Knowledge of the Rapture and its Effect on Believers
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
1 Thessalonians 4. This passage dovetails with 1 Cor. 15. In Corinthians, we don’t have the detail of the saints being taken up, and in 1 Thessalonians we don’t have the detail of our bodies being changed. The two fit together perfectly.
13 But we do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them that are fallen asleep, to the end that ye be not grieved even as also the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus has died and has risen again, so also God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus.
15 (For this we say to you in the word of the Lord, that “we”, the living, who remain to the coming of the Lord, are in no way to anticipate those who have fallen asleep;
16 for the Lord himself, with an assembling shout, with archangel’s voice and with trump of God, shall descend from heaven; v.16 The Lord Descends. It is beautiful that “the Lord himself” will come for us. He wouldn’t delegate such a task to an angel. See John 14:3. The “archangelic voice” is a voice of power. It is the voice of the Son, which wakes the sleeping saints (John 5:28-29).
16b and the dead in Christ shall rise first; v.16b The Sleeping Saints are Raised.
17 then “we”, the living who remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we shall be always with the Lord. v.17 Together Caught Up.
18 So encourage one another with these words.)
Challenges to the Rapture. Some will try to say that 1 Thess 4:15-18 is talking about the appearing of Christ, and believers welcoming Him back to earth. They will try to say that 1 Cor. 15, 1 Thess. 4, and 2 Thess. 2 are all talking about the appearing of Christ. This is totally false. The simple proof of it is this: in the second epistle Paul addresses the fears of the saints that the day of Lord had already come. If they were to understand from the first epistle that the saints would be left until the appearing, why were they so worried? They would have been rejoicing. Instead, because they were experiencing strong persecution, they were afraid that the rapture had passed them by, and that they would see the wrath of God after all. Paul says “No, the persecution you are facing is not the Day of the Lord”. He goes on to show that the day of the Lord cannot come until the apostasy takes place, and the Antichrist is revealed, etc. But in addressing this question, Paul says “I beseech you by the coming of the Lord and by our gathering together unto Him”. To teach that Christians will go through some or all of Daniel’s seventy weeks is to deny the coming of the Lord for His saints as spelled out in 1 Thess. 4. This is the very point touched in ch.5; “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:9).