Isaiah 56-58 2 Thessalonians 2
“Do not become easily upset in your thinking or afraid if you hear that the day of the Lord has already come. Someone may have said this in a prophecy or in a message or in a letter as if it came from us. Do not let anyone fool you in any way. That day of the Lord will not come until the turning away from God happens and the Man of Evil, who is on his way to hell, appears.” (2 Thessalonians 2:2-3 NCV)
The Thessalonians were worried because someone was teaching that Jesus had already come again. We’ve seen a couple of New Testament Churches that dealt with this problem. Someone was teaching that Jesus had already come again. Paul had to stop that teaching from spreading here and in Corinth as well as a few other places. Maybe it was a group trying to mock Christians and make them lose hope. Maybe it wasn’t someone who was sincerely misinformed. Whatever the cause, Paul had to calm them down and let them know that while Jesus would come again, he hadn’t come yet. In short, he told them that no matter how bad it might seem to them at that point in time, things would have to get a lot worse before Jesus came again.
Fortunately, we don’t have people who are so enthralled by the idea of Jesus coming again that they tell us that He already came, or that they set dates for His return. (Is sarcasm allowed in a devotional?) OK, if I tell the truth on this, we have people setting dates for Jesus’s return all the time. I believe most of them are well-meaning and they do so because they believe they’ve figured out the real time that Jesus is coming, they want to encourage people to evangelize before that time, and they want to encourage Christians who may think they’re going through rough times. Paul made it clear to the Thessalonians and he’d make it clear to us today that we haven’t seen anything yet when it comes to evil. According to this passage, before Jesus comes again, many will turn away from God and the Man of Evil, or Man of Sin in some translations will show up on the scene making himself out to be god. Paul used this understanding to help people grow stronger in their faith because they knew that God was still sharing His grace with people today. If you think about it, as much as we want Jesus to come again and purify this world, there are still too many people who need to hear the gospel. We don’t know that day that Jesus will return. What we do know is that there are still millions of people, some of them personal friends, who need to experience the love and grace of Jesus before He does. We still have our work cut out for us.
Lord, there’s so many people who need to experience Your love and grace before You come again. Use me as an instrument of Your love to people who are hurting, people who need to know the good news.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.