|1 Thessalonians 4 |
1 Furthermore we beseech you, brothers, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as you have been instructed by us how you should walk to please God, do this more and more.
2 For you know what commands we gave you by the Lord Jesus.
3 For this is the will of God: that you become holy [sanctified], so that you abstain from sexual immorality;
4 That every one of you know how to possess [control] his own body in purity and honor,1
6 So that no one would take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all these things, as we have forewarned you and testified.
7 For God has not called us to uncleanness, but to holiness.2
8 He therefore who disregards this, does not disregard man, but God, who has given his holy Spirit to us.
9 But concerning brotherly love, you do not need me to 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 urge you, brothers, that you increase more and more,
11 And that you aspire to lead a quiet and peaceful life, and to attend to 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 not need anything.
13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, so that you sorrow, even as others do who have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who sleep in Jesus.
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain till the coming of the Lord will not precede those who are asleep [in Jesus].
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 will rise first.
17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will ever be with the Lord.3 [Translation into the Kingdom of Christ is only to those purified in heart, and it occurs for individual men, each man in his own rank and order. 1 Cor 15:23. See the footnote for additional detail. ]
18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
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1 For this is the will of God: that you become holy [sanctified], so that you should abstain from sexual immorality; That every one of you should know how to possess [control] his own body in purity and honor. Try to remember that you are a created being; that your body is a gift from God, given by Him to you, to house your spirit and soul. If you can remember and fully respect that your body is God's creation, given to you, then it is easier to possess your body with honor and control, denying the impulses of the flesh. As Paul said: I keep my body under control, and bring it into subjection; for fear that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified. 1 Cor 9:27. As verse 3 emphasizes, that you should abstain from sexual immorality; and which gravity Paul explains: Flee sexual immorality; every other sin that a man commits is outside his body, but he who commits sexual immorality, sins against his own body. 1 Cor 6:18. Follow this yourself, and explain the seriousness of it to your children.
2 For God has not called us to uncleanness, but to holiness. The sects choose to ignore this, thinking they have a license to sin and remain unclean in heart forever with no consequence. Yet: without holiness, no one will see the Lord. Heb 12:14. Paul speaks to believers still sinning: Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. 1 Cor 15:34.
3 This is the basis of the theory of the rapture. A bunch of sinning people who call themselves Christians, are not going to be translated into heaven, polluting it with their lies, covetousness, lusts, anger, immorality, and impurities; the Bible clearly states (Eph 5:5-6,Gal 5:19-21,Mark 7:21-23,Heb 12:14) such people sinning have no inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ. God expelled the fallen angels from heaven; he expelled Adam from Eden, and so he will ban men who still sin from heaven. Corruption does not inherit incorruption. The one-time rapture of all believers is pure fiction, embraced by all the itching ears of Christendom, surrounding themselves with false teachers who tell them that while they are still sinning, living their selfish life as they choose, walking after the imaginations of their own heart, and not listening for the voice of the Lord, that they are righteous and favored by God. Yet, these people are destined to be destroyed, and their false preachers are destined to be abhorred by everyone and cursed by all nations; and blackest darkness is reserved for those promising freedom to those just beginning to escape from sin. 2 Pet 2:15-18, Jude 1:11-13. I will bring upon them an everlasting reproach and perpetual shame that shall never be forgotten, Jer 23:40. The Lord will never join his body to sinners; former sinners, yes, but never to those who are still slaves to sin. And, anyone who still sins is a slave to sin. John 8:34, Rom 6:16.
The reality of these verses is this: Two thousand years ago there were Christians who were dying in the persecutions, having already entered tribulation in the Ministry of Condemnation, which includes supernatural suffering at the hand of God. To be in Christ, is to have crucified the sinful nature on the inward cross of self denial. In persecutions from the powers of the world, there were those in Christ who were killed. But those who have died in Christ, are the first to be translated at the Lord's next appearance in any other individual, as said in 1 Thes 4:13-18, and then first purified.
And today the pressures of attaining purity on earth are so great that when some have entered the Ministry of Condemnation, they can become so tired and weary that they don't have the strength to go on; they then "fall asleep" in Christ, (they die, but while in Christ because they had already undergone supernatural suffering).
And I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from this time forward. Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labors; and their works will follow them." Rev 14:13.
The infinite mercy and kindness of the Lord takes them out of the world to protect them from evil and falling away, and to keep them safe until their resurrection from the grave into Heaven. This assurance is found in Rev 14:13. (This to me is wonderfully special because it says that once someone enters into tribulation of the Ministry of Condemnation, their salvation while on earth is assured; what Love and Care He has for us — to be sure we make it, even if we weaken under pressure. I don't think I will ever know how great is our God — he is beyond our minds. But we know he is clean, pure, logical, sensible, gentle, kind, merciful, fair, just, humble, faithful, and true beyond measure). Before you conclude that the earth's pressures might be too much, don't forget that however great the pressures on earth, those in Hell are far, far worse; and of course the rewards for attaining purity on earth are beyond our imagination — as it is written: No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Cor 2:9.
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