Not Appointed Us to Wrath

1Thessalonians 5:9-11 For God had not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also you do. 

‘For God had not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.’ God has not appointed Christians to go through the tribulation wrath, the sudden destruction of 1Thessalonians 5:2-3; Revelation 6:1-19:21 and Matthew 24:15-21, or the wrath of eternal hell, but to be delivered by the rapture [resurrection] so that whether we live or die we should live together with Him forever (5:9-10; 4:13-18; 2Thess. 2:7; Rev. 4:1).

‘Whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.’ This refers to the rapture of 1Thessalonians 4:13-18 and proves that all in Christ – dead or alive – will be raptured and live with Christ forever and that all will escape the wrath of 1Thessalonians 5:1-3, 9; Matthew 24:15-21 and Revelation 6:1-19:21.

‘Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another.’ This expression is used in 1Thessalonians 4:18 and here, and in each passage, it refers to comfort because of the rapture and escape of the wrath which will be poured out upon men after the rapture and before the second coming (Rev. 6:1 – 19:21).

As a Thief

1Thessalonians 5:4-5 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 

‘Are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.’ Christians are not in ignorance and darkness about the day of the Lord (5:1-2, 4-5, 9). The rapture takes place at least seven years before the second coming (2Thess. 2:7). Therefore, they will not be here for that day to overtake them as a thief like it will the ungodly (5:2-5). The Jews had a tradition that God would judge the Gentiles at night when they were careless and asleep in sin, but would judge the Jews in the day when they would be keeping the law. But both Jews and Gentiles who miss the rapture will have the day of the Lord come upon them as a thief. It is only brethren who will be translated and escape this day (5:4-5, 9; Luke 21:36).

‘You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.’ We are all Christians and will escape that sudden destruction (5:4-5, 9). Since we are of light and of the day, not of the darkness and night, we will not suffer the destruction appointed to children of darkness. The reason is clear from this fact, as well as what is stated in 1Thessalonians 5:9 and 2Thessalonians 2:7.

Sudden Destruction Comes

1Thessalonians 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 

‘For when they shall say, Peace and safety.’ Time of sudden destruction: When Antichrist shall have conquered the 10 kingdoms inside the Roman Empire in the first 3½ years of Daniel’s 70th week (Dan. 7:23-24; Rev. 13:1-18 and 17:1-18), and by these kingdoms shall have conquered Russia and the other nations north and east of the Roman empire in the last 3½ years of Daniel’s 70th week (Dan. 11:40-45), it will be time for the world to be saying “Peace and safety.” They will think that getting rid of Israel (Zech. 14:1-21) will mean no further wars. They will then look forward to a period of peace and prosperity, but the Lord will come suddenly when Jerusalem is half taken and sudden destruction will be upon all the nations at Armageddon (Zech. 14:1-21; Joel 3:1-21; Rev. 19:11-21).

‘Destruction come upon them.’ [Greek: olethros] ruin, destruction, plague, pest (5:3; 2Thess. 1:9; 1Cor. 5:5; 1Tim. 6:9). This destruction did not kill the man. Whatever it was it was capable of bringing him to repentance (2Cor. 2:7).

‘As travail upon a woman with child.’ Just like a woman knows she must travail if she is with child but knows not the day or the hour, so it is with the sudden destruction. We know the times and seasons of it, but not the day or the hour. Since the second coming of Christ brings this sudden destruction, it means that men will not know the exact day or the hour of His coming. This will always be the case, as predicted by Christ in Matthew 24:36, 24:39, 42-51; 25:13. Jesus Christ and angels do not know the day or hour of the second coming (Mark 13:32).

‘They shall not escape.’ The destruction will be general among the nations. The cities of the nations will fall in a great earthquake. Hail will fall weighing 52 kg., and the armies of the nations at Armageddon will be destroyed except for the sixth part of them (Ezek. 39:2; Zech. 14:1-5, 16-21; Rev. 19:11-21). Many will be left alive to enter the Millennium (Zech. 14:16-21; Isa. 2:1-4; Matt. 25:31-46).

The Day of the Lord

1Thessalonians 5:1-2 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 

‘Times and the seasons.’ This refers to the times and seasons when the rapture (2Thess. 2:7; Rev. 4:1) and the day of the Lord will take place.

‘The day of the Lord’ – The day of the Lord here is the Millennium, from the second coming to the rebellion of satan at the end of that period (Rev. 19:11 – 20:10). The day of the Lord cannot come until the Lord comes to reign (Isa. 2:12; 13:6, 9; 34:8; 61:2; 63:1-6; Jer. 46:10; Ezek. 30:3; Dan. 2:44-45; 7:13-14; Amos 5:18; Joel 2:1-32; Oba. 1:15; Zeph. 1:8, 18; 2:2-3; Zech. 14:1-21; Mal. 4:1-6; Mat. 24:29-31; 25:31-46; 1Thess. 5:2; 2Thess. 1:7-10; 2:1-12; Jude 1:14; Rev. 19:11-21; 20:1-10).

