Church of God, New World Ministries

Difficult Scriptures

Philippians 1:23-24 - Does this say Paul wanted to depart and be with Christ in heaven?
  1. Paul did not expect to go to heaven and receive his reward immediately at death! Rather, in II Timothy 4:6-8, Paul explained that he would be with Christ at the day of Christ’s appearing – His second coming.

  2. On the day Christ returns, the dead in Christ who have been sleeping in the dust of the earth (Dan. 12:2) will be resurrected to life (I Thess. 4:16-17). This event occurs at the sounding of the seventh trump (I Cor. 15:52). This is the time Paul will receive his reward from Jesus Christ (Isa. 40:10). He did not expect to go to a “heavenly reward” immediately upon death!

  3. Yet, Paul said he was “willing to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” Why? Paul’s answer is found inII Corinthians 5:2 where he said that “we earnestly groan to be clothed upon with our house from heaven” – the spiritual body he expected to receive at the resurrection. Paul yearned to be “delivered from this vile body of flesh,” to end the difficulties and burdens of this life by death (Rom. 7:24; Phil. 1:24). “To die,” he said, “is gain” because the next moment of his consciousness would be the resurrection.

  4. Now Paul’s statement in Philippians is clear. He was willing to remain alive for the sake of the Philippians who needed him as a teacher and apostle, even though he desired personally to be delivered by death from the troubles of this life. Paul, though dead and buried in the dust of the earth, would be AWAITING THE RESURRECTION and ultimately be with Christ at His second coming to this earth!
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