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Thread: Eschatological Issues

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    Eschatological Issues

    "But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. 15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangelÂ’s call and with the sound of GodÂ’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words." 1Thess. 4:13-18


    "As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction. 4 He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God. 5 Do you not remember that I told you these things when I was still with you? 6 And you know what is now restraining him, so that he may be revealed when his time comes. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but only until the one who now restrains it is removed. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, annihilating him by the manifestation of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is apparent in the working of Satan, who uses all power, signs, lying wonders, 10 and every kind of wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion, leading them to believe what is false, 12 so that all who have not believed the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness will be condemned." 2Thess. 2:2-12

    OK, so a few things here:

    1) It appears Paul is quite certain that the Lord will return within his, and his contemporaries, lifetime. This is the second coming that will wrap up all things and bring about our eternal dwelling -- 1Thess. 4:17.

    2) There seemed to be an incipient full/heretical preterism that was influencing the church of the Thessalonians. These heretics taught along the lines that the day of the Lord had already come; this would be a sort of spiritual return of Christ. Paul states that this cannot be due to the fact that: a) The "rebellion" must come first and b) the lawless one must first be revealed as well.

    3) Jesus, when he returns, will destroy this lawless one with the manifestation of his coming.

    So to paraphrase the situation thus far:

    Paul: Guys, the Lord is at hand! And when he comes back with his angels, he'll blow that final trumpet and the dead will be raised, then we will be gathered together with them to meet our Lord and Savior in the air! And we shall all be with the Lord forever! But -- and this a big but -- the rebellion and man of lawlessness must first be revealed, as I've told you guys before when I was with you...so don't be deceived by these spiritualizing heretics saying that the the day of the Lord has already come -- that day will come, and it will come shortly, but not before these events first transpire.

    OK, so:

    1) Is this an example of Paul being flat out wrong about the coming of the Lord? If so, does this apocalyptic mindset underpin much of his ministry and the NT letters in general? If so, then how can we trust the Apostle's and NT authors if they were so wrong about something so significant?

    2) Was the rebellion that was to take place before the return of Christ the apostasy spoken of in 1Tim. 4:1-3? What other rebellion could it be? I mean the church has experienced every possible rebellion throughout history by now. So if that was the rebellion spoken of, and therefore the MoL was a Roman Emperor or what have you, then why didn't Christ return to vanquish him and gather his elect, as stated by Paul?

    3) Who is this "lawless one"? Does his description mesh well with a modern framework? Or is such a person relegated and relevant only within a first century context? "He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God". If this is indeed a first century individual, then how come the Lord didn't return to vanquish him? If this is a modern and yet to come individual, then how do you envision that scenario literally playing out in our modern context?
    Last edited by Scrawly; 06-13-2018 at 06:29 AM.

  2. Amen Rushing Jaws amen'd this post.
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    tWebber Rushing Jaws's Avatar
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    Apocalypticism is essential to NT (what came to be) Christianity. I think it is not an exaggeration, to say that, in a way, the entire NT is an apocalypse.

    STM there are 3 main themes in the NT:

    1. The Kingship of God
    2. Its apocalyptic character
    3. Its Messianic character


    I think everything else about Who and What Christ is and does can be derived from those three themes. For instance, it is righteous & salvational, because it is God’s Kingship, in and over and through Jesus of Nazareth.

    NT time is concerned with the Messiah Who has come, is the Coming One, and Who shall have come, so perhaps NT time is tensed in the same way - perhaps it uses what might be called “Messianic Time”. St Matthew’s Gospel seems to be written like that. Maybe St Paul, and Revelation, and other NT books, are written with that understanding of time ? If there is any value in the idea, the credit goes to A. A. Hoekema (1913-88), in his book “The Bible and the Future”. I think Hoekema was on to something. He was developing an idea put forward by Geerhardus Vos.

    I think that idea is very relevant to this passage.

  4. Amen Littlejoe amen'd this post.
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    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrawly View Post
    "But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. 15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangelÂ’s call and with the sound of GodÂ’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words." 1Thess. 4:13-18


    "As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction. 4 He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God. 5 Do you not remember that I told you these things when I was still with you? 6 And you know what is now restraining him, so that he may be revealed when his time comes. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but only until the one who now restrains it is removed. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, annihilating him by the manifestation of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is apparent in the working of Satan, who uses all power, signs, lying wonders, 10 and every kind of wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion, leading them to believe what is false, 12 so that all who have not believed the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness will be condemned." 2Thess. 2:2-12

    OK, so a few things here:

    1) It appears Paul is quite certain that the Lord will return within his, and his contemporaries, lifetime. This is the second coming that will wrap up all things and bring about our eternal dwelling -- 1Thess. 4:17.

