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The subjects that Paul deals with in this chapter are connected with three keywords at the end of the previous chapter: holiness, love and the coming. In this chapter Paul speaks about holiness in 1 Thessalonians 4:1-Ruth :, in 1 Thessalonians 4:9-2 Kings : about love and in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-Job : about the coming of the Lord Jesus.
So, in 1 Thessalonians 4:1-Ruth : it is about holiness and in particular regarding marriage. Holiness is in relation with the triune God. In this portion you read about the Lord Jesus, about God and about the Holy Spirit. They are the source that lead to a true life of sanctification. Sanctification is not negative, as if it is only about things that you are not to be doing. It is about what is devoted to God. That is only possible, since sin is in the world, by separating it from what is not devoted to God.
1 Thessalonians 4:1. The portion begins with “finally”, which indicates that there is something more added to the letter. The main elements of the faith life have been dealt with, but there are still some things that are also useful for their faith life. It regards the dangers that threatened the Thessalonians as a result of their former habits. The people around them were still living in a way that was fully in contradiction to the heavenly and holy joy that he has spoken about.
Like more often, Paul addresses them with “brethren”, in order to emphasize his relationship with them and their relationship with one another. In this way he clearly makes them feel that he is one of them. That creates the right context for what he wants to “request and exhort”. In order to make it easier for them to heed his exhortation, he points to the Lord Jesus. In Him his exhortation finds its origin and in Him they find the strength to take heed of his exhortation.
Confidentiality resounds in the word ‘request’. He requests something to believers of whom he knows that they are really willing to respond. In the word ‘exhort’, something of his fatherly authority is expressed. With his requesting and exhorting he continues with what he already told them earlier about their walk and the pleasing of God. They not only heard that, they also received it.
“To walk” and “please God” belong together. You also read of Enoch that he “walked with God” (Genesis 5:24) and in that way “had pleased” Him (Hebrews 11:5). Here you see how strongly ‘walk’ and ‘please God’ are related to one another. Hebrew 11:5 is a quotation of Genesis 5:24, but from the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament. What is written in Genesis 5:24 “walked with God” is translated there with “pleased God”.
The combination ‘walk’ and ‘please God’ appeared to be very fitting with the Thessalonians. The words “just as you actually do walk” are an addition that keeps the Thessalonians from discouragements which could have possibly arisen. Paul wants to prevent that they become sad because of his remark, which could make them consider it as if they did not bother about his serious instructions.
Nevertheless they still could possibly increase in their walk with God and pleasing Him and therefore Paul exhorts them. It is dangerous to think that everything is alright with you. You want to live with and for the Lord and therefore let yourself be guided by God’s Word and God’s Spirit. You can honestly admit that you do not know what you will still have to confess as a sin. There is nothing wrong with that. Except that it may possibly cause you a feeling of satisfaction, of contentment. Such a feeling may gradually take hold of you, without your realizing it.
When you compare your life to that of the Lord, it appears that there is a lot more to increase in. You certainly do not want to claim that you are an accomplished believer in devotion and dependence, do you? Have you ever experienced a situation in which you feel completely powerless? I think you do. It is about spiritual growth, to grow in holiness. As long as you are on earth the process of growing goes on.
This growing process only takes place when you absorb God’s Word as your daily food (Matthew 4:4) and obey it. You yourself will decrease more and more and the Lord Jesus will increase (John 3:30). If you do not feed yourself daily with God’s Word, the old habits will again get foothold. That’s what Paul is warning them for. It is also important for you to take that warning at heart.
1 Thessalonians 4:2. Paul reminds them of the orders he had given them. It was not just a personal wish or a friendly request. In that way he fulfilled the will of the Lord. The Lord Jesus is the authority behind his admonition. He wants the believers to please God in their walk. In order to fulfill that, every relationship that a believer begins in his life, should happen in holiness and love. Here you find it focused on holiness in marriage and brotherly love.
1 Thessalonians 4:3. When we talk about holiness, we talk about the will of God. If you bow to God’s will, if you acknowledge His will as authority in your life, you will abstain from fornication. Fornication is a brutal attack on marriage. Fornication – the Greek word is porneia, from which the word ‘porno’ known to us, is derived – is an unlawful sexual relation, both before and outside marriage. Fornication in marriage is also called adultery.
