Daily Encouragement: Year 2, Day 239

From Handbook to God’s Promises


For All the World to See

(1 Thessalonians 4:16–17)

Consider what happened in the days of Jesus Christ and His disciples. On two separate occasions, Jesus miraculously fed crowds of five thousand and four thousand (not counting women and children) with a cumulative total of twelve loaves of bread and a few small fish (Matt. 14:21; 15:38). Therefore, more than ten thousand people saw and marveled at these miraculous events. In the anti-miracle age in which we live, one wonders whether public miracles would be acknowledged as enthusiastically today. Yet the apostle Paul wrote about one yet-to-occur demonstration of God’s power that is going to be pretty hard for anyone to miss—or deny.

Here are the particulars of that event: First, Jesus Christ will descend from heaven. Next, a command will be issued in two forms: The loud voice of an archangel and the sound of a trumpet call. Based on what happens next, the command seems to be a summons to all who will have died in Christ, much like Jesus’ command at Lazarus’s tomb (John 11:43). Third, the “dead in Christ” will rise up, apparently out of their graves. Finally, believers in Christ who are alive on earth at the time of this great event will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. This rapture (not a biblical word, but a word from the Latin translation of the Bible), or “taking away,” has been interpreted variously by Bible students as to its timing. But its impact will be public, loud, visible, and universal—that is, it will be a great demonstration of God’s power such as those who witness it will have never before seen. The return of Christ will be an undeniable fact of history.

Some believers wish they could have been among the crowds that Jesus fed miraculously. But all believers—whether living or dead—will have a part in this world-changing miracle. “Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:18).

God’s Promise:
As a believer, you will be the subject of one of His greatest miracles.