‘As a thief in the night.’ This expression is used only in 1Thessalonians 5:2-4; 2Peter 3:10 and Revelation 3:3; 16:15. Each time it refers to the day of the Lord coming as a thief, except Revelation 3:3 where it refers to judgment on the local congregation of Sardis. Christ’s coming is also referred to as a thief (Matt. 24:43).

Shall Be Caught Up Together – Part 3

1Thessalonians 4:16-18 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and 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: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

‘To meet the Lord in the air.’ – Ten purposes of the rapture: To receive saints to Himself as promised (4:17; John 14:1-3; Eph. 5:27). To resurrect the dead in Christ from among the wicked dead (4:14, 16-17; Php. 3:11; Rev. 20:4-6). To take saints to heaven to live in the New Jerusalem and receive rewards (4:17; 3:13; John 14:1-3; 2Cor. 5:10; Heb. 12:22-23; Rev. 19:1-10; 21:9-10). To change bodies of saints to immortality (4:16-17; 1Cor. 15:35-58; Php. 3:21). To present saints before God (4:17; 3:13; John 14:1-3; Jude 1:24; Rev. 19:1-10). To make saints whole in body, soul, and spirit (4:16-17; 5:23; Php. 3:21). To receive the fruit of the early and latter rain (Jas. 5:7; John 14:1-3). To cause the saints to escape the tribulation of Revelation 6:1-19:21 (4:16-17; 5:9; Luke 21:36; Rev. 4:1). To remove the hinderer of lawlessness (2Thess. 2:7; Rev. 4:1). To permit the revelation of the Antichrist (2Thess. 2:7; Rev. 4:1).

‘And so shall we ever be with the Lord.’ Saints will be with Christ in heaven during the tribulation (2Thess. 2:7; Rev. 4:1); will accompany Christ to earth at Armageddon (Zech. 14:1-5; Matt. 24:29-31; 25:31-46; Jude 1:14; Rev. 19:11-21); will live in the new Jerusalem in heaven but reign on earth with Christ during the Millennium (Rev. 20:4-10; 21:9-10; Heb. 12:22-23); will move with their residence, the New Jerusalem, to the earth to live on the New Earth forever (Rev. 21:1-27; 22:1-21).

Shall Be Caught Up Together – Part 1

1Thessalonians 4:16-18 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and 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: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 

‘Shout’ – Command [Greek: keleuma] a cry of incitement; an order; command in war; the call of preparation for action. Not the same word where shout is mentioned the only other time in the New Testament (Acts 12:22). Here it is the shout of command for the dead to arise, as in the case of Lazarus (John 11:43). This will be followed by the shout of the archangel (Jude 1:9), and the trump of God, whose great and terrible blasts – like those on Sinai – grew louder and louder until the heavens and the earth shook (Ex. 20:18-19; Heb. 12:18-21, 26).

‘Trump of God’ – This is not the same as the 7th trumpet of Revelation 11:15-13:18. One occurs at the rapture of true believers before Daniel’s 70th week (4:16; 2Thess. 2:7; Rev. 4:1), and the other occurs at the rapture of the manchild in the middle of the 70th week (Rev. 11:15 – 13:18). One is the trump of God (4:16), the other the trumpet of the 7th angel (Rev. 11:15). One is to herald an event that will take place in a moment (1Cor. 15:51-58), the other is to herald many events which are days in duration (Rev. 10:7; 11:15-13:18). One is a trumpet of blessing (4:16-17), the other a trumpet of woe to men (Rev. 8:13; 11:15; 12:12). One is before the 7 seals and first 6 trumpets of Revelation 6:1-9:21, the other is after these (Rev. 11:15).

‘And the dead in Christ shall rise first.’ Ten qualifications for the rapture: To be in Christ (4:14, 16; 2Cor. 5:17-18). To be Christ’s (1Cor. 15:23; Gal. 5:24). To be blessed and holy (Rev. 20:4-6; Heb. 12:14). To be good (John 5:28-29). To be worthy (Luke 21:36). To be part of the body of Christ (1Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:20-23; 4:4-6; 5:27; Col. 1:18, 24). To be pure (1Jn. 3:2-3). To be without spot or wrinkle (Eph. 5:27). To live and walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:19-21). To walk in the light (1Jn. 1:7; Col. 2:6).

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).