The Hope of Paul’s Acts Epistles
When writing about the resurrection found in 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul said in verse 15 “This we say unto you, BY THE WORD OF THE LORD ….” Paul was quoting and using the word of the Lord to show them their hope. The hope found in 1 Thess. 4 with its trumpet, angels, shout, and voices was written down in the Word of the Lord.
Also, in 1 Corinthians 15 when writing about the same hope of resurrection (which some call the “rapture”) he says in verse 54-55 –
“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 IN VICT0RY, O’ DEATH WHERE IS THY STING? O’ GRAVE, WHERE IS THY VICTORY ?”
Paul tells us under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that the hope of 1 Corinthians 15 was prophesied in the Word of the Lord.
Paul is quoting from two different books in the Word of the Lord, Hosea 13:14 and Isa. 25:8 to show the Corinthians their hope. This agrees with what Paul said in Acts 26:22 where summing up his Acts ministry said:
“Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come”.
Paul’s Acts ministry and what he wrote in his Acts epistles can be found in the Old Testament scriptures and that includes the hope he wrote about in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15.
In this article we will show you that the hope Paul wrote about in 1Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 is not only found in the Old Testament Scriptures but was taught by the Lord during His earthly ministry in Matthew 24 and other places. That this runs contrary to what is taught in most Bible churches today is certain, but there are as many “doctrines and traditions of men” in Bible churches, as there are in denominational churches in this country.
For years it has been the “party line” in most Bible churches that 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 is the hope of the Church today, and that no one knew or wrote about this hope prior to Paul. It will be shown in this article that this belief is not founded on the Word of God.
Let it be said at the offset of this article that we do not believe that the hope of the Church today is found in 1 Corinthians 15 or 1 Thessalonians 4. We believe that God revealed a new and better hope to Paul after the Acts period and that it is found in his prison epistles. Please refer to the article titled, THE MYSTERY which describes this hope in greater detail.
If you are serious about your Bible study and you want to get to the bottom of this issue and find out for yourself, we recommend you get 3 Bibles and lay them out before you. Open one to Matthew 24, another to 1 Corinthians 15, and the other to 1 Thessalonians 4. The subject is the same in all 3 books, and it is ‘resurrection’. We are going to compare what the Lord says about the resurrection in Matthew 24, which He taught during His earthly ministry, with the resurrection Paul wrote about in 1 Cor. 15 and 1 Thess. 4. If the Lord and Paul say the same thing, then they must be talking about the same resurrection. On the other hand, if they say contradictory things about the resurrection; then they are not speaking of the same resurrection. In Matthew 24 Jesus taught the 12 apostles about a resurrection when He said:
” 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: 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. 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.” (Mk.13:27 “from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven”)
Compare what the Lord says here with what Paul says.
(1.) THE HOPE OF MATT. 24 IS THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST
Verse 30 ,
“they shall see the Son of man COMING ”
“For as the lightening cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the COMING of the Son of man be “
THE HOPE OF I COR. 15 AND I THESS. 4 IS THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST
In I Cor. 15:22-23 Paul wrote:
“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits ; afterward they that are Christ’s AT HIS COMING “.
In I Cor. 1:7 he wrote:
” So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for THE COMING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ” .
In I Thess. 4:15 he wrote:
“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 “
The hope of the Acts Believers was the coming of the Lord. Paul mentions this 10 times in his Acts epistles . I Cor. 1:7, 4:5, 11:26 , 15:23, I Thess.2:19, 3:13, 4:15, 5:23, 11 Thess.1:10, 2:1 .
Now if the Lord has already come once to die for sinners, then the “coming” we have been reading about must be his second coming, right ? One time a Bible believer told me that his hope was not the second coming of Christ, but it was the “rapture” and proceeded to quote I Thess. 4:15 to me. Doesn’t Paul say they would be caught up at the COMING of the Lord? And doesn’t he mention His coming 10 times in his Acts epistles? And if Christ has already come one time, wouldn’t this be his second coming?
(2.) IN MATT. 24 WHEN JESUS CHRIST COMES , HE COMES IN THE CLOUDS
Matt. 24:30 says:
” They shall see the Son of man coming in the CLOUDS OF HEAVEN “
IN 1 THESS. AND I COR. 15 WHEN JESUS CHRIST COMES HE COMES IN THE CLOUDS.
