1 Thessalonians 4 Verse-by-Verse Bible Study
July 29, 2015
1 Thessalonians chapter 4, the Bible reads in verse number 1 "Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication."
Now it says in verse number 1 there "... ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God," In verse 2, he says, "... ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus." Then in verse 3 "... For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication." A lot of times when people talk about the will of God, they talk about it as this mysterious thing, where there seeking after the will of God. They're praying and trying to figure out what God wants them to do. But honestly when you study the Bible we pretty much know what we need to do as Christians, 99% of the time.
People make a mystery out of something that's actually revealed in scripture. The Bible is saying, "You know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. ... this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication." You see if you follow the commandments of the Bible and obey everything in the word of God, then you’re in the will of God. When you’re not obeying Gods commandments and when you’re not obeying scripture, you’re not in the will of God. It’s really that simple.
Now a lot of time when people are seeking the will of God, they're looking to know things about specific locations, for example or people. They'll say, "I'm looking for the will of God concerning, where to live? Where to start a church? What to do for a living? Who to marry?" But in reality many of these things are actually choices that God has left onto us. The Bible says, in Ecclesiastes, "Fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man." Once you have obeyed everything that the Bible tells you to do, that's your whole duty, you’re done. God gives us choices in life and he gives us free will to decide who we want to marry; to decide where we want to live. These things are not set in stone somewhere, where God has a certain place for us to live and a certain person for us to marry and we have to somewhat figure out and solve this mystery. No. We need to obey the word of God and the Bible does say that God will direct our paths if we do that.
The Bible says, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." The Bible says, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord ..." We just need to focus on being that good man so that our steps can be ordered by the Lord. We just need to worry about trusting in the Lord with all our heart and not leaning on our own understanding and then he will direct our paths. But people spend a lot of time agonizing about things that are questionable, when we really ought to be agonizing about that which we know to be true. We ought to be putting more effort and thought into how can we obey the Bible, than in trying to know the unknown and searching for the will of God.
He says, "No, this is the will of God." That your sanctified, that you live a holy life, that you obey the Bible, that you keep the commandments, that's what God, wants us to do. He's revealed us those things in scripture. Honestly God is okay with you marrying who you want to marry. As long as you marry someone who's saved. As long as follow the commandments of the Bible and marry a godly person, and you’re a godly person, well then everything will be fine. It's the same thing with a lot of the choices in our lives. I heard someone say it this way, "The what of God's will, is more important than the where, of Gods will." Sometimes young men are agonizing about where to start a church? They know that God wants them to go out and preach the Gospel and be a bishop, but they agonize about where? When in reality, the where, is not really that important.
People are dying and going to hell everywhere. People need to be saved everywhere. We need a soul winning church everywhere. Honestly, it's not that important. What's important is that, you meet the qualifications. What's important is that, "Study to show you’re self-approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." There are even some guidelines in the Bible that can help someone decided where to start a church, but it should all be coming from the Bible. Not just seeking some ethereal, mysterious will of God. But I've seen a lot of people really get wrapped up in that and waste a lot of time and energy thinking about that.
The Bible says here, in 1 Thessalonians 4 verse number 1, he says, "Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God ... " He says look, you already know how to walk. You already know how to please God. What you need to do is just abound more and more. He says, in verse 2, "For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication." Now what is sanctification mean? Go back to Exodus chapter 13, if you would. Exodus chapter number 13.
I love how the Bible defines itself. The Bible is truly, its own dictionary. A lot of times, whenever there is a difficulty word in the Bible, if you go to where the first time that word is mentioned it will define it for you right there in the Bible. Actually we're going to see that with a few different words in this chapter, that can be looked at as difficult words. But look in Exodus chapter 13 verse 2, the Bible reads, "Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine." Now the two words that I want you to pay attention to there are the words sanctify at the beginning of the verse and then half way through the verse you'll see the word womb. "... whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel ... " Jump down to verse 12, and notice that virtually the same statement is made but a few words have been switched. It says in verse 12 "That thou shalt set apart unto the Lord all that openeth the matrix ... " Notice, instead of saying "Sanctify unto the Lord ... " it says "... set apart unto the Lord ... " Instead of saying " ... whatsoever openeth the womb ... " it says " ... whatsoever openeth the matrix ... "
Right there we can define some difficult bible words. We can see that sanctify means set apart. Then we can also see that matrix means the womb. Okay. Right there the Bible is defining itself. Elsewhere, if we study the Bible, we can see for example, the Old Testament Holy Place, is known in the New Testament as the Sanctuary. We can see that sanctify means made holy or set apart, if we just use the Bible to define its own terms.
