Theme: Waiting in faithfulness
Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11
Notes and questions:
B1 Objectives (From the D6 Fusion Sunday School Lesson book)
C1 Know: Christ will return to gather His saints. In that day, the wrath of the Lord will be unleashed upon the earth. Christians should be ready for His return.
C2 Think: Let consciousness of the Lord’s return guide my daily living.
C3 Do: Anticipate and be ready for Christ’s return, and encourage each other with that hope.
B2 First questions:
C1 Are you anticipating the return of the Lord Jesus? Why?
C2 Christians have been waiting for nearly 2,000 years. Why should we still wait?
C3 If we knew for sure, that He is coming tomorrow, would we change anything about our life?
C4 When our loved ones, who are believers, die, is there any hope to see them again? Why?
B3 After death--What happens? Conscious or not conscious?
C1 Not conscious (soul sleep). Technically, it is called Christian mortalism, or simply mortalism. Seventh Day Adventist and Jehovah Witness are among those that believe this. The Seventh Day Adventist believes that the believer with be raised (bodily) from death and live forever, while, the unbeliever’s body and soul are destroyed forever, that is, annihilated. The main arguments for this is
D1 Seventh Day Adventist--Their view: The unconscious nothingness of death separates us from the God of life, yet Jesus’ defeat of death means the saved can look forward to resurrection and living forever. The wages of sin is death. But God, who alone is immortal, will grant eternal life to His redeemed. Until that day death is an unconscious state for all people. When Christ, who is our life, appears, the resurrected righteous and the living righteous will be glorified and caught up to meet their Lord. The second resurrection, the resurrection of the unrighteous, will take place a thousand years later. (Job 19:25-27; Ps. 146:3, 4; Eccl. 9:5, 6, 10; Dan. 12:2, 13; Isa. 25:8; John 5:28, 29; 11:11-14; Rom. 6:23; 6:16; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; Col. 3:4; 1 Thess. 4:13-17; 1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 20:1-10.)
D2 A reason given is “The words most commonly translated as “spirit” in the Scriptures of both Old (Hebrew: ruach) and New (Greek: pneuma) Testament are also the words for “wind” and “breath.” When someone dies, the “spirit” (breath, life-force) returns to God who gave it (Psalm 104:29-30; Acts 7:59).”
D3 There is a number of answers. I realize they have answers to what is below, but the problem is they do not take the Bible in its plain, normal sense, in grammatico-historical (grammatical-historical) understanding, context, and cross references.
E1 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’ ? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” (Matthew 22:32, NKJV). No soul sleep, only consciousness and life.
E2 Then the Lamb broke open the fifth seal. I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been killed because they had proclaimed God's word and had been faithful in their witnessing. They shouted in a loud voice, “Almighty Lord, holy and true! How long will it be until you judge the people on earth and punish them for killing us?” Each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to rest a little while longer, until the complete number of other servants and believers were killed, as they had been. (Revelation 6:9-11, GNB92). It seems a little hard for someone to be shouting, when they are unconscious.
E3 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4, NKJV)
E4 The sun sets and rises, a person sleeps in death are examples of phenomenological language. This means the language of appearances. It appears, looks like, the sun sets and rises and the dead person sleeps.
E5 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:59-60, NKJV). If humans possess no immaterial spirit, what is the point of Jesus receiving (welcoming) Stephen’s spirit? It would be meaningless.
E6 And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”– (Mark 9:4-5, NKJV). Moses and Elijah are dead, they are not raised, so how can this be if not their conscious spirit?
E7 Having said these things He says to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going in order to awaken him.” His disciples said to Him, “Lord, if he is sleeping he will get well.” But Jesus had spoken of his death, while they thought He was talking about natural sleep. (John 11:11-13 (WPNT). Sleep is just a term for death depending on the content.
E8 For further study see Don Stewart--Are People Unconscious at Death? (Soul Sleep)
C2 Conscious--We believe that a human has material and nonmaterial substance, so even if the material turns to compost, the nonmaterial lives. The material is the body, the vessel, the container, for the nonmaterial.
B4 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18,
C1 Who has fallen asleep in this passage?
C2 Give one reason of the importance of the resurrection?
C3 What is the worry of the living believers in Thessaloniki?
C4 What is the importance of believing, that is, faith?
C5 1 Thessalonians 4:14 has two interpretations of where the souls are.
D1 The first is they are not with Jesus in heaven, and the second is the souls are with Jesus. One translates it:
E1 We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will take back with Jesus those who have died believing in him. (1 Thessalonians 4:14, GNB92).
E2 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 4:14, NKJV)
D2 Consider: So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:6-8, NKJV). The word with is pros, that is, near, with, close to, etc.
C6 What is meant by the phrase by the word of the Lord? (Either Paul received this by revelation, or it refers to his authority as an apostle).
C7 Note the idea of Imminence. Imminence is something to happen soon or at any time. The Rapture can happen at any time. For the Second Coming seen by all, various events have to happen before He returns. See here, here, and here for more information. Some other verses on imminence:
D1 You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. (James 5:8, NASB).
D2 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. (Philippians 4:5, NKJV)
D3 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20, NKJV)
C8 Who descends?
C9 Who is the archangel? (It is not mentioned. The only archangel mentioned in the Bible is Michael (Jude 1:9, Daniel 10:13, Revelation 12:7). Archangel is some type of high ranking angel who has more authority and power than others).
C10 Who goes first to be with the Lord Jesus?
C11 The word caught up is the Greek word, ἁρπάζω harpazo. It means to jerk up or snatch.
C12 Where do we meet the Lord?
C13 How do these words comfort?
B5 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11,
C1 Is there any warning or sign of this coming?
C2 How would you explain thief in the night?
C3 The term The Day of the Lord refers to special days that God intervenes in earthly affairs usually judgment. For the believer, it will be a day of joy. For the unbeliever, it will be a day of terror. Here it refers to the beginning of the end time events--the rapture, the tribulation, the Millennium, and the final judgment.
C4 Who are the one’s preaching a message of peace and safety? (These are false prophets as in "For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is greedy for gain, And from the prophet even to the priest Everyone deals [fn] falsely. "They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, 'Peace, peace,' But there is no peace. (Jeremiah 6:13-14, NASB).
C5 Why shouldn’t that day surprise believers?
C6 What kingdom are those of the light and day? What kingdom are those of the night and darkness?
C7 What do the words watch and sober mean? The word for watch is γρηγορεύω gregoreuo and means to be vigilant and alert. The word for sober is νήφω nepho and it means to not be drunk or having judgment, awareness, clouded.
C8 In 1 Thessalonians 5:7, what is to be our behavior? (Sober). What are we to put on? (A breastplate of faith and love, and a helmet of the hope of salvation).
C9 In 1 Thessalonians 5:8-9, who is appointed to wrath, and who is to obtain salvation? Another translation has But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation. (1 Thessalonians 5:8, NLT).
C10 Our salvation comes through whom? Can we obtain our salvation of ourselves?
C11 Who is going to live together with Him?
C12 How can we help and encourage one another?
B6 Did Paul know the date of the coming of Jesus Christ?
B7 Is the return of Jesus Christ an important doctrine to believe and teach?
B8 How are we to live knowing this doctrine?
B9 Next week:
C1 Stay on Track
C2 Theme: Practical Christian Living
C3 Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28