The Coming of the Lord – Part 3

1Thessalonians 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

Scriptures on the Second Coming – Christ’s coming WITH the Saints: One like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages shall serve Him (Dan. 2:44-45; 7:13-14; Daniel 18; Daniel 27). Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations … His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which … shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west … the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with Thee (Zech. 14:1-5, 9, 16-21). Immediately after the tribulation … then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (Matt. 24:29-31). When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory. And before Him shall be gathered all nations (Matt. 25:31-46). When the Lord shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels. In flaming fire taking vengeance on them, that know not God (2Thess. 1:7-10; 2:8). The Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all … that are ungodly (Jude 1:14-15). He comes with clouds, and every eye shall see Him … all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him … the armies of heaven followed Him upon white horses (Rev. 1:7).

‘Prevent’ [Greek: phthano] to come before or first. It means that the living saints will not precede or go before the dead saints, but that both will go together to meet the Lord in the air (4:16-17). Translated prevent (4:15); attain (Rom. 9:31; Php. 3:16); and come (2:16; Matt. 12:28; Luke 11:20; 2Cor. 10:14).

The Coming of the Lord – Part 2

1Thessalonians 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

Scriptures on the Rapture – Christ’s coming FOR the Saints: Pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things … and to stand before the Son of man (Luke 21:34). In My Father’s house are many mansions … I go to prepare a place for you … I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also (John 14:1-3). We shall not all sleep (die physically), but we shall all be changed. In a moment … at the last trump … the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we (the living) shall be changed … put on immortality … then … death is swallowed up in victory (1Cor. 15:51-56). Christ loved the church [congregation of believers]… that He might present it to Himself (Eph. 5:25-27). From whence (heaven) also we look for … Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body (Php. 3:11, 20-21; 2Cor. 5:1-9). For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven … the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air (not on earth, to go back to heaven with Him; 1Thess. 4:13-18; 2:19; 3:13; 5:9, 23). We beseech you … by our gathering together unto Him … until he be taken out of the way (2Thess. 2:1, 7-8). When Christ … shall appear, then shall you also appear with Him in glory (Col. 3:4; 1Jn. 2:28; 3:2; 1Pet. 5:4). Be patient … unto the coming of the Lord… until He receives the early and latter rain (Jas. 5:7-8).

The Coming of the Lord – Part 1

1Thessalonians 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 

‘By the word of the Lord.’ This means by revelation (Gal. 1:12).

‘Coming of the Lord.’ The coming in the air (4:17), not His second coming to the earth of Zechariah 14:1-21; Revelation 19:1-21; Matthew 24:29-31; 25:31-46 and Jude 1:14.

These two comings should not be confused. The scriptures that apply to one do not apply to the other. Not one passage refers to both events as if they were one. These two distinct comings are separated by several years, so they aren’t two stages or phases of one coming.

The rapture is the first of the two comings, not a coming to earth but in the air. It could not be the second coming because Christ does not come to the earth to live here and fulfil a mission as He did at the first coming. When Christ meets the saints in the air He takes them to heaven with Him and presents them before the Father’s throne where they remain during the time the tribulation is running its course on the earth (3:13; John 14:1-3). Christ does not remain in the air with the saints when they meet Him as in 1Thessalonians 4:13-17. The marriage supper and the judgment of saints take place in heaven, then at the second coming after the tribulation, Christ and the saints leave heaven together to come down to the earth (2Cor. 5:10; Rev. 19:1-21). The rapture is the time Christ comes for the saints to take them to heaven.

The second coming is the time He comes to the earth to live here and fulfil a mission. This is the time He comes from heaven with the saints, having raptured them at least seven years before. The second coming cannot take place until all of Revelation 1:1-19:21 is fulfilled while the rapture can take place any moment without anything being fulfilled.