When the Bible says this is the will of God back in 1 Thessalonians 4 “... even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication." What's he saying? He's saying that you should be holy. What does he mean by being holy? He means that you should be set apart, okay. Set apart for the service of God. Paul said in Romans 1:1 that he was sanctified and he said that he was set apart unto God. In fact flip over to Romans 1 just so that I can quote that properly here. Romans chapter 1, he said, "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God." The Bible talks about being set apart for the use of God, different from just your average person in this world, someone who is holy, someone who is set apart for God.
When the Bible says that its Gods will for us to be sanctified, what's he saying? To be different from this world; to be cleansed of the filth of this world and to live a godly, righteous, holy life that's different from the unsaved people around us. That's what he means when he says, "This is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you should abstain from fornication." Why? Because this world does not abstain from fornication by enlarge. In this world, fornication is considered acceptable. This is basically what goes on in the marriage bed, happening before people are married. This is people who sleep with someone that they're not married to. The Bible is saying here, that it is Gods will, that we as Christians be different. That we be sanctified and that we abstained from fornication.
Then he expands on that thought on verse 4 by saying, "That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification" there's that word again, "... and honor." Now our vessel is referring to the body, the physical body. This is the vessel that we dwell in and it says "That every one of us should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor; 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 hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness." Again, we see these words being repeated sanctification, holiness and he's saying, "You’re not going to be like the Gentiles which know not God." You don't want to be someone who is unclean, but rather you want to be holy, different set apart, cleansed from the filth of this world.
Now, there's a word in verse 5, that's kind of a difficult word that we don't use very often and that is the word concupiscence. Again, the Bible actually defines this word for us, go back to Romans 7. This word is used three times in the New Testament and it’s interesting if you look at the first time it’s looked up. I'm sorry, if you look at the first time that it’s mentioned in scripture and then if you look at this mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 4, the definition is right there built into the verse. You can see what it means from the context. Look at Romans chapter 7 verse 7, the Bible says, "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." Right there we get definition of the word covet, to lust after something. We know that lust and covetousness, have to do with desiring something that does not rightfully belong to you. It’s something that is off limits unto you.
Desiring something that belongs to you; that's great. Desiring your wife, desiring your car, desiring your house, the things that you have, but when you desire other peoples stuff, that's covetousness. Lust is when you’re looking at someone who is not your wife, okay, you’re looking at someone else's wife and you’re desirous of her. Then that's why the Bible says, "Though shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife." Right here, he defines for us covetousness as lust and then in verse 8, it says, "But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead." Now flip back over to 1 Thessalonians 4, if we look at that passage, he's saying, "Before the commandment, though shall not covet. He had not known lust but once the commandment came, then it talked about him having all manner of concupiscence." We see that concupiscence is lust; if we look at those two verses together, we see that they're being used interchangeably.
When the Bible says, in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, "Not in the lust of concupiscence ..." we again can see that, that definition is consistent. "Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God." Why would it say, "... lust of concupiscence …” lust of lust. Well no, because concupiscence is specifically lust of the sensual nature. Lust in regard to adultery and fornication, when the Bible says, "... lust of concupiscence ..." we're getting more specific here. You’re not coveting your neighbor’s house or his car, but rather you’re coveting a woman. You’re coveting either someone to commit fornication with or commit adultery with. That's what the Bible is teaching here.
It says, "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 hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness." Now, what is that have to do with defrauding your brother? What is the lust of concupiscence have to do with defrauding anyone, right? Because he says, "Don't walk in the lust of concupiscence, 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." The context here is about basically sins of fornication and adultery. What he saying here, is that going beyond and defrauding your brother would be committing adultery with your neighbors wife, number one. Or it could be, if you were to commit fornication with a woman before she's married, you’re basically defrauding her future husband; because the Bible, throughout the Old Testament, talks about the virtues of a woman being a virgin when she gets married. That is of great price in the sight of God. But if you go and deflower some girl that you’re not married to, then basically now your defrauding someone there.
