Welcome to Tuesdays Together In the Word. We are a group of women reading through the Bible using the plan on DeeDee's I Have No Greater Joy blog. We are sharing a nugget or three about what we've read over the past week. Please jump in and participate. Even if you don't use the plan and would like to share about what you're reading in the Word, join us!
This week we read:
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words." ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (NIV)
I believe that our generation will be the one that sees Christ's return. It is imperative to be about our Father's business, not being idle, but sharing with others how to be sure of where they will spend eternity. Who better to spend eternity with than our God? Think of walking with Jesus, just as the disciples and His followers walked with Him, learning from Him and growing in spiritual maturity in Heaven or on the New Earth.
I cannot describe to you the feeling of comfort it gives me to know that should I not die by accident or illness or natural causes first, that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that when I hear that trumpet call of God I can look up and see my Redemption truly drawing nigh. To see the dead in Christ rise first and then know I will be on my way is quite the thrill!
This passage of Scripture used to scare the socks off me. I didn't want to be around in the last days, but I find myself living in them. Seeing prophecy fulfilled, so much of it in our lifetime, is truly a privelege and honor. I wouldn't recognize it were it not for the Word of God and the teaching of God's anointed preachers and teachers.
Descending for Us
The Greek word for come down, or actually, descend is katabainō. It means:
1) to go down, come down, descend
a) the place from which one has come down from
b) to come down
1) as from the temple at Jerusalem, from the city of Jerusalem
2) of celestial beings coming down to earth
c) to be cast down
2) of things
a) to come (i.e. be sent) down
b) to come (i.e. fall) down
1) from the upper regions of the air
3) metaph. to (go i.e.) be cast down to the lowest state of wretchedness and shame
Who are we that He would descend for us? What humbling truth and feeling to know how great the love of the Lord is for us.
"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him." ~ 1 John 3:1 (NIV)
He descended once when the Word was made flesh. He came to Earth in the form of a human, born of a Virgin by the power of God the Father. As a child He grew in wisdom and favor with God and men.
"And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." ~ Luke 2:52 (NIV)
He lived His life among humans, teaching and preaching and performing many wonders and miracles.
Christ descended even farther through death on the cross, bearing our sins.
"And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!" ~ Philippians 2:8 (NIV)
Bearing our sins, He gave His life for us. For us who believe, we look forward to the second time He descends.
The Shout, the Voice and the Trumpet
Can you imagine just about your daily business or perhaps being asleep in your bed and hearing a shout, the voice of the archangel and the trumpet blast? What a holy sound that must be to hear. It shall be music to my waiting ears.The Greek word for shout is the noun keleusma. It means:
1) an order, command, spec. a stimulating cry, either that by which animals are roused and urged on by man, as horses by charioteers, hounds by hunters, etc., or that by which a signal is given to men, e.g. to rowers by the master of a ship, to soldiers by a commander (with a loud summons, a trumpet call)
Are you listening for the signal?
The Greek word for voice is phōnē, a noun that means:
1) a sound, a tone
a) of inanimate things, as musical instruments
2) a voice
a) of the sound of uttered words
a) of a language, tongue
Surely this shout will be heard by our ears in our own native tongue, our dialect, our language. It will be easily recognizable and understandable. There will be no mistaking the sound, the voice, the language or words that are spoken.
The trumpet will sound and what beautiful music that will be. Trumpets were often used in biblical times to signal people to movement toward a set task. Our task, my friend, will be but to rise and meet our Savior in the air!
After the dead in Christ rise, we who are alive and remain will also rise.
I confess this part baffles me a little. The Greek word for alive is zaō. This verb means:
1) to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead)
2) to enjoy real life
a) to have true life and worthy of the name
b) active, blessed, endless in the kingdom of God
3) to live i.e. pass life, in the manner of the living and acting
a) of mortals or character
4) living water, having vital power in itself and exerting the same upon the soul
5) metaph. to be in full vigour
a) to be fresh, strong, efficient,
b) as adj. active, powerful, efficacious
This implies that we are living a life worthy of the name of the Lord, that we have accepted Christ as our Savior.
