29 July 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11

29 July. What happens to believers when they die?

"Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about those Christians who have died so you will not be sad, as others who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and that he rose again. So, because of him, God will raise with Jesus those who have died."

"What we tell you now is the Lord's own message. We who are living when the Lord comes again will not go before those who have already died. The Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God."

"And those who have died believing in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive will be gathered up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And we will be with the Lord for ever. So encourage each other with these words."

"Now, brothers and sisters, we do not need to write to you about times and dates. You know very well that the day the Lord comes again will be a surprise, like a thief that comes in the night... But you, brothers and sisters, are not living in darkness, and so that day will not surprise you like a thief..."

"So we should not be like other people who are sleeping, but we should be awake and have self-control... We should wear faith and love to protect us, and the hope of salvation should be our helmet. God did not choose us to suffer his anger but to have salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."

"Jesus died for us so that we can live together with him, whether we are alive or dead when he comes. So encourage each other and give each other strength, just as you are doing now."

          (1 Thessalonians 4:13 - 5:11)



People often wonder what will happen when they and their loved ones die. Most people seem to think that their soul or spirit will immediately go up to heaven and will either be welcomed inside the pearly gates (by St Peter) or be banished to the nether regions.

But this is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible says that those who die will sleep in the world of the dead until the 'day of judgement' when the Lord Jesus will come down to earth again to spend eternity in a newly combined heaven-and-earth with those who have already died and those who are still living at that time (see Revelation 21:1-8).

In this letter, Paul reminds the believers in Thessalonica that they must be ready for when the risen Lord Jesus comes back again. When he does, those believers who have died will be given a renewed bodily life on earth. And those believers who are living at that time will go up into the clouds to welcome the Lord Jesus coming down to earth from heaven - in the same way as Roman citizens went out beyond the city gates to welcome a visiting dignitary to their town, before accompanying him back inside the city walls (see Acts 28:15).

Paul says this ‘Day of the Lord’ will come unexpectedly like a thief in the night. So believers should be expectant, living a sober and righteous life, and always ready for the Lord to come at any time.

Followers of Jesus should ‘wear’ faith and love like a soldier’s breastplate and ‘put on’ the hope of salvation like a helmet (see also Ephesians 6:13-17, where Paul expands on this picture of the ‘armour of God’).

And they should look forward to Jesus's return with confidence, as "God did not choose us to suffer his anger but to have salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

The photo shows a bright light in the sky.

You can read more about the 'Day of the Lord' @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/13-p…/the-day-of-the-lord/

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