It must have been a real thrill for Christians in the 1st century to hear things about the future they had never heard before. They did not have the completed Bible as we do today. There were, of course, many things that perplexed them but as they read letters written by some of the apostles, e.g. Paul, Peter, John, James, their perplexities faded away and were replaced by a new-found confidence that all would be well.
We noted in our last meditation that Jesus had already taught that an ‘UNTIL’ worth waiting for was that some time in the future He would come again to take all believers to be with Him in heaven. This sustained them through testing times but there were those who were deeply concerned about Christian relatives and friends, who had already passed away – what would happen to them? Would they miss out in this heart-warming ‘UNTIL THE COMING OF THD LORD’?
Paul, particularly, encouraged them and gave them hope. He wrote to a group of Christians in Thessalonica, who had not been Christians for very long:
‘For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain UNTIL the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep (death is sleep for the Christian!). 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. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words’, 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 verses 15-18.