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Golden Nursing Center in Mannington, NJ –Evening Service on 9/17/2009
(edited May 2019)
Verses 1-2: “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.”
The end of the world will, in fact, be obvious and knowable to the true believer when it comes. It is not meant to be in the realm of an exclusive group of special or genius Christians. In regard to this, let’s take a moment to look at I Thessalonians 5:1-6:
“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.”
I would say that the Scriptures would not instruct us, through the Apostle Paul, to watch for the coming of the end if there was going to be nothing to see or no conclusions to draw when the Day actually arrives. (There is, sadly, no promise of awareness of the times to come for non-believers.)
Today we suffer from too much information about Armageddon and the End, not too little information. Paul isn’t talking to the “gurus” of knowledge but to all true Christians:
Verses 3-4 (II Thess. 2:3-4): “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”
Verse 5: “Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?”
At Thessalonica they would hear, but not always retain Paul’s message to them. These things don’t stick with us either. That’s why we need to stay near the Word of God as we function as believers today. There are so many distractions and contemplating the end of the world that currently surrounds us day after day just seems unnatural. Maybe it is “unnatural” but Paul thought it to be spiritually profitable for all of us.
Verses 6-7: “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.”
It was a different world before Christ came, died, rose and ascended back to the Father. Then the Holy Spirit came to indwell and empower all true believers. Paul may be telling us here that the withdraw of that Spirit of God (and the believers, too?) from the earth will be the next huge spiritual development down here.
Verse 8: “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:”
“Wicked” is capitalized like a proper name here. There are many “antichrists” throughout the Church Age we are told in the letters of the Apostle John. But Paul seems to be referring here to A SINGLE, REAL PERSON at a very specific moment in history.
Verses 9-10: “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
This Wicked One is no one we’ve met yet! And John does refer to him later in his Book of Revelation.
Verses 11-12: “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
This will be a Day will be a hard time. A hard time START BELIEVING. The Day of Grace we often take for granted now will be ending. Everything will be changing radically. Look back at verse 8 for a second. Notice how differently Jesus, our “Gentle” Shepherd, is behaving. It’s shocking when you stop to think about it.
Verses 13-17: “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.”
This is our hour, beloved. A time to be saved and sanctified, set apart to do God’s will on the earth and to stand fast until the Change comes.