The hope of Paul's acts epistles
(Source: Heaven Dwellers)
When writing about the resurrection found in 1 Thessalonians 4 Paul said in verse 15 « This we say unto you, by the word of the lord ... » Paul was quoting and using the word of the Lord to show them their hope. The hope found in 1 Thess. 4 with it's trumpet, angels, shout and voices was written down in the Word of the Lord.
Also, in 1 Corinthians 15 when writing about the same hope of resurrection (which some call the « rapture ») he says in verse 54 — 55 « So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, death is swallowed in victory. o death where is thy sting? o grave, where is thy victory? » If Paul means what he says, and says what he means, the hope of 1 Corinthians 15 was prophesied in the word of the Lord.
Paul is quoting from two different books in the word of the Lord, Hosea 13:14 and Isa. 25:8 to show the Corinthians their hope.
This agrees with what Paul said in Acts 26:22 where summing up his Acts ministry « Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should came ». Paul's Acts ministry and what he wrote in his Acts epistles can be found in the old testament scriptures and that includes the hope he wrote about in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15.
In this article we will show you that the hope that Paul wrote about in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 is not only found in the old testament scriptures but was taught by Jesus Christ in His earthly ministry in Matthew 24 and other places.
That this runs contrary to what is taught in most Bible Churches today is certain, but there are as many « doctrines and traditions of men » in Bible churches, as there are in denominational churches in this country.
For years it has been the « party line » in most Bible Churches that 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 is the hope of the church today, and that no one knew or wrote about this hope prior to Paul. This doctrine has been preached for so long and so loud that Christendom accepts this with no questions asked.
But yet, we just read that what Paul said to the Thessalonians about their hope, he said to them by the word of the lord. And we read in 1 Corinthians 15 that when that resurrection takes place, old testament scriptures would be brought to pass.
The question that Bible Believers need to answer these days is, who are we going to believe? Are we going to believe what the preachers say because they have been saying it for so long and so loud, or are we going to believe what the bible says, where it says it, as it says it?
We should always endeavor to study to show ourselves approved before God, and let the traditions of men fall where the may, no matter what the cost.
Let it be said at the offset of this article that we do not believe that the hope of the church today is found in I Corinthians 15 or 1 Thessalonians 4. We believe that God revealed a new and better hope to Paul after the Acts period and that it is found in his prison epistles. Please refer to the articles titles, the mystery or the three spheres of blessing which describe that hope in greater detail.
If you are serious about your bible study, and you want to get to the bottom of this issue and find out for yourself if what we are saying is true, we recommend you get 3 Bibles and lay them out before you. Open one to Matthew 24, another to 1 Corinthians 15, and the other to 1 Thessalonians 4.
The subject is the same in all 3 books, and it is resurrection. We are going to compare what Jesus says about the resurrection in Matthew 24, which He taught during His earthly ministry, with the resurrection Paul wrote about in 1 Cor. 15 and 1 Thess. 4. If Jesus and Paul say the same thing, then they must be talking about the same resurrection. On the other hand, if they say contradictory things about the resurrection; then they are not speaking of the same resurrection.
In Matthew 24 Jesus taught the 12 apostles about a resurrection and He said in verses 29 — 31...
Lets compare what Jesus says here with what Paul says.
(1.) the hope of mat. 24 is the second coming of christ
« they shall see the Son of man coming »
« For as the lightening cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be »
the hope of i cor. 15 and i thess. 4 is the second coming of christ
In I Cor. 15:22 — 23 Paul wrote,
« For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming ».
In I Cor. 1:7 he wrote,
« So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our lord jesus christ ».
In I Thess. 4:15 he wrote
« 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 »
The hope of the Acts Believers was the coming of the Lord. Paul mentions it 10 times in his Acts epistles. Check them out and see for yourself, I Cor. 1:7, 4:5, 11:26, 15:23, I Thess. 2:19, 3:13, 4:15, 5:23, II Thess. 1:10, 2:1.
Now, if the Lord has already come once to die for sinners, then the coming we have been reading about must be his second coming, right? Why is it so hard for Bible Believers to admit that? A Bible believer once told me that his hope was not the second coming of Christ, but it was the « rapture » and he quoted I Thess. 4:15 to me! If my eyes are not deceiving me, doesn't Paul say they would be caught up at the coming of the Lord? And doesn't he mention his coming 10 times in his Acts epistles? And if Christ has already come one time, wouldn't this be his second coming?
(2.) in mat. 24 when jesus comes, he comes in the clouds
Verse 30 says,
« They shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven »
in 1 thess. and i cor. 15 when jesus comes he comes in clouds.
Verse 17 says,
« Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air ».
If you want to know were the clouds are, look up into the air, and you will see them. It's the clouds in the lower atmosphere.
(3.) in mat. 24 when jesus comes in the clouds he will come with angels
« And He shall send forth his angels »
in 1 thess. 4 and 1 cor. 15 when jesus comes in the clouds he will come with angels
In 1 Thess. 4:16 it says,
« he will descend from heaven with... the voice of the archangel ».
Michael is the archangel and the prince of Israel (Dan. 12:1 — 2) and were Michael goes so does his angels, read Rev. 12:7.
(4.) in mat. 24 when jesus comes in the clouds with angels a trumpet is blown.
« And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet »
in 1 thess. 4 and i cor. 15 when jesus comes in the clouds with angels a trumpet is blown.
I Cor. 15:52 says,
« for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised » I Thess. 4:16 says The Lord himself shall descend from heaven ... « with the trump of god ».
(5.) the trumpet that is blown in mat. 24 is the last trumpet for it is blown after the great tribulation
Verse 29 says
« Immediately after the tribulation of those days ... » v. 31 « he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet ».
the trumpet in 1 thess. 4 and i cor.15 is specifically calls the last trumpet
In I Cor. 15:52 Paul wrote,
« In a moment , in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the Trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised ».
If Paul said they would be raised at the last trumpet that means there are other trumpets blown before it. There is no denying the fact that before the second coming of Christ trumpets are going to be blown. In Rev. 8-9-10-11 there will be at least 7 trumpets blown before Jesus comes. In I Cor. 15 Paul said the dead would be raised at the LAST TRUMPET. If there are 7 Trumpets blown before He comes which Trumpet is Paul referring to? That's easy, it's number 7 in Rev. 11:15, and it so happens that when the seventh trumpet is blown in Rev. 11 a resurrection of the Saints takes place, they are judged and rewards are given out to them, read Rev.11:15 — 18. Also read 2 Cor. 5:8 — 11.
Every trumpet that is going to be blown before Jesus comes is found in the book of Revelation, so don't waste your time running all over the Bible, trying to find another trumpet to get around the last trumpet in I Corinthians 15. If a trumpet is going to be blown, if a seal is going to be opened, if a vial is going to be poured out in the tribulation, you will find it in the book of revelation or daniel. If it's not in those books don't waste your time running through the Bible to come up with another trumpet, vial, or, seal. (It's amazing what people and preachers will do, to get around that last trumpet! Just believe the book and relax; for if you are saved you won't be here when the last trumpet blows anyway, for I Cor. 15 and I Thess. 4 is not your hope. God gave us a new and better hope and it's found in the Prison Epistles of Paul and it takes place before the first trumpet even blows. We will lay out the details of this hope later, but in the Acts period, a pre-tribulation hope was unheard of.
when the resurrection of mat. 24 takes place, not only will the lord descend from heaven in the clouds with angels and a trumpet, but a voice will be heard also.
The voice is not mentioned in Mat. 24 but it is in John 5:25, 28. It says:
« The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live »
in 1 thess. 4 and i cor. 15 when the lord descends from heaven into the clouds with angels and the sound of a trumpet, a voice will be heard
In I Thess. 4:16 Paul said « the Lord shall descend fray heaven with a shout ».
The shout is for the dead; the trumpet for those alive.
(7.) in mat. 24 when jesus comes with his angels, and a shout and a the sound of a trumpet, his elect will be gathered together
Verse 31 says « They shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other ». (Also read Mark 13:27)
in i cor. 15 and 1 thess. 4 when jesus comes with a sound of a trumpet, and angels, his elect will be gathered together
In II Thess. 2:1 Paul wrote « Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him ».
And those that he gathers together here, are his elect also according to I Thess. l:4, and II Thess. 2:13.
(8.) in mat. 24 when jesus comes in the clouds, it will be sudden and unexpected
In verse 42 Jesus said « Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh ».
In these verses Jesus compares his coming with a thief breaking into a house. A thief comes suddenly and unexpected. He comes in and then gets out as fast as he can with the valuables and jewels he came after.
In these verses, Jesus Christ is as a thief breaking into a house. The house is this world that the devil is the god of (Mat. 12:29). As a thief breaks into a house, to take something of value out; His coming is to take his elect out of this world, so that he can destroy it along with the devil (II Pet.3:10).
the resurrection in i thess. 4 and i cor. 15 will be sudden and unexpected also.
