1Thessalonians 4:13-18 — “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. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

For me this is a great passage of encouragement and hope. It’s a fundamental explanation of what is known in the Christian Church as the “Rapture”. The written term of rapture isn’t found in Scripture, but the Apostle Paul writes the phrase “caught up” in verse 17.

If you like to do word searches, look for the Greek or Latin use of rapture, which translates to “snatch” or “take away.” In your word search you could add Acts 8:39, which has to do with Paul’s experience of being “caught up to the third heaven.”

You can further your search and the comparison of languages by seeking out 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 and see the meaning of “caught up” as the same.

In reading this passage, I have to wonder about the people I meet on a daily basis — which carries more weight in what they believe: the traditions of men based on the Bible or the actual Scriptures of God’s Word? There is a huge spiritual difference!

For example: Ephesians 1:7-8 (NIV) states, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us with wisdom and understanding.” This is the actual Scripture, not a tradition. Ask ourselves: Do we believe it?

There’s a saying that has stayed with me for several days, like an echo, echo, echo … “Shoemaker stick to thy task.”

The history or tradition of the saying goes like this: “There is a story of a cobbler who detected a fault in a shoe-latchet. In a painting by the artist Apelles, the artist rectified the fault. The cobbler then ventured to criticize the legs. But Apelles answered, ‘Shoemaker stick to thy task.’”

Meaning, keep to your trade. You understand about shoes, not anatomy. It’s also used to promote the idea “better to do one thing well than many poorly.”

I consider myself to be a man of hope. Therefore I read the Scriptures through that lens. An example being 2 Corinthians 13:5 — “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you — unless of course you fail the test.” Personally, I don’t believe it’s our short comings, our failures, our sins or being snagged by the snares of Satan, but it is unbelief that would condemn us. 

“Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24b)

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