The Approaching Event.

1 Thessalonians 4:16‑18  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 7
“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
THIS event may take place at any moment. Millions will then respond to the Lord's "descending shout, to the voice of the archangel and the trump of God. Saints from every part of the globe will be "caught up" to meet the Lord. The redeemed from Adam down will be raised from among the dead and joyfully ascend to meet the Lover and Redeemer of their souls.
Not, indeed, with bodies of weakness and mortality, but with bodies conformed to His body of glory. Thus they will be "caught up" to meet the Lord, and, as the fruit of His own death upon the cross, will be presented faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy (Jude 2424Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, (Jude 24)).
What an event! What a moment to wait for! What bliss untold to long for! What a Savior to watch for! "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour" (Matt. 25:1313Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. (Matthew 25:13)).
Could any event be more important or be pregnant with such stupendous consequences? Could anything be more calculated to keep the heart awake than the immediate prospect of the Lord's return? "If I go away, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:33And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:3)). It is ours to joyously respond, saying, "Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:2020He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:20)).
The child of God is to live in the light and expectation of this glorious event. He is to regulate his affairs in view of it. Nor is it a 'mere doctrine with him, but something that enters into his very life, both at home and abroad, in the meeting and in the workshop. He may come today is a blessed fact which cheers him as he rises in the morning; and as he commends himself to His care and keeping for the night, he remembers with gladness that He may come before the morning. The sons of toil and those languishing on beds of sickness are comforted by His promise to come' quickly. In the meantime He is with them, comforting their hearts, and saying, "It is I, Myself; be not afraid.”
As we sit down at the Lord's table we look backward and forward—backward to His death, forward to His coming. "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's 'death till He come" (1 Cor. 11:2626For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. (1 Corinthians 11:26)). If we remember His death, it is the expression of His infinite love; and if we look forward to His coming again for us, we, as it were, hear Him say, "I shall not be satisfied until I have you with and like Me where I am.”
He delights to present Himself in a way that will sustain our affections and lead the heart to respond to His own desires. In Rev. 22:1616I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. (Revelation 22:16) He says, "I Jesus have sent Mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning Star." Not only is He the Author of David's greatness and, according to the flesh, coining of his line, but also "the bright and morning Star." He is such to His waiting Church, Himself the consummation of all her hopes and expectations. To Israel He will appear as the Sun of righteousness, arising with healing in His wings, to introduce the millennial day of peace and glory, when the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2:1414For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14); Isa. 2:1-51The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 3And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 4And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 5O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord. (Isaiah 2:1‑5)).
But Christ as the morning Star is the bright hope of the Church. Hence it says, "The Spirit and the bride say, Come" (Rev. 22:1717And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17)). At His coming we shall be translated to heaven, where we belong. When Israel is blest, and the nations, the earth, purified by the judgments of the Lord, will be the sphere of their blessing. Creation itself, too, will realize the beneficent rule of the Lord Jesus Christ. Delivered from the bondage of corruption, it will be brought into the liberty of the glory of the children of God (Rom. 8:2222For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. (Romans 8:22)). Thus, for this poor earth, which has groaned under man's misrule for so many centuries, there is a bright and blessed day coming when He whose right it is shall reign (Isa. 11:1-91And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; 3And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: 4But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. 5And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. 6The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. 9They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:1‑9)).
But if the coming of the Lord is a blessed event for the saints of God, it will be a sorrowful. one for those who have never accepted Christ, or having once professed to receive Him, have given it all up!
Oh, how this should awaken in the hearts of the true children of God greater affection for the Lord and devotion to His interests here The Church—the people of God—is the center of His interests. Its state is a matter of great moment with Him. He would have His saints separate from the world and devoted to Him, each filling his relationships in this life for His glory and expecting His return.
For the child of God, then, the Lord is coming. The world may be ignorant of this, and the professing Church asleep, but for the people of God there can be no event of greater importance.