1 Thessalonians 4:16
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
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(16) For.—A justification of the statement that we shall certainly not prevent the dead; therefore, the words as far as “trump of God” are logically parenthetical; and the proof only begins at “They shall rise first: then we shall be caught up.”

With a shout.—The Greek word means a shout of command or encouragement, such as a captain gives to his soldiers, or a boatswain to his crew. It is not necessary to inquire what the command may be, or to whom issued, inasmuch as the word does not always imply any particular orders; nor who is represented as uttering it: the intention is only to convey the notion of the stirring noise, in the midst of which (for the original has “in,” not “with”) the Lord will descend. It is, however, somewhat particularised by what follows: two notes amid those sounds of mystery strike the ear—the archangel’s voice, and the trump of God. Probably, therefore, the “shout of command” is uttered by the “leader of the angels;” and the trump (called “the trump of God” because used for God’s purposes) is blown to summon the mustering hosts. In favour of supposing the Lord Himself to utter the cry, may be adduced John 5:25; but, on the other hand, it suits the dignity of the scene better to imagine the loud sound to come rather from one of the heralds of the great army. The preposition “in” is more effective than “with:” it calls attention to the long blast. (Comp. Exodus 19:19.)

Shall rise first.—Not as meaning “shall be the first to rise,” as contrasted with non-members of the Church who are to rise later; though that is a scriptural thought (Revelation 20:5-6), the Greek here refuses to be so explained. Rather, “the first thing will be the rising of the dead in Christ,” contrasted with what follows—“then, and not till then, shall we be caught up.” The same order is carefully observed in 1Corinthians 15:52.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. The Lord himself — The Lord Christ, arrayed in all his own glory, and in that of his Father; shall descend from heaven — “This expression does not imply that the Lord Jesus will fix his tribunal on the earth; but that he will descend so as to fix his seat in the air, at such distance from the earth that every eye shall see him, and every ear shall hear his voice, when he passes the awful sentence by which their state shall be unchangeably fixed. This conjecture is confirmed by 1 Thessalonians 4:17, where we are told that, after the judgment, the righteous shall be caught up in clouds to join the Lord in the air.” — Macknight. With a shout — Raised by millions of happy attendant spirits. The word κελευσματι, so rendered, denotes the shout which the soldiers of an army used to make at their first onset to encourage one another in the attack; it is therefore used with great propriety to express the loud acclamation which the whole angelical hosts will utter to express their joy at the coming of Christ to raise the dead and judge the world. The voice of the, or rather, (as the article is wanting in the original,) an archangel — He, probably, who will preside over that innumerable company of angels who are to attend Christ when he comes to judge the world. And the trump of God — Sounding, doubtless, with more loud and terrible blasts than those uttered on mount Sinai when the law was given. Perhaps the voice of God himself is meant, or a great and terrible sound made by attendant angels, analogous to that of a trumpet. This circumstance is mentioned likewise 1 Corinthians 15:52, where see the note. And as Theodoret remarks, If the loud sound of the trumpet, when the law was given from mount Sinia, especially when it sounded long, and waxed continually louder and louder, was so dreadful to the Israelites, that they said to Moses, Let not the Lord speak to us lest we die; how terrible must the sound of this trumpet be, which calls all men to that final judgment that will determine their lot for ever! And the dead in Christ — Those that had departed this life in a state of union with, and conformity to him; who had received his Spirit in its various graces, and imitated his example; shall rise first — Shall spring forth out of their graves in forms of glory, to the infinite astonishment of the surviving world, before the rest of the dead are raised, or the living saints are changed. Then we who are alive — Those in Christ who are found living at his coming; shall be caught up — That is, after their bodies are changed and rendered glorious and immortal; together with them — Namely, with the saints now raised, while the wicked remain beneath. What is intended by the expression caught up, Dr. Scott (Christ. Life, vol. 3. pp. 1, 204) thinks shall be effected by the activity of the glorified bodies of the righteous. But this opinion does not seem consistent with the original word, αρπαγησομεθα, here used, which implies the application of an external force. Doubtless they shall be caught up by a mighty and instantaneous operation of the divine power; to meet the Lord in the region of the air — Where his throne shall then be erected; and there, having been openly acknowledged and acquitted by him, they shall be assessors with him in that judgment to which wicked men and angels are there to be brought forth; and when the final sentence is passed upon them, shall accompany their re-ascending Saviour. And so shall we ever be with the Lord — Where we shall spend a blissful eternity ill the sight and participation of his glory. Wherefore — Make these grand events the subject of your frequent meditation; and when your hearts are distressed with grief for the loss of your pious friends, or on any other occasion which can arise in this mortal life; comfort one another with these words — The tenor of which is so important, and the truth contained in them so certain, as being taught by the infallible dictates of the Spirit of God, and revealed to us by him, from whose fidelity, power, and grace, we expect this complete salvation.