    2) There seemed to be an incipient full/heretical preterism that was influencing the church of the Thessalonians. These heretics taught along the lines that the day of the Lord had already come; this would be a sort of spiritual return of Christ. Paul states that this cannot be due to the fact that: a) The "rebellion" must come first and b) the lawless one must first be revealed as well.

    3) Jesus, when he returns, will destroy this lawless one with the manifestation of his coming.

    So to paraphrase the situation thus far:

    Paul: Guys, the Lord is at hand! And when he comes back with his angels, he'll blow that final trumpet and the dead will be raised, then we will be gathered together with them to meet our Lord and Savior in the air! And we shall all be with the Lord forever! But -- and this a big but -- the rebellion and man of lawlessness must first be revealed, as I've told you guys before when I was with you...so don't be deceived by these spiritualizing heretics saying that the the day of the Lord has already come -- that day will come, and it will come shortly, but not before these events first transpire.

    OK, so:

    1) Is this an example of Paul being flat out wrong about the coming of the Lord? If so, does this apocalyptic mindset underpin much of his ministry and the NT letters in general? If so, then how can we trust the Apostle's and NT authors if they were so wrong about something so significant?
    I think you're reading into Paul's use of "we" to necessarily include himself in that. It does seem that Paul expected the Lord's coming and the gathering of the elect to take place at the same time.
    2) Was the rebellion that was to take place before the return of Christ the apostasy spoken of in 1Tim. 4:1-3? What other rebellion could it be? I mean the church has experienced every possible rebellion throughout history by now. So if that was the rebellion spoken of, and therefore the MoL was a Roman Emperor or what have you, then why didn't Christ return to vanquish him and gather his elect, as stated by Paul?

    3) Who is this "lawless one"? Does his description mesh well with a modern framework? Or is such a person relegated and relevant only within a first century context? "He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God". If this is indeed a first century individual, then how come the Lord didn't return to vanquish him? If this is a modern and yet to come individual, then how do you envision that scenario literally playing out in our modern context?
    IMO Paul's language was aimed squarely at the imperial cult; preterism sees this fulfilled in Nero, who proclaimed himself to be god (the second to do so after Caligula, who attempted to have his statue placed in the Temple), and the Lord's coming in power in the agent of Vespasian, who destroyed the Temple around the time Nero killed himself. It is difficult to see that happening today, as the majority of the world is monotheistic with the propensity to lapse from that into atheism, not polytheism. Paul's promise that the Lord's return to gather his elect has not yet happened is still valid.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

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  6. Amen Rushing Jaws amen'd this post.
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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    I think you're reading into Paul's use of "we" to necessarily include himself in that.
    "For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord...then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever." 1Thess. 4:15-17

    I think that literal inclusion of Paul makes sense in light of the bolded. Even if he doesn't necessarily include himself, how then do you understand Paul literally stating that he believes there will be some who will be alive at the return of the Lord at which point they will be with the Lord forever? Paul goes on to encourage the Thessalonians to comfort one another with those words (my paraphrase): "We who are alive -- who are left until the coming of the Lord -- will meet our brothers and sisters in the air with the Lord and we'll be with the Lord forever! So comfort each other with these words in the meantime, until our Lord returns with his angels to gather us all together."

    It does seem that Paul expected the Lord's coming and the gathering of the elect to take place at the same time.
    I agree.

    IMO Paul's language was aimed squarely at the imperial cult; preterism sees this fulfilled in Nero, who proclaimed himself to be god (the second to do so after Caligula, who attempted to have his statue placed in the Temple), and the Lord's coming in power in the agent of Vespasian, who destroyed the Temple around the time Nero killed himself.
    OK, so the Lord returned "in power in the agent of Vespasian who destroyed the temple" and this is the one "whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, annihilating him by the manifestation of his coming". I struggle to see the connection there. Moreover, 2Thess. 1:9-10 states:

    "..These will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes to be glorified by his saints and to be marveled at on that day among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed."

    I think it is more than a stretch to narrow the scope of those verses to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Lord's supposed agency through Vespasian. It seems like Paul clearly has a literal appearing of the Lord in view, at which point the Lord will mete out judgement and sentencing of the wicked which is eternal in nature, and be marveled at by "all who believed".

