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The Daily Word of Righteousness
The Resurrection and Eternal Judgment, #9
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (I Thessalonians 4:13,14)
The Christians of Thessalonica were grieving over the fact that some of their loved ones had died. They had departed to the realm of spirits and would not be with them as the Kingdom of God was set up on the earth. They would not share in the immortalizing of the body. They would not be able to participate as Jesus Christ was crowned King on the Throne of David in Jerusalem.
Paul comforted the saints by informing them the Lord Jesus at His coming would bring the departed spirits with Him, and the deceased would then share in the immortalizing of the body and in the setting up of the Kingdom on the earth.
First Thessalonians 4:13-18 is being employed to support the error of the pre-tribulation flight of the living saints to the spirit world. In actuality this passage has to do with the return of the deceased saints from the spirit world so they may receive back their physical bodies and participate with the Lord Jesus in the Kingdom of God on the earth.
The purpose of this passage is to comfort the living saints concerning their loved ones whose outward man is asleep in the grave and whose inner man is with the Lord Jesus. The passage has nothing to do with the Lord removing the living saints from the earth so they may escape the Antichrist and tribulation.
Paul is pointing toward the death and resurrection of Jesus as being our hope that we will see our loved ones once again—and in their bodies.
God will bring with Jesus at His coming the inner man of the deceased saints.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep. (I Thessalonians 4:15)
The living saints will not gain immortality or participate in the Kingdom of God in advance of those who have died.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (I Thessalonians 4:16)
"The dead in Christ shall rise."
The above phrase means that the bodies, the outward man of the saints whom Christ brings with him will stand upon their feet. They will come forth from their places of burial and stand on their feet on the earth. We assume that at this time their inner man, who has returned with the Lord Jesus, has entered the outward man and raised it up.
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, (I Corinthians 15:51)
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (I Thessalonians 4:17)
We who are alive shall be "changed" and after that caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Our earthly life, which is blood, will disappear. Our flesh and bone body will be animated by the Divine Life of the Lord Jesus instead of by blood.
To be continued.