1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 “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: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
During these times, we have heard all manner of theories trying to explain just what or how this all fits into God’s plan. Those who lean toward conspiracy theories will think of this as a power play. It may seem like the planting of a virus and using media hype, was their plan for the government to step in and acquire more control.
Some have said that God is passing His judgment on us and watching how we respond. Still others think God has just forgotten and we are left to deal with this alone.
One thing I do know for sure is that the child of God has one thing to cling to in these uncertain times – hope.
The hope of God’s mercy. The hope of His protection, provision, and power. I do know that we can base that hope firmly on His promises. In so doing, our hearts can rest on what God said He would do. He tells us to come to Him when we are weary.
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Pressed out of measure, oppressed, or depressed, we can come to God for comfort.
Our text this morning reminded me of the promise of His coming.
John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
Bible doctrine speaks to that return coming very soon. No more prophecies are needing to be fulfilled. The second coming of Jesus Christ is only awaiting the will of the Father.
Mark 13:32-33 “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.”
We, the church, refer to the time of Christ’s return as the rapture.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary sheds little light on this word the church uses explicitly to describe the ‘calling up’ or ‘calling out’ of the church. One of its definitions says:
“Transport; ecstasy; violence of a pleasing passion; extreme joy or pleasure.”
First, there will be a shout. Then, the voice of the archangel and a trumpet blast. The unsaved world will be witness to an event prophesied since Christ first spoke. Graves will open. They will see the dead in Christ rise. Afterward, we, which are alive, will be ‘caught away.’
Paul speaks of this in his letter to the Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
The thought of the ‘twinkling of an eye’ could be a blink, a wink, or a sparkle. In any case, that time will be so concise that it will seem as if we disappeared.
For the church, the saved child of God, it is a source of hope and comfort. It is used to dispel the fear that has seemed to grip our world today.
I just heard someone describe fear as an ‘unwanted guest’ in the life of one whose God is everything but fear.
Romans 8:15 “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Abba is a term of extreme affection, comparable to our word, “Daddy.” Our heavenly Father desires to be that Father we run to when our hearts are overwhelmed, pressed out of measure, and teetering on despair.
As you meditate on these thoughts today, utilize the promises of the Word of God. Repeat them to your heart if you are finding yourself unsettled, and you hear the footsteps of that ‘unwanted guest’ called fear.
Then, we will be following God’s recipe for what to do in times like these.
1 Thessalonians 4:18 “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”