1 Thess 4:14, DIA TOU IHSOU

From: Paul S. Dixon (dixonps@juno.com)
Date: Wed Oct 08 1997 - 19:34:21 EDT

If DIA TOU IHSOU goes with the preceding TOUS KOIMHQENTAS, then it
appears TOUS KOIMHQENTAS DIA TOU IHSOU may be virtually synonymous with
hOI NEKROI EN CRISTWi of v. 16. If so, then DIA TOU IHSOU must be
synonymous with EN CRISTWi.

Is this just grounds for the translations we are getting these days,
i.e., "those who have fallen asleep in Jesus" (NASV), "those who have
fallen asleep in Him" (NIV)? Perhaps this leads to a larger question.
Even though a certain word never, or almost never, has a particular
meaning elsewhere (e.g., DIA never or almost never means the same thing
as EN), we know it can take that meaning, if the context calls for it.
But, we better be sure. Can such certainty be affirmed on the basis of
the above givens for the interpretation of DIA TOU IHSOU?

Another possibility, assuming DIA TOU IHSOU goes with the preceding, is
that DIA TOU IHSOU should be taken more in line with the conditions in
the protasis. Concerning those who have fallen asleep, Paul does not want
the Thessalonians to grieve as though who have no hope (v. 13). Here's
why. If we believe Jesus died and rose again (first class conditional
assuming for the sake of argument; "since" translations miss this), then
we ought to believe that those who have fallen asleep through Jesus are
those who have begun going through the Jesus experience of dying and
rising from the dead. Hence, it follows God will bring them with Him for
their bodily resurrection, just as Christ was raised. This is indeed a
powerful a fortiori argument. If we believe the greater, then we can and
should believe the lesser.

DIA TOU IHSOU, then, can be taken normally, and it stresses the fact that
these saints who have already died have only begun going through the same
experience of their resurrected Lord. The end result is guaranteed,
because of His resurrection.

Paul Dixon

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