This is the sense of the letters written to the early churches. It appears the Thessalonians were so ramped up, some decided to quit working and just sit and wait. That idea was also squashed. Good thing too because while the event could have occurred at that time, it did not.
What then? My understanding is Jesus will return for the church – His body. Those of us living today as well as those who died since that first Pentecost after His resurrection.
1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
After this He will return WITH is church for the final “cleanup”.
2 Thessalonians 2:8 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:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
Do these verses describe the same event? If not, what happens in the interim?
To answer the 2nd question first, the events in the book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ occur between the above events. And for that reason, I am convinced that these verses do not describe the same “coming of Christ.”
One question I often hear of non-believers is “What do I need to be saved from?” The answer... wrath.
1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
Romans puts it even more plainly:
Romans 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
I am convinced the wrath we are saved from is, at least in part, the wrath described in The Revelation. And if this is accurate, HOW will be we saved from this wrath?
Again, read 1 Thessalonians 4:16 above. We. Won't. Be. Here.
Now about the “WHEN”...
The most foolish idea I can think of at this moment is offering a specific date. In several ways, in several places in scripture, we are told no man knows the day and the hour, he will come in a “twinkling of an eye”, etc. It seems clear to me Jesus ain't coming on a bus!
Furthermore, as stated above, we should live each day, nay each moment, as if He could show up right now. Okay, so I'm still working on that one. But I AM working on it and with each passing day I'm thinking more and more about that. And that not by any aggressive effort but be simply observing what is going on around me. While we are not to know a specific time, we ARE to know the “season”. And the season is upon us.
Look around you. As I mentioned in another post, a world government is inevitable. Immorality, lawlessness, perversion abounds. Even those who take a stand for their godly beliefs IN THIS NATION OF FREEDOM OF RELIGION, are persecuted and prosecuted. While we've been declining morally for decades, it wasn't long ago that we would, as a people, be horrified and outraged about things we now let past with little more than a whimper.
We are past the point of no return. There will be no return to a more godly nation. Until recently, my own prayer was for just that. But I was shown (that is the only way I can describe this epiphany) that it will not happen. No matter what else we can expect, this nation will continue to decline.
This decline will happen in every aspect. Our economy is in shambles, thanks to overspending and overregulation as our government has embraced socialism as never before. Keep in mind, we've been moving towards this end for decades. Our political and legal systems are corrupted to the point of rot. The media relentlessly pounds us with propaganda. If you are thinking MSM or Main Stream Media, you are only partly correct. Take a step back and look at the drivel that now passes for “entertainment”. For tickles and grins, watch an old rerun of “Andy Griffith” or “Leave It to Beaver” as a comparison. If the difference in values are not glaring, then you need to take a good look at your own life.
The decline is not new – it has been continuous for over a century. Like a snowball, it has picked up incredible size as speed. Shortly it will destroy everything in its path.
My point is, no matter how much time remains until Jesus Christ returns, there is no telling how bad life will get before His return. As I write this, my life is peaceful. Whatever is “going on out there” has not reached me to any extent.
Even so, I cannot say I am unscathed. I refuse to participate in socialized health care. For some reason, I cannot accept the government declaring I can afford to spend around 25% of my income on “health insurance”. Thus I must pay a “penalty”. Oh yeah, said penalty is explicitly forbidden by the very law that imposes it.
The food I buy continues to decline in quality as the cost rises. Often this cost is hidden. One of the more nefarious techniques is pumping meat full of water to increase weight. More common is the “gallon” that is now 28 ounces or the “pound” that is now 12 ounces. I looked at what used to be a 3lb of coffee to discover it contained less than 2lbs! Yet coffee production is at record levels.
What am I getting at? You may be looking around you right now and thinking none of this is effecting you. And to a point you are right. But are you going to wait until some catastrophe hits you before you sit up and take notice? What then? Besides this, the effects of the declines we've seen already has effected you. Maybe you've absorbed it and adjusted. Nothing wrong with that, but there will come a time when you will not be able to ignore it all and then it may be too late to protect yourself.
On the other hand, what if I prepare for the worse and nothing happens? Well, I will have some extra food and supplies on hand. I can rotate those for decades if need be and should I die some day while nothing I write here has come to pass, I have not lost much of anything. Those who survive me will be free to distribute said supplies to the poor. No matter what we will always have the poor among us.
And if Jesus should tarry and I pass before His return? I will have lived a life of joy and hope. I doubt if I will regret it at all.
Meanwhile I will ramp up what I believe to be the most effective use of my time until Jesus does return and that is what I am doing now. Reaching out to you and to others. Pointing out what is often the obvious but just as often overlooked or drowned out by the cacophony of noise enveloping us.
While “I” cannot “save” anyone, I can present the truth to as many people as possible and encourage as many people as I can to accept Jesus as Lord, believe God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9,10) and make a case for this as the single most important decision in life.
First to accept Christ and then to hold forth the truth to others. In the end, what else matters?
May our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ keep you and bless you abundantly!