1 Thess. 4:17 says,
“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them IN THE CLOUDS, to meet the Lord in the air”.
Obviously this refers to the clouds in the lower atmosphere.
(3.) IN MATT. 24 WHEN THE LORD COMES IN THE CLOUDS HE WILL COME WITH ANGELS
“And He shall send forth his ANGELS “
IN 1 THESS. 4 AND 1 COR. 15 WHEN THE LORD COMES IN THE CLOUDS HE WILL COME WITH ANGELS
In 1 Thess. 4:16 it says:
” HE will descend from heaven with… the voice of the ARCHANGEL.
Michael is the archangel and the prince of Israel (see Dan. 12:1-2) and where Michael goes so does his angels, read Rev. 12:7.
(4.) IN MATT. 24 WHEN THE LORD COMES IN THE CLOUDS WITH ANGELS, A TRUMPET IS BLOWN.
Matt. 24: 31,
“And he shall send his angels with a great SOUND OF A TRUMPET “
IN 1 THESS. 4 AND I COR. 15 WHEN THE LORD COMES IN THE CLOUDS WITH ANGELS A TRUMPET IS BLOWN .
I Cor. 15:52 says,
“FOR THE TRUMPET SHALL SOUND and the dead shall be raised “
I Thess.4:16 says ” The Lord himself shall descend from heaven …WITH THE TRUMP OF GOD”.
(5.) THE TRUMPET THAT IS BLOWN IN MATT. 24 IS THE LAST TRUMPET FOR IT IS BLOWN AFTER THE GREAT TRIBULATION
Matt. 24: 29 says
” Immediately after the tribulation of those days … vs. 31 “he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet“.
THE TRUMPET IN 1 THESS. 4 AND I COR.15 IS SPECIFICALLY CALLED THE LAST TRUMPET
In I Cor. 15:52 Paul wrote:
“In a moment , in the twinkling of an eye, AT THE LAST TRUMP: for the Trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised “.
If Paul said they would be raised at the last trumpet that means there are other trumpets blown before the second coming of Christ. In Rev. 8-9-10-11 there will be at least 7 trumpets blown before the Lord Jesus Christ comes. In I Cor. 15 Paul said the dead would be raised at the LAST TRUMPET. If there are 7 trumpets blown before He comes, which trumpet is Paul referring to ? Obviously it’s number 7 in Rev.11:15 , and when the seventh trumpet is blown in Rev. 11 a resurrection of the Saints takes place and they are judged and rewards are given out to them. Read Rev.11:15-18 and also 2 Cor. 5:8-11.
Every trumpet that is going to be blown before the Lord comes is found in the book of Revelation, so it would be futile to attempt to find another trumpet to get around the last trumpet in I Corinthians 15. If a trumpet is going to be blown, if a seal is going to be opened, if a vial is going to be poured out in the tribulation, YOU WILL FIND IT IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION OR DANIEL. If it’s not in those books it would be a waste of time running through the Bible to come up with another trumpet, vial, or, seal . It’s amazing what people and preachers will do to get around that last trumpet ! Just believe the book and relax, because if you are saved you won’t be here when the last trumpet blows anyway because I Cor.15 and I Thess. 4 is not your hope. God gave us a new and better hope and it’s found in the Prison Epistles of Paul and it takes place before the first trumpet blows. We will lay out the details of this hope later, but in the Acts period, a pre-tribulation hope was unheard of.
(6.)WHEN THE RESURRECTION OF MATT. 24 TAKES PLACE, NOT ONLY WILL THE LORD DESCEND FROM HEAVEN IN THE CLOUDS, WITH ANGELS, AND A TRUMPET, BUT A VOICE WILL BE HEARD ALSO.
The voice is not mentioned in Matt. 24 but it is in JOHN 5: 25, 28. It says:
” The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live”
IN 1 THESS. 4 AND I COR. 15 WHEN THE LORD DESCENDS FROM HEAVEN INTO THE CLOUDS WITH ANGELS AND THE SOUND OF A TRUMPET, A VOICE WILL BE HEARD
In I Thess.4:16 Paul said “the Lord shall descend from heaven WITH A SHOUT.”
The shout is for the dead; the trumpet for those alive.
