Those who sleep
1 Th 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.
Some of the new believers were waiting for Jesus to return Some had seen people die and they were concerned that these would miss the coming of our Lord for his church. Paul gives comfort in this scripture, which explains the coming of the Lord.
What does it mean to be asleep? Those who trust in Jesus Christ, live forever with him. So we need not speak of death as if all was over, for our soul and spirit go to Jesus. Some see the person as sleeping, but be assured he is not sleeping in the grave. Sleep refers to the body in several places of the Bible. Jesus knew he was going to raise people from the dead, so he referred to them as sleeping.
Lazarus was raised from the dead.
John 11:11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
Lazarus, though dead, was referred to as sleeping, and Jesus raised him up. He still was flesh and blood. How much more shall we live through faith in Jesus Christ? Our spirit has been made alive in him, for His Spirit has given us eternal life. The ruler's daughter was raised
Mat 9:23 And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise,
Mat 9:24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.
Mat 9:25 But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.
Likewise our bodies shall be risen as new spiritual bodies
After Jesus himself, arose from the sleep of the grave, he gave us the assurance that we shall never be separated from him. Jesus gave revelation knowledge to the apostle Paul. Our soul will go to Jesus and our new body will come when he returns for the church.
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:
2 Cor 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
2 Cor 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
The soul goes to Jesus, the body sleeps or is awaiting a new spiritual body. I do not want to be asleep in a dead body. Jesus said we are made alive, eternally alive in him. The soul goes to Jesus. If not in him, our soul goes straight to hell. I WALKED IN HELL
Mark 12:26 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?
Mark 12:27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.
Those who died before Jesus defeated death and the grave, were kept in a place separated from hell. (see Luke 16:19-31) God knows where he has them now. I believe they were taken up when Jesus arose and returned to the Father. These are alive through faith in God's promises.
Heb 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Psa 68:18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.
Eph 4:9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
Eph 4:10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
One body in Christ
1 Th 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.
If you believe, this is important. If you believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you belief enough to turn to Jesus in complete trust, then you will believe what the word of God says. Listen to the word of God: If you believe that Jesus died and rose again, this is the heart of the gospel. This is the message of the cross that Paul preached, leading thousands unto our Lord Jesus Christ. If you believe he shed his blood on the cross for your sins and has risen from the grave. If you believe, though dead (asleep) in Christ, even then will God bring you with Christ.You are with Christ, wherever he goes.
1 Th 4:15 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.
We who are alive when Jesus comes for His church, we who are connected to him by his Spirit, we shall not prevent those asleep in Christ from coming with him first in their new bodies. There spirits are with him now. In death or in life, we are still one body in Christ.
Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Rom 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Rom 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Rom 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Rom 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Who will come to Jesus at his call?
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
John 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
John 10:30 I and my Father are one.
We are one with God the Father and His Son Jesus, through the Holy Spirit that connects us to Christ.
Rom 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Rom 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Nothing shall separate us from our holy calling in Christ Jesus, if His Spirit dwells in you.
1 Th 4:16 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:
This has been called the rapture of the church. The catching up of the members of Christ's body, to be with him forever. Wherever the dead (sleeping) are, whether old testament believers in a spiritual holding place, or those who are with Jesus through faith in his atonement on the cross, these who have passed away in their physical bodies, shall be in their new bodies with Christ Jesus first. At this time they will all receive their spiritual bodies.
The old testament believers are received through faith. The New testament saints also receive through faith, having a greater revelation of the way to God, through Christ Jesus.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel,
The Lord Jesus Christ himself will descend with a shout. The arch angel Michael will proclaim his coming. Jesus is not Michael, as many cults teach. The angels spoke in the book of Acts, of his coming again.
Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
The angels were present when the Christ came as a baby, born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Ghost; God in a human.
Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
and with the trump of God
The trumpet sounds a sure sound, of gathering together.
1 Cor 14:8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?
A bugle is used in the military, each call has a meaning. A call to awaken, a call to assemble and others calls.
Mat 24:31 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.
The angels do escort us into His presence.
Mark 13:26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
Mark 13:27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
1 Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1 Th 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Cor 15:51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
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.
1 Cor 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
There is much discussion about the time that this will occur. This is the calling up of the church. I believe that it occurs before Israel has received the full revelation of Jesus.
Rom 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
Rom 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
God will seal the foreheads of 144,000 Jewish evangelists, filling them with His Spirit. (Revelation 7) Also he will send an angel throughout the earth, preaching the gospel. Will this be an angel with wings, or one of the appearance of a man, like Billy Graham?
Rev 14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
Regardless of when Jesus comes, we are to be ready, as if he were coming today. This is what he expects of us.
What of the unbelievers?
Mat 8:21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
Mat 8:22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.
Mat 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
Pray for the unsaved that God may reach them by His Spirit and that they may be saved from their sins.