Do Not Be Misled About Christ's Second Coming
Jesus is coming again (John 14:3). That repeated teaching from the apostles sustained the churches through persecution (1 Corinthians 1:7, Revelation 1:7). Although it refined the church, some people wondered if they had believed in vain. Surely, they argued, Jesus will come to gather His people and to lift us out of our misery as God brought the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 3:7-8a). But if believers were sinking into ever deeper trouble, did this mean that Jesus had forgotten, or that He had already come back and somehow ignored the church in Thessalonica?
Such questions were stirred by sincere, but wrong, teachers who said that Jesus had already returned, but that Thessalonica was not included in His 'itinerary'. Some letters, purporting to come from Paul had been read in the church, to promote that idea. Others claimed to have a prophetic word from God, and others simply repeated the lie.
Paul needed to correct this wrong teaching, because the Second Coming should be the focus point of the hope for every believer. We look forward to His presence as our final security and culmination of our faith (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18). Remove the Second Coming, and there is no hope-point left. Worse still, to believe that Jesus has already returned but excluded us, is to say that we are not saved and our faith is of no value (2 Timothy 2:18). So, in this chapter, Paul continued and extended his teaching on the Second Coming from his first letter (1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11).
The world tells us that our hope is in finding happiness; the Bible tells us that our hope should be focussed on meeting Jesus, and being with Him for all eternity. Alas, false teachers still undermine that truth. Whether it is that Jesus has already returned; or that He will return on a particular date (despite Jesus' assertion that the date cannot be predicted … Matthew 24:36). Others say that Jesus will only gather a privileged few, or that His return is a metaphor for the world or the church getting better, or that it is a myth. None of those ideas have any Biblical support – no matter how fervently or sincerely some teachers may promote them (2 Peter 3:3-4). Others simply say the Second Coming does not matter: they are wrong too. To live without the perspective of the Second Coming is to lose the awesome sense of accountability, and the confidence that the Lord will gather us to Himself one day because we belong to Him (Titus 2:11-14). Also, if there is no alertness to the Second Coming there will be little desire to evangelise or suffer for His sake (2 Peter 3:10-13).
© Dr Paul Adams