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1 Thessalonians
Chapter 2

Theme: The Coming of Christ is a working hope.

The coming of Christ for His church is called the Rapture. The word “Rapture” is not in the Bible, but its teaching certainly is! It is not a doctrine to argue about; but should be welcomed and accepted, looked forward to and lived. Sad to say, there are many “Christians” who believe Christ is coming AFTER the Great Tribulation. There are those who believe He is coming BEFORE (as I do), and some believe He is coming DURING that Tribulation. Then there are others who do NOT believe that He is coming at all, and yet they say that they trust Him as their Saviour. For all these groups there is just one question: How does what you believe about the Rapture affect your life?
If your view on the Rapture has no effect on your life, then you should reconsider what you believe. The hope and looking forward to the return of the Lord should be a motive you in telling others about Jesus. We all need to “Go ye therefore” (Mat.28:19), as commanded.

Are you looking for Jesus’ Return? (Phil.3:20; Tit.2:13; Heb.12:2).

Knowledge of the Truth

Twelve times Paul brings up what the Thessalonians know about Truth:

1. Know what manner of men we were . . . (1 Thes.1:5)
2. Know our entrance in unto you . . . (1 Thes.2:1)
3. Know how shamefully we were treated . . . (1 Thes.2:2)
4. Know we did not use flattering language and were not covetous . . . (1 Thes.2:5)
5. Know how we exhorted, comforted, and charged you . . .  (1 Thes.2:11)
6. Know that we were appointed afflictions for the gospel  . . . (1 Thes.3:3-4)
7. Know what commandments we gave you by Jesus Christ . . . (1 Thes.4:2)
8. Know how to possess your vessels in sanctification and honor . . . (1 Thes.4:4)
9. Know perfectly about the day of the Lord . . . (1 Thes.5:2)
10. Know your true teachers . . . (1 Thes.5:12)
11. Know what withholdeth that the Antichrist might be revealed . . . (2 Thes.2:6-8)
12. Know how you ought to follow us . . . (2 Thes.3:7)

There are Twelve “Know Ye Nots” questions listed by Paul, elsewhere:

1. That so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? . . . (Rom.6:3)
2. That to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are . . . sin or righteousness; Satan or God? . . . (Rom.6:16)
3. That I speak to them that know the law (the Jews) . . . (Rom.7:1; 2:12-16)
4. That ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you . . . (1 Cor.3:16)
5. That a little leaven leavens the whole lump . . . (1 Cor.5:6)
6. That saints shall judge the world . . . (1 Cor.6:2)
7. That saints shall judge angels . . . (1 Cor.6:3)
8. That the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God . . . (1 Cor.6:9)
9. That your bodies are menbers of Christ . . . (1 Cor.6:15)
10. That he which is joined to a harlot is one body . . . (1 Cor.6:16)
11. That your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit . . . (1 Cor.6:19-20) 
12. That they which run in a race all run, but only one wins the prize . . . (1 Cor.9:24)

Motive and Method of a True Witness for Christ (1 Thes.2:1-6)

1 Thessalonians 2:1 For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain: (KJV)

For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain . . . in vain means empty, with no results. Paul’s arrival was not in vain, or without fruit; for his very first sermon had great success. Many of them had been converted under his ministry. This fact gave him a right to deliver all the following exhortations (advices, appeals, councils, encouragings, urgings, warnings).

1 Thessalonians 2:2 But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention. (KJV)

But even after that we had suffered before . . . before we came among you.
And were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi . . . (Acts 16:19), by being beaten and cast into prison. The shame of the treatment consisted in the fact that it was totally undeserved; that it was contrary to the laws; and that it went along with conditions designed to make their punishment as humiliating as possible. The Thessalonians knew of this, and Paul was not willing to lessen the conduct of the Philippians. What was "shameful treatment" he speaks of as such without hesitation. It is not wrong to call things by their right names, and when we have been abused, it is not necessary that we should attempt to smooth the matter over by saying that it was not so.
We were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention . . . Paul said they had humble dependence on the support of God. It was only God’s powerful help that could have enabled them to persevere in such a work after such treatment.

