The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible2 Corinthians 5:1
For we know, that if our earthly house…
By this house
is meant the body, so called from its being like a well built house,
a curious piece of architecture; as an house consists of a variety
of parts fitly framed and put together in just symmetry and
proportion, and with an entire usefulness in all, so is the body of
man; which shows the power and wisdom of God the architect:
likewise, because it is the dwelling place of the soul, which makes
it appear, that the soul is more excellent than the body, is
independent of it, and capable of a separate existence from it: it
is said to be an "earthly" house, because it is from the earth; is
supported by earthly things; has its present abode on the earth, and
will quickly return to it: and the earthly house of this tabernacle,
in allusion to the tabernacles the patriarchs and Israelites of old
dwelt in; or to the tents and tabernacles of soldiers, shepherds,
travellers, and such like persons, which are soon put up and taken
down, and removed from place to place; and denotes the frailty and
short continuance of our mortal bodies. So Plato F26 calls the body
(ghinon skhnov) , "an earthly tabernacle"; so the Jews were wont to
call the body an house, and a "tabernacle":
``every man (they say F1) has two houses, (Pwgh tyb) , "the
house of the body", and the house of the soul; the one is
the outward, the other the inward house.''
So Abarbinel F2 paraphrases those words, (Isaiah 18:4) .
``"I will consider in my dwelling place; I will return", or
again consider in my dwelling place, which is the body,
for that is (vpnh Nkvm) , "the tabernacle of the soul".''
Now this tabernacle may, and will be, "dissolved", unpinned, and taken
down; which does not design an annihilation of it, but a dissolution of
its union with the soul, and its separation from it: and when the
apostle puts an "if" upon it, it is not to be understood as though it
is uncertain whether it would be dissolved or not, unless it be said
with a view to the change that will be on living saints at Christ's
second coming; but it is rather a concession of the matter, and may be
rendered, "though the earthly house"… or it points out the time
when the saints' future happiness shall begin, "when the earthly
house"… and signifies that being in the body, in some sense,
retards the enjoyment of it. Now it is the saints' comfort whilst they
are in it, and in a view of the dissolution of it, that they
have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the
which some understand of the glorified body upon its
resurrection, as opposed to its frail, mortal, earthly frame in its
present situation; though rather all this designs the happiness of
the saints, which will be begun, and they shall immediately enter
into, at the dissolution of their bodies, and will be consummated at
the resurrection; which is all of God's building and preparing; not
made by the hands of the creature; or obtained by works of
righteousness done by men; and it lies in the heavens, and will
continue for ever. So the F3 Jews speak of (avydq tyb) , "the holy
house", in the world to come, and which they suppose is intended in
(Isaiah 56:5) (Proverbs 24:3) . In this the saints have a present interest; they
have it already built and prepared for them; they have an indubitate
right and title to it through the righteousness of Christ; they have
it secured to them in Christ, their feoffee in trust, their head and
representative; and they have the earnest of it, the Spirit of God
in their hearts; of all which they have sure and certain knowledge:
"for we know"; they are well assured of the truth of this from the
promise of God, who cannot lie, from the declaration of the Gospel,
the testimony of the Spirit, and the close and inseparable
connection there is between the grace they have already received,
and the glory that shall be hereafter.
F26 In Clement. Alexandr. Stromat. l. 5. p. 593.
F1 Sepher Caphtor, fol. 38. 2.
F2 Mashmia Jeshua, fol. 11. 4.
F3 Zohar in Exod. fol. 34. 3. & 35. 3.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=2co&chapter=005&verse=001>. 1999.