1 Thessalonians 4:16,17

1 Thessalonians 4:16,17

“Behold, I am coming as a thief…” – Revelation 16:15

Think about what a thief is. A thief is someone who does something no one likes: he takes what is NOT his.

Jesus didn’t actually say, “I am a thief”, or “I will be a thief”. Instead he said “I come like a thief”. Jesus does not steal what is not his. Instead he comes in the manner of a thief: suddenly; unexpected; without warning; unannounced; uninvited.

The return of Jesus Christ is likened to the coming of a thief.

Robert Roberts from Thirteen Lectures – “Jesus steals into the world to resume his work.” “His first work is a work of Judgement on his house….”

The word “steals” means move somewhere quietly or surreptitiously

Paul Billington from his Revelation book – “Jesus himself is not coming to rob or steal of course, but He is coming as a thief does; i.e. his coming will be stealthy, without anyone knowing about it, SECRETLY and unexpectedly.”

H.P. Mansfield from Exposition – “The Lord will return SECRETLY, UNHERALDED, at a time when the nations are manifesting a warlike belligerent attitude such as they are today”

John Thomas from Elpis Israel – “Christ says, “Behold I come as a thief”. That is he comes as a thief comes when he is bent on stealing. A thief not only comes unexpectedly, but he gets into the house with SECRECY.”

John Allfree from Ezekiel – “As far as the world is concerned he comes “as a thief”, that is SECRETLY, and will raise the dead and conduct the work of judgement unbeknown to the mass of mankind.”

It is the key to our understanding of unfolding events in our time.

According to 1 Thessalonians 4:16 (Diaglott) – “Because the Lord himself will come down from Heaven with a shout, with an Archangel’s voice, and with God’s Trumpet; and the dead in Christ will be raised FIRST.”

The word shout in the Greek signifies a command, or word of command; alluding to mariners or soldiers summoned to be ready with their assistance when called upon.

An “archangel” is an angel of exalted rank, the highest rank of any angel.

The “shout of command” is uttered by the “leader of the angels. It refer to the angels whom Christ now summons to attend and assist in that day.

Trumpets in Biblical times were either made from rams’ horns (shofars) or from silver, and could be blown by the priests and leaders. 

There were different sounds for different purposes:

• Time to pack up camp and move on, when the Israelites were traveling in the desert

• Time to gather the people and call an assembly

• To mark a sacrifice on a feast day

• A warning of war or danger

• To praise

• To declare a procession or feast

• Proclaiming a king

• Assembling the troops for battle

• To be used in battle

• To declare victory

• Year of Jubilee

The trumpet (called “the trump of God” because used for God’s purposes) is blown when God has appointed a day to send Jesus back to the Earth. On the first day of the seventh month there was “a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.” In other words, the strident note of the trumpet reminded Israel that the day of Judgment was at hand, and called them together in a “holy convocation.”

The angels of God are the “reapers” of the harvest when Jesus will send forth his angels to GATHER out the dead FIRST then alive as LAST to the Judgement.

In the parable of the wheat and tares the point is made that the angels do not just come to gather the harvest, but also to separate the wheat from the tares. Thus these angels (Matt. 16:27, Mark 8:38) will assist in the judgment, for they are described as “the reapers” (Matt. 13:39), who “sever” the wicked from among the just (v.49).

According to 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17  – “….. And the dead in Christ will rise FIRST. AFTER THAT, we who are alive…..”

The word “then” or “after that” means afterward, thereupon, thereafter. This word denotes succession in numbering and shows chronological sequence. The word “then” strongly opposes the former state of resurrecting the dead. This is an entirely different event.

Bro. John Thomas in Eureka – “”Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4, that when the ‘time of the dead that they should be judged’ arrives, 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….”

The question was explicitly suggested that after Jesus return back to the Earth secretly, his first work is the gathering of the dead saints FIRST; then the next, the gathering of the living saint. Then we, the dead and the living, will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. That is the order of events at the second advent!

The resurrection will take place unknown to the world at large.

After the judgment, the righteous “shall be caught up together in clouds to join the Lord in the air.” These same sleeping (dead) saints that are referred to as a “cloud of witnesses” will be resurrected FIRST when Christ returns (as stated in 1 Thessalonians 4:16). The living saints will then be joined together with them as a part of this multitude of clouds, and together with the Lord, they will execute judgment and establish power over the nations. They will be elevated to positions of power in the “air” (high places/governments) of the Kingdom age. 

The purpose of the gathering is “to meet the Lord”. The word here used is an interesting one. The Greek word for meet here is apantesis. According to the Vine’s Expository Dictionary: “It is used in the papyri of a newly arriving magistrate. It seems that the special idea of the word was the official welcome of a newly arrived dignitary”. According to The Vocabulary Of The New Testament (Moultan and Milligan): “It seems to have been a kind of technical term for the official welcome of a dignitary.” When an official paid a visit to a city, a deputation of leading citizens met him to escort him on his final stage. The word occurs also in Matt. 25:6 in relation to the “wise virgins,” and in Acts 28:15, for the group of brethren who went out of their way to meet Paul.

Join in the aerial (air) is to obtain approval from the Lord, and also to meet him in his official capacity as future monarch of the world. The approved will be gathered together a glorious company of the redeemed. For the moment, it will be limited to the judgment seat, but ultimately it will extend throughout the world until all countries acknowledge the authority of the Son. Its symbol is the “stone” of Daniel 2 which grows until it becomes a mountain filling the whole earth.

Now we wondering when will Jesus return ? This is an undeniable Biblical proof that Jesus had returned on September 19, 2020 which was the Feast of Trumpets on that day. Jesus has already returned secretly, silently, and unheralded as in a manner of thief. Jesus steals into the world to resume his works. His first work is a work of Judgement on his own house of God first (1 Peter 4:17).

And also 2020 was the beginning of the Jubilee year. The first 10 years of the Jubilee Year period is called “the Harvest of the Earth” which start from the second coming of Christ to the Armageddon. Christ begin to reap “the harvest of the earth” (Revelation 14:14-16) that takes place at Christ’s second coming.

You might be shock to hear that I said “Jesus Christ has already returned”. Please read the article “Why 2020” to expound the Scriptures concerning why Christ returns in the year of 2020!

The Judgement and redemption plan will take about four years. How do we know ?

There is a pattern, parables, visions, dark sayings, symbolic prophecies, and type in Scripture.

And herein lies a major reason for and importance of studying and knowing the types and the antitype in Scripture. Biblical history is highly typical in nature, and the antitype must follow the type in detail, which includes the manner and order in which events occur in both.  That would be to say selectively detailed historical events, creational features, and geographic design can all qualify as parables as well as doctrinal and prophetic significance. This is the manner in which God has seen fit to reveal a major part of His plans and purposes to man.

“Egypt” is used typifying the world.

Based on Exodus Chapters 7 to 12, the ten plagues that God caused on Egypt, Israelites went through the first three plagues with Egyptians then finally Israelites separated from Egyptians on the fourth plague and onward.

It is anti-typical of the first three years (Year 2020-2022), Christadelphians and all people of the world will deal with the plagues like the COVID19 pandemic and the spirits of madness that wreaks havoc on the global economy and destabilize the world. The world is still being rocked by the effects of Russia invading and attacking Ukraine. Russia is seeking to recreate a Soviet-style empire with its security buffers with the West. An uncertain future looms on the horizon.

Then at the fourth year (Year 2023), all living Christadelphians will be taken out in one day while the world will continue to deal with the much worst of the politicians chaos, society’s values deteriorating, problems, wars, and plagues for next seven more years until the battle of Armageddon event in Israel.

Now the question based on 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 and based on all the expository evidence so far accumulated, we believe we can safely conclude that Exodus 19:1 and 2 does indeed refer as the prophetic parable to the time and process of judgment of those responsible, and that this will take place in Mt. Sinai.

Based on Exodus 19:1 & 2, it took three months for the Israelites departed from Egypt to the Mt. Sinai. It is a speaking prophetically that it takes three years for the angels to GATHER the dead in Christ FIRST, THEN, it will take 1 day for the angels will GATHER the living as last from “Egypt” to the Mt. Sinai for the Judgment Seat. Those dead first will be conveyed to the precincts of Sinai and then camp there. The period spent at Sinai will not be hurried. Yahweh will not hurry over these matters. The Angels will gather the living as last which probably will happen on the feast of Weeks (Pentecost) in 2023.

Then, the King Jesus who will administer the righteous Judgments of Yahweh like a wheat and tares parable which will last probably a year. Then the tabernacle was completed as a typified of Yahweh manifested in multitudinous immortalized saints that will complete at the end of Judgement.

Now why I mentioned “Pentecost” in 2023, What is the significance of the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) in the Bible?

This agricultural division of our Creator’s creational testimony forms much of this foundational platform for the examination of the three annual harvest feast weeks mandated in the laws of the Kingdom of God. These three harvest feast weeks are shadow projections of the three great divine harvests in our Creator’s plan. He has and will harvest the mature, fruit bearing development where He sowed His image and likeness over that last (almost) 6,000 years.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread is a detailed portrayal of our Messiah’s immortalization and the basis for that immortalization. The Feast of Weeks (Feast of First Fruits and Pentecost) is a detailed portrayal of the immortalization of the saints at the beginning of the Restored Millennial Kingdom and the somewhat different basis for that immortalization. The Feast of Tabernacles (feast of the final ingathering) is a detailed portrayal of the immortalization of the remaining saints at the end of the Restored Millennial Kingdom and just before the elimination of the last enemy of our Creator’s plan (death).

