Commentary on "The Dead in Christ (1 Thess. 4:1318)"
Day 3: Monday, August 20, 2012 - Hopeless Grief (1 Thess. 4:13)
Today, we find the author teaching that the lack of hope among the Thessalonians was probably largely (a major factor) because Paul was only with them a short time. Along with that was the pagan background of the church. The author states that though the mystery religions (various pagan beliefs) offered a picture of the afterlife, there was no hope of life after death.
He goes on to say that Paul writes so that the church might not grieve as those without hope. And he intends that the truth about the nature of the Second Coming will give them glorious reasons to comfort each other in times of loss.
We would not disagree that Paul’s teaching in this passage (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) is given to edify and encourage; to give comfort to believers.
However, the lack of hope surrounding death would have had to do with lack of assurance regarding their eternal position in Christ. Interestingly, Adventist doctrine teaches something strikingly similar to what the Pagan mystery religions taught: that we cannot really know what happens to a person who has died. The hope (wishful thinking) of Adventist doctrine is that when Christ returns, the Adventist will have lived a faithful enough life to go to heaven with Him. This is evidenced by many things including the question asked in the Sabbath School lesson at the end of Sunday’s teaching.
Paul teaches quite the opposite, though. The hope (reality of who we are in Christ) is anchored in Jesus. HIS life, death, burial and resurrection. Because of Christ, we who believe are already seated in the heavenly places with Him. (Ephesians 2:6)
Our assurance is not based on what we do, but what Christ has done for us.
Copyright 2012 BibleStudiesForAdventists.com. All rights reserved. Revised August 16, 2012. This website is published by Life Assurance Ministries, Camp Verde, Arizona, USA, the publisher of Proclamation! Magazine. Contact email: BibleStudiesForAdventists@gmail.com.
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