Who are the “hagios” who the Lord said that He returns from Heaven with?
by John Accomando
The reason I bring it up is because the popular teaching is that we come back with the Lord at His “parousia” (second coming), based on the following two verses:1 Thessalonians 3:13- “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.”
Jude 1:14- “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,”
It’s natural to deduce that we come back with Him based on these verses, but is that what is really being said? What are those words in Greek?
1 Thessalonians 3:13- “εις το στηριξαι υμων τας καρδιας αμεμπτους εναγιωσυνη εμπροσθεν του θεου και πατρος ημων εν τη παρουσιατου κυριου ημων ιησου χριστου μετα παντων των αγιων αυτου”
Jude 1:14- “προεφητευσεν δε και τουτοις εβδομος απο αδαμ ενωχλεγων ιδου ηλθεν κυριος εν αγιαις μυριασιν αυτου.”
Notice “αγιων” at the end of 1 Thess 3:13, and “αγιαις” near the end of Jude 14. These are both the word “hagios”. These are “holy ones”, or “set-apart ones”. In the NT, it can refer to believers, but more often than not, it actually refers to anything holy OTHER than believers. Where else do we see it? When the Lord describes who He comes back with at His second coming:
Matthew 25:31- “οταν δε ελθη ο υιος του ανθρωπου εν τη δοξη αυτουκαι παντες οι αγιοι αγγελοι μετ αυτου τοτε καθισει επι θρονουδοξης αυτου”
There are two key words there: “αγιοι” (“hagios”), and “aγγελοι” (“aggelos”). Let’s look in the English:
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:”
So the Lord only described coming back with His “holy angels”. He describes them as being “hagios” (“set-apart” or “holy ones”). So the “hagios” who the Lord said that He comes back with are His angels. Nowhere did the Lord describe coming back from Heaven with the elect/body/bride/church.
Paul reiterated what the Lord said:
2 Thessalonians 1:7-10: “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 them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.”
This is clearly a picture of the Lord’s second coming. In fact, the word “revealed” there is the Greek “apokalyptos”. That’s “apocalypse”. Yet where does Paul have us right up until the Lord’s second coming? Here (“rest with us…”). And who does Paul say that the Lord comes back with? His angels.
Notice also that Paul says that He “shall come to be glorified in His saints…in that day”. In the “day” when He returns to exact vengeance upon His enemies, He shall come to be glorified in His saints. Now let me show you something that Peter said:
1 Peter 1:7- “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”
Notice the word “appearing”. That’s the same Greek “apokalyptos” which I just showed Paul using in 2 Thess 1:7 to describe the Lord’s literal second coming. So when does Peter pray that the trial of our faith us found “unto praise and honour and glory”? At the Lord’s “apokalyptos” (not seven years prior).
The point of all this is to show Scripturally that the Lord only described coming back from Heaven at His second coming with His “holy angels” (“hagios aggelos”). Therefore, when we see “hagios” in 1 Thess 3:13 and Jude 14, it would incorrect to say “Aha! I KNEW that we come back with Him!” Why would it be incorrect? Because the Lord already TOLD us who the “hagios” are who come back with Him: His “hagios aggelos” (holy angels).
There is yet another way to know that we aren’t the “hagios” who return with Him. Look at 1 Thess 3:13 again:
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.”
Again, in the Greek, that last word is “hagios”, and it’s the very same word that the Lord uses in Matthew 25:31 to describe the angels who come back with Him. But look what Paul is praying here. He’s praying for our hearts to be made “unblameable” at the Lord’s second coming with His “hagios”. If we’re the “hagios” who come back with the Lord at His second coming, why would He be praying for our hearts to be made “unblameable” at that time? Weren’t they made “unblameable” seven years prior (at a “pretrib rapture”)?
Some like to quote Zechariah 14 as proof that we cone back with Him from Heaven. What does it say?
Zechariah 14:5- “And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.”
In Hebrew, the word which the KJV renders “saints” is actually the Hebrew “qaydowsh”. It means the same thing in the OT that “hagios” means in the NT. That is, “holy”, “holy ones” or “set apart”. In fact, in the Septuagint (the first Greek translation of the OT, which was completed before the Lord’s incarnation), it renders “qaydowsh” as “hagios”. So everything is in agreement with what the Lord said.
What about the “armies” in Revelation 19:14?
Revelation 19:14- “And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.”
For some reason, people like to assume that “church saints” are the armies, DESPITE what the Lord clearly told us in Matthew 25:31. They reason that the bride is described in earlier verses (that she has “made herself ready”), so we must already be in Heaven. But that’s circular reasoning. Scripture never says that we’re already in Heaven. Only that the bride has “made herself ready”. If we’re here on Earth, we’ve also made ourselves ready for His return. If you really read those verses in Revelation 19, verses 6-10 are the wedding announcement, and verses 11-21 are a vivid description of the Lord’s second coming. Not even a single verse describes a wedding actually taking place in Heaven. Not one. But why should there be any if the Lord is coming FOR His bride?
But what about the “armies” dressed in white. That MUST be us, right? No. Angels clearly also are arrayed in white linen:
Revelation 15:6- “And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in PURE AND WHITE LINEN, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.”
Who did the LORD say that He comes back from Heaven with? His “holy angels”. Not once did He even hint that the church comes back with Him from Heaven. What is the main point of this? If we don’t come back with Him from Heaven, then we never went up 7 years prior to His second coming. That stands to reason, as He never described any gathering together of believers prior to the tribulation.