Christ’s Return

1 Thessalonians 5:23

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Note that this Epistle has a reference to the Lord’s return in all five chapters.  Let us look at them for a moment.

1 Thessalonians1:10 – “to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”

1 Thessalonians 2:19 – “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?”

1 Thessalonians 3:13 – “so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 – “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.  For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 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 will rise first.  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.  Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 – “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.  For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.  For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.  But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.  You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.  Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.  But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.  Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”

  • In the passage in chapter 4 Paul settles the distinction of those who are alive and those who have died at the Lord’s return.  In Paul’s day most expected Christ’s return very soon, in their life time, but at this point the saints were beginning to die and their hope was in grave question.

2 Corinthians 5:8 – “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,”

Acts 1:11 – “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

Matt 24:30 – “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”

  • Some confusion exists as to the end time and Christ’s return.  They are two separate events.

  • 1 Thessalonians speaks in detail of the coming of Christ for the saints
  • 2 Thessalonians speaks of the coming of Christ in judgment.
First ComingSecond Coming
Christ comes to claim His brideChrist returns with His bride
He comes in the airHe comes to the earth
Tribulation followingMillennial kingdom established
Immediate departure of saintsMultiple signs precede
Message of comfort givenMessage of judgment given
Change is a mysteryChange is predicted throughout Bible
Believers are judgedGentiles and Israel are judged
Israel’s covenants not yet fulfilledIsrael’s covenant is fulfilled
Believers only involvedAll people are involved
The church received into the presence of LordIsrael brought into kingdom age
  • If we are planning on being a part of the first of Christ’s return, His return for the Church, then we had better not ignore the admonition of Chapter 4.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-12 – “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit. “But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing”

1 Thessalonians 4:18 – “Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

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