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Our Earthly Tabernacle

As it is used in the translated Holy Scriptures, a "tabernacle" (also often translated as "tent") is a temporary housing structure. The principle also applies to the physical bodies of humans:

"5:1 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. 5:2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 5:3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 5:4 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. 5:5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 5:1-5 KJV)

"We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God"

The central point of salvation is that humans may be delivered from their subject-to-decay physical homes (whether their bodies or the houses that they live in) and delivered to a new home that will last forever (Deliverance means both delivered from and delivered to). When the apostle Paul spoke of being with the LORD after becoming absent from the body, he was describing the time of Christ's return, when the first resurrection of the dead will occur, or those alive that day will be changed to spirit along with the resurrected ones (see 'To Meet The Lord In The Air' and Feast Of Tabernacles: The Gospel Of The Kingdom).

Earth

"5:6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight: 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 5:9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 5:10 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." (2 Corinthians 5:6-10 KJV)

Notice carefully that Paul did not say that the dead are "with Christ" now. The dead are dead (see What Happens When You Die?), awaiting the day of Christ's return. People don't go to heaven when they die; people who have died will come to life when Christ comes to earth.

"4:13 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. 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 4:15 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. 4:16 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: 4:17 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. 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 KJV)

The resurrection of the dead began with the Christ. The first resurrection of His people will occur on the day of Christ's return. The rest of humanity will be resurrected a little over 1,000 years after Christ's return (see When Will You Be Judged?).

"15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 15:21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming." (1 Corinthians 15:20-23 KJV)

Fact Finder: Where is the "house" that Christ (Who was, coincidentally or not, a carpenter - see also The Lord's Plumb Line) is building for His people? When will it be completed?
See Mansions


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