Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Exegetical Theology

First Advisor

James Voelz

Scripture References in this Resource

1 Kings 14 :31; 1 Corinthians 15:18; 1 Corinthians 15:6; 1 Corinthians 11; 1 Corinthians 11 :30; 1 Corinthians 11:26-32; 1 Corinthians 11:27-34; 1 Corinthians 15:16; 1 Corinthians 15:18; 1 Corinthians 15:20; 1 Corinthians 15:26; 1 Corinthians 15:35-38; 1 Corinthians 15:51; 1 Corinthians 15:53; 1 Corinthians 15:6; 1 Corinthians 7:31; 1 Corinthians 7:39-40; 1 Thessalonians 5:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:15; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:4-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10; 2 Kings 14:1; 2 Kings 8:24; Acts 13:36; Acts 7:60; Daniel 12:2; Ephesians 5:14; Hosea 13:14; I Corinthians 15:21-28; I Corinthians 15:50; I John 2:17- 18; Isaiah 25:8; Job 3:13; John 1 1:11; John 11:11; Matthew 27:52; Matthew 27:52-53; Matthew 9:23-24; Philippians 3:21; Psalm 13:3; Revelation 21-22; Romans 8:18-25; Romans 8:25


This project began with a curiosity for "life after death" matters when I was in confirmation class at a small South Jersey Lutheran church. My mother wanted to know if believers would be with Jesus as soon as they died, so I asked the pastor this and more. It was not until almost ten years later when I attended the 1999 Theological Symposium at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO, as an undergraduate deaconess student from Concordia University, River Forest, IL, that I learned what really happens to believers when they die-and even if they don't. I am ever grateful to Dr. Jeffrey A. Gibbs for his passionate plenary address, "Regaining a Biblical Hope: Restoring the Prominence of the Parousia," that fateful September morning. It was the spark for my own quest to know more about eschatology-but more importantly, to better know Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith.

First, I would like to thank all my professors at Concordia Seminary for the outstanding education I received while a student there. Specifically, many thanks go to Dr. Bruce G. Schuchard, for teaching me Greek and for his guidance during this project as Dean of the Graduate School; Dr. R. Reed Lessing, for teaching me to enjoy Hebrew; Dr. Bryan R. Salminen, for expanding my talents in the practical realm of theology; Dr. Jeffrey A. Gibbs, for teaching me to how to study Pauline texts and for his faithful mentoring; Dr. Paul R. Raabe, for teaching me to love biblical theology and for his encouragement to write; and to Mrs. Marla Brewer, whom I first met and was aided by in the Graduate School, now serving in the Dean of the Faculty's office, Dr. James W. Voelz. She, along with Mrs. Mary Ann Florea, who is now with Jesus, was always a source of encouragement and support.

A special word of thanks goes to Dr. James W. Voelz, my advisor for this thesis. I feel honored and privileged to have researched and written this work under his faithful and excellent guidance. His enthusiasm for my work was a constant source of encouragement and perseverance. I would also like to thank Dr. Jeffrey A. Gibbs and Dr. Joel D. Biermann for serving as readers for this thesis, and the Graduate School staff for their assistance.

Many thanks to Deaconess Tressa Weyer for her support; Mrs. Mariana Cassell, Mrs. Monica Hetzner, and Mrs. Paula Woomer, for their support and assistance with my children; to Rev. Justin Rossow, for discussions on metaphors during this project; to my parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry D. DuBois Jr., for their support, and for never stopping me from following my dreams, even if they took me far away from home; and to Mrs. Laura Thompson, for helping me realize this was my dream, and for encouraging me to follow it.

Last, but most importantly, I would like to thank my long-suffering husband, Rev. Samuel J. Grayl, for all of his sacrificial love, support, patience, and comments on my manuscript during the writing of this thesis. Without his encouragement, willingness to be flexible, and belief in the message of this project, it would never have been finished.

This thesis is dedicated with love to our son, Samuel Xavier Grayl, who was born shortly after this project was approved, and to our daughter, Anastasia Sophia Grayl, who was born during the final stages of its submission.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.