(7.) IN MATT. 24 WHEN THE LORD COMES WITH HIS ANGELS, WITH A SHOUT AND THE SOUND OF A TRUMPET, HIS ELECT WILL BE GATHERED TOGETHER
Matt. 24:31 says:
” They shall GATHER TOGETHER HIS ELECT from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (Also read Mk.13:27)
IN I COR. 15 AND 1 THESS. 4 WHEN THE LORD COMES WITH A SHOUT, A TRUMPET, AND ANGELS, HIS ELECT WILL BE GATHERED TOGETHER
In II Thess. 2:1 Paul wrote “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by OUR GATHERING TOGETHER UNTO HIM.
And those that He gathers together here, are His elect also according to I Thess. l:4, and II Thess. 2:13.
(8.) IN MATT. 24 WHEN THE LORD COMES IN THE CLOUDS, IT WILL BE SUDDEN AND UNEXPECTED
In verse 42 the Lord said “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” In these verses, the Lord is described as a thief breaking into a house to take something of value out, His Elect. His coming is to take His elect out of this world so that He can destroy it along with the devil (II Pet.3:10, Heb. 2:14).
THE RESURRECTION IN I THESS. 4 AND I COR. 15 WILL BE SUDDEN AND UNEXPECTED ALSO.
In ICor. 15:52 Paul said: “IN A MOMENT, IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE, at the last trump: For the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised…”
When Paul says: “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” he is showing you HOW FAST that resurrection will take place. But when he says “AT the last trump”, he is showing you WHEN it will take place. It will be sudden and unexpected, just like the hope of Matt. 24.
(9.) WHEN THE RESURRECTION OF MATT. 24 TAKES PLACE, BELIEVERS WHO ARE ALIVE WILL BE CAUGHT UP WITHOUT DYING.
This fact is brought out by the Lord in John. 11. In John 11, Lazarus who was Martha’s brother died and she wanted Christ to raise him from the dead. And Jesus said unto her in vs. 23 “Thy brother shall rise again”. Martha said unto him, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said unto her: “I am the resurrection; and the life: he that believeth in me; though he were dead, yet shall he live. AND WHOSOEVER LIVETH AND Believeth IN ME SHALL NEVER DIE. BELIEVEST THOU THIS?”
When the Lord said, “he that believeth in me though he were dead, yet shall he live” He is referring to those who are dead when the resurrection of the last day takes place. And when He said “whosoever liveth and believeth in me” He is referring to those who are alive when the resurrection of the last day takes place when He says: “THEY SHALL NEVER DIE”. When the resurrection of Matt. 24 takes place, those believers who are dead will be raised and those believers who are alive will be gathered together without dying.
WHEN THE RESURRECTION OF 1 THESS. 4 AND I COR. 15 TAKES PLACE, BELIEVERS WHO ARE ALIVE WILL BE CAUGHT UP WITHOUT DYING.
In I Cor. 15:51 Paul said: “I shew you a Mystery; WE SHALL NOT ALL SLEEP, but we shall be changed”
The Mystery of I Cor. 15:51 is not the resurrection, but it’s the fact that there will be some caught up without dying. But this is a mystery hidden in the Scriptures. In vs.55 Paul quotes Isa. 25:8 which says “O Death where is thy sting?” In other words, in the Old Testament Scriptures it was written down that somebody was going to get out of this life without experiencing the sting of death.
This is what the Lord is referring to in John 11 when he said “He that liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” That was the only time the Lord mentioned that fact to anyone, and prior to Paul it was the general consensus that by the time that resurrection took place all believers would be dead. But God opened up the scriptures to Paul and he was the first man to fully understand that fact and write about it. But nevertheless, it was in the Old Testament Scriptures even though it was concealed.
(10.) THE RESURRECTION AND HOPE IN MATT. 24 WAS OF COURSE PROPHESIED BY THE PROPHETS.
It was prophesied as far back as Genesis chap. 5 and can be found in Jude vs. 14-15 that “Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints…”
THE HOPE OF I COR. 15:54 AND I THESS. 4 WERE OF COURSE IMPLIED.
In I Cor. 15:54 Paul said when it takes place “THEN SHALL BE BROUGHT TO PASS THE SAYING THAT IS WRITTEN, Death is swallowed up in victory, O Death where is thy sting?” O Grave where is thy victory?”
When the resurrection of I Cor. 15 takes place, Old Testament prophecies concerning resurrection will be brought to pass, namely Hosea 13:14 and Isa. 25:8.
(11.) THE HOPE OF MATT. 24 WAS ISRAEL’S HOPE.
