Summary of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11:
Jesus died and rose again so those who have died will be risen when Jesus comes again. The Lord will come down from heaven with a loud command, a trumpet call, and the voice of the archangel. The dead in Christ will rise first. Then those who are still alive will meet the Lord in the air to be with Him forever.
The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, suddenly. Destruction will come and they will not escape. Let us be alert and self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate and hope of salvation as a helmet. God appointed us to receive salvation through Jesus and not for wrath. He died for us so we may live together with him. Encourage one another in this.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 5: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11
12a) To be with him forever. To be sons of the light, be alert, self-controlled, being faithful and hopeful, to receive salvation through Jesus, encourage each other
b) To live in darkness, to be like others, to suffer wrath
c) Personal Question. My answer: It makes the days seem not as long.
13) God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. Those who are still alive will not procede those who have died before to heaven. Lord will come down from heaven with a loud command, the voice of an archangel, a trumpet call, and the dead will rise first. Then those who are still alive will meet with the Lord and be with Him forever. The day of the Lord will come like a thief at night.
14) Personal Question. My answer: We will all be together with Him forever. It’s encouraging.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 5: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11
Interesting Paul throws this in here to the Thessalonians. Great encouragement to them.
Paul here is addressing will Jesus return and what about those who have already died. The Thessalonians lived in constant danger of persecution so wondered when Jesus would return to save them. Paul advises to lead a quiet life and mind your own business while you wait. Thessalonica thrived with Paul’s encouragement and became known as “The City fo Orthodoxy” because of their faith.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 5: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11
Don’t Be Ignorant
Four times in all of Paul’s letters, he asked Christians to not be ignorant:
- Don’t be ignorant about God’s plan for Israel (Romans 11:25).
- Don’t be ignorant about spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1).
- Don’t be ignorant about suffering and trials in the Christian life (2 Corinthians 1:8).
- Don’t be ignorant about the rapture and the second coming of Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4:13).
These are still areas today that many Christians are confused on.
Sleep was used by pagans at the time to express death. In the ancient world, there was no hope after death for many. Christians called death sleep, but they emphasized the idea of rest. Early Christians began to call their burial places “cemeteries,” which means, “dormitories” or “sleeping places.” Yet the Bible never describes the death of the unbeliever as sleep, for there is no rest, peace, or comfort for them in death.
Jesus will bring those who have died with him. When a believer dies, we only mourn for ourselves, because they are with the Lord.
Trumpets in the Bible
The rapture will not be silent or secret, though the vast majority of people may not understand the sound or its meaning. Jesus will come with angels and will be gathered by a trumpet sound.
In the Old Testament, trumpets sounded the alarm for war and threw the enemy into a panic, in the sense of the seven trumpets described in Numbers 10:9 and Revelation 8 and 9. Trumpets also sounded an assembly of God’s people, as in Leviticus 23:24 and Numbers 10:2. Here, the trumpet of God gathers together God’s people.
There are three other associations of trumpets and end-times events.
- The last trump of 1 Corinthians 15:52, which seems clearly to be connected with this same trumpet of 1 Thessalonians 4.
- The seven trumpets which culminate at Revelation 11:15,
- The trumpet gathering the elect of Israel at the end of the age in Matthew 24:31.
Either the present dead in Christ are with the Lord in a spiritual body, awaiting their final resurrection body; or, because of the nature of timeless eternity, they have received their resurrection bodies already because they live in the eternal now.
This passage is the basis for the New Testament doctrine of the rapture, the catching away of believers to be with Jesus. The word rapture is not in the ancient Greek text, but comes from the Latin Vulgate, which translates the phrase caught up with rapturus, from which we get our English word rapture.
Many Christians believe the Bible teaches that there will be an important seven-year period of history before the Battle of Armageddon and triumphant return of Jesus. The debate about this catching away centers on where it fits in with this final seven-year period, popularly known as the Great Tribulation, with reference to Matthew 24:21.
- The pre-tribulation rapture position believes believers are caught up before this final seven-year period.
- The mid-tribulation rapture position believes believers are caught up in the midst of this final seven-year period.
- The pre-wrath rapture position believes believers are caught up at some time in the second half of this final seven-year period.
- The post-tribulation rapture position believes believers are caught up at the end of this final seven-year period.
In the end, no one knows except God for certain.
1 Thessalonians 5:
The day of the Lord is fulfilled with Jesus judging the earth and returning in glory.
It does not refer to a single day, but to a season when God rapidly advances His agenda to the end of the age. The day of the Lord “Is a familiar Old Testament expression. It denotes the day when God intervenes in history to judge His enemies, deliver His people, and establish His kingdom.” (Hiebert)
The phrase labor pains suggest both inevitability and unexpectedness. Jesus used the same idea in Matthew 24:8, when He spoke of calamities preceding the end times as the beginning of sorrows, which is literally the beginning of labor pains. The idea is both of giving birth to a new age and implying an increase of intensity and frequency in these calamities.
Be ready for Jesus’ return is Paul’s main message here.
Spiritually speaking, we need to be active and aware, to watch and be sober. Sober means don’t get too excited about the things of this world.
When one compares this description of spiritual armor with that found in Ephesians 6, there is not an exact correlation. Paul saw the idea of spiritual armor as a helpful picture, not something rigid in its particular details.
Faith and love are represented by the breastplate because the breastplate covers the vital organs. No solider would ever go to battle without his breastplate, and no Christian is equipped to live the Christian life without faith and love.
The hope of salvation is represented as a helmet, because the helmet protects the head, which is just as essential as the breastplate. Hope isn’t used in the sense of wishful thinking, but in the sense of a confident expectation of God’s hand in the future.
The Wrath of God
We deserve God’s wrath, but we are saved from it through Jesus’ death.
We deserve God’s wrath fro Adam’s sin and our sin.
Give comfort and build up each other.
Rest of 1 Thessalonians 5:
Recognize your leaders, esteem them in love, and be at peace.
Paul addresses 3 kinds of people:
- Unruly: The idlers of 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12.
- Fainthearted: Those anxious about their departed loved ones in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17.
- Weak: Those suffering under temptations to lapse into immorality in 1 Thessalonians 4:2-8
Be patient with everyone and not seek revenge. Be forgiving. Jesus made it plain that we should get things right with men before we come to worship God (Matthew 5:23-24).
Rejoice always, pray continually (a constant communication with God), give thanks in everything. We can do this because it is God’s will.
We can quench the fire of the Spirit by our doubt, our indifference, our rejection of Him, or by the distraction of others. When people start to draw attention to themselves, it is a sure quench to the Spirit.
Prophesy was being despised because individuals were abusing the gift. There were idlers among the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12), perhaps who spiritualized their idleness with prophecy. There were date-setters and end-times speculators among the Thessalonians (2 Thessalonians 2:1-5), perhaps who backed up their speculations with supposed prophetic authority.
Sanctify means “to set apart” – to make something different and distinct, breaking old associations and forming a new association. God wants us to be set apart to Him.
Completely: “The adjective (holoeleis), occurring only here in the New Testament, is a compound of holos, ‘whole, entire,’ and telos, ‘end.’ Its basic connotation is ‘wholly attaining the end, reaching the intended goal,’ hence has the force of no part being left unreached.” (Hiebert)