You see, whenever we commit see we're harming other people. Sometimes we just look at it as, well it’s my life I'll face the consequences of my actions. But honestly, whenever you commit sin you’re harming other people too. Because other people have to live with the consequences of what you’re doing. You commit adultery with someone else's wife, with someone else's husband. There's that marriage that's being destroyed, there's that other person that you’re hurting. The person that you’re with is being hurt and when you commit fornication, you are harming people’s lives, your harming your own life. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6, "... he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body." But your also harming the person that your committing fornication with and they're future spouse, they're future marriage is not going to be the same because the damage that your doing with the sin that you commit.
Now this kind of preaching isn't that popular today because so many people participate in the sin of fornication in the United States 2015, but this is what the Bible teaches. God sets the standard as being pure when you get married and not committing fornication that's the will of God for our lives and he says, "Don't defraud your brother." Don't defraud someone by taking away what belongs to them because of you covetousness and lust. He says, "Don't go beyond." Beyond what? Beyond the scope of what God has given you. God has allotted you the right to every man has his own wife and every woman to have her own husband. Don't go beyond that. Be content with such things as you have and rejoice in the wife of thy youth. Don't go beyond that, is what the Bible is teaching.
It says in verse number 6, "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 hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness." Notice that at the end of verse 6, he says, "... we forewarned you ..." there's a warning associated with this. If you commit fornication, if you commit adultery God will revenge that sin, that's what the Bible says. The Bible says in Hebrew's chapter 13, "Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whore-mongers and adulterers God will judge." You see the punishment that is associated with that sin, it’s a warning.
He says, "... we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness." Verse 8 "He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his Holy Spirit." This goes back to what he had said in chapter 2, when he said in verse 13, "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when you received the word of God which ye heard of us, you received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe." In chapter 2, he said when you heard us preach the word of God, you didn't treat it like it was our word, you treated it like it was the word of God because that's what it was. It was the word of God. That's why here, he says, "He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God." He's saying, if you get mad at this preaching when the preaching gets hard against fornication, it gets hard against adultery, he said, you’re not despising man, you’re not despising the preacher, your despising God.
A lot people want to kill the messenger. They get really mad when a preacher gets up and preaches hard against sin and rails on sin and they try to call them hateful and mean, but honestly, a preacher is just faithfully delivering the word of God and a lot of the times, the Bible is mean. A lot times the Bible is harsh, the Bible uses strong language, why? Because God is trying to send us a strong message, that we don't have the right to live an unclean, unholy, wicked life and that he demands our sanctification. He wants us to keep our bodies as the temple of the Holy Ghost and to keep them from uncleanness and not to defraud other people of their wife and what they deserve and to just be content with such things as we have. We're supposed to keep our body and honor our body and not just make our body the members of a harlot, as it says in 1 Corinthians 6, but to actually keep ourselves sanctified and set apart. You say, "Well everyone is doing it." But God says, "Be different, be holy. I'm holy." God says, "You need to be holy."
That's what the Bible is teaching here, when he says, "That he therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God." Don't get mad at the preacher, its God who said to us these things. It says in verse 8 there, "... who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit." Verse 9 "But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;" Here he's praising them for being a very loving church. He's saying you don't even really need me to take the time to love one another because you already been such a great example of the love of God and you already shown love. But he's saying, "Just increase more, you’re doing great, just keep on doing what you’re doing and increase even more and more."
Then it says in verse 11 "And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing." Now this is another theme in the books of first and second Thessalonians that comes up over and over again. You see Paul had been to this church and he knew what things they were strong in and what things they needed work in. He knew that they were a very loving church but he feels the need to really warn them about fornication. He also is constantly talking to them about the persecutions, tribulations and things that we will endure as Christians. He talks to them a lot about Bible prophecy. But another theme that comes up in the books of first and second of Thessalonians is this idea of working hard and being a good worker.
Now flip over to 2 Thessalonians chapter 3, look what the Bible says in verse 10 "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread." Notice the similarity here, he says "... that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread." Over in 1 Thessalonians 4 he said, "... that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you." Translation, "Shut up and get to work." is what he's saying. Now the reason he's saying that is because the Bible tells us in Proverbs, "In all labor there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury or poverty." He's saying people who just talk and run their mouths instead of working become poor. Gods telling us that we need to study to be quiet and to do our own business and to work with our own hands as he commanded us. He's saying "If any will not work, neither should he eat."