4:13-18 Here is comfort for the relations and friends of those who die in the Lord. Grief for the death of friends is lawful; we may weep for our own loss, though it may be their gain. Christianity does not forbid, and grace does not do away, our natural affections. Yet we must not be excessive in our sorrows; this is too much like those who have no hope of a better life. Death is an unknown thing, and we know little about the state after death; yet the doctrines of the resurrection and the second coming of Christ, are a remedy against the fear of death, and undue sorrow for the death of our Christian friends; and of these doctrines we have full assurance. It will be some happiness that all the saints shall meet, and remain together for ever; but the principal happiness of heaven is to be with the Lord, to see him, live with him, and enjoy him for ever. We should support one another in times sorrow; not deaden one another's spirits, or weaken one another's hands. And this may be done by the many lessons to be learned from the resurrection of the dead, and the second coming of Christ. What! comfort a man by telling him he is going to appear before the judgment-seat of God! Who can feel comfort from those words? That man alone with whose spirit the Spirit of God bears witness that his sins are blotted out, and the thoughts of whose heart are purified by the Holy Spirit, so that he can love God, and worthily magnify his name. We are not in a safe state unless it is thus with us, or we are desiring to be so.For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven - notes, Acts 1:11.

With a shout - The word here used (κέλευσμα keleusma), does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. It properly means a "cry' of excitement, or of arging on; an outcry, clamor, or shout, as of sailors at the oar, Luc. Catapl. 19; of soldiers rushing to battle, Thuc. 3:14; of a multitude of people, Diod. Sic. 3:15; of a huntsman to his dogs, Xen. Ven. 6:20. It does not mean here, that the Lord would himself make such a shout, but that he would be attended with it; that is, with a multitude who would lift up the voice like that of an army rushing to the conflict.

With the voice of the archangel - The word archangel occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, except in Jde 1:9, where it is applied to Michael. It properly means a chief angel; one who is first, or who is over others - ἄρχων archōn. The word is not found in the Septuagint, and the only archangel, therefore, which is named in the Scriptures, is Michael; Jde 1:9; compare Revelation 12:7. Seven angels, however, are referred to in the Scriptures as having an eminence above others, and these are commonly regarded as archangels. Revelation 8:2, "and I saw the seven angels which stood before God." One of these is supposed to be referred to in the Book of Tobit, 12:15, "I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels, which present the prayers of the saints, and which go in and out before the glory of the Holy One." The names of three only of the seven are mentioned in the Jewish writings: Michael, the patron of the Jewish nation, Daniel 10:13, Daniel 10:21; Daniel 12:1.

Gabriel, Daniel 8:16; Daniel 9:21; compare Luke 1:19, Luke 1:26. Raphael, Tobit 3:17; 5:4; 8:2; 9:1, 5; 12:15. The Book of Enoch adds that of Uriel, pp. 187, 190, 191, 193. Michael is mentioned as one "of the chief princes," Daniel 10:13; and as "the great prince," Daniel 12:1; compare notes on Ephesians 1:21, and see an article by Prof. Stuart in the Bibliotheca Sacra. No. 1, on Angelology. It seems evident from the Scriptures, that there is one or more among the angels to whom the name archangel properly belongs. This view is in accordance with the doctrine in the Scriptures that the heavenly beings are divided into ranks and orders, for if so, it is not unreasonable to suppose that there should be one or more to whom the most exalted rank pertains; compare Revelation 12:7. Whether there is more than one to whom this name appropriately belongs, it is impossible now to determine, and is not material. The word here (in Greek) is without the article, and the phrase might be rendered, "with the voice of an archangel."

The Syriac renders it, "with the voice of the prince of the angels." On an occasion so august and momentous as that of the coming of the final Judge of all mankind; the resurrection of the dead, and the solemn transactions before the tribunal of the Son of God deciding the destiny of countless million for ever, it will not be inappropriate that the highest among the heavenly hosts should be present and take an important part in the solemnities of the day. It is not quite certain what is meant here by "the voice of the archangel," or for what purpose that voice will be heard. It cannot be that it will be to raise the dead - for that will be by the "voice of the Son of God" John 5:28-29, and it seems most probable that the meaning is, that this will be a part of the loud shout or cry which will be made by the descending hosts of heaven; or perhaps it may be for the purpose of summoning the world to the bar of judgment; compare Matthew 24:31.

And with the trump of God - The trump which God appoints to be sounded on that solemn occasion. It does not mean that it will be sounded by God himself; see the notes on Matthew 24:31.

And the dead in Christ - Christians.

