Commentary on "The Dead in Christ (1 Thess. 4:1318)"
Day 7: Friday, August 24, 2012 - Further Study
The summary of this Sabbath School lesson is this:
“In this week’s passage, Paul corrects a number of misunderstandings about the state of the dead and the events surrounding the second coming of Jesus. When Jesus returns, the dead in Christ rise first, then all believers ascend together to meet Jesus in the air. Believers can take great comfort in knowing that the separation from believing loved ones is only temporary.”
A reminder of Adventist doctrine of the state of the dead is this: body+spirit=living soul. In this formula, the body is not a living soul without the spirit and vice versa: the spirit is not a living soul without the body.
This belief is not found in the Bible. Instead, the “true state of the dead” as Adventist doctrine teaches, is from Ellen White, the Adventist prophet.
The Bible clearly teaches a separate body and soul, even spirit, heart and mind. Though there is mystery surrounding this, we nevertheless accept what the Bible says, just as we accept the reality of God as one who is aso the Trinity. We cannot comprehend it, but we can apprehend this relational truth from Scripture.
The Adventist belief causes some problems with interpretation, and an alternate, less direct route of interpretation is required to uphold the stated belief in the authority of Scripture, as well as the contradictory Adventist doctrine.
The New Testament teaches that not only do we have a separate spirit/soul, but those who have died are consciously with Christ.
“For me, living is Christ and dying is gain. Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. I am pressured by both. I have the desire to depart and be with Christ—which is far better— but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you.” Philippians 1:21-24
Question: What is Paul’s desire in verse 23? The desire to depart and be with Christ. He also says that dying is GAIN.
The Good News is that because Jesus lived a perfect life, died in our place, and conquered death, we too can be assured of our eternal position in Christ. That assurance can start today.
“I assure you: Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life.” John 5:24
Copyright 2012 BibleStudiesForAdventists.com. All rights reserved. Revised August 21, 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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