(From the sermon entitled, “Ang mga Natutulog na Dadalhin ng Dios na Kasama Niya sa Kaniyang Muling Pagparito,” for October 30, 2014 service)
The Bible defines the word “sleep” in many ways. The typical sleep that we know is the ordinary sleep, which we do everyday at night. However, the Bible says “death” is also a form of sleep. All dead people are only sleeping in the eyes of God (Psalms 13:3), the Bible calls it “the sleep of death.”
Since we shall all die at an appointed time (Hebrews 9:27), therefore we shall all experience the sleep of death. Apostle Paul explains, “For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him” (1 Thessalonians 4:14). It is very clear here that when the Lord Jesus comes again, He will bring those who are asleep (dead). They will be resurrected (awaken from sleep).
Remember the story of Jesus’s dead friend Lazarus? He was awakened from his sleep. After three days, Jesus rose again from the dead. These events are a preview of what will take place when Jesus comes again. Jesus said once, “a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” (John 5:25) It is indeed an amazing sight to see and it will happen when Christ came. The dead will come back to life when they hear the voice of the almighty God.
However, are all dead will come back when Christ comes again?
Not all dead people will come back to life when Christ comes. Only those who died serving God, those who remained faithful until death will be resurrected. The Bible says, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16)
The Bible also tells us that Christ will take those who will still be alive when he comes. They will be caught up to meet the Lord up in the air, along with the risen faithful and be with Christ forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
Blessed are those who will be resurrected from the dead when Christ comes. The resurrected and those who be left alive at that time will be taken by Christ to fulfill His promise in John 14:2-3,” would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Aside from those who are literally sleeping (dead), there are those who are dead in the sight of God because of their sins – “one who lives for pleasure is dead even a while she lives.” (1 Timothy 5:6) They will surely not enter the kingdom of heaven including those who did not attain victory in serving the Lord.
Servants who are lazy and wicked – Matthew 25:26, will surely not receive the promised eternal life. Servants who did not yield fruit but instead lived according to the wickedness of this world will all be damned.
There are two things that we need to understand in this topic: (1) to warn us of the coming destruction and punishment if we will not be triumphant (2) to give us inspiration of the prize of salvation, which is the eternal life.
Remember Christ’s advise on us. We need to be watchful and be prepared for His coming. Be cautious of not to fall asleep especially when He comes (Mark 13:35-37). The Bible says, “Wake up!” and be raised and do the things that He expects us to do when He comes. Apostle Paul says, “The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.” (Romans 13:12-13)