The American Wisdom Series

Pamphlet #5135 KC1Thes1

Have you ever known anyone who neglected studying the Word of God because he or she thought that Jesus Christ was going to return soon?

Come to think of it, that pretty much describes most of Christianity today, doesn't it?

Far too many of our Christian brothers and sisters believe that Jesus Christ will return at any moment to lift them up in the clouds and consequently they feel no need nor are they encouraged by their pastors to study or understand the events preceding or during the great tribulation as detailed in God's Word.

The foundation for their Rapture "theory" is largely built on the latter half of the fourth chapter of this first epistle to the Thessalonians which has been subjected to much "spin" by the Biblically illiterate in order to promote security and peace of mind to their congregations.

One thing is for sure, though.

In these two information-packed epistles to the Thessalonians we will find out if the rapture theory will Fly Ya or Fry Ya!

Let's look at some background information before we begin our study.

We know that the Apostle Paul founded the church at Thessalonica on his second missionary journey.

However, establishing the church was NOT an easy task free of trials and tribulations for he had been driven by the persecuting Jews from Thessalonica to Berea and from Berea to Athens.

Paul deeply loved the people at Thessalonica and even though he had not spent all that much time with them he thought about them often and twice attempted to revisit them.

Both times he was prevented from seeing them in person so in his stead he sent Timothy to inquire of them.

When Timothy returned to meet Paul in Corinth, where Paul wrote his epistles to the Thessalonians, he gave him a most favorable report, the gratitude of which Paul expresses in his letter.

However, there were certain dangers to which the Thessalonians were exposed that concerned Paul.

For one thing, in their zeal and enthusiasm they dwelled very intensely on the day of the Lord's return which resulted in neglecting their daily work, which in turn resulted in some less than positive consequences.

And so the second advent became much of the subject of Paul's letters to the Thessalonians and in them he explains the "signs" to look for in the last days.

Then too, while they were focused on the Lord's second coming, certain members of the church passed away and there was great anxiety about their sharing in the glories of the Lord's return.

So Paul comforts them by explaining where those who have died now reside (i.e. with Him) and how our gathering together with them and the Lord will occur at the last Trump.

Finally, the Thessalonians were very zealous in spreading forth the word and as a result of their enthusiasm in evangelizing they influenced many people.

However, they still needed some encouragement under persecution.

Hey, we will take some of that encouragement too, Paul!

Now let's read some scriptural background on how Paul and Silas established the church in Thessalonica.

Acts 17:1
Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:

[2] And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,

Have you ever wondered how the Apostle Paul carried forth the gospel?

"As his manner was", as verses two and three show, he took the scriptures, which at this time consisted solely of what we call the Old Testament (for the New one had not yet been written), and he documented what the Word of God said, i.e. in the manner of "Thus saith the Lord GOD".

Then using common sense and reasoning while openly displaying the prophecies of the first advent and how Messiah "must needs have suffered" to fulfill the details of Psalms 22 and Isaiah 53 for example, he caused them to be convinced from the scriptures that Jesus was indeed that Lamb of God who took the stripes and suffered on the cross and fulfilled all those prophecies!

[3] Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
You see, "by this manner" of Paul's teaching those Thessalonians who were converted believed not because it was Paul the man who "said" that Christ was the Messiah but they SAW how the Word of God declared Him to be so.

They therefore represent a type of all true believers.

Likewise, you now know "the manner" of Paul, not because we told you his manner, but because you read it yourself from Acts chapter 17.

Acts 17:4
And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.
There were great numbers of people, even a great multitude of Gentiles and women of the best families who became believers in Christ through Paul's reasoning with them out of the scriptures.
[5] But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy,...
To understand who these Jews are one must know what the word "Jew" means in Greek. It is the word "Ioudaios" which means either a resident of Judea, who could be someone of any nationality, or it means a person who is an actual descendent of the tribe of Judah.
Ioudaios, ee-oo-dah'-yos, Greek 2453; from Greek 2448 (Iouda) (in the sense of Greek 2455 (Ioudas) as a country); Jud'an, i.e. belonging to Jehudah :- Jew (-ess), of Jud'a.
Verse five tells us that these non-believing Jews "moved with envy" and that is because Paul converted many more people to Christ than they did with their annual synagogue membership drive!

