Doctrine is "right teaching." Thessalonians is placed last among the epistles because it contains
revelation of the goal for all believers - the gathering together of the church of the body of Christ. Although last in order it was the first revelation given to the church of the "all truth" which Christ proclaimed he would send after his ascension.
John 16:12-15 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them
now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all
truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he
speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall
receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are
mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
In the two epistles to the Thessalonians the doctrine (right teaching) regarding the return of Christ for the church, referred to as "our gathering together unto him," is revealed. Thessalonians is not followed by episltes of reproof or correction for we will meet Jesus Christ in the air; we will have a new spiritual body like Jesus Christ's glorious ressurected body, and so shall we ever be with the Lord: "that which is perfect" will have come. There will be no wrong practice to be reproved or corrected.
- I Thessalonians 1:3 - Patience to do the work of believing and labour of love day by day comes from focusing on the goal: the hope of the return of Christ for the believers.
- I Thessalonians 1:10 - We are to serve the living and true God and wait for his son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. (NO WRATH FOR US!)
- I Thessalonians 2:19 - The believers presence at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is our hope, joy, and crown of rejoicing.
- I Thessalonians 3:13 - Abounding in that labour of love will cause God to stablish our hearts unblameable in holiness before God at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Central in Thessalonians is the description of our hope
I Thessalonians 4:13 - 18:
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep [believers who have died], that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, [Romans 10:9-10] even so them also which sleep in Jesus [believers who have died] will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [come before] them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
- I Thessalonians 5:2 Be ready - for that day will come unexpectedly.
- I Thessalonians 5:8 The hope is like a helmet - it protects our head.
- I Thessalonians 5:9 God has NOT appointed us to wrath.
- I Thessalonian 5:23 Body, Soul, & Spirit - preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Believers Depart Before the Tribulation
- II Thessalonians 1:6-10 After we are gathered and are at rest with him, God will recompense tribulation and vengeance on them that trouble you, know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- II Thessalonians 2:1-3 The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto him is the assurance we have that the day of tribulation and vengeance of God has not yet happened. That day shall not come until the church departs. ["a falling away first" is translated in the Geneva Bible as "a departure first" - it is the departure of the church to be with him]
- II Thessalonians 2:3-8 The son of perdition, that wicked one, will set himself up on earth as God after the church is "taken out of the way."
- II Thessalonians 2:8-9 The Lord will come back a second time, onto the earth, and will destroy the wicked with the "brightness of his coming."
- II Thessalonians 2:13-17 We have been set apart from wrath. We have everlasting consolation and a good hope through grace.
- II Thessalonians 3:5 We need to concentrate on the love of God and the patient waiting for Christ.
Order of Events
- In a twinkling of an eye - the church departs
- The Lord Jesus Christ descends into the clouds with a shout
- The voice of the archangel is heard
- The trump of God is heard
- The dead in Christ rise first
- We are changed - given a spiritual body
- All the believers meet the Lord Jesus Christ in the air
- So shall we ever be with the Lord
- We are at rest with him
- The wicked one sets himself up as God on earth
- The Lord returns onto the earth - with brightness
- Tribulation and vengeance with flaming fire is recompensed to those who know not God, have not obeyed the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and have troubled us with persecution.
The Mystery of the Grace of God.
The seven church epistles tell the "all truth" Jesus Christ promised would be revealed. The
greatness of the epistles is that they reveal the great mystery of the grace of God.
Throughout the epistles the Apostle Paul makes reference to this mystery and clearly
states that prior to his receiving this information God had kept it a secret. Therefore it
cannot be revealed in the Old Testament or in the Gospels. Only by reading and
understanding the seven church epistles can we know that which God had prepared for us
and kept a secret since the world began!
I Thessalonians 2:4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.
II Thessalonians 2:14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Published to the Web July 1996