Paul's First Letter to the Thessalonians

Chapter 4

Paul exhorts them to go forward in all manner of godliness, 1-5; to live in holiness and justly, 6-8; to love one another, 9, 10; and quietly to follow their own business, 11, 12; and last of all, to sorrow moderately for the dead, 13-16. And to this last exhortation is annexed a brief description of the resurrection and second coming of Christ to judgment, 17, 18.

1 Furthermore then, we implore you, brothers, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as you have received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, so you would abound more and more. 2 For you know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification: that you should abstain from lewdness; 4 That each of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 And that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. 7 For God has not called us to uncleanness, but to holiness. 8 He therefore who despises, does not despise man, but God, who has also given to us his holy Spirit.

9 But concerning brotherly love, you do not need that I write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another. 10 And indeed you do it toward all the brothers who are in all Macedonia. But we implore you, brothers, that you increase more and more, 11 And that you make it your ambition to be quiet, to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 12 So that you may walk honestly toward those who are outside and that you may have need of nothing.

13 But I do not wish to have you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, so that you do not sorrow, even as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so those also who sleep in Jesus, God will bring with him. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore, comfort one another with these words.

Commentary

Matthew Henry Commentary - 1st Thessalonians, Chapter 4

Notes

[v.16] - "the dead in Christ" - From John Calvin's Commentary: "He again says that the dead who are in Christ, that is, who are included in Christ's body, will rise first, that we may know that the hope of life is laid up in heaven for them no less than for the living. He says nothing as to the reprobate, because this did not tend to the consolation of the pious, of which he is now treating."

[v.17] - "shall be caught up together" - From Matthew Henry's Commentary: "At, or immediately before, this rapture into the clouds, those who are alive will undergo a mighty change, which will be equivalent to dying. This change is so mysterious that we cannot comprehend it: we know little or nothing of it, 1st Corinthians 15:51. Only, in the general, this mortal must put on immortality, and these bodies will be made fit to inherit the kingdom of God, which flesh and blood in its present state are not capable of. This change will be in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye (1st Corinthians 15:52), in the very instant, or not long after the raising up of those that sleep in Jesus. And those who are raised, and thus changed, shall meet together in the clouds, and there meet with their Lord, to congratulate him on his coming, to receive the crown of glory he will then bestow upon them, and to be assessors with him in judgment, approving and applauding the sentence he will then pass upon the prince of the power of the air, and all the wicked, who shall be doomed to destruction with the devil and his angels."

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