In I Cor. 15:52 Paul said: « in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: For the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised... »
When Paul says: « in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye », he is showing you how fast that resurrection will take place. But when he says « AT the last trump », he is showing you when it will take place. It will be sudden and unexpected, just like the hope of Mat. 24.
(9.) when the resurrection of mat. 24 takes place, believers who are alive will be caught up without dying.
This fact is brought out by the Lord in John 11. In John 11, Lazarus who was Martha's brother died and she wants Christ to raise him from the dead. And Jesus said unto her in v. 23 « Thy brother shall rise again ». Martha saith unto him, « I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day ». 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 die. believest thou this? »
When Jesus said, « he that believeth in me though he were dead, yet shall he live », He is referring to those who are dead when the resurrection of the last day takes place. And when He said « whosoever liveth and believeth in me » He is referring to those who are alive when the resurrection of the last day takes place and he says: « they shall never die ». When the resurrection of Mat. 24 takes place, those believers who are dead will be raised and those believers who are alive, will be gathered together without dying.
when the resurrection of 1 thess. 4 and i cor. 15 takes place believers who are alive will be caught up without dying.
In I Cor. 15:51 Paul said: « I shew you a Mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed »
The Mystery of I Cor. 15:51 is not the resurrection, but it's the fact that there will be some caught up without dying. But this is a mystery hidden in the Scriptures, for in v. 55 Paul quotes Isa. 25:8 which says « O Death where is thy sting? » In other words, in the Old Testament Scriptures, it was written down that somebody was going to get out of this life without experiencing the sting of death.
This is what Jesus is referring to in John 11 when he said « He that liveth and believeth in me shall never die ». That was the only time that Christ mentioned that fact to anyone, and prior to Paul it was the general consensus that by the time that resurrection took place all believers would be dead. But God opened up the scriptures to Paul and he was the first man to fully understand that fact and write about it. But, nevertheless, it was in the Old Testament Scriptures, even though concealed. (Isn't it wonderful how the Bible opens up when you just believe what the words say and ignore what the preachers say?)
(10.) the resurrection and hope in mat. 24, was of course prophesied by the prophets.
It was prophesied as far back as Genesis chapter 5 for Jude said in v. 14 — 15 that « Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints... »
the hope of i cor. 15:54 and i thess. 4 were of course implied.
In I Cor. 15:54 Paul said when it takes place « then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory, O Death where is thy sting? O Grave where is thy victory? »
When the resurrection of I Cor. 15 takes place, Old Testament prophecies concerning resurrection will be brought to pass, namely Hosea 13:14 and Isa. 25:8.
(11.) the hope of mat. 24 was israel's hope.
The resurrection Jesus describes in Mat. 24 is the hope of the New Covenant that God made with Israel.
hope of paul's acts epistles, was the hope of israel.
In Acts 28:20 Paul told the Jews in Rome « For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of israel, i am hound with this chain ».
Paul refers to the Hope of Israel 4 times in Acts.
1. In Acts 23:6 he mentions the Hope as being the resurrection. 2. In Acts 24:15 he mentions the hope as being the resurrection. 3. In Acts 26:6 — 8 He mentions the hope as being the resurrection. 4. In Acts 28:20 — 23 he mentions the Hope in connection with the Kingdom of God.
The Hope of Israel was to be resurrected into the kingdom of God, as a matter of fact, the only way they could get into the Kingdom of God was by resurrection.
That's exactly what Paul is showing the Corinthians in I Cor. 15. In that chapter he is showing them how to get into the Kingdom of God, and guess what he told them had to happen for them to get in ? They had to be resurrected and changed. why? Because in v. 50 he said:
« Now this I say; brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption ».
And in v. 51 he told them they would all be changed, and the change would take place in the resurrection. I Cor. 15 and I Thess. 4 is the hope of Israel. The hope of Israel was resurrection into the Kingdom of God, which is exactly what Paul is writing about in this chapter.
You say: « Haw did Gentiles in that church end up with Israel's Hope? » Because in the Acts period, they were grafted into Israel the good olive tree, according to Rom. 11:17. And being grafted into the tree, they partook of the fatness of the olive tree. The fatness of the olive tree were the blessings and promises made to the fathers, who were the root of the tree — Rom. 15:2 — 7. And one of those blessings and promises was their hope of the resurrection.
(12.) BEFORE THE HOPE of mat. 24 takes place there will be a falling away, that is apostacy, and the revelation of the anti-christ.
