1 Thessalonians 4:16 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Thessalonians 4:16, NIV: For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

1 Thessalonians 4:16, ESV: For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

1 Thessalonians 4:16, KJV: 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, NASB: For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

1 Thessalonians 4:16, NLT: For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves.

1 Thessalonians 4:16, CSB: For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel's voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

What does 1 Thessalonians 4:16 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This is part of one of Scripture's most often-quoted passages. The event referred to here is called "the rapture," a moment when Jesus Christ will call all Christians—living and dead—away from the earth to be with Him. Paul's description here is given as part of his reassurance to the Thessalonian Christians. Earlier verses comforted them with a reminder that believers who have already died will also be raised to life in Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:14). Unlike unbelievers, Christians have a hope of seeing loved ones again, in the presence of Jesus.

Paul assures his readers that Jesus, our Lord, will come in person for Christians. This will be accompanied by a loud command, the voice of an archangel, and a trumpet blast. Whether these are three separate incidents, or three ways of describing the same basic sign, is difficult to tell. The archangel mentioned here might be Michael (Jude 1:9), though Paul does not specify. Combined with the description given in the next verse, this event will apparently be sudden, dramatic, and extremely obvious.

At that time the bodies of departed Christians will rise in resurrection glory and become immortal (1 Corinthians 15:54). The inclusion of the words, "in Christ," indicates that only Christians will experience resurrection at the rapture, because only Christians have been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). The phrase, "in Christ," never occurs in the context of Old Testament believers. They will be resurrected at Christ's second coming to establish His kingdom on earth (Daniel 12:1–3).

The "cry of command" will likely be Jesus' command to departed Christians. When Jesus summoned Lazarus to come out of the tomb, He specifically called Lazarus by name: "Lazarus, come out" (John 11:43). A common quip suggests that if Christ had simply said, "Come out," the bodies of all the dead would have left their burial places.