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#5. WHO ARE 'ALL HIS SAINTS' WHOM JESUS COMES BACK WITH AT THE RAPTURE?
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Related Greek Word Studies
601 || ἀποκαλύπτω || apokalupto || to reveal.
602 || ἀποκάλυψις || apokalupsis || revelation.
2347 || θλῖψις || thlipsis || tribulation.
3952 || παρουσία || parousia || coming.
There seems to a certain amount of disagreement over who the "saints" are who Jesus comes back with at his second coming. Pre-tribulation advocates say that they include resurrected people who were raptured before the tribulation. Some post-tribulation believers believe the resurrection happens while Jesus is coming in the clouds after the tribulation, and the resurrected "saints" then come back down to earth with him as he comes to Armageddon. Both of these theories are false. This bible study shows that the saints whom Jesus comes back with are only holy angels.
3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst of it toward the east, and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
5 And you shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal: yes, you shall flee, like you fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints1 with you.
1 THESSALONIANS 3:13 (Paul)
13 To the end he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints2.
14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his saints2.
15 To execute judgement upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against them.
Note: These scriptures show that Jesus is coming back with his "saints", but who are "the saints"? Some teach that the church will be translated (or raptured) before the tribulation, seven years before Jesus returns to destroy the beast, and that "the saints" with whom he returns will be those resurrected from the earth (1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16), and those "caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:" (1 Thessalonians 4:17). These then come back with Jesus on the last day of this age. This has to be false. Firstly because the righteous dead, who will rise at the rapture, are all raised on the last day (John 6:39-40; 6:44; 6:54; 11:24). Secondly, it would mean that Jesus has to come at least three times in all, once to suffer and die, about 2000 years ago, once to translate (or rapture) the church before the tribulation, and again on the last day to collect the 144,000 Israelites who will be saved during the last days (Revelation 7:1-17; 14:1-5), and the Gentiles who go through the tribulation (Revelation 7:9-14; 20:4). Nowhere does scripture teach the third coming of Jesus, but on the contrary, it refers to "your coming" (Matthew 24:3), "the coming" (Matthew 24:27; 24:37; 24:39; 1 Corinthians 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 4:15), or "his coming" (1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 1 John 2:28). Notice they are all in the singular, the word "comings" does not appear in the New Testament at all, and only once in the Old Testament (Ezekiel 43:11), which is nothing to do with Jesus coming again. The noun translated saints2 (Gr. ἄγιος, Gtr. hagios) in these scriptures means "the holy ones" or "the sanctified ones" and is often translated "saint" or "saints". It is an adjective being used without a noun, and is translated "saints" referring to people (Matthew 27:52; Acts 26:10; Romans 1:7; 15:25-26; Ephesians 3:8; 4:12; Philippians 1:1; 4:21), or "saints" referring to angels (1 Thessalonians 3:13; Jude 14), or "the holy one", referring to Jesus (Mark 1:24; Acts 3:14). When used as an adjective with a noun it is always translated "holy". It is so used of men (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21; 2 Peter 3:2), of angels at Jesus' second coming (Matthew 25:31; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26), of Jesus (Acts 4:27; 4:30), and of the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8; 13:11; Luke 4:1; Acts 2:4). The word translated saints1 (Hb. קְדֹשִׁים Htr. qedōshim) (Zechariah 14:5) is the plural of the Hebrew word קָדוֹשׁ (Htr. qādôsh Strongs 6918), which occurs 116 times in the Old Testament. It is an adjective which means "holy", and is translated "holy" (65x), "holy one" (39x), and "saint" (12x) in the KJV. It is used in a similar manner to "hagios", with or without another noun with it, and essentially also means "the holy (...)"; again the missing word depends upon the context. Thus we need to find the missing noun, and the only way to do this is to search the other scriptures concerning Jesus’ second coming, and establish which word is used in this same context, in other places. When we do this, we find the following scriptures:
(Matthew 25:31) "the son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him,"
(Mark 8:38) "the son of man ... comes in the glory of his Father, with the holy angels."
In both of these cases the word translated holy is a plural of "hagios", which shows that "angels" is the missing word in this case. Nowhere does the scripture ever say that Jesus comes back with men, but rather everywhere it is stated to be angels:
(Matthew 13:39) "the reapers are the angels."
