Saturday, July 2, 2011

Don’t Be Fooled! Don’t BeTroubled!

As we have been studying, God has promised that all those who have been saved by trusting in Jesus will not go through the great tribulation (1 Thess 1:10; Romans 8:1). Those who know Jesus as their personal Savior Who died on the cross as full payment for all our sins, Who was buried, and Who rose from the dead to give eternal life to all who trust Him, will be spared from the wrath to come.

1 Thess. 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Instead of going through “Jacob’s trouble,” (Jer. 30:7-22) believers will be Raptured, to meet with Christ in the air (1 Thess 4:16-18), and to spend the 7-year tribulation with Him in Heaven, before returning to earth with Him to fight the Battle of Armageddon. Paul had explained all this to the Thessalonicans, but false teachers crept in as soon as he was gone, and they believed the misinformation that the tribulation had already begun even though they had not been Raptured (2 Th 2.1-6). Today we have the truth clearly spelled out in the Bible, but are all too easily swayed by false teachers who want us to think that we must go through God’s wrath, or, worse yet, that He won’t come back for us at all.

As Paul explains, the tribulation cannot occur until the Antichrist is revealed, and the Antichrist can’t begin to commit the atrocities he is destined to commit until he is let loose, so to speak, when the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit leaves the earth (2 Thess 2.7-9). The Holy Spirit indwells each believer, so when the church is Raptured, the Holy Spirit is no longer present on earth to keep the Antichrist in check. This will allow him to commit the “abomination of desolation” (Matt. 24:15) midway (3.5 years) through the tribulation, desecrating the altar and declaring in the temple that he is God. Finally, the Jews will realize they have made a terrible mistake in thinking that he would bring them peace, and they will flee for their lives (Matt. 24:16-22.

So Paul urges the church at Thessalonica, and all believers who read his words as they have been recorded in Scripture, not to be fooled or troubled by false teachings, but to hold fast to God’s promise to return for His children and to spare them from the wrath of the great tribulation. What should we do until then? Paul says to stand fast, know what we believe, be comforted by His Word, and continue in good words and works (2 Thess. 2:13-17).

We must follow Christ’s Great Commission, to go and teach and baptize those in all nations (Matt. 28:19-20). The signs of the approaching second coming (Matt. 24) should make us realize that time is short, and that we should make salvation of the lost our highest priority. This is especially important because Paul explains that those who heard and understood the Gospel before the Rapture, but rejected it, will be deceived by the supernatural acts and powers given to the Antichrist, and their hearts will be blinded to the truth of the Gospel (2 Thess. 2: 9-12).

Those who openly rejected the Gospel before the Rapture, and those who professed to be Christians and regularly attended church, yet never had a personal relationship with Christ, will not be saved during the tribulation. It so important, now more than ever, to witness to and pray for our loved ones and others who are unsaved. There is more hope for a faraway tribe who has not yet heard the Gospel, because they could be saved during the tribulation, than there is in America, especially the Bible belt where the Gospel is so widely preached.

1 Cor. 15: 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

That is why studying prophecy is important – Jesus wanted us to realize that He could return for us at any moment, to recognize the signs of the times and to know what lies ahead. That way, we can use what He told us about the future to realize the urgency of living for Him every moment of every day we have left.

Love in Christ,

Laurie Collett

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