The resurrection the Lord describes in Matt. 24 is the hope of the New Covenant that God made with Israel.
THE HOPE OF PAUL’S ACTS EPISTLES WAS THE HOPE OF ISRAEL.
In Acts 28:20 Paul told the Jews in Rome “For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for THE HOPE OF ISRAEL, I AM BOUND WITH THIS CHAIN.
Paul refers to the Hope of Israel 4 times in Acts.
1. In Acts 23:6 he mentions the Hope as being resurrection
2. In Acts 24:15 he mentions the Hope as being resurrection
3. In Acts 26:6-8 he mentions the Hope as being resurrection
4. In Acts 28:20-23 he mentions the Hope in connection with the Kingdom of God.
The Hope of Israel was to be resurrected into the Kingdom of God. As a matter of fact, the only way they could get into the Kingdom of God was by resurrection.
That’s exactly what Paul is showing the Corinthians in I Cor. 15 . In that chapter he is showing them how to get into the Kingdom of God, and guess what he told them had to happen for them to get in ? They had to be resurrected and changed. WHY? Because in vs. 50 he said:
“Now this I say; brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom-of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
And in vs. 51 he told them they would all be changed, and the change would take place in resurrection. I Cor. 15 and I Thess. 4 is the hope of Israel. The hope of Israel was the resurrection into the Kingdom of God that Paul wrote about in chapter 15.
You might say: “How did Gentiles in that church end up with Israel’s Hope?” Because in the Acts period, they were grafted into Israel the good Olive Tree according to Rom.11:17. And being grafted into the Tree, they partook of the fatness of the OliveTree. The fatness of the Olive Tree were the blessings and promises made to the fathers, who were the root of the tree – Rom.15:27. And one of those blessings and promises WAS THEIR HOPE OF RESURRECTION.
(12.) BEFORE THE HOPE OF MATT. 24 TAKES PLACE THERE WILL BE A FALLING AWAY, THAT IS APOSTASY, AND THE REVELATION OF THE ANTI-CHRIST.
In Matt. 24:11 the Lord said,
“Many false prophets shall rise and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (A reference to apostasy)
And in vs. 15 He said,
‘Men ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the Holy place…” (A reference to the anti-Christ in Dan.11:31)
In vs. 24 He said,
“there would be false Christ’s and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (A reference to the Devil working miracles )
PAUL SAID THE EXACT SAME THING WOULD TAKE PLACE BEFORE THE RESURRECTION OF I THESS. 4 AND I COR. 15 WOULD TAKE PLACE.
In II Thess. 2:1 he wrote:
“Now we beseech you brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him; “that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled , neither by spirit, nor by word, nor as by letter as from us that the day of Christ is at hand.”
The day of Christ in vs. 2 , was His coming and their gathering together unto Him in vs. 1. The Thessalonians were “all shook up” because somebody wrote them a false letter and told them it was at hand, that is, it had already taken place. Which, if it were true, they were left behind to face the wrath of IIThess. l:8-9. So Paul, to assure them that He had not come, tells them in vs.3 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not came, except there came a falling away first and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
Many Bible believers believe that the “rapture” in I Thess. 4 is a pre-tribulation rapture. I speak from personal experience because I once believed that, and every time someone would point out these verses to me, I did what so many continue to do today, do everything but believe them.
But when I finally made up my mind to just believe the Word, the verses opened up to me like a flower! What is Paul saying? He is saying that the day of Christ in vs. 2 was His Coming and their gathering together unto Him in verse 1 which is the hope found in I Thess. 4.
Somebody wrote a letter to them, forged Paul’s name to it, and told them it was at hand, that is, taken place. They were shook up because if that were true, then they had missed it, which would mean they would be destroyed by the wrath of God of II Thess. 1:8-9. Paul writes this letter to assure them that they had not missed the Day of Christ, that is His Coming, which was their hope. But, that Day of Christ would not take place until after a period of apostasy and the revelation of the Anti-Christ, which they knew had not taken place .
(He also mentions the Devil working miracles in verse 9)
The Hope of I Thess. 4 which was the Day of Christ, would not take place until AFTER a period of apostasy and the revelation of the Anti-Christ , just like the resurrection in Matt. 24.
I believe these 12 similarities between Matt. 24, 1 Cor. 15, and 1 Thess. 4 are enough to convince any fair minded believer that they are the same resurrection.
