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.
And as a point of clarification, when He comes back He will NOT bring with Him ALL saints; only the ones who have previously died.

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.

The second coming of Christ needs to be viewed from two points.
His initial arrival in the clouds of the sky and His physical descent to the earth to fight the armies.

Every second coming passage must have as its point of initiation, the arrival in the clouds. And then AFTER that, mention one or more things that will occur DURING His presence.

At His initial arrival in the clouds of the sky, He comes not only to rescue His elect (believers), but also to bring judgment upon the world of unbelievers (the earthdwellers).
In Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians at verse 3:13, we find,
"So that he may establish your hearts un-blamable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His holy ones."
The Greek for "holy" is hagios. Hagios MUST be translated literally. And that must be as, HOLY (thing[s], one[s]) sanctified (thing or one).
To translate it as "saint" is an interpretation. Once we translate it properly as "holy," then we search for an interpretation that helps determine whether the "holy" ones in view are angels or believers.
The phrase, "with all His holy ones" SHOULD trigger in the minds of the readers, what they had been taught about the words of Jesus and about the Old Testament at Zechariah.

Mat. 16:27, "For the Son of Man is going to come in the GLORY of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every person according to his deeds." (Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26, "when He comes in His glory and of the Father and of the holy angels.")
Mat. 24:29-30, "they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven. . . and He will send forth His ANGELS."
If He sends forth the angels, then obviously they will come with Him when He arrives in the clouds.
Mat. 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."

The point of contact between 1 Thes. 3:13 and what Jesus taught is found with the word ALL.
But Jesus does NOT come with ALL His SAINTS.
He comes WITH, that is, brings with Him, ONLY those who have previously died as believers.
However, He most certainly comes with ALL His HOLY angels.

The distinction between angels and believers is clarified at 2 Thes. 1:10, "when He comes to be glorified by (en) His holy ones on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed."
There are TWO groups mentioned by Paul.
1. to be glorified by His HOLY ones:
2. to be marveled at among ALL who have believed:
All believers because ALL the elect of all previous ages will be gathered BY the angels OUT FROM the farthest end of the earth UNTO the farthest end of heaven, and all will marvel at His awesomeness.
Thus at 1 Thes. 4:14, "God will bring with Him those who have died (fallen asleep) through (dia) Jesus."
V. 17, "then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds for a meeting with the Lord in the air."
Just as Jesus promised, "I will come again and take you to myself so that where I am there you may be also." John 14:1-3.

Since BELIEVERS are mentioned as one group, the first group mentioned, holy ones, must refer to the angels who come with Him.
And when they come with Him, they will showcase His GLORY;
"glorifed among His holy ones."

At verse 7, they are designated as "His mighty angels."

At Jude they are seen as what appears to be an innumerable amount of holy ones.
Jude 14-15, "the Lord came with His HOLY ten-thousands to execute judgment."

At Rev. 19:14, Christ's physical descent ONTO the earth is in view. Coming with Him are the armies which are in heaven "clothed in fine linen, white and clean."
Whether this can be seen as the INITIAL arrival in the clouds and the subsequent physical descent - OR - just the subsequent physical descent - it still has ANGELS in view.

The "king" does not take his bride into battle.
It is certainly speculative to think that Jesus would take His bride into battle.
Incidentally, Angels are also clothed in white garments. Rev. 15:6
Mark 16:5; John 20:12; Acts 1:10.
There is no scriptural precedent to show that the church will do battle along side of Jesus when He fights the armies (first to Edom, then to Jerusalem, and then to Armageddon.
But angels? Most certainly as seen at Zechariah 14:5. "And the LORD my God will come with all his holy ones."

It seems pretty certain that Zechariah is referring to angels.
The word, holy (qadosh) is never used for saints in any of the prophets except for Daniel, and only two times in the Psalms.
In Daniel, the Chaldean word, qaddish, is used six times for holy ones (saints) and 3 times for angels.
The Hebrew is used in Daniel two times for angels.
The word for holy ones is used in Psalm 89:5, 7; Job 5:1 and 15:15 all refer to angels.



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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