The Resurrection at the Sound of the Trumpet #5 – 1 Thessalonians 4
In this fourth installment of our study of the Resurrection at the sound of the Trumpet, we take a look at another of the famous passages that predicted that awesome event. Be sure to read the previous three installments. #1 #2 #3
“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18).
There are several things to be noted in this text.
First of all, Paul says that he was reminding the Thessalonians of “the word of the Lord.” Most scholars agree that Paul was saying here that he was reminding the Thessalonians of what the Lord had taught while on earth. What is so amazing about this is that the one place where every constituent element that Paul mentions, in the teaching of Jesus, is in the Olivet Discourse! This is more than remarkable. Notice the parallels:
|Matthew 24:29-34||1 Thessalonians 4|
|Coming of the Lord (the parousia)||The coming of the Lord (the parousia)|
|With the angels||With the angels|
|With the shout||With the shout|
|On the Clouds||On the Clouds|
|The gathering of the saints||The gathering of the saints (Resurrection!)|
|This generation shall not pass until all is fulfilled||We who are alive and remain until the parousia|
The parallels are direct and precise– they are undeniable! Now, since virtually no one denies that 1 Thessalonians 4 is about the resurrection at the sounding of the trumpet, and since Thessalonians is not only parallel with Matthew 24, but, per Paul’s words, drawn from it, this demands that the gathering of the elect at the sounding of the trumpet in Matthew 24 is also the resurrection!
Jesus’ words in the Olivet Discourse are too explicit to deny. That gathering, that resurrection at the sounding of the Trumpet would take place in his generation. So, unless one can prove definitively that these two texts are not directly parallel, this proves that the resurrection at the sound of the trump was in AD 70.
Once again Paul is speaking of “THE TRUMPET.” It was well known to the church because it had been taught before. We ask again, where would the Thessalonicans have heard or known of “the trumpet”? From Isaiah 27 and Matthew 24:31.
And when did Paul affirm the trumpet would sound? Hear him; “we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord” (v.15); “we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with him in the clouds…” v.17. Twice Paul avers the sounding of the trumpet at the resurrection and parousia before that generation passed!
It is amazing to read the verbal gymnastics that commentators engage in to avoid the power and clear meaning of Paul’s words. They tell us that Paul was using the personal pronouns “we” “editorially, or in the sense of the “royal we.” They know that if they allow the normal, personal use and application of “we who are alive and remain until the parousia” it means that Paul was saying – teaching – that the parousia would be in that generation.These commentators fail to see– or to acknowledge – the direct parallels between Matthew the Olivet Discourse, and, they likewise fail to see the direct parallel between Thessalonians and Matthew 16:27-27, where Jesus said that some of those standing with him at that time would live to see him coming in the Kingdom, power, glory and judgment!
So, when we examine what Jesus had to say about the sounding of the trumpet and what Paul had to say about the resurrection at the sound of the trumpet, there is perfect agreement. And that perfect agreement demands that the resurrection was in AD 70. For more on the direct parallels between the Olivet Discourse and 1 Thessalonians, get a copy of my book, We Shall Meet Him In The Air, The Wedding of the King of kings. n that book, I adduce over 20 direct parallels between Jesus’ words in the Olivet Discouse and Paul’s Thessalonian epistle. This proves beyond any reasonable doubt that the resurrection at the sounding of the trumpet was in AD 70.