We are given God’s word to deal with every aspect of life from birth, to how we should live as Christians, to how we should deal with certain things that will arise in our lifetime, and also to how we should think about death and cope with it when loved ones pass away.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Paul is seeking to comfort the Christians at Thessalonica as he writes,
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep 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 not precede those who have fallen asleep.
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
Paul says look, I want you to be informed that one day Jesus is coming back and those who have already gone to be with the Lord and those of you who are still alive at His return will all be with Jesus forever. Some of the Christians at this time were scared that their loved ones who died would miss the glory of Christ's return. But we know that the Bible teaches our souls go directly to be with the Lord when we die. Paul explains to them that, if we believe the Gospel, that Jesus died and rose again, then believe also that He will come back for His bride one day. The dead in Christ will also rise (our earthly body that has been laid in the grave) and the living at the time will be gathered all together. He says in light of what you have you have heard here… encourage one another with these words.
We have a hope that non-believers do not have. We have hope beyond the grave because we know that the death of this body only means that we are present with our Savior.
The encouragement, the eager anticipation is, that we get to spend eternity with Jesus. When it talks about us being gathered all together I know we will see loved ones and friends who died in Christ before us and we will all be reunited together with Jesus.
In John 11:26-26: Jesus tells Lazarus' sister Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
We know that our hope is in the gospel, the good news of Jesus dying for ours sins, being raised again on the third day, and defeating death forever. God offers salvation to those repent of their sins, believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, and humbly surrender their lives to Him. I am so thankful for the gift of salvation and we need to seek encouragement from God in His word. What a glorious day that will be when we get to see Jesus!
1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “What no eye has seen, nor ear has heard, and no human heart has conceived—God has prepared these things for those who love him”
I envy those that have gone before us, because they are seeing Jesus face to face right now and experiencing all God has prepared for His children that He loves dearly
Just imagine the JOY we will experience when we are welcomed home by Jesus and He says, “WELL DONE MY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT”