The Shocking Truth About II Corinthians 5:8

What does being absent from the body and present with the Lord really mean? Does it prove that we will immediately go to heaven when we die? Or, we are missing the whole point of Paul’s statement? Discover the surprising truth today!

What does being absent from the body and present with the Lord really mean?
What does being absent from the body and present with the Lord really mean?

II Corinthians 5:8 tells us:

“We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”

The majority of Christians today believe that this verse supports the idea that righteous people go to heaven immediately after they die.

They interpret this as the phrase “absent from the body” means passing away and “present with the Lord” means being in heaven where Jesus is.

However, what if I tell you that the majority of Christians today are wrong in their understanding of II Corinthians 5:8?

What if I tell you that II Corinthians 5:8 means entirely different from what most Christians believe?

What if I tell you that the Scripture doesn’t actually teach that we will go to heaven immediately after we die?

Will you believe me?

Of course, don’t believe me, believe what the Bible says. 

That’s why in this blog, I invite you to examine II Corinthians 5:8 and what it really means.

What did Jesus teach about II Corinthians 5:8?

Most Christians believe that after a righteous person dies, he/she will go to heaven. One of the bible verses they use is II Corinthians 5:8.

However, if most Christians today are correct in their teaching that righteous people go to heaven, then they will surely go against what Yahshua the Messiah or popularly known as Jesus Christ taught.

Here’s what He clearly said in John 3:13:

No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.

Now that’s one verse that goes flying right in the face of Christians who believe that they will go to heaven when they die!

So, we have a situation here:

Jesus said no one has ascended to heaven.

Most Christians say they will go to heaven.

Who is lying? 

Who is telling the truth?

Who are we to believe?

It’s a question you have to personally answer, but as for me, I would rather believe what my Savior has said.

To make things even clearer, Jesus talked more about death in John 5:28-29:

“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.”

Where are those people who will hear the voice of the Messiah?

Did Jesus say heaven? It says, “graves!”

Now, perhaps, you will think the wicked are the only ones who are in the grave. But we read that BOTH the wicked and the righteous are in their graves waiting for the resurrection. Some to the resurrection of life and some to the resurrection of condemnation.

What the Bible teaches about II Corinthians 5:8

We just read what Yahshua or Jesus taught about II Corinthians 5:8.

Now, what does the rest of the Bible teach?

We read in Acts 2:29, 34:

29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day… For David did not ascend into the heavens.”

We know that David is known to be a friend of God. If there’s anyone who will go to heaven, it should be David. However, we read here that he didn’t ascend to heaven.

We also read in Revelation 5:10

10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”

We shall reign where? In heaven? No, on the earth!

Now, there are more passages I can share with you, but what I have presented to you should already establish the fact that we are not going to heaven immediately after we die. 

All of us are going to the grave, where we wait for the resurrection of the dead.

Paul contradicting himself?

We know that Paul was taught by Yahshua Himself through special revelation (Galatians 1:11-12). Therefore, surely, he knew the truth about heaven and hell.

Paul knew that the dead are like sleeping in their graves. 

We read:

13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

Paul knew that death is like sleeping. The dead are not consciously singing and dancing in heaven.

That’s why Paul was saying that the dead are waiting for the resurrection.

Think about it for a second, if the righteous are already in heaven, what is the need of resurrecting them again? There’s none simply because the popular teaching of heaven is false!

Paul even wrote:

Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:8

We see here that the crown of righteousness, the reward of the righteous, which is eternal life, would be given on that Day, on His appearing!

When is this day? When is His appearing?

A few verses before gives us the answer:

1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Timothy 4:1

So, this will happen in the future, on the day that Yahshua or Jesus will appear during His second coming.

⚠️ Must read: What does the bible say about death? ⚠️

Death is a big topic in the Bible and yet it is among the most misunderstood. If you want to learn more, here are the 7 most unbelievable truths about death!

If not heaven, what does II Corinthians 5:8 mean?

We just read the overwhelming pieces of proof that the righteous will not immediately go to heaven when they die.

If it is, then Paul didn’t simply contradict himself, but also Jesus and other clear passages in the Bible.

So, if II Corinthians 5:8 doesn’t mean we are immediately going to heaven when we die, what does it really mean?

Let’s read this verse once again:

“We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”

If you look at the Greek word of Absent here, it is ekdemeo, which is defined by Strong’s Dictionary as:

From a compound of G1537 and G1218; to emigrate, that is, (figuratively) vacate or quit: – be absent.

