1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
These verses continue with our glorious hope, and there is much here to unpack that it would be difficult to fully cover. I will try my best to be succinct.
1 Thes. 4:15 is a continuation of our discussion with 1 Thes. 4:1-14. The dead in Christ ascend first followed by those of us believers who are alive when this event occurs.
1 Thes. 4:16 – There is a three-fold announcement to the Rapture: a shout (possibly from Jesus Himself or the the archangel), voice of an archangel, and a trumpet. Many say “when the trumpet sounds,” but that is only part of what will be announced at this event. Interesting to note, that Jesus raised Lazarus who is in the grave with a command or shout, and here we have those in the grave will rise first with a shout.
There is only one archangel named in Scripture which comes from Jude 9 and states it is Michael. Daniel 10:13 states there is more than one archangel but doesn’t name them. The two angels specifically named in Daniel are Gabriel and Michael, and they team up to fight a spiritual battle in the air to get Daniel the message of the prophecy for the days to come. Side note theme in Scripture, Michael is the protector of Israel, and Gabriel is the messenger to Israel. Daniel is my favorite book of the Bible, and Daniel’s vision was laid out to him not only for the days leading up to Jesus but also the end of days which are yet to come.
Trumpets are used throughout Jewish tradition. They were used to declare war, announce special times and season, and…TO GATHER PEOPLE FOR A JOURNEY. How appropriate is the latter. This is the amazing thing to me. Everything from Genesis through Revelation utters God’s salvation through Jesus’ blood shed on the cross and defeat of the grave and our blessed hope we have ahead of us. You can study the Old Testament and Jewish tradition, and everything God setup there in ancient times has a meaning and a purpose today. A lot can be spiritualized, yes, but we can NEVER discount the contextual fulfillment.
1 Thes. 4:17 – You will hear people say the word rapture is never used in Scripture. This is deceptive by nature. Was the word used in the original Greek text? The answer to this is no. Our text today will use something to the affect of caught up or gathered together in the air. One has to keep in mind, that 1. English is a horrible language 2. The original New Testament language was Greek 3. We get our English translation mostly from the Latin translation of the original Greek. Now, the good thing is archeology has proven time and again our English translations have been done quite well as more and more ancient texts are found. The problem we run into is we get these deceptive comments trying to derail the Rapture. That being said, the original word used here is harpazō. It is used 13 times in the New Testament. You can look up this word through bibletools.org. It’s meaning is to seize or snatch up. The Latin translation of this word is rapto which then translates into English as rapture. This is your base counter to someone who challenges away the Rapture in scripture. Then, what happens after the Rapture: we will always be with the Lord. HALLELUJAH!!!
1 Thes. 4:18 – Again, this is our encouragement. We were never promised this life would be easy. If we study prophecy, specifically Daniel and Revelation which blatantly lay out the days ahead, we should be able to understand the times and seasons in which we live. We may not know the specific timeline, but we know things are happening on a grand scale. Jesus Himself stated perilous days will proceed the end of days. Things are going to get tough, but our encouragement to each other is our glorious hope of the Rapture. Even if we face death, to live is Christ and to die is gain, and to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. You can look up those two references. Also, don’t get sucked into people saying you just think the end of the world is near. The end of this world is not until after the Tribulation (7 years) followed by Jesus’ 1000 year reign here on earth. What is drawing near is the fulfillment of days: the church age is nearing completion, the time of Jacob’s Trouble (Tribulation) to follow, followed by Jesus’ reign here on earth for a 1000 years, and then the New Heaven and the New Earth.