Category Archives: Eschatology

second coming and solar eclipse

The Second Coming and the Solar Eclipse

The Second Coming

The Second Coming of Jesus is real. It stands today as certain Bible prophecy. Jesus Himself said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:3). No Christian denies a return of Jesus at some point. But, and this is important, Scripture never specifies when Jesus will return. Instead, He tells his disciples to watch and be ready for His return (Matthew 25:13, Luke 21:34).

The certainty of Jesus’ return and the uncertainty of the date give rise to a roiling ocean of foolishness and false teaching. It hurts and disappoints those who trust in it, but it is also fodder for news reports that poke fun at all Christians.

The solar eclipse of April 8, 2024, is the latest “sign” that Jesus is about to return. Eric Vanden Eykel of Ferrum College writes about the constant predicting of Christ’s return through atmospheric and celestial signs. He writes, “Religious theories surrounding this eclipse are part of a larger pattern of attempts to find meaning in astronomical events that goes back thousands of years.” In other words, people were erroneously predicting the Second Coming long before our modern-day charlatans.  

But Jesus said, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only (Matthew 24:36, c.f. verse 50). Clearly, these preachers must think Jesus was mistaken!

Book authors and televangelists like Hal Lindsey and John Hagee frequently promote random events as signs of Jesus’ near return. The passage of time debunked Lindsey’s claim that Armageddon would come in the 1980’s. Eykel writes, “Lindsey was wrong, of course; the 1980s did not bring about the apocalypse. But this way of thinking – of seeking to find significance in various random events like eclipses – persists among some Christians.” Hagee is just as wrong.

Christians should vigorously oppose nonsensical end-time teaching. First, because it’s wrong, and second because it harms the faith in the eyes of the lost.

However, stunning phenomena like a total eclipse, a meteor, or a hurricane, bear witness to the power of the Creator. The perfectly tuned Universe which allows for precise predictions of the eclipse’s path and timing, speaks to the demand for a designer. God’s glory is on full display. Why would anyone want to add such silliness to what will be evident in the heavens?

The Bible says Jesus is coming again. The Bible does not say when. Be satisfied in Christ now and live watchfully and expectantly. It’s time for the speculation to pass.

Have we Confused Antichrist and the Man of Sin?

Part six of the Come Lord Jesus series on the final return of Christ at the end of time. Today, Have We Confused Antichrist and the Man of Sin?

It is common to equate antichrist of John’s writings with Paul’s man of lawlessness in 2 Thessalonians. Some writers bounce back and forth between the two as if antichrist was a pronoun for the man of sin.  It seems to me to be an error that contributes to confusion concerning the return of Jesus and the end of time. Have we Confused Antichrist and the Man of Sin?

Let us first consider a portion of the single text concerning the man of lawlessness:

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.

(2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4).

People in Thessalonica were convinced that Jesus had already returned. Obviously, they feared that they had missed out on His glory. They were shaken and alarmed by this conclusion, which, it turns out, was errant. The reason for their error was straightforward: The man of lawlessness had to appear first. Only then would Jesus return. Paul had already discussed the man of lawlessness with the Thessalonians, as evidenced by his comment in verse 5. They had forgotten his words and had been deceived.

Many commentators, dating back at least as far as Chrysostom on the fourth century, held that this person, the man of sin or man of lawlessness, was the antichrist. But their conclusions overlook certain critical points of difference.

Man of Sin: One or Many?

Paul points to a single individual as the man of lawlessness while John’s antichrist is many. Paul speaks of an evil personage described as “the man,” who is “the son,” who “exalts himself,” and takes “his seat,” and proclaims “himself to be God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4). But John says of the antichrist that “many antichrists have come” (1 John 2:18). He speaks of them in a plural way (1 John 2:19). Not so with the man of lawlessness. He is presented as a single being or construct.

There is a single “spirit of the antichrist” in 1 John 4:3, but that spirit exists in many different liars (c.f. vs. 22). The single, individual man of lawlessness does not fit neatly with the idea of many antichrists.

Man of Sin: The Mission

The desire of the man of lawlessness is for his personal aggrandizement. He exalts himself. The antichrists are busy denying Christ. They wish to dethrone the Savior, but John says nothing about them elevating themselves. The spirit of antichrist is a belief system that denies that Jesus is from God and is the divine Son of God.

