1 Thessalonians 4:18
Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
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(18) Comfort one another.—Here is a balm for the “sorrow” of 1Thessalonians 4:13. Bather, “in these words” than “with;” “Repeat these very words to one another, and you will find the comfort.” What bereaved Christian has not found this true?

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.Wherefore comfort one another - Margin, "exhort." The word comfort probably best expresses the meaning. They were to bring these glorious truths and these bright prospects be fore their minds, in order to alleviate, the sorrows of bereavement. The topics of consolation are these: first, that those who had died in the faith would not always lie in the grave; second, that when they rose they would not occupy an inferior condition because they were cut off before the coming of the Lord; and third, that all Christians, living and dead, would be received to heaven and dwell forever with the Lord.

With these words - That is, with these truths.

Remarks On 1 Thessalonians 4

1. This passage 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 contains a truth which is to be found in no pagan classic writer, and nowhere else. except in the teachings of the New Testament. For the elevated and glorious view which it gives of future scenes pertaining to our world, and for all its inestimable consolations, we are wholly indebted to the Christian religion. Reason, unassisted by revelation, never dared to conjecture that such scenes would occur; if it had, it would have had no arguments on which the conjecture could be supported.

2. The death of the Christian is a calm and gentle slumber; 1 Thessalonians 4:13. It is not annihilation; it is not the extinction of hope. It is like gentle repose when we lie down at night, and when we hope to awake again in the morning; it is like the quiet, sweet slumber of the infant. Why, then, should the Christian be afraid to die? Is he afraid to close his eyes in slumber? Why dread the night - the stillness of death? Is he afraid of the darkness, the silence, the chilliness of the midnight hour, when his senses are locked in repose? Why should death to him appear so terrible? "Is the slumbering of an infant an object of terror?"

3. There are magnificent scenes before us. There is no description anywhere which is more sublime than that in the close of this chapter. Great events are brought together here, any one of which is more grand than all the pomp of courts, and all the sublimity of battle, and all the grandeur of a triumphal civic procession. The glory of the descending Judge of all mankind; the attending retinue of angels, and of the spirits of the dead; the loud shout of the descending host; the clangor of the archangel's trumpet; the bursting of graves and the coming forth of the million there entombed; the rapid, sudden, glorious change on the million of living people; the consternation of the wicked; the ascent of the innumerable host to the regions of the air, and the solemn process of the judgment there - what has ever occurred like these events in this world. And how strange it is that the thoughts of people are not turned away from the trifles - the show - the shadow - the glitter - the empty pageantry here - to these bright and glorious realities!

4. In those scenes we shall all be personally interested. If we do not survive until they occur, yet we shall have an important part to act in them. We shall hear the archangel's trump; we shall be summoned before the descending Judge. In these scenes we shall mingle not as careless spectators, but as those whose eternal doom is there to be determined, and with all the intensity of emotion derived from the fact that the Son of God will descend to judge us, and to pronounce our final doom! Can we be too much concerned to be prepared for the solemnities of that day?

5. We have, in the passage before us, an interesting view of the order in which these great events will occur. There will be:

(1) the descent of the judge with the attending hosts of heaven;

(2) the raising up of the righteous dead;

(3) the change which the living will undergo (compare 1 Corinthians 15:52);

(4) the ascent to meet the Lord in the air; and,

(5) the return with him to glory.

What place in this series of wonders will be assigned for the resurrection of the wicked, is not mentioned here. The object of the apostle did not lead him to advert to that, since his purpose was to comfort the afflicted by the assurance that their pious friends would rise again, and would suffer no disadvantage by the fact that they had died before the coming of the Redeemer. From John 5:28-29, however, it seems most probable that they will be raised at the same time with the righteous, and will ascend with them to the place of judgment in the air.


