“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.” I Thessalonians 4. 16,17
The Thessalonians were expecting Christ to return very soon, and were worried about what would happen to the Christians who had already died. Paul assures them that all who have lived in the faith of Christ will share in the joy of his return. The picture Paul draws is a poetic attempt to imagine what is unimaginable. Throughout the centuries and even in our own time, various groups have claimed to know exactly how and when ‘the Rapture’ will take place, when the faithful will be caught up into heaven, leaving behind the ‘unbelievers’, who will endure terrible suffering.
Jesus said that it was not for us to know ‘the times and the seasons’, which are known only to God himself. It is enough for us to live our lives in quiet faith, without fear, trusting in the wisdom and the love of our Heavenly Father for all his children, living and departed.