I have been putting challenges in our bulletin at church each week this year and the most recent one was to read the two books of 1 & 2 Thessalonians carefully during the week. As people read these epistles they are to jot down anything that jumps out to them as a particular blessing and encouragement since especially there is an emphasis on the return of Christ. Let me visit one that’s been a blessing to me.
As Paul wrote about the rapture in the fourth chapter of his first epistle to the Thessalonian believers he wrote in some detail about this event. For example, he told us “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout” – so making His departure from above (heaven) His entrance will be announced loudly (“with the voice of the archangel” – a good indication angels are mighty beings rather than the effeminate perspective the world would have us believe in).
But in verse 17 Paul continues, “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.” Snatched up into the air to meet Jesus in the clouds where He awaits us, death will be avoided if you are alive in your current body when the rapture occurs !! I like that prospect !!! I have always told our folks, “I’m not afraid to die, I’m just a little concerned at how it could happen !” Ha !!
Then he winds down the chapter with another interesting statement: “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (vs.18). The explanation of the rapture, in the mind of God, is meant to be a part of Scripture designed to uplift and console us. Have you ever thought much about that? When the things of life get you down that all you have to do is look up to be heartened. The rapture could happen today ! As much as we may be a little anxious about it (since it is imminent and unknown to our experiences) it will indeed put an end to all life’s troubles and launch us into a life free from sin, heartache and misery that we do know here !
But look at the verse once more. It is also a command that we are to speak of the rapture to others, especially when they need comforting. Have you ever thought about that event as a counselling point to someone who is going through rough times? Paul sure thought of it this way ! So the next time you are a little bummed out at your day or you know someone else who is, why not take a few moments and look up at the clouds?! You may as well, one day you will be in them (minus the airplane !! plus a glorified body !!!) Sweet deal, don’t you think?!