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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrawnus View Post
    Not when you happen to be member of the group who are currently alive at the moment. It would have been far more odd for Paul to say "those Christians who are alive at the moment, which might or might not include any of us currently living at this moment".
    If Paul had in view mere general hope in the resurrection the language ought to reflect that. Something along the lines of: "Those alive when the Lord returns will be reunited with those who have died, and we will all be gathered to the Lord, and shall be with him forever" would be more appropriate.

    He's giving you that impression.
    Well there was the impression that the second coming was near, see 2Thes. 2. 2Tim. 2:18; 2Pet. 3:4 also speak of those claiming the resurrection had already happened, or mocking the fact that Christian's were still holding on to the hope of Christ's second coming. These were perhaps the people who twisted the words of Paul as he wrote about things "that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort to their own destruction". 2Peter writes in part to comfort his readers in light of the Lord's delay, so the impression was certainly around...even over 2000 years ago.

    Whether or not the Thessalonians themselves got that impression is another question altogether.
    I struggle to see how they couldn't get that impression if Paul told them to encourage one another with the words that "we who are alive, who are left..". Just envision the Thessalonians saying to one another: "beloved brother, we who are alive, who are left until the Lord's coming will meet our deceased brethren in the air with Christ and be with them forever!" "Gee, I wonder if I'll be among those who are left alive? Who knows, but it's all so exciting! Come, Lord Jesus!"

    The letter was addressed to the Thessalonians, but that does not mean he's speaking only, or primarily about the Thessalonians when he writes about "we who are alive, who are left".
    Right, but he is writing to them specifically, and urging them to encourage one another with very specific words.

    He's talking about what will happen with every Christian who is alive at the time of Christ's return
    Yes, and he is urging the Thessalonians to encourage one another with the words that "we who are alive, who are left..."

    and applying it specifically to the members of the Thessalonian Church.
    He is telling the Thessalonians to encourage one another with "these words". Those words are a specific form of encouragement that applies to the Thessalonians and all other Christian's alive at the time of the letter's composition. It is appropriate to highlight the specific words that Paul tells the Thessalonians to encourage one another with.

    His point is not "Don't grieve, you'll still be alive when Christ returns and then you'll meet your fellow Christians who have died in the faith" his point is "Don't grieve, because when Christ returns those who are dead will be resurrected and then you (who are currently alive) will meet them again".
    His point is that the Thessalonians cease grieving as if they have no hope because when the Lord returns those among them who are alive, who are left will be caught up with their deceased brethren in the air to meet the Lord and be with him forever.

    It's besides the point because it's not pertinent to the point Paul is making. He's simply differentiating between Christians who have died in the faith, and those who are still alive and saying that when Christ returns we will all be reunited.
    He is not "simply" differentiating between those alive and those who died when Christ returns because he personalizes it specifically to the Thessalonians when he urges them to "encourage one another with these words".

    Whether or not any, or all of those who were still alive when Paul wrote his letter would die before Christ's return wasn't the main, or even a secondary point.
    Paul didn't know who would be alive so his general "we who are alive, WHO ARE LEFT" encompasses Paul, the Thessalonians, and other Christian's alive at the time of Paul's writing. Some would probably die, but some would be left until the Lord's coming because it was presumably to happen within that generation or so.
    Last edited by Scrawly; 12-07-2018 at 10:47 PM.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    I suspect that Paul's main purpose was in fact to encourage those who were still living regarding those who had fallen asleep, not that Jesus was going to return any moment now.
    That was definitely part of it, but not the full thrust of what Paul had in view, as part of the encouragement centered around the return of Christ, when those "left" would be joined together with those departed.

    As I think about this more, it seems to me that Paul would NOT wish to convey that, because he would've learned from the other apostles that Jesus stressed that the time of His return would not be known.
    Jesus stated that he didn't know the "day nor hour". This fits Paul's "we who are alive, who are left". In other words: "some will probably die before the Lord returns, because even though we know it will be soon -- within this generation that shall not pass away -- we don't know the exact day or hour -- and therefore some will probably die and some will be left at the time of the Lord's coming".
    Last edited by Scrawly; 12-07-2018 at 10:54 PM.

  3. #23
    tWebber Chrawnus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrawly View Post
    If Paul had in view mere general hope in the resurrection the language ought to reflect that. Something along the lines of: "Those alive when the Lord returns will be reunited with those who have died, and we will all be gathered to the Lord, and shall be with him forever" would be more appropriate.
    Why would it be more appropriate? Because you think so? But I disagree that the language doesn't reflect it. Given that he's talking about the return of Jesus it's pretty obvious to me that he's talking about the resurrection of all Christians at the end of this current creation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrawly View Post
    Well there was the impression that the second coming was near, see 2Thes. 2. 2Tim. 2:18; 2Pet. 3:4 also speak of those claiming the resurrection had already happened, or mocking the fact that Christian's were still holding on to the hope of Christ's second coming. These were perhaps the people who twisted the words of Paul as he wrote about things "that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort to their own destruction". 2Peter writes in part to comfort his readers in light of the Lord's delay, so the impression was certainly around...even over 2000 years ago.
    Sure, but none of this means that Paul was literally suggesting that the people he wrote to in 1 Thess 4 would be alive at the time of Christ's return.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrawly View Post
    I struggle to see how they couldn't get that impression if Paul told them to encourage one another with the words that "we who are alive, who are left..". Just envision the Thessalonians saying to one another: "beloved brother, we who are alive, who are left until the Lord's coming will meet our deceased brethren in the air with Christ and be with them forever!" "Gee, I wonder if I'll be among those who are left alive? Who knows, but it's all so exciting! Come, Lord Jesus!"
    I never said they couldn't get that impression. I asked if they did get that impression.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrawly View Post
    Right, but he is writing to them specifically, and urging them to encourage one another with very specific words.
    None of which necessarily imply that any of the people he wrote to, or himself, would still be alive at the time of Christ's return.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrawly View Post
    Yes, and he is urging the Thessalonians to encourage one another with the words that "we who are alive, who are left..."
    Again, I don't think the "we who are alive, who are left..." phrase has any more significance than to differentiate them from those who have already died.

    "We who are currently still alive, but might, or might not be alive when Christ returns, might, or might not precede those who have died in Christ because depending on the circumstances we might possibly be among the dead in Christ in which case we will rise first before those who are still living, otherwise the dead will rise before us, after which we who are still alive will caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air" is a bit cumbersome of a phrase to get the idea across when what Paul wrote originally does the job just fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrawly View Post
    He is telling the Thessalonians to encourage one another with "these words". Those words are a specific form of encouragement that applies to the Thessalonians and all other Christian's alive at the time of the letter's composition. It is appropriate to highlight the specific words that Paul tells the Thessalonians to encourage one another with.
    I agree that the Thessalonians were told to encourage each other with "these words", I disagree that they apply only to the Thessalonians and those Christians alive at the time of the letter's composition, on the contrary they apply to every Christian, at every point in history. I also disagree with your specific understanding of those words.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrawly View Post
    His point is that the Thessalonians cease grieving as if they have no hope because when the Lord returns those among them who are alive, who are left will be caught up with their deceased brethren in the air to meet the Lord and be with him forever.
    Those among them who are alive, if anyone of the people he writes to happens to be alive. And if you ask me why he doesn't write "if anyone of you happen to be alive when Christ returns" then my answer is that not everything needs to be spelled out explicitly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrawly View Post
    He is not "simply" differentiating between those alive and those who died when Christ returns because he personalizes it specifically to the Thessalonians when he urges them to "encourage one another with these words".
    He's writing to the Thessalonians personally. That doesn't mean what he's writing applies only to the Thessalonians.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrawly View Post
    Paul didn't know who would be alive so his general "we who are alive, WHO ARE LEFT" encompasses Paul, the Thessalonians, and other Christian's alive at the time of Paul's writing. Some would probably die, but some would be left until the Lord's coming because it was presumably to happen within that generation or so.
    There is not a single place in the New Testament where the idea that Christ would return (in the sense of understood in 1 Thess 4) within "that generation" is put forward as being true by any of it's authors.

  4. #24
    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrawly View Post
    That was definitely part of it, but not the full thrust of what Paul had in view, as part of the encouragement centered around the return of Christ, when those "left" would be joined together with those departed.



    Jesus stated that he didn't know the "day nor hour". This fits Paul's "we who are alive, who are left". In other words: "some will probably die before the Lord returns, because even though we know it will be soon -- within this generation that shall not pass away -- we don't know the exact day or hour -- and therefore some will probably die and some will be left at the time of the Lord's coming".
    When you say "x, therefore y" you can't just arbitrarily make y what you want it to be. If you acknowledge we don't know when Jesus will return, your attempt to split hairs between "some will probably die" and "all alive now may die" before Christ returns becomes entirely arbitrary. You are doing an excellent job of reading into the text what you want it to mean.
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  5. #25
    tWebber
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    I think we can agree to disagree at this point as further discussion seems more quarrelsome than profitable. I continue to lean toward Hurtado's position as a more accurate reading, however I hold out hope that I am incorrect.

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