1 THESSALONIANS CHAPTER 4

OBSERVATION STAGE

The purpose of the observation stage is to maintain focus on the text at hand within the normative rules of language, context and logic which limits the observer to the content offered by the book of 1 Thessalonians. This will serve to avoid going on unnecessary tangents elsewhere; and more importantly, it will provide the framework for a proper and objective comparison with passages located elsewhere in Scripture.

Remember that something elsewhere may be true, but in the text at hand it may not be in view.

I) [1 Thes 4:13]:

(v. 13) "Brothers we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope."

A) FELLOW BELIEVERS ARE BEING ADDRESSED

"Brothers" = fellow believers.

1) [Compare 1 Thes 1:1, 7; 4:14]:

(v. 1:1) "Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and [in] the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you."

[Notice that the church of the Thessalonians is "in the Lord Jesus Christ", i.e., believers.]

(v. 1:7) "And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia."

(v. 4:14) "We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him."

Notice that author Paul identifies the content of his belief and that of the Thessalonians he was addressing being " that Jesus dies and rose again", i.e., the gospel, which corroborates his testimony in this book of being a brother in Christ as well as those in Thessalonica whom he is addressing as brothers, (1:4, 4:13, i.e., fellow believers.

B) THE PHRASE "FALL ASLEEP" IS ADDRESSING BELIEVERS WHO HAVE PHYSICALLY DIED WHO ARE FURTHER DESCRIBED AS 'ASLEEP IN JESUS' AND 'DEAD IN CHRIST'

"We do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep" = "fall asleep" = believers who have physically died.

1) [Compare 1 Thes 4:14-16]:

(v. 14) "We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him.

(v. 15) According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.

(v. 16) For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first."

The phrase "We believe that Jesus died and rose again" defines we as believers. "Those" in the next phrase has in view, those believers. They are described as "fallen asleep in Him, [Jesus].

Then the next verse which begins, "According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those [believers] who have fallen asleep [i.e., are not still alive]."

"still alive" is juxtaposed within the verse to "fallen asleep" as an opposite. Therefore "fallen asleep" or "those who sleep" refers to those believers who are not alive, i.e., physically dead. Furthermore, "those who have fallen asleep" is described in verse 16 as "the dead in Christ."

Note that the following verses also use being asleep as a euphemism for the physical death of a believer: Jn 11:11; Acts 7:60; 1 Cor 15:20.

C) PAUL INDICATES THAT THE REST OF MEN, I.E., THOSE HE IS NOT ADDRESSING IN THIS EPISTLE = UNBELIEVERS, HAVE NO HOPE AS OPPOSED TO BELIEVERS WHO DO HAVE THE SURE HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE

"Brothers we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope, ["Elpida," (accusative)] =

1) [Compare 1 Thes 1:3-5]:

(v. 3) "We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope [Gk, "Elpidos", accusative] in our Lord Jesus Christ.

(v. 4) "For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,

(v. 5) because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake."

"Hope" = Gk, "Elpida", (accusative, 4:13), "Elpidos", (genitive, 1:3). Unlike the word "hope" in English which can be uncertain; "Elpida", "Elpidos' in NT Greek is a sure hope’ a certain expectation of fulfillment, in these two cases it has in view a certain hope "in our Lord Jesus Christ" through the "gospel" to provide eternal life.

So believers have a sure hope available to them of eternal life, (1:3; 10; 4:17); of rescue from the coming wrath, (1:10); and of being present with the Lord at His Coming, (2:19; 3:13). The details of this hope are not in view in this verse but are presented in earlier verses in the epistle which will be reviewed shortly.

D) PAUL ADDRESSES AN ISSUE STEMMING FROM THE THESSALONIAN BELIEVERS UNDERGOING SEVERE PERSECUTION AND DEATHS. THEY MISTOOK THIS PERSECUTION FOR THE FUTURE WRATH OF GOD, AND SINCE THEY HAD NOT BEEN RESCUED FROM THIS PERSECUTION BY THE COMING OF JESUS CHRIST, THEY GRIEVED LIKE THE REST OF MEN WHO HAVE NO SURE HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE

(v. 13) "Brothers we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope." =

Paul addresses an issue stemming from the Thessalonian believers undergoing severe persecution and deaths. They mistook this persecution for the future wrath of God; and since they had not been rescued from this persecution by the coming of Jesus Christ, they grieved like the rest of men, (unbelievers), who have no sure hope of eternal life.

