1 Thessalonians 4:16,17
Prophecy is God’s gift to His servants of His foreknowledge of future events but it is just secretly concealed in the details. Proverb 25:2 has been understood as referring to the revelation of God’s will in his word, where there are many things concealed in parables, allegories, metaphors, dark sayings, types, and similitudes. And it is becoming the majesty of God so to publish his will, that it must be seriously studied to be understood, in order that the truth may be more prized when it is discovered.
God has selected historical incidents, and recorded them as parables or types or allegories to teach important lessons and reveal prophecies. A recognition of this provides a key and to the interpretation of events recorded there. Therefore God chose to record the incidents that took place happened but they are recorded for two reasons: 1) they are historically true. 2) they reveal a hidden meaning.
A systematic study of the Scriptures with a view of extracting parables, allegories, metaphors, dark sayings, types, and similitudes yields wonderful benefits in matters of strengthening our faith and increasing our understanding of the Truth.
“Behold, I am coming like a thief…” – Revelation 16:15
Think about what a thief is.
Jesus didn’t actually say, “I am a thief”, or “I will be a thief”. Instead he said “I come like a thief”. Jesus comes in the manner of a thief: suddenly; unexpected; without warning; unannounced; uninvited, stealthily, secretly.
The return of Jesus Christ is likened to the coming of a thief. That is at the time when He comes like a thief secretly to sneak in and gather his household to the Judgement seat at Mt. Sinai while remaining unknown to the world.
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.”
Jesus come as invisible? Jesus clearly said that He will come like a thief meaning He comes secretly. In the Bible, Jesus, during the days of his flesh, could hide himself, and it is possible for God to keep others in an invisible state also (Luke 4:29,30; John 8:59). Angels are certainly real. There is no difficulty in this for God whose angels have work unseen and invisible by the world for centuries except at times the angels have become visible for a short time! (Daniel 10:11,20; 2 Kings 6:17; Numbers 22:23-35; 2 Samuel 5:23,24; 1 Chronicles 14:14,15).
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 Lord himself will come down from Heaven” means in the first chronological order of events, Jesus has returned to the earth. Why? “I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” (Revelation 1:18). Jesus has the power to free the deceased from the grave so He sent these angels with the delegated authority to gather out the deceased from the grave.
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 ones FIRST then alive ones as LAST to the Judgement seat at Mt. Sinai.
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 and remain shall be caught up..…..”
This verses gives us a chronological sequence of events!
The word “then” or “after that” in Thayer’s Greek Lexicon means time and order. 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 4:16,17, 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 secretly returned to earth, his first work is the gathering of the dead saints FIRST. The resurrection will take place unknown and unseen to the world at large. After the dead ones is finished, then next, the gathering is the living ones as “caught up” to the place of Judgement. Then we, the dead and the living, will stand before the judgment seat of Christ at Mt. Sinai. Again, it will take place remain unknown and unseen to the world at large. That is the chronological order of events at the second advent!
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 & 2 does indeed refer as the prophetic allegory to the process of judgment of those responsible, and that this will take place in Mt. Sinai. Based on Exodus 19:1 & 2, It is a speaking prophetically that the angels to GATHER the dead in Christ FIRST. The resurrection will take place unknown and unseen to the world at large. 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 purpose for the angels to gather the dead ones first is to PREPARE for the Judgement seat, so once after the angels finish with the dead ones completely, then the angels will gather the alive ones as last from “Egypt” to the Mt. Sinai for the Judgment Seat. Thus the living ones, as the last gathering by the angels, will be the FIRST in line for the Judgement seat! Remember Jesus said “the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.”
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.
John Thomas said in Eureka – “The work of this time will take time; but how much time it will consume the testimony does not reveal. The Lord Jesus Christ who is “the resurrection and the life,” as well as “the truth and the way,” descends to Mount Sinai while the present Sixth Vial is continuing to pour out. “Behold!” says he, “I come as a thief.” He comes before “the kings of the earth and of the whole habitable” are gathered into the region termed “in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” How long before is not revealed; but between his thief-like advent and the Armageddon-gathering is “the time of the dead” and when his work is finished with his dead ones, “He gathers the kings together” — he operates upon a situation already created by the Frog Power; and brings on the catastrophe, which that power is not capable of accomplishing………But, how many months or years the work of setting in order his own Melchizedek household will consume I know not. It will take time. The Lord is never in a hurry. He is always deliberate and dignified. If He pleased, He could flash everything into order; and all his enemies into destruction. But He has not acted in this way in the past; and it is clear from the word that He does not intend to act flashing in the future. There is no question about His ability so to do. He can do what He wills; and He has revealed His will, and from that revelation, it is evident that He will be deliberate in all his movements.”
Good News! Now I have discovered how long it takes! The Judgement and redemption plan will take about four years. How do we know ?
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. This type is a real, happened in history.
Now the 10 plagues story is a prophetic foreshadowing of the antitype to come.
The 10 plagues represents 10 years.
It also foretold the first 3 1/2 years (Year 2020-2023), the angels raise and gather the dead ones while all living Christadelphians and all people of the Egypt (“Egypt” is used typifying the world) are dealing with the plagues like the COVID–19 pandemic and the spirits of madness that wreaks havoc on the global economy and destabilize the world. The next worldwide financial crisis is on its way. The world is soon be on the brink of a serious global recession. Events are shaping up that point to widespread, global civil unrest and the collapse of the rule of law. Europe’s energy policies have led to astronomical price increases, industry shutdowns, potential energy shortages, and geopolitical vulnerability. Europe is in a mess of its own creation and is on the verge of collapsing without a plan B. The world is still being rocked by the effects of Russia invading and attacking Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin made a thinly veiled nuclear threat to Ukraine and its Western allies. 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 4th year (Year 2023), all living Christadelphians will be taken out by the angels in one day after the angels finished the dead ones! After that, the world will continue to deal with the much worst of the politicians chaos, financial chaos, society’s values deteriorating, problems become worsen, worldwide conflicts & wars, and more plagues for next 7 more years until the battle of Armageddon event in Israel.
According to the chronological order of events on 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Thessalonians 5, AFTER the living saints are caught up or taken away whereas the non-believers continue to live on earth. Whatever is the source of the unbelieving world’s feeling of security is a fatal delusion, for at the very time they uttering their confident claims of peace and safety then destruction will come upon them suddenly. The destruction Paul warns about is a time of unavoidable distress, disaster and ruin. (See 1 Thessalonians 5:3; Isaiah 26:20,21) The Day of the Lord is describes as God’s wrath is going to come upon the people of the Earth with a period of great judgment. This judgment would be like a thief’s intrusion in the night and would begin unexpectedly. In this verse Paul uses vivid metaphorical language to portray the fate of those who are unprepared for the coming of the Day of the Lord.
Now let’s get back to the point, the Judgement Seat for the living ones and the dead ones will most likely begin on the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) in 2023.
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.
To fully prepare the saints for the many and varied tasks before them will take some considerable time. It is certain that Christ will not leave Sinai until like Israel of old, the Israel of God, Yahweh Sabaoth or the Rainbowed Angel has been formed into an organized and well trained army. Perhaps like Israel, Yahweh’s cherubim will march forth from Sinai in four divisions at the steps of the unveiled ark of the covenant, the Lord Jesus Christ in glory – Numbers 10; Ezekiel 1; Rev. 19:11-16. The fact that the Mosaic Tabernacle was constructed at Sinai, as Israel were being SECRETLY organized in preparation for their revelation to the world as the Kingdom of God, is of itself of deep significance, for it is there that the True Cherubim, The True Tabernacle, the True Kingdom is to be prepared for manifestation!
John Thomas in Eureka – “The rainbowed angel is developing “in his chambers, with his doors shut about him; and hidden as it were for a little moment” (Isa. 26:20) under that vial; and before the gathering of the kings of the earth, and of the whole habitable into the place called in the Hebrew tongue ARMAGEDDON. From this obscurity he emerges, and descends with burning and destructive effect upon the nations of “the earth” and “the sea.” His advent being before the conclusion of the sixth vial, he has all the work of the seventh vial as “his work before him” (Isa. 40:10; 62:11)…….the resurrection of the saints, their judgment, and consequent recompense, are set forth. These, in their spiritual relations, constitute “the Nave,” or the Most Holy Heavenly, within the veil; no longer flesh and blood, but spirit, as Jesus now is; for they are to be “like Him” (1 John 3:2). Being thus identified with him, and “glorified together,” and in the free reception of all things with him (Rom. 8:17,52) only not equal to him in rank (Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:18) the saints are also “the ark of the covenant in the nave.” This being all developed in the hidden chambers (Isa. 26:20) into which the outer world has no admission, the doors being shut against it, they are apocalyptically “in the heaven,” though standing upon the globe. In this secret place of the Highest, they are in preparation, or being prepared for manifestation — for the epiphany and apocalypse, of Rom. 8:19, and 2 Thess. 2:8. When thus prepared in the chamber under all the circumstances indicated in the phrase, “Behold I come as a thief” (Rev. 16:15), they stand forth in manifestation as the “powerful angel descended out of the heaven, clothed with a cloud; a rainbow upon the head; his face as the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire.” This is the Strong Man of Psa. 19:5; in other words, “the Spirit and the Bride” of Apoc. 22:17, who in this glorious manifestation are “one,” as the head, and the body, and the life, are one.”
When the indignation is past, then Jesus and the Saints come out of the chamber as the Rainbowed Angel to march out while appearing as literal, personal, and visible to the worldwide.
At near the end of first 10 years period of the Jubilee year (near end of Year 2029), the subduing and disciplining of the Arabs is the first work Christ and the saints will do in order to provide a haven for Jews who flee from the land when Gog overwhelms Israel, then following the subjugation and disciplining of the Arabs, Christ and the saints will move westwards into Egypt, then after Egypt subdued.
Then in exact year 2030, Jesus and the saints march out to Jerusalem where Christ and the saints will end Russia and their confederated armies at the battle of the Armageddon. After victory in the battle of Armageddon, Jesus and the saints will inherit the land of Israel and by extension the whole earth. And also Jesus and the Saints are going to be setting up a 1000 year Millennium Kingdom in which Jesus and the Saints will literally rule over the entire earth from the city of Jerusalem, the throne of the Lord.
Here is at the sequence of events of 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.
John Thomas in Eureka speak on 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”.”
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). Please read the article “Why 2020” to expound the Scriptures concerning Christ had already returned in the year of 2020 and why!
Here is the outline in the order of events at the second advent of Jesus Christ. Let us break down the verses so you can see the chronological order of events better:
- “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven” – Jesus Christ has already returned to the Earth in the manner of a thief as a thief comes stealthily, secretly, silently, and Unheralded. (Rev. 16:15, Dan. 12:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:52). (Jesus returned on the Feast of Trumpets – SEPTEMBER 19, 2020)
- “the dead in Christ will rise first” – Christ and the angels GATHER the dead ones FIRST! It takes 3 1/2 years. (The resurrection will take place unknown and unseen to the world at large.)
- “THEN we who are alive and remain shall be caught up” – On 4th year, Christ and the angels GATHER the alive ones as LAST after they finish with the dead ones. It takes 1 day. (on the Feast of Weeks – MAY 25, 2023)
- Then we, the dead and the living, will stand before the judgment seat of Christ at Mt. Sinai. 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.
- End of the Judgement – Immortalization of the approved and the burning of the judgmentally rejected.
- “together with them in the clouds” – 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. It will takes 1 year of marriage feast, then 1 year of training, then 3.5 years of Elijah mission before Jesus and the Saints take over the city of Jerusalem to rule over the world.
- “to meet the Lord in the air” – 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.
Now here is the Biblical proof that the judgement begins on the feast of weeks (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 (Deuteronomy 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 antitypical 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 antitype application of the Feast of Weeks is completely fulfilled with the Immortalization of the Saints at the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom.
Finally, 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