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"In a word of the Lord" does not necessarily indicate the special revelation of a
mystery or secret; Paul refers to such a statement as John 11: 25, 26:--
"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life, he that believeth in Me, though
he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never
There is a "mystery" revealed in I Cor. 15: concerning this same truth, but that does
not refer to the fact of some being found alive on the earth at the Lord's Coming, but to
their "change", even though not passing through death and resurrection.
"For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a shout, with an archangel's
voice, and with a trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first" (I Thess. 4: 16).
The shout is the shout of soldiers rushing to the charge, the archangel being Michael.
This resurrection is intimately connected with Daniel's people:--
"And at that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince that standeth for the children
of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a
nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one
that shall be found written in the book. And MANY THAT SLEEP in the dust of the
earth shall awake" (Dan. 12: 1, 2).
The voice of the archangel connects I Thess. 4: with the great tribulation of the
Revelation. It connects it also with the hope of Israel. In Rev. 12: Michael stand up and
engages in war with the dragon. In Rev. 13: the beast and the false prophet arise.
The two epistles to the Thessalonians were written about the same time and to the
same people. The second epistle in the second chapter deals with the same period as is
dealt with in Rev. 13: This is a further link with the Apocalypse. Again, this coming of
the Lord is also "with a trumpet of God". In Rev. 10: & 11: we have the sounding of the
seventh trumpet which announces the taking of the sovereignty of this world by Christ.
I Cor. 15: 52 says this resurrection and change shall be at the last trump, and the seventh
trumpet of Rev. 11: is the last in Scripture.
The hope of I Thess. 4: 17 is to "meet the Lord in the air", which is not the same as
"going to heaven". Those who met the Bridegroom turned and came with him
(Matt. 25:). Those who met Paul on the road to Rome turned and went back to Rome
with him. Those who meet the Lord in the air will not alter the Lord's course. He will
descend to the earth according to His promise.
Scripture is most consistent in the usage of words. The word Parousia is used by the
Lord in Matt. 24:, by Paul in I Cor. 15: 23 and I & II Thess., by James, by Peter and
by John. It is NEVER USED OF THE LORD'S COMING in the Prison Epistles. It is
consistent with the dispensation that covers Matthew's testimony, the Acts, and the
ministry of Peter, James and John. It cannot be used of the blessed hope of the Church of
the One Body. When I Thessalonians was written it was a Scriptural expectancy that