In the time of Paul, sexual impureness had such a fixed place in the Greek and Roman life that apparently nobody considered it an awful sin against God and their neighbor. It was a part of their ritual religion, like it still is in many parts of the pagan world. Sexual immorality is condemned in many places in the Bible. Whoever does not bother about that, will be judged by God (Hebrews 13:4).
That it is not considered an awful sin anymore applies also to the Western world, which once was Christian. Whether you’re married or not, you live in a society wherein marriage is incredibly being destroyed. It is not on a slippery slope anymore, but it is thrown into the abyss from the steepness. Sexual morality is declining rapidly. There is hardly any movie without provoking scenes. Commercials are full of it. And the enormous waves of filthiness that are being offered via internet have no end, both regarding the quantity and the horrendous content.
In the light of the developments in our country, this word to the Thessalonians becomes increasingly topical to us. It is absolutely no unnecessary luxury to place this word on holiness of marriage high on the agenda of the standards of life.
The Thessalonians have been freed from this lifestyle, but were surrounded by men who were still living according to the lifestyle. The chance to fall back on an old pattern always remains. In order to prevent that, strong actions are to be taken. It is said that they are to abstain from fornication. That is their responsibility and that goes also for you.
An appeal is made on your self control. Do you feel the urge rising to read sex books or to go ‘online’ and search for porn sites? Don’t give into it – fill your mind immediately with something of the Lord Jesus. Quote some texts from God’s Word. It doesn’t matter which one. Make sure that you have a number of them in store. Remember that you are subjected to the commands that are given here by the Lord Jesus. God wants your sanctification. He wants you for Himself.
In case you’ve gone too far already and have been entangled in it, search for help. Don’t wait too long to do that. Come up with it. Go to someone whom you trust and speak out about it. Confess your sins together with your confidant and make arrangements that help you to get rid of this addiction. Above all things, read God’s Word, for the truth will set you free (John 8:32).
Now read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-3 again.
Reflection: Look up the following portions and take them into your heart, so that you may use them as a defense for your sanctification: Matthew 5:3-9; 1 Corinthians 6:13-20.
The Will of God
1 Thessalonians 4:4. Young believers often ask the question: ‘How could one know the will of God?’ That’s a good question. This question cannot always directly be answered in a particular case. But in the previous verse you have clearly heard about the will of God in a certain aspect of your life. God wants your sanctification with a view to marriage. The concrete application of that will is that you abstain from fornication.
Therefore you need to “know how to possess” your “own vessel in sanctification and honor”. The word ‘vessel’ is also used to indicate a person (Acts 9:15; Romans 9:22; Romans 9:23; 2 Timothy 2:21) or also your own body (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:7). In this regard it can refer to both your own wife (1 Peter 3:7) and your own body. It doesn’t matter as to the power of this Scriptural word. In both cases the question is whether you deal with it in holiness and honor.
The contradiction to how the nations that do not know God deal with it, makes clear how God’s children ought to practice it. Those who do not know God, do not know how to possess their ‘own vessel’ in the right way. The result of denying the Creator is the degradation of the creature. The degraded man uses his wife for the satisfaction of his own lusts.
Paganism has lowered the woman to an object of lusts. Christendom shows that the woman is in the same way an heir of God’s promises like the man (1 Peter 3:7). That she is the weaker vessel, gives the man the opportunity to deal with her in a way that fully complies with her for being a woman. He will offer her safety and protection.
The phrase “know to possess” means that you know that you have received your body, in order to serve God with it. After all, “in sanctification” means separated for God. And “in honor” means that you value your body as a gift from God, in order to use it for His sake. If you value this gift, you will not use it for things in order to serve your lusts in general and your sexual lusts in particular. If you are married you will consider your wife a gift from God. If you appreciate this gift you will not abuse it to fulfill your (sexual) lusts.
1 Thessalonians 4:5. If your own body is meant to be a ‘vessel’, it is clear that you should not misuse your body to satisfy your lustful passions. I want to mention masturbation in this context. If masturbation is often a reflection of your emotions, then there is a great chance that you will misuse your marriage for it as a married person. You should not consider marriage to be a solution for sexual desires. To the unmarried or engaged person (which also means: yet unmarried person) sexuality should also be kept in the right place. Therefore it is important to learn how to deal rightly with what God has given in sexuality.