Shall rise first - That is, before the living shall be changed. A doctrine similar to this was held by the Jews. "Resch Lachisch said, Those who die in the land of Israel shall rise first in the days of the Messiah." See Wetstein, in loc. It is implied in all this description, that the interval between their resurrection and the change which will occur to the living, will be brief, or that the one will rapidly succeed the other compare notes, 1 Corinthians 15:23, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52.

16. himself—in all the Majesty of His presence in person, not by deputy.

descend—even as He ascended (Ac 1:11).

with—Greek, "in," implying one concomitant circumstance attending His appearing.

shout—Greek, "signal shout," "war shout." Jesus is represented as a victorious King, giving the word of command to the hosts of heaven in His train for the last onslaught, at His final triumph over sin, death, and Satan (Re 19:11-21).

the voice of … archangel—distinct from the "signal shout." Michael is perhaps meant (Jude 9; Re 12:7), to whom especially is committed the guardianship of the people of God (Da 10:13).

trump of God—the trumpet blast which usually accompanies God's manifestation in glory (Ex 19:16; Ps 47:5); here the last of the three accompaniments of His appearing: as the trumpet was used to convene God's people to their solemn convocations (Nu 10:2, 10; 31:6), so here to summon God's elect together, preparatory to their glorification with Christ (Ps 50:1-5; Mt 24:31; 1Co 15:52).

shall rise first—previously to the living being "caught up." The "first" here has no reference to the first resurrection, as contrasted with that of "the rest of the dead." That reference occurs elsewhere (Mt 13:41, 42, 50; Joh 5:29; 1Co 15:23, 24; Re 20:5, 6); it simply stands in opposition to "then," 1Th 4:17. FIRST, "the dead in Christ" shall rise, THEN the living shall be caught up. The Lord's people alone are spoken of here.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout; the means which effect this. The word shout in the Greek signifies a command, or word of command; alluding to mariners or soldiers summoned to be ready with their assistance when called upon; and may refer to the angels whom Christ now summons to attend and assist in that day. And the evangelist speaks of the voice of Christ, John 5:28, which is there said to raise the dead. Whether this is an oral shout and voice from the mouth of Christ, or only an expression of his Divine power, whereby he shall awaken them that sleep out of their graves, is a question I shall not be curious about.

With the voice of the archangel: Christ is said to come with all the holy angels, Matthew 25:31; and to send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, Matthew 24:31. But here is mentioned only the archangel and his voice, instead of all the rest, they all coming under his conduct. Though there be not such distinct orders of angels as the schoolmen affirm, yet there is order among them, as archangel implies. And whether he will put forth an audible voice or not at that day, or whether this archangel be not the same with Christ himself, who is the Head of all principality and power, Colossians 2:10, I leave it as doubtful; but, however, it is certain the angels shall be ministering to Christ at that day, especially in the resurrection of the elect, Matthew 24:31, and severing the righteous from the wicked, Matthew 13:41.

And with the trump of God; as 1 Corinthians 15:52. And whether this is to be taken literally, and distinct from the shout and voice before mentioned, or used only to show forth the Divine power of God that shall gather all the elect together out of their graves, as the trumpet in war gathers the scattered army, or as the silver trumpets under the law assembled the congregation of Israel, I shall not be positive. And this is the account of the saints that are raised.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven,.... Not by proxy, or by representatives; not by the ministry of angels, as on Mount Sinai; nor by the ministers of the word, as under the Gospel dispensation; nor by his spirit, and the discovery of his love and grace, in which sense he descends in a spiritual manner, and visits his people; but in person, in his human nature, in soul and body; in like manner as he went up to heaven will he descend from thence, so as to be visible, to be seen and heard of all: he will come down from the third heaven, whither he was carried up, into which he was received, and where he is retained until the time of the restitution of all things, and from whence the saints expect him: and this descent will be

with a shout; the word here used is observed by many to signify such a noise or shout as is made either by mariners, when they pull and row together; and shout to direct and encourage one another; or to an army with the general at the head of it, when about to undertake some considerable action, to enter on a battle, and make the onset; Christ will now appear as the King of kings, and Lord of lords, as the Judge of the whole earth, attended with the host, or armies of heaven, and the shout of a king will be among them: perhaps the same is intended, as by the voice of a great multitude, as the voice of many waters, and of mighty thunderings upon the coming of Christ, the destruction of antichrist, and the marriage of the Lamb, in Revelation 19:1. The Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions render it, "in", or "with command"; and the Arabic version, "with his own government", or "authority"; that is, he shall descend, either by the command of his Father, as man and Mediator, having authority from him, as the son of man, to execute judgment; or with his commanding power and authority over the mighty angels, that shall descend with him: it follows,

