There would be absolutely no reason for Paul to pray that we’re “preserved blameless” if there’s no chance that we could incur “blame” at some point. I think this is broaching another topic, but if anything, you’ve bolstered my point. The Lord listed a number of “conditions” in Revelation 2 and 3, stressing the importance of “overcoming” versus being spewed out of His mouth and blotted out of the Book of Life. He said to overcome just as He overcame. In Matthew 24:13, He tells us that he who endures until the end shall be saved. That speaks of enduring belief and repentance (which are not works, mind you, and refute the “altar call” mentality).
Frankly, you’re trying to have your cake and eat it too by suggesting that we are blameless now, but finding no dichotomy in Paul praying that we will be blameless at the coming of the Lord.
The argument that “only” isn’t mentioned in 2 Thess 1:6-10 is a non sequitur. Paul clearly has us here at that time (“rest with us”) and doesn’t give the slightest allusion of us being anywhere else but here until that time. You may as well argue that John 14:6 isn’t a statement of the exclusivity of Christ, because, after all, He didn’t say that He is “the only way, the only truth, and the only life”, but I’m sure you wouldn’t dare make that suggestion.
The truth is that there are several points which you are avoiding. It’s not just a “hagios” issue, but your exegesis of 1 Thess 3:13 is lacking.
I say this with respect for you, as your tone has been pleasant.
In Christ Alone,
I’m afraid that you have committed a logical fallacy called asserting or affirming the consequent. The fallacy has the logical form:
If p then q. (Where p – the antecedent and q – the consequent are both propositions)
In this logical fallacy, the antecedent (Paul believes that we could incur blame at some point) is presumed true by affirming the consequent (In 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Paul “prays” that we are preserved blameless).
Your argument follows:
(if p then q) If Paul believes that we could incur blame at some point, then Paul will pray for us to be preserved blameless.
(q – the consequent) In 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Paul “prays” that we are preserved blameless.
(p – the antecedent) Paul believes that we could incur blame at some point.
This argument is clearly fallacious; there are any number of reasons why Paul would pray that we would be preserved blameless. For example, perhaps he is simply echoing a proposition that is already established in scripture as is done in many other prayers that occur in the bible (i.e. Our Father who art in Heaven, etc.). Consequently, Paul’s utterance in 1 Thess 5:23 does not constitute proof that we can incur blame. Besides, there are at least two other reasons why your argument is without merit. Firstly, in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Paul’s saying is less of a prayer and more of a declaration. In fact, the phrase ” I pray God” (in the KJV) is an interpreter’s addition that is italicized. Admittedly, the sentence even reads like something in a prayer but this does not preclude it from being a declaration as well since the proposition conveyed by the verse occurs in other scriptural passages that are decidedly not prayers (Jude 1:1, 1 Corinthians 1:2). Secondly, Jude affirms Paul’s utterance by asserting that we are already “sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ” in Jude 1:1. Once again, the bible clearly teaches that we are already positionally (in Christ) sanctified, even though we are still physically and spiritually undergoing the sanctification process (Philippians 1:6). The same concept of positional attribution occurs in Ephesians 2:6 where it is said that we are already risen and sitting with Christ in heavenly places.
Moving along to the next point, in logic, a non sequitur is a conclusion that does not follow from the prior premises. My premises were: (1) The word “only” does not occur in 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 which talks about Christ coming with angels
(2) The same author, Paul, also talks about Christ coming with saints (and not angels) in 1 Thessalonians 3:13
My conclusion was:
Therefore, it follows by good and necessary consequence that Paul, in 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 cannot mean that Christ comes with angels exclusively.
So how is this a non sequitur again?
Also, it may interest you to know that “rest with us” in 2 Thessalonians 1: 7 doesn’t mean that Paul “has us here at that time.” “Rest” in the aforementioned verse is a noun (please confer with a Greek lexicon for the part of speech belonging to the Greek term “anesis”), not a verb. Therefore, those who are doing the troubling (in verse 6) will receive tribulation, while those who are being troubled will be given rest (verse 7). Once again, Paul is not giving anyone a directive to stay put or anything of that sort. It appears that you have mistakenly based our location during the “2nd coming” on a noun (that was to you) pretending to be a verb.
