Serving Jesus in Our Community

Bible Notes

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (13.04.23)

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NIVUK)
13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

In ancient times, a King arriving at a city would be met outside the gates by a delegation of dignitaries. Having been greeted, they would then parade together into the city. Paul uses this image, which would have been familiar to his readers, to try and represent what it will be like when Jesus returns. He will come to claim his kingdom, finally the Lord’s Prayer will be fulfilled and God’s will will be done on earth as in heaven. As with any coming king, he will be greeted, but the delegation will be something special – all who have died in him will be raised to new life, and together with those who were still alive, we will go out ‘into the clouds to meet him’,* and escort him to earth to begin his reign.

What an amazing thought, that one day we will greet you again in person! Until then, I greet you through your Spirit, and pray reign in me.

* Note – this is poetic language, who knows how Jesus will appear!

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