Imminent Return?

2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 (ESV)

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Many people have been fooled over the two millenia since Christ walked the earth. Jesus said He would return, and even gave some signs of the times in Matthew 24: “...For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars... For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places... “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake... And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold... And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

Here it is two-thousand years later, and He has not come back yet. There are many things yet to be accomplished before He will return. It certainly seems as though things are accelerating rapidly, and may not be far off. Yet the Disciples thought at first that the Lord’s return would be in their lifetime, so they did not write down the gospels right away. But eventually the words and activities of Jesus were written down, and have endured the test of time. The way things are going now, it seems as if His return is imminent. We must keep our eyes open, but not jump everytime someone says He is coming. Yes, He is coming. He may be here any day, or His return may be hundreds of years away. We do not know. What we do know is this. We need to be ready. We need to be prepared to undergo trials and tribulations for His Name. We must stick together, and love one another. Encourage one another.

When I was in Israel, I walked along the southern Rampart of the old city and found this strange storage area filled with numbered blocks. I had heard from other people who had researched the plan to rebuild the Temple, that the Israelites have every stone needed to rebuild the temple cut and stored, and even numbered to facilitate a quick build. Is it possible that these stones could be part of that? We don’t know, but need to be ready. When the Temple is rebuilt, and the “Man of Lawlessness” declares himself to be god, then we will know. Until then, love one another, be ready, and pray for strength and encouragement.

by Virgil Stripes

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