ignorant about those ‘fallen asleep’?06-12-2013 - Posted by Andre Piet
In 1Thessalonians 4, starting with verse 13, Paul answers the question of what happens to those fellow-believers, who have ‘fallen asleep’. The idea was current (15) that those, who had died before the second coming (the parousia), would therefore miss out on that event. Paul shows that the opposite is the case (15). For when, at His time, the trumpet will sound, the dead in Christ will be resurrected first (16) and then, the survivors, together with the resurrected ones, will be snatched away, in clouds, to meet the Lord in the air (17). Whatever may be said about all of this, Paul makes it clear that believers, who have ‘fallen asleep’, will not be neglected at the time of the parousia. What is also made clear is that Paul does not teach that the departed are already with the Lord and are already “rejoicing before God’s throne.” The ones who have ‘fallen asleep,’ are ‘sleeping’. They are aware of nothing. And when the time will be there, they will be awakened, in order that they, together with the survivors, will meet the Lord in the air. Not at the moment of death, will believers go up to be with the Lord, but by means of the resurrection! And not one by one, but “TOGETHER, at the same time, … to meet the Lord.” And with these words, we should encourage one another (:18).