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What caught the hearts of the apostles and stayed with them to the death?
What stirred the early church to the deepest reaches of their souls?
What welled up from the lips of Christians in prisons, pain, deprivation, and hardship living?
The reality that Jesus who rose would at any moment come back – Jesus may come today, glad day!
To best understand the hope of Christ’s church we need to go back to the world it was born into. We need to see through the eyes of those who read the New Testament as it was written. We need to feel the sense of the carefully chosen words the Holy Spirit inspired the writers of this Book to use.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
Paul explains even more thrilling details:
1 Corinthians 15:51-52