1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 | Resurrection Reality
13But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.
- The Thessalonians must have expressed some concern and uncertainty about friends and family who had died, and the uncertainty of their souls
- We need not grieve brothers and sisters who have died, because we have hope. We look forward to something greater in the future and something beyond death
- Having a perspective of hope rather than an ‘end’ in death changes our outlook on life. Suddenly death is not an ending but a doorway into a greater and more beautiful reality
14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
- Because Jesus has died and risen again, he has made a way and made it possible for us to do this!
- God brought Jesus back from the grave and so will bring us too
- When Jesus said ‘the gates of hell (hades) will not prevail against the church’, he meant that death cannot contain the church. We will be resurrected and the gates of death will be burst open!
- This could also mean that God will bring the souls of deceased believers back with him when he returns, that the dead in Christ will return with him and be united to their bodies.
15For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
- God is coming back for the dead first, those who have died first in Christ will be raised first in Christ.
- So in death we are not alone, but we join a long line of believers through the ages who have placed faith in Christ and who are awaiting their resurrection
16For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God.
- The beauty and mystery of the gospel is not that we ascended to heaven but that the son descended to us. Here at his second coming, Christ descends once more to his bride, the church.
- With a shout, the voice of an archangel and the sound of a trumpet
- Shout – the shout of the multitude of heavenly hosts
- Archangel – the archangels (highest authority) will be doing the Lord’s bidding and announcing his return
- Trumpet – sounding the victory that the Lord has won over Satan and death
- This is the return of the King!
And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
- Meeting the Lord in the clouds resembles a people from a city going out to receive a king/dignitary and welcome him back
- Christ is coming to establish his rule on earth and so we will meet the Lord ‘in the air’ and so welcome him back to establish his throne
- The clouds/air is also symbolic of the divide between heaven and earth. Christ is coming to remove this divide that heaven and earth may be one once more
18Therefore encourage one another with these words.
- Thinking and meditating on these events should bring encouragement
- We can have encouragement that the king is returning, there is no fear in death
- So we anticipate and look forward to the return of our king