Believers are supposed to have a sure hope of eternal life, (1:10, 4:17); of being rescued from the coming wrath, (1:10); and of being present with the Lord at His Second Coming, (2:19, 3:13). Evidently the severe persecution the Thessalonian believers were undergoing which caused the death of some of their brothers in Christ, (1:6), caused them to question these hopes even to the point of thinking that the persecution was the coming wrath of God, out from which the Lord Jesus had not come to rescue them. As a result, they questioned their hope of eternal life, being rescued from the coming wrath and of being present with the Lord Jesus Christ at His Second Coming, causing them to grieve like the rest of men who have no hope.

E) THE THESSALONIAN BELIEVERS WHO WERE GOING THROUGH SEVERE PERSECUTION WERE TOLD BY PAUL THAT THEIR HOPE IS IN JESUS, THAT HE WOULD RESCUE ALIVE BELIEVERS FROM THE COMING WRATH, AND ALL BELIEVERS WILL ACCOMPANY THE LORD AT HIS COMING - SO THEY SHOULD NOT GRIEVE LIKE UNBELIEVERS WHO HAVE NO SUCH HOPE

"Brothers we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope." =

1) [Compare 1 Thes 1:3-5]:

(v. 3) "We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope [Gk, "Elpidos", accusative] in our Lord Jesus Christ.

(v. 4) "For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,

(v. 5) because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake."

"Hope" = Gk, "Elpida", (accusative, 4:13), "Elpidos", (genitive, 1:3) = Unlike the word "hope" in English which can be uncertain; "Elpida", "Elpidos' in NT Greek is a sure hope’ a certain expectation of fulfillment, in this case "in our Lord Jesus Christ" through the "gospel" to provide eternal life.

2) [Compare 1 Thes 1:6-10]:

(v. 6) "You [believers, (v. 3)] became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.

(v. 7) And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.

(v. 8) The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia--your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it,

(v. 9) for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,

(v. 10) and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead--Jesus, Who. rescues us from the coming wrath."

3) [Compare 1 Thes 2:14-15]:

(v. 14) For you, brothers, became imitators of God's churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews,

(v. 15) who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to all men."

Previous to Paul telling the Thessalonian believers not to grieve like unbelievers who have no hope of eternal life, nor of rescue from the coming wrath, nor of being present with the Lord at His Second Coming, (v. 4:13); Paul acknowledged that the Thessalonian believers were going through severe suffering, (v. 1:6; 2:14-15); yet persevering through it with joy, (v. 1:6); commending them as a model of faithfulness for other believers, (vv. 1:7-8). He reminded them of their previous sure hope in Jesus of eternal life through the gospel, (1:3-5); their focus on waiting "for His [God's] Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead - Jesus, Who rescues us from the coming wrath", (v. 1:10). Hence the coming wrath is still future and not to be identified with their current persecution, which they evidently were grieving about as if it were. They evidently thought that they had not been rescued and were like "the rest of men [unbelievers] who have no hope", (v. 4:13).

4) [Compare 1 Thes 2:19 KJV with 1 Thes 4:13]:

(2:19) "For what [is] our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? [Are] not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His appearing?"

(4:13) "Brothers we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope." =

Notice that the Thessalonian believers who were undergoing severe suffering, i.e., persecution (v. 1:6; 2:14-15), were commended and encouraged for their faithfulness, (vv. 1:6-9). They were reminded of the sure hope of eternal life, (1:3-5); that they would be rescued from the wrath to come, (v. 1:10); and be present with the Lord at His Second Coming, (v. 2:19). The context of the epistle implies that the severe persecution the Thessalonian believers were suffering from was not God's final earthly wrath which is portrayed as yet to come.