In Mat. 24:11 Jesus said « Many false prophets shall rise and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold ». (A reference to apostasy)
And in v. 15 He said, « When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the Holy place... » (A reference to the anti-Christ Dan. 11:31)
In v. 24 he said « there would be false Christ's; and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect ». (A reference to the Devil's working miracles)
paul said the exact same thing would take place before the resurrection of i thess. 4 and i cor. 15 would take place.
In II Thess. 2:1 he wrote: « Now we beseech you brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him; that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor as by letter as from us that the day of Christ is at hand (Greek: present) ».
The day of Christ in v. 2, was his coming and their gathering together unto him in v. 1. The Thessalonians were « all shook up » because somebody wrote then a false letter and told them it was at hand, that is, it had already taken place. Which, if it were true, they were left behind to face the wrath of II Thess. l:8 — 9. So Paul to assure them that He had not come, tells them in v. 3 « Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not came, except there came a falling away first and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, skewing himself that he is God ».
For years Bible believers have wrestled with these scriptures because they have been taught that the « so-called » Rapture in I Thess. 4 was a pre-tribulation rapture. I speak from personal experience for I once believed that, and every time someone would point out these verses to me, I did what so many continue to do today, do everything but believe them.
But, when I finally made up my mind to just believe what they say, the verses opened up to me like a flower! What is Paul saying? He is saying that the day of Christ in v. 2 was His Coming and their gathering together unto Him in verse 1 which is the Hope found in I Thess. 4.
Somebody wrote a letter to them, forged Paul's name to it, and told them it was at hand, that is taken place. They were shook up, for if that were true, then they had missed it, which would mean they would be destroyed by the wrath of God of II Thess. 1:8 — 9. Paul writes this letter to assure them that they had not missed the Day of Christ, that is His Coming, which was their hope. But, that the Day of Christ would not take place until after a period of apostasy and the revelation of the Anti-Christ, which they knew had not taken place. (He also mentions the Devil working miracles in verse 9)
The point that I am making is the Hope of I Thess. 4 which was the Day of Christ, would not take place until AFTER a period of apostasy and the revelation of the Anti-Christ, just like the resurrection in Mat. 24.
Don't get up tight thinking you're going to be here when the Anti-Christ is revealed, for if you're saved, I Thess. 4 is not your hope. We have a new and a better hope found in the Prison Epistles, which we will describe in a future article. And that Hope takes place before the Tribulation ever begins, maybe years before.
I believe these 12 similarities between Mat. 24 and I Cor. 15 and I Thess. 4 are enough to convince any fair minded believer that we have been looking at the same resurrection.
If they are not the same then there will be two resurrections that will take place in the future at the same time that are identical! Well, the reason they are identical is because they are the same.
In conclusion I would like to point out that the Thessalonians as well as all of the believers saved under Paul's Acts ministry were made partakers of a new and better hope of resurrection that God revealed to Paul after the close of the Acts period and it is found in his prison epistles. This of course means that there will not be a split resurrection of the Church. The Body of Christ has one hope but it is not found in I Thess. 4 or I Cor. 15, it is found in his prison epistles.
additional names concerning the hope of the acts epistles
When speaking of « Bible Things » we should use « Bible Names ».
The word that most of Christians use today for resurrection is the word « Rapture ». The word « Rapture » is not a Bible word at all. It does not appear in the Bible one time. Upon looking at it's definition, it is a terrible word to use for resurrection.
The word « Rapture » means, « Violence of a pleasing passion ». « A state or experience of being carried away by overwhelming emotion, ecstasy, or passion in a carnal, sensual, sexual manner ».
As a matter of fact the word « Rapture » comes from, the Latin word which is the same latin word for rape. Why would anyone want to use a word for violent forceful rape as a word for resurrection?
Whenever Paul writes about resurrection he always uses the word « hope » (See Titus 2:13, Acts 28:20, Eph. 1:18). The word « hope » is the Bible name for resurrection not the carnal, sensual word « Rapture ».
People use I Thess. 1:10 to try to prove that the resurrection in I Thess. 4 takes place before the tribulation period begins. They point out that it says they would be delivered from the « wrath to come » and that they were not appointed to wrath in I Thess. 5:9.
But, that cannot be true, for Paul also told them, they would be resurrected at the last trumpet in I Cor. 15:52 and the last trumpet is the seventh of seven, that will be blown during the tribulation before Jesus comes at the end. Paul also told them that the day of Christ which was His coming and their gathering together unto Him, was not at hand, for it would be preceeded by a falling away and the revelation of the Anti-Christ, which all takes place during the tribulation, not before. (II Thess. 2:1 — 6)
You cannot ignore these facts when reading I Thess. 1:10.
