1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Prophetic truth has a utilitarian reason. It is to condemn the hearts of sinners. It is to empower Christians to holiness, and to provide hope and solace to Christians in the hour of death. This letter was composed to address a portion of the worries tormenting the Thessalonian Christians. These include their misinterpretations about the final days and what will happen when Christ comes back to earth and to urge the Christians to live purified lives while they await the return of Christ.
Why had such a large number of believers died and what might befall them when Christ returned was the question the Thessalonians asked Paul. He needed to clarify that dying was not the end. Paul considers death to be a form of sleep. This is a typical genteelism, yet one that accompanies specific ramifications in a scriptural perspective. When an individual falls asleep, he expects that he will wake up at some point. In this way, when a Christian’s body dies, it “sleeps or rests” in the grave, yet it will awake at some point. He gives this clarification about the passing of a believer, so Thessalonian Christians will not lament the passing of other believers to the same way as unbelievers lament the death of their companions and family. Unbelievers have no hope for life after death, yet Christians have a firm grasp of life past the grave. Christians can grieve other believer’s passing as a miserable, yet short-timed detachment, rather than a long-lasting misfortune. So, he writes to explain that they should not feel hopeless.
It ought to be noticed that Paul’s point is about the actual body is sleeping. Elsewhere, he clarifies that the spirit and soul are cognizant even after death. Paul stated to the Philippians that to die would be his benefit, so he would prefer to break camp with this life and enter into the presence of Jesus (Philippians 1:20-24). Likewise, in 2 Corinthians 5:8 he tells us “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” Jesus' depiction of Lazarus and the rich man portrays a similarity soon after death (Luke 16:19-31).
Paul is consoling the Thessalonian Christians regarding what befalls believers who pass on before the arrival of Jesus Christ. In contrast to unbelievers, who have no promise for seeing their friends and family once more, the people who trust in Christ are just briefly isolated (1 Thessalonians 4:13). The desire for life past the grave rests upon the conviction that Jesus vanquished death by becoming alive once again.
At the point when certain Jews at the sanctuary in Jerusalem asked Jesus for a sign, he anticipated his resurrection as he says to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). The Jews thought He was alluding to the actual temple building, where they come to worship, however John adds: “But he spake of the temple of his body” (John 2:21). Afterward, Jesus told the disciples that he would die and rise once more. He said that he would be conveyed over to the religious leaders, where he would be condemned and given over to the Gentiles. The Gentiles would deride him, spit on him, lash him, and eventually kill him, however he stated that following three days he would arise (Mark 10:33–34).
Christians can anticipate the time where our risen Lord will come back with the spirits of Christians who have passed on. This future occasion is alluded to in Titus 2:13 as “Looking for that blessed hope, and glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”
At the point when Christ does return, all Christians will be brought together, alive, or dead, and will never have to endure suffering or die a physical death ever again.
What does Paul mean when he says, “for this we say unto you by the word of the Lord?” This was either something God had uncovered straightforwardly to Paul, or it was an instructing of Jesus that had been passed along verbally by the disciples and different Christians.
When the dead will be raised, according to separate interpretations of the Second Coming, is not generally so significant as the reason for which Paul composed these words; to provoke believers to comfort and energize each other when friends and family die. This entry can be an extraordinary solace when any Christian dies. The very love that ought to join believers together in this life (4:9) is the same love that will join Christians when Christ returns and rules forever.
Since Jesus Christ returned to life, so will all believers return back to life. All Christians, including those living when he returns, will live with Jesus for eternity. Consequently, we really should not despair when our friends and family pass on or when world occasions take a lamentable turn. God will transform our misfortunes into wins, our poverty into wealth, our agony into honor, and our loss into triumph. All believers from the beginning of time will stand rejoined in the actual presence of God, free from any danger. As Paul ameliorated the Thessalonians with the guarantee of the resurrection, so we should comfort and console each other with this incredible expectation of hope.
We must remember that there are three deaths, the physical, the spiritual, and the eternal. The physical death is to be absent from the body. The body ceases to function. Many believers have and will see a physical death. Spiritual death is of a carnal mind, being separated from God. This is a non-believer’s position. The eternal death is to be eternally separated from God.
We will all meet Christ in the air. What a meeting it will be! As Paul had given comfort to the Thessalonians with the resurrection promise, so should we give each other that same comfort of that great hope.
God called me into the ministry over 20 years ago and I have had the blessed opportunity to preach for a church radio broadcast, served as a Sunday School teacher, served as a youth director along with my wife, as a music director, as an Associate Pastor, and as an Interim Pastor.
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