Presenting a Biblical response by concerned former Seventh-day Adventists to the Sabbath School Bible Study Guide.

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Commentary on "The Dead in Christ (1 Thess. 4:13–18)"



Day 4: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - Dying and Rising (1 Thess. 4:14)



The author addresses the idea that “falling asleep” is a common metaphor for death in the New Testament. He teaches that when Paul says in 1 Thessalonians, Jesus will bring back with Him those who have fallen asleep, He doesn’t really mean that. Instead, Paul means Jesus will bring them back from the grave.



This is a concerning concept. In many passages, the New Testament clearly teaches that Jesus has risen from the grave. Indeed, in 1 Cor. 15, we find that if Jesus hasn’t risen from the dead, then we are living in deep denial of reality, and have no hope.

We also find the term “in Christ” in many places in the New Testament. It is a description of where believers in Christ currently are positioned. Believers who are both dead and alive are in Christ.

So, if believers who are dead are in Christ, and yet Paul teaches that the believers will rise from the grave, where does that say Christ is?

The writers of the New Testament clearly taught good news; one that is based in the reality of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father. And so are believers; both dead and alive.

The problem isn’t what the Bible is saying, the problem is what Adventist doctrine teaches regarding the body and spirit. It doesn’t allow for a separation of body and spirit. Therefore, it makes this passage difficult to understand and even pushes Adventist doctrine to embrace a position that even they would deny is true (that Christ is still in the grave).



  1. The only way to read this passage to say that believers are still in the grave is to say that Christ is still in the grave.
  2. This belief denies what even Adventists would say is true: that Jesus has indeed risen from the grave.




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