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1Thessalonians, Chapter Four, Lesson Three

COMFORTING BEHAVIOR           Page 5
V.15-17 (cont'd.)

Worthy to note: From chapters 4-18, there is no mention of the church. After giving specific instruction to the seven churches in chapters 1-3 on how they are to live in their present day, John goes silent regarding any reference of the church during the Tribulation.

His only instruction is to Israel, most notably pointed out in chapter 7:4-8 where 12,000 from each tribe are sealed making up the 144,000 witnesses for Christ.

When we compare the Book of Revelation with what we saw in John 14:1-3, you have Christ "receiving to Himself", His church in the Rapture prior to the Tribulation and then returning with her by His side in Revelation 19 at His Second Coming, at the end of the Tribulation.

V.16-17

** Back in 1Thessalonians 4:16 we see the Lord descending from heaven to receive to Himself, first the dead in Christ and then we who are alive (V.17). Does he meet us on earth?

No, that would be His Second Coming! We are caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord.
"Caught up" translates the word harpazo which means literally, "to seize, catchup or snatch away". Christ is removing us from the earth in this verse, not bringing us down to it!

** After this glorious event, how long are we with the Lord?

"...and thus we shall always be with the Lord". From that moment on, we remain with Christ throughout eternity.

V.18 ** If we were not committed to applying the word of God to our daily walk, this study could easily produce only head knowledge for us all. However, what does Paul want the Thessalonians to do with this very important information regarding the Rapture?

"...comfort one another with these words." Some of them were very confused or shaken over the loss of their loved ones and God's word is the only thing that can comfort their aching hearts.

** Herein lies the secret we spoke of at the beginning of our study. If we are to display "Comforting Behavior" towards our fellow saints, what should we use to comfort them during their times of grief and confusion.

Quite simply, the Word of God! We follow Paul's pattern and address their need from God's word.

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