Died and Rose Again

1Thessalonians 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 

‘Died and rose again.’ The death of Jesus Christ is the assurance of salvation for all who will believe (Matt. 26:28; Rom. 5:6-11; 1Pet. 2:24). The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the assurance of resurrection for all men (5:10; John 14:19; Rom. 5:10; 6:5-8; 1Cor. 15:4-23; 2Tim. 2:11).

‘Sleep in Jesus’ – Body-sleep, is not soul-sleep: Sleep means the death of the body (4:14-16; 5:10; Deut. 31:16; 2Sam. 7:12; 1Kin. 1:21; Job 7:21; Ps. 13:3; Dan. 12:2; Mark 5:39; Luke 8:52; John 11:11-14; Acts 13:36; 1Cor. 11:30; 15:51; Jas. 2:26). These are all the passages where the word “sleep” is found in connection with the death. The word “slept” is used in Matthew 27:52 and 1Corinthians 15:20 of death, and the phrase “slept with his fathers” is used 36 times of death in the Old Testament. Not one time is it stated that the soul sleeps. The soul is immortal (1Pet. 3:4). The term “sleep in Jesus” simply refers to those who were in Christ at their death (4:14, 16).

‘Bring with him.’ Christians at death go immediately to paradise to await the resurrection of their sleeping bodies (2Cor. 5:8; Php. 1:21-24; Heb. 12:22-23; Rev. 6:9-11). When Christ leaves heaven to come down in the air of the earth (4:17), the saints who are in paradise will come back with Him and be reunited with their bodies which will be resurrected in a moment (1Cor. 15:51-58).

Them Which are Asleep

1Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 

‘But I would not have you to be ignorant.’ Six things not to be ignorant of: God’s faithfulness in trouble (2Cor. 1:8-10). Gospel responsibility (Rom. 1:11-18). Spiritual gifts (1Cor. 12:1-31). God’s purpose for Israel (Rom. 11:25-32). The resurrection and future life (4:13-18). God’s judgments on backsliders (1Cor. 10:1-13).

‘Concerning them which are asleep …’ This is the 4th New Testament prophecy in 1 Thessalonians and it is unfulfilled.

Six new revelations: All who die in Jesus will be brought back from heaven to be given resurrected bodies (4:14; John 5:28-29; 1Cor. 15:20-23, 35-58; Php. 3:21). The living in Christ at this time will not die but be changed (4:15-17; 1Cor. 15:51-58; 2Cor. 5:1-10; Php. 3:21). This is the coming of the Lord in the air, not His coming to the earth (4:15-17; 2Thess. 2:7; Rev. 4:1). The Lord Himself, not some other one, shall descend from heaven to translate the saints (4:16; John 14:1-3; 1Cor. 15:23, 51-58; Php. 3:21). The dead in Christ shall rise first before the living are changed (4:16; 1Cor. 15:23, 51-58; Php. 3:21; John 5:28-29). All in Christ from Abel to this time will be changed from mortality to immortality in the body in a moment and will be caught up (raptured) with the dead in Christ to meet the Lord in the air (4:17; John 14:1-3; Luke 21:36; 1Cor. 15:23, 51-58; Php. 3:21; 2Cor. 5:1-10; Col. 3:4; 2Thess. 2:7; Eph. 5:27).

‘Sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.’ Eight Christian hopes: Salvation (5:8; Rom. 8:20-25; 15:4, 13; 2Thess. 2:16; 1Pet. 1:1-25). Righteousness (Gal. 5:5). God’s calling (Eph. 1:18; 4:4). Eternal inheritance (Col. 1:5; Eph. 1:11-18; Heb. 9:15; 1Pet. 1:4). God’s glory (Rom. 5:1-5; Col. 1:27). Resurrection (4:13; Acts 23:6; 24:15; Tit. 2:13; 1Jn. 3:3). Eternal life (1Cor. 13:13; 15:19; Eph. 2:12; Col. 1:23; Tit. 1:2; 3:7; Heb. 3:6; 6:11, 18, 19; 7:19; 1Pet. 1:3-13). Converts safe in heaven (2:19).

