Scripture Queries and Answers: Sleep in Jesus, Dead in Christ

1 Thessalonians 4:14‑16  •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 5
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Q. 1 Thess. 4:14, 1614For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (1 Thessalonians 4:14)
16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (1 Thessalonians 4:16)
. — What is the force of the expressions, and what the distinction, of “sleep in Jesus,” and “dead in Christ;” especially with reference to the connection of “Jesus” with “sleep,” and of “Christ” with “dead?” W.
A. It is to be borne in mind that Jesus is the personal name of our Lord. It is never used as the expression of a condition, like Christ. The appearance of this in verse 14 is not justified by an appeal to the language of the Holy Ghost. The real force is “those put to sleep” (or “that have slept") “by Jesus.” Such is His dealing in their case. The death of His own is sleeping by His hand, not as the wages of sin, or Satan's power. It is by that very person who Himself died and rose. Whereas “dead in Christ” is a condition. The saints are dead, not merely like natural men, but dead in Christ. “In Jesus” could not, I think, be thus used. Eph. 4:2121If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: (Ephesians 4:21) is no exception; for it means “in the person of Jesus,” and not a condition. Hence it is unscriptural to say “yours in Jesus,” or “chosen in Jesus;” it should be “in Christ,” in Christ Jesus,” “in the Lord,” &c.