Wenstrom Bible Ministries; Pastor-Teacher Bill Wenstrom; Sunday, November 11, 2018; www.wenstrom.org
1 Thessalonians 1:10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. (ESV)
1 Thessalonians 1:10 Also, to wait expectantly for His Son from the heavens whom He caused to be raised out from the dead ones, namely, Jesus, who for His own benefit is about to deliver each and every one of us from the coming wrath. (My translation)
1 Thessalonians 1:10 now presents an addition to this last assertion in 1 Thessalonians 1:9 by stating that the Thessalonians were waiting expectantly for the Father’ Son from the heavens whom the Father raised out from the dead, namely Jesus, who was about to deliver them from the coming wrath.
This means that they were waiting expectantly for the imminent return of Jesus Christ at the rapture of the church.
This will deliver the Thessalonians and all Christians alive at the time of the rapture from the Lord Jesus Christ’s righteous indignation which He will exercise against the unregenerate inhabitants of planet earth during the seventieth week of Daniel.
The term “rapture” is used by students of prophecy and eschatology to describe the doctrine which is taught in the Greek New Testament, namely the resurrection of the church. T
he rapture is taught in John 14:1-3, 1 Corinthians 1:7, 15:50-57, Philippians 3:20-21, 4:5, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, Titus 2:13, 1 John 2:28, 3:2-3, Hebrews 10:25, James 5:7-9, 1 John 2:28, 3:2-3; and Revelation 22:7, 12, and 20.
This term “rapture” is taken from the Latin term rapio, “caught up” that is used to translate the Greek verb harpazō (ἁρπάζω), which appears in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
In this verse, the word means to “snatch, seize, forcibly remove something, to seize by force with the purpose of removing and is translated “will be caught up” by the ESV and NASB95 and “will be suddenly caught up” by the NET Bible.
So, therefore, the contents of 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 indicate that the information these Christians in the various Christian communities in the various provinces of the Roman Empire were sharing with each other about the Thessalonians was two-fold.
First, they welcomed Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy by responding to their gospel message these men communicated to them by turning to God from idols in order to serve the living and true God and secondly, they were waiting for the imminent return of Jesus Christ at the rapture of the church.
Son” (huios) is used in relation to Jesus Christ and is employed here as a title for His deity describing the relationship between the Father and Himself.
The word expresses three fundamental concepts regarding Him: (1) His eternal relationship with the Father. (2) His appointment to the office of Savior and Messiah. (3) His divine essence. This word expresses the Lord Jesus Christ’s eternality and that He is infinite and eternal God (John 1:1-2, 14; John 8:58; 10:30a; Col. 2:9a; Rev. 1:8) indicating His equality with the Father (Matthew 17:1-5; John 10:30, 37-38; 14:9; 17:5, 24-25; 20:30-31; Romans 1:1-4; Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 1:3).
Notice the prepositional phrase “from the heavens” and specifically, notice the word “heavens” is in the plural since this is translating the plural form of the ouranos.
It is in the plural because the Scriptures teach that there are three levels of heaven.
Therefore, this prepositional phrase indicates that Jesus Christ will travel through all three in order to arrive at planet earth in order to remove the church from the earth at the rapture.
This multiplicity of heavens is indicated in Ephesians 4:10 and Hebrews 4:14 where our Lord at His Ascension is said to have “passed through the heavens” (accusative masculine plural noun ouranos).
The first and second heaven is not specifically mentioned but the third heaven is discussed in 2 Corinthians 12:2.
Logically speaking, it is evident that there cannot be third heaven without also a first and second heaven.
1 Thessalonians 1:10 describes the Father’s Son by asserting that the Father caused His Son to live again after having died physically or in other words, the Father caused His Son to be raised out from those who are physically dead.
The Father caused His Son to enter into the state of being physically alive again after having been dead physically for three days.
So, this verse is teaching that the Father is the ultimate cause of the resurrection of His Son, however, a comparison of Scripture with Scripture indicates that the omnipotence of the Spirit (Rom. 8:11) and the Son (John 2:19) were also involved in the resurrection.
