The story is told that Winston Churchill had planned his funeral, which took place at Saint Paul’s Cathedral. He included many of the great hymns of the church and used the eloquent Anglican liturgy. At his direction, a bugler, positioned high in the dome of Saint Paul’s, intoned, after the benediction, the sound of “Taps,” the universal signal that says the day is over.
But then came a dramatic turn: As Churchill instructed, after “Taps” was finished, another bugler, place on the other side of the great dome, play the notes of “Reveille” — “It’s time to get. It’s time to get up. It’s time to get up in the morning.”
That was Churchill’s testimony that at the end of history, the last note will be “Taps”; it will be “Reveille.” (selected)
This story fittingly illustrates the great Resurrection Day when Jesus comes to raise “the dead in Christ” not only to live again but to live in immortality and incorruption in God’s Kingdom (1 Cor. 15:50-58). “Reveille” will be “the sound of the trumpet” along with “a shout, with the voice of the archangel,” when Jesus himself “will descend from heaven,” according to First Thessalonians 4:16. When he comes, it will be “time to get up, time to get up, time to get up in the morning” (Job 19:25-27; Psalm 17:15; 30:5) from the sleep of death to arise in the likeness of Christ as believers behold the brightness of his glory and power (Philipppians 3:20-21; 1 John 3:2-3).
This is an important part of God’s plan: to raise all people from the dead, including the righteous at the first resurrection and the unrighteous at the final resurrection (Daniel 12:2-3; John 5:25-29). The Bible says that there will be “a thousand years” between the two resurrections at which time Jesus Christ will reign as King over the nations (Rev. 20:1-15) and the church—those in the first resurrection and believers who are already alive when Christ returns, 1 Thess. 4:16-18 — will be his co-rulers (Rom. 8:11-25). The rest of the dead will be raised at the final resurrection, judged by God, sentenced to eternal death (“the second death”), and cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:5-6, 11-15; 21:7-8).
Those who’ve accepted Jesus Christ, of course, will be saved through him and, therefore, not be judged to eternal death (Roman 6:23; 1 John 5:11-12). Rather, they will receive eternal life when Jesus comes again (John 3:16). As Christians, our aim is to live Spirit-filled lives for serving him, and abstain from the sins of the world so that we can be ready when Jesus comes again (Rom. 6:12-17; 1 Peter 2:11-12; 2 Pet. 3:10-13).
Believers put their faith in the promise that Jesus will come to wake up the faithful who’ve fallen asleep in death. We serve and follow him because we don’t doubt the words of the two angels who spoke to the disciples while watching Jesus ascend to heaven after he was resurrected: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched him go into heaven,” (Acts 1:11). The resurrection of Jesus provides believers with hope that they, too, will be resurrected to immortality as he was (John 11:25-26).
As we look for Christ to appear, we are comforted in times of grief and strengthened in times of loss (1 Thess. 4:13-14, 18; Titus 2:13; 1 Cor. 15:50-58). We can truly endure and prosper as we see beyond this present life to the life to come. When that wonderful Day commences, and it’s time to get up, all that we’ve longed for according to God’s Word, will be something we won’t want to miss!
Here is Joy in the Morning by the Mar Thoma Church Choir Singapore: http://youtu.be/2K5zKmfUeTc
Good News to YOU!