April 9, 2012 @ 11:42 PM
In reviewing this passage, I'll be looking at 1Thessalonians 4:13 through chapter 5 verse 11 as one discourse of St. Paul's. Online versions of this are at:
and I would encourage you to avail yourself of [either of] those two links if a copy of the New Testament isn't handy for you.
Had this been divided up into a separate, distinct chapter unto itself without what's before or after, and this not been divided up by those who came up with the chapter numbers and verse numbers, in much more recent centuries, I don't see how any doctrine of "rapture" could have ever emerged 'cause if the latter part of this isn't talking about the physically dead, neither can the 1st part of this be talking about the physically dead. Those asleep who have no hope are those who've fallen away from God, and the "snatching away" seems to more specifically be talking about Ephesians 4:13 -- again, when this passage isn't broken up from start to finish, as I have it here for you with the links I've chosen, particularly the studybible.info link.
"Clouds of heaven" are clearly talking about one of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit that very often accompanies "revival meetings." Our not preceding those who've fallen away clearly indicates the greatest "revivals" in human history of the truth of the Gospel and our development in the Word of righteousness will come through those who had fallen away coming into a deeper baptism with the Holy Spirit and a deeper experience of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His ascending and descending High Priestly ministry after the order of Melchizedek. "Meeting the Lord in the air" is also clearly evident of being in this life as opposed to being above this planet or among the celestials away from this planet.
The destruction this passage goes on to talk about is clearly figurative of a very violent delivery of a new baby that some women experience, particularly in ancient cultures where there wasn't all of the medications to help them through it. We're not told in this passage that the destruction will overtake them as any number of Old Testament destructions, but we're specifically given the analogy of a very physically distressing delivery of a child from a womb for a woman. If anything, 1Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 would be what those in mainstream Churches would kick around about "eternal security" once someone has initially embraced the Lordship of Jesus, whether or not they're still "saved" after a falling away. This passage asserts "yes" though their delivery into the "all truth" ministry of the Holy Spirit will be extremely distressing and painful when they're snatched away into His Ephesians 4:13 purpose.
The "peace and safety" or "peace and surety" clause in this passage is clearly not talking about Covenantal Gospel Peace from Isaiah 54 and Psalm 91 safety, but is talking to a specific context of attempting to evade persecution by walking away from the Gospel, and the massive bungee cord of grace that'll snap them back to where they were before as God moves on with His Ephesians 4:13 purposes in Christ to liberate the whole Creation through the firstfruits who have, at any time, come forth into the fold by the Gospel being stood on in faith and proclaimed. If we're sons of the day, according to this passage, then contextually it's Ephesians 4:13 that comes as a thief in the night. Verse 9 of the 5th chapter of 1Thessalonians is clearly alluding back to Isaiah 54:9-15 that those who fall for our sakes have to fall into the fullness of Gospel grace!
And for those not acquainted with Ephesians 4:13, that I've cited repeatedly above, it's essentially the chief aim of "going to Church" what in Acts 2:42 is said to be a continuation in the doctrine of those called to the ministry by God:
13till we may all come to the unity of the faith and of the recognition of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to a measure of stature of the fulness of the Christ, (Ephesians 4:13 Young's Literal Translation)
13[That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ's own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him. (Ephesians 4:13 Amplified Bible)
13Until we all advance—into the oneness of the faith, and the personal knowledge of the Son of God, into a man of full-growth, into the measure of the stature of the fulness of the Christ; (Ephesians 4:13 Rotherham's Emphasized Bible)
13unto the end that we should all attain to the unity of the faith and of the realization of the son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature of the complement of the Christ, (Ephesians 4:13 Concordant Literal New Testament)
Acts 26:22 is most instructive on this matter, as on all matters St. Paul taught:
22 But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— (Acts 26:22 New International Version)