Previous to Paul telling the Thessalonian believers not to grieve like unbelievers who have no hope of eternal life, nor rescue from the coming wrath, nor being present with the Lord at His Coming, (v. 4:13); Paul acknowledged that the Thessalonian believers were going through severe suffering, (v. 1:6; 2:14-15); yet persevering through it with joy, (v. 1:6); commending them as a model of faithfulness for other believers, (vv. 1:7-8). He reminded them of their previous focus on waiting "for His [God's] Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead - Jesus, Who rescues us from the coming wrath", (v. 1:10) and their "[sure] hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing. [Are] not even ye in the [accompanying] presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His [Second] Coming?"

Hence the coming wrath is still future and not to be identified with their current persecution, which they evidently were grieving about as if it were. They evidently thought that they had not been rescued and were like "the rest of men [unbelievers] who have no hope", (v. 4:13) and would not be present with the Lord at His Second Coming.

F) BELIEVERS WHO ARE ALIVE ON THE EARTH WILL BE RESCUED FROM GOD'S FINAL WORLDWIDE EARTHLY WRATH BY PHYSICAL REMOVAL FROM THE EARTH AND INTO CHRIST'S PRESENCE. GOD'S ETERNAL WRATH IS NOT IN VIEW

(v. 1:10) "and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead--Jesus, who. rescues us from the coming wrath." (v. 4:13) "Brothers we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope." =

1) [Compare 1 Thes 1:8-10]:

(v. 8) "Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.

(v. 9) For they themselves [believers everywhere] report what kind of reception you gave us [Paul, Silas and Timothy, (v. 1)]. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,

(v. 10) and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead - Jesus, Who rescues us from the coming wrath."

"Who rescues us from the coming wrath" =

"Ton ..........rhuomenon ..........hEmas appo tEs orgEs tEs erchomenEs."

"The One ..delivering .............us ........from the wrath .......coming."

The wrath in view is not an eternal wrath because it is not so described; rather it is described as an imminent one coming to the earth:

"And to wait [while on the earth] for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead - Jesus, Who rescues us from the coming wrath", (v. 1:10). This coming wrath is portrayed in 1:10 as that which may occur during the Thessalonian believers' mortal lifetimes from which our Lord is coming to rescue those alive on the earth at that time. Believers in mortal bodies on the earth are therefore to wait to be rescued by Jesus from this coming wrath evidently to occur on the earth. Neither avoiding nor being protected from God's temporal wrath while remaining on the earth nor eternal wrath is what would be described as "being rescued from the coming wrath" which one would wait for Jesus on the earth to rescue them from. Eternal Wrath is not described as 'the coming wrath' to the earth. All those who are destined for Eternal Wrath will be brought to God's Judgment and subjected to it there. Furthermore, there have been and will be demonstrations of God's temporal wrath on the earth which may or may not be avoided by individuals on the earth. None of these demonstrations however are in view in 1:10 because avoidance or protection from wrath while remaining on the earth is not the same thing as having the Lord Jesus come to rescue one from it. The next notable wrath of God is not His eternal wrath, but His final temporal wrath on the earth. So God's final temporal wrath on the earth which those mortal believers alive at the time will be rescued from is in view.

Notice that the phrase "Who rescues [lit., "The One delivering] us from the coming wrath" is in view as opposed to being 'preserved' or 'protected from' the coming wrath. The word "rescues" has in view a physical removal of believers from the planet as opposed to remaining on it and being protected or preserved while still being exposed to God's wrath as it crashes all around them.

Being rescued from a burning building is not to remain in the building and stay exposed to the flames yet preserved from burning, but to be removed from the building entirely. Scripture describes God's final earthly wrath to consist of anarchy, fires, contamination of water and land, destruction of human, plant and animal life, earthquakes, volcanoes, wars, pestilence - all on a never before experienced worldwide scale from which one could not be rescued without removal from the planet.

Verses 1:8-10 address the sure hope of the rescue from God's final temporal wrath of believers who are alive on earth. From author Paul's perspective, this may or may not occur in the lifetime of the Thessalonian believers addressed by him in this epistle. The word "hope" in 4:13 refers not to "the rest of men" but to believers who will be rescued from the coming worldwide wrath by the Son of God. They wait for the Son of God to come from heaven to rescue them from exposure to that worldwide wrath. This implies a transformation into resurrection bodies and removal of the believers from the planet into Christ's presence until the wrath is over.

G) TWO DIFFERENT APPEARANCES OF OUR LORD ARE INCLUDED IN THE SURE HOPE: (1) JESUS CHRIST WILL APPEAR IN THE CLOUDS ABOVE THE EARTH TO RESCUE BELIEVERS FROM GOD'S FINAL WRATH ON THE EARTH BY PHYSICAL REMOVAL TO REMAIN WITH HIM FOREVER. (2) JESUS CHRIST IN HIS SECOND COMING WILL THEREAFTER ARRIVE WITH THE RESCUED BELIEVERS ONTO THE SURFACE OF THE EARTH TO END THE WRATH AND BEGIN THE REIGN OF HIS KINGDOM

1) [Compare 1 Thes 1:10]:

(v. 10) "and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead - Jesus, Who rescues us from the coming wrath."

2) [Compare 1 Thes 2:19 KJV]:

"For what [is] our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? [Are] not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His appearing?"

"Tis ....gar hEmOn elpis E ..chara E ..stephanos kauchEseOs E ..ouchi .....kai

"What for. is our ....here or .joy ....or .crown ......boasting? .....Or .are not .even

humeis emprosthen ...........tou kuriou hEmOn iEsou en tE autou parousia

you ......before ...........................Lord....our .......Jesus .at.......His ...appearing, Coming.

............in the presence of

Two different appearances of our Lord are included in the believer's sure hope: (1) Jesus Christ will appear in the clouds above the earth to rescue believers from God's final wrath on the earth by physical removal to remain with Him forever. (2) Jesus Christ in his Second Coming will thereafter arrive with the rescued believers onto the surface of the earth to end the wrath and begin the reign of His kingdom.

Notice that verse 1:10 stipulates that Jesus is coming to rescue believers from the coming worldwide earthly wrath before His Second Coming to the surface of the earth implying transformation into resurrection bodies and removal of the believers from the planet bringing them into and keeping them in His presence until the wrath is over. On the other hand at the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to the surface of the earth in 2:19, believers will already be in His presence which is stipulated as their "hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing".

a) [Compare 1 Thes 3:13]:

"To the end he may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints."

"all His saints" = Gk, "hagios", "lit. "set apart ones" in this context, to Jesus Christ, believers

b) [Compare 2 Thes 1:10]:

"When He [Jesus Christ] comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed - for our testimony to you was believed.'

Notice that saints in 2 Thes 1:10 are identified as 'all who have believed.'

So 1 Thes 1:10 depicts a coming, (Gk = "parousia" = lit., an appearing) of Jesus Christ wherein believers who are physically alive on the earth at the time are awaiting His appearing "in the clouds" and "in the air." Evidently, He does not come to the surface of the earth, (compare v. 4:17). Believers are not yet in His presence when He appears at this time. He will then rescue them from the coming wrath on the earth by bringing them into His presence in the clouds above the earth and back to heaven with Him until it is time for His Second Coming to the surface of the earth.

Furthermore, verse 2:19 indicates that believers after this will be present with the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes to touch down upon the earth at His Second Coming. Evidently they have been in His presence since they were rescued, (1:10). Verse 3:13 also had in view the Second Coming of our Lord to the surface of the earth already with the saints who are accompanying Him as He comes from heaven to the earth. Evidently the saints were in His presence at this Coming beforehand, having already been rescued and brought into His presence before the wrath began, (1:10). Hence we have a Second Coming to the surface of the earth to end the wrath which began after His previous appearing to rescue the saints from the earth by removing them from the earth to remain in His presence until the wrath is ended. The Second Coming of our Lord must be a coming a second time as He came the first time: to the surface of the earth. Hence the stopping in the clouds to gather up the saints in the air to rescue believers from the coming wrath, (v. 4:17), we must conclude is a different kind of coming' as were His appearances, i.e., comings to the earth in OT times, which were not as the incarnate Son of God. This will be corroborated later in the passage in 4:13-18.

So we have two different comings of our Lord:

One without believers stopping in the clouds above to rescue them the coming wrath on the earth.

One with believers accompanying Him as He goes down to the surface of the earth to express the final wrath of God on unbelievers and begin His reign.

H) THE THESSALONIAN BELIEVERS ARE REMINDED OF THE SURE HOPE OF RESCUE FROM THE COMING WRATH IN ORDER NOT TO MISCONSTRUE THE SEVERE PERSECUTION THEY WERE UNDER FOR GOD'S FINAL WRATH. THEY HAD CONCLUDED THAT THEY HAD MISSED BEING RESCUED FROM THE COMING WRATH

(v. 1:10) "and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead - Jesus, Who rescues us from the coming wrath." (v. 13) Brothers we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope." =

The Thessalonian believers are reminded of the sure hope of rescue from the coming of God's final wrath on the earth for a number of reasons not the least of which is in order that they not misconstrue the severe persecution they were currently under for God's final wrath and then conclude they had missed this rescue and perhaps even that they were not saved at all. Note that this reminder is effective if indeed they are physically alive at the commencement of God's final earthly wrath. History indicates they will not be physically alive at that time, in view of the number of years that have gone by.

II) [1 Thes 4:13-14]:

(v. 13) "Brothers we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.

(v. 14) We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him."

A) PAUL TELLS THE THESSALONIAN BELIEVERS NOT TO GRIEVE LIKE THE REST OF MEN WHO HAVE NO HOPE. BELIEVERS WILL ACCOMPANY THE LORD AT HIS SECOND COMING AND THUS HAVE ETERNAL LIFE: THOSE WHO ARE ASLEEP AND THOSE WHO REMAIN ALIVE

(v. 13) "Brothers we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. (v. 14) We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him."

Paul continues to address the point he started in v. 13 when he said, "Brothers we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope" by stipulating, "We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him." So Paul tells the Thessalonian believers that those who have fallen asleep in Him, i.e., believers who have died, will be with Jesus Christ accompanying Him at His Second Coming; hence they have been saved unto eternal life and by inference so shall all believers. Evidently the Second Coming is in view wherein believers who have been previously rescued from the coming wrath now accompany him to the earth.

The statement "we believe that Jesus died and rose again" affirms that He has the power, the omnipotent power of God, which then affirms His capacity to fulfill the next statement, "and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him."

Paul's confidence that this statement is true is backed up by an even greater truth: "We believe that Jesus died and rose again," i.e., the power of salvation unto eternal life, (the gospel), is true; so much the more, then, is it true "that God will bring Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him;" i.e., that believers who have died in Christ will accompany Him at His Second Coming evidencing their eternal destiny of eternal life in Christ. So believers who are alive are not to "grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope."

III) [1 Thes 4:13-17]:

(v. 13) "Brothers we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.

(v. 14) We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him."

(v. 15) According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.

(v. 16) For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

(v. 17) After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."

A) THE LORD SPOKE OF BELIEVERS BEING CAUGHT UP TO HIM

"According to the Lord's own word" = Evidently the Lord had spoken of what is described here relative to His coming to rescue believers from the coming wrath by catching them up in the clouds from the surface of the earth.

B) PAUL ASSURES THAT BELIEVERS ALIVE AND ASLEEP IN CHRIST WILL TAKE PART IN EVENTS AT THE PARTICULAR APPEARANCE OF OUR LORD TO RESCUE THEM WHO ARE ALIVE AT THE TIME FROM THE COMING WRATH ON THE EARTH

"According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep." =

1) [Compare 1 Thes 1:10]:

(v. 10) and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead--Jesus, Who. rescues us from the coming wrath."