God is saying that we as man were born to work, six days shalt thou labor, the Bible talks about, over and over again. Back in Genesis, he told Adam that he would work by the sweat of his face all the days of his life. We as men have been created to work. When you talk to people who don't work much, as men, they're miserable people. They get depressed because work is what we're created to do. Men are happy when they have important work to do and stay busy working. But one thing that sometimes people do instead of working is just talking. You know that sometimes at your job you've seen people who get carried away talking, instead of working. God is telling us that he doesn't want us to be that guy. He wants us to be a hard worker and especially children, when you tell them to do their school work or you tell them to clean their room or do any kind of work in the yard or work around the house, you often catch them just, "Blah, blah, blah, blah." Just talking and talking and talking and work isn't getting done, at the same rate as when you just shut up and just put all your focus on working.
Now there is a time to talk and there's a time to speak and there's a time to be silent and to focus on work and to just get serious about getting something done. It's great to be a talkative person but you just need to know when is the appropriate time to talk and when is the appropriate time to just buckle down and get some serious work done. These people at Thessalonica obviously had a problem in this area because he says, "I told you when I was there." Then he writes them a letter about it. Then he comes by and visits again and tells them again. Then he writes them a second letter about it. I mean, he just keeps telling these people, "Work, work, get to work. Shut up, work!" Notice the people that don't work are busybodies. What do busy bodies do? Talk about things. The Bible says "... busybodies, speak of things which they ought not." They talk about other peoples matters and they get involved in everybody else's business.
We need to be careful not to fall into the trap of talking to much and working to little. We need to find the balance in our lives of working when its time to work and talking when it's time to talk. There are times at work when there are opportunities to talk, where your doing something where you can talk. Or maybe your driving to the job site or your on a lunch break or your doing an activity where talking doesn't take away from it. But often talking does take away from productivity at work and you want to give your boss 100%. Be a good testimony and work as unto the Lord and not unto man. That's what the Bible is teaching here, when it says, "... study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands." He says, " ... as we commanded you." reiterating that he already told them this.
Then in verse 12 he says, "That you may walk honestly toward them that are without." What's that mean? People that are outside of the church, that you'll walk honestly, that you'll be a good testimony unto them. That they will see your work and they would be impress by it and that they wouldn't be looking at you as the worse worker on the job or as someone who is always bumming money off of everybody and taking all the freebies that they can. They're seeing that your a hard worker that works hard, they can provide for them self and they can even be generous with the people around them. That's the kind of testimony we want to have as Christians. "That we may walk honestly toward them that are without." That they don't see us be dishonest, instead of working hard for our money and that we may have lack of nothing. That we will have the food and clothes that God has for us.
You see God has promised to supply all our need according to His riches and glory by Christ Jesus. But that doesn't mean that if you don't go to work He's just going to supply your need even if you don't go to work. Why? Because the Bible says "If a man won't work neither should he eat." God has promised to provide us with food but that doesn't mean that we're not suppose to go to work and earn the money for our food. You see God expects us to do our part and then He'll take care of it from there. But if we're going to be lazy and not do our part, He's not obligate to fee someone who's lazy and not working.
We talked earlier about the fact that God gives us a choice of who we're going to marry. God says that ladies may marry, whosoever they will, only in the Lord; and we do have choices. We're not forced, unless your in a country or something where they're forcing you into an arrange marriage but that's not a biblical teaching. The Bible teaches that people should be able to chose their own spouse, but that there are certain criteria for choosing. I'm not going to go into that. That's outside the scope of this sermon to go into all the criteria in choosing a wife or choosing a husband. But it always cracks me up when people have this attitude "I'm waiting on the Lord for a wife." That always just blows me away because that's like saying "Well I'm waiting on the Lord for food." Your not putting in job applications, your not going out and knocking doors, "Oh I'm just waiting for God to give me job." No just because God says that a prudent wife is from the Lord, just because God says that He'll supply our need and give us food and raiment, doesn't mean, hey just sit back and just wait for it all to come to you. No, its your job as a man to go out and find a wife. It's your job to go out and work and put food on the table.
