1Thessalonians 4-5

Sunday Evening Bible Study

October 29, 2000



Do people see Jesus?

Is the gospel preached?

Does it speak to the broken hearted?


1Thessalonians 4

:1-12  Holiness

: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.

pleasearesko – to please; to strive to please; to accommodate one’s self to the opinions desires and interests of others

aboundperisseuo – to exceed a fixed number of measure, to be left over and above a certain number or measure; to be over, to remain; to exist or be at hand in abundance; “Abounding” is used of a flower going from a bud to full bloom.

:2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.

commandmentsparaggelia – announcement, a proclaiming or giving a message to; a charge, a command

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

willthelema – what one wishes or has determined shall be done; will, choice, inclination, desire, pleasure

sanctificationhagiasmos – consecration, purification; the effect of consecration; sanctification of heart and life

abstainapechomai – to hold one’s self off, refrain, abstain

fornicationporneia – illicit sexual intercourse; sex outside the bounds of marriage; adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.

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

knoweido – to see; to know; to see with the mind’s eye, signifies a clear and purely mental perception

to possessktaomai – to acquire, get, or procure a thing for one’s self, to possess; to marry a wife

vesselskeuos – a vessel; an implement; metaph.; a man of quality, a chosen instrument; “Vessel” was a common Greek metaphor for “body” since Greeks thought of souls living temporarily in bodies.

sanctificationhagiasmos – consecration, purification; the effect of consecration; sanctification of heart and life

honourtime – a valuing by which the price is fixed; honour which belongs or is shown to one; of the honour which one has by reason of rank and state of office which he holds; deference, reverence

Your body is a thing of value to God.

:5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:

lustpathos – whatever befalls one, whether it be sad or joyous; a feeling which the mind suffers; an affliction of the mind, emotion, passion; passionate deed; in the NT in a bad sense, depraved passion, vile passions

concupiscenceepithumia – desire, craving, longing, desire for what is forbidden, lust

:6 That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter:

go beyondhuperbaino – to step over, beyond; metaph.; to transgress; to overstep the proper limits; trespass, do wrong, sin; of one who defrauds another in business; overreaches

Kind of like “stepping over the line”

defraudpleonekteo – to have more, or a greater part or share; to be superior, excel, surpass, have an advantage over; to gain or take advantage of another, to overreach.  It comes from pleonektes, one eager to have more, esp. what belongs to others; greedy of gain, covetous

matterpragma – that which has been done, a deed, an accomplished fact; what is done or being accomplished; a matter, question, affair; spec. in a forensic sense, a matter at law, case, suit

When you are talking to a person who is married, it’s important that you learn to see a “line” around that person, a line which you choose to never cross. 

We can get talking to a person and start to develop little emotional connections.  We might find ourselves becoming drawn to that person and selfishly think only of our own self and that other person.  But in reality, they belong to another.

:6  because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.

the avengerekdikos – exacting penalty from one; an avenger, punisher

forewarnedproepo – to say before; to say in what precedes, to say above; to say before i.e. heretofore, formerly; to say beforehand i.e. before the event: prophecies

testifieddiamarturomai – to testify; earnestly, religiously to charge; to attest, testify to, solemnly affirm; to give solemn testimony to one; to confirm a thing by testimony, to testify, cause it to be believed

:7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

uncleannessakatharsia – uncleanness; physical; in a moral sense: the impurity of lustful, luxurious, profligate living; of impure motives

holinesshagiasmos – consecration, purification; the effect of consecration; sanctification of heart and life

:8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

thereforetoigaroun – wherefore then, for which reason, therefore, consequently

despisethatheteo – to do away with, to set aside, disregard; to thwart the efficacy of anything, nullify, make void, frustrate; to reject, to refuse, to slight

holyhagios – most holy thing, a saint.  This is the root word for what is translated “sanctification” and “holiness”.

God wants us to be holy because He is holy.

(1 Pet 1:15-16 NLT)  But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God--who chose you to be his children--is holy. {16} For he himself has said, "You must be holy because I am holy."

When the Holy Spirit lives in us, He is going to shape us to be more like He is, holy.

If you have a problem with this, you don’t have a problem with me, or other people who would tell you this, your problem is with God.

: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.

brotherly lovephiladelphia (anyone know the “city of brotherly love”? – Philadelphia, PA) – love of brothers or sisters, brotherly love; in the NT the love which Christians cherish for each other as brethren

taught of Godtheodidaktos – taught of God

When God is in your life, He’s trying to teach you to love others.  It’s one of the evidences of a genuine Christian.  It’s a fruit of the Spirit, a result of His working in your life.

to loveagapao – of persons; to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly

: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;

beseechparakaleo – to call to one’s side, call for, summon; to admonish, exhort; to beg, entreat, beseech

ye increaseperisseuo – to exceed a fixed number of measure, to be left over and above a certain number or measure; to be over, to remain; to exist or be at hand in abundance; to abound, overflow; “Abounding” is used of a flower going from a bud to full bloom.


