Daily Devotional in I Thessalonians 4
Hundreds of biblical prophecies have been fulfilled. In this chapter there is one mentioned that will be the next to be fulfilled. Billions, in the last two thousand years, have been waiting for this one (vs. 13-18) to be accomplished. It is the great catching up of the dead in Christ and the Christians that are living (vss. 16- 17) at that time.
The Greek word for “caught up” (vs. 17) is “harpazō”, and it means “to catch away, to seize, pluck, pull, and take by force”. It is very similar to the English word “rapture”, which means “transport, seizing away”. Although “rapture” is not used in the preserved King James text, this futuristic happening is often referred to by that name.
When the Lord shouts, the archangel’s voice is sounded, and God’s trumpet is blown the rapture will occur (vs. 16). The first to ascend will be the dead in Christ. Those that have trusted Christ as Saviour and died will be called up. Their souls are already joined with him (II Cor. 5:8, Eccl. 12:7) as a soul never dies, but the body sleeps (vs. 14) awaiting its wake-up call by the heavenly summoning of the rapture.
The second group to meet the Lord in the air are those Christians which are alive. Before the terrible happenings occur, somewhere after Rev. 4:1, many Christians will be called up also — without dying. No one knows when this catching away will occur (Mat. 24:36). It could be today. It could be tomorrow or twenty years from now, but it will happen; God promised!
If the heavenly trumpet were blown to call the living saved from this world, are you absolutely, positively sure you would be called away home to heaven? What a terrible time it will be when a lot of well-intentioned, good-deeders, and many religious-but-lost find out that they never were summoned by the heavenly call. It will be too late for those that have already heard God’s message and have rejected it. What a frightful time it will be when the prophesied wrath of God is finally poured out on this earth to give those that have never heard the Gospel message a chance to turn to Christ for salvation.
If you are not sure you will be going up during the catching away, make sure of your transport “ticket” today. Admit your sinnership, and trust Christ’s death on the cross as the only payment for your sins. If you do, then you may be one of many that will hear the heavenly trumpet sound its victory call to Christians one day soon.
Today’s Thought: We are going either by the clods or by the clouds. Are you ready?
Today’s Reading: I Thessalonians 4
1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.
3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:
6 That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.
7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.
9 ¶ But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
10 And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;
11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
13 ¶ But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 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 them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend 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:
17 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.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (KJV)