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.”
1 Thess. 4:16-18.
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 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. 25:13).
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 14:3). It is ours to joyously respond, saying, "Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Rev. 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. 11:26). 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. 22:16 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. 2:14; Isa. 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. 22:17). 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. 8:22). 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. 11:1-9).
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!
Let anyone read 2 Thess. 2:7-12, and he will see what will befall multitudes in these Christian lands left behind at the coming of the Lord. They did not "receive the love of the truth," so they shall "believe a lie"; they would not "be saved," so they must be "damned." They would not have the Christ of God, so they will bow before the "son of perdition," and follow the "lawless one," who will meet his judgment at the appearing of the Lord from heaven with all His saints.
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.