Something is in the air. Can you feel it? Bible prophecy is being fulfilled at record speed before our very eyes. Believers who may have put God on the back burner are now seeking Him with renewed interest. Even the secular world has become enthralled with Armageddon and the last days. With the signs all around us, how can we help but wonder if we are living in the end times.
Throughout the ages, Christians have debated God’s timing. Timing of the rapture, second coming, tribulation, and millennial kingdom. At the church of Thessalonica, false teachers were giving reports that “the day of the Lord“ (2 Thess. 2:2), in which Christ returns for His church, had already come. I can just imagine their discouragement and the heaviness of their hearts thinking they missed the rapture. But Paul reassured them in his letter that although the return of Jesus is imminent, the Lord had not yet come. And just like the Thessalonians, in the meantime, there are some things we need to be doing.
“Pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith.” (vs. 1,2) The war of the Enemy against God’s people raged just as strong in Paul’s day as it does in ours. Satan and his minions will stop at nothing to prevent the spread of the gospel.
Yet Paul knew prayer is a mighty weapon in our spiritual arsenal saying, “the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” (2 Cor. 10:4) And so he calls us to pray. Pray that the Word of God will spread like wildfire across the world no matter the opposition, resulting in multitudes of people being saved. Because when the gospel has been “preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, the end will come.” (Matt. 24:14)
“We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command.” (vs. 4) Some Thessalonians thought that the soon return of Jesus meant there was no need to continue to work. Instead they sat in idleness “acting like busybodies” (vs. 11), content to live off the generosity of fellow Christians. Paul said not only was this wrong, but warned not to associate with such people, regarding them not as an enemy, but as a fellow brother or sister in Christ who needs restoring. (vs. 15) “Follow our example”, Paul says, (vs. 7) and every day until Jesus comes back, continue faithfully working for the kingdom of God. A teaching Jesus Himself gave in the parable of the “Ten Minas”, (Luke 19:11-26)
“The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. May God direct your hearts into the love and steadfastness of Christ.” (vs. 3,5) While they waited for the catching away of the church, Paul knew the Thessalonian believers would need both the strength and grace that can only be found in Jesus. And so he admonished them to fearlessly continue obeying God’s Word and keep moving forward on their spiritual walk. For as Isaiah 41:10 tells us, “Do not fear, I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My mighty righteous right hand.”
“I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:3) We all look forward to the glorious day when Jesus comes to take us home. But until He returns, “do not weary of doing good” (vs. 13), keep looking up, “because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28), and “may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance.” (vs. 16)