You can’t love enough

These people knew about love.
Paul was thankful that they had the “labour of love” (1:3)
Paul prayed that their love would increase and abound (3:12)
God had taught these people how to love each other (4:9)
But this wasn’t enough.  Paul asked them to go over and above where they were.
I remember experiencing a new level of love when my first son was born.  I couldn’t believe the amount of love that welled up inside me at the sight of that baby.  When our second son was born, I was afraid that I’d have to somehow stop loving my first son a bit so I would have enough love to share with the second.  I had the “cake” mentality of love.  I thought I only had one piece of the cake called “love” and that now I’d have to share it with two sons.  But love doesn’t work that way.  Instead of cutting my love for my first born, God seemed to add the capacity in my heart to love another son just as much.  God gave me a whole new piece of cake.
Don’t be stingy with your love.  Let God expand your ability to love more people.  Let God expand your ability to love the people you already love with a greater love.  Keep growing in love.
SHMILY (Author unknown)
My grandparents were married for over half a century, and played their  own special game from the time they had met each other. The goal of their  game was to write the word “shmily” in a surprise place for the other to  find.  They took turns leaving “shmily” around the house, and as soon as one  of them discovered it, it was their turn to hide it once more.
They dragged “shmily” with their fingers through the sugar and flour  containers to await whoever was preparing the next meal. They smeared it in  the dew on the windows overlooking the patio where my grandma always fed us  warm, homemade pudding with blue food coloring. “Shmily” was written in the  steam left on the mirror after a hot shower, where it would reappear bath  after bath.  At one point, my grandmother even unrolled an entire roll of  toilet paper to leave “shmily” on the very last sheet. 
There was no end to the places “shmily” would pop up. Little notes with “shmily” scribbled hurriedly were found on dashboards and car seats, or  taped to steering wheels.  The notes were stuffed inside shoes and left under  pillows. “Shmily” was written in the dust upon the mantel and traced in the  ashes of the fireplace.  This mysterious word was as much a part of my  grandparents’ house as the furniture. It took me a long time before I was able to fully appreciate my grandparents’ game.  Skepticism has kept me from believing in true love-one that is pure and enduring.  However, I never doubted my grandparents’ relationship.  They had love down pat.  It was more than their flirtatious little games; it was a way of life.  Their relationship was based on a devotion and passionate affection which not everyone is lucky experience.   Grandma and Grandpa held hands every chance they could.  They stole  kisses as they bumped into each other in their tiny kitchen. They finished each other’s sentences and shared the daily crossword puzzle and word jumble. My grandma whispered to me about how cute my grandpa was, how handsome an old he had grown to be.  She claimed that she really knew “how to pick ‘em.”
Before every meal they bowed their heads and gave thanks, marveling at  their blessings: a wonderful family, good fortune, and each other. 
But there was a dark cloud in my grandparents’ life: my grandmother had  breast cancer.  The disease had first appeared ten years earlier.  As always,  Grandpa was with her every step of the way.  He comforted her in their yellow  room, painted that way so that she could always be surrounded by sunshine,  even when she was too sick to go outside.  Now the cancer was again attacking  her body.  With the help of a cane and my grandfather’s steady hand, they  went to church every morning. But my grandmother grew steadily weaker until,  finally, she could not leave the house anymore.  For a while, Grandpa would  go to church alone, praying to God to watch over his wife.  Then one day,  what we all dreaded finally happened. Grandma was gone.
“Shmily.”  It was scrawled in yellow on the pink ribbons of my grandmother’s funeral bouquet.  As the crowd thinned and the last mourners turned to leave, my aunts, uncles, cousins and other family members came forward and gathered around Grandma one last time.  Grandpa stepped up to my grandmother’s casket and, taking a shaky breath, he began to sing to her. Through his tears and grief, the song came, a deep and throaty lullaby. Shaking with my own sorrow, I will never forget that moment.  For knew  that, although I couldn’t begin to fathom the depth of their love, I had been  privileged to witness its unmatched beauty.
S-H-M-I-L-Y ~ See How Much I Love You.
Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa, for letting me see.

: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;

studyphilotimeomai – to be fond of honour; from a love of honour to strive to bring something to pass; to be ambitious; to strive earnestly, make it one’s aim

to be quiethesuchazo – to keep quiet; to rest, cease from labour; to lead a quiet life, said of those who are not running hither and thither, but stay at home and mind their business; to be silent, i.e. to say nothing, hold one’s peace

to doprasso – to exercise, practise, to be busy with, carry on; to undertake, to do; to accomplish, perform; to manage public affairs, transact public business

commandedparaggello – to transmit a message along from one to another, to declare, announce; to command, order, charge


Mind your own business

Some people have a habit of worrying about everyone else’s business but their own.  They like to know about everything that goes on.  They may not necessarily be a “gossip” in that they don’t go around spreading what they know.  But they can definitely stick their nose in where it doesn’t belong.
It’s like the gal that spends the day on the telephone talking with other women, but whose own household responsibilities go undone.
What has God given you to do as your “lot” in life?
Whatever it is, be sure that you are doing it well.  Don’t be so concerned about how others are doing.  Just do what you need to be doing.
Paul will write to the Thessalonians,

(2 Th 3:11-12 NLT)  Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and wasting time meddling in other people's business. {12} In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we appeal to such people--no, we command them: Settle down and get to work. Earn your own living.

