1 Thess 4:13-5:11 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
1 Thess 4:13-5:11 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
1 Thess 4:13-5:11 Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
1 Thess 4:13-5:11 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. you are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Schools of Eschatology Premillennial, Postmillennial (Reconstructionist Nonreconstructionist), Amillennial, Transmillennial Dispensational (Multirapture, Pretribulation, Midtribulation, Prewrath), Historical Premill, Posttribulation Preterist (Full and Partial), Historicist, Futurist And this is only the most common views. There are others.
There is only one way If you listen to Christian radio or watch Christian TV it would appear that all the church agrees on a set eschatology. This is an illusion! It is a common mistake.
The Purpose of Eschatology Paul refers to his eschatology shared with the church earlier in person. He does not go into great detail. He does tell us why he is sharing this: “we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.”
The Purpose of Eschatology Paul addresses eschatology for a two part reason: Part 1: “we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death.” Part 2: “so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.”
The Purpose of Eschatology Paul wants to spare us from grief and give us hope by assuring us of the status of those who have died. Many scholars believe someone was teaching the resurrection already happened so anyone dying before the return of Christ was lost.
Let’s look at one Eschatology My purpose here is not to undermine anyone’s eschatology. My point is to show that something so many are so sure about and willing to divide over is actually not a “sure” as they would think.
My view Let me start with disclosure on my eschatology: I am a Historicist. This means I believe the tribulation began with the first coming of Christ and will continue until the return of Christ. Much of our history is actually forecast in Revelation.
My view I always get the question: “Don’t you believe we will be raptured before the tribulation?” I cannot believe this. To do so, I would have to believe the rapture happened two thousand years ago.
Your own Tribulation Experience Take your own age. You have already been in the Tribulation for that many years. Some have had a worse time of it than others. Some have had longer than others. Will things get worse? What about the fantastic things I read about in Revelation?
This is not to attack I don’t share this to shock or to discourage. I share this to show you that not all see these passages the same way. I also want you to see what I believe. Now I will share why I reject the pretrib position so commonly held.
Why am I different? First off differences are not bad. I do not reject the pretrib position because it is evil—it is not. I do not reject the pretrib position because of some latent antisemitism—I support Israel in most things. I do not reject the pretrib position because of some aversion to literal interpretation—I do not find the pretrib position to be so “literal.”
Why am I different? I reject the pretrib position because my study of scripture does not support it. Before you mention famous names to “prove” the position realize that: (1)Fallacy: “Appeal to Authority.” (2)I can give more famous names who do not hold a pretrib position.
Let’s Start Two main passages to consider: 1 Thess 4:17 ‘we will meet him in the air’ 1 Thess 5:9 ‘not appointed to suffer wrath’
Let’s Start 1 Thess 4:17 ‘we will meet him in the air’ Greek: “εἰς ἀπάντησιν” See Acts 28:15
Let’s Start 1 Thess 5:9 ‘not appointed to suffer wrath’ First of all “suffer” is not in the original Appointed: putting into a specific place apart from others (compare 1 Tim 1:12) “but to receive salvation through Jesus…” “He did not put you there for wrath but to preserve you in salvation.”
Let’s Start Compare Rev 3:10 “Because you kept…I will keep” Keep: Greek “τηρήσω” It doesn’t mean remove: (1)They ‘kept’, so they removed? (2)2 Cor 11:9 (3)John 17:15
Let’s Start Jesus does not promise to remove the Philadelphian Church, but to preserve them through the coming hard times. He does the same with us. There is no promise to remove us from anything—but fear of hell.
The Result I understand that most here will disagree. I’m fine with that. I’m fine with that because of Paul’s admonition at the end of this section: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” This is the purpose of eschatology.
The Result If your eschatology leads you to say, “You believe differently than me so I refuse to fellowship with you” then you are misusing eschatology. Do you believe Jesus will physically return? Do you believe he will bodily raise the dead? Then your eschatology is orthodox.