Memory Text: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
Key Thought: Paul gives the Thessalonians (and us) a powerful hope for the future, the promise of the second coming of Christ.
In the passage for this week (1 Thess. 4:13-18) Paul is reacting to a theological misunderstanding among the Thessalonians. Though we are not entirely clear as to what the error was, some members were definitely in distress regarding the fate of believers who died before Jesus’ return. The issue seems to have been about the difference between those who died before that return and those who would be alive when it happens.
This week we will explore what we know about the situation that led Paul to write 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. In this passage Paul not only corrects first-century misunderstandings, but he provides solid ground on which twenty-first century Christians can stand. “ ‘For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets’ “ (Amos 3:7, ESV).And through the prophetic ministry of the apostle Paul, the Lord has revealed to us wonderful truths regarding the nature of the Second Coming. As we study these verses, prayerfully dwell on the incredible hope that’s contained in them for us.
Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, August 25.