Pastor Ron E. Thompson: The Loudest Verse in the Bible

Pastor Ron E. Thompson

Several in my family have hearing disabilities requiring hearing aids. They already know my problem when they are forced to “holler” for me to understand what they are saying. Their encouraging advice is, “Dad, do you have your ‘hears’ on?!” About 48 million (or 4%) of Americans report some degree of hearing loss. But 15 million Americans with hearing loss avoid seeking help. Today’s hearing aid industry is booming because of advanced technology. Hearing products with reduced prices up to 90% include over the counter models, sound amplifiers, and cochlear implants, making them affordable and healthful. Piercing sounds affect people’s health, hinder communication, and influence behavior. I am not promoting hearing aids, just sharing Bible facts about sounds affecting believers.

Jesus told His disciples that He was going away to Heaven to prepare a place for them and would return to take them to the Father’s House (John 14:1-6). What He did not reveal was the time factor. As a result, they thought He would return before they died. The early believers thought the same thing and were tempted to just sit around and wait in idleness. So, Paul, in the early verses of I Thessalonians chapter 4, urged them to be active, not idle. Today John 14 has brought comfort to untold millions of believers as they have stood over an empty grave to say a temporary goodbye to a loved one who has gone on to be with the Lord.

Let us focus on I Thessalonians 4:16 HCSB: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a mighty shout and with the soul-stirring cry of the archangel and the great trumpet-call of God.”  Note three sounds we will study in this verse: The Lord’s shout, the archangel’s speaking, and the trumpet’s signal. They may not sound softly or silently. In fact, they sound very noisy! This may be the noisiest verse in the Bible! Yet these three sounds introduce us to one of the greatest events in history, and the answer to the hopes and prayers of God’s people. It is called the rapture, or “taking up” of dead and living believers to Heaven.

  1. The Shouting of the Lord. The original word is “command,” like a commander rallying his troops to fall in line. The dead in Christ, already raptured, will be joined by the living saints who follow next. This shout must have been a great comfort to these saints who had won the victory over sin, death, and the grave. It was an audible shout like Jesus gave at the tomb of His friend, Lazarus, when He cried with a “loud voice:” “Lazarus, come forth!” (John 11:43 KJV). This fulfilled Jesus’ words to His enemies: “I assure you that the time is coming and is here! —when the dead will hear the voice of God’s Son, and those who hear it will live” (John 5:24 CEB). This reminds me of the great and popular hymn: “How Great Thou Art.” That fourth stanza is a favorite: “When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart! Then I shall bow in humble adoration and there proclaim: my God, how great Thou art!” Can I get am Amen!!
  1. The Speaking of the archangel. The only archangel named in Scripture is Michael (Jude 9), but it does not show that he is this archangel. Jewish tradition says there were seven archangels. Daniel 10:13 mentions Michael as one of the chief princes but we simply cannot put a name on this archangel, nor do we know what message was given. However, we do know that when Christ makes His glorious appearing, He will be accompanied by angels. A simple lesson we learn from this nameless, wordless archangel is that God wants to use us in whatever way possible to announce His message of salvation. He used Moses despite his excuses. He used a young boy’s lunch to feed a multitude. Whether it is a rod, a ram’s horn, an earthen pitcher, or a shepherd’s slingshot, matters not. God can use you, your spiritual gifts, your talents for His glory — if you will let Him.
  1. The Signaling of the Trumpet. Trumpets were familiar instruments in Bible times. They were used to declare war, announce extraordinary events, and gather people for a journey. I Cor. 15:52 shows that Jesus’ return will be announced with the sound of a trumpet, and the dead in Christ will be resurrected, followed by those who are alive, and everyone will be taken to their home in Heaven. This will happen in the twinkling of an eye. This trumpet is not connected with the last trump in I Cor. 15:52 or the seven trumpets in Rev. 8-9 but used to assemble God’s people for their trip to Heaven.

Several fishermen ventured far out on the Adriatic Sea. Each evening their wives would walk to the shore to await their husbands’ return after a long and perilous day. Standing there, they would sing a verse of a familiar hymn, then pause and listen intently. They knew their husbands were safe when they heard them singing another verse as it was carried by the wind across the waves. Someday, if we are listening, we too might hear in this noisy world of ours the sounds of the Lord, the archangel, and the trumpet, assuring us that we will see our loved ones who have gone to Heaven and are eagerly awaiting the day when we will join them. Christ’s return is so near, we can stop looking for signs and start listening for sounds! Someday, whether we are caught up together with them in the clouds, or we pass through death’s valley, we are going to have a great and grand reunion! Will you join us?

Pastor Ron E Thompson

Ron E. Thompson is a retired pastor/evangelist having had a ministry spanning over sixty years. He served as pastor of churches in Indiana, Virginia, Arizona, and South Carolina. As Director of Brethren Evangelistic Ministries, he held numerous evangelistic and revival crusades in twenty-two states. He led a team that conducted evangelism seminars throughout the United States and in several foreign countries. Ron is author of two books: Hurricane Evangelism and Sermons in Song. He is also a musician, having studied piano under noted composer-conductor, Hubert Tillery. Music has served him well as an avocation in his life and ministry. He currently is a pianist at the Fountain of Life Bible Church in Johnson City, TN. Ron received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Bridgewater College and his Master of Divinity degree from Grace Theological Seminary. He did graduate studies at Wheaton College and the Billy Graham School of Evangelism. He attended the North American Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in1994. Ron’s home is in Limestone, Tennessee. He is the father of two daughters: Evangeline Hales, a musician at Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, VA and violinist with the Lynchburg Symphony; Dr. Melody Archer, Retired Administrator and Principal of Tri-Cities Christian Schools, Blountville, TN.

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