The American Wisdom Series

Pamphlet #5142 KC1Thes7

While we are down here "walking under the sun" in these flesh tabernacles we know we are only temporarily absent from the Lord.

We began our last study with the question "Where are our Christian friends and relatives who have been released from the bondage of the flesh body?"

The answer is that they are now absent (Gone!) from their flesh bodies and they have already been raised-up, i.e. resurrected in their spiritual bodies, and they are alive and well and present with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Is that not the hope of all Christians?

It was certainly the hope of this same Paul who wrote 1st and 2nd Thessalonians and later wrote to the Corinthians:

2 Cor. 5:6
Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:

[7] (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

While we are down here "walking under the sun" in these flesh tabernacles we know we are only temporarily absent from the Lord.

We therefore have great confidence and boldness to teach the truth and labor fearlessly because we know where we are going when we die!

You see, we know we don't die (cease to exist) at all!

Only our flesh bodies die and we then go to be with Him!

[8] We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
What is your hope?

Where would you rather be?

Well, we all look forward to being with Him and in our spiffy spiritual bodies, but there is work to be done here to help our brothers and sisters find their way back to loving and obeying their Father, who loves them so much that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus, who was God, Himself, born into a terrestrial body just like ours, to live with us for a short while, then sacrificing His flesh and blood life on that Roman cross, shedding His sin free blood to cover the sins of mankind, to pay the price for their sins if they will just have a change of heart and repent, and, by their own free will, invite Him to come live in their heart to cleanse it, which is His desire for all His children.

2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

[9] Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
Do you think that those who have gone before us are just sitting on Cloud Nine playing harps?

No, our fellowservants who have passed on before us have not ceased from serving Him!

They continue to labor day and night (Rev. 7:15).

Here is one of the former prophets seen working on the job.

He was sent out of the office to go call upon the apostle John, who was banished on the Isle of Patmos, to "show His servants the things which must shortly be done." (Rev. 22:6)

Here is what happened:

Rev. 22:8
And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.
The word angel simply means messenger and we are never bow down to, nor worship, angels (see next verse).

We are to only worship God! (See also Rev. 19:10)

[9] Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
You can see that our fellowservants who have returned home to be with the Lord are not "sleeping" at all, are they?

And remember, Paul already told the Thessalonians back in chapter 3 that all those saints are coming back with the Lord Jesus Christ when He returns.

1 Thes. 3:13
To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
So by now you should be able to answer the question, "Where are the dead?", especially concerning those who have "died believing in Jesus Christ" which is what the expression Paul uses, "the dead in Christ", means!

Let us now complete the 4th chapter of 1 Thessalonians beginning in verse 13 where the subject will now be "where are the dead?"

Paul doesn't want us to be ignorant about this!

1 Thes. 4:13
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
Who were these "others" who had "no hope"?

They were those influenced by the Sadducees, who were running around telling people that "when you're dead, you're dead" and that "there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit (that goeth upward as Eccl. 12:7)".

Acts 23:8 "For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both." They should be called "Saddu-don't-sees".

We Christians on the other hand DO BELIEVE in the resurrection from the dead for we believe that Christ was resurrected from His dead body, do we not?

And we already learned in the last study how the dead are raised up!

Paul completely answered that question:

1 Cor. 15:35
But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?
Remember the two bodies, etc?

We bloom from our flesh bodies into our spiritual bodies when we die!

1 Thes. 4:14
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep* in Jesus will God bring with him.
That certainly makes sense.

If we believe that Jesus died and rose again then we must also believe that our loved ones who have died, knowing Jesus, rose also (were raised into their spiritual bodies) to be with Him, and so they ARE with Him.

What we now know is that when Jesus comes back He will bring them with Him just like Paul said He would here in verse 14 and in chapter 3 verse 13.

*sleep = koimao, koy-mah'-o, Greek 2837; from Greek 2749 (keimai); to put to sleep, i.e. (passive or reflexive) to slumber; figurative to decease :- (be a-, fall a-, fall on) sleep, be dead.
The contrast to "sleeping", i.e. having died, will be "remaining alive" in the next verse.

So far we have been told TWICE by Paul that when Jesus returns He will be bringing "all the saints with Him"!

What happens though to those of us who have not died but are still in the flesh when the 7th Trump sounds?
(Hint: It happens in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye!")

[15] (KJV) 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.
The Greek word "prevent" is a little vaguely translated in the King James.

Here is Strong's definition:

prevent = phthano, fthan'-o, Greek 5348; apparently a primary verb; to be beforehand, i.e. anticipate or precede; by extension to have arrivedat :- (already) attain, come, prevent.
Those saints who are with the Lord have already preceded us and attained something we haven't!

Here is how Dr. Moffat translates it:

[15] (Moffat) For we tell you, as the Lord has told us, that we the living, who survive till the Lord comes, are by no means to take precedence of those who have fallen asleep.
Take Precedence in WHAT?

Precedence in being resurrected to our spiritual bodies!!

Hello, come in!

The saints who have died are ALREADY in their spiritual bodies!

They have already PRECEDED us in the resurrection to their spiritual bodies and Paul has explained twice that they are coming back with Jesus Christ (obviously in their spiritual bodies)!

