November 2019  
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“13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen [a]asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 15 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 [c]asleep. 16 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. 17 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. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words” (I Thessalonians 4:13-18 NKJV).

The Bible is filled with encouraging words for those who are faithful children of God concerning the coming of the Lord. John told the brethren that because of the love which God has shown for us we are enabled and will stand with boldness before the throne in the day of judgment. He wrote, “16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (I John 4:16-18). With the knowledge which was revealed to John every faithful Christian finds assurance, security, concerning his eternal destiny. John wrote, “12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:” (I John 5:12-14).

Jesus told His disciples, “22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 10:22). In the letter to the church in Smyrna Jesus warned of coming troubled times that would come upon the church. He then stated, “10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

In his letter to the brethren of Thessalonica, Paul comforted the brethren telling them that the Lord would return with a shout and with sounding of the trumpet of God. He promised them that the dead in Christ would be raised to be with Him in the air and also that the faithful who remained alive would also be caught up to be with Him in the air (I Thessalonians 4:16-17). In his letter to the brethren at Corinth Paul wrote, “51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52 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. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory” (I Corinthians 15:51-54). In the scenes at the judgment Jesus welcomed the righteous into His eternal kingdom stating, “34 Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

On the other hand, Paul warned that those who fail to obey Christ will also be raised from death. He stated, “10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences” (II Corinthians 5:9-11). Jesus sent the unrighteous away from His presence for all eternity. He stated, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” (Matthew 25:41). Jesus concluded his statements with, “46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Matthew 25:46). John called this punishment the second death. He wrote, “8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

The inspired writers tell us of both the joy and the punishment that God has reserved for mankind; for the righteous eternal life and for the disobedient eternal condemnation. One is just as certain as the other. Jesus stated, “13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). Which road will you and I be found travelling “When the Trumpet Sounds”?

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