1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
I hear this quote over and over again. J hear many of my friends say things like; “I’m taking the first flight out.” I do so hope they are right, that they should live so long as to be part of this event. They wash over the fact that it was said almost two thousand years ago. The reason it was said has been far removed from the statement and now today it takes on a new hope. But should it?
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
It was said then to comfort Christians who had a specific concern about those who had died knowing Christ but that had not yet seen all the hope which we now see. The New Testament was being written out in the lives that were being lived and in the deaths that were sacrifices of faith.
I have not seen it lately, thank God, but I have seen these words used to separate ourselves from unbelievers. That was not the intent. They were meant for Christian to Christian comfort. I do not know that this practice still exists, I hope not. We should not speak to sinners as if they have chosen hell over heaven, they do not believe in either.
People who believe in heaven and hell will choose the better thing. They may not believe in the Way, but they have a hope for the destination. The majority of sinners do not give a thought about anything except the moment they live in. Life for them is about the pleasure or pain of now. We have to touch them in that now moment to be able to give them any hope of anything different. Afterlife isn’t an afterthought for those enslaved in sin. Only now is real.