“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.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16 (NKJV)
I’m waiting for my parents to come home.
No, they aren’t wayward or lost. Actually, they are happily on a long vacation while I am missing the greatest babysitters in the world (also known as grandparents). I can hardly stand the wait until they return. They live right in our neighborhood and shower our family of five with love … and feed us delicious dinners. (Bonus!)
Knowing they are coming back soon puts a smile on my face. My mom, who is constantly laughing, has a loud voice that I love and miss. I’ve never had to ask her to speak up or repeat herself. I can hear every word, crystal clear. People know when she has entered a room.
Friends, as much as I look forward to my parents’ return, there’s a day coming that’s even more exciting than being reunited with family. Jesus is coming back, and when He enters the atmosphere, everyone will know it. He will come back with a shout no one will be able to miss!
Our key verse describes His triumphant return, “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” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). This mighty sound is likened to a shout, a voice and a trumpet. Imagine what people will say about this thunderous noise piercing heaven and earth. Those who do not know Christ will no doubt wonder, “What was that???”
You will know.
It will be the ultimate sound of joy for every believer. It will be reunion-time! We will be with the Lord, with the dead in Christ who have gone before us.
Let’s take a closer look at two of the Greek words the Apostle Paul uses in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 to describe this event: “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor [epiphaneia] of his coming [parousia]” (NIV).
Epiphaneia means “appearance” or “visible manifestation.” We will hear the shout and we will also see His brilliance. Christ will destroy the antichrist with the brightness of His coming. Parousia means “coming” or “presence.” This term was often used in secular Greek literature to refer to the visit or presence of a king or important dignitary. When the King of kings comes on the scene, you will see pomp and majesty beyond anything you’ve ever dreamed of.
So when you feel discouraged by the news or the circumstances of your life, remember His shout is coming. Paul exhorted the Christians in Thessalonica to comfort each other with reminders of their destiny: “We who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18, NIV).
You are on the winning side. Just as Christ came as a baby, someday He will return as a victorious King. God doesn’t take vacations. He is constantly working behind-the-scenes on your behalf and mine.
Are you waiting expectantly, looking to heaven with hope? It’s easy to forget the promises and prophecies in the Bible when day-to-day duties scream for our attention. But let us remember — we are waiting for the Lord’s return with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. What a day that will be!
Lord, we’re so encouraged to know You are returning as the triumphant King. You will come and bring justice on the earth, and defeat Your enemies. I look forward to Your glorious return with hope and gratitude. Help me point more people to You today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
1 Corinthians 15:51-52, “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed — in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” (NIV)
Revelation 19:11-12a, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns.” (NIV)
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Do you want to raise children who look forward to the coming of Jesus Christ? Arlene Pellicane’s book, Parents Rising: 8 Strategies for Raising Kids Who Love God, Respect Authority, and Value What’s Right, will help you and is available in the bookstore.
Visit Arlene’s website for a few creative ideas on teaching your kids about Jesus’ coming, so they can anticipate His return with joy.
REFLECT AND RESPOND
How often do you think about the return of Christ? How would it transform your life if you lived in anticipation of His coming? We’d love to hear, in the comments.
1 Thessalonians 4:18 says, “Therefore comfort one another with these words” (NKJV). Whom can you comfort this week with the hope of Christ’s coming?
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