The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord is the imminent and blessed hope of the church. (Statement of Fundamental Truths of the Assemblies of God)
I don’t know about you, but I hate the word goodbye. There is something sad and final about that word. Even in casual conversation, I’m more likely to use something like,”So long”or “See you” rather than “Goodbye”. I don’t like to let go of my friends.
Perhaps that is why this statement of fundamental truth is so comforting to me. It says that for those who are in Christ, there is no “goodbye” just “till we meet again.” This is why a Christian funeral is such an odd affair. We sing songs of hope and joy while tears of grief are streaming down our cheeks. There is an odd mixture of grief and joy and hope all rolled into one. There is grief in that it will be awhile before we see our loved one again. There is joy in the knowledge that they are in the presence of the Lord. And there is hope, because we know that we will someday join them in a land where there are no goodbyes.
Jesus told us before He left that He was going to prepare a place for us and that someday He would return to receive us there. Many millions of believers have passed away since that time, and more may perish before that great and final day. I don’t know if I will witness His appearing in the clouds of Glory while I still live or if I will rise from my grave on that “Great Gettin’ Up Morning.”
It really doesn’t matter I suppose, either way, God’s promise is that I will rise. Gravity will lose it’s power over my body and my feet will leave the ground joined by the saints of all the ages as we join with the Lord.
I look forward to that great day with anticipation and with dread. I look forward with anticipation because I long to cut loose the cords which bind me to this world. I look forward to a day when I will no long have pain in my body, and my health is restored. I look forward to seeing my grandparents and friends who have gone before me. But I also look forward with dread, because of those people I know who would not join me if He should come today.
The Blessed Hope of the ressurection should comfort us in times of distress, but it should also motivate us to reach those for whom Christ’s appearing will mean wrath. The time is growing short. The last light of day is turning from bright gold to deep red and soon it will be dark. Oh, for us it will be a glorious day, but for those left behind it will be the fall of night. We need to work while it is still day. Nevertheless, with the apostle John, I affirm Jesus’ proclaimation “Behold I come quickly” with the words “Even so Come.”
I Thessalonians 4. 16-17
A. According to this scripture in what order are the saints caught up at the rapture.
B. Why do you think Paul says that we are to comfort one another with these words?
A. What does Jesus say He is going to do?
B. How does it make you feel that Jesus Himself is going to supervise the “building” of your dwelling place in heaven?
A. What is the whole of creation groaning in anticipation of?
B. What do you think Paul means about the “redemption of the body”?
A. What words does Paul use to describe the “glorious appearing” of Jesus?
B. What makes this promise a “blessed hope”?
I Corinthians 15.51-52
A. How quickly will this great event take place?
B. In what way do you believe we will be changed?
A. Why were the apostles gazing into heaven?
B. What did the angels tell them would someday happen?
C. What had Jesus told the disciples to do in the meantime? (v.8)