Does Jesus bring with Him the believers who have died when He comes?

Co-Host: We have a caller on hold right now from Huntsville, Alabama. Hello Derek - are you there?

Caller: Yes. How you doing?

Pastor Doug: Hi Derek - I understand you're a first-time caller?

Caller: Yes sir.

Pastor Doug: Well we're glad to have you with us.

Caller: It's a pleasure. I enjoy your program. I have a question concerning are the dead really dead. I guess - first coming from the perspective that I believe there's a difference between the soul and the spirit and that the body and the spirit - I think the teaching is that they come together to form the soul. But I believe that there's a separation between all three that man being created in the image of God, is also created in a trinity, coming from Hebrews the 4th chapter the 12th verse where it talks about the Word of God being able to distinguish between the soul and the spirit. And also 1st Thessalonians 5 and 23 where it talks about Paul prayed that man be sanctified holy - his whole spirit, soul and body. And I believe the spirit returns to God as Ecclesiastes said - and the body to the dust, but something has to happen to the soul and I look in Revelation the 6th chapter, the 9th through the 11th verses and also the 7th chapter, the 13th through the 15th verses, and I see souls there. The other question, and the main thing is um...

Pastor Doug: Now, you've said a lot of things. Do you want me to respond?

Caller: Yes. I guess this is where I wanted the response to: Hebrews the 4th chapter um - I mean 1st Thessalonians the 4th chapter the 14th through the 17th verse. The 14th verse talks about um, well if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. If they're not with God, then how is He bringing them? I believe that the body is going to rise out of the grave but is the soul coming back to meet the body.

Pastor Doug: All right. Let me explain that to you and we invite our listeners that are at home - we always say at home because if you're driving in your vehicle, we don't want you to wreck - 1 Thessalonians 4:13, we'll start there: 'But I do not want you to be ignorant brethren concerning those who have fallen asleep' and he's clearly speaking about death here 'lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus'.

Now if we stop right there, it might seem like the Lord is coming back with those who have died and they'll be with Him and He's bringing them from Heaven or somewhere. But keep reading. 'For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who are asleep'. In other words, we are not resurrected first, they are. Italics and bold print supplied.

Notice - now he emphasizes the sequence. 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 'For the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout, with the Voice of the Archangel and with the Trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first'. Of course if you go to Revelation 20, it talks about the dead in Christ rising first there. 'Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection'. Back to verse 17, 'then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord'. Italics and bold print supplied.

Now let's talk through what we just read here. He says, when we get there, they're with Him. They're not with Him because they've been with him for 6,000 years. They're with Him because they were raised first. That's all it's saying in verse 14.

Caller: But if you notice in verse 14, okay, if that was I guess the case, then there would be no need for them to say 'bring with Him'. The word 'bring' there denotes that they're coming from somewhere and they're coming from somewhere He was. It denotes that they were with Him um, and like I said, I guess, recognizing that yes the dead will rise first and so on and so forth, I look at it as the bodies will rise first but um...

Pastor Doug: Let me interrupt you for just a second here okay?

Caller: Okay. All right.

Pastor Doug: Jesus said I go to prepare a place for you, John 14, and if I go, I will come again and receive you unto Myself that where I am, you may be also. In other words, He's going to take them back to the Mansions right? So when it says here in verse 14 'God will bring with Him', He's going to bring those who were resurrected back to those Mansions. He's not saying that He has brought them from the Mansions because He tells us in John 14 He brings them to the Mansions. When does He do that? After they are resurrected.

Caller: Okay.

Pastor Doug: So you know what I would recommend Derek? You will get a fantastic blessing from this study guide because it answers many of these questions that you've brought up and many more. I remember the first time I learned these things it blew me away because I was not raised with this understanding. I was raised to believe that as soon as you die, you're conscious. In a sense, you are. Let me see if I can explain. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:8, we are confidant well, pleased rather, to be absent from the body and be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim whether present or absent to be well pleasing to Him. And you've heard the expression 'to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord'. That's a little distortion from the way it actually reads in the Bible but let's use that for a second.

Suppose that you and I are in a saved condition and we're out on the street talking one day, we're both saved, and suddenly we're hit by a meteor, we die okay? The next conscious thought that we have is being resurrected when the Lord blows the Trumpet and calls us from our dusty graves with our glorified, immortal bodies. For us, it's a moment, the twinkling of an eye the next thing we're aware of - because there's no awareness of time.

Caller: Okay.

Pastor Doug: And so for me to die saved, my next thought is to be present with the Lord. Otherwise, how could you explain the Scriptures where it says in Acts chapter 2, King David after a thousand years in the grave is not yet ascended to Heaven? And that's what Peter said. Now we know David is saved. As far as we are concerned he's not there yet, but as far as David is concerned the next thing he's aware of is the Resurrection. So it's instant for him.

That's where some of the confusion has come in from. We think now what are my loved ones experiencing? Well as far as we're concerned, we live in time. They're not confined to time any more. They're not there yet looking down on us. It says in Job, when a man dies his sons come to honor and he's not aware of it - and that's Job 14:21. They're brought low and he does not perceive it. So a person who dies is not aware of what his descendents on earth are doing. The Bible is very clear. That's why it tells us that it's forbidden for Christians to try to communicate with the dead! You realize in the Old Testament that was punishable by death.

Caller: Right I realize that.

Pastor Doug: Because they'd be communicating maybe with the wrong kind of spirits.

Caller: Right.

Pastor Doug: Please read the lesson. I think you're going to find out there's some fantastic, exciting news, very Biblical and you'll be encouraged by it. And it's free. Free phone call!

Co-Host: Here's the number Derek. It's 800-835-6747. If you call that number and tell them you'd like a copy of Are The Dead Really Dead?

Pastor Doug: And if it doesn't answer your question, we'll give you double your money back. Hey thanks a lot Derek. You've got a good spirit.

Caller: Thank you.

Co-Host: Thanks for the call. Good night Derek.