Each of the three progressive feast weeks is a perfect and highly specific projection of one of these immortalization ‘harvesting’ events.

Another conclusive identification for the Feast of Weeks serving as a shadow projection of the immortalization of the saints at the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom is Christ’s parable of the wheat and the tares. It is no mere coincidence Jesus highlighted the wheat harvest in this parable of the harvesting of the faithful at the beginning of the Kingdom. It was the ‘wheat’ harvest that specifically identified the Feast of Weeks (Ex. 34:22). Christ’s parable of the wheat and the tares is a parallel prophecy of the Feast of weeks, projecting the resurrection, judgment and immortalization of the approved and the burning of the judgmentally rejected at the beginning of the restored Kingdom.

The terms of resurrection participation are defined by the borders of the field, including both wheat and tares or as Paul says to Felix, both just and the unjust (Acts 24:15). The terms of the judgement project the requirement of fruitfulness. If we do not bear fruit to the honor and glory of our Creator then we can expect no approval.

This was the resolute law for each of the feast weeks: Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the Lord empty (Deut 16:16).

Do We Share Our Creator’s Vision? It was forbidden to attend any of the three divinely ordained feast weeks with no fruitfulness to offer Yahweh. Therefore, if we have no fruit (no personally generated projections of our Creator’s righteousness) to offer His son at our judgment, then we are nothing but the tares among the wheat. This fruitfulness is also scripturally defined as our works and deeds, by which we will be judged (Rec. 22:12; 20:12; 2 Cor. 11:15; Rom. 2:6).

We certainly cannot earn salvation through whatever degree of our Creator’s righteousness we personally project in our lives, but without any personal righteousness (fruits) to offer, then our eternal rejection by Christ is absolutely assured. We are required to demonstrate, to the full extent of our capacity and courage, our Creator’s vision for creation in our lives. Creation was always intended to be a radiation of the eternal truths and principles of the omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent Mighty One who had no beginning and will have no end.

The only real question for us to determine is whether or not we share His vision. The foolish challenge to this divine principle is the suggestion that all we have to worry about at the judgment is whether or not we have been forgiven of all our sins or not. That isn’t enough. The other judgment issue is how we have demonstrated the righteousness of our Creator (or not) in our lives.

We have to come to the anti-typical Feast of Weeks with fruit to offer or we will offend our Creator and His son. The three judgment parables in Matthew 25 present this same theme. The rejected wedding attendants, investment servant and goats are not rejected for anything they had done wrong, but what they had not done right.

Even more interesting, Why is the Feast of Weeks exclusively absent from the Kingdom Prophecies in Ezekiel 45:21-25? The initial answer seems to be that the anti-typical application of the Feast of Weeks is completely fulfilled with the Immortalization of the Saints at the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom.

Here is the outline in the order of events at the second advent of Jesus Christ:

  1. Jesus Christ has already returned on the Earth like a thief. (on the Feast of Trumpets – SEPTEMBER 19, 2020)
  2. Christ and the angels GATHER the dead FIRST! It takes 3 years. (The resurrection will take place unknown to the world at large.)
  3. Christ and the angels GATHER the living as LAST after they finish with dead. It takes 1 day. (on the Feast of Weeks – MAY 25, 2023)
  4. Then we, the dead and the living, will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Judgement begins where the wheat will be separated from the tares. Jesus made the statement in Matthew 20:16 – “..the last will be first, and the first last…”. Jesus said explicitly that we, the living as LAST will be judged FIRST, then the rest of the dead, probably in groups, will be judged. It takes 1 year or less.
  5. End of the Judgement – Immortalization of the approved and the burning of the judgmentally rejected.
  6. Those who are found faithful at this judgment will be rewarded with immortality and given position of authority in God’s Kingdom on the Earth. When they are elevated to their position of power, they are said to be “in the air”, that is, they are in high places of authority in the political heavens.

Here is at the sequence of events of the first 10 years of the Jubilee Year Period which is called “The Harvest of the Earth”. The scene beheld represents events subsequent to the descent of Christ Jesus, and the resurrection and immortalization; and before they obtain possession of the Holy City. This is the epoch of the vision; and synchronizes with the concluding period of the Sixth Vial, and coeval with the gathering of the kings of the earth and their armies “into the place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon”.

Those who despise prophesy will shun this proclamation; for the vision is preserved for the blessed that have eyes to see, ears to hear and believe that “For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.” – Habakkuk 2:3

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