Paul’s message in 2 Corinthians 5 is clear. The destruction of the temple – or Jewish religious system – would not leave the Jewish believers “homeless” because God had promised a new heaven and earth, as well as a “greater and more perfect tabernacle,” the holiest of all. Just as certainly as Christ went to prepare a place for them, he would come again and receive them to himself (John 14:1). God’s promise would not fail.
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus…
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:19, 22-23).
The dissolving of the earthly house would not leave them naked,
For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven,
if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked.
For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.
Now he who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee (2 Corinthians 5:2-5).
Special notice should be given to the word “prepared” in verse 5, which is from the Greek word katergazomai, and signifies “to work out, achieve, effect by toil.” (W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.)
The firstfruits people of the gospel, to whom God gave the earnest of the Spirit, existed for the purpose of working out, or effecting by toil and sacrifice, this great change from the earthly to the heavenly state. They labored that they might be accepted of God. The whole harvest depended on their being accepted (Romans 8:18-23).
The “groaning” of Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:2-4 corresponds to his “groaning” in Romans 8:23:
Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
Waiting for their adoption is the same as waiting for their “house from heaven” in 2 Corinthians 5:1-5. Projecting this deliverance, adoption, redemption, and heavenly house into our future perverts the true meaning and application of these passages, and leaves the faithful of today homeless and orphaned.
Denying the fulfillment of prophecy at its indicated time denies God’s blessing in our lives today. How great is our need to come into the presence of God, and walk in the Holy of Holies where the Godhead dwells.
Food For Thought
- The author goes to great lengths to show the accuracy of Daniel’s time statements – down to the very day! If this reading provides us with such harmony, is it logical to look for another explanation? Is there any reason to do so?
- Does a 30-year gap between the 69th and 70th weeks seem plausible? Does a 2,000-year gap make more sense?
- Given the similarities between Daniel and Revelation, does it seem likely that they are speaking of radically disparate events and time frames?
- Daniel is told to seal the words of his prophecy (Daniel 8:26; 12:4), which would not come to pass for some 500 years. John is told not to seal the words of his prophecy (Revelation 22:10) for those things would “soon take place.” Does that make sense if the fulfillment of John’s prophecies is anything more than 500 years away? Is there any logic that allows us to see 500 years as the distant future (Daniel 8:26) and 1900+ years as “soon”?
- Which Israel received the blessings of Daniel’s prophecy? How does this mesh with Galatians?
- This series refers to Matthew 13:37-43. How does this context change the way you read this parable?
- How might the identity of the New Testament saints as a “kind of firstfruits” shed light on the mission and purpose of the apostolic church? Could this be part of Paul’s concern to present the church as a spotless bride at Christ’s coming?
Join us each week as we continue blogging through The Spirit of Prophecy by Max King, where this post is drawn from. (And if you get impatient, of course, you can always get the book inspiring these posts here.) Please feel free to weigh in below.