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. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-15)
Sleeping In Jesus
The human body is a marvelous testimony to the creative power of the Heavenly Father who ordained all of the intricacies of anatomy to work in tandem with one another producing the greatest results to sustain life. From the moment of conception, the body begins to organize and produce all of the biological thumbprints required to produce a living being that will talk, remember, create, exercise and show forth the glory of its Maker. The body requires sustenance to maintain a certain level of expectancy for life and without exception, every human form cannot survive without food; regardless of economic, social, cultural and generational time stamp. Without food the body will die. Another requirement of the body is sleep. It is possible to go for long periods of time without sleep but God has placed within the human structure the need to sleep whether the person wants to sleep or not. The body will deteriorate without a proper diet of physical slumber. All men must sleep at some time. Two requirements of the body are nourishment and sleep. These two essential elements of human survival have been shared by all of humanity since Adam and Eve. There is another part of the human story that all men share and it is a different kind of sleep. The joy of physical sleep is after a grueling day of activity the body needs to stop and rest for a period to time to be renewed. There is a certain expectation after a sleep of waking to an invigorated spirit of greater things in the new day. As all men are created in the image of God, the spiritual man inhabits a physical body that is marked to die but life does not end in death. Adam and Eve were cast from the Garden of Eden lest they take of the fruit of the tree of life and live forever. God created Adam and Eve as mortal beings that would be sustained by the nourishment of the life-giving tree. Denying the tree as a consequence of sin brought death to all men and all men die. The Lord calls death sleep and as all men require sleep so all men face the reality of death.
It is possible to go for a period of time without sleep but eventually the body must stop and rest. Living for many years is possible for those who can live into their centennial years but death still comes. Death is sleep and all men must sleep in the bosom of death regardless of where they find themselves in the world. The very rich die along with the very poor as do powerful leaders of great nations will all perish like the lowest citizen of the kingdom will die. Death comes to all and the question is not the reality of death but what they find on the other side of their eternal sleep. There is a caveat that must be realized about death that it will not be a pleasant sleep for most people. The Holy Spirit speaks of death as sleep but only in the context of those who die in the peace of God. Sleep is viewed as a beautiful time of rest with joy coming from the experience. Sleeping in Jesus is when the child of God has removed the garments of the flesh and imbibed in the nature of the Divine as eternal creatures awakened to a new day of glory, praise and eternal life. They awaken in the arms of angels who carry them to the bosom of Abraham where the find rest, peace and solace. Sleeping in Jesus is given to those who are in Christ in the fellowship of the covenant of His blood through the grace of the Father. To die in Christ is to sleep in Jesus. There is a joy in death for those who are in the body of Christ because they know that while death can have an uncertain nature to its character the result of death is eternal life. Fear is gone for those who peer into the darkness of death as nothing more than a slight rest before glory. The hope of God fills the heart with the courage of the eternal so that when the wearied toil of life is over a sweet rest remains for those who sleep in Jesus. Salvation comes from the blessed sleep promised by the Lord.
It must be noted that often for the human frame, sleep is not a pleasant experience. Because of troubles in life or the activities of the day, sleep becomes troubled and often nightmarish. When these nights pass no one says they slept well or even slept at all but tossed and turned and spent the night in a fit of discomfort. It makes for the day after to be very difficult and hard. Speaking of the eternal sleep of those who die outside of Christ is to suggest anything but sleep. Any nightmare experienced on earth will pale in eternal comparison to what awaits the soul that does not fall asleep in Jesus. It will be a horror that is almost indescribable. The experience will be anything but restful as the word of God describes the place for those outside of Christ as a place of pain, suffering, gnashing of teeth and eternal darkness. There will be no rest and no comfort. It will be a nightmare that will never end. Those who die in Christ sleep in the blessing of the Son of God and those who refuse to do the will of the Father will perish in eternal torment along with Satan and his minions. Death will not be a time of joy but a time of incredible horror and eternal fear that is without end. All men will die but not all men will sleep. Jesus said only a few will find the blessing of rest in the Father as most men walk in their own accord by their own desires and will. They disregard the divine word of God and as a result, will find death to be most terrifying. It is sad to hear of one who passes into the realm of death unprepared for the judgment of the Lord. Their body may look like they are only sleeping but their eternal soul is in an eternal nightmare. The only joy that can be found in death is when one dies in Jesus. Asleep in Jesus requires obedience to the will of the Father in accordance with the divine word. Death will come to all men. The difference will be whether they sleep in Jesus or if they die outside of Christ. How will you die – sleeping or screaming?