Q. I came across your site earlier this year and have looked forward to reading it every day possible since. When you have a chance I wonder if you could give me your thoughts on something. Even as a child and to this day, when I read 1 Thes.4:15 – 17, I wonder why the word “remain” is used. The verses make it sound like, at the day of the resurrection/rapture, there will be few true believers left alive, like there is a great worldwide deathly persecution just before that day.
I don’t see such a persecution in scripture until during Daniel’s 70th week. Doesn’t the Rapture happen a short time before Daniel’s 70th week begins? If there is no such persecution, greater than what there is already today, I wonder why Paul, thru the Holy Spirit, wrote “alive and remain” and not just “alive at the coming of the Lord.” Appreciate your thoughts.
A. In 1 Thes. 4:13-18 Paul was answering a question about the disposition of those believers who had died. It appears that some of their friends and relatives were worried the dead would miss the Rapture (1 Thes. 4:13). He said,
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thes. 4:16-17)
What he meant was that far from missing the Rapture, they will be raised up and receive their new bodies first. Then we who are still alive and are left (who haven’t died yet) will be caught up to join them.
I agree with you that the Rapture will take place sometime before Daniel’s 70th week begins. And while there is wide spread persecution in the world today, I don’t see anything in Scripture that would indicate the Church will suffer a serious reduction in number due to martyrdom just before the Rapture.