Bible in a Year Series - Day #331 - This post is part of a year-long series where we are reading chronologically through the Bible. Click here to learn more. You are most welcome to join along at any time.
Today's text from the ESV Study Bible: 1 & 2 Thessalonians.
The Thessalonians lived in Thessalonica, which, by its Greek name, is modern day Thessaloniki named for Alexander the Great's sister-in-law.
The Apostle Paul was in Thessaloniki but was forced to quickly leave when he was charged with sedition against Caesar.
Paul was unable to finish all that he wished to say to the Thessalonians, and therefore, a few months later, sent Timothy back to encourage them.
Timothy reported good things but shared a few primary concerns:
- there was persecution in the church.
- the young church was afraid that those who died might miss the second coming of Christ and therefore miss out on eternal life.
- there were some who were living off the good graces of the wealthy and not working.
Paul assured them that the dead in Christ will rise,
"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words." (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
and that Christ's second coming would not take place until "the man of lawlessness" (Antichrist) appears:
"Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12)
Just as no one believed Jeremiah, and a whole slew of prophets concerning the 587 BC destruction of Jerusalem, so too, this prophesied final world destruction is balderdash to a great many in our post-modern world.
Furthermore, a great many lie on their beds at night hopeless of what might become of them after their physical death.
Sadly, a great many live their lives ignorant of the world's recorded history, thumb their noses at the claims of Messiah, and subsequently put themselves in a head-on collision with God-almighty at the end of the age.
Timothy McVeigh, the terrorist bomber of the Oklahoma City Federal Building, made no final remarks before he was executed for his horrible deeds.
However, he did leave behind, in his cell, the words of atheist William Ernest Henley's famous poem, Invictus: I am the captain of my soul.
I suspect that Timothy is now certain that his god claim was a very bad decision.
Dear reader, don't put your head in the sand on these matters. Spend your life in study to find life's answers for yourself.
The greatest fool is the one standing before God claiming, "I didn't know".
God's answer will be, "yes you did, you ignored me, now depart from me you cursed one".