On the other hand, the Greek word for present here is endemeo, which means:

From a compound of G1722 and G1218; to be in one’s own country, that is, home (figuratively): – be at home (present).

If you read the whole context of II Corinthians 5, we see here how Paul was trying to use an analogy.

We read:

1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Corinthians 5:1

Here’s the main point of II Corinthians 5:8 and I want you to pay SPECIAL attention because this will open your eyes to the truth:

Paul was saying that in order for us to be present in the Lord, we must be absent in the body!

As simple as that!

The problem with some people is that they add their interpretation to a passage.

Nowhere in this verse does it say that we are going to heaven nor does it imply that we are going to heaven when we die.

The fact that Paul was making clear is that you can’t stay physical if you want to be with Christ. 

You have to pass from physical to spiritual. 

That’s the reason that in the future, the saints, including Paul, would be turned into immortal beings so that we can be present in the Lord.

Now, we don’t immediately become immortal when we die. That will happen during the return of Christ. So, once we leave this body to be “absent”, we then receive eternal life to be “present” in the Lord.

I hope that is making more sense now.

Your next waking moment

When we die, we are like sleeping. We are unconscious in the grave. 

When you read II Corinthians 5:8, it doesn’t say when we will be present in the Lord. It only tells you that we have to leave our physical body to receive a spiritual body.

Nowhere in II Corinthians 5:8 will you read that the process happens immediately after death.

However, for those who died, the process may feel like an instant change.


Because when they die, they are like sleeping, and their next waking, conscious moment would be when they will be resurrected to eternal life!

So, for Paul who has the right understanding of the truth about heaven and death, he knew that when he becomes absent from the body, his next waking moment would be with the Lord.

 For him and many of us, the process seems to be “immediate” and quick.

When we die, time seems to stand still because our awareness of the passage of time has stopped. 

So, in a way, for Paul, the time gap between being absent from the body and being present in the Lord is rather instantaneous.

However, this doesn’t mean that the righteous people will immediately go to heaven when they die as we have already proven.

Does II Corinthians 5:8 teach that we are going to heaven?

The answer is no. This means that the common teaching that II Corinthians 5:8 tells us that we will immediately go to heaven when we die is false and unbiblical.

Instead, II Corinthians 5:8 is telling us the process of the physical-to-spiritual transformation of human beings. It tells us that we must leave our physical body first before we can become spiritual beings.

I hope this has helped you in better understanding II Corinthians 5:8 and its deep and surprising meaning.


28 thoughts on “The Shocking Truth About II Corinthians 5:8

  1. Thank you for your presentation on II Corinthians 5:8 and I have now a clear meaning of it. Continue your good works and I’m spiritually learning alot from your writing and presentations.
    May the good Lord bless your Ministry.


    • There are too many other scriptural references that attest to the fact that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Your soul departs your body when you breathe your last breath, that soul returns to the Father and that body is in the grave, You are asleep in Jesus where you will remain until the great resurrection, the Rapture of the Children of God and the dead in Christ will rise first and the soul and body will be reunited with a now glorified body. Jesus told the thief on the cross THIS DAY you will be with me in paradise, not when your body is resurrected, but this day, when He died, he immediately went into the presence of the Lord, now that doesn’t mean we are walking around heaven, singing and dancing–that has not happened yet —But we are in His presence and how can you be in His presence and not be aware even if you are sleeping. We immediately go into the presence of God and there we will Rest in Peace until the great Resurrection Day and we will be given a glorified body just like Jesus!!


      • Here’s one to support her claim. A good example:
        “Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.””
        ‭‭Luke‬ ‭23‬:‭42‬-‭43‬ ‭NIV‬‬
        Jesus’ body resurrected 3 days later. Yet He emphasized to the Thief that both of them would be together in Paradise … TODAY! Is Jesus contradicting Gods word? No. NEVER. So then, I’m left to conclude something. That both Jesus and the Thief were there in Spirit.


      • Here’s one to support her claim. A good example:
        “Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.””
        ‭‭Luke‬ ‭23‬:‭42‬-‭43‬ ‭NIV‬‬
        Jesus’ body resurrected 3 days later. Yet He emphasized to the Thief that both of them would be together in Paradise … TODAY! Is Jesus contradicting Gods word? No. NEVER. So then, I’m left to conclude something. That both Jesus and the Thief were there in Spirit.


  2. Good evening sir, indeed u seem to have some understanding about biblical things.i already knew this before now.but still u will continue to remain one of my good mentors concerning spiritual things.once again thank u I,m grateful sir.