1 Thessalonians 4:6.This verse goes still further. Here not only the own body or the own wife is misused, but the wife of the brother. Paul draws a sharp line. The sharing of all possessions may characterize true Christendom, but one should keep his hands from the wife of his brother. She belongs to him. He who ignores that border and steps across that border, does a great injustice to his brother. This injustice is not to be wiped away by a quick confession (Proverbs 6:32-Habakkuk :), which is often forced after having been caught in the act.
A form of fornication that occurs more and more is the digital form. The internet is the means that offers this opportunity plentifully. There is a gigantic offer and it increases daily in number. Many millions of porn sites are dormant present there. Just a simple mouse click brings them to life. This ‘silent’ fornication is committed by a lot of believers. Sometimes it remains to be limited to only once ‘out of curiosity’. There are also cases, and those cases increase, where it has adopted addictive forms.
Do not think that it cannot happen to you. Therefore take this serious word that also comes to you, to heart. Do like Job, who says: “I have made a covenant with my eyes” (Job 31:1), which means, be determined not to look at something that defiles you.
The Lord will avenge everything that has to do with fornication. Paul has said that to them when he was with them, just like he had spoken then about tribulations (1 Thessalonians 3:4). Here he adds to it that he had “solemnly warned” them. These particular things need to be emphasized. An exhortation is not enough. This evil is so general and hooks on to our own corruptive nature in such a way that the threat of the vengeance of the Lord needs to be put as a horrifying sight before us. Maybe that will keep us from committing this deed.
I repeat what I said in the previous section: In case it is a fact for you that you have to acknowledge that you have already gone too far, just admit it. Do not go on in this way! There is the possibility for you to turn your back on it. Do not let yourself be kept by any whispering voice inside of you from admitting it. Then search for a person whom you trust and share your need with that person. Let yourself to be helped in order to get to be freed. With the help of the Lord and of others you will succeed. However you have to be willing to, and change your willingness into deeds. If you really trust the Lord, He will make you free to live a sanctified life for Him.
1 Thessalonians 4:7. God after all “has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification”. In the previous verses you were called to live a holy life. That includes the warning that if you do not do that, you will find the Lord as an Avenger on your way. However, doing God’s will is not only determined by the fear for God’s judgment. A positive motive to live a life in purity is to be found in knowing God’s intention for all of His children. When He called you through the gospel, He did that with the intention that you would be holy in your whole conduct, like He is holy (1 Peter 1:16).
The gospel that you have accepted is in sharp contrast to the impurity that surrounds you. By God’s will you have been drawn from it (Galatians 1:4). You do not belong there anymore and that does no longer belong to you. God has called you “in sanctification”, which means that you live your life in a holy atmosphere from the moment of your conversion.
1 Thessalonians 4:8. With the word “so” Paul introduces the summary of the subject with which he has just dealt. You ought not to reject what God says about sexuality and honor and purity and excellence of marriage. ‘To reject’ something is to put it aside, making it invalid, refusing it. That warning comes to you as a professing Christian. That means that you are capable of that.
This ‘rejecting’ will actually not directly start with the grossest form. Therefore beware that you abide in these things close to God’s Word. In conversations with people from your environment who do not care about God’s Word, you may get to understand and tolerate relationships that really go against God’s Word. Condemn those thoughts. You reject God in that way if you allow something in your thoughts that He condemns. You’d better reject what people say about that in contradiction to God’s Word.
You see that Paul goes back to the highest authority. He is a servant that passes on God’s statutes. Putting those statutes aside does not mean to put him aside, a human, but God Himself (cf. 1 Samuel 8:7). To anyone who consider sexual sins as unimportant, God and His Word have no meaning. That should not be the case with you.
God has given you “His Holy Spirit” with the emphasis on ‘Holy’. Through Him you are able to maintain God’s statutes. At your conversion He came to dwell in you (Ephesians 1:13). In 1 Corinthians 6 you read that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:18-Psalms :). There He is mentioned in relation to the same subject that we have before us. The portion there concludes with: “For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20). When you consider the price that the Lord Jesus was willing to pay for your redemption, is there then more left for you to live for than for Him?
Now read 1 Thessalonians 4:4-8 again.
Reflection: Do you know how to possess your own vessel in sanctification and honor? Are there items in which you can do better? In what way can you do that?
Brotherly Love and Works
1 Thessalonians 4:9. Here the second section of this chapter starts. After love in marriage you now hear about love among brethren. It is love for the family, a love that goes out to all members of the family. This love is aroused in the soul of a believer as soon as he becomes a child of God and in that way gets to belong to the family of God. Members of a family quarrel every now and then, but they love one another that much that they make up with one another as soon as possible. Family members defend one another, they stand up for one another; you can call on one another. That is naturally all engrained.
