2 Thessalonians 1:9-10 – They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.
The New Christians to whom Paul writes believed that Jesus had come the first time to live without sin, die for their sin, and rise from death to forgive sin and open Heaven. They also believed in the Second Coming of Jesus to raise the dead, lift the curse, judge the unbelieving, and reward the saints with eternal life in the Kingdom of God.
Like many new Christians, they became a bit too enamored with the complicated area of Biblical study called “eschatology”. A Bible dictionary explains this term is, “Derived from the combination of the Greek eschatos, meaning “last,” and logos, meaning “word” or “significance.” Refers to the biblical doctrine of last things.” (1)
A dictionary of theological terms further explains that “eschatology…refers to the ultimate climax or end of history wherein Christ returns to earth to establish his eternal kingdom of righteousness and justice among all nations. Eschatology, then, is the theological study that seeks to understand the ultimate direction or purpose of history as it moves toward the future, both from an individual perspective (What happens when a person dies?) and from a corporate perspective (Where is history going, and how will it end?).” (2)
Once you know Jesus, and believe in life with Him forever, it can become increasingly frustrating to live in our fallen, broken, and painful world. The Thessalonians would have been happy for Jesus to return in their day and were likely expecting Him to do so. A few thousand years later, things have not gotten any better and many, if not most Christians, feel a lot like the Thessalonians did – wondering how much worse it can get and when Jesus will return to make it all better.
Do you think you have an idea of when Jesus will return? Why or why not?
- Paige Patterson, “Eschatology,” ed. Chad Brand et al., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 503.
- Stanley Grenz, David Guretzki, and Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 46.
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