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April 02, 2008

Comments

shego4th

Will you clarify something for me? For the "everyone" who will join Jesus off-planet, are you meaning all NT believers (and not OT saints)? That has been my previous understanding. Thank you!

Jeff

Actually, to piggyback on that...I think I know the answer, but I want to be sure. The passage, does that allude to the disposition of people's souls before Jesus' coming, or is it simply an assurance to the living believers that death doesn't negate a person's ability to be a part of the reunion?

Jim Fleming

I am sorry to answer your questions with a question - but this might be helpful as we challenge some possible pre-conceptions. Those who participate in the off-planet welcome are specifically named in 1 Thess. 4:13-18 as those who are "asleep in Jesus," "the dead in Christ," and "we [saints] who are alive." Is there anything about these phrases that makes them relevant to NT saints and not OT saints? Can you supply some clear biblical evidence to support this distinction? What do you KNOW?

Jeff

For my question, it's a matter of wording that's always been a bit of a sticking point and I think I DO lack context. As I understand it, Paul is referring to death when he refers to being "asleep in Jesus." That phrase, though, taken without context (and I think that's what I'm asking for), tells me that a person is in a resting state waiting to be called on by Jesus. But then, Jesus said to the man hanging beside him, "Today you will be with me in paradise," which tells me that the person, because he believed, would be with Jesus almost immediately after death.

I think that the two are talking about two different things. That's my pre-conception.

Jim Fleming

Jeff,
Let's just focus on 1 Thess. 4. Here are your two key phrases: (1) "Even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus." (2) "And the dead in Christ shall rise first." Both phrases seem to be describing the same group. But in (1) they accompany Jesus down. In (2) they rise up. So what is going on here? Which way are they going? See if one of our other "clue" passages, 1 Thess. 5:23, does not suggest an answer.

Jeff

Hmmm...ok, you wanted a blank slate, I'm about as blank as you can get! :)

Is it both? I mean, 1 Thess. 5:23 says, "and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete." The body is definitely the dead part in the ground, but for both to happen, there has to be a split. (Trying to stay a blank slate...) So, at the reunion, is it also the body, spirit and soul reuniting at Jesus' coming?

Jim Fleming

Jeff,
Congratulations, Grasshopper! A new body comes up from the grave to be united with the spirit that returns (down) with Jesus.

Randy

Jim,
Just so we have a frame of reference, could you briefly comment on where you line up as a dispensationalist?

Jim Fleming

Randy,
Great question and it begs for tomorrow's post. Check it out on Friday. I might not answer your question completely until we have finished this series.

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