Soul Sleep and the Rapture

I am visiting my 88 and 89 year old parents in Seattle.  They are amazing Christians!  However, even a lifetime of study does not give you all the understanding we need.  We are specifically stuck on one verse:

1 Thes.  4:16,    “When the Lord returns, the dead in Christ shall rise first.”
We are told at every funeral that when a Christian dies, he is immediately in Heaven.  This verse in Thesalonians, however, seems to contradict that.  It seems to indicate that after the Christian dies, the soul waits for the Rapture to return to Heaven.
Can you please clarify this verse, and what happens to a Christian at death?
God Bless,


This question is fairly common and understandable. It seems on the surface that the verse you quoted supports what is called “soul sleep” and there are many that believe just that. That the soul remains with the body until the rapture.

But we should be careful not to base our doctrine on a single verse of scripture. We need the whole counsel of God.

Read 2 Corinthians 5:6-8. 6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

Believe it or not, the bible does not spend many words on the life to come. The emphasis is always on the life we live here. That is what we should concern ourselves, a life well lived unto the Lord.

In Christ,
Pastor Paul Holt

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4 Responses to Soul Sleep and the Rapture

  1. Laura

    April 10, 2012 at 4:34 pm


    • Andriy

      May 11, 2012 at 8:18 am

      The MSM — of which this Kansas City newspaper is an exmplae — are making fun of the Christian splinter church — who sets an exact date (May 21) of when the world is supposed to end. The left-wing MSM (e.g., CBC News and CTV News) are going into hysterics laughing about this poor church and the misguided pastor.But the intelligent Christian thinkers I talk to stress that it is impossible to set an exact date. In fact, there are several “books” that were intended to be included in the Christian Bible — but were excluded simply because they had forecast end-of-the-world years (somewhere between 200AD and 600AD) which had already passed, by the time the final set of books were decided upon.As for me, up until age 56 I was the typical secular writer. But I came to the conclusion that there is going to be a nuclear exchange in the Middle East, triggered by Iran having nuclear weapons and Israel retaliating. Note that Iran will trigger it with atomic bombs, and Israel will retaliate with hydrogen weapons, most likely with MIRV-tipped missles.Most scholars view the Flood tale as a local flood in in the Middle East. The Bible (and I do not have the reference handy) states that the next world-ending event will be “the fire next time”. The fire next time will be a regional event, much like the Flood of about 10,000 BC.So as for me, I converted to Christianity five years ago (I attend a Baptist church each Sunday and contribute to three different ministries) solely because of the “fire” prediction. It agrees fully with competent observers Iran’s buildup — and of Israel’s enemies.I converted because, alone, I cannot psychologically handle an thermal nuclear exchange in the Middle East. Maybe some of the facile commentators on this site can. When the nuclear exchange takes place, hundreds of thousands of people will die, and the world economy will be shattered.The anti-Christian MSM reporting is so facile, as stupid and as mindless as the liberal-left coverage of Mahmoud Ahmadinedad and his fascistic government. Were are living as people did in 1905, with an unheard-of World War I in the immediate future. I prefer to be the Christian writer, brooding about our unsavory future. It beats joining the MSM here.

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  3. Eva

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