His Holy Spirit – Part 2

1Thessalonians 4:8 He therefore that despises, despises not man, but God, who had also given unto us his holy Spirit. 

The Old Testament saints were filled with the Holy Spirit, but not baptized with the spirit – this only came to pass at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13); they had, however, many experiences and blessings, as we see as follows: They were filled (Ex. 28:3; 31:3; 35:31; Deut. 34:9; Mic. 3:8) and had the Spirit in them (Gen. 41:38; Num. 27:18; Dan. 4:8-9, 18; 5:11-14; 6:3); within [in union with] them (Ps. 51:10-11; Isa. 63:10-14; Ezek. 11:19); into them (Ezek. 2:2; 3:24; Acts 3:21); and upon them (Num. 11:17-29; Jdg. 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 14:6, 19; 15:14). He moved many (Jdg. 13:25; Acts 3:21; 2Pet. 1:21), but none were baptized in the Spirit. John the Baptist and others were filled with the Spirit, but not baptized (Luke 1:15-17, 41, 67; 2:25-38). Mary was filled about 35 years before she was baptized with the Spirit at Pentecost (Luke 1:45-56; Acts 1:13-15; 2:1-4). Jesus was filled about 30 years before He was baptized with the Spirit (Isa. 50:4-5; Luke 2:40-52; Matt. 3:16-17). The disciples were filled and had the Spirit in them 3 years before they were baptized with the Spirit (Matt. 10:1-8, 20; Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-4, 33).

The Old Testament saints had gifts [purpose always God’s glory] and the fruit [sign of salvation] of the Spirit (1Kin. 3:12; 17:1 – 2Kin. 13:25; Acts 3:21; Heb. 11:1-40); different measures of the Spirit (Num. 11:16-25; 2Kin. 2:9; Luke 1:17) but not the Spirit baptism or the Spirit “without measure” (John 3:34; 7:37-39). The disciples had gifts and great power years before the Spirit baptism (Matt. 10:1-8, 16-20; Mark 6:7-13; Luke 10:1-42), but were told to get the Spirit baptism before starting their ministry (Luke 24:49; John 7:37-39; 14:12; Acts 1:4-8).

To be continued…

His Holy Spirit – Part 1

1Thessalonians 4:8 He therefore that despises, despises not man, but God, who had also given unto us his holy Spirit. 

‘He therefore that despises not man, but God.’ The principle stated here is expressed in various ways in Scripture. God considers certain sins as direct sins against Him: murder (Gen. 9:6), despising the least child or believer (4:8; Matt. 18:10; Luke 10:16;), any mistreatment of a human being (Matt. 25:31-46), or rejection of Jesus and the gospel (John 12:48). If this could be emphasized more there would be less malice, envy, jealousy, and strife among Christians and even among sinners.

‘Given unto us his holy Spirit.’ Every believer has the Holy Spirit in a measure when born again (Rom. 8:14-16; Gal. 4:6). In fact, “if any man have not the Spirit” he does not belong to Christ (Rom. 8:9). This Spirit of sonship or even some gift of the Spirit may be received without having the Spirit baptism or the fullness of the Spirit.

The difference between a filling and a baptism or the Spirit by measure and without measure may be illustrated by a glass and a pitcher of water. To the extent the water is poured into the glass it is filled, but not baptized. By burying the glass in the fullness of the water it is both filled and baptized. Taking the glass out of the fullness of the water it is no longer baptized. So it is with believers. To the extent one is filled with the Spirit he has that measure of power and can do things according to the degree of anointing he has. If he is merely filled and has the Spirit by measure he is limited in spiritual power. If he has the Spirit in all fullness there is no limitation. He can do the works of Christ and the apostles as long as it is always to God’s glory and not to the greatness of the individual (Matt. 17:20; 21:22; Mark 9:23; 11:22-24; 16:17-18; John 14:12; Acts 2:43; 3:6; 5:16; Rom. 15:18-19, 29).