Finally, I like how you tried to borrow the construction of a previous argument of mine to use against me. 🙂 The only problem with your quip about John 14:6 is that He DID say “the only way, the only truth and the only life”, not literally, but by propositional equivalence. The proposition in John 14:6 (No one comes to the Father except through me) is identical to the proposition of the literal sentence: “I am the only way, etc.” Therefore, since He did say He is “the only way, the only truth, and the only life”, your argument fails to convey anything meaningful.
As you can see, I have in painstaking detail, dealt with every issue you have raised when I could have easily glanced over them as being incorrect based on prior argumentation and without further explanation. Hopefully you will not accuse me again of avoiding anything in the future. I may not have dealt with something yet but that is quite different from avoiding it.
It matters very little whether or not the words “I pray God” are inserted. The fact remains that Paul speaks of their spirits, souls, and bodies being “preserved blameless”. In the prior verses, he writes that they abstain from evil. Would this be necessary were they not capable of falling into temptation? Of course not. There is no getting around the Lord’s assertion that “he who endures until the end shall be saved”.
Redirecting back to the verse in question:
1 Thessalonians 3:12-13: “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: 13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.”
Now, James, if you don’t see “And the Lord make you to…” as a prayer, then you must be in some sort of denial. And what does Paul pray for? For our hearts to be established “unblameable”. When? “…at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.”
The argument you proposed (“God can do anything He wants”- paraphrasing) brought to mind a schoolyard response. Of course God can do anything He wants, but that’s hardly a solid argument here, as Paul was clear. If we’re a blameless bride in Heaven for seven years, there is no reason for Paul to be praying for our “sanctification” during the time leading up to the “parousia”. There is no question that our sanctification should be complete prior to “meeting the Lord in the air”.
Secondly, there is nothing structurally in those verses which would suggest that we accompany the Lord back from Heaven. He is addressing them in second person plural (“you”; “your hearts”) in his prayer for them, but doesn’t speak of the “saints” who accompany the Lord at the parousia in 1st person plural. So again, your explanation is reaching.
Furthermore, who did the Lord say He returns with?
Matthew 25:31- “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:”
1)The Lord clearly describes the angels as “hagios” (“holy ones”).
2)He only describes coming back with the angels.
Do you seriously think the Lord would forget to mention His glorious, adorned bride coming back with Him from Heaven if we really do come back with Him from Heaven? So Paul didn’t say “only”, and the Lord didn’t say “only”. I think that just reduced the odds considerable that you have a legitimate argument.
In addition, what is the sequence if events?
Matthew 24:30-31: “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.”
1)He descends out of Heaven first
2)All eyes see Him
3)He then sends His angels to gather the elect from one end of the sky (“ouranos”) to the other.
The Lord makes no mention of the church/body/bride/elect coming with Him from Heaven. No, He only speaks of the elect being gathered together (same “episynogogue” which Paul uses in 2 Thess 2:1, except different tense) after He descends out of Heaven. You think He forgot to mention us again there? “Elect”, by the way, refers to the church throughout the epistles (with the exception of one instance, where it refers to angels).
The fact of the matter, James, is that the Lord only described one gathering together of believers, and that being “after the tribulation of those days” (Matthew 24:29-31). Paul said that it wouldn’t be until after the son of perdition is revealed (2 Thess 2:1-3). He then goes on to describe just how he will be revealed in verse 4, which seems to be a description of the AoD which the Lord warned us we’d see (Matthew 24:15).
All of the word play in the world won’t change those facts, and yes, you’ve been avoiding those verses.
I’m more than happy to continue this discussion, but not here. I am already spread too thin. I started a FB rapture group awhile back, which keeps me very busy. For the last few days, I’ve been bouncing around between the group and Amazon. Feel free to join. With your pleasant tone, you would be a welcome addition, and a good representation of the pretrib view. As it is, probably 90% there are pretrib, but aren’t very capable of defending that position.
Continued @ Angels or Saints Part 4