Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 NABRE
Paul in His passage to the community at Thessalonica is speaking about what happens to those who have died before the return of Christ in the final judgement. The community came to Christ and some die, those remaining are concerned about what happens to their relatives and friends who are no more when Christ returns. Somehow the community thought by dying they were lost to Christ. Paul explains that even the dead are with Christ. Paul’s main message is that once you live in Christ, whether you die or live you are Christ’s. Those who die in Christ will rise first and will remain forever with Christ along with those who are alive at the time of His coming. We who belong to the Lord, whether dead or alive, will always be together with the Lord. Paul explains, using the images of the Ascension, those who are alive will meet up with the Lord in the clouds. Those who have already died will already be there, they will be first. The clouds will be the mode of transport to heaven. Paul does not think Christ is above in the clouds, but He is using images to help the community (and us) understand that wherever God is, we are there too. This cloud language was used when in the Acts of the Apostles Jesus Ascension is described, He is lifted on a cloud (see Acts 1:9.)
We can take comfort in knowing our loved ones are with Christ and will always be with Christ. We too who belong to Christ have Christ indwelling now and at our earthly death enter life eternally with Christ. Life transformed to Christ is a life which will always remain with Christ, it is a reason for our hope.
Do you have hope? Are you comforted by life eternal?Life transformed to Christ is a life which will always remain with Christ, it is a reason for our hope. Click To Tweet
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