A filling always comes with a baptism, but a baptism does not always come with a filling. At Pentecost, they were both filled and baptized (Acts 1:4-8; 2:4), and many fillings kept coming to them to replenish the Spirit and power they had received (Acts 4:8, 31; 13:52). One must continue to live and walk in the Spirit and be filled with all the fullness of God to maintain that baptismal fullness (Eph. 3:16-20; 5:18; Gal. 5:16-26).

To be continued…

The Will of God… Sanctification – Part 8

1Thessalonians 4:1-7 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as you have received of us how you ought to walk and to please God, so you would abound more and more. For you know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God had not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. 

There is also progressive sanctification and complete sanctification (continues).

Proof of progressive sanctification: Statements of Jesus (Luke 9:23; John 8:31; 14:26; 15:3; 16:13-16). Statements of Luke (Acts 13:43; 14:22; 15:41; 16:5; 18:26). Statements of Paul (Rom. 1:11, 17; 2:7; 4:12; 6:3-22; 7:4-6; 8:1-13; 11:20-22; 12:1-21; 14:19; 1Cor. 1:7-10; 11:31-34; 15:58; 16:13; 2Cor. 3:18; 5:9; 7:1; 10:4-6; 13:11; Gal. 5:1, 13, 16-26; Eph. 3:16-21;4:1-32; 5:1-18; 6:1-18; Php. 1:6, 9, 25-27; 2:12-15; 3:7-15; 4:8-9; Col. 1:9-29; 2:3-9; 3:1-17; 4:12; 1Thess. 2:2-13; 3:1-12; 5:11-23; 2Thess. 1:3-5; 2:13-17; 3:3; 1Tim. 1:18; 4:12-16; 5:21-22; 6:12-14; 2Tim. 1:13-14; 2:4, 19-26; Tit. 2:7-14; Heb. 3:6, 12-14; 4:11; 5:11-14; 6:1-2, 11-12; 10:23-39; 12:12; 13:20-21). Statements of James (Jas. 1:3-4, 12, 22-27; 2:14-26; 3:2; 4:4-10; 5:1-12). Statements of Peter (1Pet. 1:5-16; 2:1-12; 3:8-12; 4:1-19; 5:1-10; 2Pet. 1:4-10; 3:14-18). Statements of John (1Jn. 1:6-9; 2:1-6, 24-29; 3:1-10; 5:1-18; 2Jn. 1:1, 6, 8; 3Jn. 1:4, 11). Statements of Jude (Jude 1:3, 20-24).

Proof of complete sanctification: Statements of Jesus (Matt. 10:22; 19:27-29; 25:46; Mark 10:29-30; Luke 21:36; John 4:36; 6:27; 12:25; 14:1-3). Statements of Paul (Acts 26:18; Rom. 2:7-10; 5:21; 6:22-23; 8:17-18, 23-25; 13:11; 1Cor. 1:7-8; 15:1-6, 23, 51-58; 2Cor. 4:16-18; 5:9; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 1:4, 13-14; 4:13-16; 5:26-27; Php. 1:6; 3:7-14, 20-21; Col. 3:4; 1Thess. 1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:13-18; 5:23; Heb. 3:6, 12-14; 6:1-12, 18-19; 10:23, 35-39). Statements of others (Jas. 5:7; 1Pet. 1:3-13; 4:13; 5:10; 2Pet. 3:14; John 3:1-3; Jude 1:24).

‘Vessel in sanctification and honour.’ This refers to one of two things: To man’s own body which he is to keep from fornication (4:3; 2Cor. 4:7; 2Tim. 2:21). To the wife, whom a man is privileged to possess in a marriage relationship (4:4; 1Pet. 3:7).

The Will of God… Sanctification – Part 7

1Thessalonians 4:1-7 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as you have received of us how you ought to walk and to please God, so you would abound more and more. For you know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God had not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. 

