1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
“For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” vs. 16
There are references throughout the New Testament to an imminent return of Christ. It seems to have been a universal expectation for Christians. Believers were confident that the work that was begun in the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus would be brought to completion by his return in glory, and they waited eagerly for that great day. Paul had received a vision of what that second coming would be like, and uses it to assure the Thessalonians that those who had died in Christ would, in fact, be the first to greet him upon his return. With our view of the universe it’s hard to picture the dead rising up to meet the descending Christ, though it was a favorite subject for medieval artists. But dismissing the image doesn’t mean that we are compelled to dismiss the hope of new life in Christ beyond death. Most of us recognize that life in this world is far from sanctified and that the work of Christ is incomplete. It’s perfectly proper for us to yearn for that completion with all of our hearts and even pray that it comes quickly. Early believers greeted each other with the Aramaic words maranatha which means “our Lord is coming.” That’s exactly the sentiment some are feeling today, and they’re quick to add, “may he come quickly!”
Thought for the Day: How do I imagine the coming of the Lord?