Summary: Long for the Last Trumpet 1) When Jesus will return; 2) When the dead will be raised; 3) When we will be with Jesus forever
Is it broken? No, come to think of it, it rang at lunch. Maybe you missed it because your teacher was busy scolding Jimmy for chewing gum. No. According to the clock on the wall there’s still another fifteen minutes to go. Those fifteen minutes might as well be fifty minutes as you count down to the end of the school day and wait for the final bell. Ah, the final school bell. Is there a sweeter sound known to students? None sweeter than the bell that announces the end of the school year. That bell means freedom from school desks! Freedom from homework! Freedom to sleep in! Sorry kids. You’ve got about 190 more days before you hear that bell. But I bet you’re already longing for it.
Well there’s another sound that you ought to be longing for: the sound of the Last Trumpet. That’s when Jesus will return, when the dead will be raised, and when we believers will be with Jesus forever. Let’s turn our attention to the Apostle Paul as he helps us see why the Last Trumpet should be one of the most glorious sounds we’ll ever hear.
Students obviously love the final school bell but so do parents – most of the time. Just stand outside any kindergarten classroom and watch the adults there make small talk as they keep glancing at the school door. They’re killing time waiting for the bell at which that door will burst open spilling out little backpack-clad kindergarteners like so many jellybeans. There will be hugs and smiles as moms and dads are reunited with their precious little ones.
That’s the kind of anticipation Christians should have for the sounding of the Last Trumpet. Paul wrote: “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…” (1 Thessalonians 4:16a). At the Last Trumpet, God himself will come down to earth in the person of Jesus. Isn’t that something you’ve been longing for - to meet Jesus? Only he won’t look like a backpack-clad kindergartener. Listen to this description of the Judgment Day Jesus. “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:9-16).
Are you still eager to meet Jesus? Perhaps it would be better to run and hide lest we be trampled by his horse and the angel army behind him! That’s what unbelievers will want to do. But that isn’t how Christians will feel because this Jesus, as awesome and overpowering as he will look on Judgment Day, is also the one the book of Revelation describes as the Lamb that was slain and with his blood purchased people for God (Revelation 5:6, 9). A woman who encounters a gun-toting male in her house in the middle of the night should scream for help…unless that man is her police-officer husband returning from his shift. Then all is well.
Is all well with you, dear friends? Do you view Jesus as your savior? If you do, then you willingly live under his protection and obey his commands right? You pray for co-workers instead of complain about them. You return what you borrow. You regularly ask God to give you opportunities to serve like missing recess to help your teacher clean up the classroom. No? That’s all the more reason to stand under Jesus’ banner of love. For underneath this banner, all of our sins are hidden from God’s righteous eyes – like a hole in the living room wall hidden by a well-placed piece of artwork. Refusing to stand underneath Jesus’ forgiving love now will make you a target of Jesus’ righteous anger on Judgment Day. The Last Trumpet then will be what a police siren is to a bank robber!
But Jesus buried our sin in his tomb where it is more secure than radio-active waste buried deep inside a mountain. Thanks to Jesus, our sins will not come back to haunt us. Therefore we long to meet our savior and thank him in person for this. But what if you miss that day? That’s what the Christians in the Greek city of Thessalonica were concerned about. They thought that believers who had already died were going to miss out on the excitement of Christ’s triumphant return. Not so, explained Paul. He wrote: “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. 14 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” (1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14).