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1 Thessalonians 4:15

    1 Thessalonians 4:15 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    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.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we that are alive, that are left unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are still living at the coming of the Lord, will not go before those who are sleeping.

    Webster's Revision

    For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we that are alive, that are left unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep.

    World English Bible

    For this we tell you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left to the coming of the Lord, will in no way precede those who have fallen asleep.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we that are alive, that are left unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep.

    Clarke's Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 4:15

    This we say unto you by the word of the Lord - This I have, by express revelation, from the Lord: what he now delivers, he gives as coming immediately from the Spirit of God. Indeed, human reason could not have found out the points which he immediately subjoins; no conjectures could lead to them. Allowing even the general doctrine of the resurrection to be believed, yet what follows does not flow from the premises; they are doctrines of pure revelation, and such as never could have been found out by human ingenuity. In no place does the apostle speak more confidently and positively of his inspiration than here; and we should prepare ourselves to receive some momentous and interesting truth.

    We which are alive, and remain - By the pronoun we the apostle does not intend himself, and the Thessalonians to whom he was then writing; he is speaking of the genuine Christians which shall be found on earth when Christ comes to judgment. From not considering the manner in which the apostle uses this word, some have been led to suppose that he imagined that the day of judgment would take place in that generation, and while he and the then believers at Thessalonica were in life. But it is impossible that a man, under so direct an influence of the Holy Spirit, should be permitted to make such a mistake: nay, no man in the exercise of his sober reason could have formed such an opinion; there was nothing to warrant the supposition; no premises from which it could be fairly deduced; nor indeed any thing in the circumstances of the Church, nor in the constitution of the world, that could have suggested a hint of the kind. The apostle is speaking of the thing indefinitely as to the time when it shall happen, but positively as to the Order that shall be then observed.

    Shall not prevent them which are asleep - Those who shall be found living in that day, though they shall not pass through death, but be suddenly changed, shall not go to glory before them that are dead, for the dead in Christ shall rise first - they shall be raised, their bodies made glorious, and be caught up to meet the Lord, before the others shall be changed. And this appears to be the meaning of the apostle's words, μη φθασωμεν, which we translate shall not prevent; for, although this word prevent, from prae and venio, literally signifies to go before, yet we use it now in the sense of to hinder or obstruct. Φθανειν τινα signifies the same, according to Hesychius, as προηκειν, to go before, προλαμβανειν, to anticipate, be before. Those who shall be found alive on that day shall not anticipate glory before the dead in Christ; for they shall rise first, and begin the enjoyment of it before the others shall be changed. This appears to be the apostle's meaning.

    Barnes' Notes on 1 Thessalonians 4:15

    For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord - By the command or inspired teaching of the Lord. Prof. Bush (Anastasis, p. 265) supposes that the apostle here alludes to what the Saviour says in Matthew 24:30-31, "And they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven," etc. It is possible that Paul may have designed a general allusion to all that the Lord had said about his coming, but there cannot have been an exclusive reference to that passage, for in what he says here there are several circumstances mentioned to which the Saviour in Matthew does not allude. The probability, therefore, is, that Paul means that the Lord Jesus had made a special communication to him on the subject.

    That we which are alive - See this fully explained in the notes on 1 Corinthians 15:51. From this expression, it would seem, that some of the Thessalonians supposed that Paul meant to teach that he himself, and many of the living, would survive until the coming of the Lord Jesus, and, of course, that that event was near at hand. That this was not his meaning, however, he is at special pains to show in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10.

    And remain unto the coming of the Lord - Those Christians who shall then be alive.

    Shall not prevent them which are asleep - Shall not precede; anticipate; go before. The word prevent with us is now commonly used in the sense of hinder, but this is never its meaning in the Scriptures. The word, in the time of the translators of the Bible, was used in its primitive and proper sense (praevenio), meaning to precede, or anticipate. Job 3:12," why did the knees prevent me?" That is, why did they anticipate me, so that I did not perish, Psalm 79:8, "Let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us;" that is, go before us in danger. Psalm 119:147, "I prevented the dawning of the morning and cried;" that is, I anticipated it, or I prayed before the morning dawned. Matthew 17:25," Jesus prevented him, saying;" that is, Jesus anticipated him; he commenced speaking before Peter had told him what he had said; compare Psalm 17:13; Psalm 59:10; Psalm 88:13; Psalm 95:2; 2 Samuel 22:6, 2 Samuel 22:19; Job 30:27; Job 41:11 The meaning here is, that they who would be alive at the coming of the Lord Jesus, would not be "changed" and received up into glory before those who were in their graves were raised up. The object seems to be to correct an opinion which prevailed among the Thessalonians that they who should survive to the coming of the Lord Jesus would have great advantages over those who had died. What they supposed those advantages would be - whether the privilege of seeing him come, or that they would be raised to higher honors in heaven, or that they who had died would not rise at all, does not appear, nor is the origin of this sentiment known. It is clear, however, that it was producing an increase of their sorrow on the death of their pious friends, and hence it was very important to correct the error. The apostle, therefore, states that no such disadvantage could follow, for the matter of fact was, that the dead would rise first.

    Wesley's Notes on 1 Thessalonians 4:15

    4:15 By the word of the Lord - By a particular revelation. We who are left - This intimates the fewness of those who will be then alive, compared to the multitude of the dead. Believers of all ages and nations make up, as it were, one body; in consideration of which, the believers of that age might put themselves in the place, and speak in the person, of them who were to live till the coming of the Lord. Not that St. Paul hereby asserted (though some seem to have imagined so) that the day of the Lord was at hand.