I Thessalonians 4

"Exhortation to Godliness; of the Resurrection, and Second Coming"

This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and made available with written permission by http://www.theseason.org

I Thessalonians 4:1 "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."

Paul is urging the Thessalonians to grow and continue to walk in the faith and in His Word. Search within your own heart for your shortcomings; and continue to correct them.

I Thessalonians 4:2 "For ye know what commandments [charge] we gave you by the Lord Jesus Christ."

Ye know through the touching and direction of the Holy Spirit.

I Thessalonians 4:3 "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:"

The "will of God" is God's plan, and that plan is what God desires for your life.

I Thessalonians 4:4 "That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;"

We are to so study, and discipline ourselves that we know when we fall short of God's will for our lives. Our hope comes from our repentance, and getting back into God's grace, and fellowship with Him. Our vessels, or bodies, are to be sanctified, which is to be made holy unto God. We do that by living a life that is an honor before men, unto the Lord.

I Thessalonians 4:5 "Not in the lust of concupiscence [passion of lust], even as the Gentiles which know not God;"

"Concupiscence" are the lusts and desires of this flesh body.

I Thessalonians 4:6 "That no man go beyond [transgress] and defraud [wrong] his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified."

God is the avenger of all sin. Through His commandments, He set the guidelines for each of us, in the way we are to act, and talk. When we violate any of God's standard; we not only are held accountable here on earth for what we have done, but also to our Heavenly Father. This is why repentance is important in our daily walk of this life. God knows our hearts and intents, so we must tune our minds to judge ourselves by God's standards, Through repentance our imperfections become perfect, or blotted out before the Lord.

I Thessalonians 4:7 "For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness."

"Holiness" is God. God called us to Himself.

I Thessalonians 4:8 "He therefore that despiseth [rejecteth], despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit."

The Greek word in the manuscripts for "despiseth", is "atheteo" to "reject". If you dislike someone to a point of not planting a seed of truth from God's word, it's a rejection of the Holy Spirit who wants to work through you.

Remember what Jesus said in Mark 13:11? He said we are not to withhold the Holy Spirit from working through us; in witnessing to others, in the last days. Friend, we are in the last days, and we are not to give up on someone, when they can be brought to repentance.

I Thessalonians 4:9 "But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another."

There is hope in salvation for all who call unto the Lord; God's love is sufficient for everyone.

I Thessalonians 4:10 "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;"

Don't be pacified with your present position, but strive to increase in God's Word, and you will grow to be a much stronger Christian. Our goal is to bring others to the Lord, and strengthening brotherly love amongst those around you.

I Thessalonians 4:11 "And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;"

Don't be a busy-body; learn to mind your own business. We are to set an example, and be an example to those around us. "Quiet" in this verse is in reference to your reputation; and Paul is urging us that we keep it stable, and not become a trouble maker. That doesn't mean you turn your head to an evil wrong, but that you see it's corrected. Then, that's taking care of trouble.

I Thessalonians 4:12 "That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing."

As we walk in our Christian life, even those who are not Christians will know of our stability. It is set by our example in the community. In this way we leave an approachable door open, where the unsaved can come to you for advise, and your word can be trusted.

I Thessalonians 4:13 "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."

The next five verses lay the foundation to what is called the "rapture theory". That is all it is, is a theory; and unproven idea. As we study our Father's Word; set aside all preconceived ideas you have about a rapture, and let's see what Paul is trying to tell the Thessalonians.

It is from these verses that the "rapture theory" was born. Let's see just how willing you are to bet your soul on it, when we take a fresh look at what Paul really said. Because that is what you are doing when you rely on it in the last days.

After Paul told the Thessalonians to live right in the community, and search their souls for sin in their lives, they were then to repent of any sin. Paul moved next to what happens when death comes to this flesh body. This topic is important to Paul, for it is the stabilizing factor to the Christian life. It removes the fear that comes from the unknown of ones death. Paul gives this information for one reason, and that is, that we not be ignorant as the heathen are. In other words, Paul doesn't want Christians stupid.

This concern is over "them which are asleep". The concern is over the loved ones that have died and left them, and their decaying bodies are out there in their grave. Paul is saying for us not to be sorry about those Christians who are dead and gone, for that is the concern of the heathen. The heathen's fear comes from their ignorance of God's word, and His promises. The heathen have no hope, for they believe it's over at the burial.

I Thessalonians 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."

If we believe, as a Christian, that Christ set the example for us; so that we will follow as He did, in dying, and rising again, then "to sleep" is to be dead from the flesh body. The Greek is a simple language, for it's structure allows one to be more precise. The subject in the frame of this verse is; "that ye not be ignorant as to where the dead are." If you're a Christian, you know and believe that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and on the third day arose and came out of the tomb. If you do not believe this, Paul classifies you as ignorant, and heathen [non-believer].

It was on the fortieth day that he ascended back to the Father. When Jesus ascended into heaven, all the souls went with him into heaven also, that had passed on, up to that point in time. The souls of some went to wait for that time of judgment, while others to the glory of God. Those that sleep [are dead] are not out there in a hole in the ground, but all Christians must believe that they arose to be with the Father, just like Christ did also. The dead are with God; all of them. "To be absent from the body [flesh body] is to be present with the Lord." Ecclesiastes 12:7.

