Finally then, brothers and sisters, we request and exhort you in the lord
Jesus that as you received from us instruction about how to behave and please
God — just as you do behave — that you excel even more.
For you know the
commands we gave you through the lord Jesus.
This is the will of God: that
you become holy, that you abstain from sexual immorality,
that each of you
knows how to control your own body in holiness and honor,
not in the passion
of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God.
No one should take
advantage of or wrong his brother or sister in these matters, because the Lord is the
avenger in all these things, as we told you before and warned solemnly.For
God has not called us to impurity, but in holiness.
So anyone who rejects this
is not rejecting human beings but God, who gives His holy spirit to you.
About brotherly love, you do not need anyone to write to you, because
you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another.
And you are showing
this love to all the brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so even more,
lead a quiet life and attend to your own business, working with your own
hands, as we commanded you.
In this way you will behave properly before
outsiders and not be in need.
We do not want you to be ignorant, brothers and sisters, about those who
have fallen asleep, so that you will not grieve like others who have no
hope. 14 Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Jesus, escorting him, those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For we tell you this by the word of the lord: We who are alive, who
remain until the coming of the lord, will not go ahead of those who have
16 For the lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout
of command, accompanied by the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of
God, and the dead in Messiah 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. In this way we will be with the lord always. 18 So comfort
one another with these words.
Death is called “the sleep of death” in Ps. 13:3. It is a state of complete unconsciousness
which will end only when the dead are “woken up” from the sleep of death at the future resurrection
when Jesus comes back. Dan. 12:2 and John 11:11, 14 are simple and decisive verses on this important
How this happens is explained in the next sentence. The dead in Christ will be raised from
death and the believers who survive, without dying, until the return of Jesus will be caught up in one
company to meet Jesus as he descends in order that all may escort the royal personage to the earth to
which he is returning to rule in Jerusalem. “To be brought with Jesus presupposes rising from the dead
as part of the process, v. 16” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, p. 276).
The Greek verb here, harpazo, means to snatch away, catch up. It has been misused to
promote a so-called pre-Tribulation “rapture,” an illusory event 7 years before the Second Coming of
Jesus in power. There is only one Second Coming and not two. There is no noun “rapture” in the NT.
The snatching up here is part of the complex of events which will occur at the one single, visible return
of Jesus to establish his Kingdom on earth. Jesus is coming back to the earth in order to rule on the
earth (Rev. 5:10; Dan. 7:27). He is not going away again. His coming is not a “drive through.” He has a
“one-way” ticket to the earth. The seventh trumpet of Rev. 11:15-18 is of course the same event as the
last trumpet of 1 Cor. 15:52.
This is of course a catching up of the Christians to meet the royal personage who is on his way
back to the earth. “Hence the lord will meet his church. She will not need to wait until he sets foot on
earth; but those who are ready, ‘looking for their lord when he shall return’ (Lk. 22:35-40) will hear his
trumpet call and ‘go forth to meet the bridegroom’ (Mt. 25: 1, 6)” (Cambridge Bible for Schools andColleges, p. 106).