1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Talks for Growing Christians

One of the Great Rapture Passages in the New Testament

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

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Lesson Number 7

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The rapture of the church is a controversial doctrine.
  2. The rapture of the church is a comprehensive doctrine.
  3. The rapture of the church is a comforting doctrine.

Practical Application

  1. Remember, we do not sorrow as others sorrow.


  1. What is “Eschatology”?
  2. What specific eschatological truth did the Thessalonian believers want to know about?
  3. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, how is the word “sleep” used?
  4. In the New Testament, is the word “sleep” used for everyone?
  5. What doctrine answers the question, “What happens to the body that goes into the grave, and when is the resurrection of the bodies of believers?”
  6. Where is the word “purgatory” found in the Bible?
  7. How were details of the doctrine of the Rapture given to Paul?
  8. Is the Rapture taught in the Old Testament?
  9. Does the Great Tribulation take place before, during, or after the Rapture?


  1. The Greek word “eschatos” means “last”. Eschatology is the study of last things.
  2. What happens to believers who die before the Lord returns?
  3. It is used figuratively for death, like a peaceful sleep.
  4. No. It is only used of believers.
  5. The doctrine of the Rapture, when the Lord returns for His own.
  6. It is not in the Bible.
  7. By revelation from God Himself.
  8. Not in doctrine, but only in type. Enoch was raptured out of this world just before God’s judgment.
  9. After the Rapture. Therefore believers are spared from God’s great wrath.


  1. Look at the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21). This discourse is about the coming Tribulation Period and the Return of the Lord to set up His kingdom, not the Rapture. The Rapture takes place before these events. Discuss reasons for this view of the timing of the Rapture of the church.
  2. At the Rapture, the dead in Christ will rise first with the resurrection body, then the Christians who are alive will be caught up to meet them and the Lord in the air. What does this doctrine mean to you personally?


  1. The Lord cried at the death of Lazurus. What does this tell you? Remember that as Christians we do not sorrow as those who have no hope. We know our loved ones who received Jesus are with the Lord, and we will be together one day. Death for the believer is just a stepping stone into eternal glory and happiness. Therefore, comfort one another with this hope.

Key Verses

  • “ Do not be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. ” - 1 Thessalonians 1:8
  • “ We who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. ” - 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
  • “ You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true Go ” - 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18

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