Skip to main content

See also:

2 Corinthians 5 A Contrast Between the Body of Moses and Body of Christ

2 Corinthians 5 and the House Not Made With Hands
2 Corinthians 5 and the House Not Made With Hands
Bigstock Photo

Those who see 2 Cor. 5:1-10 in support of the individual body at death, cite 2 Peter 1:14 as the application of Paul's use of tabernacle for the body referred to in the text. What is interesting is that this is the only verse submitted to support the individual body being used as the tabernacle.

The verse reads as follows:"Knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me." (2 Pet. 1:14).

Were there no other options, one might be compelled to accept the above as conclusive. After all, Peter does speak of the putting off his body (dying) as putting off a tabernacle.

However, in 2 Cor. 5:1, Paul does not mention the tabernacle or tent in isolation of the larger context. Rather, he contrasts what he calls "a house made with hands" with a house "not"made with hands. Can man make the human body? Are we talking procreation here? Procreation in the resurrection is rejected in both futurist end times paradigms and that of some who hold the individual body at death (IBD) view.

Contextual Use and Application of House Not Made With Hands

The phrase is always used in contrast to the house not made with hands, which refers to that which is of divine origin, --a collective, corporate entity or body.

If we were to examine the statements found elsewhere in Scripture related to a house not made with hands, is it possible that we might find a tent or tabernacle which is not the human body at all?

IBD proponents oppose this application, but, are you willing to even consider it? If so, read on.

Examples:

Daniel 2:34: You watched until a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image..."

Dan. 2:45: Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands...

"Mark 14:58: We heard Him say, 'I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands." Note, the false witnesses referred to the temple embellished by Herod as the "house made with hands". They did not contrast it with a human body.

Acts 7:48-49: "However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says...what house will you build me and what is the place of my rest?"

Acts 15:16: "...And I will build again the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up." Here is another house made with hands, versus house not made with hands contrast. Note also he calls the former the "tabernacle of David" a phrase meaning David's kingdom or throne. It is not a reference to David's biological body.

Acts 17:24: "God...since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands." The idea is the same as that above. God's dwelling is the "house not made with hands".

Colossians 2:11: In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ.

Heb. 8:2: A minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man." Another heavenly made versus earthly made tabernacle, and therefore not related to the human body.

Heb. 9:11: But Christ came as High Priest of the good things [about] to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. (A contrast to the ordinances of Moses and the throne of Christ) See 9:1.

Heb. 9:24: For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, [tabernacle not made with hands, implied via ellipsis] but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

Heb. 12:27: Now this, 'Yet once more,' indicates the removal of those things which are being shaken, as of things that are made [ellipsis meaning "with hands] that the things which cannot be shaken [made without hands] may remain. The latter is identified as the kingdom/throne.

Now, let us add up the evidence from the above.

In Daniel, the "stone" made without hands is the "kingdom". Most accept this text as a prophecy of the kingdom which Christ announced as at hand in his ministry, which is correct. Proof is found in Dan. 2:44-45, where it is repeated in the interpretation. Thus the kingdom is the house not made with hands in the above text.

When the false accusers spoke of Christ's raising a temple in three days, note their witness did not agree. It is recognized by scholars and others that the temple Jesus would raise in three days was his "spiritual body" i.e. the temple of God or a house not made with hands. See 1 Cor. 3:9, 10; Acts 4:11, Eph. 2:20-22; 1 Pet. 2:5-6.

Greg Beale applies John 2:19-21 to the eschatological temple saying it is the contrast to the house made with hands that the false witnesses spoke about. See Greg Beale, The Temple and the Church's Mission p. 219.

Acts 7:48-49. Note above that God contrasts the temple built by Solomon, calling it a house made with hands, and asking what "house" (temple) would they build him, since the Most High does not dwell in houses made with hands.

Colossians 2:11: speaks of the body of sin versus the circumcision made without hands. This is entrance into the new covenant. In so doing the body of sin (a corporate body) in which fleshly circumcision was practiced.

This refers back to the Old Covenant house of Judaism, showing that by dying to that house, "the body of sin" is put away. Paul contrasted the debt of obligation to the Torah with its types and shadows as that to which Jewish Christians died in order to put off the body of sin. (Col. 2:14-17) In contrast, they put on the "new man" i.e.the corporate body of Christ. Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10.

Heb. 8:1-2, the kingdom or throne of Christ is the "true tabernacle" pitched by the Lord, hence not made with man's hands which corresponds to Heb. 9:11.

Heb. 9:24: The holy places not made with hands into which Christ entered to offer his blood are likewise in contrast to the law by which all things were purged with animals blood.

The kingdom is again called the house not made with hands in Heb. 12:28.

Further, Zechariah 6:12-13 says Christ would be a priest upon his throne. That means his kingdom is a royal temple. He is a priest after the order of Melchizedek who was both king and priest. This priesthood is superior to the Levitical priesthood of the house of Aaron.

Now when comparing the above with 2 Cor. 5:1, ask yourself which texts carry more weight with the statement of 5:1, the above list or 2 Pet. 1:14? Reading the verse in light of the above examples of the temple, versus a human body, the meaning should be transparent.

For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from a God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Here is that same contrast of a tent (tabernacle) made with hands being contrasted with a heavenly house not made with hands?

In every reference to the house not made with hands above, it is the kingdom of Christ, of which Daniel spoke, made without hands, (2:34, 44-45), compared to a house made with hands, not to an individual body.

It was always contrasted with temples made by hands, whether of the Gentiles (Acts 17:24) or of the Old Covenant temple of Israel which was permanently destroyed in AD70.

Further, the Colossians text uses "body of sin" in connection with the house made with hands, thus body and tabernacle are implied in a collective corporate sense, not an individual body.

Summary

Acts 7:48-49 demonstrated the house Solomon built was a temple made by hands. God contrasted it saying the Most high does not dwell in such temples. This means he dwells in the temple made without hands. All evidence for the house not made with hands points to the kingdom temple of which Daniel and Zechariah spoke.

The evidence for 2 Peter 1:14 as identifying the body in 2 Cor 5:1 is pure speculation, unsubstantiated, out of context and does not fit a single passage in the Old or New Testament related to the house made with hands in contrast to that which is made without hands.

Besides, the human body, is not "the" body of sin.

It is a thin thread of hope for those whose resurrection doctrine cannot be sustained when all the Bible evidence is considered. Maneuvering in eschatoloical gymnastics in an attempt to explain away a corporate concept which cannot be denied in any of the texts cited above except in proof texts lifted out of context are arbitrarily imposed on 2 Cor. 5.

All the evidence for the house made without hands is the kingdom and temple of God which is the "body of Christ" Christ's body is a corporate collective body. It is set over against the house made with hands which is the temple or body of Moses, (Jude 9) which as we've seen in Colossians 2:11 is "the body of sin" representing the law with its types and shadows.

For more studies in fulfilled eschatology visit AllThingsFulfilled.com