1 Thessalonians 4:14-Through Jesus, the Father Will Bring the Dead in Christ with Jesus at the Rapture
First Thessalonians Chapter Four • Sermon • Submitted • 1:09:55
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1 Thessalonians 4:13 Now we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest who have no hope. 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so also we believe that God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep as Christians. (NET)
1 Thessalonians 4:14 consists of a responsive first class conditional statement which presents the presumption of truth for the sake of argument as well as the reason for the declarative statement in 1 Thessalonians 4:13.
The declarative statement asserts that Paul, Silvanus and Timothy by no means wanted anyone in the Thessalonian Christian community to be uninformed about those who are asleep, which is a reference to the dead in Christ.
The idea expressed by this responsive first class conditional statement is that if and let us assume for the sake of argument that each one of us does believe that Jesus died and rose again and each of us does, then we also believe that through Jesus, God the Father will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep as Christians.
The first class conditional statement is a tool of persuasion in that it is persuading the Thessalonians by reminding them that because they trusted in Jesus as their Savior, each and every Christian, both living and dead are guaranteed a resurrection body since the Lord Jesus Christ promised all those who believe in Him that they would receive a resurrection body (cf. John 6:39, 44, 54).
Furthermore, Paul taught every Christian community he planted that each and every Christian, both living and dead, are guaranteed a resurrection body as a result of being identified with Jesus in His death and resurrection.
This took place through the baptism of the Spirit the moment the Father declared them justified through faith in His Son, Jesus (cf. Rom. 6:1-10; Eph. 2:4-6; Col. 3:1-4).
This first class conditional statement we noted is presenting the reason for the first declarative statement in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 which asserts that Paul, Silvanus and Timothy by no means wanted the Thessalonians to be uninformed about the dead in Christ.
Therefore, a comparison of each indicates that Paul, Silvanus and Timothy by no means wanted the Thessalonians to be uninformed about the dead in Christ because through Jesus, God the Father will bring with Jesus the dead in Christ as a result of the dead in Christ believing that Jesus died and rose again.
The relationship between the protasis and the apodosis in this first class condition is evidence and inference.
The evidence is presented in the protasis which we noted asserts that Paul, Silvanus, Timothy and both the dead and living in the Thessalonian Christian community believed that Jesus died and rose again from the dead.
The inference is that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep.
In other words, this fifth class conditional statement is also marking the correlation between Jesus’ death and resurrection and the death and resurrection of dead Christians.
The inference is that God will raise from the dead the dead in Christ in the same manner in which He raised His one and only Son Jesus Christ from the dead.
Now, Paul does not explain explicitly the reason why God would raise up dead Christians with Jesus at the rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
However, the Lord Jesus Christ promised all those who believe in Him that they would receive a resurrection body (cf. John 6:39, 44, 54).
The apostle Paul also taught in 1 Corinthians 15:17-23 that the Christian’s resurrection is directly tied to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In fact, Jesus Christ’s resurrection guarantees the resurrection of those who have trusted in Him as their Savior.
Also, in Romans 6:1-11, Colossians 3:1-4 and Ephesians 2:4-6, Paul teaches that through the baptism of the Spirit those who the Father declared justified through faith in His one and only Son, Jesus Christ are identified with the latter in His death and resurrection.
This identification with Jesus Christ provides the justified sinner, i.e. the Christian, the child of God the guarantee of a resurrection body regardless of whether or not they are alive when the rapture takes place.
Therefore, this first class conditional statement in 1 Thessalonians 4:14 is persuading the Thessalonians that the Christian can infer that the dead in Christ will rise from the dead at the rapture because the dead in Christ believed that Jesus died and rose again.
Their faith in Jesus appropriated the Lord’s promise of a resurrection body.
Also, it resulted in the Spirit identifying them with Jesus in His death and resurrection.
Consequently, all Christians are guaranteed a resurrection body, regardless of whether or not they are alive when the rapture takes place.
The apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:14 is making clear that the problem he is addressing about the dead in Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 is not about the resurrection itself but rather the relationship of dead Christians to the rapture or resurrection of the church.
In other words, verse 14 indicates that the problem Paul was addressing was the fear that the dead in Christ did not participate in the rapture or resurrection of the church.
This is indicated by the fact that Paul asserts in this verse the through the personal agency of Jesus, God the Father will certainly bring with Jesus the dead in Christ.
He is emphasizing that the dead in Christ are already with Jesus.
This is confirmed by Paul’s teaching in 2 Corinthians 5:6 which asserts that when the Christian dies physically, they are absent from the body and face to face with the Lord.
There is an interpretative problem we need to address with the prepositional phrases dia tou Iēsou (διὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ) and syn autō (σὺν αὐτῷ).
The latter means “with him” and could refer to either the Father or Jesus.
However, Iēsou (Ἰησοῦ), “Jesus” and not theos (θεὸς), “God” is clearly the nearest antecedent of autos (αὐτῷ), “him.”
The former is more difficult to resolve.
Some believe dia tou Iēsou (διὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ) is modifying tous koimēthentas (τοὺς κοιμηθέντας), “those who have fallen asleep.”
However, as G.L. Green asserts, to have this interpretation “creates a phrase unique in Paul, who normally referred to the dead ‘in’ Christ (cf. v. 16), not ‘through’ Christ.”
However, I interpret the prepositional phrase dia tou Iēsou (διὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ) as modifying the verb anestē (ἀνέστη), “will certainly bring” indicating that Jesus is the personal agency the Father employs to bring about the resurrection of both dead and living Christians.
Some like Bruce argue that such an interpretation makes the verb “overweighted,” supporting two prepositional phrases whose meaning would then be essentially the same.
However, as Green notes “the phrases are not redundant if ‘through Jesus’ is a statement of agency and ‘with him’ (i.e., Jesus) is a statement of association.
Interestingly, in this first class conditional statement in 1 Thessalonians 4:14, notice that Paul uses the proper name Iesous, “Jesus” alone without kurios, “Lord” or Christos, “Christ” because he wants to emphasize with the Thessalonians that the human body of the Son of God died physically and was raised from the dead.
The implication is that the Son can’t die physically since He is God and thus spirit.
Therefore, by using Iesous, “Jesus” by itself Paul is emphasizing that the Son of God died and rose again from the dead by means of His body.
Thus, the Son of God as a human being delivered the Thessalonians from the wrath of God, condemnation from the Law, spiritual and physical death, personal sins, the sin nature, Satan and his cosmic system by means of death and resurrection.
 Best, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 189.
 Martin, D. M. (1995). 1, 2 Thessalonians (Vol. 33, pp. 146–147). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
 Bruce, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 97.
 Martin, D. M. (1995). 1, 2 Thessalonians (Vol. 33, p. 146). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.