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, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thessalonians 4: 16– 17)
It was “very early in the morning” (Luke 24: 1), “while it was still dark” (John 20: 1), that Jesus rose from the dead. Only the morning star, not the sun, shone down upon His tomb as it opened. Jerusalem’s shadows had not yet retreated, and its citizens were still asleep. Yes, it was still night, during the hours of darkness and sleep, when He arose, but His rising did not break the slumbering of the city.
And it will be during the darkness of the early morning, while only the morning star is shining, that Christ’s body— His church— will arise. Like Him, His saints will awake while the children of the night and darkness are still sleeping their slumber of death. Upon rising, the saints will disturb no one, and the world will not hear the voice that summons them. As quietly as Jesus has laid them to rest— each in their own silent grave, like children held in the arms of their mothers— He will just as quietly and gently awake them when the hour arrives. To each will come the life-giving words, “You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy” (Isa. 26: 19). Into their graves the earliest ray of glory will find its way. The saints will soak up the first light of morning, while the clouds of the eastern sky will give only the faintest hints of the uprising. The gentle fragrance of the morning, along with its soothing stillness, invigorating freshness, sweet loneliness, and quiet purity— all so solemn and yet so full of hope— will be theirs.
Oh, how great the contrast between these blessings and the dark night through which they have just passed! Oh, how great the contrast between these blessings and the graves from which they have been freed! They will shake off the dirt of earth that once held them, flinging mortality aside, and will rise with glorified bodies “to meet the Lord in the air.” The light of “the bright Morning Star” (Rev. 22: 16) will guide them upward along a brand-new path. The beams of that Star of the Morning will, like the star of Bethlehem, direct them to the presence of the King. “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Ps. 30: 5).
While the hosts cry Hosanna, from heaven descending,
With glorified saints and the angels attending,
With grace on His brow, like a halo of glory,
Will Jesus receive His own. “I am coming soon.”
Come, Lord Jesus. Revelation 22: 20
A soldier once said, “When I die, do not play taps over my grave. Instead, play reveille, the morning call, the summons to arise.”
Cowman, L. B. E.; Reimann, Jim (2008-09-09). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (pp. 155-156). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.