Tuesday, 26 September 2017
Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 Thessalonians 2:1
Paul now moves from His opening comments to the main portion of instruction in the epistle. His words concern future events which will further explain his thoughts of his first letter to them. In Chapter 1 of this letter, he spoke of judgment upon unbelievers, and of the glorification of the saints as well. But there is an order in which things happen, and there are times set by God for them to come about. Paul will give some details of these things now. And so he begins with, “Now, brethren.”
The words are to believers, and they are friendly and warm. Those who are included in the fellowship are all to read and feel encouraged by them. With this in mind, he then begins his thoughts with, “concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
This is an issue which he has already addressed in his first letter, particularly in Chapter 4 of it. Therefore, his words are to be taken along with what he said there. Without getting too far ahead now, it is evident from his coming words that people were making false claims about the events of 1 Thessalonians 4, and these statements were troubling the fellowship. Paul wants them (and thus us!) to know the proper sequence of events which will occur in and around the Lord’s coming “and our gathering together to Him.”
This is specifically referred to in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 –
“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
The word Paul uses, translated as “gathering,” is found only here and in Hebrews 10:35 in regards to Christians assembling together for worship and instruction. In this case, it must be referring to all who are in Christ, both the dead and the living. The words of 1 Thessalonians 4 are being further explained. Therefore, it is certainly referring to the time of the rapture at the Lord’s coming for His church.
It is based on this event that the words of this verse finish with, “we ask you.” He is going to petition them to pay attention to what he and his associates have to say so that they will not be misguided by false claims concerning this event. The words are meant for the church as a whole, and so believers today can pick up their Bible and have the same assurances that those in Thessalonica had 2000 years ago.
Life application: What is the sequence of events which surround the rapture? How can we know if someone is making stuff up out of their head? Stay tuned for the exciting details. Paul will give us words which will keep us from being distracted by people who are either uneducated in Scripture, or who purposely twist end-time events for their own perverse purposes. Taking Paul’s words in context, we can avoid being misled by them.
Lord God, it sure is marvelous to have Your word available to us. It gives us a grand outline of things which lie ahead, and it will help us to find reassurance in our walk now… if we just pick it up and study it. Help us in this Lord. Grant us the wisdom to spend more time reading Your word than we spend in front of the TV. May it be our daily desire to get into this treasure and soak up its goodness! Amen.