Man of Sin: The Timing

The man of lawlessness arises with a great apostasy or falling away (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Scholars believe, and the Bible supports the idea, that 2 Thessalonians was written in the early second half of the first century (maybe 52 -55 AD). In the mind of most scholars, the Johannine epistles were written in the last decade of the first century, but some would place the writing as early as the ’60s. What great apostasy occurred during this time? The timing is critical. The man of lawlessness is linked to a great falling away, yet none is reported Biblically or in secular writings during this period. He cannot be antichrist.

Consider this outline from the West Walker church of Christ.

Antichrist Is Not What You Think

Part five of the Come Lord Jesus series on the final return of Christ at the end of time. Today we examine antichrist.

Social media has much to say about antichrist. He is just around the corner and will soon arise. He brings welcomed order to our troubled world and will be a heroic figure destined to save humanity. In truth, he is demonic and a destroyer of all that is good.

As we did when discussing the Rapture, let us ask what the Bible says.

Antichrist in Scripture

“Antichrist” is a biblical term. The word occurs five times in 4 verses. Only John uses the word.

“Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.”

(1 John 2:18)

“Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.”

( 1 John 2:22)

“and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.”

(1 John 4:3)

“For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.”              

(2 John 7)

Therefore, the question is not whether it appears in Scripture, it does. But, how is the term defined and used by John? Of equal importance, how are people using the word antichrist today?

The Second Coming

The antichrist is not associated with the return of Jesus and is never used in connection with the end of time. Observe each of the occasions where John used the word. Not once is John speaking of the end of time. His words are always directed toward the very day and time in which he was writing.

More so, John, in all four verses, declares that the antichrist was already present in his first-century world! The antichrist was a specific kind of false teacher: one who “denies that Jesus is the Christ,” and one who does not confess that Jesus is from God” (1 John 2:22; 1 John 4:3).

Also 1 John 2:18 and 2 John 7 assert that there were many antichrists in the first-century. The antichrist of the Bible is not a single powerful ruler or influencer. We must reject false teaching on this subject. It is not relevant to say someone has good intentions. The only thing that matters here is the truth.

For more reading, visit this article from the late Wayne Jackson at Christian Courier.

The Rapture: Come Lord Jesus

Part three of the Come Lord Jesus series on the final return of Christ at the end of time.

The Rapture is the idea of a secret, preliminary return of Jesus to take his saved away from the earth. It is an integral part of dispensationalism. The idea is novel and has no recorded basis in the Bible itself. There are, however, some early threads of dispensational thought in the second century. The Rapture was popularized by the Scofield Study Bible (1909), The Late Great Planet Earth (1970), and the Left Behind series of books (1995). Today, it is the subject of innumerable memes and posts on social media. Interest in the subject tends to rise in times of distress, such as the present COVID fears and political disruptions. Despite its appeal, it does not square with Biblical teaching on the return of Jesus.

Believers suggest that at some unspecified time, Jesus will return and suddenly take away believers. This they call The Rapture. Images of driverless cars, pilotless aircraft, and missing masses are common. Various flavors of dispensational teaching differ on what comes next, although the most common is seven years of incredible tribulation and suffering for those not taken away. After the seven years, Christ will return and wage battle against the forces of the antichrist. After a great battle, Armageddon, the victorious Christ will reign on earth for 1,000 years. We will study each of these ideas in coming articles.

Rapture Secrecy

1 Thessalonians 4:17 is a key verse for Rapture adherents:

“Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”

The doctrine teaches that Christ takes his people away from the earth but does not appear to anyone other than the saved. Is that what the Bible teaches? No. Let us observe the context of the very verse they hold dear. The preceding verse (1 Thessalonians 4:16) describes the Lord’s coming:

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.”

The Bible uses words like “cry,” “voice,” and “sound of the trumpet.”  Instead of being a secret arrival of Jesus, as taught by the Rapture, it is a thunderous and public arrival. There is nothing to suggest any secrecy here!

A close parallel to 1 Thessalonians 4:17 is Revelation 1:7.

“Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.”

I say this is parallel because in both cases, Jesus is coming in the air (air = 1 Thessalonians 4:17; clouds = Revelation 1:7). Please note that everyone will see his return, even the wicked men who nailed him to a cross. “[E]very eye will see him.”

The only way this secret return of the Rapture can be sustained is if this coming is not related to the end of time and if there is a third coming of Jesus at the very end. To get around this, dispensationalists argue for a preliminary coming of Jesus. In our next article, we will examine the multi-return teaching.

Jesus’ Return and You Don’t Know When

Good people struggle with knowing when Jesus will come again. Stressful times make us long for the shattering of earthly chains and the flight to unknown realms. Like a child waiting to be picked up by his parents after a first overnight away from home, we are increasingly homesick as we await the Lord’s coming. Some people call his return The Rapture, although that term is not in the Bible. We are certain that Jesus will return, but we just wish we knew when he would show up.

Jesus is with us right now. He promised the disciples that he was with us always (Matthew 28:18, 19). But he also told us of another return, one that would swiftly take us to glory (John 14:1 – 4). He alone is the way to the Father – there is no other path (John 14:6). But because we do not know the time and date of his return, we must work in his kingdom until we see him come.

When is Jesus’ Return?

This is where we stumble. In our breathless anticipation of his victorious return, we assume too much. “These are signs of the times,” friends say, or “it’s time for Jesus’ to return!” Self-styled prophets declare a date certain for the end. People have been saying these things for millennia, and they have all been wrong.

Avignon, France, was a lovely village in 1348. It lies on the Rhone river, about 50 miles from the Mediterranean Sea. During the late Spring, the Black Death, Bubonic Plague, swept through the town.

“When Avignon ran out of ground, Clement consecrated the Rhone; each morning that plague spring, hundreds of rotting corpses would flow down the stream like a mysterious new species of sea creature.” So wrote John Kelly in The Great Mortality. He also reports that 7,000 homes within the city lay vacant because everyone inside was dead. One resident estimates 62,000 people died in the first four months of the year. (Kelly, pg 150). Many believed that the plague was mentioned in the Bible and was a sign of Jesus’ impending return or the Rapture.

But Jesus didn’t come then.

At about the same time (1337 – 1453), the so-called Hundred Years’ War (actually 116 years) claimed close to 3,000,000 dead. In recent history, World War II claimed close to 100,000,000 across six years of combat capped by the final detonation of two atomic bombs in Japan. Indeed such a deadly war with such a horrendous climax must signal the Lord’s return! J. Robert Oppenheimer, who lead the American project to develop atomic bombs, shed a tear when remembering the testing of those bombs. He quoted from the Hindu holy book, Bhagavad-Gita, “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.

But Jesus didn’t come then either.

William Miller, a founder of Seventh Day Adventism, announced that Jesus would return on October 22, 1844. Many believed his false teaching, disposed of their possessions, and sat down to await the Lord’s return. When the day passed, such sadness followed that the date has come to be known as The Great Disappointment. Miller and those who followed him became targets of jokes, taunts, and even violence. The people who followed Miller were ordinary, everyday people. They were good folk who worked hard and attended church services. They were true believers of Miller. They were confident.

But Jesus didn’t come.

When we declare the coming of the Lord or declare so-called “signs of the times,” we give the world one more reason to laugh and hold us in derision. That may not matter to your faith, but it could throttle those considering coming to Jesus. Let us stick with what we know and accept what we do not. I know Jesus is coming, I don’t know when, but he will come.

Come, Lord Jesus

John was waiting for Jesus when he penned the above words from Patmos in Revelation 22:20. Aside from being exiled to a small island in the Aegean Sea, he was privileged to see a series of revelations about the past and the future. John saw a vision of heaven and saw the enthroned Creator and innumerable worshippers around him. But the images ended. He looked around and was still on the same rocky isle as before. “Come, Lord Jesus” was his cry. The contrast between heaven and Patmos must have been astonishing. John longed for Jesus’ return.

Always Waiting for Jesus’ Return

A devout disciple of Jesus is always homesick. Our minds are heavenward. We peer beyond the stars into the deep blues and blacks and dream of eternity. Our dreams are vivid because of our present reality. The stench of an evil world intensifies day by day. COVID, riots, political instability, saber-rattling, morality decomposition, financial fears, and broad malaise give our dreams urgency.

