“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.”-1Th 4:16
According to this scripture, when the Lord descends from heaven, the dead in Christ will be raised. Jesus is “the resurrection and the life”; he that believes on him, though he die, yet shall he live; and whosoever lives and believes on Him shall never die. (Jhn 11:25,26). “This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1Co 15:53).
A more complete representation of Paul’s explanation in 1 Thessalonians is that the souls of those who have died and gone to be with Christ will come back and be joined with their bodies upon Christ’s return, for Christ will bring them with Him: “For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep” (1Th 4:14). But here Paul affirms not only that God will bring with Christ those who have died; he also affirms that “the dead in Christ will rise first.” So these believers who have died with Christ are also raised up to meet Christ. This only makes sense if it is the soulsof believers who have gone into Christ’s presence who return with Him, and if it is their bodies that are raised from the dead to be joined together with their souls, and then to ascend to be with Christ.
“At the rapture the soul and body, which “falls asleep” at death, will be reunited. The separation of body from spirit will be forever reversed. … the Lord will bring the perfected spirit of each believer from heaven when He comes, and the body of each believer will be raised up incorruptible, immortal, and imperishable to meet his or her spirit in the air and be united forever.”- Mark Hitchcock
What do you think about this hope of the Christian faith? Does it give you comfort that you will see your loved ones in Christ again? What about coming of the kingdom that will ultimately restore peace and tranquility to the earth at long last? And, of course, there is much more to be said. But we’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter. Be encouraged to comment below!
Thiessen, Henry. Lectures in Systematic Theology (pg. 452). Eerdmans Publishing Company 1951.