Our Comfort in Hope (The Shorter Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

I Thessalonians 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.

The “asleep in Jesus,” refers to the believers who have passed away, believers who did have the hope of Christ returning for them. We also “believe that Jesus died and rose again.” God in this verse is comforting the living, letting us know that the sleeping believers’ hope of the return of Christ is still true, and still a future event, and God has not forgotten them because He will bring them with us into heaven at the “gathering together.”

I Thessalonians 4:15 – For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord {revelation}, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord {Christ Jesus} shall not prevent {precede} them which are asleep.

The Bible uses the word “asleep” for believers who have passed away, and it is an accurate translation because Christ indeed will raise them from the dead. They will feel as though they just woke up from a good night’s sleep, and they will have new bodies that live for eternity.

I Thessalonians 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;

When Christ returns, the sleeping (dead) believers will rise first, this is the order in which the Bible reveals to us. When Christ returns during this “gathering together,” he himself only comes down as far as the clouds, and the believes who were once alive will be raised up and out from among all the rest of the dead to meet Christ in the clouds above. This is why the angel said to the Apostles in the Book of Acts 1:11 “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.” This is what the Apostles saw “while they beheld, he {Jesus} was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9). Thus the return will be similar because believers will be gathered up in like manner to the gathering in the clouds, and from thence it’s off to heaven.

I Thessalonians 4:17 – Then we {believers} which are alive and remain {here on earth} 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.

This is the “gathering together.” This is your hope, to “ever be with the Lord” where everlasting reunions with families, loved ones, and friends will commence and never end. This is the hope that God in Christ has given you for your comfort, for your future goals, for at that time God will dry all your tears in the warmth and love of His divine presence. Your body will also be transformed at the “gathering together” from an earthly to a heavenly body, and from a mortal to an immortal body!

I Thessalonians 4:18 – Wherefore comfort one another with these words.