Paul is evidently addressing the Thessalonian believers' concern for their fellow believers who have died to assure them that the those alseep and alive in Christ will be included in the events at the appearance of the Lord to rescue the believers alive on the earth from the coming wrath and to bring all believers into His presence.

C) COMMENCING WITH THE ARCHANGEL'S LOUD COMMAND AND THE TRUMPET CALL OF GOD THE COMING OF THE LORD TO RESCUE BELIEVERS IS TO COMMENCE FROM HEAVEN, WHEREUPON THE DEAD IN CHRIST RISE FIRST, THEN ALIVE BELIEVERS WITH THEM WILL BE CAUGHT UP TO MEET THE LORD IN THE CLOUDS IN THE AIR TO BE WITH THE LORD FOREVER

(v. 15) "According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. (v. 16) For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. (v. 17) After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever" =

1) [Compare 1 Thes 1:10]:

(v. 10) "and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead--Jesus, Who.rescues us from the coming wrath."

Commencing with the archangel's loud command and the trumpet call of God the coming of the Lord for believers, to rescue them from the coming wrath, (1:10), is to commence from heaven, whereupon the dead in Christ rise first, then alive believers with them will be caught up to meet the Lord in the clouds in the air to be with the Lord forever.

D) BELIEVERS WHO ARE ALIVE ON THE EARTH AND THOSE WHO ARE ASLEEP WILL BE CAUGHT UP FROM THE EARTH INTO CHRIST'S PRESENCE INTO THE CLOUDS IN THE AIR - EVIDENTLY AS A RESCUE FROM THE COMING WRATH - THIS IS NOT THE SECOND COMING

(v. 1:10) "and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead--Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath." (v. 4:15) "According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. (v. 4:16) For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. (v. 4:17) After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever." =

Nothing is stipulated in v. 4:17 as to the Lord touching down upon the earth, nor bringing believers from heaven to earth, (v. 3:13), nor ending the wrath in His Second Coming.

On the other hand, the opposite is in view in 4:17: catching up of believers from the earth into the clouds in the air to be brought for the first time into His presence to rescue them from the coming wrath, (cf. v. 1:10).

Evidently the appearing in 4:17 is the rescue of believers from the coming wrath which includes resurrection of believers who are asleep in the Lord. Neither alive nor dead in Christ believers are in the Lord's presence when he appears to rescue them. On the other hand, 1 Thess 3:13 stipulates that believers accompany Him in this Second Coming. So the appearing in 4:17 is not the Lord's Second Coming, for believers were not yet present with Him.

1) [Compare 1 Thes 1:8-10]:

(v. 8) "Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.

(v. 9) For they themselves [believers everywhere] report what kind of reception you gave us [Paul, Silas and Timothy, (v. 1)]. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,

(v. 10) and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead - Jesus, Who rescues us from the coming wrath."

"Who rescues us from the coming wrath" =

"Ton ..........rhuomenon ..........hEmas appo tEs orgEs tEs erchomenEs."

"The One ..delivering .............us ........from the wrath .......coming."

The wrath in view is not an eternal wrath because it is not so described; rather it is described as an imminent one coming to the earth:

"And to wait [while on the earth] for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead - Jesus, Who rescues us from the coming wrath", (v. 1:10). This coming wrath is portrayed in 1:10 as that which may occur during the Thessalonian believers' mortal lifetimes from which our Lord is coming to rescue those alive on the earth at the time. Believers in mortal bodies on the earth are therefore to wait to be rescued by Jesus from this coming wrath, evidently to occur on the earth. Neither avoiding nor being protected from God's temporal wrath while remaining on the earth nor eternal wrath is what would be described as "being rescued from the coming wrath" which one would wait for Jesus on the earth to rescue them from. Eternal Wrath is not described as 'the coming wrath' to the earth. All those who are destined for Eternal Wrath will be brought to God's Judgment and subjected to it there. Furthermore, there have been and will be demonsrations of God's temporal wrath on the earth which may or may not be avoided by individuals on the earth. None of these demonstrations however are in view in 1:10 because avoidance or protection from wrath while remaining on the earth is not the same thing as having the Lord Jesus come to rescue one from it. The next notable wrath of God is not His eternal wrath, but His final temporal wrath on the earth. So God's final temporal wrath on the earth which those mortal believers alive at the time will be rescued from is in view.