Regardless what chapter nine of Ecclesiastes says concerning the flesh body; when this flesh body is dead, the soul is gone from it, and the flesh is left to rot. It is difficult to see how they made a "rapture theory" out of this, when the subject is, "where are the dead?" So we see that when one dies, his soul goes immediately to be with our Heavenly Father. If you believe this, you are not heathen.

I Thessalonians 4:15 "For we say unto you, by the word of our Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent in no wise [precede] them which are asleep."

This, Paul states, is not his words, but it is from the Word God gave to him. Where? Ecclesiastes 12:7, that is where it is written.

"We which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord," this is our gathering back to Jesus Christ. "Shall not prevent them", would be better translated, "We are not going to precede [go before] them." We can not precede them for a very simple reason; the dead are already there with God. It is the only logical fact that can come from this. If you do not, or will not believe this, then you believe in soul sleep as the heathen do, and the hope and glory Paul is speaking of, for the Christian, and you are ignorant of God's glory. Whether victorious, or sentenced to hell, all the dead are now with the Father, and not in the ground.

Paul, in another writing, told us exactly; as far as the return of Jesus Christ, when we would be gathered back to Him. That goes also for when we would see those who are asleep [dead], and that exact moment is at the sounding of the seventh [last] trumpet. It will happen very quickly, in the wink [twinkling] of an eye. I Corinthians 15:50-54 tells us we will not go away to any place, but stay right here on earth. We are going to be changed into our new Spiritual bodies, and put off these flesh bodies.

Paul says, "Behold I show you a mystery". In other words, Paul is going to reveal something so we will not be ignorant about it. "We shall not all sleep [die] but we shall all be changed." I Corinthians 15:51 Changed to what? The same thing the dead are, and that is the subject. All those still in the flesh body, at a certain moment [the sounding of the seventh trumpet] will shed this flesh body [corruptible and perishable body] and take on the new "incorruptible" body. Friend, That is the hope and salvation of the Christian.

To document this, in I Corinthians 15:50 we are told that "flesh and blood cannot inherit", or face Jesus Christ in His kingdom. Christ's kingdom will cover the entire earth, and that is why the flesh body must perish. The time of this change comes at the seventh trumpet, which is the last trump, and stated in verse 52, "for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed".

Those who are even dead spiritually will be raised in an incorruptible body. That is a body that doesn't get sick, or grow old; in other words, it is your spiritual body.

Why?

Because the Kingdom of God is where ever Christ is; and at the seventh trump Christ will be on earth with the saints, and setting up his 1000 year millennium kingdom. No flesh and blood body can exist in that kingdom. This is your "gathering back to Christ", and that is what the rapture meaning is all about. It is the time when Christ comes back to earth and the saints that are alive are changed and drawn to Him.

I Corinthians 15:53, "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."

"Mortal" means "liable to die" in the Greek. At the last trump the Christians who stand against Satan, and his system, will have their immortality, however, those who fall for Antichrist and his system, will have to wait until after the 1000 years. "Corruptible into incorruption" is refering to the flesh body changing into the body such as the angels have, a spiritual body. Whereas the eternal condition of the soul is only extended to those who have not yielded to the Antichrist, For they only are the victors at the seventh trump. You put on immortality through Christ who set the way.

I Corinthians 15:54, "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."

Going back to I Thessalonians 4:15, we know when this will come to pass. It will be "at the last trump", when the alive in Christ are "changed", not flying away.

I Thessalonians 4:16 "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with a voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first;"

The Lord is going to descend, at the seventh trump [the last trump]. Why will the dead in Christ rise first? Because they are already there, and with Him. All we have to do now is go to the book of Revelation, and find out in detail when this will be. We find out what events will occur just prior to this seventh trump sounding, and then when we see these certain events taking place before our eyes, we will know our Lord will return to earth next. Then the trump will sound, and the gathering will take place, and we will be changed from our flesh bodies to our spiritual bodies. And not one day before.

Many people have images of massive numbers of people flying away, with all sorts of accidents taking place; however, the Bible doesn't tell us it will be in that manner. In Revelation 11, it tells us exactly three and a half days prior what will happen, and the whole world will know about it, for it is no hidden mystery. That is when the Antichrist will end his reign by killing God's two witnesses, and send the world into a three and a half day party of celebration.

In Revelation 11 the world will know the two witnesses, for the disruption they have caused, and the world will watch as they are killed, and their dead bodies are put on display in a wide street [arena]. Are you still looking for a rapture, well my friend, at the end of the three and half day period it will be a time of great shame for you, For as Revelation 9:4 points out, the truth will not be sealed in your mind, and God is going to turn you over to Antichrist. The "rapture theory", could be the death warrant of your very soul, or a commitment of your soul to great shame. If you believe in the "Rapture theory" you will be on the side of Antichrist, and will fly with anyone, because you just don't understand the Word of God.

