“...caught up together with them in the clouds”
By Jon W. Quinn
It will be the most wondrous event of
your existence. Everything that we have ever experienced thus far will pale as
the whole meaning of life focuses down on a single brief moment in our
futures. Perhaps the minutes which lead up to that moment will be pretty much
typical. We might be busy at work. We might be mowing the yard or perhaps
shoveling the sidewalk or playing with our grandchildren. Maybe we'll be
worshiping God with the saints or in private prayer. Or maybe we will have
been dead for years, but that will not matter.
Earth's history will come to a close. Time will cease and eternity will begin.
Think about that precise moment at which time forever stops and (almost)
everything changes for those who are God's children.
Faith Becomes Sight
"Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has
been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have
watched Him go into heaven." (Acts 1:11). The first awareness that we are
entering the final moments of the earthly history of man will come suddenly
and completely. Because of the sights, sounds and changes there will be little
if any time to wonder if this is it; it will be obvious.
It is at this time that we will first see our Lord (Revelation 1:7). Earth's
troubles and sorrows will suddenly belong to an era passed, no longer
important, as we prepare to enter a new realm.
As we behold Jesus in His glorified splendor, we know it will only be an
instant until we become as He is. Then we will comprehend how rich is the
reward toward which we had been planning our whole lives. Those who have been
faithful will know that their lives have not been in vain. "Beloved, now we
are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know
that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as
He is." (1 John 3:2).
The second coming of Jesus will be His final revelation to the world. As the
world witnesses His majestic arrival, it will also witness the revealing of
His people. "...For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you shall also be revealed
with Him in glory.” (see Colossians 3:2-4).
Time for a Change
"Behold, I tell 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 trumpet; for the
trumpet will sound, and the dead shall be raised imperishable, and we shall be
changed." (1 Corinthians 15:51,52). Accompanying the awe-inspiring sight of
the Lord and His angels in the sky will be the angelic trumpets announcing the
end of time, majestic and clear. At that moment both the dead as well as the
living will undergo the change of their lives. It has to be, for you see,
flesh and blood , even the healthiest and strongest among us, is ill-equipped
for eternity in heaven. Our present bodies just do not afford us the freedom
to experience the eternal glories of heaven. So we must become like Jesus is.
Though it has not yet appeared exactly what we shall look like, we do have
some information about our new bodies; "So is the resurrection of the dead. It
is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in
dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in
power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a
natural body, there is also a spiritual body." (1 Corinthians 15:42-44).
There are four different areas of contrast between the glorified body that
shall be the eternal dwelling place of the soul and the natural body which now
affords the soul a temporary place to dwell;
1. It will be an imperishable body. Everything in our universe is subject to
wear and tear. Not so the new body that will be given to the faithful at the
end of time. It is permanent. It will suffer no ill effect wrought by any
destructive force. It must last forever because it will be the new home of our
2. It will be a glorious body. There are various synonyms for the word
translated glory. They include splendor, radiance and fame. The body will be
beautiful and grand. It is the same word that is used to describe the
brightness of the Lord's body as He was transfigured. Of course, as breath-takingly
beautiful we will be, there will be little time to gaze at ourselves in a
mirror. I doubt that there will be any desire to.
3. It will be a powerful body. The word translated power means to possess
ability and might. It is an effective body able to perform completely to meet
whatever need there may be. Interestingly, when a powerful substance was
invented, in order to describe its power, it was this Greek word translated
power (dunamis) that was borrowed and a new English word was coined;
4. It will be a spiritual body. There are several shades in the usages of the
word translated spiritual in this passage. We read of a spiritual house (the
church), spiritual gifts, spiritual sacrifices and so forth. It simply has
reference to the realm above. A spiritual body would be one ideally suited to
live in heavenly places with God.
Your Final Actions on Earth
“...and the dead in Christ shall 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." (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
All this that we have covered is happening in a very brief moment of time.
There has been a trumpet sound, a shout of the arch-angel that have caused you
to look into the sky in bewilderment which fades to wonderment and
anticipation. You then sight Jesus in resplendent glory of such a magnitude
that you have never imagined. Filled with emotion, you witness the spiritual
bodies of the faithful dead rise from the ground and begin their ascent up to
the welcoming arms of the Lord as they are glorified by the angels. And then,
your time comes as your metamorphosis is completed in an instant, and just
like the song says, You fly away to the glory awaiting you. It will be time
for the gates of heaven to open and receive the Lord bringing back His own.
(see Psalm 24:9,10).
From The Bradley Banner 2/23/2014
Published by the Bradley Church of Christ
1505 E. Broadway