The point of this whole chapter is to bring comfort; that’s how it ends. You see the final little benediction in verses 16 and 17: “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.” The whole idea of talking to us through the text of this passage is to give us comfort. This is about comforting us. And that is really Paul’s purpose all the way through his two letters to the Thessalonians.
Go back to chapter 4 of 1 Thessalonians for a moment and you will find there that at the end of chapter 4 where he has talked about the rapture of the church, which is the next event, as we’ve learned, on God’s timetable. In anticipation of the fact that, “The Lord Himself,” verse 16, “will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, 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. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” So he is saying to them, “As you look at the future, be comforted, because the next event is the Lord is going to descend from heaven. You’re going to hear the voice of the archangel, the trumpet of God; and the bodies of dead believers whose spirits are with the Lord, their bodies will come out of graves. And then we who are alive will be gathered to meet the Lord in the air, and we’ll always be with the Lord.”