"Want to Comfort Someone Who has Recently Lost a Loved One?"
are our Christian friends and relatives who have died?
Where are the non-Christians who have died?
Is everybody just six feet under?
Have they all ceased to exist or are they still conscious somewhere?
The Bible tells us the answer to these questions.
knowing these answers
a Christian can give great comfort to someone who has recently lost a loved one.
The Thessalonians also lacked this knowledge.
Paul's letters to the them we learned that there was something lacking
in their faith.
Paul wanted to correct it,
so that they would "know perfectly well".
1 Thes. 3:9 For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God;  Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?
1 Thes. 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep...
wondered what would become of them.
Paul explains this to them (us) and ease their (our) minds, i.e. comfort them (us).
Paul not only explains where the dead currently are but also how we will all,
that is all our Christian friends and relatives who have died and gone before us,
and all of us who will be alive in the flesh when Christ returns,
gather back to Christ in our spiritual bodies at the last Trump.
we cover Paul's explanation
let's seek some background concerning death and bodies from the Written Word.
already know that when a person dies his (or her) body returns to the elements
of the earth
from which it was composed, i.e. it de-composes,
whether by slow combustion (Which is what organic decomposition is.
Just stick your hand into the midst of a compost pile sometime and feel the heat.)
by quick combustion (Which is what cremation is.)
way your flesh body is consumed by fire!
Do you agree?
the person, i.e. the soul,
who dwelt temporarily in that body
departs from it and goes home to his Father who sent him here
to "walk under the sun" in the first place.
this scriptural documentation of that:
Eccles. 12:6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
are all Hebrew figures of speech which mean when a person dies.
In other words they mean exactly the same thing as when we say a person "Kicked the Bucket"!
 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was:
and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
The Parable of
Lazarus and the Rich Man shows us that we do not all go to the same place
because there is a gulf, a "clean cut" division, between those who "made it" and those who didn't!
one has died the second death yet,
which is the death of the soul in the lake of fire!
doesn't happen until after the Millennium,
until after the Great White Throne judgment,
until all the host of heaven, i.e. all of His children,
have died the first death, i.e. been born of water and died
(or instantly changed when Christ returns,
which is somewhat analogous to dying in your sleep)!
That is correct!
God has appointed All of His children to pass through the womb of woman before judgment.
So the first death, the death of the flesh, applies to all.
second death will apply only to those who have not received Christ
by the time of the Great White Throne judgment.
Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
will soon be cast to this earth at the sound of the 6th Trump
and claim to be the Messiah,
but when Christ returns he will be bound in the pit for the thousand years (Rev. 20:2).
You see, even Satan isn't cast into the lake of fire and destroyed until after the Millennium.
this Scripture to documentation that .
NO ONE is now frying in Dante's Inferno!
The traditions of man fail once again when tested by the true Word of God.
Christ Himself said in Matthew 22:32
that He is not the God of the dead but God of the living,
like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who are alive and well in heaven right now.
apostle John saw the Christian martyrs and the elders, etc.,
in heaven when he was taken there in the spirit.
Here are Christ's words:
also that Moses and Elijah appeared with Christ
unto Peter and James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration?
They were alive, not dead.
in 1 Pet. 3:19
we read that during the three days and three nights following the crucifixion,
now having paid the price, Jesus went to those souls "in prison" and preached unto them.
We could go on and on but just remember,
do not let some ignorant [unknowledgeable] religionist tell you
that when you die you are dead forever or you remain dead until Christ returns.
All souls, even Satan, are alive at this time.
fully understand the rest of 1 Thes. 4
it would also help if we understand about the two bodies.
you know you have two bodies?
Let's start with these two questions Paul asks and then answers:
1 Cor. 15:35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up?
and with what body do they come?
answers to these questions are extremely important
in order to place what Paul speaks of in 1 Thes. 4:13-18 in proper context,
so let's cover them.
1 Cor. 15:36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:
take a little old seed and bury it
and instead of that seed coming up you get a beautiful flower to "raise-up" out of the ground.
 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be,
but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:
One thing is for sure; you will never get a watermelon to grow from a corn seed!
 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men,
another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
1 Cor. 15:40] There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial:
but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
this on the analogy Paul is giving us here:
You will not want back in this flesh thing
after you have blossomed into your spiritual body!
 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon,
and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
1 Cor. 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.
There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
now it is MYSTERY TIME!
Would you like to know a secret or a mystery?
The apostle Paul is about to show us one.
Isn't this exciting?
1 Cor. 15:51 (KJV) Behold, I shew you a mystery;
We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
Here's how Dr. Moffat translates it:
1 Cor. 15:51 (Moffat) Here is a secret truth for you: not all of us are to die,
but all of us are to be changed -
And HAVING ALREADY DIED in the flesh,
we now know that they are already in their spiritual bodies!