In the early church, because there was no Social Security system, the church would take care of the needs of women whose husbands had died.  Paul warned Timothy about not having the church support a widow who was young enough to get remarried because,

(1 Tim 5:13 NLT)  they are likely to become lazy and spend their time gossiping from house to house, getting into other people's business and saying things they shouldn't.

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

honestlyeuschemonos – in a seemly manner, decently; from euschemon – of elegant figure; shapely, graceful, comely, bearing one’s self becomingly in speech or behaviour; of good standing; honourable, influential, wealthy, respectable


Heart for the lost

We ought to treat unbelievers with dignity, love, and respect.  They need to see an example of the God who loved them so much He gave His only begotten Son to die for them.
Sometimes we want to totally withdraw from unbelievers.  We don’t want them to influence us or our families.  But how will they ever know about Jesus if we don’t spend time with them?
If you are a Christian and own your own company, you should be the ultimate example of honesty and integrity.  If you are a Christian and work for a non-Christian, they are going to be forming their opinions of Jesus based on how you treat them.

:13-18  The Rapture

Paul is going to address an issue that is of concern to the Thessalonians.

Since the time of Jesus, Christians had been expecting Jesus to return at any moment.  Christians have always been anxious for Jesus to come back and set up His kingdom on earth.

But a question arose with the Thessalonians, “What about people who came to trust in the Lord, but who have now died, will they miss out on His kingdom?”

:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep,

ignorantagnoeo – to be ignorant, not to know; not to understand, unknown

asleepkoimao – to cause to sleep, put to sleep; metaph.; to still, calm, quiet; to fall asleep, to sleep; to die.  The verb is a “perfect” tense, meaning that the action happened in the past and has results continuing on into the present.

Paul is talking about Christians who have died.

In the New Testament, death for a Christian is compared to “sleep”.


What death is NOT

The Jehovah Witnesses teach a doctrine called “soul sleep”.  They believe that when a person dies, that their soul goes to sleep in their body in the grave until the day of the resurrection.
The Bible does not teach this. 

The Bible teaches that when a believer dies, their soul/spirit goes immediately to be with the Lord. Paul said that he preferred to depart and “be with Christ” (Phil. 1:23), and that to be “absent from the body” was to be “present with the Lord” (2Cor. 5:8).


What is death

Death for the Christian is compared to sleep because:
1)  Death is about as harmless to a Christian as sleep.

Jesus said if we believed in Him, we’re never really die (John 11:25-26).  We may experience a separation from our physical body, but we will never be separated from God.


It’s just like naps and growing up.  Kids hate naps.  They detest naps.  They’d rather be up and running around wildly.  But you know you’ve become a mature adult when you grow to love naps.  You can tell a lot about the maturity of a person by how they respond to the suggestion of taking a nap.

Death for a mature Christian should be in a sense something that we look forward to.  After all, it’s when we get to go to be with our Savior whom we’ve waited for.

2)  A dead person simply looks like they’re asleep.  I’ve done enough funerals, it’s true.

:13  that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

sorrowlupeo – to make sorrowful; to affect with sadness, cause grief, to throw into sorrow


Our sorrow is different

There’s a vast difference between the funeral of a believer and the funeral of an unbeliever.
At an unbeliever’s funeral, everyone is weeping and wailing.  They say things like, “He died so young, what a waste”.  There is an unspoken sense of uncertainty over the person’s destiny.  People “hope” they’re in a better place.
At a believer’s funeral, there can still be sadness, but it’s a sadness solely because the person is missed.  When talk turns to the person’s current state, there can be joy and happiness because they are in heaven with Jesus.

:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

sleep in Jesus – those who are Christians, but have died.

will bringago – to lead, take with one; to lead by laying hold of, and this way to bring to the point of destination: of an animal; to lead by accompanying to (into) a place; to lead

with him – note that those who have died will be coming “with him”, or, “with Jesus”.  They are not in the grave, but “with Jesus”.

: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.

remainperileipo – to leave over; to remain over, to survive

preventphthano – to come before, precede, anticipate; to come to, arrive at; to reach, attain to

Those of us who are still alive in these bodies when Jesus returns (like us right here), won’t somehow “beat out” those who have already died.

