A Thief in the Night – Part II

But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.

 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing….1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

What is meant by the phrase, “the second coming?’

And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven….Acts 1:10-11
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. 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….1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen….Rev 1:7

Some mistaken ideas for the meaning of Christ’s second coming include:

  • His coming at the death of a saint
  • The coming of the Holy Spirit
  • The destruction of Jerusalem.

There is a distinction of Christ’s coming FOR His saints (1 Thessalonians) and coming WITH His saints (2 Thessalonians).

These two books, if studied, will answer many questions.  He comes for His Church, the Bride of Christ, to remove us from this sinful world.  Following this event will be a time of great distress, in Scripture called the Great Tribulation after which He returns to bring judgment upon all the world.

Many efforts by saints and sinners alike have been put forth to set dates concerning His return. The best answer that I can give to you is simply, “Soon, be ready.”

Some of the signs we can readily see that point to His return are:

  • Great Apostasy and departure from the faith.

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving….1 Timothy 4:1

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!…2 Timothy 3:1-5

  • A time of great heaping up of wealth and possessions.

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you….James 5:1-9

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See howthe farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned.Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!

  • A time of great missionary activity.

And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations….Mark 13:10

  • The return of the Jews to Israel

Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you, and you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you….Deuteronomy 30:1-3

Behold, the day of the Lord is coming,
And your spoil will be divided in your midst.
For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem;
The city shall be taken,
The houses rifled,
And the women ravished.
Half of the city shall go into captivity,
But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

Then the Lord will go forth
And fight against those nations,
As He fights in the day of battle.
And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,
Which faces Jerusalem on the east.
And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two,
From east to west,
Making a very large valley;
Half of the mountain shall move toward the north
And half of it toward the south….Zechariah 14:1-4

Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it….Zechariah 12:2-3

Be ready – He’s coming soon! Do not be caught unaware.

I Thessalonians speaks in detail of the coming of Christ for the saints:

  • Christ comes to claim His bride
  • He comes in the air
  • The Great Tribulation follows
  • Immediate departure of saints (caught up in the air)
  • Message of Comfort given
  • Our change is a mystery
  • Believers are judged
  • Israel’s covenants not yet fulfilled
  • Believers only will be involved
  • The Church received into the presence of the Lord

II Thessalonians speaks of the coming of Christ in judgment:

  • Christ returns with His bride
  • He comes to the earth
  • The millennial kingdom established
  • Multiple signs proceed
  • Message of judgment given
  • Change predicted throughout the bible
  • Gentiles and Israel are judged
  • Israel”s covenant is fulfilled
  • All people are involved
  • Israel brought into kingdom age.

If we are planning on being a part of the first return of Christ, His return for the Church, then we had better not ignore the admonition of I Thessalonians – Chapter 4.

Jesus is coming back.

A Thief in the Night! – Part I

coffee

Well, I am up early again today and already on my first cup of coffee – French Vanilla today.     Ummm, love it.

This week I have gone back to my files and retrieved some notes from a sermon I preached several times while I was a pastor.

There are a lot of scriptures accompanying this post and I hope you will read those as well in their entirety, otherwise, you will not get the full meaning of what I am trying to say. So, fasten your seat belts…off we go.

seatbelt

But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.

Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing….

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

  • Watch and pray
  • Watch, you do not know the day

If you are a farmer and

  • you want to reap corn, then plant corn
  • you want to reap soy beans, then plant soy beans
  • you want to reap wheat, then plant wheat

If you want to work in a factory, then work in a factory

BUT: If you want to be a witness, then be a witness whether you are a farmer, a factory worker, a housewife, a professional, a college student. No matter what, BE A WITNESS.

In other words:

  • be fruitful, bring in a great harvest to the kingdom.
  • be helpful.
  • lift others up, followers of Christ, and those who do not follow Christ.

No wonder Christ’s return is of importance to the Christian faith, as approximately one out of every thirty verses in the Bible mention this teaching. The coming of Christ, as told in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke are not the coming I am speaking of in this post.

Christ’s return is mentioned in 318 references in 216 separate chapters. Entire books, for example 1 and 2 Thessalonians are devoted to the subject.  Entire chapters, including Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, are given over to it.

Christ’s return is the theme of the Old Testament prophets. The careful reader will quickly note that they sometimes merge Christ’s two comings so that it is not at first apparent that there are two comings of Christ, yet the teaching is there.

Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow….1 Peter 1:10-11

Jesus bore constant testimony to His coming again.

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And 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 14:1-3

The angels bear testimony to His second coming in:

And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven….Acts 1:11

The apostles faithful proclaimed this truth:

Repent therefor and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before….Acts 3:19-20

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. 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….1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation….Hebrews 9:28

And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming….1 John 2:28

Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.

The church is told to look forward to this great hope that we have in His second coming.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…Titus 2:11-13

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?…2 Peter 3:12

His second coming is a teaching from God’s Word that proves to be the greatest incentive to living a consistent Christian life.

Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect….Matthew 24:44

But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man….Luke 21:34-36

And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming….1 John 2:28

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure….1 John 3:3

One question we should ask ourselves in all areas of life, especially some”gray” areas, is:

“Would I like to have Christ find me doing this when He comes?”

His second coming is a great comfort to all believers.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

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. 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. 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. Therefore comfort one another with these words….1 Thessalonians 4:14-18

Some scoffers say it is not going to happen. Why would something so comforting and helpful to the believer be spoken against or seldom, or not at all preached in the pulpit of our churches across the land?

There are many reasons some have for believing that lie from Satan.

  • The unbelief of the individual and, in general, the church
  • Preconceived ideas
  • Extravagant or non-scriptural predictions as to time
  • Lack of knowledge of the Scriptures
  • Failure of the churches to teach on this subject.

WELL, THAT IS THE FIRST HALF OF THIS POST…MORE TOMORROW.