jesus comes back. The Lord will descend from Heaven with a shout, with the Voice of the Archangel, the dead in Christ shall rise and that's 1st Thessalonians chapter 4. So what do we do with this verse, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord? Well keep in mind that when a Christian or a saint dies, they have no awareness of time. Paul speaks of it as a moment, the twinkling of an eye. Their next conscious thought is the Resurrection and being in God's presence.

King David died oh a thousand years B.C., and the Bible says he slept with his fathers. You get down to Acts chapter 2 and Peter's says David's still dead, he's still buried, and he's not yet in Heaven. Well he cannot be more clearer than that. But, when Jesus comes, King David is coming out of his grave, he'll be caught up with the Righteous to meet the Lord in the air, he'll have his immortal, glorified body. But for David, when he closed his eyes and Bath Sheba and Nathan the Prophet were around his bedside, the next thing he's aware of it seems like instantaneous - to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

Let me share one other thought: Paul, in 2nd Corinthians, he also speaks about being carnally minded and spiritually minded. Paul is also hinting at something here that when we are absent from the body, meaning we're not living for the flesh, we are then living for the Spirit.

Caller: Right.

Pastor Doug: So there's a Spiritual application to that verse that a lot of people miss. It has nothing to do with the Resurrection or the physical presence of God. It's talking about not being bodily, carnally minded but being spiritually minded, okay?

Caller: That's what I was ready to explain to her so I'm hoping she's listening.

Pastor Doug: All right.

Caller: Thank you.

Pastor Doug: Hope it was helpful. Incidentally Debby, we have a study guide and it's called Are The Dead Really Dead?

Caller: Yes.

Pastor Doug: Call our resource number. We've given it out several times tonight, and ask for that free study guide. Anyone listening, you can do the same. Are The Dead Really Dead?

Caller: I will do that. Yes, thank you.

Resource Number: 1-800-835-6747

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