Thirty proofs of when sanctification begins (continues): When one is cleansed by the blood of Christ (Heb. 10:29; 1Jn. 1:7-9). When saved to the uttermost and from satan (Heb. 7:25; 1Jn. 3:8-10; 5:18). When redeemed (Luke 1:68-77; 1Cor. 1:30; Heb. 9:12-15; 1Pet. 1:18-23). When one believes truth (2:13). When saved from fornication (4:3-4; Gal. 5:24; 1Cor. 6:9-11). When one becomes the temple of God (1Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19-20; Rom. 8:9). When reconciled to God (2Cor. 5:17-21; Col. 1:20-23; Rom. 5:1-11). When one is saved and purified by faith (Acts 11:14-18; 15:7-11). When brought to obedience to God (1Pet. 1:2; Rom. 6:16-23; 8:12-13). When one is made ready for resurrection to see God (Heb. 12:14; Rev. 20:4-6). When grace brings salvation and the Spirit renews (Tit. 2:11-13; 3:5). When converted and all sins are blotted out (Acts 3:19-21; 26:18). When purged of all sin (Heb. 1:3; 10:1-18; 2Pet. 1:4).

The above points have to do with instantaneous sanctification. There is also progressive sanctification and complete sanctification.

To be continued…

The Will of God… Sanctification – Part 5

1Thessalonians 4:1-7 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as you have received of us how you ought to walk and to please God, so you would abound more and more. For you know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God had not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. 

Seven personal agents are used in sanctifying: God (Gen. 2:3; Lev. 21:15, 23; 22:9; John 10:36; 1Thess. 5:23; Jude 1:1). Jesus Christ (1Cor. 1:30; Eph. 5:26; Heb. 2:11; 10:10, 14; 13:12). Holy Spirit (Rom. 15:16; 1Cor. 6:11; 2Thess. 2:13; 1Pet. 1:2). Moses (Ex. 19:10, 14; 40:13; Lev. 8:10-15, 30; 21:8; Num. 7:1). Joshua (Jos. 7:13). Priests (1Chron. 15:14; 2Chron. 30:24; Ex. 19:22). Laymen (Lev. 11:44; 20:7).

Man is the agent in sanctification 85 times; God 23 times; Christ 10 times; and the Holy Spirit 4 times. Man has as much to do with sanctification as God, for he is the one who decides to sanctify himself to God. Man and God work together in the setting apart process. Men are spoken of as being sanctified 75 times; material things are said to be sanctified 40 times; and God is referred to as being sanctified 14 times (Lev. 10:3; Num. 20:12-13; 27:14; Isa. 5:16; 8:13; 29:23; Ezek. 20:41; 28:22, 25; 36:23; 38:16; 39:27).

Fifteen commands to sanctify: Let priests sanctify themselves (Ex. 19:22; 1Chron. 15:14; 2Chron. 29:15, 34; 30:3, 5, 15, 24; 31:18). Sanctify them (Ex. 19:10; 28:41; 29:33; 30:29; Lev. 8:11; 21:23). Sanctify him (Lev. 8:12; 21:8, 15). Sanctify yourselves (Lev. 11:44; 20:7; Num. 11:18; Jos. 3:5; 1Sam. 16:5; 1Chron. 15:12; 2Chron. 29:5). Sanctify the people (Ex. 19:14; Jos. 7:13). Sanctify Aaron and his garments (Lev. 8:30). Sanctify unto Me all the firstborn (Ex. 13:2). Sanctify it (mountain, Ex. 19:23). Sanctify the breast (of the wave offering, Ex. 29:27). Sanctify the altar (Ex. 29:36-37; 40:10). Sanctify the Lord of Hosts (Isa. 8:13). Sanctify the Holy One of Jacob (Isa. 29:23). Sanctify a fast (Joel 1:14; 2:15). Sanctify the congregation (Joel 2:18). Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts (1Pet. 3:15). Not only are there commands for people to sanctify God, but complaints because they did not do so (Deut. 32:51; Num. 27:14).

To be continued…