The End Is Not Nigh!
Surprising God, be present with me today in ways I cannot imagine, in love and power and in compassion and kindness.
Read 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
“At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:27, 28).
Belief in a final judgment would mean that any announcement that such an event was about to take place would be greeted with excitement. Paul’s remarks in 1 Thessalonians 2:16 would have also made them expect God’s imminent wrath on unbelieving Jews. But what if there was an announcement that the event had already taken place and you have missed out? Some people were telling the Thessalonians that Jesus had already come again.
Paul deals with this by reminding them of the things that Jesus had said about his coming, as recorded for us in the Synoptic Gospels (e.g. Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21) and also in Paul’s teaching. Jesus warned people, as well, about false messiahs and mistaken signs of his coming. Both Jesus and Paul use the image of what happened in Jerusalem in 167 BC under Antiochus Epiphanes IV (Dan. 7,8,11) as a paradigm of what will happen in the future. Whether we think Paul is referring to the fall of Jerusalem or the end of the world, the message is clear: the end is not yet. There are other events to take place first and the Lord Jesus is in control, both of the timing and the final destruction of all that is evil.
We should not be so distracted by these future events that we forget that we are to share in the glory of Christ. Our task is not to try to calculate when Jesus will come, but to stand firm in the faith that we have received and concentrate on the Spirit’s sanctifying work in us so that we share in the glory of Jesus.
Consider Paul’s prayer in vs.16-17. How can the Lord encourage and strengthen you, in the midst of difficulty?
Lord Jesus, Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians is my prayer. I praise You for Your love and grace. Encourage and strengthen me so I may glorify Your name.
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