John Bennett, Pinxton, Nottingham [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
‘We . . . shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air’, 1 Thess. 4. 17
This is the first issue of the magazine for a new year. As the first month of that year may well have passed we might have settled into the pattern of our daily lives and have forgotten the imminence of the Lord’s return. Equally, these are regarded as words that are so familiar to believers as to be neglected reading for many. How important, then, to remember that the Lord is coming! Maran-atha!
We might ponder the inclusive nature of this call. It will affect every true believer in Christ. Those that have died will be raised. Those that are alive will be ‘caught up’. In another context, the Lord reminded His own that one sparrow cannot fall to the ground without the Father knowing. Such is the Father’s attention to detail. Thus, it is inconceivable that a believer should be neglected in this call to home and glory.
Think too of the power exhibited in the event. We ‘shall be caught up’. W. E. Vine describes the use of the word thus: ‘”to snatch or catch away,” is said of the act of the Spirit of the Lord in regard to Philip in Acts chapter 8 verse 39; of Paul in being “caught” up to paradise, 2 Cor. 12. 2, 4; of the rapture of the saints at the return of the Lord, 1 Thess. 4. 17; of the rapture of the man child in the vision of Revelation chapter 12 verse 5. This verb conveys the idea of force suddenly exercised’. There is no power on earth or in the heavens that can prevent this event from taking place. The believer’s hope is secure!
It is worth considering that the scene of the union of saints and Christ is ‘in the air’. This is Satan’s domain, for he is ‘the prince of the power of the air’, Eph. 2. 2. There can be no greater display of the victory of the Saviour than to gather His own together in that sphere where the adversary is supposed to reign. Satan, powerless to intervene, will behold the Lord united with his blood-bought bride as they proceed on to glory!
I note too that the verse emphasizes ‘together’. There are times in family and assembly life when there is a degree of strain in relationships. Events from the past resurface to remind of hurt and bad feeling. Human nature is such that we cannot forget. The blessed point of this reunion in the air will be that old things will be truly ‘passed away’. Fellowship that an event on earth has broken will be restored in that day, for our eyes will be fixed upon the Lord.
The real nub of the verse is found in this, ‘to meet the Lord’. It is Peter who writes, ‘Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory’, 1 Pet. 1. 8. If that is the believer’s portion now, what will it be when we ‘meet the Lord’? Does this prospect thrill our souls as it should? It may be today!
In this issue we continue our series on prophetic subjects dealing specifically with the events surrounding the rapture. We commence a short series to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible and the impact it has made upon believers and unbelievers alike. As we continue in this work until the Lord come, may He be pleased to bless such endeavours for His glory.