#DailyDevotion Comfort One Another With These Words. Seriously!
1 Thess. 415We tell you only what the Lord has told us: We who are left behind and are still living when the Lord comes will not get ahead of those who went to their rest. 16When the order is given and the archangel calls and God’s trumpet sounds, the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, and the dead who are in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are still living and left behind will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we’ll always be with the Lord. 18Now, then, comfort one another with these words.
There are those words which have brought much false teaching into the Church of Jesus Christ, “left behind.” Now just who is Paul talking about and when does this happen? The immediate context is those who have gone to their rest, who have fallen asleep in the LORD, whom we may say they are deceased but with faith in Jesus. As Paul had said in verse fourteen our LORD Jesus Christ is coming back with those who have preceded us in being with the LORD. We have been left behind by them. These left behind are not unbelievers who missed out on the rapture. At the moment they are all believers in Christ right now who are still breathing. Should be fall asleep in the LORD then we are not part of the “left behind.”
Now this passage speaks of the Last Day. It is announced with an order and the archangels calls and God’s trumpet sounds, the LORD Jesus descends from heaven as he ascended and the dead in Christ will rise first. Now what is this trumpet St. Paul talks about? Jesus speaks of it, Matt. 2431“And with a loud trumpet call He will send out His angels, and they will gather His chosen ones from the north, south, east, and west, from one end of the sky to the other.” (Cf. Matt. 13:40-43) St. Paul mentions it again in 1 Cor. 1551“Now I’ll tell you a mystery. We’re not all going to die, but we’re all going to be changed — 52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye when the last trumpet sounds. It will sound, and the dead will rise immortal, and we’ll be changed.” In these words he describes the same thing as here in 1 Thessalonians namely the dead in Christ will rise first and then we who are left behind will be changed into our new immortal, imperishable, glorious bodies like Christ Jesus’ resurrected body. Finally, the seventh trumpet in Revelation (which one of seven descriptions of the end of the world in Revelation) also describes this day, Rev. 1115The seventh angel blew his trumpet. Then there were loud voices in heaven, saying: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will be King forever…18…to reward Your servants, the prophets, and the holy people, little and great, who fear Your name, and to destroy those who are destroying the earth.”
Finally the other words which gets a lot of traction is “caught up” some translate “rapture.” The Greek here is harpazo which is to seize or snatch away. True we will caught up with the those who are raised just before us to meet the LORD in the air and to be with him always. This is not the same “taken away” in Matt. 24 and Luke 17. Those taken away in those passages are wicked as the seed of the evil one in Matt. 13. Those left behind in Matt. 13, 24 and Luke 17 are the ones left behind here in 1 Thessalonians who are resurrected to eternal life with those who just immediately left their graves. Now it is with the resurrection to eternal life that we are to comfort one another mostly, not that our loved ones are in heaven with the LORD Jesus Christ (usually solely in most conversations).
Heavenly Father, grant us faith in the resurrection in Christ so we may comfort one another with this and finally be gathered with all your saints at the sound of the trumpet. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.