Paul, knew that young, persecuted church at Thessalonica longed for the Messiah’s return; but he also knew them well enough to know they were concerned about those believers who had already died.
He picks up his pen and continues to write, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep” (IThess 4:13),
Let’s pause here just a moment. Do you know the Bible never refers to the death of unbelievers as “sleep”?
Death for the believer is characterized as sleep to give the meaning of rest. In fact, early Christians began to refer to burial places as “cemeteries” which means the same thing as dormitory or a place to rest. (Enduring Word App). It would be kind of strange to refer to your college students’ housing as their “cemetery”, but it would be accurate in this sense!
Paul goes on to encourage them (and us) and writes famous words about how Christians do not grieve as those who have no hope— “that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For 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. For 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. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then 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. Therefore encourage one another with these words”. (I Thess 4:13-18)
Oh, I hope you’ll read Paul’s words again! Do you see it?
The dead in Christ will rise!
And then, we will all, meet the Lord in the air!
Can you imagine? No seriously, this will actually happen! Can you imagine this?
If you are a believer, you will be a part of this, whether you die before the Lord returns, or are here when He breaks through the clouds above!!
Our faith will become sight and we will forever and always be with the Lord!!
Let’s remember this. Let’s be encouraged by this. Let’s remind each other of this! Let’s encourage each other with these words.
One day our troubles will be no more! The thing you may be worried about right now will be no more! Every tear will be dried (Rev 21:4)
We will be with those believing loved ones who have gone before us, and we will see Jesus! Our human eyes will behold the King! It makes me want to sing a “Hallelujah!”
Yes, we can grieve with hope. But we can also can live with hope! Because of Jesus. Are you looking up?