Online Bible Verses - 1 Thessalonians 4: 16-17 - For the Lord himself will come down from heaven
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, 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.”
1 Thessalonians 4: 16-17
A well-known verse set, often subject to debate amongst three theologically oriented viewpoints. As is always my practice, the need to make clear I am no Billy Graham or Jack Van Impe, limited in my knowledge of theology. I can only go with what I have studied and meditated on; simply my best effort in analysis at present. Much left to learn:
1. Pre-tribulation: Across the board agreement in orthodox Christianity that Christ will return. An “end times” event in concert with a final era known as the great tribulation. See Daniel and Revelation for many of the details. Pre-tribbers would claim two separate manifestations of Christ showing up. The first, here in 1 Thessalonians, has Him removing His church or faithful prior to all the “you know what” flying. The rapture. In essence, they will be spared the experience of enduring some horrific events. The second appearance, when He touches down on the Mount of Olives amidst World War III, to close the show on time and history as we know it.
2. Mid-tribulation: A false peace treaty has been established under the guise of a world leader. Israel, to no surprise, is on one end of that peace agreement. One world government has been formed, things are looking up from a secular viewpoint. It is, however, a trigger for just the opposite. What seemed to be man’s ultimate solution will soon unfold, over a 7 year period, as a time of turmoil never before seen. At the 3 ½ year point, the already mentioned rapture will occur.
3. Post-tribulation: Here scholars equate the above verse set with a singular, or one time, return of Christ. Thus, there is no separate rapture to speak of. As has been the case throughout history according to scripture, persecution and suffering will be a reality for believers and non-believers alike, until the end.
However you choose to slice it, scripture makes one point abundantly clear: Jesus is coming back for round two. Round one saw Him show up as a Lamb. Round two will show Him to be a Lion. Two types of people will be around at the time: those fully expecting it, and those who do not anticipate it at all. Something to ponder now rather than later. As always, it reminds me of a commercial I used to see on TV as a kid for FRAM oil filters. The filter guy’s pitch: you can do the preventative maintenance now, or deal with the consequences later. Taking it a step further and aligning with the Gospel, the maintenance has already been done. That because the repair needed was beyond our capability. In fact, the unit requiring fixing happens to be us, and we cannot fix ourselves. History, both personal and otherwise, tells me that.