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15For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died.

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15. by the word of the LordGreek, "in," that is, in virtue of a direct revelation from the Lord to me. So 1Ki 20:35. This is the "mystery," a truth once hidden, now revealed, which Paul shows (1Co 15:51, 52).

prevent—that is, "anticipate." So far were the early Christians from regarding their departed brethren as anticipating them in entering glory, that they needed to be assured that those who remain to the coming of the Lord "will not anticipate them that are asleep." The "we" means whichever of us are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord. The Spirit designed that believers in each successive age should live in continued expectation of the Lord's coming, not knowing but that they should be among those found alive at His coming (Mt 24:42). It is a sad fall from this blessed hope, that death is looked for by most men, rather than the coming of our Lord. Each successive generation in its time and place represents the generation which shall actually survive till His coming (Mt 25:13; Ro 13:11; 1Co 15:51; Jas 5:9; 1Pe 4:5, 6). The Spirit subsequently revealed by Paul that which is not inconsistent with the expectation here taught of the Lord's coming at any time; namely, that His coming would not be until there should be a "falling away first" (2Th 2:2, 3); but as symptoms of this soon appeared, none could say but that still this precursory event might be realized, and so the Lord come in his day. Each successive revelation fills in the details of the general outline first given. So Paul subsequently, while still looking mainly for the Lord's coming to clothe him with his body from heaven, looks for going to be with Christ in the meanwhile (2Co 5:1-10; Php 1:6, 23; 3:20, 21; 4:5). Edmunds well says, The "we" is an affectionate identifying of ourselves with our fellows of all ages, as members of the same body, under the same Head, Christ Jesus. So Ho 12:4, "God spake with us in Beth-el," that is, with Israel. "We did rejoice," that is, Israel at the Red Sea (Ps 66:6). Though neither Hosea, nor David, was alive at the times referred to, yet each identifies himself with those that were present.




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