Recently, I watched several "testimonies" on television concerning alleged out of body or near death experiences. People appear to be attracted to these stories like moths to a porcelight in the darkness. They relate about how they traveled thru this long tunnel of light. They saw friends that had died. Their experience was a warm one with love all around. Everything beautiful there.
Then of course, they had to come back to earth and reality so they could go on talk shows and write about these experiences. They came back to this earth which is filled with suffering, terror, sickness, murder and death. One huge cemetery. Like my Irish friend says, "If it was so wonderful, then why not shoot yourself and go back?"
Using the Scriptures as our authority let's leave fantasy land and talk about the real out of body experience awaiting the believer. "AND WE ARE OF GOOD COURAGE AND WE PREFER RATHER TO BE ABSENT FROM THE BODY, AND TO BE PRESENT WITH THE LORD." (2 Corinthians 5:8) The sense from the Greek in this verse is that Paul says that he as well as his co-laborers are continually confident, cheerful and courageous to speak boldly about the Gospel of salvation and the mystery.
The Greek phrase translated "WE PREFER RATHER" conveys the thought that we think it good rather or we choose rather to be absent from the body (our earthsuit or biological machine). The Greek infinitive rendered "TO BE ABSENT" may mean to be away from home or depart and go abroad. The use of the Greek preposition "ek" emphasizes the fact that our real self leaves from our body home. The real self goes abroad to dwell in our heavenly house with our Lord.
The Greek phrase translated "TO BE PRESENT WITH THE LORD" may also be rendered to be at home with the Lord or to dwell in one's own country (Philippians 3:20). The heavenly house is our real home and these earthsuit bodies are only transient or temporary.
More important than where we believers will spend eternity, is with whom. We will dwell in heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ in a body like the Lord's body (Colossians 3:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 4:17). Absent from the body is death or separation of the soul/spirit from these dying earthsuit bodies. The Holy Spirit is the earnest pledge or downpayment in the body of the believer. It is a settled issue with God that some day we are going to have glorified bodies; the proof is the Holy Spirit. God has so fashioned the believer for the ressurrection glory of Christ that we must rise!
I am temporarily living at home in this body but absent from the Lord. He is up there yonder in glory. True, He has sealed me with His Holy Spirit but I am absent from the Lord. I walk by faith and take His Word for all this; that is faith without which it is impossible to please Him. We live by faith and not by sight.
Here then, is the believer's state between death and resurrection. When death comes knocking at door of the believer-saint, then at that moment, the believer is absent from the body and present with the Lord. That could take place today as you are reading this or next week; there are no guarantees of even one hour. The believer does not sleep in the old body. You might say the body sleeps as the believer leaves home. There is nothing here about an intermediate body only about going home to be with the Christ in the new body.
You may say to me, I cannot understand this at all. Well, we walk by faith and not by sight.
What does faith-obedience do? Faith believes the Book and it says "ABSENT FROM THE BODY, PRESENT WITH THE LORD."