1 Thessalonians 1:10 goes on to identify Jesus of Nazareth as the Father’s Son and then asserts that Jesus will deliver each and every believer from the coming wrath which pertains to Son’s legitimate anger directed towards unrepentant sinners which is an expression of His holiness.
Now, in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, “the coming wrath” speaks of the Son, Jesus Christ exercising His wrath or justified anger against the unregenerate inhabitants of planet earth during the seventieth week of Daniel because of their rejection of Him as their Savior.
The present tense of the verb erchomai, “the coming” is a “futuristic” present which is used to describe a future event, though (unlike the conative present) it typically adds the connotations of immediacy and certainty.
Here it is describing Jesus Christ exercising His wrath or righteous indignation exercised against unregenerate humanity during the seventieth week of Daniel as a certain, imminent future event, although as if it were already taking place.
When 1 Thessalonians 1:10 describes Jesus as delivering the church from this coming wrath, this danger severe and acute.
This danger will be severe and acute during the seventieth week because Jesus Christ will be exercising His wrath or righteous indignation against the nation of Israel for their rejection of Him as their Savior as well as against unregenerate Gentiles who have done the same (Rev. 6).
Revelation 6-18 makes clear that the seven seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments which will be poured out on the unregenerate inhabitants of planet earth during the seventieth week of Daniel are an expression of the Lamb of God’s wrath.
1 Thessalonians 1:10 is making clear that the church will not go through the seventieth week of Daniel and thus the tribulation portion of this week, which is the last three and a half years of this seven-year period.
Thus, this presents a pretribulation view meaning that the church will be removed from the earth before the Lord Jesus Christ pours out His wrath upon the inhabitants of earth during the last three and a half years of the seventieth week.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 5:1-10 support this interpretation.
This is the blessed hope of the church mentioned by Paul in Titus 2:13.
It would not be a blessed hope for the church to experience God’s wrath during the seventieth week.
Now, some expositors do not believe that “the coming wrath” is a reference to the tribulation period or seventieth week of Daniel.
They do not believe it is referring to the seven seals, trumpet, and bowl judgment which will be administered to the unregenerate inhabitants of planet earth during the seventieth week of Daniel.
Rather many argue that it is a reference to the Great White Throne Judgment of all non-believers (Rev. 20:11-15).
However, this view is not supported by the contents of 1 Thessalonians.
Specifically, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-13 make clear that this “coming wrath” is a reference to the divine judgments administered during the seventieth week of Daniel, which is described in this passage as “the day of the Lord.”
Now, if those who argue that “the coming wrath” in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 is a reference to the Great White Throne Judgment of every non-believer in history, then “the day of the Lord” in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-13 must be a reference to this event as well.
However, a comparison of these two passages makes clear that this cannot possibly be the case for several reasons.
First, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 clearly associates the day of the Lord with God’s wrath.
Secondly, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-13 associates the day of the Lord with the appearance of the Antichrist.
Daniel 9:27 and Revelation 13:1-10 make clear that Antichrist will make his appearance on the stage of history during the seventieth week of Daniel.
Therefore, these passages are teaching that this “coming wrath” in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 is a reference to “the day of the Lord” which 2 Thessalonians 2:1-13 makes clear is a reference to the seventieth week of Daniel.
In particular, it speaks of the last three and a half years of this seven-year period which Jesus describes in Matthew 24:21 as the “great tribulation.”
This period is described by the apostle John in Revelation 6-18.
During this time, God will exercise His wrath against the inhabitants of planet earth for their rejection of Him and His Son.
Now, this deliverance of the church by the Lord Jesus Christ at the rapture which is mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 will also complete the third and final stage of the Christian’s so great salvation
1 To be sure, some examples can be taken as either a conative or futuristic present. Fanning, for example, regards νίπτεις in John 13:6 as tendential (thus, you are not about to wash my feet, are you?), while we take it to be a negatived futuristic present (you will not wash my feet, will you?). There is little difference between the two