| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 43 - Page 184 of 243 Index | Zoom | |
There are two words in the Greek for sleep, katheudo `to get to sleep', referring to
normal slumber, and koimao `to fall asleep involuntarily', which in the passive is used in
the N.T. of the sleep of death. In verse 14 we have the phrase `those who sleep in Jesus
will God bring with Him'. The word `in' is the preposition dia `through', `by means of',
"those who are laid to sleep by Jesus". The thought underlying these words is extremely
beautiful. Just as a parent lays his little child to rest at night time, so the Saviour does for
His children, and resurrection is the morning of glory when He will say "wake up".
"Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves
(not heaven, or merely their bodies in the grave) shall hear His voice, and shall come
forth . . . . ." (John 5: 28, 29).
"I am the Resurrection and the Life" (John 11: 25).
Realizing this, Bishop Ken (1692) wrote in one of his hymns:
Teach me to live, that I may dread The grave as little as my bed.
Believers, taught by God's Word, will know that death is no more to be feared than
going to sleep at night time. It is sleep in Christ (I Cor. 15: 16-18). After the death of
Lazarus, the Lord said to His disciples, "our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may
awake him out of sleep" (John 11: 11). This is just what death and resurrection is for the
believer, and one would have thought that, to all such, these words of the Saviour would
be sufficient; but alas, to so many who name the Name of Christ, it is not so. They are
determined to keep their own traditional ideas on the subject. May we be found among
those who believe what God says and reveals, rather than the opinions of men.
4: 14 - 18.
pp. 95 - 99
We have seen that the Apostle Paul, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, brings the
teaching concerning resurrection and the Lord's Coming before the Thessalonian
believers who were experiencing bereavement.
"For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, that are left unto the
Coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep. 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; then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with
them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (I Thess. 4: 15-18 R.V.).
The Apostle stresses the fact that he is writing "by the Word of the Lord". This
doubly emphasizes the truth of the passage we are dealing with. We can find no
reference to such teaching in the Lord's earthly ministry, but as Paul received the gospel
and all subsequent truth by revelation (Gal. 1: 11, 12; Eph. 3: 3), there is no difficulty
in understanding the source of the truth expressed here. He now explains the effect of the