Posts Tagged ‘1 Thessalonians 4:15-18’

Return of Christ: Rejoice in hope

May 31, 2018

Biblegateway.com offers the Verse of the Day for May 31, 2018 coming from 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17:

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.

Previous blog entries have focused on this particular passage making reference to a subject that continues to generate much discussion: the return of Jesus Christ. Whether termed “the Rapture” or “the Gathering Together,” or somewhat irreverently called “the Big Snatch,” the Return of Christ still stirs the hearts of believers. Although the term “rapture” is not used in the Scriptures, the Latin derivation of the word is translated from the Greek word harpazo, meaning “to carry off,” “snatch up,” or “grasp hastily.”

Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, the Bridegroom, went away to prepare a place and promised to return for his bride. That promise ignites passion in the heart of believers. Lately this “enduring flame” burns even more brilliantly, as we grow older and witness the passing of family members, friends, and loved ones, especially contemporaries of our same age range. Such occasions bring to mind the words of the Psalmist who describes our lives as but a vapor.

The person who dies may be widely recognized and celebrated, such as Rev. Billy Graham, who recently passed away at age 99 or that individual may be a co-worker who lived and died in obscurity. In either case, during such times we may experience the depths of sorrow and a sense of loss that can be overwhelming. As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we take comfort and encouragement from the passage that includes the Verse of the Day. The New Living Translation of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 provide great comfort and assurance:
And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.

14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.
15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves.
17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.
18 So encourage each other with these words.

The lyrics to this song also remind us of the certainty of the Savior’s promise:

He Shall Return

He shall return.
He shall return.
Look up toward the Eastern sky.
He shall return.
He shall return.
Look up, your redemption is drawing nigh.

He shall return.
He shall return.
He shall return.

Indeed, the return of Christ is our hope, that is, our great expectation of a future good. In the midst of challenging situations, we reflect upon the goodness of God who has been faithful in past instances, and the Word of God assures us of His steadfast love, as we rejoice in hope, so expressed in this poem:

Rejoice in Hope

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble,

and keep on praying.

Romans 12:12 (NLT)

And we now truly know God is able to do
Exceedingly and abundantly above all
That our finite minds can ask or could even think.
He uplifts and strengthens us each time that we fall.
Our paths lead to disaster, to the very brink.
Despite delays and setbacks, His Word is still true:
God is faithful to His promise; He will come through.
When life begins to unravel, we may ask why
The fulfillment of His will seems to be delayed.
All those who call on Him, He will never deny.
We are assured He will reward all who have obeyed.
Our faithful God is not a man that He should lie.
Through every trial, we are covered by the Blood,
We rejoice in hope, knowing that the Lord is good.

We close with this musical expression of our ultimate expectation: “When He Shall Come”:

Walk like Enoch

December 29, 2017

Genesis 5--24

The Verse of the Day for December 29, 2017 for Logos Bible Software comes from Genesis 5:24 where we find a striking description of a remarkable man of God:

Genesis 5:24 (Holman Christian Standard Bible):

Enoch walked with God; then he was not there because God took him”

In Hebrews 11 Enoch is the standard bearer in what has been designated as the “Hall of Faith”:

The New Living Translation describes him in this way:

Hebrews 11:5

It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God.

Verse 6 goes on to make this point:

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

Living in the midst of absolute ungodliness and staggering unbelief, Enoch “walked with God” and preached the coming of the Lord, described in Jude 14-15:

14 Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones 15 to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

The quotation actually comes from the Book of Enoch, one of the non-canonical works written between the Old Testament and the Gospels.

Enoch also serves as a” type” or foreshadowing of the translation or gathering together of believers at Christ’s return.  1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 speaks of this occurrence:

 15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18 So encourage each other with these words.

In reflecting on the Verse of the Day and its portrait of Enoch, this poem came to mind:

Enoch’s Song

  By faith Enoch was taken away so that he should not see death;

  “and was not found, because God had taken him”,

  for before he was taken he had this testimony,

  that he pleased God.

 Hebrews 11:5

 

My heart’s song is to so sing like Enoch,

With all that lies within me, with each breath,

That I too may walk with God and please Him,

That one day when they seek me, I shall not

Be found, for I will have been gathered, caught

Up to meet the Lord in the clouds forever,

Never to taste the bitter root of death

But savor the sweetness of His favor.

That to do His will was my sole desire–

May I leave behind this testimony

Written on the pages of pure a heart

Prepared for the marriage ceremony,

Blameless in His presence with nothing to hide,

So transformed and fashioned to be the bride.

Contemporary music group, August Rain, concludes with a lively declaration: “Walk Like Enoch”: