- 1 Thess. 1:1-5:28
In around 51 A.D., Paul, Silas and Timothy wrote a letter to the Christians in Thessalonica, which was one of the cities they had visited and preached Jesus on the Second Missionary Journey. The letter deals with a number of topics, and its purpose is to encourage the brethren there and communicate the love that Paul, Silas and Timothy had for them and to remind them of certain truths that they needed to continue to follow. There are a lot of potential topics that we could select for today's devotional, but I would like to focus on the information that the Holy Spirit revealed about the resurrection and the return of Jesus.
13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen 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 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.
1 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.
8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. 11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.
(1 Thess. 4:13-5:11 NKJV)
Jesus told the apostles that when He returned, He would come like a thief breaking into a house at night. Everything would continue as usual up to that point. Paul said that Jesus would return with the voice of an archangel and the trumpet. The dead in Christ would arise from the ground. The living Christians who remained would be called up to meet Jesus and the others in the air, together with Jesus forever, never to be separated again.
These are beautiful truths from GOD's word and, like Paul said, we need to comfort and encourage one another because of these things. Praise GOD for His great and wonderful plan for us.