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The Daily Word of Righteousness
The Army of the Lord, continued
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. (I Thessalonians 4:13)
We see from the above reference that the purpose of the verses which then follow in I Thessalonians is to give the living Christians hope concerning their fellow believers who had died.
We would expect Paul to comfort the saints by telling them they had no reason to grieve because their deceased loved ones were in Heaven with the Lord Jesus and that some day they, the living Christians, would also go to Heaven to be with their friends. This is what we tell Christians today.
But what did Paul actually say?
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 4:14)
"Them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him." "Will God bring with him"!
Who are those who sleep in Jesus? We believe, based on what took place on the Mount of Transfiguration, that those who sleep in Jesus (who are physically dead but in the Presence of the Lord) include the true people of God from the time of the righteous Abel.
And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. (Mark 9:1-4)
If this manifestation indeed was the "kingdom of God come with power," then the coming of the Kingdom will include the saints of all time, not just the disciples of the Lord Jesus. Elijah and Moses were present as well as the three Christians.
And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:31)
The Lord's elect of all time, not just of the Christian Era, will be summoned at the time of Christ's return to earth.
Consider the implications of the fact that when the Lord returns He will bring His elect with Him. The number of true saints (those who sleep in Jesus) from the time of Abel to the present must be very large (from our viewpoint, perhaps not from the Lord's). What will it be like to have Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah, the Apostle Paul, and a multitude of saints, known and unknown, come to the earth with the Lord Jesus?
This is the hope the Apostle Paul was offering to the Thessalonian believers. "You are experiencing suffering now. But do not worry. Very soon the Lord Jesus will come and bring with Him a vast multitude of righteous people. Then your suffering will come to an end and the Lord will govern the nations of the earth."
To be continued.