In 2 Corinthians 5 Paul is talking about our bodies before and after eternity. He refers to our current bodies as weak, naked, and as temporary “tents” and he refers to our eternal bodies as dwelling places and as buildings. This took my mind back to John 14 when Jesus told his disciples that he was going to prepare a place for them (and us) and he said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions” or as some versions translate it “In my father’s house are many dwelling places.” It occurred to me that he is probably talking about our permanent eternal heavenly bodies, and not so much an empty structure that we will go to and from. These are just my own thoughts pondering this as I read because I know that we are all so ignorant in our understanding of eternity. I get excited thinking about all that God has prepared for us in heaven that we could never even imagine. God, the master creator made this earth, and it was perfect before sin came in and destroyed it, so if this earth, in its broken state can be this beautiful, I can’t even fathom what awaits us in eternity! I like to imagine some of the most beautiful places here on earth that I would love to visit, and then think about the fact that heaven will be that much more beautiful, and we will have an eternity to discover and explore it all without the limitations we have on this earth. If you have ever imagined Heaven as a boring place with floating clouds holding fat baby angels with harps you have completely underestimated the creativity of our God!
Another parallel I found with John 14 is that after Jesus talked about the mansions in heaven, he also gave the disciples the promise of the Holy Spirit. He told them that he was leaving, but that it was good that he was leaving because he was leaving them (and us) with another “comforter” and some versions translate this as “the advocate” which is the Holy Spirit. The world can’t see or know him but verse 25 says he is the Spirit of truth, and he will teach us and remind us of the things Jesus said. In 2 Corinthians 5 Paul goes from talking about our bodies being temporary dwelling places that will be solid structures in heaven, and then he tells them (and us) that Jesus left the Holy Spirit as a pledge or a “down payment”. When I read this, I wondered how I hadn’t noticed before that Paul described the Holy Spirit as a “down payment”. As I thought about this in terms of us being the bride of Christ, I also realized that us receiving the Holy Spirit as a pledge is a lot like a bride receiving her engagement ring. While the groom prepares financially to provide for her, and she prepares a wedding. They are committed to each other and preparing for a life together much like we are committed to Jesus and preparing for a life of eternity with Him.