Is It Over Yet?
Don’t blink… Or you might miss the treasure trove of revelation in I & II Thessalonians this week, in our Life Journal reading. These books are small, but have so much life in them. This week in my blog post I wanted to share Paul's writing to the Thessalonian Church about end times.
2 Thessalonians 2 : 1-9
2 Now, dear brothers and sisters, let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him. 2 Don’t be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don’t believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us. 3 Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction. 4 He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.
5 Don’t you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you? 6 And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. 7 For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. 8 Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.
I love how Paul starts this letter. “Let me clear some things up”. It’s almost like the Thessalonian Church had come up with some inaccurate assumptions in their eschatology (eschatology is the part of theology that studies the end times). Sound familiar? Truth is, we all have. There is a lot of confusion around this topic in the Body of Christ and most of us have created an end time scenario rooted in fear and confusion (myself included). I get it too, it can be scary and confusing to think about. Though it’s important that we don't understate Paul’s last statement in this passage. “8 Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.” This needs to be the foundation and perspective that every believer builds their eschatology from. We win! Does that make end times any less difficult to wrap our minds around? No not really, but it definitely disarms the paralysis and discourse the enemy tries to sow into the Body of Christ through fear based eschatology. There is never a time in the Bible where God calls His people to fear His plans or storyline. If you are fearing God’s plans or purposes then you have taken your eyes off Him and His splendor and have allowed the enemy to get you stuck looking at yourself and your sufficiency. You can be confident of this...if you get the unique privilege to live, until the Lord's Second Coming, and you are staying in love with Jesus, He will provide and equip you with everything you need to persevere until that day. Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not trying to minimize any of the pain or suffering that is happening all around the world on a daily basis. It’s real and it’s hard, but it does serve as a reminder that this world is fallen and temporary- no matter how many windmills and electric cars we produce. We should steward the earth God gave us to inhabit to the best of our ability and we shouldn’t fear living our lives or raising families because of Global Warming. In Jesus' pain and suffering He points us to hope in His Kingdom to come and the victory we have in Him. Again, there is never a scenario where God’ people need to fear His plans or purposes.
Here are some main points in Paul's letter I want us to key in on, that are Scriptural truths in building your eschatology.
There is not a person or scholar on earth who knows or will ever know when that day is coming. In fact, the more someone pretends to know about the end, the more you should avoid their teaching. These people usually are selling fear in book form to Christians who don’t know any better. There are no special prophetic riddles, there is no ancient mayan calendar, there is no person with special insight. In fact, Jesus taught us that only the Father knows the day and the hour, so trust that His timing is perfect. There are key indicators that we are getting closer, but no one knows the end. This I believe, is so we keep our focus, as the Church, to loving Jesus, and partnering with Him in building His Kingdom on earth. We are not supposed to hunker down and wait until the end.
Quit trying to guess who the antichrist is. If you are living for Jesus the Christ, you will have no problem identifying the counterfeit. Everytime you accuse someone in politics or governmental leadership of being the antichrist, you are declaring that person to hell and partnering with Satan over their life. If you believe someone is being influenced by the antichrist spirit your responsibility is to pray for their salvation. The antichrist will be clearly identifiable because he will have great influence and power over the nations, and will demand worship to himself only. Until he makes himself known, every person on earth is made to know God’s love, and we are responsible for sharing Him with them.
God is totally and absolutely sovereign over how the end unfolds. None of it will catch Him off guard. In fact, it will only happen at the giving of His permission. We get to partner with Him in prayer, missions, and preparing the bride for His return, and that is a grand honor! At the same time, He will remain fully God throughout the whole process. The best way you can prepare for the end is to know Jesus and His love better today than you did yesterday. This is the best way to prepare for anything you’ll walk through in this life.
He is worthy and He never disappoints. I hope this helps you be more confident in building your eschatology. I hope, we as the Bride, can confidently participate with the Holy Spirit, and in unison cry, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus.”