The question then that we must answer is, « what is the Wrath to Come »? That expression appears 3 times in the Bible, Mat. 3:7, Luke 3:7, and I Thess. 1:10.
In Mat. 3 and Luke 3 it is identified as the day that Jesus comes in fire to burn up the chaff after He gathers the wheat into His garner. That day is at the very end of the tribulation and many of the saints He gathers out right before that day return with Him to destroy unbelievers (II Thess. l:7 — 9, Jude 14 — 15, Rev.19:11 — 21, I Thess. 5:2 — 9. II Pet. 3:10, Malachi 4:1 — 3)
That's the wrath of I Thess. 5:9 that they were not appointed to. That's the « wrath to come » they were delivered from in I Thess.1:10. As a matter of fact, even the tribulation saints are delivered from the wrath to come and no believer including the tribulation saints is appointed to wrath.
Before the wrath to coarse is unleashed upon this earth, at the very end of the tribulation all believers from all ages, will by that time have been resurrected. (Though not all at the same time, of course.)
Also the « wrath to come » that Paul wrote of in I Thess. 1:10 will not coarse until after the last trumpet is blown (Rev. 11:18) and it was at the last trumpet that they were to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. That's why Paul told them that they could « REST » when the wrath fell in II Thess. l:7.
If I Thess. 4 and I Cor. 15 are the hope of the church today (notice I said « IF ») and « if » God did not reveal a new and better Hope to Paul after the Acts period, then you can be assured that the Church will go through the tribulation just like Paul said.
And it would be false doctrine to preach a pre-tribulation resurrection. Further more, if you believe that I Thess. 4 and I Cor. 15 is the hope of the church today then, you ought to be honest enough to preach that it will take place at the end of the tribulation and not before. And I have more respect for a man that believes that I Thess. 4 is his hope and preaches that it will take place at the end of the tribulation than I do for a man that claims it as his hope but deny's that it takes place at the end of the tribulation like Paul says it will.
I realize that what I just wrote is not going to be « well liked or received » by most Bible believers, but somebody has needed to stick their neck out and say this for a long time. I know this is not going to « win many friends, and influence many people » but somebody has got to be willing to become even as the filth and off-scouring of the world and be looked upon as an evil doer by God's own people, if that is what it takes for people to get their eyes open to what their hope is. The Devil is doing every thing he can to keep you from seeing the truth about this hope and the one in the prison epistles.
When a man goes up against the doctrines and traditions of men that have been believed and taught for many years, he will find himself alone on the outside looking in. His own friends will turn against him and turn away from him and accuse him of being a trouble maker. That's what happened to Paul, but he was willing to suffer abuse if that is what it took to show and reveal the truth to people that God revealed to him.
It would be much easier to just go along with the religious system and preach their « rapture » as being the hope of the church today for the majority do. It would be much easier to just ignore and even deny what Paul said about the hope in I Thess. 4 and I Cor. 15 like everybody else is doing. (I know for I did it for years.) But when God changes his program and replaces it with something new and better, it is wrong to go on preaching what He changed.
In other words, if God revealed a hope to Paul in his prison epistles that is different and better than the one he wrote about in his Acts epistles wouldn't it be wrong to go on teaching the hope in the Acts epistles as the hope of the church today?
There is a lot of hypocrisy among Bible believers today when it comes to the issue of the hope of the church. Let me explain...
I know of many Bible Preachers today who do not observe the Lord's Supper of I Corinthians 11 because they say it's an ordinance and they go to the prison epistles to prove that there are no ordinances for the church today (Co1. 2:14 — 22). In other words they say that Colossians a prison epistle supersedes what Paul said in I Corinthians an Acts epistle, and for that reason they do not observe the Lord Supper even though he said to observe it « till he come ». (I Cor. 11:26) But yet when someone like myself says that the hope of the church today is not found in the Acts epistles, because God revealed a new and better hope to Paul in his prison epistles they call me a heretick and ban me, from their fellowship and warn people not to listen to me! That's first class hypocrisy!
There are Bible Believers reading this article that use the prison epistles all the time to get around many of the things that Paul preached and did in his Acts epistles such as water baptism, signs, wonders, miracles, healing, tongues, etc., because they know that his prison epistles contain a further and fuller revelation of truth than his Acts epistles, and they say that's O.K. But let someone say, that there is a new hope in the prison epistles that supersedes the one in his Acts epistles and they get bent out of shape and say that's going to far.
There may be someone reading this article that is unaware of the fact that God revealed a new hope to Paul in his prison epistles and you would like to hear about it. If so, please see three spheres of blessing below for starters.