Image source: RedemptionHillChurch
The Thessalonians had a quotation about death that said: “After death, no reviving, after the grave, no meeting again”. A Thessalonian graveyard tombstone had the words “‘I was not, I became, I am not, I care not.” Thessalonians believed death was the end, until Paul got there and preached the resurrection.
The resurrection of the dead was of concern to the Thessalonians because some had died, and these new believers were seeking clarity from Paul about their fate. They grew up hearing that “after death, no reviving”. Would their loved ones who died as Christians truly live again? Paul’s answer is a defite yes!
Paul says in 1Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NIV) (shortened): “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope… According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive… will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come… with a loud command… and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
Paul says – ‘therefore encourage one another with these words’. We have this hope of a new life, in a new earth, that will be better managed than this present one. This hope is taught in both the Old and New Testament – the Bible teaches that Jesus will form a world government that will govern with fairness, justice, truth, and compassion; these are qualities we are looking for in our leaders today.
The Thessalonians received Paul’s letter with joy, however, some decided that if Jesus is coming soon to give them a better life, they will not work or be productive. This led to Paul’s second letter to them to correct this irresponsible interpretation of his teachings. We will look into this in the next blog.
Lord, give us clear Biblical insights into life beyond the grave, Amen!