    It is difficult to see that happening today, as the majority of the world is monotheistic with the propensity to lapse from that into atheism, not polytheism. Paul's promise that the Lord's return to gather his elect has not yet happened is still valid.
    I think if a future figure rose up some place on earth and yelled through a bullhorn on a street corner: "I am the Lord. I have returned, clearly. I am the maker of the Milky Way Galaxy, Andromeda Galaxy, Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy, Cygnus A, etc. and earth." Most people would scurry on past as they run off to work and smile and nod their heads if he caught their eyes. However, if that same figure started performing "all power, signs, lying wonders" of biblical proportions, then I think he might garner quite a bit of world-wide attention and subsequent worship in some form.
    Last edited by Scrawly; 06-15-2018 at 03:07 AM.

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    tWebber
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    My apologies as I was in a rush when I wrote my last response. I forgot to respond to the following:

    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    It does seem that Paul expected the Lord's coming and the gathering of the elect to take place at the same time...Paul's promise that the Lord's return to gather his elect has not yet happened is still valid.
    So are you advocating for a double second coming of sorts? Do you believe that in Paul's letters to the Thessalonians he stated that there will be:

    1) The invisible coming of the Lord in judgment via Vespasian (fulfilled)

    2) The bodily coming of the Lord when he gathers his elect (unfulfilled)

    If so, then how do you deal with the fact that 2Thess. 2:1 links the (apparently) invisible coming of the Lord in judgment via Vespasian with the gathering of the elect: "As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him." Please note that the Apostle and Thessalonians will be gathered "to him" whereupon they will be with the Lord forever whence they meet him in the air.

    Are you also advocating for a double gathering of the elect? One that happened around AD 70 in some fashion, and another that has yet to be fulfilled at the end of all things when the Lord bodily returns?
    Last edited by Scrawly; 06-15-2018 at 09:00 AM.

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    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrawly View Post
    "For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord...then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever." 1Thess. 4:15-17

    I think that literal inclusion of Paul makes sense in light of the bolded. Even if he doesn't necessarily include himself, how then do you understand Paul literally stating that he believes there will be some who will be alive at the return of the Lord at which point they will be with the Lord forever? Paul goes on to encourage the Thessalonians to comfort one another with those words (my paraphrase): "We who are alive -- who are left until the coming of the Lord -- will meet our brothers and sisters in the air with the Lord and we'll be with the Lord forever! So comfort each other with these words in the meantime, until our Lord returns with his angels to gather us all together."
    I think those words apply to me no less than to those who first read the letter. When the Lord returns, there will some who will be alive and meet Him in the air.
    So are you advocating for a double second coming of sorts?
    Of sorts, yes. He came in judgment on unrepentant Israel, as He had done in the past; he will come in glory to gather His elect and to judge the living and the dead in the eschaton.
    Do you believe that in Paul's letters to the Thessalonians he stated that there will be:

    1) The invisible coming of the Lord in judgment via Vespasian (fulfilled)

    2) The bodily coming of the Lord when he gathers his elect (unfulfilled)

    If so, then how do you deal with the fact that 2Thess. 2:1 links the (apparently) invisible coming of the Lord in judgment via Vespasian with the gathering of the elect: "As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him." Please note that the Apostle and Thessalonians will be gathered "to him" whereupon they will be with the Lord forever whence they meet him in the air.
    I already said that it seems (from the English) that Paul thought they'd happen together; I don't know the Greek well enough to see if it admits to another interpretation.
    Are you also advocating for a double gathering of the elect? One that happened around AD 70 in some fashion, and another that has yet to be fulfilled at the end of all things when the Lord bodily returns?
    No.

    OK, so the Lord returned "in power in the agent of Vespasian who destroyed the temple" and this is the one "whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, annihilating him by the manifestation of his coming". I struggle to see the connection there. Moreover, 2Thess. 1:9-10 states:

    "..These will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes to be glorified by his saints and to be marveled at on that day among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed."

    I think it is more than a stretch to narrow the scope of those verses to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Lord's supposed agency through Vespasian. It seems like Paul clearly has a literal appearing of the Lord in view, at which point the Lord will mete out judgement and sentencing of the wicked which is eternal in nature, and be marveled at by "all who believed".
    I don't think you understand my argument. I'm not saying that Vespasian is the one "whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of His mouth...." Further, you don't appear to understand the relationship between 2 Thess. 1 and 2 Thess. 2; broadly, Paul is saying that events detailed in chapter 1 haven't happened yet because events detailed in chapter 2 have to happen first.
    I think if a future figure rose up some place on earth and yelled through a bullhorn on a street corner: "I am the Lord. I have returned, clearly. I am the maker of the Milky Way Galaxy, Andromeda Galaxy, Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy, Cygnus A, etc. and earth." Most people would scurry on past as they run off to work and smile and nod their heads if he caught their eyes. However, if that same figure started performing "all power, signs, lying wonders" of biblical proportions, then I think he might garner quite a bit of world-wide attention and subsequent worship in some form.
    From nonmonotheistic societies, sure. From monotheists, not so much. Do you understand what monotheism means?
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    I think those words apply to me no less than to those who first read the letter.
    But since Paul originally wrote these letters specifically to the Thessalonians, it only makes sense that Paul intended the Thessalonians to be under the impression that the Lord would return in their lifetime to gather them up, right? Paul literally wrote -- to them, not us -- that some of them would be alive.