with the voice of the archangel; so Michael is called, in Jde 1:9 with which compare Revelation 12:7 and who perhaps is no other than Christ himself, who is the head of all principality and power; and the sense be, that Christ shall descend from heaven with a voice, or shall then utter such a voice, as will show him to be the archangel; or as the Syriac version renders it, "the head", or "prince of angels"; and which whether, it will be an articulate voice, such as was expressed at the grave of Lazarus; or a violent clap of thunder, which is the voice of God; or the exertion of the power of Christ, is not certain: it is added,

and with the trump of God; called "the last trump", 1 Corinthians 15:52 because none will be blown after it, and may be the same with the seventh trumpet, Revelation 11:15 and here the trump of God, because blown by his order; or by Christ himself, who is God, and so be the same with the voice of the archangel; and these figurative expressions are used, to set forth the grandeur and magnificence in which Christ will come; not in that low, mean, and humble form in which he first came, but with great glory, and marks of honour and respect; with angels shouting, trumpets blowing, and saints rejoicing. This is said in allusion to the trumpet which was heard on Mount Sinai at the giving of the law, and of which the Jews say (d), that it "quickened the dead"; for they have a notion, that, when the Israelites first heard the voice of the Lord, they died; but upon hearing it the second time, they returned to life (e): and they suppose also in the time, to come, at the resurrection of the dead, a trumpet will be blown, which will quicken the dead (f), and the day of judgment (g); and this is reckoned by them as one of the signs of the Messiah's coming (h):

"Michael shall shout with a great shout, and the graves of the dead shall be opened at Jerusalem, and the holy blessed God will restore the dead to life, and Messiah the son of David shall come,'' &c.

And the dead in Christ shall rise first; the same with those that are asleep in Jesus, 1 Thessalonians 4:14 not only the martyrs that died for the sake of Christ, and his Gospel; nor merely those who die in the lively exercise of faith in Christ; but all that die interested in him, and in union with him: and these shall "rise", in consequence of their being his; being given to him, made his care and charge, and engaged for by him, and in virtue of their union to him; and shall rise to an entire conformity to his glorious body, and in order to enjoy eternal life and glory with him: and these will rise "first", before the wicked, which is the first resurrection, Revelation 20:5 even a thousand years before them; the righteous will rise in the morning of the resurrection, and so will have the dominion in the morning, Psalm 49:14 even at the beginning of the thousand years, as soon as Christ will come; but the wicked will not rise till the evening of that day, or till the close of the thousand years: and this agrees with the notions of the Jews, who thought that some will rise before others;

"Wheresoever thou findest the dead, take them and bury them, and I will give thee the first place in my resurrection.'' (2 Esdras 2:23)

Having mentioned those words in Psalm 116:9 "I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living", it is asked (i),

"is there no land of the living but Tyre and its neighbours, and Caesarea, and its neighbours, where is cheapness and fulness? says R. Simeon ben Lekish, in the name of Bar Kaphra, the land in which the dead live, "first", in the days of the Messiah:''

and on the same place elsewhere (k) they observe, that

"our Rabbins say two things, or give two reasons, why the fathers loved to be buried in the land of Israel, because the dead in the land of Israel , "live", or "rise first", in the days of the Messiah, and shall enjoy the years of the Messiah:''

and in another place (l) they take notice of what is written in Isaiah 26:19 "and the earth shall cast out the dead": says R. Jochanan,

"the dead which are in the land (i.e. of Israel), they shall "live first"; as it is said, "thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise": these are they that are without the land; "awake and sing ye that dwell in the dust", these are they that die in the wilderness:''

and again (m),


For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a {h} shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

(h) The word which the apostle uses here, properly signifies that encouragement which mariners give to one another, when they altogether with one shout put forth their oars and row together.

1 Thessalonians 4:16. Comp. Flatt, Opusc. acad. p. 411 ff.

ὅτι] not that, as Koch and Hofmann think, so that 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (according to Hofmann, only 1 Thessalonians 4:16!) still depend on λέγομεν ἐν λόγῳ κυρίου, 1 Thessalonians 4:15; but for.

αὐτὸς ὁ κύριος] the Lord Himself. αὐτός is neither a mere introductory subject (“He, the Lord,” de Wette, Hofmann); nor added with the design to refer “the coming of Christ expressly to His holy personality and corporality,” accordingly designed to exclude “every manifestation of Him by mere instruments,” or by angels (so Olshausen and Bisping, and already Musculus, Estius, and Fromond.[58]); also is not inserted here “for solemnity’s sake, and to show that it will not be a mere gathering to Him, but He Himself will descend, and we shall be summoned before Him” (Alford);—but it represents Christ as the chief Person and actor at the advent, emphatically opposed to His faithful ones—both those already asleep (οἱ νεκροὶ ἐν Χριστῷ) and those still living—as they who are acted upon.

κέλευσμα] in the N. T. an ἅπαξ λεγόμενον, denotes an imperative call, e.g. of a commander to his host to exhort them to the conflict or to warn them to decamp, of a driver to excite his horses to greater speed, of a huntsman to encourage his hounds to the pursuit of the prey, of sailors to excite themselves to vigorous rowing, etc. Comp. Thucyd. ii. 92; Xen. de venat. vi. 20; Lucian, Catapl. 19. Here the κέλευσμα might be referred to God. Only then we must not, as Hunnius does, identify it with the σάλπιγξ Θεοῦ, and find represented in the two expressions the “horribilis fragor inclarescentium tonitruum;” but, in conjunction with the statement that God only knows beforehand the time and hour of the advent (Matthew 24:3), it must refer to the imperative call to bring about the advent. So recently Bisping. This interpretation is, however, to be rejected, because the three sentences introduced with ἐν are evidently similar, i.e. all three are a statement of the mode of καταβαίνειν, accordingly contain the description of the circumstances with which the descent during the course of its completion will be accompanied. But, understood in the above manner, ἐν κελεύσματι would denote an act preceding the καταβαίνειν, and thus another preposition instead of ἐν would necessarily be chosen. Others, as Theodoret, Oecumenius, Grotius, and Olshausen, refer ἐν κελεύσματι to Christ. But in this case we would be puzzled so to define the contents of the κέλευσμα, as to prevent them coming into collision with the φωνεῖν of the ἀρχάγγελος. For that we are not justified, with Theodoret, in distinguishing the κέλευσμα and the φωνή by a prius and post (ὁ κύριοςκελεύσει μὲν ἀρχάγγελον βοῆσαι) is evident, as both are simultaneous—both in a similar manner are represented as accompanying the καταβαίνειν. It is accordingly most probable that Paul places ἐν κελεύσματι first as a primary, and on that account absolute expression, and then, in an epexegetical manner, more fully developes it by ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου καὶ ἐν σάλπιγγι Θεοῦ. If this is the correct interpretation, the apostle considers the κέλευσμα as given by the archangel,[59] directly afterwards mentioned, who for the publication of it uses partly his voice and partly a trumpet; and, as the contents of the κέλευσμα, the imperative call which reaches the sleeping Christians to summon them from their graves (comp. also the following καὶ οἱ νεκροὶ κ.τ.λ.), consequently the resurrection-call (Theodoret, John Damascenus, Calixt, and others).

ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου καὶ ἐν σάλπιγγι Θεοῦ] with the call, namely, of an archangel, and with (the sound) of the trumpet of God. Christ will return surrounded by hosts of angels; comp. 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; Matthew 16:27; Matthew 24:30 f., Matthew 25:31; Mark 8:38; Mark 13:26 f.; Luke 9:26. According to the post-exile Jewish notion, the angels were distinguished into different orders and classes, over each of which presided an ἀρχάγγελος. (See Winer’s bibl. Realwörterb. 2d ed. vol. I. p. 386 f.) One of these ἀρχάγγελοι (שָׂרִים)—whom Nicolas de Lyra, Hunnius, Estius (appealing to Judges 1:9 and Revelation 12), Bern, a Picon., Bisping suppose to be the archangel Michael; and Cornelius a Lapide, Michael or Gabriel; whilst Ambrosiaster and Olshausen, as well as Alphen and Honert (in Wolf), understand no angel at all, but the two first understand Christ (!), and the two last the Holy Ghost (!)—is considered as the herald at the commencement of the advent, who with a loud voice calls upon the dead, and arouses them by the sound of a trumpet. The Jews used trumpets for summoning the people together; comp. Numbers 10:2; Numbers 31:6, Joel 2:1. Also the manifestations of God were considered as accompanied by the sound of a trumpet; comp. Exodus 19:16; Psalm 47:6; Zechariah 9:14; Isaiah 27:13;—and as it was the opinion of the later Jews that God will use a powerful and far-sounding trumpet to raise the dead (comp. Eisenmenger’s entdecktes Judenthum, II. p. 929 f.), so in the N. T. mention is made of a σάλπιγξ in reference to Christ’s advent; comp. 1 Corinthians 15:52; Matthew 24:31. The trumpet is called σάλπιγξ Θεοῦ, either because it excels all human or earthly trumpets in the power of its sound (so Cornelius a Lapide, Calov, Wolf, Benson, Bengel, Baumgarten, Bolten, and several); or because it will be blown at the command of God (so Balduin, Jac. Laurentius, Pelt, Schott, Olshausen, and others); or, lastly, because it belongs to God and is used in His service (so de Wette, who refers to the expression “harps of God,” 1 Chronicles 16:42; Revelation 15:2 [see also Winer, p. 221, E. T. 310], Koch, and Alford).