Paul is talking about the resurrection, about rising from the dead, when we will receive new bodies.  This is clarified in verse 16 (“shall rise first”).  Those of us who are still alive won’t be receiving our new bodies before those who have already died…

:16 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:

shoutkeleuma – an order, command, spec. a stimulating cry, either that by which animals are roused and urged on by man, as horses by charioteers, hounds by hunters, etc., or that by which a signal is given to men, e.g. to rowers by the master of a ship, to soldiers by a commander (with a loud summons, a trumpet call)

voicephone – a sound, a tone; a voice; of the sound of uttered words

trumpsalpigx – a trumpet.  This is the even we call The Rapture.

Which trumpet?

I think some people get into trouble by trying to match this “trumpet” with one of the trumpets in the book of Revelation.
(1 Cor 15:51-53 KJV)  Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, {52} In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. {53} For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

They will take the “last trump” to be the last of the seven trumpets in Revelation and make is sound as if we’re going to go through the tribulation.

Though this is a distant possibility, keep in mind that both Thessalonians and Corinthians were written about 30 to 40 years before the book of Revelation was.  I would have a difficult time saying that Paul had the trumpets in Revelation in mind.

Trumpets in the Bible –
Trumpets had a couple of uses in Bible times, but mainly as a means of sending signals to large groups of people, such as armies or the Israelites in the wilderness.  One of the signals that a trumpet was often used for was to gather the people, or to gather an army together.

Judg. 3:27 – the Judge Ehud “blew the trumpet” and gathered the people together to fight the Moabites.

Judg. 6:34 – Gideon “blew the trumpet” and gathered the people together to fight against the Midianites.

Be careful about making the focus of the “trumpet” about when the Rapture will occur, the focus is on gathering God’s people together.

shall descendkatabaino – to go down, come down, descend

dead in Christ – again, Christians who have died

shall riseanistemi – to cause to rise up, raise up; to raise up from the dead

When a believer dies, their spirit goes immediately to heaven to be with the Lord.  If you are a believer and you were to die right now, you would know that you are in the presence of the Lord.  But you would be without a body for a time.

It’s when this trumpet is blown that those who have already died before us will receive their new resurrection bodies.


Resurrection bodies

What is a “resurrection body”?

Jesus said He was going to prepare a “place” for us, speaking of our new bodies:
(John 14:1-3 NASB)  "Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. {2} "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. {3} "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
It is a body similar to Jesus’ resurrected, glorified body.
(1 Cor 15:49 KJV)  And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
Jesus was able to fly, glow in the dark, walk through walls, and appear out of nowhere.  I assume we might be able to do the same.  We shall be like Him.
(1 John 3:2 KJV)  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
It is a body perfectly suited for living in heaven. These current bodies wouldn’t survive, much like our bodies couldn’t live in outer space.
(1 Cor 15:50 KJV)  Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
Heaven will be a wonderful place.  We will be with Jesus.  We will be in a new body.
This 85 year old couple, having been married almost 60 years, had died in a car crash.  They had been in good health the last ten years mainly due to her interest in health food, and exercise.  When they reached the pearly gates, St. Peter took them to their mansion which was decked out with a beautiful kitchen and master bath suite and Jacuzzi.  As they “oohed and aahed” the old man asked Peter how much all this was going to cost.  “It’s free, “ Peter replied, “this is heaven.”   Next they went out back to survey the championship golf course that the home backed up to.  They would have golfing privileges everyday and each week the course changed to a new one representing the great golf courses on earth.  The old man asked, “what are the green fees?”.  Peter’s reply, “This is heaven, you play for free.”  Next they went to the club house and saw the lavish buffet lunch with the cuisine’s of the world laid out.  “How much to eat?” asked the old man.  “Don’t you understand yet?  This is heaven, it is free!” Peter replied with some exasperation.  “Well, where are the low fat and low cholesterol tables?” the old man asked timidly.  Peter lectured, “That’s the best part...you can eat as much as you like of whatever you like and you never get fat and you never get sick.  This is heaven.”  With that the old man went into a fit of anger, throwing down his hat and stomping on it, and shrieking wildly.  Peter and his wife both tried to calm him down, asking him what was wrong.  The old man looked at his wife and said, “This is all your fault.  If it weren’t for your blasted bran muffins, I could have been here ten years ago!” 