1 Thessalonians 2:3  For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: (KJV)

For our exhortation . . . the urging to embrace the Gospel, most likely means preaching in general. The means which they used to persuade them to become Christians were NOT doctrines to deceive them.
Was not of deceit . . . was not founded on fraudulence. Paul means that the Thessalonians knew that his manner of preaching was not such as was adopted by the false teachers.
Nor of uncleanness . . . not such as to lead to an impure life. The Gospel leads to holiness and purity. Most of the teaching of the heathen philosophers led to a life of immorality, licentiousness and corruption. The tendency of the Gospel was exactly the opposite.
Nor in guile . . . guile = cunning, crafty, clever. The Gospel is NOT connected with any sort of deceit! Everything Paul did was done on the most honorable and fair principles. It is good when anyone can say that he has never tried to accomplish anything by mere trick, craft, or cunning. Wisdom and shrewdness are always allowed in ministers . . . but deceitful trickery, NEVER! Guile, craft, cunning, imply deception, and can never be reconciled with that honesty which a minister of the Gospel, and all other Christians, must possess (Ps.32:2; 34:13; Jn.1:47; 1 Pet.2:1,22; Rev.14:5).

1 Thessalonians 2:4  But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. (KJV)

But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel . . . as we were accounted worthy to be put in trust . . . God put confidence in us, and sent us with this most special message to mankind (1 Tim.1:11-12).
Even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts . . . we speak not to please or flatter men, but to please that God who searcheth the heart (1 Chron.28:9; 29:17; Jer.11:20; 17:20; Ps.11:4; Rom.8:27; Rev.2:23), and before whom all our motives are always in the open. Paul had a deep conviction of the Truth that God knew all his motives, and that all would be revealed in the last day.

Twenty Facts about Paul’s preaching:

1. Not in vain . . . (1 Thes.2:1,13-20)
2. Preached in mistreatment. . . (1 Thes.2:2)
3. Preached in boldness . . . (1 Thes.2:2)
4. Preached in great conflict . . . (1 Thes.2:2)
5. Did not use deceit . . . (1 Thes.2:3)
6. Did not use uncleanness . . . (1 Thes.2:3)
7. Did not use guile . . . (1 Thes.2:3)
8. Was trusted by God with it . . . (1 Thes.2:4)
9. Preached to please God, not man . . . (1 Thes.2:4)
10. Used no flattering words . . . (1 Thes.2:5)
11. Was not covetous . . . (1 Thes.2:5; Lk.12:15)
12. Did not seek human glory . . . (1 Theas.2:6)
13. Ministered without pay . . . (1 Thes.2:6,9)
14. Worked day and night . . . (1 Thes.2:9)
15. Lived what he preached . . . (1 Thes.2:10)
16. His purpose was right . . . (1 Thes.2:12)  
17. Was patient and gentle . . . (1 Thes.2:14)
18. Preached with great affection . . . (1 Thes.2:15)
19. Was ready to sacrifice his life . . . (1 Thes.2:16)
20. Gave unceasing thanks to God for results of the gospel . . . (1 Thes.2:13-20)

1 Thessalonians 2:5  For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: (KJV)

For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know . . . (Job 32:31-32; 2 Cor.2:17). The word here rendered "flattering" occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. Paul did not use language of adoration; he did not praise them for their beauty, wealth, talent or any accomplishments, and He did not conceal from them the painful truths about their guilt and danger. He simply stated Truth, not hesitating to declare his honest convictions about their guilt and danger. One of the primary arts of the deceiver on all subjects is flattery.
Nor a cloke of covetousness . . . the word rendered "cloke" here correctly means, "what is shown or appears before anyone." Show, pretense, pre flattering text, put forth in order to cover one's real intent (Mat.23:14; Mk.12:40; Lk.20:47). Paul did not put on a pretence or appearance of piety for the sake of promoting plans of covetousness, like SO many well-known preachers today! It is quite clear by this, that there were those there, who were frauds of great zeal for religion, and were really seeking wealth alone. http://worldlychaos.org/w_c_cults_rich_preachers.1.htm
God is witness . . . Paul calls God Himself to witness his sincerity.