18. comfort one another—in your mourning for the dead (1Th 4:13). The apostle makes application of all this discourse to the end he designed, which was to comfort them under their sorrows for departed Christian friends; and he saith not, be ye comforted, but

comfort one another, to put them upon the great duty of Christian sympathy; though this is a duty we owe to all, yet especially to the saints, and more especially of the same particular congregation. And funeral sorrows are usually most afflictive, and therefore need to be allayed with words of comfort; and not with any words, but, saith the apostle,

with these words, or these things, as the Hebrew, the things or words that he had before laid before them. The philosophers used many arguments against the fears of death, and for comfort under funeral sorrows, but Christians should fetch their comforts from the Scriptures. These are the best, most solid, most durable, and universal, and therefore the apostle commends them to the believing Romans, Romans 15:4, as here to these Thessalonians particularly. These considerations, that those which sleep in Jesus shall rise again, and that we shall meet them again, and we and they shall be for ever with the Lord together, are a great relief against the sorrows of their departure hence. And the comforts arising hence may serve to support under other sorrows as well as these, which the apostle also might intend in the words.

Wherefore comfort one another with these words. Or doctrines; as that the saints, when they die, do not cease to be, but are asleep, and asleep in Jesus; that their souls are with him, and their bodies sleep in his arms, and are his care; that these will be as soon with Christ, as the saints that will be alive when he comes; that the coming of Christ will be with great power and glory; that the righteous will rise first in the morning of the resurrection, and before the living saints are changed, and are with Christ; that they will both be taken up together to meet him; and that they shall all be with him, and that for ever, and never part more; than which nothing can yield more true and solid comfort, under all the trials and troubles of this life, under all diseases and distempers of body, under all afflictions and persecutions for Christ's sake, under the loss of near and dear relations, and in a view of death and eternity: some copies read, "with these words of the spirit"; and so the Arabic version, "with these spiritual words": for such they are, being the word of God, as in 1 Thessalonians 4:15. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:18. A concluding exhortation.

παρακαλεῖν] not to exhort (Musculus), but to comfort; comp. ἵνα μὴ λυπῆσθε, 1 Thessalonians 4:13.

λόγοι] denotes nothing more than words. Erroneously Aretius, Flatt, Pelt, Olshausen, and others: principles or doctrines (of faith). And ἐν τοῖς λόγοις τούτοις denotes on the ground of these or the above words.

1 Thessalonians 4:18. ἐν τοῖς λόγοις τούτοις. Paul had an intelligible word upon the future, unlike the Hellenic mysteries which usually made religion a matter of feeling rather than of definite teaching (Hardie’s Lect. on Classical Subjects, pp. 53 f.). A pagan letter of consolation has been preserved from the second century (Oxyrh. Papyri, i. 115): “Eirene to Taonnophris and Philon good cheer! I was as grieved and wept as much over Eumoiros as over Didymas, and I did all that was fitting, as did all my family.… But still we can do nothing in such a case. So comfort yourselves. Goodbye.” One of Cicero’s pathetic letters (ad. Fam., xiv. 2), written from Thessalonica, speaks doubtfully of any re-union after death (“haec non sunt in manu nostra”).

18. Wherefore comfort one another with these words] Lit., in these words,—in the revelation just communicated the readers are to find comfort for each other under their recent bereavement, and in all such seasons. Observe how wishful the Apostle is that his flock should minister to each other. Comp. ch. 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:14, and notes.

Comfort—or encourage: same as the “exhort” of 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:10; it denotes any kind of animating and cheering address. See notes on “exhortation,” ch. 1 Thessalonians 2:3, 1 Thessalonians 3:2.

“Listen! it is no dream: the Apostles’ trump

Gives earnest of the Archangel’s;—calmly now,

Our hearts yet beating high

To that victorious lay,

(Most like a warrior’s, to the martial dirge

Of a true comrade,) in the grave we trust

Our treasure for a while.”

1 Thessalonians 4:18. Παρακαλεῖτε ἀλλήλους, comfort one another) in your grief. Comp. also 1 Thessalonians 4:11.

Verse 18. - Wherefore comfort one another with these words; on the ground of that Divine revelation which I have made unto you.

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