1 Thessalonians 4:13-17
- Dead In Christ Shall Rise First
16 in context.
1 Thessalonians 4:16 is
confused by many people who think it is saying
that believers who have died already are not in heaven
yet. This is despite the fact that scripture elsewhere tells
us believers that to be out of the body is to be with the Lord.
They think this scripture is saying they rise the day of the
rapture just before believers who are still alive on earth
are caught up. However that is not what this scripture is saying at
scripture is actually speaking
of those who have already died and are currently with Jesus. I will
explain. There are five verses that need to be read here in
order to understand what is being said. They are
It was common for people back then to
refer to the dead as being asleep. It was a softer way of saying
dead, like we say "passed on." Verse 13 is showing us that when a
believer in Christ dies we do not have to be in sorrow, as when
nonbelievers die, those who have no hope.
14) Just as those of us who are still here for the rapture believe
that Jesus died and rose from the dead, so too do those who "sleep
in Jesus" believe (they who God (Jesus) will bring with him.)
--Notice verse 14 says "bring with him." They are currently with
Jesus, so that when he returns, he will bring them with him. He will
bring with him those who "sleep in Jesus." ...those who died in
Christ, as appose to those who died rejecting Christ. --Sleep in
Christ = Died in Christ
This scripture was
reassuring the people who were still here, that their loved ones who
"sleep in Jesus" (the ones who died believing in Jesus) that they
are already with Jesus and that Jesus would bring them with him in
the sky when he returns.
Verse 15 says that
those of us who are here when Jesus returns will not "prevent" the
ones who are asleep (dead). Prevent in this text means to go before.
This is saying the people here when Jesus returns will not go before
those believers who have already died, that they will already be
with Jesus. (Verse 16)
Read verses 16 and 17
The Lord is going to come down from
heaven: and the dead in Christ shall rise first (first as in BEFORE)
Jesus comes down from heaven. THEN we that are alive and remain here
will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord
in the air. --Jesus is not going to be on land at that time, but
rather in the sky, in the air.
Hear it the way a
person might talk today: Jesus is going to return. Those believers
who died already will have already risen first (before) Jesus
returns. Jesus is going to bring them with him in the sky. Then
those of us believers who are still here when Jesus returns will be
caught up together (all at once) with them (those who came back with
Jesus) in the clouds. And we who are caught up together will then
meet the Lord and will forever be with the
Also, look at the word "then" as meaning
"at that time". At that time (when Jesus returns) 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.
--Remember this scripture was actually all about reassuring the
people that those who died in Christ before the rapture were/are
currently with him.
Don't look at it like three
events happening in the order that they are listed in the two
verses, but rather the meaning of what is written in the two verses
and in the context of all five verses. And you will then see it as
how two events happen in regards to the main event, Jesus' return.
1st - The asleep in Christ rise first (upon
each individual's death) before Jesus' return.
2nd - Jesus returns with those who sleep in
3rd - Then, at the time of Jesus' return
those of us believers who are still alive here on earth will all be
caught up together to be with them who Jesus brings with him and to
be with the Lord, all in the sky.
is actually saying the exact opposite of what you were thinking. It
is saying they are with the Lord now, before Jesus
The scripture is
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.
if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also
which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
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.
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
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
J.M. Smith 07-16-16