From 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then, we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore, encourage one another with these words” (any emphasis mine)
Then, 1 Corinthians 15:50-53; “I tell you this, brothers; flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we will 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. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.”
Paul wrote these epistles to Christians of his day, giving them assurance that Jesus had not yet returned to call His believers Home, and that any who had fallen asleep – died – would not be left out. In 2 Thessalonians 2, he stated that the day would not come until just before the evil man of lawlessness would be revealed, and then the “rebellion,” or tribulation, would take place (vv.1–4).
Paul explains in verses 6–7 that what was “restraining” the antichrist had to be removed before he could be revealed. This would be the Holy Spirit who indwells all true believers while we are alive; and if the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way, then all believers would have to be removed as well. Then, the Rapture, as described in 1 Thessalonians and 1 Corinthians, would take place. It would also keep God’s promise to prevent believers from entering the wrath.
The assurance that all who perished and were in Christ would be raised first is evident in both epistles. Then, those who will be alive at the shout and trumpet sound would be taken up next. It seems like a very detailed, lengthy operation, but we’re told it will be in the “twinkling of an eye.”
When Jesus comes to call us up to meet Him in the clouds, He will “bring with Him those who have fallen asleep.” When a believer perishes on earth, that person’s soul goes to be with Jesus right then (Philippians 1:23). At the Rapture, the body and soul are reunited and converted to immortal, imperishable bodies. By the way, God knows where everybody that has ever perished is located, even if it’s only a very small particle that’s left. Those who are alive will be converted on the way up to meet with Jesus. This will practically be instantaneous. “Twinkling of an eye” is considerably less than one second, and God is very capable of doing this.
To even be a part of all this, one must have received and accepted Jesus as their Savior, Redeemer, and King. That process is described in Romans 10:9-13 and bears repeating once more. “Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the scripture says, everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on Him. For everyone who calls on the Lord will be saved.”
It should be noted that when the Father repeats something, we should take special note. Three times in the above scripture, we’re told that all who follow this will be saved. That should leave no doubt, for anyone that has Jesus in their hearts will have an eternal Home with Him.
Another super benefit: Christians never say a permanent goodbye to fellow believers. At some point, known only to God, we will forever be with all who are saved. A very touching poem by Christian poet Pearl Leona Sturgis is “I’ll Be Looking for You.”
“I’ll be looking for you when the Trumpet shall sound, and I rise from the ground.
As the Heavens depart like a scroll, when I sail through the air, I’ll remember this prayer, for I’m paying today for your soul.
I’ll be looking for you when life’s journey is through and all burdens have vanished away! Now I’m asking the Lord, and my whole heart is poured in this prayer I am praying today.
Will you meet me someday in that Home far away, with no heartache nor sorrow to bear? In those Mansions sublime, may yours be next to mine; if we never meet here, meet me There!”
What a wonderful feeling to know that we will be with loved ones forever. That is, those who have followed the ABCs of Salvation. Admit (confess) we’re sinners, as all of us are (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23). Believe Jesus is our Lord and that He was raised from the dead by the Father to cover our sins (John 3:16; John 14:6). And finally, Call on the name of the Lord and be saved (Romans 10:13).
There may be some who refuse to believe, or those who will choose to follow the false prophets’ teachings that there are many ways to Heaven, or that all religions worship the same god, or as long as you’re a good person, you don’t need Jesus. Their fate is clearly stated in Revelation 20:11-15. There can be no repentance after a person takes their last breath here, and for those who have not received and accepted Jesus as their Savior. Heaven or Hell is established at that instant.
Time is definitely getting short, as all the end-time prophecies are here right now. It’s only a matter of which moment that God has decided it will be. Just witnessing how evil, corrupt, and sinful this world has become is only a preview of the tribulation. It will get even worse, and those who remain for it will have chosen to do so.
Call on Jesus today – right now – and secure your place in Heaven with Him forever. Hopefully, I’ll See You There!