Summary: Order of future events, how we are saved from God’s wrath, and our life in light of his coming.
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Introduction:We are living in days of great despair. The world is living in uncertainty and hopelessness. I thank God for everyone here because we have been saved from the world; we have a blessed hope of Christ’s return and a glorious future in Jesus Christ.
The believers at Thessalonica were somewhat astir because someone had been teaching wrong doctrine that they were going to have to undergo God’s wrath, the tribulation before Jesus returns in the second coming. Apostle Paul corrects that error and teaches them the order of events.
I. Order of future events.
The first event in this order of events as Paul corrects this erroneous teaching is the rapture.
2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him. That is the next step which is to take place, our gathering together unto Jesus Christ. We believe someday soon we will hear that trumpet and the believers will be gathered together unto him. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
That is the rapture. Jesus comes back in the clouds and he takes us to heaven with him.
The second event in the order of events as presented in the scripture is the tribulation.
2 Thessalonians 2:8 And then (When is that? That is the event following the resurrection and the rapture that we just read about) 8And then shall that Wicked be revealed….
The second event in the order of events is the tribulation, that seven-year period of time when this world is ruled by that wicked, by the antichrist himself. That time of seven years of God’s judgment poured out on this earth.
3. Second Coming.
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 3Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come (second coming), except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;4Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
2 Thessalonians 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
So in this passage of the Bible the Apostle Paul as he lays out the events we discover that the order will be first of all a rapture with a resurrection, secondly the Great Tribulation which is described in the Book of Revelation, and third the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, is that born out elsewhere in the scripture? It certainly is. Turn with me back to the OT: Isaiah 26. Isaiah 26:19-21 19Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. (That is the resurrection at the time of the rapture) 20Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. (Come my people, 7 years a little brief time. So note the order: The resurrection, and then the rapture, and then the tribulation.) V20 until the indignation be overpast. 21For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity (Second Coming): the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.
Isaiah 27:1 In that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.
The second coming mentioned here. So in this OT passage of this great prophet Isaiah, you have that same order born out. There is first of all the resurrection with the rapture, then there is this time of tribulation, this judgment of God; and then you see Jesus coming in the second coming back to this earth to establish his kingdom for a 1000 years.
The Book of Revelation gives that order of things. Revelation 4:1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.