A Video Supplement for
Come, Follow Me Lesson 36:
“Be Ye Reconciled to God”
In 2 Corinthians, chapter 5, Paul relates some insights about our mortal and resurrected bodies. Beginning at verse 1,
1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
The term tabernacle here should remind us of the tent in the wilderness in which Moses would meet with the Lord. Wayment has, “For we know that if our earthly home, our tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a home not made with hands, eternal and in the heavens.” Our bodies, when we have the companionship of the spirit, can be thought of as a place or tent of meeting between our spirit and the Holy Ghost, who is a member of the Godhead. For Moses, the wilderness tent was a place of profound revelation and, with the companionship of the Holy Spirit, our experience can be similar, but what Paul is pointing out here is that mortality is not our ultimate destination. God plans to give his children resurrected immortal eternal bodies.
2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:
As Blake Ostler [ Clothed Upon: A Unique Aspect of Christian Antiquity, Blake T. Ostler] tells us: “Ancient texts such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Nag Hammadi codices, the pseudepigrapha, and Rabbinic and early Christian literature have much to say about the ritual significance of sacred vestments. The symbolism of donning sacred vestments, of putting on a garment in a ritual context, assumes a plan of salvation that acknowledges certain conditions necessary to obtain certain blessings.
The ritual action of putting on a sacred garment is properly termed an “endowment.” The word garment is, in fact, representative of ordinances found in ancient texts. The Greek word that means “garment” or “to clothe upon” was used to represent sacramental, baptismal, and sealing ordinances in the Clementine Recognitions, an extremely important and ancient Christian (Ebionite) work. The Latin induere, meaning “to clothe,” and inducere, “to lead or initiate,” are the roots for our English word endowment. All connote temple ordinances.”
Because of this, when we see language about being “clothed upon,” our reading ought to keep in mind and be informed by a temple context. Continuing on with verse 3,
3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
This, of course, recalls the experience of Adam and Even in Genesis 3:7-10 “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself…” The primordial examples of nakedness before God are of course Adam and Eve. Mormon 9: 5, however, reminds us that this has a distinct symbolic layer as well, “For behold, when ye shall be brought to see your nakedness before God, and also the glory of God, and the holiness of Jesus Christ, it will kindle a flame of unquenchable fire upon you.” From this we can see that the real nakedness we have to fear is coming into the presence of God while still remaining in our sins. Continuing on,
4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
What is earnest? Its money you give someone as a sort of guarantee that you will follow through on a contract. You could also look at it as purchase option, but that’s a conversation for another day. What Paul is saying here is that if we have the companionship of the Spirit with us, it is a sign that we are on the path that leads to eternal life and will inherit the things he has described in the resurrection. As Wayment renders the verse, “God prepared us for this very thing and gave us the spirit as a guarantee.”