In 1 Thessalonians 4:18 it is written that the body of Christ is to “comfort one another” in their shared hope that their Lord Jesus Christ is returning to gather them together with their deceased friends and relatives in Christ.
When professing believers converse about the second coming of Christ, however, all too often their words tend to be prideful, divisive and hurtful rather than humble, uniting and encouraging. It’s a sad reality that many seem to be ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of this truth. I believe some sincere pastors avoid the topic rather than deal with the potential fallout in their local body which might result from dealing with it.
Sound doctrine on the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ can be developed through simple word searching and scripture cross referencing. Truth hungry, believing and teachable hearts can understand the coming of the Lord without any bible college or seminary training. If you have had trouble trying to figure out what to believe about the coming of the Lord, simply follow the narrow road of scripture below. This teaching isn’t opinion, it’s written as “thus saith the Lord.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 records some very clear and simple truths concerning the next descent of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth.
This scripture was first written to converted Gentile and Jewish believers in Thessalonica, Greece. These believers were addressed as if they could be on earth when their Lord returns. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
The fact that both Jewish and Gentile believers will be on earth when Jesus returns is pictured in Revelation 7:9. Here we see an innumerable number of all racial nationalities worshipping God together after the Lord has returned to “wipe away all tears from their eyes” from the suffering saints who were waiting for him. (Revelation 21:1-7; Isaiah 25:8-9)
I Corinthians 15:51 also tells us that there will be some believers alive when the Lord comes. Both dead and living believers can hope with confidence that their faithful Lord will in that day gather them together to be with their Lord forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14,18)
The descent of the Lord to earth and the gathering together of his children with him (2 Thessalonians 2:1) is outlined step by step in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.
His descent to earth or coming isn’t imminent. In other words, the coming isn’t ready to happen yet. It is written that a falling away or defection from truth has to occur beforehand. During this time that Wicked Antichrist, the man of sin, the son of perdition will reveal himself and make war against the converted Jewish and Gentile believers referred to as “the saints” throughout New Testament scripture. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4; Revelation 13:7)
The gloriously bright manifestation and spoken word of Christ at his coming will destroy that Wicked Antichrist. (2 Thessalonians 2:8)
The following broad sequence of events listed below will occur in the coming of the Lord.
In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God. (1 Thessalonians 4:16)
The dead in Christ (all previously deceased believers from every race and nationality) shall rise first. (1 Thessalonians 14:16)
Then we (live believers of every race and nationality) which are alive and remain (on earth) shall be caught up together with them (the prior deceased believers) in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
This entire sequence of events was previously outlined by Jesus Christ in Matthew 24:27-31 in response to the question recorded in Matthew 24:3: “what shall be the sign of thy coming, and the end of the world?” Mark 13:26-27 also touches on these same things.
1 Corinthians 15:52 calls “the trump” referred to in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 “the last trump”. Jesus Christ refers to the great sound of this trumpet in Matthew 24:31 as the great sound signaling the gathering of his elect children together with him.
Michael is the archangel or chief angel. (Jude 1:9) He blows the great trumpet. (Daniel 12:1) Two resurrections follow at different times after this great trumpet sounds.
The first resurrection is the resurrection of the just to life. (Revelation 20:4-6; Luke 14:14; Daniel 12:1-3; John 5:25-29) “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:6)
Those that had received the mark of the beast are not resurrected at this time. Scripture gives no indication that receiving the mark of the beast is a pardonable sin like teachers John MacArthur, Tim LaHaye, Jimmy De Young, Brannon House, Chris Pinto and others falsely teach.
It is written that receiving the mark of the beast is an act of blasphemous worship of the beast state and its identifying mark or image.
It is written that being of the number 666 is unpardonable blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and is absolutely not a pardonable sin. (Revelation 13-14:11; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:4-10)
Those who were deceived to mark themselves are resurrected after the 1000 years at the resurrection of the unjust to damnation. (Acts 24:15; John 5:29; Revelation 14:9-11; Revelation 20:7-15)
Rather than avoiding the doctrine of the coming of Christ because it might divide our local church, let’s simply receive the clear teaching based upon 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Let’s use this teaching to “comfort one another” in the hope that the Lord Jesus Christ will return to gather us, whether we be alive or dead in Christ when he returns, together with him and our deceased friends and relatives in him.