Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
The wedding guests rushed out to meet the bridegroom. So happy that he was finally coming, they joined his joyous bridal party as he entered the wedding hall (Matt. 25:6).
So excited that Paul the apostle was coming, the Christians in Rome journeyed 43 miles on the Appian Way to meet Paul and become part of his entourage as he entered the capital city (Acts 28:15).
This passage in Thessalonians 4 does not describe believers being whisked off the earth in "the rapture." Rather, it proclaims the joyous coming of Christ the King and the ecstatic response of his followers. As in Matthew 25:6 and Acts 28:15, this text is about going "to meet" a visiting dignitary in order to escort him back to where you were.
Christ is coming! And those believers who are alive will in rapturous joy be caught up, with the dead, to meet Christ in the air, so they all might be part of Christ's glorious parade to earth as rightful King. Paul's picture here is not about escaping from the earth. It is about meeting and greeting the Lord as he returns to establish shalom throughout the earth.
Prayer: Christ the King, we joyously await your glorious coming.
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