Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Every now and then, there seems to be a resurgence of interest in the end times. Religious leaders will draw apocalyptic scenarios, often indicating some sort of secret, spiritual gathering of God’s people to himself, an outbreak of disorder and violence, and maybe an opportunity for people who were left behind in the gathering to trust God and be rescued themselves.
Our reading from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 seems neglected. Let’s notice a few of the details.
First, we see that the coming of Christ is a matter of comfort. Some of the Thessalonians have become sick or even died. Have they been ignored by God? Not at all. They are going to be gathered to him in the last day, even if they have died. The dead in Christ will rise. There is no doubt.
Second, we find that this willbe an event which will be known and understood by everyone. See the trumpet calls? This is God’s trumpet. It will gather everyone’s attention. Nobody will have any doubt.
What of the response? Those who are living will also join with the risen dead. While the passage doesn’t say what happens with those, living or dead, who didn’t believe on Jesus, we can safely assume that they will not have another opportunity. There’s a sense of urgency about the reminders.
God calls all people everywhere to be sorry for their sin, to trust Jesus, and to live a life of repentance. To those who are doing so, this passage brings great encouragement. We can know that we will be safe in eternity, just as are those who have gone before us. We can comfort one another with these words. The end of time is not something to fear, but to anticipate.
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