These Judeans are further identified in the second part of verse five as being evil in that they hired thugs of the baser sort (scum bags) to assault the house of a goodly righteous man, Jason, and to stir up the minds of the people.

[5 ...continued] ...took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.
Jason was one of Paul's kinsmen (Rom. 16:21) who hosted Paul and Silas while they were in Thessalonica.

According to Smith's Bible Dictionary, the name "Jason" is the Greek form of the name Jesus; Hebrew Joshua.

How fitting indeed for there is certainly nothing new about the kenites using hirelings to assault the good people of the body of Christ, is there?

Their enmity began way back in Gen. 3:15.

Acts 17:6
And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;
I think this is called "LYING"!
[7] Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.
Lies, false allegations, and trumped-up charges! There is nothing new under the sun, is there?
Acts 17:8
And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things.
The kenites are masters of instigation and creating mobs.
[9] And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go.
They released Jason and the others after these innocent men were forced to post bail! Same old, same old!

There is nothing new under the sun.

With all that background in mind, let us now begin this first of all of Paul's epistles written about 52 AD from Corinth unto the church of the Thessalonians.

1 Thes. 1:1
Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the salutation of most of Paul's epistles he establishes his credentials as "an apostle of Jesus Christ", but to these beloved Thessalonians he obviously did not feel the need to.

We will soon see why.

Also, Silas was a "chief man among the brethren" (Acts 15:22) and also called a prophet in Acts 15:32.

Paul chose Silas as his companion on his second missionary journey and the two of them were delivered up and imprisoned together at Philippi (Acts 16:19, 25, 29).

[2] We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;
Paul was always careful to first praise God and give thanks to Him and to pray for the saints.
1 Thes. 1:3
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;
The Thessalonians did not have faith without works, did they?

Consider the fact that they were former idol worshippers but once they were converted by the "reasoning from the scriptures" through the power of the Holy Spirit, they zealously spread the Word of God.

This they did in the sight of the Father whom we can be sure was well pleased by their labour of love and their patience of hope in Christ.

[4] Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.
Paul, an elect of God, a chosen vessel of God, a man who was chosen before the foundation of this world like all of God's elect (Eph. 1:4), was given a three-fold commission to the Gentiles, whom most the Thessalonians were, the kings, and the children of Israel.
Acts 9:15
But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
[16] For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
Being one of God's elect does not mean you will "Live on Easy Street" and not have your share of trials and tribulation in the flesh.

Are you a Christian soldier prepared to stand tall with the Gospel Armor on and engage in the spiritual battle of these last days and perhaps suffer in the trenches a little or even on the front line for His name's sake, or must you have a guarantee that being a Christian means you won't even get dirty and you will fly up, up, and away when the great time of trouble suddenly comes?

1 Thes. 1:5
For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
There were miracles and healings and "much assurance" through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Now we see why Paul didn't have to establish in writing his credentials as an apostle.

He knew that they knew!

[6] And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
How much affliction have you suffered in receiving the word?

The Thessalonians suffered plenty of persecution but they counted it all joy!

[7] So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
[8] For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
Again, the Thessalonians were very zealous believers and they spread the Word abroad with the help of the Holy Spirit.
[9] For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
Paul came to them with the scriptures and preached Jesus Christ through those scriptures.

You see, as already testified by the works of the Thessalonians, the Word of God can quickly change a person's life once they SEE how real it is.

[10] And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
The Greek word translated "wait" in this verse is "anameno" and this is the ONLY place in the New Testament where it is used.

It means to remain firm, to hold out, to wait for as the coming of the morn, etc.

It is a fitting and proper word to be used here for we will soon learn that before Jesus Christ returns there is one coming first who will give the appearance to all the world that he is Jesus Christ and the world will believe him.

And no wonder!

His impressive credentials will be that he brings peace and prosperity to all and he will be able to perform miracles in the sight of men showing them he can leap tall buildings with a single bound.

Look, up in the sky!

It's a dirty bird, it's a highly polished bronze vehicle, it's Stuperman!

Will you be a virgin who is able to "wait" for the real Bridegroom to come, or will you think your "wait" is over and be taken by the false messiah?

To study the Bible is the noblest of all pursuits; to understand it, the highest of all goals.
We pray that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you accomplish both.

1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them {the ancient Israelites} for ensamples, and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

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