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 2

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.

‘Then we which are alive and remain.’ See the time of the rapture (2Thess. 2:7; Rev. 4:1). The rapture and the second coming of Christ: [1] Christ and the many saints that were resurrected after His resurrection (1Cor. 15:20, 23; Matt. 27:52-53; Eph. 4:8-10). [2] “Afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming” (1Cor. 15:23, 51-54; John 14:1-3; Luke 21:34-36; 2Cor. 5:1-8; Eph. 5:27; Php. 3:11, 20-21; 1Thess. 2:19; 3:13; 4:13-17; 5:9, 23; 2Thess. 2:1, 7; Col. 3:4; Jas. 5:7-8; 1Jn. 2:28; 3:2; 1Pet. 5:4). Everyone in Christ, dead or alive, will be translated at this time. Not one person will be left on earth who is in Christ (4:16-17). [3] The 144,000 Jews will be saved in the first 3½ years of Daniel’s 70th week (Rev. 7:1-8). They will be caught up as the manchild in the middle of this week or 3½ years before the second coming (Rev. 12:5; 14:1-5; Isa. 66:7-8; Dan. 12:1). [4] The great multitude of tribulation saints who are saved after the rapture 2, above and during the whole of Daniel’s 70th week (Rev. 6:1 – 19:21). The first martyrs of this period are told to rest until the rest of them are killed (Rev. 6:9-11) when vengeance will be taken and all raptured in time for the marriage supper (Rev. 7:9-17; 15:2-4; 20:4-6). Even those killed by the beast in the last 3½ years of this week have a part in the first resurrection (Rev. 20:4-6). This proves their rapture in time for the marriage supper (Rev. 19:1-10) and in time to come back with Christ (Rev. 19:11-21; Jude 1:14; Zech. 14:5). [5] The rapture of the two witnesses, ending the first resurrection which began with the resurrection of Christ (Rev. 11:7-11).

‘Caught up’ [Greek: harpazo] to carry off; grasp hastily; snatch up; to seize and overpower; to plunder (John 10:28). From this we get our word rapture, meaning the act of transporting, as harpazo is used in Matthew 13:19; Acts 8:39; 2Corinthians 12:2, 4; 1Thessalonians 4:17 and Revelation 12:5.

‘In the clouds’ – This no doubt refers to literal clouds instead of multitudes of people.

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 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).

Touching Brotherly Love

1Thessalonians 4:9-12 But as touching brotherly love you need not that I write unto you: for you yourselves are taught of God to love one another. And indeed you do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that you increase more and more; And that you study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That you may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that you may have lack of nothing. 

‘Brotherly love’ [Greek: Philadelphia] brotherly or sisterly love. Translated brotherly love (4:9; Rom. 12:10; Heb. 13:1); love of the brethren (1Pet. 1:22); and brotherly kindness (2Pet. 1:7).

‘Taught’ [Greek: theodidaktos] refers to the teaching of divine love among Christians (John 6:45). This God teaches by the example of giving His only Son (John 3:16; 1Jn. 3:1). This He did while we were yet rebels and enemies (Rom. 5:5-10). If God loved His enemies this much, surely Christians can love one another (1Jn. 3:11-23; 4:7-21).

‘That you increase more and more.’ Increase in the love of the brethren more and more (3:12; 2Cor. 9:10).

‘Study’ [Greek: philotimeomai] to be ambitious; pursue eagerly; strive and aspire to; prize above measure. Translated “study” (4:11); “strive” (Rom. 15:20); and “labour” (2Cor. 5:9).

‘Be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands.’ True Christian behaviour – [Greek: hesuchazo] Translated “be quiet” (4:11); “rest” (Luke 23:56); “cease” (Acts 21:14); and “hold one’s peace” (Luke 14:4; Acts 11:18). The thought is that of a disposition and life of peace, and contentment; even temperament; to be meek, and learn self-control in all things; not to permit anything to disturb or cause a display of temper tantrums or disturb the peace of others. There were a few idle, tattling people in this church, who, instead of working, went from place to place carrying on religious gossip, meddling with the business of others, and causing splits or divisions. Hence, the commands to quit such practices, to do their own business, let others alone, hold their peace, walk honestly toward the world, and work with their own hands so they would have no time to meander and gossip (4:11-12).

His Holy Spirit – Part 3

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 and disciples of Christ had salvation (Ps. 51:12); the redemption (Ps. 31:5); grace (Ps. 84:11); physical healing (Ex. 15:26); names written in heaven (Ex. 32:32-33; Luke 10:20); the new birth (Gal. 4:28-30); conversion (Ps. 19:7); righteousness (Rom. 4:1-25); the gospel (Gal. 3:6-14; Heb. 4:2); justification (Rom. 4:1-25); holiness; (Acts 3:21; 2Pet. 1:21); pure hearts (Ps. 24:4); sanctification (Ex. 29:42-44; 31:13; Ezek. 20:2; John 15:3); and many other spiritual blessings before Pentecost (John 7:37-39; Acts 2:33).

Therefore, one should not take any of these blessings as evidence of a Spirit baptism. From all this, we gather that the Spirit baptism is the fullness of God in the lives of believers, not the Spirit by measure as in Old Testament times (John 3:34; 7:37-39; Acts 10:38; Isa. 61:1; Rom. 15:29; Eph. 3:19).

Different measures of the Spirit: the Mosaic portion (Num. 11:17, 25); the Mosaic portion divided into 71 portions (Num. 11:16-17, 11:25-29); the Elijah portion (2Kin. 2:9); a double portion (2Kin. 2:9-10); the Elijah portion on John the Baptist (Luke 1:15-17); the earnest of the Spirit (2Cor. 1:22; 5:5; 1Jn. 4:13; Php. 1:19); the Spirit “without measure” (John 3:34; Isa. 11:2; 42:1; 61:1; Luke 4:16-21; Acts 10:38); the Spirit baptism or baptismal measure (Matt. 3:11; 20:22-23; Luke 3:16; John 1:31-34; Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-21; 8:15-24; 10:44-48; 11:14-18; 15:7-11; 19:1-7; Gal. 3:14); the fulness of God (Eph. 3:19; Rom. 15:29); the rivers of living water (John 7:37-39); and the full anointing of the Spirit and enduement of power from on high (Luke 24:49; John 14:12-15).