by Don Trest
– God’s plan for the church according to I Thessalonians.
I Thessalonians 4:13-18
The Church is scheduled to be resurrected and removed from the earth at the Rapture and prior to the actual return of Christ to earth, in order for all church-age believers to accompany Christ to earth at the Second Coming. “And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
Paul revealed to the Thessalonian believers that the living have no advantage over the dead when it comes to participating with Christ in the Second Coming, because both dead and living church-age believers will be resurrected and removed from the earth at the rapture and prior to the actual return of Christ to earth. In this way, all believers from the whole period of the church-age will be able to participate fully and at the same time with Christ when He returns to the earth at His Second Coming. Be assured that God will bring with Him (Christ) those who sleep (die) in Jesus (4:14)” and join them together in resurrection with those “who are alive and remain (4:15, 17)” so that all may join Him in the clouds to (4:17)” preliminary to His coming to the earth.
I Thessalonians 5:1-11
The Church is resurrected and removed from the earth at the Rapture prior to the nighttime aspect of the Day of the Lord so as to be able to arrive with Christ from heaven to earth to commence the daytime aspect of the Day of the Lord.
“The Day of the Lord” is a metaphor for the Return of Christ (coming of the Messiah) in the apocalyptic writings in the OT. It has a night aspect and a day aspect – a time of judgment (wrath) to come upon the earth and mankind (nighttime) that immediately precedes the actual return of Christ, and the time of messianic blessing (salvation) that comes upon the earth and mankind (daytime) when Christ actually arrives upon earth with His Church. Both nighttime and daytime taken together constitute the “Day of the Lord.” The Church will not experience the nighttime – judgment (wrath) aspect of the Second Coming of the Lord, but will be delivered (saved) from that period of judgment (wrath) by virtue of the resurrection of the church and her removal from the earth at the time of the rapture.
Adapted from DLT.