Rapture: The Hope of His Coming (1 Thessalonians 4:13-15)

Friends, I am so excited to dig into this part of our study! I think it’s the part we’ve all been waiting for, so let’s talk about the rapture! The last two lessons were a bit hard-hitting as, like a good father, Paul sternly instructed us how we should live in light of Jesus’s return. Now we get to the “ice cream!” (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, review Knowing the Will of God and Awaiting the Return of Jesus.)

We wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is, Jesus who rescues us from the wrath to come.

~1 Thessalonians 1:10

That is our hope and our joy, isn’t it! That Jesus left His heavenly home to die for our sins, then promises to rescue us from the wrath to come…it’s seems too good to be true! But it is! However, the believers in Thessalonica had a hard time believing it, and so do we. Why? Because there have always been opposing voices. Voices that say we’re crazy for believing such a thing. Such was the case in Thessalonica, where pagans (and perhaps even some believers) were saying Jesus was not coming back, or that He had already come back and they had missed it!

That was the reason for Paul’s letters to these newborn believers in Thessalonica. He wanted to set the record straight, and to teach them how to be ready for His coming! The return of Jesus is a comfort for those who know Him, and knowing Him is key to understanding Bible prophecy! What does Revelation 19:10 say?

Ever since the first century, but particularly since the rebirth of Israel in 1948, the world has witnessed the stage being set for Jesus’s return. According to the Bible, the end of this world cannot happen until:

  • The nation of Israel is reborn. Done…May 14, 1948.
  • Jerusalem is back in the hands of Israel. Done…Six Day War, 1967, and the US proclamation of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel in 2017.
  • A revived Roman empire is established. In the works…EU and/or UN could be the foundation, but a revived Roman empire will arise. (This may be after the rapture.)
  • The Soviet empire is fractured. Done…1989. Ezekiel 38 identifies ancient names of Russia, not the old Soviet Union.
  • A series of peace treaties are made. Began in 1970’s, continues today via the Abraham Accords.
  • Jerusalem becomes the focus of the whole world. Becoming truer every day. Jerusalem is and will be a heavy stone that will injure those who try to move it.
  • Increased worldwide disasters. Growing more frequent and more severe year-to-year.
  • Global economies collapse. Happening now…Middle East (except Israel), European, American and other economies are all unstable at best, collapsing at worst.
  • World currencies become electronically based. The cashless society is upon us!
  • A Muslim alliance, though led by Russia, attacks Israel from the north. Have you read recent news? The stage is set!

Today’s headlines proclaim the accuracy of Bible prophecy. So, why should we doubt the rapture is soon to come?

Read today’s passage from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15. That word “ignorant” or “uninformed” is the Greek word agnoeo, from which we get “agnostic.” It means to intentionally ignore…to be intentionally ignorant!

  • What did Paul want us not to be ignorant of?
  • What do you think Paul means when he says, “…concerning those who have fallen asleep”?

In Thessalonian culture, when someone died, it was final! They believed, like so many today, that once you die, that’s it! You’re done! But as believers, we have great hope, knowing that “asleep” means our bodies may die, but our spirit and soul live forever with Jesus! We need not grieve as those who have no hope! Where is our hope? Yes, in the Lord Jesus Christ…and that hope lives in the promise of resurrection!

Verse 14 explains:

  • IF we believe… . If we believe what? (Substitute “Since” for “If” and it will make more sense!)
  • Since we believe Jesus died and rose again, what do we know next?
  • Yes! He will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep…those who died in Christ before us! (Read ahead to the end of verse 16.)

Glorious!!! Jesus fills us with hope of the resurrection, which, for those alive at His coming, is the rapture!

Now to verse 15. God’s authority is at work here! See those words, “…by the word of the Lord”? When He speaks, we should listen! Check out what Jesus says in John 11:25-26. Do YOU believe this? Paul is invoking the name and authority of Jesus to state the following:

…that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who have fallen asleep.

~1 Thessalonians 4:15b

To the Thessalonians, he is saying, “Hey, gang! Don’t let anyone deceive you. Those believers who have died in Christ are not simply buried in the ground. They are alive in spirit and soul, living with Jesus, and when He returns to catch us up into the clouds, the bodies of your dead loved ones will beat you to Him!”