This thing of, "Well I'm just going to sit back and wait on God. Just wait for it to happen" yeah, well good luck with that. See you in 10 years when your still single. It's true. Then what cracks me up too is when somebody will sit there and basically say, "Oh I'm going to marry this divorced woman." And you say, "Well the Bible says that, that's adultery." Here's what they say, "Well then I'm just going to be single for the rest of my life, because this is the only person I can find." There's 7 billion people in the world, half of them are woman. That's like if Adam and Eve said "Well this is the only tree I can eat from. The tree that's forbidden unto me." That doesn't make any sense people. There all kinds of fish in the sea we just live in a society that's so smart phoned and internet, that basically they can't interact socially with people anymore and just meet people, organically.
I mean they can't just talk and meet people, walk up to people and [inaudible 00:27:48] because they're so use to texting or something, that they can't talk and meet people. There's a lot of people out there to meet. "Oh every girl in my whole state is ungodly." What? Look there's 7 thousand men who haven't found the need to bail, I'm sure there are 7 thousand women also who haven't found the need to bail. You just need to find them. Anyway that has nothing to do with the sermon.
But anyway, back to 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, it says in verse number 13 "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him." Here he gets to some prophetic things about end times Bible prophecy and he's explaining it to them in the context of people that they've lost. Loved ones that have gone on to be with the Lord. He says, "I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren." so he speaking to the saved here, "... concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope." Now those which are asleep are those who have died because if you notice at the end of verse 14 where it says' "Them which sleep in Jesus." that is the same group as where the Bible says at the end of verse 16 "... the dead in Christ shall rise first." The asleep in Jesus are the dead in Christ.
Now when the Bible says they're asleep, the Bible is talking about their body. The Bible talks about the book of Daniel, that them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall rise. That's talking about their body. We know that when a person dies their soul goes directly to heaven. You say "Where in the Bible does it say that?" Well the apostle Paul said, "I have a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better ..." he said, "For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." Why was it gain for him to die? Because he would depart to be with Christ. He said in 1 Corinthians or 2 Corinthians, I'm sorry, he said in 2 Corinthians 5, "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord." He said, "We are confident and willing, rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord."
We also see in Revelation, that at the fifth seal being opened, in Revelation chapter 6, that the souls of them that had been beheaded for the witness of Jesus are up there in Heaven saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" They're very conscious, very awake and they're saying, "How much longer do we have to wait Lord, until you judge?" they're up there waiting. The body is asleep. This doctrine of soul sleep, of the Jehovah's Witnesses and Seven Day Adventist is a false doctrine. The sleep in Jesus is talking about the body.
Now that's very clear also in this passage because the Bible say right here, you say, "Well I'm still not convinced." Okay, look what the Bible says in verse 14, "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him." Well where is God coming from? From Heaven. He's bringing them with him, from where? From Heaven. The asleep in Jesus, those people, their soul's in Heaven. That's why he says, "The dead in Christ shall rise first." that's the body, "... and He'll bring them with Him." that's the soul, so they're in two different places. Because when a Christian dies, their body doesn't go to Heaven, their body remains, we bury it. The soul goes to Heaven immediately. But then a person who's unsaved, their body remains, the soul goes to Hell.
Later there's a resurrection of life. This event right here, where the body and the soul are reunited and the body is changed in a twinkling of an eye unto a new glorious body. Then later, there's a resurrection of damnation, in the Bible calls it, where actually the unsaved are bodily resurrected and then they're soul and body is cast into the lake of fire for all eternity. But what's interesting about this passage also is that it's a great prove of the deity of Jesus Christ. This is another great proof that Jesus is God. See throughout that New Testament, the Bible will often refer to Jesus as God. For example in Hebrews 1:8, it says, "But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom." The Bible says, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." That's all talking about God and those are all things that Jesus did.
Throughout the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as the Lord or He's referred to as God. That's why Thomas fell before Him when he had seen the print of the nails in His hands. He said, "My Lord and my God." and what did Jesus say to Thomas? "Blessed art thou Thomas because you believe. You've seen and believed. But blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed." He didn't correct him, when he called Him "My Lord and my God." because that's what He was. But this also calls Jesus God because look what it says in verse 14 "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 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." See in this passage, whenever it talks about Jesus Christ coming in the clouds, when it talks about Him descending with the sound of a trumpet, it only refers to Him in this passage as God or the Lord, every time. But of course we know its Jesus because of the fact that Matthew 24 it says, "The Son of man will come in the clouds with the sounds of the trumpet." and so forth.