He will drive that point home in the remainder of chapter 4.
then, what happens to our flesh bodies at that time?
Isn't this fascinating?
Here is Paul's answer
(Pay close attention because we have to think about all the clues in mysteries, right?):
1 Cor. 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump:
for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible,
and we shall be changed.
is at the LAST TRUMP and NOT BEFORE!
Be sure to check out this clue:
The Greek word for "last" is eschatos and it means the VERY LAST EVENT!
eschatos, es'-khat-os, Greek 2078; a superlative probably from Greek 2192 (echo) (in the sense of contiguity); farthest, final (of place or time) :- ends of, last, latter end, lowest, uttermost.
shall be NO ONE who will remain ALIVE IN THE FLESH
because as Paul states in 1 Cor. 15:50, flesh and blood cannot enter into that Kingdom,
which is the Millennial reign of Christ!
whether they are among the dead carcasses left in the valley of Hamon-gog
at the 7th Trump,
or the spiritually dead,
or God's elect,
it doesn't matter!
The flesh age ends when Yeshua returns with the shout at the sound of the 7th Trump!
Paul was a Hebrew scholar
and he would have been very familiar with the Book of Ezekiel
which brings a point to mind.
cannot understand a mystery by reading just a single chapter of a book
or watching one episode of a series, can he?
And speaking of EZEK-I-EL, whose name means "God is (my) Strength" or "Whom God Strengthens",
he was instructed by our Father to "eat the whole roll [i.e. scroll]"
which is the entire Word of God and then digest it in his bowels,
i.e. understand it and absorb it into his very being.
Ezekiel 3:3 "And He said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat,
to please your Father and taste the sweet hidden manna in the Word of God?
Then go thou and do likewise!
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,
at the sound of the last Trump, the 7th and final one,
"we who are alive and remain (in the flesh) unto the coming of the Lord"
will be INSTANTLY changed from our flesh bodies INTO our spiritual bodies!
is so simple",
which is what we often say when a mystery is solved.
"Why didn't I see that before?"
Let's read one more verse in 1 Cor. 15 to complete our background for the remainder of 1 Thes. 4.
1 Cor. 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption,
and this mortal must put on immortality.
first, which applies to everyone, both the
good and the bad,
is that we are ALL "raised up" or "changed" from flesh bodies to spiritual bodies,
i.e. from corruptible flesh to incorruptible spirit.
second thing that occurs is called the First
That is where the saints who are now in their spiritual bodies
are "raised", "resurrected" to the status of IMMORTALITY!
people would just take the time
to understand the difference between the resurrection of the body
and the resurrection of the soul to immortality,
much confusion and "mystery" in the minds of Christians would be made clear and solved!
is so easy to document that people who do not"make
at the First Resurrection to eternal life
when Jesus returns will remain in their spiritual bodies
throughout the great time of teaching known as the Millennium
and face the throne of judgment
where they will either receive the same death sentence as Satan
or be resurrected to immortality.
This is called the Second Resurrection, or the second time one can receive eternal life.
There are only two times.
those who are part of the First Resurrection to eternal life,
granted when Christ returns,
will receive greater blessings and since they will now be "holy"
they will NOT be subject to the Great White Throne judgment
because the second death, which is the death of the soul,
no longer applies to them.
They already have been resurrected (raised) to immortality!
Rev. 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection:
on such the second death hath no power,
but they shall be priests of God and of Christ,
and shall reign with him a thousand years.
I could say that you Baby Boomers will become Baby Bloomers!
are our Christian friends and relatives
who have been released from the bondage of the flesh body?"
The answer is that they are now absent (Gone!) from their flesh bodies
and they have already been raised-up, i.e. resurrected in their spiritual bodies,
and they are alive and well and present with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Is that not the hope of all Christians?
was certainly the hope of this same Paul
who wrote 1st and 2nd Thessalonians and later wrote to the Corinthians:
2 Cor. 5:6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body,
and to be present with the Lord.
2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness;
2 Cor. 5:9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
Here is what happened:
Rev. 22:8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen,
I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.
 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant,
and of thy brethren the prophets,
and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
remember, Paul already told the Thessalonians back in chapter 3
that all those saints are coming back with the Lord Jesus Christ when He returns.
1 Thes. 3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God,
even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
us now complete the 4th chapter of 1 Thessalonians beginning in verse 13
where the subject will now be "where are the dead?"
Paul doesn't want us to be ignorant about this!
1 Thes. 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren,
concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not,
even as others which have no hope.
Christians on the other hand DO BELIEVE in the resurrection from the dead
for we believe that Christ was resurrected from His dead body, do we not?
And we already learned earlier how the dead are raised up!
Paul completely answered that question:
1 Cor. 15:35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up?
and with what body do they come?
