|1 Thessalonians 3:13||
1 Thessalonians 3:13
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.
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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:
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.
İRon Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com.
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