You do not have to tell people that they should love their brother or sister. To love a family member lies in the character of nature. In the natural life sin is an enormous hindrance to express or experience love. Family members can do much evil to one another. Though, that is at the same time something that goes against nature. A disturbed relationship in a family hurts much more than when it regards another person. They are both uncomfortable situations, but the family tie always makes itself felt.
The brotherly love was alright with the Thessalonians. With them it was clear that they were born of God and that they had the nature of God. The nature of God is love. That was to be seen naturally with them. Paul does not need to write to them about that. Because they have the nature of God, they are “taught by God”. They have opened up themselves for the teaching of God. Their conversion is radical. There is no room for the old anymore. In that way God gets the opportunity to work in them, so that His love for others who have the same nature, can be shown without any hindrance.
That also goes for you, doesn’t it? Brotherly love is one of the two proofs of a real conversion. The first proof is that you loved the world before your conversion and now you hate the world. The second proof is that you hated believers in the past and now you love them. It can happen that you may not get along well with a certain fellow believer. That however doesn’t change the fact that you love him or her. You may have difficulties with something that a person says or does. Just also consider the other way around, that they may have difficulties with something you say or do. But the point is that you see the other person as a child that is loved by God, just like you are loved by Him!
1 Thessalonians 4:10. In other churches in Macedonia like Philippi and Berea, they knew the warmth of the love of the Thessalonians. In a hard, cold world you and I need the warmth of the brotherly love, something that we are exhorted to give to one another (1 Peter 1:22). We are given to one another for that reason and by allowing one another to feel it, we can make one another happy. To love is not something you do with your mouth, but with deeds (1 John 3:18). Love cannot remain hidden.
When there is brotherly love and it is being experienced, then problems among believers will not quickly get the chance to disturb the relationships among them. Brotherly love keeps the difficulties at a distance or even eliminates them. Just as the warmth of the sun makes an icicle melt, brotherly love brings a change in cold relationships among believers. Love for the truth, which is very important, may however lead to such cold relationships when also the individual is being rejected together with the error. Therefore it is important to practice the truth of brotherly love.
The brotherly love of the Thessalonians was not on a selective basis, it was not limited to their own church and even less to a small group of like-minded people within the church. They loved “all brethren who are in all Macedonia”. Sectarianism was strange to them. Nobody escaped from their love. An unbelieving historian who saw the mutual love among the first Christians, wrote the following about that at the end of the second century: ‘It is unbelievable to see the fire with which these people of this religion help each other in their needs. They spare nothing. Their first legislator [which is the Lord Jesus] has imprinted on them that they are all brethren.’ Would the people around us also testify of us like that?
However much the Thessalonians might have been examples in brotherly love, they apparently can still increase therein. Brotherly love is not a matter of which you can say that you practice it perfectly. You can always become better in practicing it. Paul says that not to discourage them, but to stimulate them and to keep them from self-satisfaction.
1 Thessalonians 4:11. It may also be the case that they were a little bit overzealous in their brotherly love, that it started to look more like meddling. That could be the reason why he in 1 Thessalonians 4:11 switches from brotherly love to life in society. Taking care for one another includes the danger that we may want to control one another and dictate how the other person should act. We should not spend time on that. Every Christian ought to have a full daily schedule, without becoming restless about the course of affairs of other fellow believers. (Of course this doesn’t apply in a case where you clearly observe sinful practices with a fellow believer.)
Paul had given them clear commands on this. It appeared to be necessary to remind them of that. It is also good for you to know that you do the work that the Lord has commanded you to do (Mark 13:34). It occurs often that young believers in their first enthusiasm only want to do bible study and preach the gospel. I can recognize that, but that is not God’s will. He wants you to work with your own hands.
It is a misunderstanding to think that people who fully devote their time to the work of the Lord, are holier or find themselves on a higher spiritual level. This thought is a purely pagan thought. You find such people in India for instance. There must be evident reasons and reasons to be judged spiritually by others before one gives up his job in the society, in order for him to be fully engaged with spiritual work. Paul shows here that holy people simply work with their hands. He is the example himself here to them (1 Thessalonians 2:9).
