Easter Egg in 1 Thessalonians!


I can’t believe I haven’t seen this before… or that it hasn’t been discussed here! Ironically, it was discovered on the Facebook page “Does A God Exist?” where I’m a Christian admin.

The guy who posted about this is on the fence about universalism, and the atheist admin said, “Have you been talking to Justin?” :laughing:

Given, this isn’t the strongest argument (on its own) for the opposition, but it’s still pretty powerful in its own right:

Now, most would simply parallel that verse with the ending of the previous chapter since it wouldn’t make sense for them to read it in the moral/spiritual context of chapter 5 (which is really not the best method of exegesis).

When this was pointed out to me, I raced over to blueletterbible.org to look at the original Greek wording. And this is what I found:

Chapter 4’s word translated as asleep = “koimaō” - to cause to sleep, be put to sleep, metaph. “calm” or “death”
Chapter 5’s word translated as asleep = “katheudō” - to fall asleep, drop off, be dead, metaph. be slothful, sinful or indifferent to salvation

A Satanist, no less (who knows some Greek), pointed out that the word “katheudō” has a moral undertone to it whereas “koimaō” does not. And if you’ll notice, while “koimaō” means to be “put to” sleep as in some kind of external influence, “katheudō” means to “fall/drop off to sleep” which implies that the person themselves have fallen to sleep of their own accord.

This word “katheudō” is the same word used in Ephesians 5:14:

This also gives new meaning to the verse, “For God did not appoint us to wrath!” Hallelujah! :mrgreen:

This is most definitely going in the book! :smiley: Praise God forever.


Of course, and this is why I say it’s not the strongest argument in terms of the opposition, Paul may have been referring to those among the Thessalonians who had become slothful in regards to their salvation and become more or less lukewarm. So it may not seem earth-shattering to everyone. However, it does seem to allow for that broader context, in light of the overarching themes of scripture.


True, it might count as awake or asleep among the “elect” in a Calvinist sense–to whatever extent a Calv theology recognizes the existence of elect backsliders who despite being “slothasleep” (if I may coin a term) will nevertheless be saved!

On the other hand, considering the nuclear-level warnings elsewhere in the NT (Gospels and otherwise) about condemnation coming to those Christians who backslide (in various ways)–in language that Calvs would generally apply to “false elect” being hopelessly damned–I don’t think I would want to be the Calv (or Arm) tasked with trying to make that verse coherently fit.

Super-awesome find, Justin!! http://www.wargamer.com/forums/upfiles/smiley/bow.gif It definitely deserves more checking and investigation.


I agree, Justin, it’s an interesting find!

Where in scripture does it say that Christ died so we could be asleep and still live together with him? I also agree with Pratt that I wouldn’t want to be tasked with trying to make this verse fit, in that context, with the rest of scripture. I think that is what Pratt was saying? :unamused:

I suppose many Christians do look at scripture and assume that Jesus has died so that we can fellowship, live together with God, even as we continue in our sin since none of us can be perfect? I see such strong warnings not to continue in sin, that it results in death, and the emphasis that Jesus has died that we might be changed, live for Him and come alive. Is there such a thing as a Christian that is asleep or isn’t Paul’s point that we, as Christians, aren’t the sleeping kind? If we are lukewarm he technicly spits us out of his mouth, whatever that means. Can it be understood that if we are the sleeping kind we aren’t a Christian? Certainly other passages seem to indicate this, right?

So then, the verse seems to be implying that Jesus has died, both for the awake and asleep, and, in doing so, assures an outcome that even the asleep will be reconciled and come alive.


Thanks, guys! :smiley:

Hm, yeah… that does make sense. And I’ve always agreed with that point-of-view. My issue was with the interpretation of what exactly ‘asleep’ means in this context. DOES it mean the deeper ‘sleep’ of the lost state? Or does it mean a more superficial sleep of the external consciousness wherein someone carouses and becomes unaware of the significance of living *FOR *Christ?

Come to think of it, though… despite all my failings and the times where I’ve taken it easy, I’ve never been asleep in that way. Sure, the goalposts of right and wrong have been moved in my mind, but I always wanted to do right by God and by others. As Oswald Chambers said, our temptation is different than the carnal man’s, who simply falls for temptation because it pleases him. Our temptation is to have a different idea of obedience or right/wrong, allowing us to do things that we shouldn’t.

In that light, it seems like you’re both right… and we’ve got a universalist passage! As per your last statement, Amy! Hooray! :mrgreen:

Thanks again, everyone. :smiley:


So Born Again Aaron keeps contacting me through various accounts to let me know that this is all a “heresy.” :laughing:

Sounds a bit desperate to me… :unamused: :laughing:


:cry: Sorry bout that Stellar! Some folks don’t know when to quit.

I have to say that at first glance, I’m not sure I agree that this is correctly understood as a universalist passage. I hope my first impression is wrong, because I really liked what you wrote above! And I haven’t said anything yet because I really need to take more time on it.

I hope I can come back to this soon and say that I think you’re right after all! :smiley:



hah, and to prove that he didn’t accuse me of “heresy” he wants me to post the actual message he sent:

So there you go. That proves it. Aaron doesn’t think that I’m promoting heresy! :wink:

Thanks, Sonia. I’m by no means put off that this isn’t a universalistic passage, it just seemed that way to me. In fact, as you can see I’ve gone back and forth on the issue.


Stellar, Gene is also still in dialogue with Aaron37 because Aaron approached him and wanted to continue the dialogue. :smiley: Sonia is next. :wink:


:exclamation: :confused: :imp: :unamused: