Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 3 Study # 4
Thesis: The Lord Himself is going to bring the Plan for the Church to its conclusion.
Introduction: In our last study we looked into the question of how Paul's declaration that those who are alive when Jesus comes will not go before those who have been put to sleep was supposed to be a "grief-alleviation" concept. My conclusion was that those that are put to sleep have this advantage; that they have run their full course under divine oversight and those who remain alive till His coming are simply caught up in the midst of their activities. Additionally, even at the time of the event, those who have been put to sleep get to be raised first. So, we are not to grieve for those gone before because they have the advantages.
Now, as we move into the next verse, we are going to be looking at the reasons for Paul's claim.
December 28, 2014
- I. The "For" of 4:16 is Actually a "Because".
- A. The word introduces the rationale behind Paul's claim.
- B. As an introduction to the rationale, we need to understand which part of the rationale it explains.
- 1. Paul was adamant that it is not those who are alive and remaining who have the advantage.
- 2. Since this runs completely contrary to most of our thinking, we probably need to see the issue as one in which he is going to explain the advantage of those who have been put to sleep.
- II. The Primary Reason.
- A. The "Lord, Himself" ...
- 1. This is the One Who has taken on the charge of getting us to increase in love so that we will be blameless in holiness at His coming (3:12).
- 2. This is the One Whose primary reputation with us is The One Who Loved God enough to love us unto death and resurrection.
- 3. This is the One Whose future on earth includes both a Day of Wrath and a resumption of the Kingdom of David on the earth.
- B. The attendant descriptors.
- 1. The descent will begin with a loud command.
- a. The word is only here in New Testament revelation but is found extensively in extra-biblical sources.
- b. The word indicates a loud command that is intended to overrule whatever 'noise' is going on so that the words can be heard.
- c. The content of the command is unrevealed, but the implication drawn from the other descriptors is that it is addressed to Michael and has to do with getting started.
- 2. Then there will be the voice of the archangel.
- a. The archangel is the one in charge of the Hosts of the Lord.
- b. Like the loud command, the content is not given, but the implication is that he speaks to the trumpeter.
- 3. Then the trumpet of God sounds.
- a. The references to a "trumpet" in the New Testament prior to the Revelation are several.
- 1) The trumpet of Matthew 24:31 sends the angels to gather the elect from every place on earth and in heaven [This is not the same event as our text, but the indications are similar].
- 2) The trumpet of 1 Corinthians 14:8 is a call to battle [This is in harmony with the Host in attendance at the first coming].
- 3) The multiple trumpets of 1 Corinthians 15:52 are where we get the idea that we should be listening for the trumpet sound (not our current text).
- b. The straightforward implication is that the Host of Heaven is sent into action by the signal trumpet of God.
- C. The Lord Himself descends from heaven.
- 1. This descent is untimed as to duration; unlike the text of Matthew 24:31 (where the implication is at least a 24 hour rotation of the earth, exposing all the nations to His coming).
- 2. This is in direct harmony with 1:10 as the core of the believer's hope while serving God.
- D. He raises a specific group of people: the dead in Christ.
- 1. This is not a general resurrection of all the people of God of all ages.
- 2. This is the specific resurrection of those who have "died in Christ".
- 3. These dead are raised "first" -- reaffirming what Paul said in the previous verse.