by Curtis Hutson
This blessed event is described in 1 Thessalonians 4. Verse 14 says, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.” The word if in this verse is used in the same way we use the word since. Paul is not questioning the resurrection of Christ. He makes that clear in 1 Corinthians 15. What he is saying is “For [since] we believe that Jesus died and rose again . . . . ”
All of us have used the Word if in the same way. For example, it is raining some morning, and we say to the children, “If it’s raining, be sure you take your raincoat.” We are not questioning the fact that it is raining. What we really mean to say is, “Since it’s raining.” And we use the word if in the same way we use the word since.
Paul is doing the same thing in this passage, “For [since] we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so also them which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” When Jesus Christ comes for His own, He is going to bring back all those that sleep in Christ—that is, all the Christians who have died and gone on before.
My beloved predecessor Dr. John R. Rice went to be with the Lord December 29, 1980. And his dear wife and our friend Mrs. John R. Rice went to be with the Lord November 10, 1989. When Jesus Christ returns, He will bring Dr. and Mrs. Rice back with Him. “ . . . even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.”
My dear younger brother Jimmy lost the only two children he had in an automobile accident. They were beautiful children, greatly talented. It was a few days before Christmas, 1981. Rick was a teenager, and Kaloni was a pre-teenager. They had run an errand for their mother, going to the store. But on the way a car crossed the center line and ran head-on into Rick and Kaloni and killed them both. Our hearts were deeply grieved. They were the only children Jimmy and Freddie had. I preached the funeral and did my best to comfort my dear brother and sister-in-law, as well as other relatives. And we buried Rick and Kaloni in a cemetery in Georgia.
Someday the Lord is coming again. That is the clear, plain promise of the Bible. And when He comes the Bible promises: “ . . . them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” When Christ comes He is going to bring back Rick and Kaloni with Him. Both had trusted Christ as Saviour. They are in Christ, and they will be among “them also which sleep in Jesus.” …
No wonder this appearing of our Lord is called in Titus 2:13 “that blessed hope . . . . ” It is a blessed hope that we will see all of our dear friends and relatives who have gone on to be with Christ.
How many is the Lord going to bring with Him? Let the Bible speak for itself. Let the Lord Himself tell us: “ . . . even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” How many is He going to bring with Him? Everyone who sleeps in Jesus. Every believer that has died and gone on to Heaven the Lord will bring with Him. What a reunion that will be! We will be united with all the saints of all the ages forever, never again to be separated; for the Scriptures promise in Verse 17, “ . . . and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
SOURCE: THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH, by Dr. Curtis Hutson, pages 8-9; Copyright 1990 by Sword of the Lord Publishers, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; ISBN 0-87398-721-7.
1st Corinthians 15:51-53, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”
by Curtis Hutson