(Study in the Pastoral Letters of Paul to the Church in Thessalonica)
Just like the Thessalonian Believers, we have questions about Christ’s Return. We would like to know the when and how of the sequence of “end time” events – just a natural, human “need to know.”
Historically, there have been many false teachers claiming to know the date and details concerning His Return. Many followers have been misled. However, as believers, we should not be listening to those who are counting down to an exact date!
False teachers arise in every generation. Believers in the new church at Thessalonica were devasted to learn that those who had recently passed away would miss out on the resurrection, and they would not be reunited with their loved ones, according to the misinformation.
Paul, as a pastor comforting his congregation at the death of a family member, contrasts two distinct groups: the uninformed and the informed. The “uninformed” grieve without hope; while the “informed” Brothers and Sisters grieve with hope. There is a difference!
In I Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul presents truth to counter the false information.
1) Christ would come back as promised.
2) Those believers who have died would meet Him first.
3) Those who are alive will unite with them in the air. All believers, dead and living, will participate.
There is a definite order of events, and when it’s time (when we need to know), God will reveal the next step!
“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. Then we who are still alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” I Thess. 4:16-17 (CSB)
We should be encouraging one another with these words while we wait for Christ’s Return. I Thess. 4:18 CSB
Do you know the story of the Hymn “It is Well with My Soul?” Horatio G. Spafford wrote these words out of deep personal loss when he lost four
daughters after their ship sank in the Atlantic on a journey from New York to Great Britain in 1873.
Lyrics from Fourth Stanza:
“And, Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll, The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, Even so, it is well with my soul.” Chorus: “It is well with my soul, It is well, it is well with my soul.”
Comfort one another with these words!