“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”
In our last session, we dealt on what Paul meant when he made mention of believers meeting the Lord during his second coming.
He used the Greek word apantesis which the English bibles translated with the word meet. The Greek language is far richer than that of English. One Greek word could denote a whole sentence in English. The word apantesis refers to welcoming an important visitor(s) by meeting and escorting him/her back to your place. The visitor was already on his/her way to your place; you just escorted the person there.
That was the same term used in the opening scripture passage. The Lord Himself descended from Heaven to come to earth with “them in the clouds” – multitudes of resurrected dead believers of the faith. The believers alive on earth during that time, will meet (apantesis) him (and the clouds of witnesses) and escorted them back to their destination – earth.
This results in another issue to solve. It is about this section of the passage:
“Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”
Throughout this series, we have dealt with each of the highlighted phrases, save one. We touched on the phrases: alive and remain, caught up, them in the clouds and meet the Lord. In this session, I am going to try my best to touch on the last phrase – in the air; according to the revelation given me.
When we all discerned “them in the clouds” as literal clouds according to our natural mindset, the Bible corrected us. We now know that these clouds actually meant multitudes of believers. Spiritual things are discerned spiritually.
Many discerned “in the air” in the scripture passage to be high up in the clouds, because they thought the clouds actually signified natural clouds. Now that the Bible has corrected that understanding, how can we now discern what Paul meant by meeting (apantesis) Jesus and the clouds of witnesses, in the air?
What is the “Air”?
The Original Greek text that was translated in English as “air”
used in this passage, is “aer.” This Word was derived from the Greek word “aemi.” Aemi means to breathe unconsciously, to respire or to blow. This clearly suggests an atmosphere where we naturally (unconsciously) breathe.
Let us see from the scriptures, what this “aer” means:
“And as they were crying out and throwing off their cloaks and
tossing dust into the air (aer), the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, stating that he should be examined by scourging so that he might find out the reason why they were shouting against him that way.” Acts 22:23-24
This was the scene of Paul’s trial in front of the religious Jews, right outside the temple in Jerusalem. Try to imagine the scene and take note of two things:
- They were not flying, levitating in the air.
- The dust did not go into the upper atmosphere. They didn’t have inhuman capabilities to throw dust way up high; where planes fly.
The air(are) recorded here, referred to only a few feet off the ground, and the dust probably covered everyone present.
Used in this context, aer means above the ground where people can breathe, as opposed to underground where men might suffocate. Are you underground? No. Can you breathe freely where you are? If Yes. Then you are in the aer.
In 1 Corinthians 9:26, the same Paul who wrote the passage that we are currently studying, told us the same thing:
“Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air (aer)”
In other words, Paul says that he was not merely “shadow boxing” in his efforts to follow Christ. The picture of shadow boxing shows
that one could beat(punch 🥊) the air that was within reach of a boxer’s hands – just around him.
The word aer, again in Paul’s context, was not used to indicate the upper atmosphere or stratosphere, miles above the earth.
Let’s try another example from the Bible. They say third time’s a charm.
This same Paul goes on to say in 1 Corinthians 14:9:
“So also you, unless you utter by the tongue speech that is clear, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air (aer).”
Obviously, Paul didn’t mean speaking in tongues way above the earth or in the clouds. He meant if you utter a speech that is not clear; you’ll be speaking only into the air because no one else will listen to you. This air,once again, is the very atmosphere surrounding you.
All of these examples show that the aer simply refers to above ground, as opposed to underground. This aer is not in relation to the sky or outer space. Aer simply asks, are you underground (maybe mining) ? If no. Then you are in the aer. Can you breathe freely here? If yes. Then you are in the aer. Almost everyone reading this is in the aer. This the atmosphere around you where you can breathe freely and unconsciously.
This is just like the scene of Peter and Jesus, and that of the wise Bridesmaids and the groom (Jesus). They all met (apantesis) Jesus above ground as opposed to underground or underwater where breathing is difficult. This means they all met Jesus in the aer. They didn’t need to fly to the sky. They were already in the aer.
Believers on that day will meet (apantesis) Jesus on the earth where we all can breathe. It’s not as strange as many have put it. There won’t be any superman and supergirl gathering in the sky.
When Moses ascended into the clouds to meet the Lord ; he was at
the top of the Mountain (Exodus 24:15-18) He wasn’t flying. He was simply at the top of a mountain, where He was still able to breathe freely as a man should. He was in the aer.
This, I believe, is what will happen to us when we meet the Lord. I pray that this revelation sinks into your hearts and minds in Jesus’ Name.