Till We Meet Again

I recently met a woman whose husband died suddenly and tragically less than a year ago. They had been together over forty years and had been high school sweethearts. She has the most amazing attitude. Yes she misses him terribly, but she knows that she will see her husband again. In fact, they had promised each other long ago that if they didn’t see Jesus come together, they would meet at the Tree of Life. I’ve known other folks who made arrangements to find each other beside the Sea of Glass. Will they really remember to do that when we all get to Heaven? I don’t know, but it gives us hope in a situation in which many have no hope at all.

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

I don’t believe I’ve ever been to a funeral for someone who didn’t believe in some kind of life after death, so I don’t really know what that ceremony would be like for anyone who did not have such a belief. What would anyone say to comfort the friends and relatives? What songs would they sing? I really can’t imagine how it would go. It would seem like a terribly hopeless situation.

The Christians in Thessalonica had the mistaken belief that only the believers who were alive when Jesus came back would go to heaven. Can you imagine the almost frantic pressure you would feel to help your loved ones live as long as possible? Thankfully, Paul heard about this and wrote to them about it in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

“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. 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 by 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.”

Isn’t that wonderful news?

“The hope and joy which this assurance gave to the young church at Thessalonica can scarcely be understood by us. That letter, coming from their father in the gospel, was believed and cherished by them, and their hearts went out in love to him who had brought them the precious light of truth. He had told them these things before; but at that time their minds were grasping doctrines new and surpassingly strange to them, and it is not surprising that the force of some points had not been vividly impressed upon their minds. But they were hungering for truth, and Paul’s epistle gave to their souls new hope and strength, a firmer faith in, and a deeper affection for, the Redeemer who had brought life and immortality to light through his death.
“The darkness that had enshrouded the sepulcher of the dead was dispelled; for they now knew that their believing friends would be resurrected from the grave, and enjoy immortal life in the kingdom of God. A new splendor now crowned the Christian faith, and they saw a new glory in the life, sufferings, death, and resurrection of Christ.” 9E.G. White, Sketches from the Life of Paul, p. 112)

Can you imagine how excited you would be the first time you heard that news? What a relief! What hope! Christians never have to say a final Good Bye but a “see you later.”

“Sheldon Vanauken was a student of the English professor and Christian apologist C. S. Lewis in the early 1950s. He recounts in his book A Severe Mercy the story of his last meeting with his mentor when Vanauken was leaving Oxford for the United States. Over one final lunch together at a pub, they had spent time wondering aloud about the nature of life after death. When they had finished eating, they stood outside of the pub, talked for a few more minutes, and just before parting ways, Lewis said to Vanauken, ‘I shan’t say goodbye. We’ll meet again.’ The great apologist then plunged into the traffic to cross the street while Vanuaken watched his friend walk away. When Lewis got to the other side of the street, he turned around, anticipating that his friend would still be standing there. With a grin on his face, Lewis shouted over the great roar of cars, ‘Besides—Christians never say goodbye.’”1

What a wonderful hope we have as Christians! Not only do we never have to say goodbye, but when we meet again in Heaven, we will have new perfect bodies and minds. But you know what will be even more exciting than finding our family and friends will be that Jesus will be there to greet every single one of us.

Face to face with Christ, my Savior,
Face to face—what will it be?
When with rapture I behold Him,
Jesus Christ who died for me.

Only faintly now, I see Him,
With the darkling veil between,
But a blessed day is coming,
When His glory shall be seen.

What rejoicing in His presence,
When are banished grief and pain;
When the crooked ways are straightened,
And the dark things shall be plain.

Face to face I shall behold Him,
Far beyond the starry sky;
ace to face in all His glory,
I shall see Him by and by!2

I can hardly wait! What about you?

I’ll meet you at the Sea of Glass.

  1. Greg Ogden, in the sermon “Christians Never Say Good-Bye,” Christ Church of Oak Brook (Oak Brook, IL) (preached 5-24-09)
  2. Carrie E. Breck, “Face to Face” http://www.hymnal.net/hymn.php/h/963#ixzz23nEbzzeV


Till We Meet Again — 19 Comments

  1. If we know very well that death is for us to rest, and when the first trumpet will sound we shall be resurrected and join them in the sky, I hope we could not cry! But it is very sad that we know ourselves that we are not ready for the second coming of our Christ, thus why we cry and cry. We know that after this there is no more another enjoyment. It is my humble prayer that we get prepared for the second coming of Jesus Christ, no need of fearing death and we must welcome death, because it's a must and it's for us.

  2. What a wonderful piece. In deed I can't wait to see the glorious King appear in the skies. I can't wait to see all my wonderful friends and family who have fallen asleep in the LORD. God bless you all as we prepare for Christ's soon coming. Amen.

  3. What a wonderful hope we have in Jesus. Please help me God to be there. I am going to stay at Jesus feet morning, noon, and night. I will be in the first row of the choir.

  4. Together with the Thessalonians we need further confirmation in our advent hope. Als the Thessalonians, we too have "turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God waiting for His Son from heaven whom He raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come". (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10) We know the basics of our advent hope. But clouds of personal affliction may cast dark shadows on that hope disturbing our peace in Christ. The enemy wants us to blame others or ourselves for our sad situation shrowding our mind in blackness of hopelessness.

    Beams of light coming from Him who is the light of life dispells all depressing hopelessness. The Apostel Paul referes to Christ as the source of that hope, when he tries to describe the indescribable--- the reunion of all separated ones, as they are on their way to be reunited with Christ und the Father up in the air in order to continue their triumphal way to the heavenly city of the eternal kingdom of God, never ever to be separated by sin: a unification for all eternity. That`s when the saints go marching in! The Three Angels Message is to invite all people to participate in that triumphal march.

    Winfried Stolpmann

  5. It is wonderful to abide in and by the council of the True Witness. Jesus (YESHUA) says in heaven earthly marrages will not be recognised in fact there will be no link to marrages which took place here on earth there.
    All the redeemed will be one family and we all will be like angels. Yes we will know each other better because of our earthly personalities but we will be as angels. G-d in his love and grace retain our personality because it's a real life that we are going to live in the new heaven and the earth. Hence Paul will recognise Jesus, Peter will recognise John families on earth will recognise their love ones but not as seperate entities or groupings but as one big angelic family.
    No traits of whether Tom was married to Mary and is now the husband of Jane, or whether all your life on earth you both were married to the same partner. Praise G-d no such things. Nothing that is defiled shall enter heaven only the pure and the holy. Read Matthew 22:24-30.
    families will not be categories and single out as upon the earth now. There will only be one family praise be to G-d thats the Angelic family and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The Alfa and the Omega the first and the last Blessed be His Holy name for all eternity amen.

    • Hazel, yes I agree with you in part, we certainly do have Christ's statement he made to the Pharisees in Mat 22:30 and Lk 20:35. The problem is that we know so very little about what Heaven will be like or exactly what the angels are. To me the text, "Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is" (1 Jn 3:2 NKJV) is probably the closest to what we can understand on the matter.

      There is one thing that I can understand, though, and that is that in this sinful world where relationships are ignored we need to acknowledge the special relationship of marriage publically and have it fixed legally. Even then, with all of that, those relationships are often broken in many ways.

      I think it is significant that God brought male and female together at creation before sin entered and in support of that Jesus stated, "And He answered and said to them, 'Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning "made them male and female," and said, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh "? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate'" (Mat 19:4-6 NKJV). In both this text and in Mat 22:30 Jesus was answering traps set by the Pharisees who didn't regard marriage as it should be regarded. Besides, the Ten Commandments were in force from the beginning which includes the prohibition against adultery and the establishment of our respect for parents. All of that was in a perfect world without sin and that is apparently what God will reestablish once again in the new earth.

      I once knew a couple who simply couldn't stand to be apart, they loved each other that much. When one of them died, as it is so often the case, the other died within a few months after. I simply can't imagine them just wandering off in separate directions in Heaven. To me I can see them serving God together and enjoying all that Heaven has to offer together. That is how God made us, social creatures where God has said that, "It is not good that man should be alone" (Gen 2:18 NKJV).

      So will there be marriage in Heaven? I can't see the necessity for it because everyone will recognize and respect relationships. Of course the supreme relationship will be to Jesus but I think there will be other relationships as well and together we will all enjoy a perfect paradise where sin no longer exists.

      • Will there be marriage in Heaven? I'm not a Bible scholar by any means, just someone who is searching. So many people I've asked this question always conclude with the same thought. I can't see the necessity for it because ... sin no longer exists. The thing that bothers me about this thought that there will be no marriage in eternity because sin no longer exists is this ... before sin entered Adam and Eve's mind, God had said "It is not good that man should be alone." It was before sin that God said "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it..."

        As for whether there will be marriage in Heaven, my Mom always loved to make us think ... Jesus said Heaven not the new earth ... God hasn't revealed the plans He has for the new earth.

        Just some thoughts to ponder 🙂

        • Tiffany, personally, I don't find anything terribly wrong with what you say concerning Heaven. I do wonder though if our use of Heaven as something completely different than the new earth isn't a bit artificial. To me Heaven is the capitol of the universe and just as it is in any capital of any country things aren't done much differently than they are done anywhere else in that country. Just my thoughts and I am not a theologian either.

  6. A Pastor once said about the sea of glass that he would not be standing on it because he would be doing loopyidos of joy and happiness around the throne of G-d who had purchased him and provided the way through Jesus to be there. What a time of praise and deliverance will be there and He has already paid the price for our right to be there and we will be adding to it.
    Praise His name

  7. I have been wondering why did Paul write this part of his letter to the Church at Thessalonica! Now it makes sense to me more than ever before. This is why people even today cry regardless the counselling they receive when death strikes. People only believe that one has the power of doing anything because he/she is alive, but Paul makes it clear that it is not the dead that will rise at his/her own but Christ will resurrect.

  8. Thanks so much and especially for the other comments from EGW and the other person. The words of the song you included are some of my favorite. What a wonderful hope we share!

  9. Here is a comment, about being in heaven, from a writer I like, Andree Seu Peterson:
    What a motley crew we will be then...all greeting one another like old pals. I look forward to that day!

  10. There is great hope for the believers, Christ paid our wages of eternal condemnation, through death on the cross, He resurrected by His power and through the same power. He is coming again to resurrect the dead in Christ, transform the living and finally take us home. What good or bad in this world that can make us miss this only golden chance! Job suffered and because of this great hope and strong faith in Christ he said, "I know my redeemer lives, ..I will see Him.." (Job 19:25,26). What a confidence! Encourage one another. Our Lord is faithful. He will come. Sure!!

  11. I am looking foward to Jesus' soon return. ''Even so come Lord Jesus.'' His grace is sufficient for me. Signs of the times are every where. I know that redemption draweth nigh. -Odii Ndubuisi from Abakaliki Nigeria

  12. Thank you for sharing. I also cannot wait to see Him who shed His blood for me! My prayer is for me and my loved ones to be there when He comes! Ohh what a glorious Morning that would be. Never to part again.

  13. With this blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our Lord and Saviour, it creates a strong confident in us in facing our trials and tribulations here and now. The time of trouble will be but an interesting experience. Thank you Jesus for the blessed hope and the TRUTH we are blessed with. Is my prayer O Lord to refresh this hope in us daily. Glory and honor be to The Lamb Of God who made it all possible for us.

  14. I give praise to our Father, and to our Savior, and to our Helper, Holy Spirit, for devising such a wonderful plan, and fully carrying it out, for our salvation. Lost, dead in trespasses and sin, without hope of change or of life, our God, by Himself took our penalty of terminal death, irreversible extinction, through His indescribable suffering and death. He lay down His life, and took it back again, so that we can be resurrected into new life, His life, and live with Him eternally. I don't have to understand all that He plans. If our God has done this much already, truly "eyes hath not seen, nor ear heard," the wonderful plans God has for His children. I pray that my family, loved ones, and all of us who call upon His name in truth, will be there. May our Father bless all of you with eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. God bless.


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