The trumpet will blow, those who have died will receive their new bodies, then it’s our turn…

: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:

Thenepeita – thereupon, thereafter, then, afterwards

remainperileipo – to leave over; to remain over, to survive

Those of us who have not yet experienced physical death when the Rapture happens.

caught upharpazo – to seize, carry off by force; to seize on, claim for one’s self eagerly; to snatch out or away.  Our word “rapture” comes from the Latin translation of this word.

to meetapantesis – to meet one

the airaer – the air, particularly the lower and denser air as distinguished from the higher and rarer air; the atmospheric region


The Rapture

It will happen suddenly
(1 Cor 15:51-53 KJV)  Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, {52} In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. {53} For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

Paul says it will happen in a

momentatomos – that cannot be cut in two, or divided, indivisible; of a moment of time

twinklingrhipe – a throw, stroke, beat; a moment of time; from rhipto – to cast, throw; to set down (with the suggestion of haste and want of care).  I’ve heard people try to say that a “twinkle” is less than a “blink” of an eye, but I’m not sure I understand what a “twinkle” is.  I think a “blink” is quick enough for me.  We blink so fast and so often that we usually don’t notice our own blinking.  But the idea is that in the time that it takes for your eye to close and reopen, you’ll be in heaven.  Your eyelid will go down and you’ll see me talking to you at church, but when your eyelid raises again, you’ll see Jesus in heaven.  Very cool.

It will happen unexpectedly
This is one of the main reasons why I believe in a “pre-tribulational” Rapture.
One aspect of His Second Coming will be very predictable.

His coming will be preceded by the time known as the Great Tribulation.  This is a time of God’s wrath being poured out on the earth, a period of seven years, with a definite time marker right in the middle, an event known as the “abomination of desolation”.

This is when the man known as the antichrist will enter into the rebuilt Jewish temple, stop the sacrifices to Yahweh, and demand to be worshipped as God.  This will be such an “abominable” thing that it will bring “desolation” to God’s temple.  Jesus said,

(Mat 24:15-16 KJV)  When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) {16} Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

Daniel referred to this same event (Dan. 9:27; 12:11) and said that when it occurs, there will be 1290 days until the end, when Jesus returns.  This sounds very predictable.  If you are alive on planet earth, and you see a rebuilt Jewish temple being desecrated and a man claiming to be the Messiah, you can start counting the days until Jesus returns.

One aspect of His Second Coming is completely unpredictable.
(Mat 24:32-42 KJV)  Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: {33} So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

When you begin to see the things that Jesus talks about in Matthew 24 beginning to happen, understand that He’s almost here.

{34} Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

The generation that sees the beginning of these signs coming to place will not pass away until it comes to pass.  Are there any folks alive on the planet that were around when the nation of Israel was founded in 1948?

{35} Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. {36} But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

There is an aspect of Jesus’ coming in which no one can know the day or hour.

{37} But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. {38} For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, {39} And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. {40} Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. {41} Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. {42} Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

How could the Lord’s coming be so “predictable” from the timing of the abomination of desolation, and yet be “sudden” at the same time? Because these are two separate events.

The Rapture will happen suddenly, unexpectedly, before the Tribulation occurs.  Jesus will come and snatch away His church. 

Some people believe the Rapture might happen in the middle or at the end of the Tribulation, but to me, this takes away the sense of the unexpected.

But the Second Coming, when Jesus returns with us to conquer His enemies and establish His kingdom on earth, will occur like clockwork from the time of the antichrist’s desecration of the temple.

:17  and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

This is our “blessed hope”

(Titus 2:13 KJV)  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

This is what we are waiting for, to be with the Lord.


Are you ready?

For some of us, we struggle a little with this.  We’re not quite sure we’re ready for the Lord to come back just quite yet.
Perhaps we want the Lord to come back after we get our Sony Playstation 2 game console.  And that might not be until sometime after Christmas!

Let’s suppose that you were to travel to some isolated tribe in New Guinea, where the latest, coolest game the kids play is a game with twigs and rocks.  Suppose that the kids are all excited because a new game has been invented by a neighboring tribe, and they can hardly wait to see what the game is like.  Meanwhile, someone with a SUV breaks into the village for the first time and offers to take anyone who wants to go for a free trip to America, where their life will be transformed and they will live in luxury for the rest of their life.  “But no!” the children cry, “we can’t go until we learn our new game with twigs and sticks!”

The difference between New Guinea and America isn’t even close to the comparison between earth and heaven, yet it still makes a point.  Why are we so attached to the things on this earth when heaven is going to be so much better?

:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.


There was a story about a man named Fred, who inherited 10 million dollars, but there was some catches, he had to make some choices, and he made the wrong ones. The will provided that he had to accept the 10 million either in Brazil or in Chile. Well, he chose Brazil, unfortunately it turned out that in Chile he would have received his inheritance in land on which uranium, gold and silver had just been discovered. Once in Brazil he had to choose between receiving his inheritance  in coffee or nuts. Well, he chose the nuts. And that was too bad, because the bottom fell out of the nut market, but coffee went up to 5.34 a pound wholesale. And poor Fred lost everything he had to his name, he went out and sold his gold watch for money, and he did that so that he could get enough money to fly home. It seems that he  had enough money to buy a ticket to either New York or Boston. But he chose Boston. When the plane for New York taxied up, he noticed that it was a brand new super 747 jet with red carpet and chic people and wine popping hostesses. The plane for Boston arrived and it was a 1928 Ford tri motor with a swayback, it took a full day to get off the ground. And it was filled with crying children and tethered goats. Well, over the Andes, one of the engines had fell off. And our man Fred had made his way up to the cockpit and captain said, Look I’m a jinx on this plane, let me out it you want to save your lives, give me a parachute. And the pilot agreed and looking at him said, “Okay, but on this plane, anybody who bales out must wear two chutes.” And so Fred jumped out of the plane whirling through the air, trying to make up his mind, which ripcord to pull. Finally he chose the one on the left, it was rusty and the wire pulled loose. So he pulled the other handle, the parachute opened but the shroud lines snapped. In desperation, the poor fellow cried out, “St. Francis, save me!!”   A large hand reached out of Heaven and seized the poor fellow by the wrist and let him dangle in mid-air. And a gentle but inquisitive voice asked, “St. Francis of Xavier or St. Francis of Assisi?”

