Adapted from my book, “Heaven: Where Few…Are Many!” The book can ordered from this page or from Amazon.
GLAD REUNION DAY
One of the main things that we look forward to in Heaven is being reunited with our loved ones who will be there. It will surely be a “Glad Reunion Day.” There are many ways and many passages to prove this glorious fact. In this article we will notice one example.
“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. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 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. 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. 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. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians. 4:13-18). In these verses Paul writes to those who were “grieving” over those who had died. The New International Version reads: “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope” (1 Thes. 4:13). Who are the dead that we “grieve” over? It is not all who die. Actually, we only grieve over our relatives and friends.
What does Paul say to comfort those of us who “grieve” over lost loved ones? He says that, when the Lord returns, the dead in Christ will rise first and “then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess. 4:17). Who are the ones that we will be called up “together” with? It is those that we are “grieving” over. Then he says, “comfort one another with these words” (1 Thes. 4:18). In other words, Paul was telling us that one day, when the Lord returns, we will be back together with those over whom we are “grieving,” and we will all be “together” and with the Lord forever. There is comfort in the promise that one day we will be “together with them” that we know and love and grieve over who have died. The “comfort” is in the fact that Christians never say goodbye to our Christian family and friends for very long. These verses surely teach us that we will know, recognize, and be with those we now “grieve” over when He comes again.
What “comfort” would there be for Paul to say that “God will bring with Him” those who “sleep in Jesus” if we were not going to recognize them or know who they are? If Paul was simply telling us that we are going to one day be called up together with a bunch of strangers and people we have never met and have never actually grieved over, what comfort would that be for us as far as “grieving” over those who have died is concerned? It is true, of course, that all Christians will be caught up together to meet the Lord, but that is not Paul’s primary point in this section. Paul’s point here is that we are going to be reunited with our loved ones, close friends, and those we “grieve” over who now sleep in Jesus.
What a blessing! What a promise! What A Day That Will Be!! Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).