December 30, 2018
"Did Jesus Just Happen" (Life of Christ) : Continuing with 1 Thess, vs 13. by saying, "I would not have you to be ignorant brethren." Now Paul says he didn't want them to be ignorant, it meant that they were ignorant but he didn't want them to continue in their ignorance any longer.
Thus he is writing to dispel their ignorance. What a blessing their ignorance has brought to us! To dissipate their ignorance he says, "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again (and we certainly do believe that), even so them also which sleep in Jesus, God will bring with Him." This is the first point of His comforting consolation: There will not be a single believer on whom death has laid its hand who will be left in the grave when the Lord Jesus Christ comes. We sing, "Death cannot keep his prey." Why? Because Jesus Christ is the victor over death. If, at the coming of Christ and the resurrection of believers, the body of one single believer were left behind, Satan would have won a victory. We would go further and say that if one has had the misfortune to lose a finger, and if, in the resurrection, that finger were left behind, Satan wold have gained a victory. I grant you it would not be much of a victory, but it would be a victory. So Paul is showing us here the fact that in the resurrection all those who are asleep in Jesus, God must bring to Himself by resurrection.
By what process will both living and dead saints be translated? verses 15-17 of 1 Thess., give the climatic revelation concerning the process by which the Church will meet the Lord in the air. "For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (precede, have a head start on) them which are asleep." It would seem as though the living ones certainly would have little head start on those who must come from the graves. But the Apostle Paul says that when we go to meet the Lord, the living ones will have no advantage.
The reason follows: "For the Lord Himself shall descent 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."
Notice those three phrases: a shout, the voice of the archangel, the trump of God. The word translated, "shout" here was that word used for the command issued by a military leader, as one might stand at the head of a battalion ready to go into battle and shout "forward march". It is an authoritative command to move that demands and expects obedience. Thus the Lord is pictured as a military commander, the captain of our salvation, who is moving out the troops who are under His authority.
The phrase, "the voice of the archangel," is significant because when God put His plans into operation, He frequently used angels as His messengers and agents. Angels are the executors of God's commands and God's will. In the Old Testament, we find the law was given through angels. In the New Testament angels ministered to Christ at His temptation and angels were with Christ at the time of His death. At the time of the coming of Christ for His church, God will give orders to the chief of the hiearchy of angelic beings, who will see that the will of God is carried out. The phrase, "the trump of God," is significant, for in the Old Testament the trumpet was used for two things...to summon to battle and to summon to worship.
In light of the picture given to us in these phrases, two interpretations are possible/ The shout, the voice of the archangel, the trump of god may be the commands issued to the angelic hosts by God as they are about to go and engage Satan in battle to wrest the body of every believer from his dominion and control. This will be the climax of the battle between Christ and Satan in which Christ will be the victory. Or this may be a shout and the voice of the archangel and the trump of god addressed, not to angels, but to believers to summon them to that great assembly where worship and praise, honor and glory will be given to God the Father and the Son.
But what does this promise mean to us? There is an interesting fact I would call to our attention. When we read the passages that have to do with the translation of the church,in no place does it ever say that Christ is coming to take us to heaven. each time it speaks of Christ's coming to take us to Himself. In 1 Thessalonians 4: 17 it says, "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." In John 14, Jesus says, "If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself....." In Titus 2: 13 , we are looking for "the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savor Jesus Christ." we are not look for an event, nor are we looking for a program. We are looking for a Person. And we can live day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment with the expectation that the Lord may come at any time. The promise of the unexpected visit of a dear friend certainly produces a different kind of living day by day. The promise of an unexpected visit from the Lord to take us "home" ought to produce a different kind of life as we wait for His coming.
This event is not some far off hope, something that may happen generations from now. It is a revelation of the Word of God that this could take place at any moment. Before this day closes, the Lord could come. Before the new day dawns, believers might awake in glory. How imperative it is for each individual to receive Jesus Christ as personal Savor lest the day of His coming should find one unprepared. and the expectancy of His return must certainly produce a new faithfulness in the child of god as he awaits His coming. May we be found ready and may we be found faithful.'
"Look up for our Redemption draws nigh"
Wayne McDoanld, Pastor