FOUR REVELATIONS ABOUT THE DEATH
Death still remains a mystery to many. People have different beliefs about death. Some believe in reincarnation. Some believe in purgatory. Some believe that there is no life after the one here on earth. In the days of Paul, the Thessalonians were wondering what will happen to their loved ones who die as Christians. God gave a revelation to Paul as recorded in I Thessalonians 4:13-18. We shall look at this in our next few meditations.
REMOVAL OF IGNORANCE: I Thessalonians 4:13
The Thessalonians were suffering from intense sorrow whenever their loved ones die. Paul wrote this to remove ignorance from the church. He wanted them to know the plan of God for them after death. He wanted them to also sorrow as Christians and not grief as those that have no hope. According to Paul in I Thessalonians 4:13, he said “But 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.”
To Paul, Christians don't die, they sleep. Christians have hope in Christ.
1. HOPE FOR THE DEAD IN CHRIST: Read carefully I Thessalonians 4:14-16
“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”.
The word cemetery actually means a place where the dead go to sleep. If you sleep, you will wake up again. So all Christians will wake up on the last day. The grave, therefore for a Christian, is a temporary bed of rest before the resurrection. When one sleeps, he still functions e.g. breathing, dreaming, etc still take place. Those who sleep in Christ are alive. They are in Paradise, right in His presence, waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ turned death of Christians to sleep.
When Christ comes, all believers will resurrect. I Thessalonians 4:15 says “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.” This is what the Bible calls the first resurrection. It does not matter where the death took place, it does not matter how the saint died neither does it matter when he died, one sure fact in this verse is that the believer who slept in the Lord will meet Christ before those once alive.
To be continued …
Ven. Solomon O. Makun