“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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).
In Greek, the word “shout” means to incite by word, to awaken, excite, spur to action. The voice of the archangel will be heard by all overcomers. “He is at the door! Come, beloved! He whom you love has come to take you away.” This is no discreet coming, quietly done in a corner. No! Jesus is coming with trumpet blasting, with hosts of angels, with a shout, with a cry of the archangel. The dead in Christ will arise first to meet Him in the air. They will embrace Him first. Do you think they will be silent? With new bodies? Eternally redeemed and at long last home with Jesus? Beloved, there will be thunderous rejoicing! And while they are rejoicing, He will send His angels into all the world and gather His children. What a welcome that will be.
But here is the meaning of His coming, distilled in a few words: “And so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). How foolish it is to argue whether we will be living on earth or in some heaven. Heaven will be wherever Jesus is. Some are so determined we will never leave this earth, that Jesus will come down to us and set up a world kingdom. All I want is this: “So shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Do you desire to ever be with the Lord? Did you know that it is also His desire to be with you? “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory” (John 17:24). Leave the times and seasons in the Father’s hands and live every day of your life as if Christ were coming within the hour. But remember, until He comes there is much work to be done.