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1 Thessalonians 4

4:1 Furthermore {1} then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort [you] by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, [so] ye would {a} abound more and more.

(1) Various exhortations, the foundation of which is this, to be mindful of those things which they have heard from the apostle.

(a) That you labour to excel more and more, and daily surpass yourselves.

4:3 {2} For this is the will of God, [even] your {b} sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

(2) This is the sum of those things which he delivered to them, to dedicate themselves wholly to God. And he plainly condemns all filthiness through lust, because it is altogether contrary to the will of God.

(b) See Joh 17:17.

4:4 {3} That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;

(3) Another reason, because it defiles the body.

4:5 {4} Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:

(4) The third, because the saints are distinguished by honesty and purity from those who do not know God.

4:6 {5} That no [man] go beyond and defraud his brother in [any] matter: because that the Lord [is] the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.

(5) Secondly, he reprehends all violent oppression, and immoderate desire, and shows most severely as the Prophet of God, that God will avenge such wickedness.

4:8 He therefore that {c} despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

(c) These commandments which I gave you.

4:9 {6} But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.

(6) Thirdly, he requires a ready mind to every manner of lovingkindness, and exhorts them to profit more and more in that virtue.

4:11 {7} And that ye study to be quiet, {8} and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

(7) He condemns unsettled minds, and such as are curious in matters which do not concern them.

(8) He rebukes idleness and slothfulness: and whoever is given to these vices, fall into other wickedness, to the great offence of the Church.

4:13 {9} But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, {10} concerning them {11} which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

(9) The third part of the epistle, which is mixed in among the former exhortations (which he returns to afterwards), in which he speaks of mourning for the dead, and the manner of the resurrection, and of the latter day.

(10) We must take heed that we do not immoderately mourn for the dead, that is, as those do who think that the dead are utterly perished.

(11) A confirmation: for death is but a sleep of the body (for he speaks of the faithful) until the Lord comes.

4:14 {12} For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in {d} Jesus will God {e} bring with him.

(12) A reason for the confirmation, for seeing that the head is risen, the members also will rise, and that by the power of God.

(d) The dead in Christ, who continue in faith by which they are ingrafted into Christ, even to the last breath.

(e) Will call their bodies out of their graves, and join their souls to them again.

4:15 {13} For this we say unto you by the {f} word of the Lord, that {g} we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

(13) The manner of the resurrection will be in this way: the bodies of the dead will be as it were raised out of sleep at the sound of the trumpet of God. Christ himself will descend from heaven. The saints (for he is referring to them) who will then be found alive, together with the dead who will rise, will be taken up into the clouds to meet the Lord, and will be in perpetual glory with him.

(f) In the name of the Lord, as though he himself spoke to you.

(g) He speaks of these things, as though he should be one of those whom the Lord will find alive at his coming, because the time of his coming is uncertain: and therefore every one of us ought to be in such a readiness, as if the Lord were coming at any moment.

4:16 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.

4:17 Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be {i} caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

(i) Suddenly and in the twinkling of an eye.

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