The same person is being called, the Son of man, God and the Lord, its Jesus. It says right here that God will bring them with Him, verse 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." Now again, I can't emphasize enough, this event commonly known as the Rapture, when the believers are caught up into the clouds, to be with the Lord, in the air, to be with Christ, this event is known as the Coming of the Lord; this is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
The event in Revelation 19 is never referred to as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, that's referred to as Armageddon, that's a different event. The Second Coming, is Christ coming in the clouds, people will say, "Well He didn't touch down." that's none of your business, if the Bible calls it the Coming, it's the Coming. "Well it doesn't fit my criteria for ...” Nobody asked you! If He came in the clouds and sounds trumpets and gathers the believers and He wants to call that the Second Coming then I'm going to call it the Second Coming. You say, "Well it doesn't say second." Well okay, but it’s the second one, because the first time was in Bethlehem, coming one, this is coming number two. There's no one and half coming, okay. Or I always say to people when they say "Well this isn't the Second Coming." I say, "Are you denying that Jesus came the first time?" I mean that's the only way you cannot call this the Second Coming. "Well your just play semantics." No they're playing semantics, to try to twist scripture to teach a Rapture that comes before the Tribulation, which is not what the Bible ever teaches anywhere.
Including in this passage, there's no Pre-tribulation Rapture, in this passage. In fact in chapter 5, Gods going to very clearly give us the timing of the Rapture and it’s after the Tribulation. In fact, the timing given in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 is exactly the same as the timing that we find in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. You see in chapter 5 verse 1 it says, "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I write unto you." and he goes in to discussing the times. See in 1 Thessalonians 4, there's no mention of the timing of when this will take place. There's no mention of timing, there's no mention of when this is happening and then in chapter 5, he gets into the subject of the timing. But a lot of people just stop reading in the end of chapter 4, they don't get to chapter 5, where he lays out the timing.
Here in chapter 4 let’s keep reading. It says in verse 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." now prevent means come before; pre means before and then vent comes like from the same root word as like the Spanish word "venir" which means to come; prevent means come before. It says, "... shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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." Notice he says, "We that are alive and remain will not prevent them which are asleep." We're not going to come before them, why? Because the dead in Christ shall rise first, the Bible is real clear on the time line here.
First, the dead in Christ are resurrected. "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." Now the interesting thing here is that in this passage pretty much every verse mentions the departed loved one, because remember that's the subject. In verse 13 it says, "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep." That's the topic of discussion, what happened to our beloved that has died and gone to be with the Lord? Are we ever going to see dad again, mom again, grandma and grandpa, if there were believers in Christ? The Bible says, "We do not mourn like those who have no hope." Because look at each verse.
Verse 13, he says, "... them which are asleep.” verse 14 says, "... them also which sleep in Jesus.” verse 15 says, at the end, "...them which are asleep.” verse 16 says, "... the dead in Christ." Verse 17 says, "That we will be caught up together with them." Right there, ever single verse is making reference back to the departed loved ones, that's the subject. Because a lot of people will point back to verse 18, where it says, "Wherefore comfort one another with these words." I've had many people tell me "That proves that, that's a Pre-Tribulation Rapture." That proves that the Rapture happens before the Tribulation because see He's comforting us. He's comforting us. See and here's what they say, "How is it comforting to know that we're going to go through great tribulation? That's not comforting." But here Gods not comforting you saying, "You’re not going to go through the Tribulation. So just get comfortable buddy. Just sit back, relax and just enjoy because you’re going to disappear and before any of the crazy stuff happens, you’re going to gone." That's not what this passage is about. People have twisted this passage.
The real passage is teaching that those who've departed to be with Christ, they're with Him and we're going to see them again one day, so "... comfort one another with these words." is telling us that when someone dies and they're in Christ, let’s say at a funeral, this would be something that we could use to comfort people. To get up and say "We don't mourn like those who have no hope. We will see this person again. They're in a better place. We will spend eternity in Heaven with that person and in the New Heaven and the New Earth with the Lord Jesus Christ, so we don't have to mourn like those who have no hope." Now the sad part about this is that there are people that have no hope. People who are not saved, when they lose a loved one, they have no hope of ever seeing that person again. Or if your save and someone you know who did not know the Lord Jesus Christ their Savior depart, you will never see that person again. That's a hopeless situation, isn't? But when we lose someone who is a believer, we don't mourn like those who have no hope.
