Pamphlet #5140 KC1Thes6-1
Where are our Christian friends and relatives who have been released from the bondage of the flesh body? For that matter, where are even the non-Christians who have died?
Is everybody just six feet under?
Have they all ceased to exist or are they still conscious somewhere?
By knowing the answers to these questions directly from the Word of the God a Christian can give great comfort to someone who has recently lost a loved one.
Therefore these next six verses (4:13-18) in 1 Thessalonians are of paramount importance!
We know from Paul's endearing letters to the Thessalonians that they were a very zealous and loving bunch of people, but we also learned in 1 Thes. 3:9-10 that there was something lacking [deficient] in their faith which Paul wanted to correct [perfect], so that they would "know perfectly well".
Let's review those verses.
1 Thes. 3:9
For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God;
 Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?
It was knowledge which is why Paul will preface his next subject of "where the dead are" in verse 13 of chapter 4 with "I would not have you to be ignorant [unknowledgeable], brethren, concerning those who have died".
Here it is:
1 Thes. 4:13
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep...
They wondered what would become of them.
Paul will explain this to them (us) and ease their (our) minds, i.e. comfort them (us).
Furthermore, Paul is going to not only explain where the dead currently are but also how we will ALL, that is all our Christian friends and relatives who have died and gone before us, and all of us who will be alive in the flesh when Christ returns, gather back to Christ in our spiritual bodies at the last Trump.
But before Paul gives that explanation let us seek some background concerning death and bodies from the Written Word.
First of all, when a person dies we already know his (or her) body returns to the elements of the earth from which it was composed, i.e. it de-composes, whether by slow combustion (Which is what organic decomposition is.
Just stick your hand into the midst of a compost pile sometime and feel the heat.) or by quick combustion (Which is what cremation is.) Either way your flesh body is consumed by fire!
But the person, i.e. the soul, who dwelt temporarily in that body departs from it and goes home to his Father who sent him here to "walk under the sun" in the first place.
Here is the scriptural documentation:
Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
In other words they mean exactly the same thing as when we say a person "Kicked the Bucket"!
Of course that is an English figure of speech meaning "he died" but if it were translated into let's say Chinese, a Chinaman would scratch his head and wonder why a person would "Boot a Pail" like that.
Personally, I like the expression "whenever the silver cord is loosed" to describe death because I can just envision our tender loving Father tying one of his children into the embryo with a precious little itty bitty silver cord which He then ties in a bow as He kisses His child goodbye for his journey.
At the time of death those strands of the silver bow are pulled and the child is released to return home.
 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
However, the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man shows us that we do not all go to the same place in heaven because there is a gulf, a "clean cut" division, between those who "made it" and those who didn't!
You see, NO ONE has died the second death yet, which is the death of the soul in the lake of fire!
That doesn't happen until after the Millennium, until after the Great White Throne judgment, until all the host of heaven, i.e. all of His children, have died the first death, i.e. been born of water and died (or instantly changed when Christ returns, which is somewhat analogous to dying in your sleep)!
That is correct!
God has appointed ALL of His children to pass through the womb of woman before judgment.
So the first death, the death of the flesh, applies to all.
The second death will apply only to those who have not received Christ by the time of the Great White Throne judgment.
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
Even the son of perdition, Satan himself, who has already been sentenced to die in the "lake of fire" is alive and in heaven as documented by Rev. 12:7-9.
He will soon be cast to this earth at the sound of the 6th Trump and claim to be the Messiah, but when Christ returns he will be bound in the pit for the thousand years (Rev. 20:2).
You see, even Satan isn't cast into the lake of fire and destroyed until after the Millennium.
Your documentation is found in Rev. 20:10.
So NO ONE is now frying in Dante's Inferno!
The traditions of man fail once again when tested by the true Word of God.
Jesus Christ Himself said in Matthew 22:32 that He is not the God of the dead but God of the living, like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who are alive and well in heaven right now.
The apostle John saw the Christian martyrs and the elders, etc., in heaven when he was taken there in the spirit.
Here are Christ's words:
I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
They were alive, not dead.
Then too, 1 Pet. 3:19 documents
that during the three days and
following the crucifixion, now having paid the price, Jesus went to those
souls "in prison" and preached unto them.
All souls, even Satan, are alive at this time.
To study the Bible is the noblest of all pursuits;
to understand it, the highest of all goals.
We pray that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you accomplish both.
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