Notice that the phrase "Who rescues [lit., "The One delivering] us from the coming wrath" is in view as opposed to being 'preserved' or 'protected from' the coming wrath. The word "rescues" has in view a physical removal of believers from the planet as opposed to remaining on it and being protected or preserved while still being exposed to God's wrath as it crashes all around them.

Being rescued from a burning building is not to remain in the building and stay exposed to the flames yet preserved from burning, but to be removed from the building entirely. Scripture describes God's final earthly wrath to consist of anarchy, fires, contamination of water and land, destruction of human, plant and animal life, earthquakes, volcanoes, wars, pestilence - all on a never before experienced worldwide scale from which one could not be rescued without removal from the planet.

Verses 1:8-10 address the sure hope of the rescue from God's final temporal wrath of believers who are alive on earth which in Paul's perspective may or may not occur in the lifetime of the Thessalonian believers addressed by him in this epistle, before the final earthly wrath of God share. This is what the word "hope" was referring to in 4:13 wherein believers but not "the rest of men" will be rescued from the coming worldwide wrath on the earth by the Son of God for Whom they wait to come from heaven to rescue them from exposure to that worldwide wrath. This implies a transformation into resurrection bodies and removal of the believers from the planet into Christ's presence until the wrath is over. This is affirmed in vv. 4:13-17 in view of mortal believers being caught up into the clouds in the air, an uninhabitable location unless there were such a transformation.

2) [Compare 1 Thes 2:19 KJV]:

"For what [is] our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? [Are] not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His appearing?"

"Tis ....gar hEmOn elpis E ..chara E ..stephanos kauchEseOs E ..ouchi .....kai

"What for. is our ....here or .joy ....or .crown ......boasting? .....Or .are not .even

humeis emprosthen ...........tou kuriou hEmOn iEsou en tE autou parousia

you ......before ...........................Lord....our .......Jesus .at.......His ...appearing, Coming.

............in the presence of

Notice that at the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in 2:19, believers will already be in His presence which is stipulated as their "hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing". On the other hand, verse 1:10 previously stipulated that Jesus is coming to rescue believers from the coming worldwide earthly wrath implying transformation into resurrection bodies and removal of the believers from the planet bringing them into and keeping them in His presence until the wrath is over. After this our Lord returns in His Second Coming to the surface of the earth with church age believers who will ever be in His presence.

3) [Compare 1 Thes 3:13]:

"To the end he may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints."

"all His saints" = Gk, "hagios", "lit. "set apart ones" in this context, to Jesus Christ, believers

So 1 Thes 1:10 depicts a coming, (Gk = "parousia" = lit., an appearing) of Jesus Christ wherein believers who are physically alive on the earth at the time are awaiting His appearing "in the clouds" and "in the air", evidently not on the surface of the earth, (v. 4:17), and not yet in His presence - at which time when He comes, He will rescue them from the coming wrath and bring them into His presence.

Verse 2:19 indicates that believers will be present with the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes to touch down upon the earth at His Second Coming. Evidently they have been in His presence since they were rescued, (1:10). Then in verse 3:13 we have in view the Second Coming of our Lord to the surface of the earth already with the saints who are accompanying Him as He comes from heaven to the earth. Evidently the saints were in His presence at this Coming beforehand, having already been rescued and brought into His presence before the wrath began, (1:10). Hence we have a Second Coming to end the wrath which began after His previous appearing to rescue the saints from the earth by removing them from the earth to remain in His presence until the wrath is ended. Since a Coming of our Lord a second time directly to the earth as He did the first time is defined as His Second Coming, then we might conclude that the coming of our Lord to rescue believers from the coming wrath is a different kind of coming, as were His appearances, i.e., comings to the earth in OT times, and was not directly to the earth as corroborated later in the passage in 4:13-18.