In last weeks’ article of Sharing the Word, the subject of tents and the faith of several Old Testament patriarchs were considered.  They believed God’s promise of a future city not made with human hands. These died in faith, believing the promise and embraced it as if it had already occurred.  Scripture also speaks of our earthly bodies as being tents.  The analogy no doubt speaks of the brevity of life and the future that God has for those who have placed their faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ as their personal Savior. This writer is reminded of a southern gentleman in his congregation whose tent served him well for over one hundred years. He was a testimony to God’s grace …“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Ps 139:14 NIV). He left a legacy of love in the hearts of many future college students who will benefit from the scholarships that bear his name.  Honored to conduct his memorial service, this writer was asked to use the Biblical text … “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands” (2 Cor 5:1 NIV). How fitting are these words given by the Holy Spirit to the Apostle Paul bringing comfort and igniting anticipation in God’s future provisions for those who have placed their faith in Christ.  Those same words of consolation were given to the disciples on the eve of Jesus’ crucifixion. Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said … “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3 KJV). This was the promise of promotion from living in a tent to a mansion.  Only God the Father could design such a Plan; only God the Son would bring it to reality; only the Holy Spirit reveals it.  When writing to Christians in Corinth, Paul gave instruction concerning the death of a believer.  Death was merely a vehicle to instantly carry the Christian into the presence of the Lord.  “We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8-9 NASB).  One moment prior to physical death the soul is housed in a tent. One moment later when this life is over, the soul of the Christian is face to face with the Lord housed in a body not made with hands and waiting for a resurrection body like unto the Lord’s. That tent destroyed by death will be resurrected in perfection, and the soul and spirit which have been with the Lord since the moment of physical death, will be reunited in resurrection. Thus the Christian will receive an incorruptible body to experience the unimaginable joys of eternity. It is the Apostle Paul who declares the truth of rapture and resurrection for Church Age believers … “Listen, I tell you a mystery [a secret not previously revealed in Scripture]: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound; the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality.  When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory.  “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 15:51-57 NIV). And what a victory it is -- the Christian is on the winning side – let’s live like victors, for it is the Lord Christ that we serve.

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