ἀπʼ οὐρανοῦ] down from heaven. For the crucified and risen Christ is enthroned in heaven at the right hand of God; comp. Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Php 3:20.

ΚΑῚ ΟἹ ΝΕΚΡΟῚ Κ.Τ.Λ.] a consequence of ἐν κελεύσματι κ.τ.λ. καταβήσεται.

ἐν Χριστῷ] is not to be connected with ἀναστήσονται (Pelt, Schott), but with οἱ νεκροί; comp. 1 Corinthians 15:18; Winer, p. 123 [E. T. 169]. For if connected with ἀναστήσονται, then ἐν Χριστῷ would receive an emphasis which, according to the context, it cannot have; as the apostle does not intend to bring forward the person by whom the resurrection is effected, which is evident of itself, but designs to show what relation it will have to those who sleep on the one hand, and to those who are alive on the other. Theodoret has arbitrarily inserted into the text: ΝΕΚΡΟῪς ΤΟῪς ΠΙΣΤΟῪς ΛΈΓΕΙ, Οὐ ΜΌΝΟΝ ΤΟῪς Τῷ ΕὐΑΓΓΕΛΊῼ ΠΕΠΙΣΤΕΥΚΌΤΑς, ἈΛΛᾺ ΚΑῚ ΤΟῪς ἘΝ ΝΌΜῼ ΚΑῚ ΤΟῪς ΠΡῸ ΝΌΜΟΝ ΔΙΑΛΆΜΨΑΝΤΑς; and Musculus, that there are also to be reckoned among the ΝΕΚΡΟῚ ἘΝ ΧΡΙΣΤῷ the dead children of Christians before they believed on Christ, and the “patres priorum saeculorum qui ante tempora Christi vixerunt. Nam et illi cum semine ipsorum propter fidem venturi servatoris in Christo fuerunt.”

ΠΡῶΤΟΝ] does not denote, as Oecumenius (ΟἹ ἘΝ ΧΡΙΣΤῷ, ΤΟΥΤΈΣΤΙΝ ΟἹ ΠΙΣΤΟΊ, ΠΡῶΤΟΝ ἈΝΑΣΤΉΣΟΝΤΑΙ, ΟἹ ΔῈ ΛΟΙΠΟῚ ἜΣΧΑΤΟΙ, Ὡς ΜῊ ἉΡΠΆΖΕΣΘΑΙ ΜΉΤΕ ἈΠΑΝΤᾶΝ ΜΈΛΛΟΝΤΕς) and others maintain, the first resurrection,—the so-called resurrection of the just,—in contrast to the resurrection of all men following at a much later period; a distinction which is left entirely unnoticed in our passage, and in the form stated would be un-Pauline. Rather ΠΡῶΤΟΝ is in contrast to ἜΠΕΙΤΑ, 1 Thessalonians 4:17, and denotes that the first act of Christ at His reappearance will be the resurrection of the Christian dead, and then the ἁρπάζεσθαι of the living, 1 Thessalonians 4:17, will follow as the second act.

[58] Koch accepts both de Wette’s interpretation and the meaning of Olshausen, and thus falls into the contradiction of making αὐτός at the same time unaccented and emphatic.

[59] Macknight incorrectly refers the κέλευσμα to the whole of the attendant angelic host, and finds therein “the loud acclamation which the whole angelic hosts will utter to express their joy at the advent of Christ to judge the world,”—an interpretation which finds no support in the context, and militates against the meaning of κέλευσμα.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. Proof of the truth of οὐ μὴ φθάσωμεν τοὺς κοιμηθέντας by a description of the particulars in which the advent will be realized.

1 Thessalonians 4:16. κελεύσματι = the loud summons which was to muster the saints (so in Philo, De praem. et poen., 19: καθάπερ οὖν ἀνθρώπους ἐν ἐσχατιαῖς ἀπῳκισμένους ῥᾳδίως ἑνὶ κελεύσματι συναγάγοι ὁ θεὸς ἀπὸ περάτων εἰς ὅ τι ἂν θελήσῃ χωρίον), forms, as its lack of any genitive shows, one conception with the φ. α. and the σ. θ. (cf. DC[33], ii. 766). The archangel is Michael, who in Jewish tradition not only summoned the angels but sounded a trumpet to herald God’s approach for judgment (e.g., in Apoc. Mosis, xxii.). With such scenic and realistic details, drawn from the heterogeneous eschatology of the later Judaism, Paul seeks to make intelligible to his own mind and to that of his readers, in quite an original fashion (cf. Stähelin, Jahrb. f. deut. Theol., 1874, pp. 199–218), the profound truth that neither death nor any cosmic, crisis in the future will make any essential difference to the close relation between the Christian and his Lord. Οὕτω πάντοτε σὺν κυρίῳ ἐσόμεθα (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Php 1:20): this is all that remains to us, in our truer view of the universe, from the naïve λόγος κυρίου of the apostle, but it is everything. Note that Paul says nothing here about any change of the body (Teichmann, 35 f.), or about the embodiment of the risen life in its celestial δόξα. See Asc. Isa., iv. 14–15: “And the Lord will come with His holy angels and with the armies of the holy ones from the seventh heaven … and He will give rest to the godly whom He shall find in the body in this world.”

