1 THESSALONIANS 4
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7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
The old man says, "Why should not I have the liberty that everybody takes?" "Why should not I please myself also? Why should not I indulge in these pleasing diversions that chase away the dullness of life and open to me the solace and refreshment that the world has in all directions?"
There is an answer to the old man which the old man does not like, and which it inflicts the highest pain on him to receive. That answer is: The Law of God forbids. God says,
"Ye are called to holiness;"
"Be ye holy in all manner of conversation-holy both in body and spirit."
"Without holiness no man shall see the Lord."
...In all things, there is but one course for every true lover of Christ, and that is, to bear him company in the garden of Gethsemane, and say with him,
"Not my will but Thine be done."
The conflict may be painful for the time being; but it never can be so painful as that through which he went in prospect of the prolonged agony that ended in the "loud cry" at the ninth hour. And however painful, it prepares a sweetness of victory that no language can exaggerate. Even in this present life, the results of conformity to the will of God are most precious, most noble.
Bro Roberts - Not as I will, but as Thou wilt
13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
Some of the Thessalonian believers had died, and the survivors seemed to be under the apprehension that the deceased were losers by death, as if they would miss something by being out of the way if Christ should appear. Paul writes to correct this feeling.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
Since Christ was here the truth has never vanished in the sense of believers being absolutely extinguished from the earth. The apocalyptic references to believers in all ages show this. Dr. Thomas himself also alludes to the fact in Eureka and The Book Unsealed.
The wording on the Doctor's tombstone must be interpreted in the light of these truths. The revival of the truth by the Doctor was a public revival. The reference of Paul to the continuation till Christ came of the true ecclesia also bears out the thought-
"We shall not all sleep" (1 Cor. xv. 51);
"We which are alive and remain" (1 Thes. iv. 15, 17).
How these apostolic statements evidence the divine inspiration of the one who made them! How could Paul, apart from inspiration, have foretold the existence of a body of living believers at the return of Christ? And how these predictions evidence the providential preservation of the Scriptures, for apart from them, how could there be believers?
Be patient, brethren, the tongue of the adversary will be effectually silenced presently.
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, June 1899
Prevent means precede or go before.
The comparison is between the dead righteous and the living righteous, and not between the righteous dead and the wicked dead.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
'... the living saints will not anticipate the dead. That is, they will not be gathered together into the presence of Christ before them. When Christ comes, the living will have to wait, until the reproduction of the dead saints is complete. Be the time of this reproduction long or short, the how long is not revealed; this, however, is certain, that
"the dead in Christ shall be restored (anastesontai) FIRST".
He then tells us What is to happen next.
"After that, We the living Who remain, together with them shall be hurried away in clouds for a convention of the Lord in an air (eis haera), and so (in that Air) We shall be always With the Lord".
Thus the dead are the subjects of anastasis, or "restoration" to what they once were; and then, in company with their fellow earthborns in Christ of the generation contemporary with this great anastasis, they go to report themselves for better or worse at the Judgment Seat in Teman.
All of them who are approved, or "accounted worthy to obtain that aion" (aion, course of things, or Air), are "clothed with the house from heaven;" and henceforth, appointed to be with the Lord always in the Air.
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Paul refers to the Air or Heaven of the Gentile world, or constitution of things, in Eph. 2:2, where he says, 'ye who were dead in trespasses and in sins, in time past walked according to the aion of this kosmos", or course of this order of things,
"according to the chief of the authority of the Air, (which is) the Spirit which now worketh in the children of disobedience".
The spirit that works in the disobedient is the spirit of flesh, or King Sin. He is the chief, the ruler, or prince, of "the authority of the Air".
The constituted authority of an empire, kingdom or republic, is "the authority of the Air" in those several dominions or states. The Powers that be are the Sin-Powers of the Air, styled by the apostle in Eph. 6:12, "principalities and authorities, the world-rulers of the darkness of the course of things (aion) the spirituals of the wickedness in the heavenlies".
These all belong to "the authority of the Air". The spirituals of the wickedness in his day were the civil, or secular, and the ecclesiastical, world-rulers, who Were either Jewish or Pagan; but in our day, they are emperors, kings, magistrates, popes, priests, and parsons, called "the clergy", of all orders and degrees, of imposture and blasphemy, pretending to be Christian...
...Both earth and heaven, as now constituted in church, state, and general society, will all be broken up and abolished; and a New Air, or firmament, constituted, in which will shine only "the Splendid Ones," the Sun of Righteousness and the kings of his rising, who obtain "the victory over the Beast, and over his Image, and over his Mark, and over the Number of his Name" (ch. 15:2). These will all meet together with the Lord in the Air, as the "New Heaven," styled also "the Heaven," in ch. 18:20, which rejoices over Babylon in the disaster of her fall. This New Air, I remark again, is the air in which, and for which, the chosen saints are convened.
...every political island and mountain will be abolished. The civil and ecclesiastical constitutions of all the states and kingdoms will be superseded by "the law that goes forth from Zion," which will become "the air" in which clouds of saints will meet the Lord, and so be ever with him (1 Thess. iv. 17).
When the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of Yahweh and his Anointed, "the wise" will be the embodiment of "the air" or firmament; for "they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament" (Dan. xii. 3). No smoke of the pit, or wrath of vials, will ever darken, or abolish them. They will always be bright and clear, and give transmission to the healing rays of the Sun of Righteousness, as his kings and priests over the subject nations of the earth.
The "two stages" of the Lord's coming are not two stages of his journey, but two aspects of the work to be done at his one coming. He does not come to a distant point of our atmosphere, and stop and send for his saints, and then resume his journey: this idea has been drawn from what Paul says in 1 Thess. iv., about being caught up to meet the Lord in the air. But Paul did not use the Greek word for up. He used a verb which means caught away without reference to any particular direction.
The Lord's people will be caught away to meet him, certainly: but this is to meet him at his return-which is to the earth. The first stage of his work at the return is the organisation of his own house by judgment and separation of its elements. This will involve the immortalisation of his accepted people. They are not immortal before they meet him: for he is the giver of that great attribute at his judgment seat. They are taken away to his presence in their natural state.
The second stage of his coming will be his manifestation to the world with his brethren in works of war and retribution - to be followed by the subjugation of the earth and the setting-up of the Kingdom of God.
The Christadelphian, Oct 1896.