Some believers in Thessalonica did not work anymore. They might have used pious motives for that, for example that they were looking forward to the coming of the Lord. He could after all come any time, couldn’t He? Why would one then be occupied with earthly things? But the result is that they started to get occupied with other people’s business. It is spiritually not healthy to passively look forward to the coming of the Lord. It is a good thing to look forward to the coming of the Lord, but at the same time we should do our work, otherwise we will do things that may spiritually harm other people.
1 Thessalonians 4:12. You must also consider that those “who are outside”, namely the unbelievers around you, are watching you. They see how you spend your life. It would be a downright disgrace for the Name of the Lord Jesus if they would see that you are sitting with your arms folded, doing nothing, and in the meantime only expecting that others will take care that you have no lack of food and drink. That’s totally wrong of course.
Especially in a work environment you have the opportunity to show for Whom you live and to Whom you are looking forward. The Lord Jesus will consider you to be blessed and say: “Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes” (Luke 12:43). In your daily activities you may find a great opportunity to adorn the doctrine of God your Savior in all things (Titus 2:10).
Brotherly love is only to be found within the family of God. All unbelievers find themselves outside of it. You do not need anything from them. I don’t mean that arrogantly, but you will give them a wrong idea about what a Christian is if you would live at the expense of others, the society.
God has determined that you should work for your food. He gave that command already to Adam. He had to work, in order to be able to enjoy the blessing that God had for him (Genesis 2:15). After the fall of man, God gave that as a commandment (Genesis 3:17).
Now read 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 again.
Reflection: How are you doing, concerning brotherly love and how do ‘those who are outside’ consider you?
The Lord Will Come for Us!
1 Thessalonians 4:13. Paul had already told the Thessalonians several things about the coming of the Lord. They had received teachings about the fact that the Lord Jesus will come with all His saints (1 Thessalonians 3:13). But how was that going to happen? Then there was the question about those who were already asleep. How was that going to be with those if the Lord came right now? Imagine that they would miss the coming of the Lord!
Paul puts an end to this ignorance. In that way he also makes an end to their despair. They were sad, like there is always sorrow when a loved one dies. But if you have no hope, like the unbelievers, then that sorrow is a desperate, inconsolable sorrow.
1 Thessalonians 4:14. The answer leaves room for sorrow, but with a shimmering hope. This hope is the result of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus (1 Peter 1:3). That’s what Paul is pointing at. Just as He has risen, also all who have died in faith in Him will rise. He will return together with them.
Here you find four important truths of faith:
1. Jesus died and has risen.
2. You ought to believe that, because otherwise you are not a Christian (Romans 10:9).
3. He will return and
4. will then bring all with Him who have fallen asleep in Him (in the following verses the apostle will tell how He will do that).
“Fallen asleep” is a nice expression. The believer doesn’t die, but falls asleep, because death has been robbed from its power. Death has become a servant to bring the believer to the Lord Jesus (Luke 23:43), in order to be with Christ (Philippians 1:23). After falling asleep the believer comes into an interim situation. That doesn’t mean that he has no awareness of anything in such a way that he finds himself in a so-called soul-sleep. That is in contrast to the Scriptural places that I just mentioned. Also the history in Luke 16, where the Lord Jesus grants us to have a look inside the hereafter (Luke 16:19-Obadiah :), makes crystal clear that the doctrine of soul-sleep is a false doctrine.
1 Thessalonians 4:15. It must have been a great comfort for the Thessalonians to learn that their loved ones will be united again with them by the resurrection. But still the question is left about how the Lord Jesus will return with all His saints. To be able to respond to that question, Paul received a word from the Lord, that is a revelation.
Paul tells about it in what you could call a parenthesis (1 Thessalonians 4:15-Job :). It is something that in Old Testament times was a mystery (1 Corinthians 15:51-1 Thessalonians :). Briefly said, he tells that the Lord Jesus can return with all His saints (including you and I), because He will have caught up all those saints in heaven before that time.
There was not a special word needed from the Lord concerning the coming of the Lord Jesus to the earth. In the Old Testament it has already been said about that (e.g. Zechariah 14:3-Deuteronomy :). But there nothing is said about the coming of the Lord for catching up the church first. Only the New Testament speaks about that.
