The Rapture 1Thes. 4:13-18


In 1 Thes 4:13-18 the doctrine of the Rapture is very helpful for you as a Christian.  It:

Gives you hope during your time of grief – v.13 – Paul wanted to make sure that we were not ignorant of this truth – people who are saved have hope that lost people do not have [Eph 2:12] – we know that we are going to live again – we certainly grieve at the loss of a loved one but not the way the world grieves because we have hope [Rom 8:23-25]

Explains how the resurrection applies to you – v.14 – Jesus rose from the dead because he has eternal life and his body rose without corruption [Acts 2:31] – likewise our bodies are going to rise without corruption [1 Cor 15:50, 53a] – they are going to be fashioned like unto his glorious body [Phil 3:21] – we are going to be like Jesus [1 Jn 3:1-3] – and v.17 says we are going to be forever with the Lord – your soul and spirit rise to be with the Lord the moment you die [2 Cor 5:8] – your body rises at the rapture

Shows you who is included in the rapture – v.14 – those who are “in Jesus” also known as those who are “in Christ,” [v.16] are the ones who go up at the rapture – we are put into Jesus at salvation through our spiritual baptism [1 Cor 12:13, Rom 6:3-5, Eph 5:30-32]

Reveals the simultaneous rising of the dead and changing of the alive – v.15-17 – the best cross reference is 1 Cor 15:50-55 which shows the corruption [the dead] putting on incorruption and the mortal [alive] putting on immortality simultaneously in the twinkling of an eye – from this we see that no one goes up to heaven in the church age before the others – thus there has been no assumption of Mary

Teaches us that the Rapture is the first part of the Second Coming of Jesus – v.16-17 – the Lord himself descends – he comes in the clouds [Acts 1:11] – and we meet him in the air because he doesn’t stay on the earth [contrast Zech 14]

Details the three signs of the event – v.16 – the shout – the voice of the archangel – the trump of God – that’s why you will hear some people say or see some folks sign their letters “listening for the shout” – you’ll notice that these events do not match Matt 24:31 because these are two different events – the church age saints show up in Rev 5 and the tribulation saints show up in Rev 7

Encourages us to comfort one another – v.18 – at every grave side service I read this passage from the Bible because it is the best source of comfort the family can have – one preacher says to the grave, “You can’t keep him; he’s coming up” – and in this stressful society in which we live, it is a comfort to know that the Lord is coming – and he’s coming before the tribulation