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  1. Hi Pastor Chris,

    How are you? I did some research after today’s lesson on the rapture. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

    John’s MacArthur
    1 Thess. 4:15 a word from the Lord. Was Paul referring to some saying of Jesus found in the Gospels? No. There are none exact or even close. The only explicit reference to the rapture in the Gospels is John 14:1–3. Some suggest that Jesus had said the words while on earth, their substance being recorded later in such places as Matt. 24:30–31 and John 6:39–40; 11:25–26. Similarities between this passage in 1 Thessalonians and the Gospel accounts include a trumpet (Matt. 24:31), a resurrection (John 1:26), and a gathering of the elect (Matt. 24:31). Yet dissimilarities between it and the canonical sayings of Christ far outweigh the resemblances. Some of the differences between Matt. 24:30–31 and 1 Thess. 4:15–17 are as follows: 1) in Matthew the Son of Man is coming on the clouds (but see Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27), in 1 Thessalonians ascending believers are in them; 2) in the former the angels gather, in the latter Christ does personally; 3) in the former nothing is said about resurrection, while in the latter this is the main theme; and 4) Matthew records nothing about the order of ascent, which is the principal lesson in Thessalonians. On the other hand, did he mean a statement of Jesus that was spoken but not recorded in the Gospels (Acts 20:35)? No. There is reason to conclude this since Paul affirmed that he taught the rapture as a heretofore hidden truth (1 Cor. 15:51), i.e., “a mystery.” Apparently, the Thessalonians were informed fully about the day of the Lord judgment (cf. 1 Thess. 5:1–2), but not the preceding event—the rapture of the church. Until Paul revealed it as the revelation from God to him, it had been a secret, with the only prior mention being Jesus’ teaching in John 14:1–3. This was new revelation of what had previously been an unrevealed mystery. we who are alive, who are left. This refers to Christians alive at the time of the rapture, those who live on this earth to see the coming of the Lord for his own. Since Paul didn’t know God’s timing, he lived and spoke as if it could happen in his lifetime. As with all early Christians, he believed the event was near (cf. Rom. 13:11; 1 Cor. 6:14; 10:11; 16:22; Phil. 3:20–21; 1 Tim. 6:14; Titus 2:13). Those alive at the rapture will follow those dead who rise first (1 Thess. 4:16).

    Kind Regards,

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