[33]CG Hastings’ Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels (1907–1908)

16. For the Lord Himself] “In His personal august presence” (Ellicott). Comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:16; 2 Thessalonians 3:16, for this kind of emphasis; also Ch. 1 Thessalonians 3:11, 1 Thessalonians 5:23, “God Himself:” in each case we feel the majesty with which God (or “the Lord”) rises above all human doings and desires.

with a shout] Strictly, word of command, or signal,—the shout with which the general gives the order to his troops, or the captain to his crew. Such “command” might be given either by voice,—his own or another’s; or through a trumpet: both are added here, to complete the Impressive picture,—With the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.

We must not look for literal exactness where things are depicted beyond the reach of sense. These three may form but one idea, that of “the voice of the Son of God,” by which the dead will be called forth (John 5:28), Christ’s “command” being expressed by an “archangel’s voice,” and that again constituting the “trumpet of God.” Christ predicted His return attended by angels (Matthew 24:31; Matthew 25:31; comp. 2 Thessalonians 1:7); and the Divine voice of the Book of Revelation is constantly uttered by an “angel,” or “mighty angel” (Revelation 5:2; Revelation 7:2; &c.). In the same Book voice and trumpet are identified, where St John describing the glorified Son of Man says, “I heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet talking with me” (Revelation 1:10; Revelation 1:12; Revelation 4:1). This verse, like the above passages of the Apocalypse, echoes the words of Christ in Matthew 24:31 : “He shall send forth His angels with a trumpet of great voice.” In 1 Corinthians 15:52 the whole is described in one word: “The-trumpet-shall-sound, and the dead shall be raised.”

This is the military trumpet, like “word of command” above, by which the Lord of Hosts musters and marshals His array. Comp. ch. 1 Thessalonians 5:8, with its “breastplate” and “helmet;” see note. “As a Commander rouses his sleeping soldiers, so the Lord calls up His dead, and bids them shake off the fetters of the grave and rise anew to waking life” (Hofmann).

St Paul does not write “the Archangel,” as though pointing to some known Angelic Chief who is to blow this trumpet; his words are, with an archangel’s voice, indicating the majesty and power of the heavenly summons. This is the earliest example of the title archangel. In Judges 9 we read of “Michael the archangel”—an expression probably based on Daniel 12:1, “Michael the great prince” (LXX: “the great angel;” comp. Revelation 12:7, where “Michael and his angels” are arrayed against “the Dragon and his angels”). Of equal rank with Michael is Gabriel, the angel of comfort and good tidings in Daniel 8:16; Daniel 9:21, and Luke 1:19; Luke 1:26. The military style of this passage suits rather the character of Michael. Amongst the seven chief angels recognised at this time in Jewish teaching, Raphael stood nearest to the two that appear in the New Testament (Tob 12:15). St Paul probably ranged the Archangels amongst the Principalities (Greek Archai) to which he refers in Romans 8:38 (angels and principalities), Ephesians 1:21; Ephesians 3:10, Colossians 1:6; Colossians 2:10; Colossians 2:15. See the Article on Angels in Smith’s Dictionary of Christian Antiquities.

the Lord Himself, &c.… will descend from heaven. See note on ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:10. These words close the sentence, the accompaniments of the descent being first described, and then the descent itself, with solemn brevity and an effect of peculiar grandeur.

and the dead in Christ] This gives us the key to the Apostle’s meaning throughout. Being “in Christ,” having died as they lived in Him, nothing can part them from Him, “neither death nor life” (Romans 8:38). And when He returns in bodily presence, their bodies must rise to meet Him and do Him homage.

shall rise first] Not before the other dead, as though theirs were a select and separate resurrection (comp. John 5:28-29); the antithesis is plainly given in the next verse,—“first,” i.e. before the living saints: “we shall not take precedence of them, but rather they of us.”

1 Thessalonians 4:16. Αὐτὸς, Himself) A word of high import.—ἐν κελεύσματι, ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου, καὶ ἐν σάλπιγγι Θεοῦ, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God) A gradation (ascending climax), comprehending three things.—κέλευσμα is applied, when a multitude is ordered to do something, for example, by a herald. It is not used by the LXX.—ἀρχαγγέλου, the archangel) Michael, or some other. The article is not inserted.—ἐν σάλπιγγι Θεοῦ, with the trumpet of God) and therefore great.—πρῶτον) previously.[23]

[23] Previously to the act of the living along with the dead saints being caught up. Not, “the dead in Christ shall rise before the other dead,” as it is often explained.—ED.