    When the Lord returns, there will some who will be alive and meet Him in the air.
    Right, and presumably just as Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to do, we likewise ought to encourage one another that the Lord will return in our lifetime to gather we who are still alive to meet him in the air.


    Of sorts, yes. He came in judgment on unrepentant Israel, as He had done in the past; he will come in glory to gather His elect and to judge the living and the dead in the eschaton. I already said that it seems (from the English) that Paul thought they'd happen together; I don't know the Greek well enough to see if it admits to another interpretation.
    So you concede (from the English) that the coming of the Lord in judgment and gathering of elect should happen together, as stated by Paul. Yet you also believe that the Lord came in judgment via Vespasian, but the gathering of the elect did not happen as is it seemingly should have ("As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him..")?


    I don't think you understand my argument. I'm not saying that Vespasian is the one "whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of His mouth...."
    Sorry this didn't come out clear as I wrote in haste. Let me try again: 2Thess. 2:8 states:

    "And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, annihilating him by the manifestation of his coming".

    You believe the lawless one was Nero; and the Lord returned in power in the agent of Vespasian, who destroyed the Temple around the time Nero killed himself. So, according to you, Paul has the Lord annihilating Nero/the lawless one by the manifestation of Nero committing suicide which was somehow connected to the Lord's coming through the agent of Vespasian?

    Further, you don't appear to understand the relationship between 2 Thess. 1 and 2 Thess. 2; broadly, Paul is saying that events detailed in chapter 1 haven't happened yet because events detailed in chapter 2 have to happen first.
    So the visible second coming of the Lord in 2Thess. 1:5-10 will not happen before the invisible judgement on Nero in 2Thess. 2:8?

    From nonmonotheistic societies, sure. From monotheists, not so much. Do you understand what monotheism means?
    Do you not understand nor appreciate my lame attempt at satire?
    Last edited by Scrawly; 06-15-2018 at 06:28 PM.

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    tWebber Obsidian's Avatar
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    I don't think "our gathering together unto him" even refers to the resurrection. It is talking about the reestablishment of Israel — which is a process. In that particular context, "day of the Lord" probably refers to the point when the gathering is finished. The gathering will not be finished until the man of sin is revealed, and destroyed.


    Isaiah 11:12-14
    12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations,
    and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel,
    and gather together the dispersed of Judah
    from the four corners of the earth.
    13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart,
    and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off:
    Ephraim shall not envy Judah,
    and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.
    14 But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west;
    they shall spoil them of the east together:
    they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab;
    and the children of Ammon shall obey them.

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obsidian View Post
    I don't think "our gathering together unto him" even refers to the resurrection. It is talking about the reestablishment of Israel — which is a process. In that particular context, "day of the Lord" probably refers to the point when the gathering is finished. The gathering will not be finished until the man of sin is revealed, and destroyed.


    Isaiah 11:12-14
    12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations,
    and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel,
    and gather together the dispersed of Judah
    from the four corners of the earth.
    13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart,
    and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off:
    Ephraim shall not envy Judah,
    and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.
    14 But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west;
    they shall spoil them of the east together:
    they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab;
    and the children of Ammon shall obey them.
    The gathering is in relation to the resurrection. The gathering consists of "the dead in Christ [who] will rise first", and the Thessalonians who Paul seemingly believes will be alive at the time of the Lord's coming. Please see 1Thess. 4:15-17:

    "For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever."

    Also note that at the return of the Lord, Paul and/or some of his contemporaries "will be with the Lord forever", so I don't see any "process" going on.

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    tWebber Obsidian's Avatar
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    The passage that mentions gathering is in a totally different chapter and a totally different book from the passage that mentions resurrection. So you are wrong to equate them.

    The resurrection is done solely through the Holy Spirit. The gathering is specifically said to be done by angels.

    Matthew 24:31
    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.

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