Here's the thing, some people when they lose a saved loved one, are going to be very sad and they're still going to mourn. The Bible is saying "We don't mourn at all." No, that's not what its saying. The Bible is not saying we don't mourn at all, the Bible's just saying we don't mourn like those who have no hope. There is mourning obviously, when we lose someone we're going to be sad just because we are not going to be able to see them anymore on this earth and we're going to miss them. But we don't mourn to the depths that we would mourn if we actually were never going to see that person again.
In fact, if a believer loses someone that’s a fellow believer or a baby or a young child that we know according to the Bible will go to Heaven. Then when they lose that person it’s almost like that person is just maybe gone to a distant country. I mean think about it, there are people in our live who might move to another country, move to the other side of the world, especially before the internet and Skype and all the different technologies of communication. It used to be if somebody traveled across the ocean to a distant land you might never hear from that person again. Maybe you'd get a letter occasionally, but sometimes the letter couldn't even get through. That's really what it’s like when we as Christians when we lose a child, when we lose a parent or a friend or brother, sisters whoever, it’s just as if that person just took a journey to a far country. In fact, they're in a better place and in fact we know that we're going to be joining them eventually. That's a comforting thing to know as believers. That is the comfort of 1 Thessalonian chapter 4, that's what he's referring to in this passage.
But when we look at this passage, it’s very clear that all of the things mentioned here are consistent with what we see in Matthew 24. Let’s just quickly go over there and make that quick comparison. Matthew 24, this also ties in perfectly with 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 but if you want to look at 1 Thessalonian 4 and just get the basic elements of the Rapture, basically you have Christ descending in the clouds, the trumpets sounds and then of course the believers are caught up into the clouds to be with the Lord in the air. Now look what it says in Matthew chapter 24 verse 29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and 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. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
Right here we see the same element of Christ coming in the clouds, the trumpets sounding and Him gathering the elect, it’s clearly the same event. Especially when you see that the same things are mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 5, when it talks about the Day of the Lord, which we know is associated with the sun and moon being darkened. Then right here in Matthew 24, what do we have the sun and moon being darkened. These are clearly the same events Christ comes in the clouds, the trumpets sounds and then the elect, which means the saved are gathered together. The Bible says, "... shall gather together his elect from the four winds." the four winds is referring to the 4 compass directions, north, south, east and west. Basically, he's just saying gather them from all over and then it says, "... from one end of heaven to the other."
Now a lot of people just don't want to accept that this is the Rapture because they just can't come to grips with those words in the beginning of verse 29 "Immediately after the tribulation ..." you ask them but why isn't this, the Rapture? "Oh because it’s after the Tribulation." and we know that the Rapture isn't after the Tribulation. Right but how do we know that? "Well 1 Thessalonians 4." Did 1 Thessalonian 4 say anything about before the Tribulation? There is nothing like that. In reality, they just form a preconceived idea which is actually a lie that the Rapture happens before the Tribulation. Then when they look at this, they just say "Oh well this can't be, the Rapture because [inaudible 00:44:27]" but then what's funny is that they'll often quote the verses that are just a few verses down, where it says in verse 40 "Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come." It’s funny because they love to quote that because they can tell you "He can come at any moment."
A minute ago this passage had nothing to do with the Rapture, but when it’s talking about coming in any moment, in their mind, it’s like "Oh yeah, that's the Rapture." But it’s the same passage, it’s the same story. See nowhere does this teach He can come in any moment. Just because we don't know the day or the hour doesn't mean that he can come in any moment. Look at verse 36 "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." But the question is, which day and hour? If He says but of that day and hour, He's referring to what He was just talking about. What day and hour is that? Of Christ coming in the clouds, the trumpets sounding and the elect being gathered, "... of that day and hour, knoweth no man." We do not know that day nor the hour of the Rapture but we do know that it’s after the Tribulation because He just finished saying that.