Sometimes we get this feeling that our life is a lot like Fred’s.  We can feel like we’re just narrowly missing all the good stuff by making bad choices, choices that we couldn’t have foreseen.  We can feel like nothing is ever going to go right.

But the real decision to make in life is, “Am I going to follow Jesus, or am I going to follow Jesus?”  There is not much choice beyond that.  And with Jesus, even when life gets tough, you have a hope of a place in heaven that is reserved for you and one that you don’t have to worry about “missing it by that much”.


Comfort from the rapture

comfortparakaleo – This word has more than just the simple idea of “comfort” to it.  It means – to call to one’s side, call for, summon; to admonish, exhort; to beg, entreat, beseech; to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort; to encourage, strengthen
How can understanding the Rapture give us “comfort”?
1.  It encourages us to be pure.

John wrote,

(1 John 3:3 KJV)  And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

When we realize that at any moment we could blink and be with Jesus, there’s a part of us that wants to be ready, to be presentable.

For most of us, when we are expecting an important person to visit us at our house, we tend to clean the house to make it “presentable”. 

Get the house ready.  The King is coming for a visit soon.

2.  It encourages us to keep going.

Last week we talked about the “patience of hope” (1Th. 1:3), about how hope can help us to keep on moving ahead in life.  As long as we know that there is an end to the tunnel, as long as we know that there is light up ahead, we can keep going.

1Thessalonians 5

:1-11  Ready for the Lord’s Coming

:1  But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.

timeschronos – time either long or short; time in general

seasonskairos – due measure; a fixed and definite time, the time when things are brought to crisis, the decisive epoch waited for; a definitely limited portion of time with the added notion of suitableness

:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

perfectlyakribos – exactly, accurately, diligently

These people completely understood that the Lord’s coming would be suddenly.

thiefkleptes – an embezzler, pilferer

(Mat 24:43-44 NLT)  "Know this: A homeowner who knew exactly when a burglar was coming would stay alert and not permit the house to be broken into. {44} You also must be ready all the time. For the Son of Man will come when least expected.

:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

peaceeirene – a state of national tranquillity; exemption from the rage and havoc of war; peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord; security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous)

safetyasphaleia (“asphalt”) – firmness, stability; certainty, undoubted truth; security from enemies and dangers, safety

suddenaiphnidios – unexpected, sudden, unforeseen

destructionolethros – ruin, destroy, death

travailodin – the pain of childbirth, travail pain, birth pangs; intolerable anguish, in reference to the dire calamities precede the advent of the Messiah

A pregnant woman knows that her time is getting near.  Her tummy grows bigger and bigger.  The doctor gives her a time frame of when the baby might be coming.  She knows that one day it will really happen.  At least she thinks it will.  And then suddenly it happens.

This is just like Jesus’ return.

with childgaster (“gastric”) – the belly; the womb; the stomach

escapeekpheugo – to flee out of, flee away; to seek safety in flight; to escape

There is a sense in which things will be going quite well on the earth and those that aren’t looking for the Lord’s coming will be caught off guard.

:4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

There is a sense in which the times will be evident that the Lord’s coming is near.

(Mat 24:33 NLT)  Just so, when you see the events I've described beginning to happen, you can know his return is very near, right at the door.

If you are looking for the Lord’s return, it will be evident that He’s almost here.

:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

In the daylight, you can see things.  In the light you can see what is going on.

If we were children of the night, we wouldn’t see what is going on around us.

:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

sleepkatheudo – to fall asleep, drop off to sleep; to sleep; to sleep normally; euphemistically, to be dead; metaph.; to yield to sloth and sin; to be indifferent to one’s salvation

Paul is using “sleep” here differently than he did in 4:13, where he was talking about those who have already physically died.

Here he’s talking about people who aren’t alert and looking for the Lord’s return.

watchgregoreuo – to watch; metaph. give strict attention to, be cautious, active; to take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one

be sobernepho – to be sober, to be calm and collected in spirit; to be temperate, dispassionate, circumspect

:7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

faithpistis – conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it

loveagape – brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence

hopeelpis – expectation of good, hope

We are in the middle of a battle.  The battle requires that we be alert and protected.

