The Final Flight
“...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 immortal soul.

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; "dynamite".

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
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