You find that in four places:
1. In John 14, where is emphasized that He will come personally (John 14:1-Leviticus :);
2. In 1 Corinthians 15, where the emphasis is that those who are alive will be changed (1 Corinthians 15:51-Philemon :).
3. In Philippians 3 that deals with the redemption of the body (Philippians 3:20-Ecclesiastes :).
4. Here (1 Thessalonians 4:15-Job :), where the emphasis lies on the fact that the dead will be there also and that they will even precede those who are alive, for they will rise first.
It appears that Paul already expected the coming of the Lord in his days. He speaks about “we who are alive”. Still, many ages have already passed and the Lord has not come yet. That is not because He is slack with the fulfillment of His promise “I will come soon”. The reason why He has not come yet is because of His longsuffering, for He does not want that any should perish, but that all will come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that it will last a lot of centuries more. A lot of signs indicate that the Lord Jesus will soon start again His dealings with His people Israel. Before this could possibly happen it is necessary that the church is caught up. So that event is even closer!
1 Thessalonians 4:16. Now the church is seen in a special way in this portion. You may imagine that the Lord Jesus takes the church as His bride with Him. In itself it is true of course, but still I imagine that differently than I read here. Here I read that the Lord will catch up the believers with “a shout”. That doesn’t seem much to me like a way to approach a bride, don’t you think so? Therefore the believers are represented here as an army of warriors that is commanded by the Commander to leave the battlefield, in order to enter into the rest.
Isn’t that remarkable to you too that in this portion the word “Lord” appears five times? That indicates the relationship between all who belong to the church and their Lord. The Lord Jesus is not Lord of the church, but of each individual believer. And who are the ones that are called by the Lord? All the believers who belong to the church and all believers from the Old Testament.
I think that “the voice of an archangel” especially regards the believers of Israel. In the Bible there is mention of just one archangel, which is Michael (Jude 1:9). He is specially related to Israel (Daniel 10:13; Daniel 10:21Daniel 12:1).
And then you hear also “the trumpet of God”. Just like the shout, this is a normal language that is fitting for an army. In the Roman army there used to be three trumpets. The first trumpet meant: ‘Pack all your things’; the second meant: ‘Stand on the front line to march out’; the third and final trumpet: ‘Forward march!’
The trumpet of God is the final trumpet. The silence of God is broken. The moment of the entry in heaven of all who are His, has come. The shout, the voice and the trumpet are the supporting sounds for the coming of “the Lord Himself”. How wonderful is that: the Lord Himself. He doesn’t send his principal angel, that is a mighty prince, no, He Himself is coming.
His first act is to raise the dead in Christ. That’s how mighty He is (Philippians 3:20-Ecclesiastes :). He has shown His power by His victory over death by His resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:4). It is as David defeated Goliath. Due to His victory they sang about him to have defeated his ten thousands (1 Samuel 18:7). He actually defeated only one person, but he who ever defeats such an enemy, defeats the greatest army.
He Who has defeated death, will therefore raise those from the dead, who went into death. Here it is yet limited to the “dead in Christ”. All the unbelievers will rise at the end of the millennial kingdom of peace (Revelation 20:5) to appear before the great white throne and to be judged (Revelation 20:11-Ezra :).
1 Thessalonians 4:17. By His commanding shout (cf. John 5:28-Joel :; John 11:43) they will appear from all places wherever they may be, wherever the separate body parts may be scattered. The might of His shout merges all parts together and gives them a new appearance. That new appearance will also be received by the living believers. Paul doesn’t speak about that very transformation here. He does that in 1 Corinthians 15 (1 Corinthians 15:51-Philemon :). You need to have both portions, in order to see what is going to happen when the Lord comes.
Then the resurrected and the living transformed believers will be “caught up” together. This word ‘caught up’ is connected with the thought of ‘the sudden vigorously taken away and bring from the one place to the other place’.
And then the great encounter with the Lord will take place “in the air”, in the space between heaven and earth. The air is the territory of satan and his demons (Ephesians 2:2). It will take place in their power territory. The Lord shall approach us.
“And thus we will always be with the Lord.” You can be sure that you will never ever be separated from Him anymore. There will never be any situation in which you have to find your way in faith without seeing Him and tested by evil spirits. The war is over. The rest has now come.
1 Thessalonians 4:18. We can encourage one another by pointing at the near coming of the Lord, to persevere the struggle until the moment comes that our duty time is over. Maranatha! (which means: the Lord is coming).
Now read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 again.
Reflection: Do you expect the Lord daily?
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op 1 Thessalonians 4". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany