For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven… (2 Cor 5:1-2 NKJV)
The Apostle Paul refers to our human bodies as ‘earthly houses’ or ‘tents’ and contrasts this with the ‘heavenly clothing’ we will receive from heaven. Question is …When do we receive the ‘heavenly tent’? Is this our reward in heaven? Personally, I don’t think so. Jesus is the only one so far to have been clothed in his immortal, heavenly body. He is the:
“firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Cor 15:20).
While those followers of Christ who have gone before us absent from their physical bodies but are, nonetheless, enjoying the presence of the Lord (2 Cor 5:8). The idea of an eternal non-physical existence has its roots in paganism and not the Scriptures. That’s why some of the men in Athens mocked Paul when he talked about the resurrection of the dead (Acts 17:32). Hellenistic thought infiltrated the Church fairly early in its history and emphasised the goal of ‘going to heaven when you die.’
Going to heaven when we die is not our ultimate goal. It is a wonderful intermediate fringe benefit we can delight in, as we await our glorified immortal resurrected bodies. These will be like Christ’s glorious body and we will be clothed with them at his return (1 John 3:2).
If you don’t believe me… dig up a departed Christian’s grave. His or her bones will still be there.
But Jesus’ tomb was empty.