“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope“
From verse 13 to the end of the chapter, Paul talks about the rapture of the church to meet the Lord in the air. This is the blessed hope of the believer.
The word “but” both introduces a new subject but also connects to the previous paragraph. The restlessness of disorderly believers (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12) was, in part, caused by an incomplete understanding of the Rapture of the church. They rightly understood that the coming of Christ was imminent, that is, no sign needed fulfillment before He came again. However, they had not considered the possibility that some of their friends would die before it occurred. They, therefore, plunged into deep grief. Doubts filled their minds as to the status of these prematurely deceased believers.
I do not want you to be ignorant,
This phrase, expressing that Paul does not want them to be ignorant is a formula customarily used to discuss difficult problems and correct false ideas (Romans 1:13; 11:25; 1 Corinthians 10:1; 12:1). Usually, whenever the Bible warns us that we are ignorant about something, it is warranted. The topic of Christians dying is so important to the Thessalonians that it requires an explanation from the apostle Paul.
The only way we can know about the afterlife is through the revelation found in the Bible. If we have adequate knowledge of what the Bible teaches about this subject, then it will dispel excessive grief in our souls. We can only resolve our ignorance by reading the Bible. We will rid ourselves of excessive grief by eliminating our ignorance about the future.
The Thessalonians were clearly looking for the Lord’s return at the rapture, but they did not know the state of their dead loved ones until that point. They thought that those who died would miss the Rapture.
The word “brethren” occurs in verses one, six and nine of this chapter. Paul appeals to the relationship the Thessalonians have with Paul in Christ. The truth that Paul is about to reveal is strictly for those who know Christ.
Knowing biblical truth is the foundation of stability, especially when it comes to eternal things.
The Rapture of the church is an important doctrine, because it affects our future and present hope.
It is important that non-Christians know about the first coming of Christ and its purpose. It is also important for Christians to know about the Rapture and second coming of Christ. Jesus’ imminent return to planet earth to translate believers to heaven is a glorious truth that comforts Christians.