Scripture Reading: I Thessalonians 4:13-18
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” (I Thessalonians 4:16)
The Lord Jesus Christ will return to earth a second time. It will be a glorious and triumphal event when the Lord Himself comes in all His glory to usher in the new heavens and new earth. Notice the three sounds that accompany His return. These noises summon the dead to wake from their slumber, that is, their bodies will be resurrected and their souls that descend with Jesus will be united to their resurrected bodies. This is the final state of our salvation — glorification.
The first sound is the cry of command. I understand this to be the command for the dead to rise to life. The second is the voice of an archangel. The only archangel identified in the Bible is Michael (Jude 9). The archangel formally announces the coming of the King of kings. Then there is the sound of the trumpet of God. Trumpets in the Old Testament proclaimed the Lord’s presence (Exodus 19:16; I Chronicles 16:6; Psalm 47:5). In the Jewish tradition, the trumpet was associated with battle. In the case at the second coming, the trumpet of God announces the Day of the Lord, and His victory over the final enemy death — “The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (I Corinthians 15:26).
On that great day, Jesus will bring the souls of all the deceased saints with Him. He commands that their bodies be resurrected and He reunites their souls with their resurrected bodies. We are given a description of these resurrected bodies in I Corinthians 15 — “So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body” (I Corinthians 15:42-44).
Do not lose hope. We will see our loved ones again. We will join them in worship and service in the New Jerusalem — “And I saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away'” (Revelation 21:2-4).
Lord Jesus, I look forward with great anticipation Your return to this earth. I look forward to seeing You as You return gloriously and triumphantly. I will rejoice to see again those I have loved so dearly who are with You now. I look forward to the coming of the New Jerusalem. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
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