Summary: An explanation of the events of 1 Thessalonians 4
1 Thess. 4:13-17
I want to preach on my favorite passage... The Parousia, the rapture, the second coming.
The KJV uses the phrase, "I would not have you to be ignorant..."
I never liked that translation because I took "Ignorant" as an insult... like stupid. Then I discovered that there is a great difference between being ignorant and being stupid.
Ignorant means ....uninstructed, destitute of knowledge, uninformed... an ignorant person is one who has not yet been taught something, but once taught is smart enough to grasp it.
Stupid means... incapable of learning.... this person is not just un-informed or un-taught... he can't learn if you try.
Paul did not say, I don't want you to be stupid....... he said I don't want you to go on without being taught .
That is how I feel about you.... I don't want you to be un-taught this very important truth. I like how the Peterson version says, "We don't want you to be in the dark any longer."
"Those who have fallen asleep"... is a euphemism, a delicate or softened expression... for those who have died.
The bible only uses "Dead" or "Die" for the lost or for sin... because in scripture "death" refers not to cessation of life, but to separation from God.
For Christians, death was a sleep, a temporary condition of the physical body that would end with the resurrection, when the body would be raised, changed and given eternal life. the separation would end
For non-Christians, the separation is eternal, thus it was called death.
Ex: Moses Dt 31:16 And the LORD said to Moses: "You are going to
rest with your fathers, and these people will soon prostitute themselves to the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will forsake me and break the covenant I made with them.
Lazarus Jn 11:11 Thus he spoke, and then he said to them, Our friend
Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awake him
Steven Acts 7:60 And they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, "Lord Jesus,
receive my spirit." And he knelt down and cried with a loud voice, "Lord do not hold this sin
David Acts 13:36 "For when David had served God's purpose in his own
generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed.
WE DO NOT DIE....... WE SLEEP..... temporary, we will be awakened
“That you grieve not… sorrow not”
This IS NOT saying that when a person dies… it is un-Christian to cry or to be broken hearted.
Those tears are natural, and part of a great God-given gift.... love.
Grieve, however, carries a different meaning. To grieve meant to be without hope, to abandon all hope. This came out of the Greek belief of annihilation of the soul... the belief that this world was all there is and when a person dies, they are forever gone, never to be seen again.
A popular Greek poem of Jesus day said, "The sun can set and rise again
But once our brief light sets
there is one unending night to be slept through
For the Christians there is always hope..... especially in death.
Our hope is our knowledge that our body goes in the ground, and will see corruption... but our soul goes to heaven and Jesus will raise up our body eternal.