Remember, Two bodies will be in the streets of Jerusalem for three days, causing a world wide massive party...that is your warning just before Jesus Christ return to this earth. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

I Thessalonians 4:17 "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."

Revelation 11:9; "And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves."

They simple do not want these bodies to come alive, or claim life when they in fact are dead. The world is witness to the corps of the two bodies. And they will think of all the damage these two prophets did to their crops and property; and most of all, the insults the witnesses gave this first Christ {Antichrist}, whom they all believed to be Jesus. Antichrist did as their rapture theory promised it would do. They got their wing's all right, straight to Satan's camp.

Revelation 11:10; "And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth."

The torment the two gave the world was naming the Antichrist, Satan. This was unthinkable, for their traditions taught them otherwise.

Revelation 11:11; "And after three and an half [days] the spirit [breath] of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them."

Did you catch the time frame here? It's three and a half days following the death of two witnesses that the world will rejoice over their death.

When the whole world celebrates, you better be getting ready to meet your maker. Friend, the only flying out of here is by the two witnesses, and it is recorded here. God's elect will be changed here at this time.

Revelation 11:12; "And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them [two witnesses], Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them."

There is no secret to this rapture, of two, for who are their enemies? Those who were against God's two witnesses.

Revelation 11:13; "And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven."

This is Satan, and his fallen angels [that locust army of Revelation 9] that were caste out with him.

The remnent who gave God the glory, are God's elect, and those who are sealed of God, including the 144,000 of the tribes of Israel. Those are the ones chosen to stand against the Antichrist, and only them. The traditions of men will be preached right up to the seventh trump. What happens then at the seventh trump? Well, that is what First Thessalonians 4 is all about. "The gathering back to Christ at the seventh trumpet".

Revelation 11:14-15; "The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly." [verse 14] "And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The Kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever." [verse 15] THIS IS THE SEVENTH TRUMP.

You, as a Christian now know exactly what is to transpire for three and a half days prior to the sounding of the seventh trump. You will see the murder of the two witnesses, observe the massive celebration, and then be changed to another form before Christ returns to this earth. It's all in God's holy plan, and Paul, John, Peter, Mark, Luke as well as Jesus certainly do not want you ignorant of these facts.

There is no FLY AWAY, no dodging of the tribulation of the Antichrist and his system's deceptions, but Christ will come and establish His kingdom on earth, and you will see it in your spiritual body. Got it?

Now what about the clouds, and the air? The "clouds" are in reference to a large gathering of people, as Paul used else where also. While the "air" spoken of here, in the Greek is "breath of life"; we will meet Jesus Christ in our "breath of life bodies, or spiritual bodies". That is the mystery Paul spoke of in I Corinthians 15:50-54.

I Thessalonians 4:18 "Wherefore comfort one another with these words."

Paul was a Hebrew scholar, not a Greek scholar. He studied under one of the greatest Hebrew teachers of His time. Paul spoke street Greek. The word "cloud", Paul used to express a fact of many people gathering into one body.

In Hebrews 12:1, they are gathering to run a foot race. When they run, the racers bunch up into a pack, This bunching of the runners, Paul calls a "cloud". "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,"

The whole idea of the "rapture", or fly away doctrine started in 1830, in Scotland by a mentally ill woman, who was having strange visions in her sickness. It is documented in the book, "The incredible Cover-up", by Dave MacPherson.

This mentally ill woman, Margaret MacDonald, by her own admission, said that when this vision came to her, it was evil. Do you know why it was evil? It was Satan that gave it to her, because it is a lie. Those who listen and believe it are believing in a lie, and very shortly this lie will cause them to follow Antichrist, who will appear on this earth first, before the True Christ.

There were two reverends of the "Brethren Church", and their posting of this damnable doctrine in their churches allowed both to have equal credit for this doctrine called the "any moment doctrine". Today the American Brethren Churches proudly take credit for the growth of this evil infestation into over 95% of all Protestant churches in America.

Friend, It's not in the Word of God. Christ is coming here to earth to establish His kingdom here. There is no in-between. To make this damnable doctrine into the Scripture, is to force a lie into the Word of God. Go back through the verses given in this I Thessalonians 4:13-19, and all related verses. Try to understand that Christ's return for His saints is at the last trump, and remember, Satan [Antichrist] arrives at the fifth trump [see Revelation 9:1-4].

There are many "raisings to the Lord", because every time someone died, there is a raising for that soul to go to the presence of the Lord. "Resurrect" has several meanings in the Bible, in fact every time you stand up for Jesus, you are "resurrected". It means a new life, whether by death, or by the redemption of your soul to a new life in Christ.

Paul is only talking about "where are the dead", Don't allow the Bible tricksters to deceive your mind into a position of grabbing hold of the first Christ on the earth. It's just not worth the risk of entertaining the thought for a minute. It's not hard to check it out for your self, Trust God's word, and check it out in "Strong's Concordance, which is numbered to the Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries. If you can work a English dictionary, you can use these dictionaries.

"Air" in the Greek dictionary is #109, and is the "breath of life", your "breath of life" body is your soul or spiritual body. Trust God's Word, and do your own studying.

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