Daily Radio Bible Podcast
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Transcription begins here:
Apentesis is the word that's being used to in this passage in Thessalonians. where Paul says, Those who are left will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air, we will be caught up to apentesis with the Lord. in the air. There's a lot in that word. It describes going out to meet someone that you've been eagerly expecting, in order that you might process with them into the town, into the home, into the celebration. It's a beautiful word. Many years ago, I was in India, I was there with a group that was visiting some rural churches. On some occasions when we would approach the village, the people of the church would come out on the road and meet us before we arrived. Sometimes it would be quite a distance, they would come and apentesis us out in the roads. It was quite an experience. I never experienced anything like it before, they would have musical instruments and flowers, and they would dance and they would sing and they would put flowers over your neck and kiss you and draw you into the town or into the church or wherever we were going to be meeting. It was absolutely breathtaking. This apentesis, this going out to meet us, this is very much what Paul is describing here in this passage. The same word is used in Matthew 25, where the bridesmaids are described as going out to meet the bridegroom and accompany him into the feast. And also in Acts 28:15. Where it describes the Roman Christians who go out to meet Paul as he arrives into the city.
The central message of this passage is resurrection of the dead. Paul's trying to comfort the believers in this church who are worried about those who have died. And they're wondering what's going to happen to them when Jesus comes back. He's comforting them, he's pastoring them. He's letting them know that they won't be left behind. Instead, they will join with the living in the great apentesis of our returning Lord. Nowhere in the use of this word do we see the dignitary turning course and reversing directions when they come to meet us? No, he's being processed in to his place of honor. And this is what we have here. When he comes there will be a great apentesis. And we will process in with him as he comes to assume his rightful place of honor, as the bridegroom as the King, as the Lord of all, not only in heaven, but now on Earth. Paul wants to fill these believers with the hope and the comfort of the resurrection, not only for themselves, but also for those that they love, that have gone before them. And that hope is ours too, it is a sure and solid hope. As Christ was raised from the dead. So too we raised to new life in him Amen.
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