1 Thessalonians 2:6 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. (KJV)

Nor of men sought we glory . . . the love of praise was not that what influenced them (Col.1:10). 
Neither of you, nor yet of others . . . that had NOT been their object. The love of fame is not what influenced them. It seems that although Paul had uncommon advantages, as the apostles of Christ did, he was not interested in setting up a dominion or securing a power over others.   
When we might have been burdensome . . . or used authority. Some understand this as meaning that Paul might have demanded support because of His being an apostle.
As the apostles of Christ . . . although the writer uses the word apostles here in the plural, it is not certain that he means to apply it to Silas and Timothy. Paul often uses the plural number where he refers to himself only; and although Silas and Timothy are joined with him in this Letter (verse 1), yet it is obvious that he writes the letter as if he were alone, and that they had no part in the composition or the instructions. Timothy and Silas are associated with him for the mere purpose of salutation or kind remembrance. That this is so, is apparent from chapter 3, where Paul uses the plural term also. "When we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone" (1 Thes.3:1). Neither Silas nor Timothy were apostles in the strict and proper sense, and there is no evidence that they had the "authority" which Paul here says might have been exerted by an apostle of Christ.

The Comforting Side of the Apostle's Ministry (1 Thes.2:7-9)

1 Thessalonians 2:7  But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: (KJV)

But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children . . . instead of using their authority, they used only the most kind and gentle methods to win them and to promote peace and order. The word here rendered "nurse" could mean anyone who nurses a child, whether a mother or another person, but it seems here to refer to a mother (verse 11), and the idea is, that Paul felt for them the affectionate attentiveness which a mother does for the child at her breast.

1 Thessalonians 2:8  So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. (KJV)

So, being affectionately desirous of you . . . being affectionately desirous occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means to long after, to have a strong affection for. It seems that Paul was so strongly attached to them that he would have been willing to lay down his life for them.
We were willing to have imparted unto you . . . to have given or communicated (Rom.1:11).
Not the gospel of God only . . . to be willing to communicate the information of the Gospel was in itself a strong proof of love, even if it were not attended with self-denial or hazard in doing it. We show a clear love for a man when we tell him of the way of salvation, and urge him to accept of it. 
But also our own souls . . . or lives (Mat.6:25; 20:28; Lk.12:22-23; Mk3:4). This does not mean that Paul was willing to lose his soul in order to save them; but that, if it had been necessary, he seemed to have been ready to lay down his life.
Because ye were dear unto us . . . ye have been beloved of us. The apostle plainly declares their love to them as the base of all their labors and perils in preaching to them, all was from love.

1 Thessalonians 2:9  For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. (KJV)

For ye remember, brethren, our labour . . . Paul worked hard in the occupation of a tent-maker (Acts 29:34; 1 Cor.4:12).
And travail . . . means wearisome labor (2 Cor.11:27).
For labouring night and day . . . Paul worked night and day when he was not preaching the Gospel. It seems that he labored through the week, so he could preach on the Sabbath; or, if he preached in the day during the week, he worked at night to support himself.  
We preached unto you the gospel of God . . . no one could say that Paul lived in idleness; no one could say that he was seeking to make himself rich at the expense of others.

The Duty Side of the Apostle's Ministry (1 Thes.2:10-13)

1 Thessalonians 2:10  Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: (KJV)

Ye are witnesses . . . they had every opportunity of knowing Paul’s way of life.
And God also . . . God was also their witness (verse 5).
How holily . . . they piously observed all the duties of religion.
And justly . . . Paul did no wrong to anyone.
And unblameably . . . this seems to refer to Paul’s duties both to God and man. In reference to all his duties, no one could bring a charge against him. Every duty was faithfully performed. This is not a claim to absolute perfection, but revealed the consistency of Paul’s character, and to his faithfulness in duty. Every TRUE Christian should be able to make this statement.

1 Thessalonians 2:11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, (KJV)

As ye know how we exhorted . . . Paul urged and encouraged them to a holy life.
And comforted . . . them in the times of affliction and trouble.
And charged every one of you . . . testified, or madean earnest and solemn appeal to them. Paul and his fellow-servants came as witnesses from God, of the Truth of the Gospel, and of the great importance of living in a holy way.
As a father doth his children . . . with an interest in their welfare, as a father feels for his children, not done in a harsh, dictatorial way, but in tenderness and love.

