1 Thessalonians 3:13  


1 Thessalonians 3:13

"so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His holy ones."

Here, of course, the pretrib view needs to make these HOLY ONES, to be the believers whom Jesus brings with Him when he comes back, as per 1 Thessalonians 4:14. However, it seems to me in that case, the designation ALL his holy ones would need to include every believer of all ages, which would include the Old Testament holy ones. I understand that the use of "all" does not always mean all, however, there is no basis for restricting this "all" only to those believers who have died since the resurrection of Jesus. According to 1 Thessalonians 4:14, Jesus brings with him "those who have died (fallen asleep) THROUGH Jesus (dia + genitive case), not IN Jesus. This certainly does not rule out Old Testament believers. But then again, when we get to 1 Thessalonians 4:16, we find that "the dead IN Christ will rise first," and this seems to restrict the ones in view to only those who are in union with Christ as per 2 Corinthians 5:17 and 1 Corinthians 12:13. But I have a problem with that restriction since 1 Corinthians 15:23 does not provide for a separate resurrection of Old Testament holy ones, but seems to include all believers of all previous ages as "those who are Christ's at His coming." The reason is because, after this, the next point of focus is the end of the thousand year earthly kingdom. Furthermore, it seems that the Old Testament believers are included in Christ's new body by being joined with Him in heaven at His resurrection. For more details, see the article, THE SAINTS IN HEAVEN. There is no dispensational compromise as that article develops, and there is nothing that prevents these Old Testament believers from being placed into union with Christ because dispensational distinctions are only for function here on earth, and not in the afterlife.

However, as we have seen . . . (From 2Thes.1:7)
7. with His mighty angels: This, of course, is what poses such a problem for the pre-trib rapture position, for they cannot harmonize this coming with angels in power and glory with the arrival of Jesus to rapture His church. They are thus, required to take this very vivid church promise away from the church and make the relief that is in view, totally meaningless to those who are going through the afflictions, and the revelation that is mentioned, to apply to Christ's descent to the earth at Armageddon.

However, since it is contextually obvious that this promise is for church age believers, then it is just as obvious that when Jesus comes back to rescue the living believers from the earth, He will come with His mighty angels. And this is exactly what several other passages teach.

In fact, the rapture passage at 1 Thessalonians 4:16, clearly indicates the presence of at least one angel, with the phrase, "the voice of the archangel," who is Michael. Earlier at 1 Thessalonians 3:13, we see the return of the Lord as "coming . . . with all His holy ones." The word hagios means one who is set apart as unique and special in God's plan, and who reflects God's glory. Thus, it is used of God himself (God is holy, 1 Pet. 1:16), and of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21); of Jesus (Acts 4:30); of believers in the Messiah, both Old Testament (Matthew 27:52) and New Testament (Romans 1:7); of Jerusalem (Matthew 4:5); the Jewish temple (Acts 6:13); and of angels (Mark 8:38).

Now since this promise is clearly given to LIVING believers who will be delivered (given rest) from a present experience of affliction, and since this will occur at the Revelation of Jesus WITH His mighty angels, then there is perfect harmony with the other 2nd coming passages such as:

Matthew 16:27

"For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and WILL THEN RECOMPENSE EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS."

Matthew 24:31

"And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other."

Matthew 25:31

But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne."

Mark 8:38

"For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."

Jude 14-15

"And about these also Enoch, {in} the seventh {generation} from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."

. . . the idea that Jesus comes back with His holy and mighty angels is totally consistent with what the Bible teaches elsewhere for the Day of the Lord arrival of the Messiah.

Further evidence that these "holy ones" are angels rather than people is seen at verse 10, "when He comes to be glorified in His holy ones on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed - for our testimony to you was believed," (NASB).

Here there seems to be a distinction between "holy ones" (angels) and "all who have believed" (the elect). If holy ones refers to believers, then there is a very awkward redundancy by referring to the believers directly, in the next phrase.

Yes, it is true according to Colossians 3:4 that, "when Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory," but that does not change the fact that the passage before us has a group of holy ones (angels) in view that is different from those who have believed in Jesus.

When Jesus comes back, arriving in the clouds of the sky, He first uses the angels who attend Him to gather together His elect ones from all over the world (Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:27). These join with Jesus in the clouds of the sky (1 Thess. 4:17), sharing the MANIFESTATION of His glory (Colossians 3:4) and then, eventually end up in heaven for the evaluation of their works. The exact timing for the arrival of these believers into heaven after the initial gathering of the elect needs to be discussed.

A. Does the language at John 14:1-3 require that these believers go immediately into the Father's house, and that they then, be physically WITH Jesus every single minute of eternity? I suggest that it indicates instead, the ultimate destiny of the believers after the evaluation of their works, and a STATUS of being associated with Jesus for all eternity in the peace and happiness of divine service.

B. However, there is reason to think that the believers DO go immediately into heaven.

1. There is no revealed need for the believers to remain with Jesus as He administrates judgment on the world.

2. There is need to undergo "cleansing" through the evaluation and reward of each believer's works, and this occurs in heaven BEFORE the physical descent into Palestine.

3. According to a comparison of all the passages involved, it is suggested that immediately after the arrival of Jesus at the Day of the Lord, which occurs at the 6th seal of Revelation 6, the living believers who were gathered out from the earth are seen in heaven (Revelation 7:9ff).

C. There is no need for Jesus to escort these believers back to heaven.
It is true that the ultimate destiny for them is to dwell in the many "dwelling places" within the Father's house (John 14:1-3), and within that context, to "forever be with the Lord." But, do they need to go there immediately, and if so, does the presence of Jesus in the clouds above the earth after the gathering violate "be with you forever?" Does this "destiny" of sharing time and space with Jesus require that all believers remain AT HIS SIDE every minute of eternity? I suggest not.


Questions and comments are always welcome

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İRon Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
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