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(NASB)
“In the midst of life we are in death,' is a well-known saying that is very true of every member of the human race, for we are born dead in our sins and we are spiritually separated from God. Death in the Bible means separation.. and although we live in physical bodies on this terrestrial plane.. physical death is everyman's eventual destiny, when our spirit and soul are separated from our material body. Physical death is the point where we are transferred forever into the spiritual sphere.. and the choices we made in life will be forever fixed and final.
Physical death is the inevitable end of all human-kind and the grave is the final resting place for the body. The spirit and souls of those who have died in the Lord go immediately to be with Him in heaven, whilst the soul of those who do not believe in Christ end up in hell - the place of the unsaved dead, where they will await the final judgement. But there is one generation of believers who will escape the icy fingers of physical death from claiming its prey.
There is one generation of Christians that will be alive at the the return of the Lord Jesus - for the Lord Himself will come from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise from their graves first -and THEN we who are still alive and remain on earth will be caught up together with them into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and from that moment onwards we shall always be with the Lord Jesus. Our body will be changed into a new incorruptible body.. an eternal resurrected body, just like the Lord Jesus Himself. This is the blessed hope that all believes have - in Christ.
However difficult and problematic our life may be in this lost and fallen world we have a blessed hope and a revelation from God that our future is secure in Him. And when those we love reach the end of this mortal coil, we should not grieve like unbelievers do.. for we have a secure hope and a future inheritance that is kept for us in heaven.
When Jesus rose from the dead He ascended to heaven in a resurrected human body and today there is an immortal man, Who loves each one of us deeply.. and He is sitting on the throne of almighty God - waiting for the command from His heavenly Father to come and take us to be with Himself!
We will hear a shout. We will hear the voice of the archangel and we will hear the trump of God.. and we will all be changed from mortal men with corruptible bodies into immortal beings with an incorruptible body - and so we shall ever be with the Lord. And all this will happen in a moment.. in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet call of God. BUT the very first thing that happens at this exciting event is that all the believers who have become part of the Body of Christ.. down through the last two thousand years in this Church-age of grace.. will rise up out of their graves.
The apostles Peter and Paul, John and James.. beloved saints like Mary and Martha that are named in history.. innumerable saints whose names have been long forgotten - and precious saints of our own families whom we have been laid to rest in the dust of the earth will all be raised FIRST - and THEN..... we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.. and so we shall ever be with the Lord. What a joy, What a hope! - what an incredible comfort.. In the midst of this life we may be in death - but death for the Christian holds no fear.. for the enemy of our soul was defeated at the Cross.. and in Christ we have gained the eternal victory.
What a wonderful truth.. that sin and death and pain and sorrow will be done away with. What a privilege to know that we will bear testimony to God's amazing grace in the eternal ages to come. What a glorious future hope - that we will be forever with the Lord in the company of all the saints of old - who by grace through faith have trusted Christ for the remission of sin and the redemption of their spirit, soul and body.
Heavenly Father, thank You for these comforting words and the beautiful truth that we have an eternal inheritance, kept for us in heaven. Thank You that the day is fast approaching when we will put off this mortal frame and take on an immortal body.. and become like You. Protect us spirit soul and body in this corrupt and evil world. Use us to be a witness to the lost and a comfort to the saved.. and may we draw ever closer to You as we seek to to do Your will - to Your praise and glory, in Jesus I pray, AMEN.