1 Thessalonians 2:12  That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. (KJV)

That ye would walk worthy of God . . . walk worthy (Eph.4:1), that you would live in such a way as would honor God, who has chosen you to be His children. If a child "walks worthy of a parent," he lives in such way as to bring honor to that parent, because of the way he has trained him. He lives not to bring disgrace on him, nor to pain his heart by misconduct, nor to give any occasion to any to speak unfavorably of him. A TRUE Christian always honors God. He lives so he does NOT bring reproach upon Him, His Word or His Work, and so teaching the world to honor Him who has bestowed such grace upon him.
Who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory . . . (1 Cor.1:9).

 1 Thessalonians 2:13  For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. (KJV)

For this cause also thank we God without ceasing . . . besides the reasons for thankfulness already stated, Paul here refers to the fact, that they received the Truth, when it was preached, in such a way as to show that they fully believed it was the Word of God.
Because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men . . . the Gospel is NOT of human origin (Mat.15:9), but was a Divine revelation. They were led to embrace it. They believed that it was from God. Only when the Gospel is embraced in this way, will their faith show itself sufficient to abide the fiery trials to which Christians may be exposed. Anyone who is convinced by mere human reasoning, may well have his faith shaken, for he who is won by deceptive eloquence, will have no power against error.  BUT . . . he who embraces the Gospel as Truth from God, will have a faith, like that of the Thessalonians, which will abide every trial.
Which effectually worketh also in you that believe . . . the Truth was made real in the minds of all who became TRUE Christians, convincing them to abandon their sins, to dedicate themselves to God, to lead pure and holy lives, and enable them to withstand the trials and temptations of life. Also see: (Phil.2:12-13; Heb.13:21).
When they embraced the Gospel, it had such a success on their hearts as to prepare them to meet all the terrors of bitter persecution without shrinking. The power and influence of the Holy Spirit had worked powerfully in them, filling them with light and holiness.

The Challenging Side of the Apostle's Ministry (1 Thes.2:14-16)

1 Thessalonians 2:14  For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: (KJV)

For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus . . . which are united to the Lord Jesus, or which are founded on His Truth, meaning TRUE churches, NOT cults. The object of this was to comfort and encourage them, by showing them that others had been treated in the same way, and that it was to be expected that a TRUE church, or a TRUE believer would be persecuted by the Jews.
For ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen . . . a fellow-citizen, or fellow-countryman. It is not anywhere else in the New Testament except here and (2 Cor.11:26). This does NOT seem to refer to the heathen, who were the main agents or actors in the scenes of tumult and persecutions, but to the Jews by whom they were led. In Palestine, the Jews persecuted the churches directly; while outside of Palestine, they did it through others. The Jews were the real authors of it, as they were in Judea; but they usually accomplished it by producing an eagerness among the heathen, and by the plea that the apostles were making war on civil institutions. This was the case in Thessalonica.
Acts 17:5-6 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. 6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; (KJV) . . . The same thing occurred a short time later at Berea (Acts 17:13). Acts 14:2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren. (KJV) . . . It was always the Jews who were responsible for the persecutions against the apostles and their followers.
Even as they have of the Jews . . . the Thessalonians suffered as the churches of Judea, in the same way (Heb.10:32-34); and for the same cause, with the same joy, constancy and courage. Christ's Words are fulfilled here, a man's enemies shall be those of his own house (Mat.10:36).

1 Thessalonians 2:15  Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: (KJV)

Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets . . . it was no wonder that they persecuted them, and the believing Jews in their country. They killed the Lord Jesus by the hands of Pilate, crying: Crucify him, crucify him (Jn.19:6). Even though it was by God's determinate counsel (Acts 2:23), and the Roman power (Jn.19:14,19), yet it was by the Jews' malice they killed him (Mat.21:38). This is the heir; let us kill him.
And their own prophets . . . the Old Testament prophets were Jews. It was the children of them, that killed the prophets (Mat.23:31,37), as the Lord Jesus stated. The evil spirit of persecution was natural to the Jews, descending from one generation to another. Their kings were guilty, their priests were guilty, their false prophets were guilty, and even the common people were guilty. Better things should have been expected of the Jews, they did kill their own prophets. Read all Matthew chapter 23. Jesus comes down HARD on them!
And they please not God . . . they highly displeased God, they were haters of God, and hated, and now rejected Him. They did NOT please God, and particularly in their persecutions of the Gospel and the apostles, even though they might think that they did God good service (Jn.16:2).
And are contrary to all men . . . contrary in their worship, laws, and customs . . . contrary to all men, in hindering the course of the Gospel which had been appointed for men's salvation. The Jews despised all other nations in comparison to themselves, they were likely to be rebellious, raising tumults everywhere, and to scorn friendship with the Gentiles.

