(1Th 4:13) But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.

(1Th 4:14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

The Thessalonians were new Christians, and I’m pretty sure they didn’t have a lot of reading material explaining the subject of the rapture. Although we don’t know exactly why Paul wanted to explain this particular point to them at this time, my thought is, that while Timothy was with them someone in the church might have passed away and he witnesses how grief stricken and hopeless they felt. So in order for them not to be ingnorant on the subject Paul takes the next 6 verses and explains it to them.

those who have fallen asleep We need to know that Paul isn’t talking about everyone that has died, but only those that have died in Christ, (verse 16)

lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. Here Paul is talking about those that died without Christ. They have no hope! Doesn’t this just get right to the core of our salvation in Jesus Christ and how important it is for us that have Him and know Him; to share His truth with those that don’t? I’ve been to a few Christian memorial services, and they have been sad in the sense that you don’t have that loved one with you anymore. But there is also a great sense of joy. Joy, knowing that your loved one is with Christ . We’re free to celebrate their lives and to praise God for their salvation. More than likely the reason that person had a joy filled memorial is because someone shared Christ with them and gave them hope.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. It wasn’t “if” they believe that Jesus died and rose again. Paul knew they believed  because he had taught them and they accepted Christ’s death and resurrection, or they wouldn’t have been a church. I think it might have been easier for us to understand if “if” would have been interpreted as “inasmuch as” because that is what Paul is saying here. Inasmuch as we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. To me it makes it clear that it’s a fact Jesus died and rose again, and it’s a fact that at His coming those who sleep in Jesus will rise again too.

 

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