One of the great freedoms and privileges we have in this country is the right and opportunity to worship God without fear of oppression. Such has not always been the case. When the Lord’s church was in it’s infancy, those who openly expressed their faith in Jesus Christ were met with great persecution. However, in the first chapter of Paul’s second Thessalonian epistle, he sought to comfort those so troubled. Beginning at verse seven, Paul foretold of Christ’s second coming, at which time the unbelieving and disobedient would be punished with eternal destruction and separation from God. Even for those in a proper relationship with God, the thought of such a thing taking place is frightening, and certainly a terror beyond description for those subjected to God’s wrath. Though this be true, as Paul opened the second chapter, he advised the church at Thessalonica not to be alarmed about the Lord’s appearing, for He would not so come until the church had suffered a great falling away. It would be under the circumstances of such an apostasy that the “man of sin” and “son of perdition” would be exposed for what they really are; nothing more or less than the devil himself and those who work under his influence. It was more difficult in Paul’s day than it is in ours for those who would be faithful to know the difference in religious truth and error. This is simply because you and I can go home and study from the pages of scripture to discover God’s will. If it should differ from what is preached or taught, then it becomes clear what is truth and what is error. In the days of the apostles, however, the New Testament as we know it had not been completed, for the epistles and records which would become that testament had not been completed and compiled. Further, not every Christian had the gifts of the spirit sufficient to discern truth and error. The falling away in apostasy would both expose the devil’s work and, in the meantime, the completed New Testament would provide a sufficient revelation of God’s will. After the falling away, Paul indicated that the second coming of Christ could indeed take place. There is, therefore, nothing for this generation to await before the King should indeed appear in the air. This is because the church did indeed suffer apostasy, truth and error have been named and exposed, and the devil is no longer disguised to the knowing and faithful. While the early Thessalonian Christians were told not to expect the Christ to soon return, we would be most foolish not to expect Him at any time, taking vengeance on the disobedient while carrying the faithful to eternal reward.
Written and Recorded By: David Hayes Prophater