Seven sins of the Jews: 

1. They killed Jesus Christ . . .  (1 Thes.2:15; Mat.2:23).
2. They killed their own prophets . . . (1 Thes.2:15; Mat.23).
3. They persecuted the church (note, above).
4. They lived contrary to God (1 Thes.2;15; Acts 7:51).
5. They were contrary to all people (1 Thes.2:15; Mat.23).
6. They opposed the salvation of others (1 Thes.2:16).
7. They multiplied sins continually (1 Thes.2:16).

1 Thessalonians 2:16  Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. (KJV)

Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved . . . their contrary manner to all men is expressed particularly in this example . . . they forbid the apostles to preach to the Gentiles, which were the greater number of men. Although they also opposed their preaching to the Jews, for the Jews could not bear to hear that the Gentiles would be received into the church, and into special favor with God; as appears by Christ's sermon in the synagogue (Lk.4:28), and in the apostle's apology for himself at Jerusalem (Acts 22:21-22). And their forbidding them implies, NOT an act of power, for they did not have power, but it was their delaying and hindering them in any way they could, and stirring up the people and rulers against them (Acts 17:6).
To fill up their sins always . . . to cause their sins to rise up to such a measure and degree, that will at last bring destruction. Although this was not their intention, yet through the just judgment of God it was the case. They killed the prophets; but killing Christ, and persecuting the apostles, and hindering the salvation of mankind thereby, filled up their sin totally! The expression refers to what is said of the Amorites (Gen.15:16), and foretold by Daniel (Dan.9:27), called the consummation. Just as there is a perfecting of holiness, and filling up of grace, so too, there is also a reaching the summit of sin. And sin against Christ and the Gospel matures much more quickly than sin against the law. And because they made continual progress in sin, they are said to fill it up; Fill ye up the measure of your fathers (Mat.23:32).
For the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost . . . FIRST they filled up their sin, and THEN comes this wrath of God, that wrath foretold by Daniel (Dan.9:27); and stated by Christ Jesus, our Saviour (Mat.23:38). It was the Jews last destruction by the Romans. God's holy wrath had broken forth upon the Jews several times before this, but NOT to this extent, until now.

Reward of a True Witness for Christ (1 Thes. 2:17-20)

1 Thessalonians 2:17  But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. (KJV)

But we, brethren, being taken from you . . . through the persecution raised by the Jews (Acts 17). He was forced to leave Thessalonica, yielding to a storm that it would have been useless for him to have tried to withstand.
For a short time in presence, not in heart . . . the apostle had compared himself to a parent or nurse (1 Thes.2:7,11); and these people he considered to be his most beloved children; here he represents himself as feeling what an affectionate father must feel when torn from his children.
Endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire . . . this properly relates to the condition of an orphan (Jn.14:18), or one who is grieving of parents. This expresses a very strong attachment for them.

1 Thessalonians 2:18  Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; (KJV)

Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us .  . . Paul had spiritual discernment to see that it was Satan's strategy that kept him from going to Thessalonica. The word Satan means "adversary." It is always Satan who seeks to hinder any program of getting out the Word of God. He does NOT want the Word of God to be given out. But Satan hindered us . . . also see (2 Cor.12:7). In what way Satan hindered them is not known, and guessing is foolish. Paul knew that it was Satan doing his best to prevent him from seeing his Christian friends. There are many obstacles, popping up, trying to stop the performance of our duty, and also hinder our enjoyment, and it is not wrong to trace the work to the great enemy of good and God.

1 Thessalonians 2:19  For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? (KJV)

For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? . . .  Paul gives the reason for his desire to see them. He first calls them his hope; then his joy. He had rejoiced in their ready and sincere receiving the Gospel preached by him. Paul also calls them his crown of rejoicing, which means the triumph and height of joy. Seeing he mentions the presence and coming of Jesus Christ, he looks to the crown that he should receive at that day, which he speaks of in (1 Cor.9:25), and these Thessalonians, among others, would help to make up this crown of rejoicing to him. In the words he uses, we see a progression, as that the crown of ministers will arise not only from Christ, but from their people also.

