For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus 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 them which are asleep.
1Thessalonians 4:14 -15
From our previous session, we learnt that the dead are raised first; then comes those who are alive and remain.
Today we want to look at this phrase: “WE WHICH ARE ALIVE AND REMAIN…”
Understand from the Word that the dead in Christ would be raised first (v.16) and then those who are alive at that time will then have their time. However Paul the Apostle did not speak just about those who are alive at that time. Emphasis was made on the phrase – ALIVE AND REMAIN. Why is that? Isn’t just being alive enough? Why the remain factor?
Let’s take a look at it. Shall we? From the theory of so many about the whole rapture event, it is popularly known that church shall be raptured on the last days and the unrighteous ones, LEFT BEHIND.
That movie – LEFT BEHIND -brought about twisted revelations that are not in the Word of God; including the theory of AntiChrist taking over the World.
And we will look at them today.
Our opening verse speaks of we who are “alive and remain“. And the verses that continue uses that same phrase(v.17). Why remain?
We are going to look at references from the Word of God to explain that. Firstly, Hebrews 12:24-28:
“To Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?
At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”” (NIV)
V.24 – V.26
In a nutshell, the writer speaks against refusing “him who speaks” – the blood of Jesus that brought about the new covenant and wrought us salvation. Refusal of the blood of Jesus will result in consequences.
What are these consequences ?
That there will be a shaking on the earth and in the heavens …
For all those who refused the work of Jesus, there will be shaking and it will affect them. And this is how:
And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
What are we seeing here? That there will be a shaking and the aim is to REMOVE. All the unrighteous at that will be removed when the shaking occurs. Those who cannot be shaken will rather remain.
But for all of us who did receive Him and became sons and daughters of God, this was about us in the Scriptures:
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,”
Hebrews 12:27-28 NIV
Now the passage above states that we, who accepted the blood Jesus, are receiving a kingdom that be shaken. This kingdom is the Kingdom of God.
Those who refuse the blood will be removed during the shaking. But those of the Kingdom will remain for The Kingdom of God Cannot Be Shaken.
Now let’s go back to understand our popular phrase for today- We “who are alive and remain”.
Those who remain after the shaking are those that will participate in the blessings that comes with the second coming of Christ. They will receive the full benefits of the kingdom.
These leave me with questions.
If the blessings go to those who remain, what happens to rapture?
Because if what is popularly believed of rapture is true, then wouldn’t rapture be a removal from the earth rather than a remaining?
We just read that being removed after God shakes the earth is a bad thing. The unshakable – the remaining ones get the blessings.
This could probably mean that:
Rapture may not particularly refer to removing Christians from the earth
So much to think of now….
However, scripture states quite the contrary. Those who remain instead of being removed are rather the ones who inherit the fullness of the kingdom blessings.
So the question again, who is really left behind ?
I’ll leave you with one last thing to meditate upon:
Do you remember Jesus’ parable of the wheat and tares ..
Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, GATHER YE TOGETHER FIRST THE TARES, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
We know that the wheat are the children of the kingdom and the tares are children of the wicked one (v.38).
At the end of the age, the tares were gathered first , bundled up and burnt and then came the wheat into the barn (reward)
Did you notice that the TARES were gathered FIRST?
If they were gathered first, who then was really left behind ?
The wheat or the tares ?
This and more we will deal with in the sessions to come.