1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Ordinary A50


13 But we do not wantA you to be uninformed,B brothersC and sisters, about those who have died,D so that you may not grieveE as others do who have no hope.F 

Notes on verse 13

A “want” = thelo. This is will, wish, want, desire, intend; choosing or preferring in a literal or figurative sense. The emphasis is on the desire behind the impulse or action. Corresponding to Hebrew phrasing, it can mean to delight in.
B “uninformed” = agnoeo. From a (not) + noieo (to think, understand, perceive, realize; includes the effort of thought to make a final conclusion; also, moral reasoning); from nous (mind, understanding, reason, intellect); from noos (mind); probably from ginosko (recognize, perceive, learn, realize; knowledge especially from first hand experience). This is being ignorant, not knowing, being unaware. It can include willful ignorance or not knowing because of a lack of intelligence. It can imply ignoring something for lack of interest.
C “brothers” = adelphos. From a (with; denotes fellowship) + delphus (womb). This is brother literal or figurative. Properly, this is one who shares a womb with you. Can also be used for a fellow Christian.
D “died” = koimao. 18x in NT – 15x of death and 3x of sleep. From keimai (to lie, reclaim, be set, appointed, destined). This is sleep, used figuratively for death.
E “grieve” = lupeo. From lupe (physical or mental pain, grief, sorrow, distress, heavy heart). This is severe sorrow, deep pain. Also used for the pain of childbirth.
F “hope” = elpis. From elpo (to anticipate, expect, or welcome; generally denotes a pleasant anticipation). This is expectation, hope, trust, confidence, faith. It can be expectation in a concrete or abstract sense.

14 For since we believeG that JesusH diedI and rose again,J even so, through Jesus, GodK will bringL with him those who have died.M 

Notes on verse 14

G “believe” = pisteuo. From pistis (faith, faithfulness, belief, trust, confidence; to be persuaded or come to trust); from peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is to believe, entrust, have faith it, affirm, have confidence in. This is less to do with a series of beliefs or doctrines that one believes and more to do with faithfulness, loyalty, and fidelity. It is trusting and then acting based on that trust.
H “Jesus” = iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be) + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
I “died” = apothnesko. From apo (from, away from) + thnesko (to die). This is to die off. It places emphasis on death as that which separates, bring to an end that which was before and ushering in what comes next.
J “rose again” = anistemi. From ana (up, again, back, anew) + histemi (to stand, place, set up, establish, stand ready, stand firm). This is to raise up, set up, appear. Used figuratively for rising from the dead.
K “God” = theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
L “bring” = ago. This is lead, bring, carry, guide. Can also be used for drive as when one drives a flock.
M “died” = koimao. Same as “died” in v13.

15 For this we declare to you by the wordN of the Lord,O that we who are alive, who are left until the comingP of the Lord, will by no means precedeQ those who have died.R 

Notes on verse 15

N “word” = logos. From lego (to speak, tell, mention). This is word, statement, speech, analogy. It is a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying. It could refer to a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words. By implication, this could be a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive. It can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ.
O “Lord” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
P “coming” = parousia. From paraeimi (to be present, to have come) [from para (by, beside, in the presence of) + eimi (to be)]. This is presence, coming, arrival, advent. Often used to describe Jesus’s second coming. More broadly speaking, refers to the arrival of someone who has authority to deal with a situation. It can be used to describe a king or other high ranking official coming.
Q “precede” = phthano. 7x in NT. This is to come before, to arrive beforehand, precede, anticipate. This can be coming first as a matter of order or of importance.
R “died” = koimao. Same as “died” in v13.

16 For the Lord himself, with a cry of command,S with the archangel’sT call and with the sound of God’s trumpet,U will descend from heaven,V and the deadW in ChristX will rise first. 

Notes on verse 16

S “cry of command” = keleusma. 1x in NT. From keleuo (to command, order, move another to action with words); from kelomai (to urge on). This is a shout of command, a call, a shout, or outcry.
T “archangel’s” = archaggelos. 2x in NT. Related to “bring” in v14. From archo (to rule, reign, begin; this is first in political status or power) + aggelos (angel, messenger, one who brings news or instructions); probably from ago (see note L above). This is archangel – an angel holding the highest rank.
U “trumpet” = salpigx. 11x in NT. From salpizo (to blow a trumpet; a trumpet blast literally or figuratively). This is a trumpet, war trumpet, or bugle.
V “heaven” = ouranos. May be related to oros (mountain, hill) with the notion of height. This is the air, the sky, the atmosphere, and heaven. It is the sky that is visible and the spiritual heaven where God dwells. Heaven implies happiness, power, and eternity.
W “dead” = nekros. From the same as nekus (corpse). This is mortal, dead, or corpse. Death in a literal or figurative sense. Figuratively, can be unable, ineffective, or powerless.
X “Christ” = christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.

17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught upY in the cloudsZ together with them to meetAA the Lord in the air;BB and so we will be with the Lord forever.CC 18 Therefore encourageDD one another with these words.

Notes on verses 17-18

Y “caught up” = harpazo. 14x in NT. Perhaps from a derivative of haireomai (to take, choose, prefer). This is to seize by force like when plundering spoil or bounty. This word is often associated with robbery, taking by force in the open and not in secret.
Z “clouds” = nephele. From nephos (clouds; used figuratively for a dense crowd or mutltitude). This is cloud or cloudiness.
AA “meet” = apantesis. 3x in NT. From apantao (to meet, go to meet, encounter) [from apo (from, away from) + antao (to meet face to face)]. This is meeting. It is used to describe receiving an official who has just arrived. So, this is meeting someone in order to escort them into your area, house, etc.
BB “air” = aer. 7x in NT. From aemi (to breathe, blow; to breathe without thinking about it). This is the air that is around us that we believe. It is distinguished from the atmosphere where the stars are.
CC “forever” = pantote. From pas (all, every, the totality) + tote (then; at that time, whether in the past or the future) [from hote (when); from ho (the)]. This is always, ever. Literally, it is “every when.”
DD “encourage” = parakaleo. From para (from beside, by, in the presence of) + kaleo (to call, summon, name, call aloud). This is to call to, summon, encourage, exhort, console, invoke, entreat. This is to call someone near personally. It came from the legal setting as an advocate. It is used for the Holy Spirit (the paraclete i.e. the comforter).

Image credit: “Resurrection of the Dead” from approximately 1250 in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

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