Oct 21, 2011
The Dead in 1 Thessalonians 4:13
Phillip Long has an interesting post on the identity of the dead in Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4:13. He suggests that the dead are not believers generally but martyrs particularly. I remain a bit skeptical in light of several factors. (1) don't see anything in the immediate context that suggests persecution or martyrdom. (2) The comparison to "the rest of men who have no hope" would suggest to me a broader audience than just martyrs. Furthermore, I wonder how the argument would work in light of the fact that Christians were not the only martyrs in the ancient world. (3) Explicit vindication language is absent unless you take the going first as vindication language. This is possible, but if so, very subtle. In any case, I would encourage you to check out Phillip's post here.