1 Thes. 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
even so them also which sleep* in Jesus will God bring with him.
we now know is that when Jesus comes back
He will bring them with Him just like Paul said He would here in verse 14 and in chapter 3 verse 13.
*sleep = koimao, koy-mah'-o, Greek 2837; from Greek 2749 (keimai); to put to sleep, i.e. (passive or reflexive) to slumber; figurative to decease :- (be a-, fall a-, fall on) sleep, be dead.
happens though to those of us who have not died
but are still in the flesh when the 7th Trump sounds?
(Hint: It happens in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye!")
 (KJV) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord,
that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord
shall not prevent them which are asleep.
prevent = phthano, fthan'-o, Greek 5348; apparently a primary verb; to be beforehand, i.e. anticipate or precede; by extension to have arrived at :- (already) attain, come, prevent.
 (Moffat) For we tell you, as the Lord has told us, that we the living,
who survive till the Lord comes,
are by no means to take precedence of those who have fallen asleep.
This is so simple!
subject here IS NOT "eternal life"
and it IS NOT "escape from tribulation"!
Remember, the Thessalonians were expecting Christ to return
and they were concerned about their deceased friends and relatives
and what would happen to them since they died and Christ hadn't returned!
the answer is so simple:
When they died, they were resurrected, i.e. raised into their spiritual bodies,
and went to be present with the Lord.
And when He returns, they are coming back with Him.
AND, we are now going to discover,
that we are going have a Big Happy Reunion together with them
(as soon as we GET CHANGED at the LAST TRUMP into OUR SPIRITUAL BODIES too!
Let's see how this happens:
 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:
and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
When the Lord descends from heaven,
where will the departed saints be who have already died believing in Him, i.e. the "dead in Christ"?
That is correct!
are right with Him (following Him on their white horses (Rev.
Well then, what does it mean they shall "rise" first?
It simply means they will appear in their spiritual bodies
before we are gathered and changed into ours.
Remember they have preceded us in the resurrection of the spiritual body!
take your Strong's Concordance (if you don't have one, get one)
and check out the Greek word for "rise".
You will find that the word "anistemi" can be used (literal or figurative,
transitive or intransitive) and in this sense it means "to stand-up"
as in "to present".
is kind of like an announcer would say:
"At the sound of the 7th Trump
will all those who already have on their spiritual robes please rise, i.e. stand up!
would all those remaining
please put on your spiritual robes and join them as a group!"
the "dead in Christ", those who have died believing in the Lord,
who are with Him now, will appear, i.e. stand-up first,
when Christ returns,
before we are changed and join together with them!
Here's how Paul puts it:
who are alive in the flesh
and all the saints who are coming with the Lord,
are going to gather together as a group at the 7th Trump,
which is what the expression "caught up together in the clouds" means.
is a figure of speech and the expression "in the clouds"
has nothing to do with "clouds" any more than the expression
"He got into hot water" has to do with "hot water".
former means "group" and the latter means "trouble".
(See Heb. 12:1 for the same figurative usage of "clouds"
where Paul says we are going to gather in the clouds and run a foot race.)
if the saints are in their spiritual bodies
and we are still in our flesh bodies,
how shall we be gathered together?
is the "mystery" of 1 Cor. 15
which we studied earlier.
"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye",
at this same last trump we shall be changed into our
"breath of life" bodies, our "air" bodies,
which are our spiritual bodies
as we shall see after Christ explains this same event in Matthew 24:29-31.
We pick it up just after He has finished describing the great tribulation of antichrist:
Matthew 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened,
and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven,
and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven:
and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn,
and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven
with power and great glory.
it does not!
When Jesus Christ returns with all the saints (remember?)
"all the tribes of the earth" shall see the Son of man coming!
There is NO secret rapture!
You can either believe some theory of man that says only "the church"
sees Him first or you can believe the words of Jesus Christ.
The choice is yours!
at this point the saints "who are alive and remain"
haven't even been gathered!
Christ and the saints appear first, THEN we are gathered to them!
 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet,
and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds,
from one end of heaven to the other.
Greek word for "air" used here is "aer".
It is used only several times in the New Testament
and you can look it up for yourself (which you should do)
and check out how it is used,
but it does not mean the "air" that birds fly in
which is the word "ouranos" as used in Luke 9:58
"And Jesus said unto him,
Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests;
but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head."
ouranos, oo-ran-os', Greek 3772; perhaps from the same as Greek 3735 (oros) (through the idea of elevation); the sky; by extension heaven (as the abode of God); by implication happiness, power, eternity; specially the Gospel (Christianity) :- air, heaven ([-ly]), sky.
thing is for sure, we can't image how glorious that day will be
but we know that when we see the Lord (and the angels)
we will be instantly changed to appear just like Him!
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God,
and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:
but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him;
for we shall see Him as He is.
1 Thes. 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
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