We protect our heart with faith and love.

We protect our minds with the hope of heaven.

:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

appointedtithemi – to set, put, place; to set, fix establish; to establish, ordain

wrathorge – anger; anger, wrath, indignation; anger exhibited in punishment, hence used for punishment itself

We can protect our minds with hope because God has promised to save us from His just punishment through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross for us.

I do not have to be fearful of hell because Jesus has bought my ticket to heaven and paid it in full.

But I think it goes a step further.


More pre-trib points

The Great Tribulation is known as the time of God’s wrath.  It is when God will pour out His wrath on the earth.
(Rev 6:16 KJV)  And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
(Rev 14:10 KJV)  The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
This is not proof positive for a pre-trib rapture, but I think that it certainly supports the idea, that the Gentile church (Paul is writing to Gentile Christians in Thessalonica) would not be destined for the Tribulation.
Jesus seemed to hint that it could be possible to “escape” the time of the Tribulation:
(Luke 21:36 KJV)  Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
Jesus wrote to the church of Philadelphia,
(Rev 3:10 NASB)  'Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth.

:10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

Jesus died on a cross for us, so that we could live with Him forever.

:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

comfortparakaleo – This word has more than just the simple idea of “comfort” to it.  It means – to call to one’s side, call for, summon; to admonish, exhort; to beg, entreat, beseech; to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort; to encourage, strengthen

edifyoikodomeo – to build a house, erect a building; to restore by building, to rebuild, repair; metaph.; to found, establish; to promote growth in Christian wisdom, affection, grace, virtue, holiness, blessedness; to grow in wisdom and piety

:12-28  Miscellaneous Exhortations

:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;

beseecherotao – to question; to ask; to request, entreat, beg, beseech

to knoweido – to see; to perceive with the eyes; to know; to have regard for one, cherish, pay attention to (1Th 5:12)

labourkopiao – to grow weary, tired, exhausted (with toil or burdens or grief); to labour with wearisome effort, to toil; of bodily labour

are over youproistemi – to set or place before; to set over; to be over, to superintend, preside over; to be a protector or guardian; to give aid; to care for, give attention to

admonishnoutheteo (“mind” + “to put”) – to admonish, warn, exhort.  Very similar to “counseling”.


Who is “over” you?

I think we have several aspects of our lives where we need to learn where we fit in.  Home, work, even church.
I think when we get to the place where we don’t allow anyone to be “over” us or to “admonish” us, we can get ourselves into trouble.
I have people I consider “over” me.  In a sense, I am responsible to you and the elders of the church.  I also have several people in my life such as Mark Bove and Jim Hesterly whose counsel and advice I hold very dear and weighty.  If Pastor Chuck told me to jump, I’d like to think I’d ask, “how high?”
Keep in mind, Paul is qualifying this as those who meet three criteria:  Hard work among you, position over you, those who advise you.

:13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

esteemhegeomai – to lead; to consider, deem, account, think

very highlyperissos – beyond measure, extraordinary; greatly, exceedingly

loveagape – brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence


Remember to say “thanks”

We’ve just gone through “Pastor Appreciation” month at the church.  I have to confess to you that I look forward to it every year, just people saying “thanks”.
But there are more people in the church who fit this category than just me.  A lot more.  Be sure to “esteem them highly in love” too.
Dave Dunagan, my wife, Craig Campbell, Jon Osmundsen, Debbie Campbell, Daniel Wassink and Greg Senecal, Jose Luis and Margarita Ornelas, and many, many others.

:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

exhortparakaleo – to call to one’s side, call for, summon; to admonish, exhort; to beg, entreat, beseech; to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort

warnnoutheteo – to admonish, warn, exhort.  This is the same word translated “admonish” in verse 12.

unrulyataktos – disorderly, out of ranks (often so of soldiers); irregular, inordinate, immoderate pleasures; deviating from the prescribed order or rule; Used in Greek society of those who did not show up for work.

Though we are to “warn” the unruly, it’s not always a fun thing to do.

You will often get one of two responses.  If the person is a “wise” person, they will respond and change.  If they are a “fool”, they won’t change.

(Prov 17:10 KJV)  A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.

comfortparamutheomai – to speak to, address one, whether by way of admonition and incentive, or to calm and console

feeblemindedoligopsuchos (“feeble” + “soul”) – fainthearted

supportantechomai – to hold before or against, hold back, withstand, endure; to keep one’s self directly opposite to any one, hold to him firmly, cleave to, paying heed to him

weakasthenes – weak, infirm, feeble

be patientmakrothumeo – patience with difficult people; to be of a long spirit, not to lose heart; to persevere patiently and bravely in enduring misfortunes and troubles; to be patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others; to be mild and slow in avenging; to be longsuffering, slow to anger, slow to punish


Treat people according to their needs

Some people need a swift kick in the rear.  Others need a supporting hand around their shoulder.  We need to learn to see needs and respond correctly.