The dead in Christ will precede us, but it will all take place in the twinkling of an eye and we will be changed! (1 Corinthians 15:52)

Here is the amazing thing: NOTHING needs to happen first for the rapture to take place! Those things listed above that are still in progress will be in progress until, and perhaps throughout, the tribulation! But we will be spared! We have come full circle…go back up to the top of this post and re-read 1 Thessalonians 1:10! The rapture is that rescue from wrath!

Wow…I would love to press through the last three verses of the chapter, but let’s chew on what we’ve eaten today! I’ll see you right back here tomorrow to close out the chapter!

5 thoughts on “Rapture: The Hope of His Coming (1 Thessalonians 4:13-15)

  1. Hi bluecat57! As always, thanks for following. We received your subsequent comment on 2/24/2021 regarding “What You Believe about the Rapture Matters.” However, our preference is to take lengthy debates offline, particularly if/when there are website references we are not familiar with. I realized, though, that my response above left out part of our email address. My sincere apologies. Reach out to us at Looking4theBlessedHope@gmail.com and we will gladly dialog regarding this topic. We appreciate your comments!

  2. bluecat57

    I challenge you to provide a verse in the Bible that uses the word “Rapture”.
    I further challenge you to read a few articles that present the case that the Rapture is constructed out of whole cloth.
    While it is a questionable source, here is the Wikipedia article on the Rapture.

    It is NOT our role as Christians to sit around waiting for Christ’s to Rapture us out of the mess that we have made of our world.

    It is our job to redeem the world for Christ and build His Kingdom on earth NOW.

    Every generation has tried to fit current events into a Biblical outline. All have failed. Even your current attempts.

    I only 60 and have already seen such attempts fail multiple times in my lifetime.

    Israel was reestablished in 1948. First a generation was 40 years. When 1988 ended with a Raputre, it was changed to 60 years. 2008 came and went and the “anti-Christ” ( the President who shall not be named) came and went. Then the 70 year generation came and went in 2018.

    If we are going to wait for all those “in this generation” to almost pass away (Matt. 24:34), we will be waiting years past 2048 since some of those kids might live to well over 110.

    That’s just one example of why you need to consider the arguments of those that have a differing view of what 1 Thessalonians is teaching. Remember, those words were written for the people who FIRST heard and read them not for us. They are for us in that we are to learn from them and live our lives to redeem all humans for Christ.

    1. Thank you for your comments, Bluecat57. Indeed the word “rapture” does not appear in our English version Bibles, and neither do other concepts such as “trinity,” yet those are easily traced through etymology. The Bible writers simply did not write in English! The Greek word for rapture is harpazo and the Latin (from the Vulgate) is raptus, from which we get our English word, rapture. Study the original manuscripts and you will find they all reference the exact same idea as our understanding of rapture today. As for redeeming the world for Christ, you are correct in that we are to evangelize and disciple others. But John 14:1-3 tells us Jesus went to prepare a place for us…not the other way around! The Bible is replete with evidence of Christ’s finish work on the cross for us. There is nothing we “need to do” for Him, including preparing this earth for His arrival. That is works-based faith and is diametrically opposed to Christ’s teachings. In a few days there will be a series of posts explaining at least 7 reasons the church will not go through the tribulation. I hope you will stick around for those, as I they will provide clear Biblical evidence for a pre-trib rapture. God’s Word is alive and active, and is still as accurate today as it was when it was written. As we consider the WHOLE counsel of God’s Word, He makes it clear to us the intention of His Word and how to live it out! Thanks for following, and continue studying God’s Word!

      1. bluecat57

        Thank you for the reply. Since this is your blog, not mine, I would like to know if you would prefer that I send you my lengthy reply in some other fashion. It is about 800 words but can be broken up into smaller parts. I’m happy to email it to you or simply not post it at all.
        If it is OK to post it here, let me know if you would like me to break it up. I believe there are 4 or 5 distinct thoughts.
        I’ve become sensitive about “highjacking” other people’s blogs and don’t want to overstep my welcome here. Please let me know.

      2. Thank you for your sensitivity and your authentic consideration not to overtake the comment section. I appreciate it. Please email longer comments to Looking4theBlessedHope.com and I will do my best to respond as long as the questions/discussions are legitimate. Also, you may want to wait until early next week, as the remaining study posts for this week will address many of the common disagreements regarding the rapture. Thanks for following, and I look forward to the dialog.

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