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1 Thessalonians Chapter 4

Paul then pleads with them that if they wish to continue and further the purposes of God towards His people they would walk after the example and teaching of Paul himself. (v1) For they know what commandments he gave them to keep the gospel; (v2) For God's will is for the whole body of the believers to be an obedient and holy people. They have to abstain from lewd behaviour, (v3) and to keep their bodies holy as individuals particularly, that the whole body of Christ be holy. (v4) Not keeping behaviour that seeks to satisfy the lusts of the fleshy desires as do those gentiles without the gospel, not understanding the commandments of God. (v5)

That no one of them go beyond charity to each other and defraud their brethren; (because the Lord avenged the fraud of Annias and Sapphira) There is also the fraud where uncharitable behaviour finds fault in how a brother with weaker faith is being trained in repentance - "eating only vegetables". By not charitably considering such brethren they may take offence and be caused to stumble. In this way they can grieve the Holy Spirit. God has not called us into eternal life to be whole in uncleanness, but to be whole under grace to holiness. (v7)

Therefore, any man that hates His brother despises God, because It is God's Holy Spirit within that man with spite whom is being resisted, not his brother. (v8) Paul doesnt need to remind them about brotherly love. (v9) They are taught of God in that. This is shown openly before all the other fellowships in Macedonia, but Paul would have that they increase in brotherly love more and more. (v10) That they study to be quiet - keeping themselves holy foremost before keeping others holy - whilst working with their own hands (in their own good works before teaching others to do good works) as they are taught by the Holy Spirit in the truth; as Paul has commanded. (v11) In doing this, they show every one of them to be honest before all unbelievers - that they lack good example in nothing. (as not requiring it from Paul.) (v12) This way, their brotherly kindness is grown and is genuine.

Paul teaches now on one thing - on those that have died already and concerning the second coming - that they be not overly sad, as those that have no hope of eternal life. (v13) Since we believe in the resurrection of Christ, we know that those that have died will also be resurrected. (v14)

As Christ's example was of an obedient heir, even now with the Holy Spirit we are obedient heirs also. When Christ returns it is better for Him to return not to a few obedient heirs, but all of them. Thus Christ will bring with Him those that have died in Christ already. (v14) Those of us that are alive here on the day of His coming will not prevent (precede) those that are asleep - for as there will be a remaining remnant, (else there would be no "greater" reason for Him to return with all His saints that have died. (v15) I.e. There will not be an age without any faith.) the dead shall not be left out of the second coming. For when God returns at the last trump, with the voice of the archangel, the dead in Christ shall have indeed all have risen first. (v16)

Alternatively, Jesus will descend with the angels, and those in Christ that are dead will rise from the grave at His coming. Either way, the angels are also obedient sons; and we can be assured that it is greater for there to be a resurrection of the just at His coming.

When Christ ascended, it was witnessed by the apostles who were told by angels He would return in like manner. Even so, as He returns in the clouds (a mystery) - we as heirs, obedient with the Holy Spirit will rise into the clouds after His former example as the foremost heir (and as part of our inheritance) and we will meet Him in the air (spirit) with those that He brings with Him, and will be forever with Him. (v17) Therefore, if any have died, Paul asks them to comfort one another with this expounding of this mystery of God towards His people.


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