Verse 16. - For; assigning a reason for the above assertion, "because." The Lord himself; not merely the Lord as the chief Person and Actor on that day, in contrast to his saints, but emphatic, "the Lord himself," the Lord in his own proper Person. Shall descend from heaven; where the crucified and risen Jesus is now enthroned, seated at the right hand of God. With a shout; a word denoting a commanding shout as that of a leader to his host when he leads them into the battle, or of the army when it rushes to the fight. Some refer this shout to what follows - the voice of the archangel and the trump of God; but there are three particulars here mentioned. Others attribute it to Christ himself. With the voice of the archangel; or rather, of an archangel. There is only one archangel mentioned in Scripture (Jude 1:9); the word denotes, not "chief angel," but "chief or ruler of the angels." Accordingly, same suppose that Christ himself is here meant, as to him alone, it is asserted, does this title belong; but the Lord and the archangel are here evidently distinguished. Others strangely imagine that the Holy Ghost is here meant. Others fix on the archangel Michael (Jude 1:9). Christ is represented as accompanied by angels to the judgment; and it is futile to inquire who this leader of the angels is. And the trump of God; even as the trumpet sounded at the giving of the Law from Sinai. Also the advent of Christ to judgment is represented as heralded by the sound of a trumpet (Matthew 24:31; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52). "We are to recognize three particulars, following each other in rapid succession - the commanding shout of the King himself, the voice of the archangel summoning the other angels, and the trump of God which awakens the dead and collects believers" (Riggen-bach). And the dead in Christ shall rise first. Some suppose that the reference here is to the first resurrection; that the righteous, "the dead in Christ," shall rise before the wicked, "the dead not in Christ;" and that a thousand years, or the millennium, will intervene between the first and second resurrections (Revelation 20:4, 5). But this is an entirely erroneous supposition. All that is here asserted is that the dead in Christ shall rise before the living in Christ shall be changed; there is no contrast between the dead in Christ and the dead not in Christ, nor any allusion to the resurrection of the wicked. 1 Thessalonians 4:16The word of the Lord

1 Thessalonians 4:15, is apparently not intended to include the specific details which follow. In that word the revelation was to the effect that all believers simultaneously should share the blessings of the advent. The following description of the Lord's descent from heaven is intended to emphasize the fact that the reunion of dead and living believers will be accomplished by the Lord in person (αὐτὸς) Ὅτι does not indicate the contents of the word of the Lord (that, as A.V.), but means for or because; and the details are meant to strengthen the more general declaration of 1 Thessalonians 4:15. In the details themselves there are traces of certain O.T. theophanies, as Exodus 19:11-18; Micah 1:3.

Shall descend from heaven

Used nowhere else of Christ's second coming. Frequently in the Fourth Gospel, of Christ's descent to earth as man. See John 3:13; John 6:33, John 6:38, John 6:41, etc. In Ephesians 4:9, of his descent by the Spirit in order to endow the church.

With a shout (ἐν κελεύσματι)

N.T.o. Once in lxx, Proverbs 24:62 (English Bib. Proverbs 30:27). From κελεύειν to summon. Often in Class. Lit. a shout of command, as of a general to his army, an admiral to his oarsmen, or a charioteer to his horses.

Archangel (ἀρχαγγέλου)

Only here and Jde 1:9. Not in O.T. The Pauline angelology shows traces of Rabbinical teachings in the idea of orders of angels. See Ephesians 1:21; Colossians 1:16; Romans 8:38. The archangels appear in the apocryphal literature. In the Book of Enoch (see on Jde 1:14) four are named, Michael, Uriel, Raphael, and Gabriel. Michael is set over the tree which, at the time of the great judgment, will be given over to the righteous and humble, and from the fruit of which life will be given to the elect. In Tob. 12:15, Raphael appears as one of the seven holy angels. Comp. Revelation 8:2. See also on Jde 1:9, and comp. Daniel 12:1.

With the trump of God (ἐν σάλπιγγι θεοῦ)

For the trumpet heralding great manifestations of God, see Exodus 19:13, Exodus 19:16; Psalm 47:5; Isaiah 27:13; Zechariah 9:14; Zephaniah 1:16; Joel 2:1; Matthew 24:31; 1 Corinthians 15:52; Revelation 1:10; Revelation 4:1. Of God does not indicate the size or loudness of the trumpet, but merely that it is used in God's service. Comp. harps of God, Revelation 15:2; musical instruments of God, 1 Chronicles 16:42. The later Jews believed that God would use a trumpet to raise the dead.

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