This is so simple!

Note: The subject here IS NOT "eternal life" and it IS NOT "escape from tribulation"!

Remember, the Thessalonians were expecting Christ to return and they were concerned about their deceased friends and relatives and what would happen to them since they died and Christ hadn't returned!

Again, the answer is so simple: When they died, they were resurrected, i.e. raised into their spiritual bodies, and went to be present with the Lord.

And when He returns, they are coming back with Him.

AND, we are now going to discover, that we are going have a Big Happy Reunion together with them (as soon as we GET CHANGED at the LAST TRUMP into OUR SPIRITUAL BODIES too!

Let's see how this happens:

[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:
What Trump of God is Paul talking about?

It is the VERY LAST ONE! Remember "eschatao" in 1 Cor. 15?

The 7th Trump occurs AFTER antichrist appears at the 6th Trump and has completed his reign on earth as the false Messiah!

Even so, some are not going to quite "get it" when this event happens (as some any moment rapture theorists do not quite get it now), so in his next letter to the Thessalonians Paul will "spell out" in indisputable great detail WHEN this gathering back to Christ occurs and when it won't!

When the Lord descends from heaven, where will the departed saints be who have already died believing in Him, i.e. the "dead in Christ"?

That is correct!

They are right with Him (following Him on their white horses (Rev. 19:14).

Well then, what does it mean they shall "rise" first?

It simply means they will appear in their spiritual bodies before we are gathered and changed into ours.

Remember they have preceded us in the resurrection of the spiritual body!

Now take your Strong's Concordance (if you don't have one, get one) and check out the Greek word for "rise".

You will find that the word "anistemi" can be used (literal or figurative, transitive or intransitive) and in this sense it means "to stand-up" as in "to present".

It is kind of like an announcer would say:

"At the sound of the 7th Trump will all those who already have on their spiritual robes please rise, i.e. stand up!

Now would all those remaining please put on your spiritual robes and join them as a group!"

So the "dead in Christ", those who have died believing in the Lord, who are with Him now, will appear, i.e. stand-up first, when Christ returns, before we are changed and join together with them!

Here's how Paul puts it:

[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: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
We who are alive in the flesh and all the saints who are coming with the Lord, are going to gather together as a group at the 7th Trump, which is what the expression "caught up together in the clouds" means.

It is a figure of speech and the expression "in the clouds" has nothing to do with "clouds" any more than the expression "He got into hot water" has to do with "hot water".

The former means "group" and the latter means "trouble".

(See Heb. 12:1 for the same figurative usage of "clouds" where Paul says we are going to gather in the clouds and run a foot race.)

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Well, if the saints are in their spiritual bodies and we are still in our flesh bodies, how shall we be gathered together?

It is the "mystery" of 1 Cor. 15 which we studied in our last lesson.

"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye", at this same last trump we shall be changed into our "breath of life" bodies, our "air" bodies, which are our spiritual bodies as we shall see after Christ explains this same event in Matthew 24:29-31.

We pick it up just after He has finished describing the great tribulation of Satan, the false-christ:

Matthew 24:29
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

[30] And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Does it say that when Christ returns (which we know is at the last trump) that only the elect are going to see Him?

No, it does not!

When Jesus Christ returns with all the saints (remember?) "all the tribes of the earth" shall see the Son of man coming!

There is NO secret rapture!

You can either believe some theory of man that says only "the church" sees Him first or you can believe the words of Jesus Christ.

The choice is yours!

Because at this point the saints "who are alive and remain" haven't even been gathered!

Christ and the saints appear first, THEN we are gathered to them!

[31] And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Paul says exactly the same thing in 1 Thes. 4:17, "Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught-up (gathered) together with them in the clouds (in a group, i.e. figuratively in clouds), to meet the Lord in the "air" (spiritual body, in the spiritual dimension), and so shall we ever be with the Lord (in our spiffy spiritual bodies)."

The Greek word for "air" used here is "aer".

It is used only several times in the New Testament and you can look it up for yourself (which you should do) and check out how it is used, but it does not mean the "air" that birds fly in which is the word is "ouranos" as used in Luke 9:58 "And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head."

ouranos, oo-ran-os', Greek 3772; perhaps from the same as Greek 3735 (oros) (through the idea of elevation); the sky; by extension heaven (as the abode of God); by implication happiness, power, eternity; specially the Gospel (Christianity) :- air, heaven ([-ly]), sky.
Paul is telling us in 1 Thes. 4:17 that we are going to be "changed" into our "breath of life" bodies, our "aer" bodies of that spiritual dimension in order to meet the Lord and the saints who are already in theirs.

One thing is for sure, we can't imagine how glorious that day will be but we know that when we see the Lord (and the angels) we will be instantly changed to appear just like Him!

1 John 3:2
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.
How wondrous and marvelous is the truth of God's Word.

You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free... free from worry, free from anxiety, free from the bondage of the traditions of men, free from to love and please Him.

1 Thes. 4:18
Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Jesus Christ is returning to the Mount of Olives and that is where we shall gather together as a group in our spiritual bodies to be with the Lord Jesus Christ for ever more!

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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