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What dies the Spirit or the body?

James. 2:26: “the body without the Spirit is dead.” We see examples of  the Spirit coming back into the body raises it back to life (I Kings 17:20-22; Luke 8:54-55

A promised was made to the converted thief by Jesus when he was on the cross about to die (Lk. 23:42).  “Verily I say unto you, today shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” Where Jesus was to be he would accompany him. So he existed, had life after he died.

Abraham's bosom (Paradise) is no longer located in the earth as it was in the Old Testament prior to Christs ascension. We find Paul was caught up to paradise (2 Cor.12:4) the third heaven. In Scripture there are three heavens described, as in Gen.1:1 God made the heavens and the Earth. God is called the possessor of the heavens (plural) and the earth. 1) Acts 14:17 “God gave you rain from heaven.” This is our immediate atmosphere surrounding earth (Gen.1:20; Mt.5:20).  

 2) There is the celestial heaven, the place of the sun the moon and stars (Gen.1:14) and the place where principalities and powers are (Eph.6:12, Eph.2:2 possibly some overlapping in this with the first heaven.) 

 3) is called the heaven of heavens where Gods throne is and where He dwells (Heb.8:1), where angels are. Jesus prayed to the Father in heaven (Mt.6:9). This is the place Paul called Paradise and where John was taken to (Rev.4:1). Lk.24:51; Acts 1:9-11, Heb.7:55-60 show us Christ is in heaven. Paradise and the righteous dead are all associated with this place as well.  It is the place where ALL believers go, directly into his presence at death (Eph. 4:8-10; 2 Cor. 5:8).

We find in Eph.4 Jesus descended first into “the lower parts of the earth he then ascended on high” bringing a multitude with him (upward to be with him). So since Christ ascended all go upward to be with HIM. (Jn.14 Jesus said he would prepare a place for the church to abide in)

This is the Scripture that is consistently neglected by those who say we no longer are alive in Spirit when we die. in Phil.1:23 Paul states to be with Christ is far better and to die is gain. But I live in the flesh… For I am hard pressed between the two having a desire to depart and be with Christ which is far better nevertheless, to be in the flesh is more needful for you.” What does Paul mean by I live in the flesh, he is referring to the body... and tells us To die is gain. This would hardly be correct, if one ceases to be alive. It would be a loss How could this be far better, is non existence better than existence? How could this be better if one does not continue to live after?  And notice he says he departs to be with Christ. This would be impossible if we go to sleep in the ground with the body, unless one wants to say Jesus is in the ground too.

When a believer dies their spirit goes to be with the Lord in heaven.” In Phil. 1:23-24, Paul states that he desired to depart to be with Christ, which is far better.  Christ is in heaven, He's not in the ground.  

2 Cor. 5:1-8 V.5 Paul writes when our earthly house is destroyed (our body) we have another building that is eternal in heaven built of God.V.4 while we are in this tent we groan looking to be further clothed.

Examining this carefully we find Paul believed our Spirit /soul existed without the body. The very point he makes about we are in this tent, we groan to be clothed with that which is in heaven. There is an intermediate state before we have the resurrection where we are united with our former body that is transformed to give us an eternal permanent body.

He sums it all up in verse 8 saying, “we are always confident knowing that while we are home in the body we are absent from the Lord. And he goes on to say to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

Obviously something survives that has life after the body dies. What is absent when one dies? The soul. It becomes separated. Where is the Lord? In heaven. And that is exactly where Paul said all who die in Christ are headed. When all our earthly tent is dissolved, we can be assured that we will be in the presence of the One we serve and we love here on earth. We are immediately ushered into our new home like moving from one city to the next. In 2 Peter 1:13, Peter talks about putting off his tabernacle, or tent, calling it a temporary dwelling place. The person who is the spirit (soul - personality) leaves the body. The very meaning of death means that the believer enters immediately into the God's presence. That is the clear teaching of Scripture, that upon death, the believer enters where Christ is. So to be absent from the body IS to be present with the Lord. Death for the righteous is gain, it means to be WITH Christ.

Unfortunately there are some who are not confident but confused. The Bible has spoken, Christ is in heaven and so all believers go because of his grace gift to be where He is.


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