:15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

renderapodidomi – to deliver, to give away for one’s own profit what is one’s own, to sell; to pay off, discharge what is due; to requite, recompense in a good or a bad sense

evilkakos – of a bad nature; base, wrong, wicked; troublesome, injurious, pernicious, destructive, baneful

followdioko – to make to run or flee, put to flight, drive away; to run swiftly in order to catch a person or thing, to run after; to press on: figuratively of one who in a race runs swiftly to reach the goal

goodagathos – of good constitution or nature; good, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy; excellent, distinguished; upright, honourable

to all men – don’t treat non-Christians any differently.  Be good to all.

:16 Rejoice evermore.

rejoicechairo – to rejoice, be glad; to rejoice exceedingly

:17 Pray without ceasing.

without ceasingadialeiptos – without intermission, incessantly, without ceasing

prayproseuchomai – to offer prayers, to pray

I don’t think this means going to a church and kneeling down to pray and never getting up again. I think this is talking about making your whole life a running conversation with God.  Talk to Him throughout your whole day.

:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

give thankseucharisteo – to be grateful, feel thankful; give thanks

willthelema – what one wishes or has determined shall be done; will, choice, inclination, desire, pleasure

God wants us to be thankful.

:19 Quench not the Spirit.

quenchsbennumi – to extinguish, quench; of fire or things on fire; to be quenched, to go out; metaph. to quench, to suppress, stifle; of divine influence

I think that sometimes this phrase is a bit over used.  I think that sometimes when a person says this, what they’re really telling me is that I’m not doing what they want me to be doing, not necessarily that I’m not doing what the Spirit wants.

I do believe we need to be careful about putting a wet blanket on those who are growing in excitement over the Lord.  When you are talking with a new believer and they are all excited about Jesus, don’t say things like, “Oh, you’ll outgrow that”.  Fan the flames, don’t put them out.

:20 Despise not prophesyings.

despiseexoutheneo – to make of no account, despise utterly

I think this is one way we can “quench” the Spirit.

When we’ve had a bad experience and have seen the abuse of spiritual gifts, it can make us want to not have anything to do with the Holy Spirit.

But that’s only because we’ve been tasting too much of human input and not enough of the real Holy Spirit.

If you’ve grown suspicious of anyone who would dare to say, “I think the Lord might be saying …”, loosen up a bit!  There is a genuine gift of prophecy.  God does still speak through people.  I’ve heard quite a bit of it lately.

:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

provedokimazo – to test, examine, prove, scrutinise (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals; to recognise as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy

Don’t just swallow everything you hear.  Everything needs to be tested.

The moment you begin to accept everything someone says to you without testing it, you are opening the door to be led astray or abused.

goodkalos – beautiful, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable, admirable; beautiful to look at, shapely, magnificent; good, excellent in its nature and characteristics, and therefore well adapted to its ends; beautiful by reason of purity of heart and life, and hence praiseworthy; affecting the mind agreeably, comforting and confirming

hold fastkatecho – to hold back;  to hold fast, keep secure, keep firm possession of; to get possession of; to possess

:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

abstainapechomai – to hold one’s self off, refrain, abstain

appearanceeidos – the external or outward appearance, form figure, shape

As Pastor Mark would say, “Chew the chicken, spit out the bones”.

:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

sanctifyhagiazo – to render or acknowledge, or to be venerable or hallow; to separate from profane things and dedicate to God; consecrate things to God; to purify

whollyholoteles – perfect, complete in all respects

blamelessamemptos – blameless, so that there is no cause for censure

preservedtereo – to attend to carefully, take care of; to guard

:24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

faithfulpistos – trusty, faithful; of persons who show themselves faithful in the transaction of business, the execution of commands, or the discharge of official duties; that can be relied on

God is faithful.  You can count on Him.

When He calls you to do something, He will see that it’s done.

(Phil 1:6 KJV)  Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

:25 Brethren, pray for us.

prayproseuchomai – to offer prayers, to pray

:26 Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.

greetaspazomai – to draw to one’s self; to salute one, greet, bid welcome, wish well to; to receive joyfully, welcome

kissphilema (“a work of phileo”) – a kiss; the kiss with which, as a sign of fraternal affection, Christians were accustomed to welcome or dismiss their companions in the faith

holyhagios – most holy thing, a saint

Our greetings to one another ought to be loving but also pure.  A kiss in our culture isn’t the same as in Paul’s day.  A hug might be a little more appropriate, but today even that can be abused.

:27 I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.

chargehorkizo – to force to take an oath, to administer an oath to; to adjure (solemnly implore)

holyhagios – most holy thing, a saint

:28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

gracecharis – grace; that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech; good will, loving-kindness, favour