1&2 Thessalonians

End Times

In 1&2 Thessalonians Paul describes the coming return of our Lord. Our faith and hope are built upon the resurrection of Jesus and His ascension to Heaven. One day He will return and set up His kingdom on earth. In these two letters Paul explains that there are several events that must take place before Jesus returns as King.

In 1 Thessalonians 4, beginning with verse 13, Paul speaks of the rapture of the Church. The word rapture is the Latin translation of the Greek word translated “caught up”, in verse 17.  One day the Church will hear the trumpet of God and the Church will be taken out of this world and will be with Jesus in Heaven while God pours out His wrath for sin on the earth. We will get to that time in 2 Thessalonians 2.

The early Church expected the rapture to come at that time and the church in Thessalonica was concerned that those who had died would miss the rapture. The church was going through persecution and it may well be that those who died were killed by those persecuting the church. They were wondering if they had missed the rapture and were going through the Great Tribulation.

We still do not know when the rapture of the Church will occur. Jesus told us in Matthew 24:36 that even the angels in Heaven do not know the time or the date. It is clear, in verse 43, that the timing of the rapture will be a total surprise to the devil. When Jesus ascended to Heaven the gates of Hades could not hold the righteous that died before Jesus rose from the dead.  He led them out and today when a believer dies they are with the Lord in Heaven. We understand this from the parable Jesus taught in Luke 16:19-31 and 2 Corinthians 5:8.

Concerning this, we need to learn that if Satan does not know when the rapture will take place he must know that his time is short, and from my observation of this world, it is apparent that he is very active. The real question for us is; are we very active trying to reach others for the Lord believing He could come at any moment?

In 2 Thessalonians we read that this church was continuing to go through persecution. Because of this, they were worried that the Day of the Lord had come. The Day of the Lord will be marked by the second coming of our Lord Jesus as King of Kings. The Day of the Lord will commence when Jesus breaks the seals on the scroll that is given to Him in Revelation 5. The wrath of the Lamb marks the beginning of the Great Tribulation and the man of lawlessness (the antichrist) is revealed. The Great Tribulation will end when our Lord returns and sets up the Millennial Kingdom. The Millennial Kingdom will last for 1000 years. It will be a time of the peace, prosperity, and security, that we pray for when we pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Life on earth will finally be as God intended. At the end of the 1000 year reign of Jesus, will come the White Throne Judgement followed by the New Heaven and Earth. This is our hope. Jesus said in John 5:24,  “Truly I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgement, but has passed out of death into life.” NASB

This is the criteria to escape the wrath of the Lamb.

Presently, the mystery of the lawless one is at work in the world, Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians 2:7. The persecution the church was experiencing was from the mystery of the lawless one at work in the world.  Not only will he attack God’s people but he is also deceiving people into believing this life is all there is and so eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die. The coming of the lawless one is described in Chapter 2:3-12. Unfortunately, many will be deceived and find they are facing the judgement that is coming. 2:12

It is important that we keep our faith in the Lord strong. In fact, that is why Paul wrote this letter to the Church in Thessalonica. We all believe in something or someone. From what we believe we act and speak. The more we act and speak about what we believe, the stronger our faith in what we believe becomes. We will also hang out with people who believe in the same thing we believe. This is a natural response to our faith. God has designed in us the ability to become stronger in what we believe. This is why Satan makes every attempt to deceive us into putting our faith in the things he is constantly putting before us. His appeals range from fear to pleasure and long life. For example, we buy our drinking water in plastic bottles thinking it is good for us, but we are told that by 2050 there will be more plastic bottles in the ocean than fish. He always puts before us a problem to solve or a pleasure to be had because he knows we will grow stronger in the things we put our faith in.

The attacks of Satan, the deception of pleasure, prosperity, peace, and the constant problems that he puts in our path in life, are all  meant to cause us to abandon our faith in God and His plan for us and the world.

God has given us His Word. When we believe in the Word and give our life to Jesus God gives us His Holy Spirit to be with us and to guide us. Don’t fall for Satan’s tricks and deception. Keep your faith strong in the Lord.

Pastor Dave