Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People
I’m glad you found this helpful. I would recommend you watch a Beyond Today program titled “Why Were You Born?”
This is a good question. Jesus said that no man has ascended into heaven except Himself (John 3:13). Paul says that death is sleep, as does Jesus, yet Paul wanted to be absent from his physical body and be with Christ.
Read 1 Corinthians 15 where Paul gives a clear teaching on the resurrection. He is writing in 2 Corinthians 5:8 of his desire to “sleep” and awake in the “twinkling of an eye” to be with Jesus Christ. He didn’t say that he wanted to leave his physical body and go to heaven, but that he wanted to be with the Lord. According to 1 Corinthians 15; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and Revelation 19:11-16, 20:1-6 Jesus returns to earth to resurrect those who are “dead in Christ” and then they will be with Him.
Paul is simply stating that he wants to be in the resurrection.