Seventh-Day Adventists/Whose voice raises the dead?
Sal—If in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 the voice of the archangel isn’t the voice of Jesus then we have the absurd teaching of an angel raising the dead! Do you really believe that?
Dear Sister Tina:
I agree with you that it is Jesus’ voice that raises the dead. “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28-29 NASB). This truth is dramatized in the raising of Lazarus. “When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth.’ The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go”’ (John 11:43-44 NASB). However, I disagree with your conclusion that the raising of the righteous must be due to “the voice of an archangel”.
“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16 ESV).
Please note that Jesus descends from heaven with a “cry of command”. This cry or “loud command” (NIV) is what those in the grave hear and what causes them to rise. Therefore, it is not necessarily the subsequent “voice of an archangel” that raises the dead in Christ. What exactly is Jesus’ “cry of command” this verse does not say nor does it tell us what the archangel said. We know that angels do accompany Jesus on his return to earth. “For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done” (Matthew 16:27 ESV; cf. 25:31 & 2 Thessalonians 1:7). Perhaps the archangel announces Jesus’ return to the people of the earth. We do know that an angel named Gabriel announced the first coming of the Lord.
“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, ‘Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end’” (Luke 1:26-33 NASB; cf. Luke 2:8-11).
Perhaps he performs this privileged role again. In any event, it is not a necessary conclusion that in this verse it is the archangel’s voice that raises the dead. I believe that it is much more likely that it is Jesus’ “cry of command” that raises the dead prior to the mention of the “voice of an archangel”. Please prayfully consider this explanation.
As always thanks for sharing your concerns and questions.
Have a Merry Christmas,