1Th 4:13-14 “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”
Sorrow is a very real part of living. We experience a heavy heart many times in our lives. Divorce, losing a job, having friends or family caught up in addiction, or facing some dread disease all causes us to be sorrowful. However, the sorrow of saying good-bye to a beloved form in this life, realizing you will never hear that voice, hold that hand, or share another moment of time with them is often a hurt like no other.
Paul is not being insensitive here. The scripture is not telling us that it is wrong for us to feel sorrow at such at time. The word translated as “not” (Greek word mē) in the phrase “sorrow not” is a “qualified negation” according to Strong’s: it is not stated in absolute terms. The qualifier is this; that we should not sorrow as others who have no hope in Jesus. There is an “absolute negation” in this verse and it is found before in the first phrase.
The idea of sorrowing as those that have no hope is based on the ignorance of a glorious truth. When Paul said he “would not” have us ignorant, “not” is defined as “absolutely negative” (see Strong’s) as translated from the Greek word ou. Paul is reminding them of something that he had taught them when he was in Thessalonica (Acts 17:3). We realize this teaching only has meaning to those in whom the Holy Ghost has imparted understanding (1Co 2:14).
To know God and His Son, Jesus Christ, and that Jesus is sent from God is life eternal (Joh 17:3, 1Jn 5:20). The Greek word ginōskō, according to Strong’s denotes “know (absolutely).” In John 17:3 Jesus says “that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Jesus uses the word meaning to have absolute knowledge that His Father is the True God and that He has sent Jesus, the Christ.
First John 5:20 says that “we know (from the Greek word eidō, meaning “to see”) that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding.” John goes on to say “that we may know (from the Greek word ginōskō, know absolutely) him that is true, and we are in him that is true…” By God’s great grace we are able to see or perceive with absolute certainty that He is God and that He sent His Son for us.
May I say here that if the statements in the above paragraphs are not yet revealed to you as certain knowledge, then the remainder of what is said will not have a great deal of meaning to you. Again, Paul’s words here are to the church, the Bride of Jesus Christ. The Bride knows whether her Husband is alive and present with her. These words are given for our comfort and that we might comfort one another.
Dear ones, if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, then we know eternal life. If we know eternal life, we know that God has given His Son power over all flesh that He should give eternal life to as many as the Father has given Him (Joh 17:2). This is true from the time that God created man until there is no more time. Those that God has given His Son, His Son has given eternal life and past, present, and future, God will bring them with Him.
May we walk today in the joy of our eternal life that is ours because we know the true God and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent!