Our Blessed Hope
“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren,
concerning those who have fallen asleep (died),
lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
even so God will bring with him those who
sleep in Jesus.”
1st Thessalonians 4:13-14
Paul is saying that we are not to sorrow over lost loved ones as though we had no hope of seeing them again. And then he reveals the doctrine of the Rapture which he called "a mystery" (1st Corinthians 15:51 ), something that was not revealed in the past but is being revealed now. It is the hope that no other religion can give.
“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.
And the dead in Christ will rise first.”
Imagine it. Jesus Christ himself is going to descend from heaven and all those who died believing in him are going to rise from their graves. Interestingly, when Jesus himself rose from the dead, saints of old also rose and were seen by many:
"...and the graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after his resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many." Matthew 27:52-53 At the Rapture, believers who have died are resurrected, and then ...believers in Jesus who have not died, those who are alive on earth at this time, will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air and from that day to never be separated again. “THEN …we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17 This is such an astonishing teaching that many reject it because it sounds preposterous. But the same God who parted the waters of the Red Sea, the same God who brought forth his Son through a virgin, the same God who gave sight to the blind and healed the infirm, the same God who himself was Raptured when he ascended to heaven after his resurrection ― this same God will once again do something that defies science and all that is known to man. He will gather all born-again believers together to himself before the great Tribulation that will be unleashed upon the unbelieving world. Paul said our “blessed hope” comforts us when we lose our loved ones. We will see them again, and rejoice with them in the presence of the Lord. It is such a wonderful promise that he continued: “THEREFORE …comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:18 Some say believers will be here during the Tribulation. If that were true, no way could we “comfort one another." Don't tell us we're going to experience the horrors of the Tribulation, and then tell us to comfort one another with those words. Jesus said the Tribulation will be the worst time the earth has ever known or ever will. You couldn’t comfort one another if that were the case. "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be." Matthew 24:21 We are accused of being "escapists." And we say a resounding YES! Why? Because Jesus TOLD US TO BE: "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy TO ESCAPE all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Those who believe are:
“...looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing
of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ...”