1 Thessalonians 4:16 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
I was driving by a graveyard yesterday and I realized that it is going to be the site where one of the greatest miracles in all of recorded history is going to occur. Paul tells us that when Jesus returns, the dead in Christ shall rise. Now they’ve corrupted and decayed in the grave. But when our Lord returns they will rise from their earthy tomb. They will not have the stench of death upon them, for they will be transformed into to heavenly bodies, incorruptible, and immortal.
Our bodies here on earth are but temporary housing. I liken them to travel trailers. On vacation many people pull a small travel trailer behind them for temporary housing. They use them to stay in for their short journey. That’s the way our bodies are, they are but transient and temporary for our pilgrimage here on earth. When Jesus returns we will be given new glorified bodies.
On the day of His glorious return there will be a great transformation. This body that I have here was made from the dust of the earth – it is fragile and is dying every day. It cannot last forever. It will be changed in the twinkling of an eye when Jesus returns.
Every dead and decayed body which is in covenant with the Lord Jesus and made partakers of His sacrifice being cleansed by the blood of the Lamb will rise from their graves and be taken to glory and so shall they forever be with the Lord. This is a mysterious event that is hard to fathom with the human mind but it will occur and we who are alive at the second coming will be changed as they are rising, and we shall meet them in the air as we are gathered into His eternal bosom. We will all have glorified bodies and we’ll be with the Lord.
We read in the scriptures that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. So this is not a case that suggests a person’s soul is asleep, or that they are spiritually oblivious until the day of the Lord’s return. It is their body that is in a place of rest. Their soul is in a place of repose with the Lord, but not unconscious, not asleep. They are with the Lord, fully conscious and sharing the blessings of eternity. They are with Him now. He will bring them back. Our soul goes straight to heaven when we die, and our body waits until Christ returns and reunites our new body with our soul. So we are with the Lord both at death, and in the resurrection and throughout eternity. I know for many it is hard to understand, even Paul calls it a mystery.
1 Corinthians 15:51-53 “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”
You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it’s over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we’ll all be changed. In the resurrection the perishable is gone and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal body replaced by the immortal.
I Thessalonians 4:8 And so we shall be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Only those whose sins have been redeemed by His precious blood and hearts are purified by His sacrifice on Calvary can be comforted by these words and can look forward to His return. Thank God for His gift of grace in Christ Jesus.