(Matthew 13:41) "in the end of this world ... The son of man shall send forth his angels,"
(Matthew 13:49) "at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,"
(Matthew 24:31) "he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet,"
(Mark 13:27) "And then shall he send his angels,"
(Luke 9:26) "the son of man ... he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels."
(1 Thessalonians 4:16) "the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel,"
(2 Thessalonians 1:7) "the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,".
The fact that "saints" refers to angels, and not people in these verses, is made clear by the fact that Jesus comes back with all his saints (Zechariah 14:5; 1 Thessalonians 3:13), and this could not possibly refer to resurrected people, for the following reasons:
(1) Because the 144,000 Israelites who were still alive after the sixth seal judgement (Revelation 7:1-8), will still need to be raptured or resurrected.
(2) Because the 144,000 are called "the first-fruits to God, and to the Lamb." (Revelation 14:5), and this would not be appropriate if the rapture had occurred prior to the tribulation.
(3) Because many Gentiles (Revelation 7:9) will go through the great tribulation (Revelation 7:13-14), and will need to be raptured or resurrected.
(4) Because many, who may be Jews or Gentiles, will go through the tribulation (Revelation 20:4), and will be resurrected at "the first resurrection" (Revelation 20:5).
(5) Because the angels will gather Jesus' "elect" from the four winds after the tribulation (Matthew 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27).
(6) Because if "the saints" (Zechariah 14:5; 1 Thessalonians 3:13) referred to people, it would contradict other scriptures which show that Jesus returns with holy angels (#5.3), which are the armies in heaven (#5.2), and not with holy people translated from the earth.
(7) Because the Lamb's wife, which is the church, makes herself ready (Revelation 19:7) after Babylon comes in remembrance before God (Revelation 16:19). This is part of the seventh vial judgement (Revelation 16:17), after Babylon the great is destroyed (Revelation 18:1-8), after the earth mourns its destruction (Revelation 18:9-19), just before Jesus comes again at the end of this pre-millennial age (Revelation 19:11-21), and so after the tribulation.
Much rather "all the saints" (Zechariah 14:5), and "all his saints" (1 Thessalonians 3:13), both refer to "all the holy angels" (Matthew 25:31) which come with him on that day (#5.3).
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he who sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed in a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in white linen, fine and clean.
15 And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16 And he has on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together to the supper of the great God;
18 That you may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him who sat upon the horse, and against his army.
20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet who worked miracles before him, with which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast, and those who worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him who sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
Note: Who are the armies in heaven? They are clearly distinguished from the inhabitants of the earth (Daniel 4:35), and Jesus has an angel with him (v17). As this scripture refers to the second coming of Christ, when he defeats the beast (v19-20), then the army with him must be angels which so many other scriptures confirm (See #5.3). They are the "ten thousands of his saints." (Jude 14), as well as the "twelve legions of angels" that Jesus could have summoned to help him when he was arrested (Matthew 26:53).
MATTHEW 16:27 (Jesus)
27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
MATTHEW 24:29-31 (Jesus)
29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken;
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
MATTHEW 25:31 (Jesus)
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
MARK 8:38 (Jesus)
38 Whoever shall be ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father, with the holy angels.
MARK 13:24-27 (Jesus)
24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,
25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.
26 Then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
LUKE 9:26 (Jesus)
26 For whoever shall be ashamed of me and my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.
1 THESSALONIANS 4:15-18 (Paul)
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not go before those who are asleep.
16 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.
17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
2 THESSALONIANS 1:7-8 (Paul)
7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Note: These scriptures give us plenty of evidence as to whom Jesus comes back with: "his angels," (Matthew 13:41; 16:27; Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:27), "the angels" (Matthew 13:49), "all the holy angels" (Matthew 25:31), "the holy angels." (Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26), and "his mighty angels." (2 Thessalonians 1:7). Nowhere does the word of God say that he comes back with resurrected people, on the contrary, he comes back for them (1 Thessalonians 4:16) on the last day of this age, which will be his only coming . So we can conclude that "hagioi", which literally means "the holy (...)", always refers to "the holy angels" (Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26) when used in the context of, "who comes back with Jesus when he returns?". So "all the saints" (Zechariah 14:5), and "all his saints." (1 Thessalonians 3:13) are the same as "all the holy angels" (Matthew 25:31), who come with Jesus on the last day of this pre-millennial age. (For more analysis See How to Study the Word of God, #4.224.)
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