As we have seen yesterday, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is our guarantee that we will share in His resurrection because we are united to Him. In the New Testament, the resurrection of righteous believers is always closely associated with the second coming of Christ. The Greek word parousia is normally used for this second coming. Parousia means literally “presence.”
There are many different prophecies in the Bible relating to this event—there are also many different interpretations of exactly what is going to take place at the return of Jesus. For my part, I offer one simple expression of opinion. It seems to me—on the basis of the meaning of the word parousia—that it need not necessarily describe one single, brief event, but it could apply to a series of events that follow one another in quick succession.
Rather than go into the controversial aspects of this subject, I would like to list five main purposes that the coming (or the return) of Jesus will fulfil. I certainly am not suggesting that they are the only purposes, nor am I necessarily suggesting that they will take place in this order:
1. Jesus will receive to Himself the church as His bride.
2. Israel as a nation will be saved.
3. Satan and the Antichrist will be overthrown.
4. The gentile nations will be judged.
5. Christ’s millennial kingdom on earth will be established.
As an integral part of all this, the resurrection of righteous believers will take place. This is described by Paul, and he indicates that he is speaking by revelation:
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 [that is, those who have died in the faith]. 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 be 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
They are not words of confusion. We need to bear in mind that these are words of comfort and to receive them in that way... and share them with our brothers and sisters!
This Reflection is taken from