There are some who teach that believers receive a temporary body when they die, but this contradicts Scripture. Just before Jesus died, He said to the penitent thief who had believed on Him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise,” and then He cried out to God, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:43 & 46). Jesus willingly died and His “spirit” went to be with the Father, and the saved thief also died and his “spirit” went to Paradise to be with Christ. And so it is with every believer, as we see in 2nd Corinthians 5:6 & 8, “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at HOME IN THE BODY we are ABSENT FROM THE LORD…We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be ABSENT FROM THE BODY and to be PRESENT WITH THE LORD.” There is nothing said or implied in these words about a “temporary body” between death and the resurrection (when we will receive our glorified body…see 1st Corinthians 15:35-55). The Apostle Paul also spoke of this truth in Philippians 1:21-24, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire TO DEPART AND BE WITH CHRIST, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.” Paul was in prison when he wrote this and knew he could be put to death by at any moment, but he could say, “To die is gain…to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” Death for him would be a “departure of his spirit from his body of flesh” (for “the body without the spirit is dead”…James 2:26a) and his spirit would then be, “absent from the body and present with the Lord.” Paul says nothing here about a “temporary body” for there is no such thing.

Those who teach that there is a temporary body use 2nd Corinthians 5:1 to support their view. It reads, “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.” Paul had been speaking (in 4:16) of how our “outward man is perishing,” which is another way of saying our “earthly bodies are getting older and may one day die.” In 5:1 he speaks of our body as an “earthly TENT” since it is a TEMPORARY DWELLING that we live in. But then he brings out that we have “a BUILDING from God, a HOUSE not made with hands, ETERNAL IN THE HEAVENS.” This building/house, they say, is the “temporary body” which we receive the moment we die. But they fail to see that this CANNOT be a TEMPORARY BODY, for Paul says that it is “ETERNAL in the heavens.” It could not be called “eternal” if it were only “temporary.” Paul is actually contrasting our “temporary body here on earth” (our “tent” what we currently live in) with our “eternal body in the heavens” (our “building” that we will receive when we are glorified). So, he is NOT speaking in this first verse of the intermediate state between “death and the resurrection,” but of the our “present state in our mortal body” and our “future state in our glorified heavenly body.” This is made clear as we read on in verses 2 & 4, “For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be CLOTHED with our HABITATION from heaven…For we who are in THIS TENT groan, being burdened, not because we want to be UNCLOTHED, but further CLOTHED, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.” In short, Paul is saying we desire to experience our “permanent, glorified body” (our HABITATION from heaven) without having to go through death, which would involve being “unclothed” (the “disembodied state” at death). Yet Paul knows we MAY experience death so he goes on in verse 8 to confidently affirm that IF we die, we will “be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” Paul knows that in His presence there is “fullness of joy” (see Psalm 16:11) and that’s why he could say, “to be with Christ, which is FAR BETTER.”

You ask, “Will we look like ourselves?” We can’t “look like ourselves” until we receive “our glorified bodies.” Our bodies will be “changed” but there will still be “recognition,” which means we will know our loved ones in the glorified state and they will know us (see Philippians 3:20-21 with 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18).  (DO)  (522.3)