In conclusion I would like to point out that the Thessalonians as well as all of the believers saved under Paul’s Acts ministry were made partakers of a new and better hope of resurrection that God revealed to Paul after the close of the Acts period and it is found in his prison epistles. This of course means that there will not be a split resurrection of the Church. The Body of Christ has ONE HOPE but it is not found in I Thess. 4 or I Cor.15. It is found in his prison epistles.
ADDITIONAL NAMES CONCERNING THE HOPE OF THE ACTS EPISTLES
When speaking of “Bible Things” we should use ” Bible Names”.
The word that most of Christians use today for resurrection is the word “Rapture”. The word “Rapture” is not a Bible word at all. It does not appear in the Bible one time. Upon looking at its definition, it is a terrible word to use for resurrection. The word “Rapture” means , “violence of a pleasing passion “. “A state or experience of being carried away by overwhelming emotion, ecstasy, or passion in a carnal, sensual, sexual manner “. As a matter of fact the word “Rapture” comes from the Latin word WHICH IS THE SAME LATIN WORD FOR ‘RAPE’. Why would anyone want to use a word for violent forceful rape as a word for resurrection?
Whenever Paul writes about resurrection he always uses the word “HOPE” (See Titus 2:13, Acts 28:20, Eph. 1:18). The word “HOPE” is the Bible name for resurrection not the carnal, sensual word “Rapture”.
People use I Thess. 1:10 to try to prove that the resurrection in I Thess. 4 takes place before the tribulation period begins . They point out that it says they would be delivered from the “wrath to come” and that they were not appointed to wrath in I Thess. 5:9. But, that cannot be true because Paul also told them, they would be resurrected at the last trumpet in I Cor.15:52 and the last trumpet is the seventh of seven that will be blown DURING the tribulation before the Lord comes at the end. Paul also told them that the day of Christ which was His coming and their gathering together unto Him was not at hand, for it would be PRECEDED by a falling away and the revelation of the Anti-Christ , which all takes place DURING THE TRIBULATION, NOT BEFORE. (II Thess.2:1-6 ) See also I Thess.1:10.
The question then that we must answer is , “what is the wrath to come” ? That expression appears 3 times in the Bible , Matt. 3:7, Lk. 3:7 , and 1 Thess.1:10. In Matt. 3 and Lk. 3 it is identified as the day that the Lord comes to burn up the chaff after He gathers the wheat into His garner. That day is at the VERY END of the tribulation and many of the Saints He gathers out right before that day to return to earth with Him to reign and judge with Him a thousand years. (1 Cor. 6:6, 11 Thess. l:7-9, Jude 14-15, Rev. 19:11-21, Rev. 20:1-4, 1 Thess. 5:2-9. 11 Pet. 3:10, Malachi 4:1-3 ).
The tribulation Saints are delivered from the wrath to come and no believer including the tribulation Saints is appointed to wrath. Before the wrath to come is unleashed upon this earth, AT THE VERY END OF THE TRIBULATION, all believers (i.e, the Overcomers, the Twelve, and Co.) whose hope is the restored Kingdom on earth, will by that time have been resurrected (this does not include “the rest of the dead” who will be resurrected until after the thousand years, Rev. 20:5).
Also the “wrath to come” that Paul wrote of in I Thess.1:10 will not come UNTIL AFTER THE LAST TRUMPET IS BLOWN (Rev.11:18) and it was at the last trumpet that they were to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. That’s why Paul told them that they could “REST” when the wrath fell in 11Thess. l:7.
If 1 Thess. 4 and 1 Cor.15 contains the hope of the Church of the One Body today (notice I said “IF” ) and “if” God did not reveal a new and better Hope to Paul after the Acts period, then you can be assured that this Church will go through the tribulation just like Paul said. To preach a pre-tribulation resurrection would be teaching false doctrine.
God revealed a hope to Paul in his prison epistles that is different and better than the one he wrote about in his Acts epistles. Wouldn’t it be wrong to go on teaching the hope in the Acts epistles is the same as the hope of the Church today? (This chart helps show the differences between the two.)
I realize that this article is not going to be well liked or received by some Christians, but the Devil is doing every thing he can to keep believers from seeing the truth about this hope and the one in the Prison Epistles.
There may be someone reading this article that is unaware of the fact that God revealed a new hope to Paul in his prison epistles. If you would like to know about it, prayerfully read the MYSTERY.