  3. I to see and understand the state of the dead..but what about the breath goes back to God who gave it. “ God breathed into Adam and he became a living soul”. . So I guess we are not a someone until breath comes into the body and that breath or live has to be more then oxygen. And it goes back to God who gave it. And none of us remembers being with God before this earth so I’d say its like doing rewind on a DVD . It’s like we are nonexistent again until the resurrection. I say all this for feedback because I do know the plethora of scripture that makes it clear that we are in the grave until the resurrection.and yes it does say “ we “ so it must be our physical mind is activated by the life of God just as Adams was when God formed him . So I dare say Our Maker formed Adam not just with a body, but the mind then He put the breath of life in him and activated him to become a living soul that not only could think but feel and have emotions. I am thinking this out as I write. Does anyone have any other thoughts or scriptures to expound on this topic. Also as one brother here texted that Paul was saying that unlike Christ no one has gone up to heaven and come back down from heaven ,but Christ. I I believe this to be a correct understanding of that text for we all know of people who have said they died and went to heaven and came back from heaven. so the Lord is speaking through Paul to set the record straight. So that makes sense that Paul was not saying NO ONE is in heaven because we know that Elijah was taken to heaven and so was Enoch. In revelations if we can take it literally says there are 24 elders around the throne wearing white robes. So there were those that were translated and those that were resurrect like Moses and what about the 50 that were resurrected at Christ resurrection ? were they taken to heaven after witnessing or did they just live on the earth? a genuine question I don’t know. Let us all be students of the word that is our responsibility and privilege for scripture says “ Study to show yourself approved unto God a workman that doesn’t need to be ashamed rightly dividing the words of truth” no one person has a corner on the truth and we all learn from each other and as God’s children we are to sharpen each other’s swords and personal study the word, for iron sharpens iron. Let us study and help one another to understand. So please any insight on my understanding of things. Blessings


  4. Jesus and Nicodemus are talking about salvation John 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. This has nothing to do with death, its about salvation. Jesus is speaking about himself, the two men are talking with each other. Jesus is physically there with Nicodemus.


      • Oh, I see. The author interprets the verse within context and then verifies it with other scripture but he is the one who is “justifying wrong teaching”…… got it!


  5. I agree with some of this, but our body contains a sprit being, a mortal body and soul. So, we die, and we do sleep but God said he will give us a glorified body when he wakes us. Our spirit goes straight to God, and we are conscious. Do you remember when Jese told the thief on the cross, I tell you today you will be with me in paradise? meaning his spirit not his body, so our body sleeps but our spirit is absent but present with the Lord. If Jesus said there is a place called paradise it must be a waiting place for judgment day for the righteous, there is also a waiting place for the condemned it is called hades or gehenna. I say this because hell is not a place the evil ends up in forever, it is also a waiting place for the bad people who never accepted Jesus as savior. Remember in Revelation 20:14 hades will also be cast into the lake of fire. So, I believe there is a place called Hades and a place called Paradise where we go after we die to wait for judgment. No one is in heaven but there are conscious in spirit waiting for the resurrection for judgment. this is my preceptive that adds up with what I am saying. Our body is dead and soul, but our spirit is alive and present with the lord. Our soul is our conscious so of course we are sleeping to thought. But the spirit never dies, God created a sophisticated being in us all. This is just my take of it.


  6. You’re not wrong but you’re not correct either. It says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. It doesn’t say to be in heaven. Evil will not be present in heaven and no one has been judged yet. The Lord can be anywhere.


  7. Thank you each one for your comments as it helps us grow in the knowledge of God. It’s interesting how contrast our interpretations are, but makes sense since all of us are at a different points in our walk with God. I have several questions and thoughts about absent in the body is to be present with the Lord.

    One can safely interpret God’s Word to conclude that our bodies are not transformed until Christ’s return. I believe our soul/spirit , however, enters into the presence of the Lord the moment we die. I think the best verse that substantiates this is when Jesus promises the sinner on the cross next to him a place in paradise that “very day”. That to me is cut and dry.

    The other question that comes to mind when I read this article is what happens to people who die without an intact body to bury, or the many believers who are cremated ? How can their soul and spirit stay asleep in a body that doesn’t exist?
    For me, this creates doubts and doesn’t bring a solid argument.

    God’s ways are higher than ours and His thoughts are higher than ours, so we may not always be completely accurate on our interpretations. God gives each believer the Holy Spirit to help them discern His word. We can also pray for God to show us the truth.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.