The Greek word for remain is different, though. Perileipomai, also a verb, means:
1) to leave over
2) to remain over, to survive
Vines says: "to leave over," is used in the Passive Voice in 1Th 4:15, 17, RV, "that are left" (AV, "that remain"), lit., "left over," i.e., the living believers at the Lord's return. See REMAIN."
I need to do some more studying on that. What I'm understanding it to mean (and I'm no theologian) is that maybe it is just a different form of the world alive. Maybe for emphasis? I'd love to know more about this if anyone does know or has heard a sermon on this.
All Caught Up
Have you ever heard the phrase "all dressed up and nowhere to go"? We have somewhere to go when we hear the command, my friend. In fact, we'll have no choice in the matter if we are Christians. Who would want to be left on the Earth when God's people are called home to Heaven? Not me!
The Greek word for caught up is harpazō. This verb means:
1) to seize, carry off by force
2) to seize on, claim for one's self eagerly
3) to snatch out or away
Can you imagine your feet leaving earth and rising to meet the Lord? What a wonderful feeling that will be.
Forever and Ever With Him
Our lives will just be beginning. The Greek word forever is pantote. It means just what it implies.
1) at all times, always, ever
My finite mind can hardly fathom it. I just know it's what I want. To be with the Lord forever. We won't be passively sitting on clouds and strumming harps. That's another post. We will be with the Lord!
Spread the Word
Knowing that we will spend eternity with Christ and will rise to meet Him if we are still alive when He returns is one thing. Our future is set and we will be so complete and content. Can you say the same for your family and friends?
We are admonished by Paul to encourage one another with the words of this verse.
The Greek word for encourage is parakaleō. It means:
1) to call to one's side, call for, summon
2) to address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc.
a) to admonish, exhort
b) to beg, entreat, beseech
1) to strive to appease by entreaty
c) to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort
1) to receive consolation, be comforted
d) to encourage, strengthen
e) exhorting and comforting and encouraging
f) to instruct, teach
We must share the gospel with others. Whatever your chosen method of spreading the word is, I encourage you to do it. Email, blogging, facebook, evangelizing face to face, mission work...we must literally beg those who have not made a decision to make it. I know it can be off-putting, but there are ways we can encourage others without turning them off. Those ways are mentioned above in the definition. Perhaps most of the begging will be to the Lord in prayer to soften their hearts to receive Him.
People watch us more than we are aware so we need to really be conscious of our actions. We must live lives that are holy and pleasing to the Lord.
"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody." ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (NIV)
I believe it's time to look up. Christ is coming soon! Spread the Word and invite others to join you in Heaven on that day.
Father, how I long for the appearing of Your Son to bring us Home to You. You have promised that we will be with You forever, and there is so much in Your Word that describes what life will be like with You in Heaven. I cannot wait. Continue to give me a thirst and hunger for Your Word, so that I might learn more and be able to share more intelligently about the return. May no one be left behind because I was to fearful to speak up. Use me, Lord, however You will. Thank You so much for the promise of the verses above and the promise of Your Word. In Jesus' Name I pray, Maranatha!
Are you Ready?
Are you ready? What if the call came now? Perhaps while you were out running errands? Maybe while you're rocking your little one or sitting in your office working?
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. " ~ Matthew 24:36-44 (NIV)
While we cannot know the day or hour, we can be aware of the signs pointing to Christ's return. I believe that's why He gave them.
Are you ready? If you are afraid that you will be one of the ones left behind as described in the words of Christ above, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me tell you about my Savior. He is mighty to save and you can have assurance of eternal life and the hope that if we are live when Christ returns that you will be flying right by me, on the way up to be with Him forever.
Does this sound familiar? It was originally posted for Thankful Thursday a few months back. It fit here perfectly.