1 Thessalonians 2:20 For ye are our glory and joy. (KJV)

He intensifies the expression, to show his great affection, and contentment of heart in them. He wants them to know that they were an occasion of rejoicing to him. He mentions glory as well as joy, for the great success of his ministry among them would be brought to light, to his glory, in the day of Christ (Dan.12:3). They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever. They were his glory at present, a glory to his ministry, and a seal to his apostleship.

Rapture and the Second Coming

The Rapture symbolizes Jesus’ Personal Presence (Mat.24:3). The Rapture is NOT the same as the Second Coming of Christ. http://hisservants.org/rapture,_second_coming_h_s.htm

These two Comings of Christ should not be confused. The Scriptures that apply to the Rapture   do not apply to the Second Coming. . Not one passage refers to both events as if they were one. These two distinct comings are separated by several years, so they aren't two stages or phases of one coming.

The Rapture is the first of the two comings, not a coming to earth but in the air. It could not be the Second Coming because Christ does not come to the earth to live here and fulfill a mission as He did at the first coming. When Christ meets the saints in the air He takes them back to heaven with Him and presents them before the Father's throne where they remain during the time the tribulation is running its course on the earth (1 Th.3:13; Jn.14:1-3). Christ does not remain in the air with the saints when they meet Him as in 1 Th.4:13-17. The marriage supper and the judgment of saints take place in heaven, then at the second coming after the tribulation Christ and the saints leave heaven together to come down to the earth (2 Cor.5:10; Rev.19). The Rapture is the time Christ comes for the saints to take them to Heaven.

The Second Coming is the time He comes to the earth to live here and fulfil a mission. This is the time He comes from Heaven with the saints, having raptured them at least seven years before. The Second Coming cannot take place until all of Rev.1:1-19:21 is fulfilled while the Rapture can take place any moment without anything being fulfilled.

Scriptures on the Rapture; Jesus Coming FOR His saints: 
***** #1. Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. (KJV)
***** #2. John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (KJV)
***** #3. 1 Cor.15:51-56  Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 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 up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. (KJV)
***** #4. Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (KJV)
***** #5. Phil. 3:11  If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. (KJV) Phil. 3:20-21  For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (KJV)
2 Cor. 5:6-9  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him
. (KJV)
***** #6. 1 Thes. 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? (KJV)
1 Thes. 3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints. (KJV)
1 Thes.4:13-18 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 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. 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:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (KJV)
1 Thes. 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, (KJV)
1 Thes. 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (KJV)
***** 7. 2 Thes. 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, (KJV)
2 Thes. 2:7-8 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: (KJV)
***** 8. Col. 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (KJV)
1 Peter 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. (KJV)
1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. (KJV)
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (KJV)
***** 9. James 5:7-8  Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. 8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. (KJV)

Scriptures on the Second Coming; His Coming with the Saints:

*****1. Daniel 2:44-45  And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. 45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure. (KJV)
Daniel 7:13-14  I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. (KJV)
Daniel 7:18  But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. (KJV)
Daniel 7:27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. (KJV)
***** 2.  Zechariah 14:1-5 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. 2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. 4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. 5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. (KJV)
Zechariah 14:9  And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one. (KJV)
Zechariah 14:16-21  And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.17 And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. 18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 20 In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD'S house shall be like the bowls before the altar. 21 Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts. (KJV)
***** 3. Matthew 24:29-31  Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (KJV)
***** 4. Matthew 25:31-46  When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (KJV)
***** 5. 2 Thes. 1:7-10 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day
. (KJV)
2 Thes. 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: (KJV)
***** 6. Jude 1:14-15 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. (KJV)
***** 7. Isaiah 63:1-6 Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. 2 Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? 3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. 4 For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. 5 And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. 6 And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth. (KJV)
. . . Also see Book of Joel.
Revelation 1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. (KJV)
Revelation 19:11-21And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. 17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. 19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. (KJV)
Revelation 20:1-3 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. (KJV)
Revelation 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (KJV)
***** 8. Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. (KJV)
Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (KJV)
***** 9. Mark 13:24-27 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, 25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. 26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. (KJV) . . . Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

1 Thessalonians

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