It would be like if I said, "Well I'm going to take a trip and I'm going to come back after summer but I'm not going to tell you which day or hour I'm going to be back. Just be ready for me to come back because I'm going to come back sometime after summer and you’re not going to know when that is. Just be ready." Then should I say in July, he's coming today. He can come today. It wouldn't make any sense, what it? He told us it’s after summer, okay. It’s the same thing with this. We don't know the day or the hour but we do know that it’s after the Tribulation. In fact, we know that it’s immediately after the Tribulation, okay. Because the Bible is really clear about that in this passage and in other passages. This teaching is all over the Bible. But I've even heard some people in their Zeal to try to teach "Hey this is not the Rapture." They'll look at verse 31 where at the end it says "... from one end of heaven to the other." I've literally heard people say, "Oh He's just moving people from one end of Heaven to the other." Like the Heaven where God dwells, okay.
Now look at Mark 13, because obviously that statement "... from one end of heaven to the other." is just a figure of speech when you think about how if you look outside, right, and you see the Heaven as in the sky, you've got the horizon on this side, you've got the horizon on that side. One end of Heaven to the other is just basically saying "Everywhere; the whole earth." That's what its saying. If we look at Mark 13, this interpretation kind of falls apart of this teleportation from one end of Heaven to the other, okay. Look what the Bible says in Mark 13 verse 24, "But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven." Here it gives us a slightly different figure of speech that means the same thing.
Again, these people are grasping at straws a lot of times, just to try to find some way to say this is not the Rapture. Then they'll talk about what's missing. They'll use the argument from silence by saying, "Oh well, where did the dead rise in Matthew 24, hmm?" But here’s the thing, if Matthew 24 brought up all the exact same things as 1 Thessalonians 4, we wouldn't need 1 Thessalonians 4. It’s silly to talk about all that wasn't mentioned when you have all these things that line up perfectly. You have zero contradiction between 1 Thessalonians 4 and Matthew 24 they're clearly talking about the same event. Sitting there and saying "Well but there was a detail over here that was left out over here."; that's like saying "Well Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, they don't agree with one another because there were stories left out of Matthew that I found in the book of John. Or there were stories in Matthew that weren't in Luke. That proves that it’s a fraud." No, they are telling different details, otherwise we would only need one Gospel. You give 4 gospels, to give us 4 different stories to focus on. 4 different themes, different things to be emphasized, different details to be added or left out, to make the point that he's trying to make in that particular book.
In Matthew 24, he's focusing on certain things for a reason. In 1 Thessalonians 4, he's focusing on the positives because of the fact that the whole point is to comfort people who've lost loved ones. He's not saying "Hey people, let me lay out for you all of Bible prophecy and all the End Times in 1 Thessalonians 4." No, he said "I don't want you to be ignorant concerning them which are asleep." that's the context. Therefore he's going to focus on the dead rising because that's who we want to see. Where as in Matthew 24, he's not comforting them concerning departed loved ones, that's why he's not making a big deal about the dead in Christ rising. He's focusing more on "Look you’re going to see these things come to pass. You’re going to see the abomination of desolation spoke of by Daniel the prophet. You’re going to see the sun and moon darken and when you see these things, look up lift up your heads for you redemption draweth nigh.”
Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 is geared towards people who are going to be alive during that time to understand what to expect, what's going to happen, what to look for with the coming of Christ in the clouds. Whereas 1 Thessalonians 4, it’s talking about your dead departed loved ones, that's why there's a different emphasize in both places. To say "Well there must be two different events because it’s giving us different details." is ridiculous. People are really stubborn about this doctrine, of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, they don't want to let go. They have no evidence. They have no leg to stand one. They can huff and puff all they want but there's no verse that says before the Tribulation or anything like it. There is no verse that says that Jesus can come in any moment. There are verses that say we don't know the day and the hour. There are verses that say we are looking for Him to come back but you know what, the Bible talks a lot about looking forward to things that are even further than that into the future as we already covered in weeks past.
Let’s bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father, we thank you so much Lord for this clear chapter from your word that tells us how to live holy, how to know your will Lord by studying the Bible, following your commandments, abstaining from fornication, being holy. Lord thank you for the comfort concerning those that we've lost and that we don't mourn like those who have no hope. Father, I pray that we would all study to show ourselves approved study to be quiet, do our own business Lord. Help us to work hard and live Godly and clean lives that will own and glorify you until that day when you come back in the clouds for us. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.