A desire for our heavenly home is good. Paul felt it (Philippians 1:18 – 26, esp vs. 23), and we should too.

We are Confused About Jesus’ Return

But I am concerned that some have confused a desire for heaven with a human doctrine of dispensationalism. I see it on social media when people assert that the end times must be near because of our troubles.

Dispensationalism is a collection of end-of-time ideas that have been popularized since John Darby in the 1800s. In our time, author Hal Lindsey penned The Late Great Planet Earth in 1970, seeming to forecast the “rapture” in the 1980s. Jerry B. Jenkins (no connection to Jerry Jenkins of Roebuck Parkway)  and Tim Lahaye published the Left Behind series of books. These stories present a fictionalized account of the return of Jesus. The rapture, AntiChrist, and an earthly reign of Jesus on a throne in Jerusalem are all part of the novels. Dangerously, these books, and similar social media posts, suggest a way to know when the Lord is coming. That’s an idea specifically refuted by Jesus himself.

We are waiting for Jesus, knowing he’s coming but unsure of when.

In the coming weeks, we will examine these various teachings and demonstrate from the Bible why they are in error. We will establish a biblical approach to these topics. We will point to something firm to stand upon when dreaming of heaven. Let’s start with timing.

His return date is not known

Jesus walked with his disciples in Jerusalem. Herod’s Temple was the centerpiece of Herod the Great’s building program. It was an imposing and magnificent edifice. The disciples were speaking of it when Jesus said, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2). The following discussion, commonly known as the Olivet Discourse, includes this remarkable statement concerning Jesus’ second coming:

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only”.

Matthew 24:36

Jesus is speaking of his return. Previously, he told them precisely what to watch for and when to flee. He warned that the terrible things in verses 3 – 35 would occur in the lifetime of that present generation (Matthew 24:34). About 40 years later, Rome destroyed Jerusalem.

In verse 36, Jesus answers the second part of the question asked in verse 3: “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” There is no answer to that question because Jesus himself did not know! If Jesus doesn’t know, I am confident no one posting on Facebook knows.

Jesus is coming, we just don’t know when!

Let’s conclude with Jesus’ warning in Matthew 24:42: “stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.”

Kingdom Thinking

earthly kingdom crownI have been thinking about the kingdom lately. I suppose that all of the tension among worldly kingdoms has me thinking about God’s kingdom of peace and security. From what I read a lot of believers are confusing the earthly kingdoms with the kingdom of Christ. That’s a big mistake and leads to some pretty horrible errors.

People are not alone in thinking that we – Americans – are special before God. America is blessed enormously, but America is not the chosen nation.

Jesus’ own apostles were confused too. After three years of preaching throughout Galilee, Judea, and Samaria they still thought Jesus was going to restore Israel to its former prominence. Read Acts 1:6-11. Our Lord was heading up the mountain to return to his prior home, and they were thinking about nationalism. A few weeks before the Jews rejoiced to see Jesus return to Jerusalem. They proclaimed him “King Jesus” and glorified his coming (Mark 11:9; John 12: 13).

Roger Dickson, in his Bible notes, refers to the nationalistic Jews who thought their redeemer would restore the splendor of the pre-Babylonian nation as a jewel among the nations. They were wrong then, and we are wrong now if we think the kingdom is a mere earthly government.

“Jesus answered: ‘My kingdom is not of this world…” (John 18:36)

God’s new kingdom had been preached by John the Baptist who declared it was near (Matthew 3:2; Mark 1:15). Jesus picked up the theme and preached the same good news (Matthew 4:17; Luke 4:43). The kingdom was coming. It just did not look like the royal procession they imagined.

The kingdom of heaven was to overlay all earthly rule, dominion, and kingdoms. It would not replace earthly kingdoms nor would it be centered upon the earth. It was a divine assembly of the righteous out of every tribe and tongue upon the earth (Revelation 5:9; 14:6; c.f. Acts 2:5-11). All nations would come into the kingdom (Isaiah 2:2). Paul says earthly rule will continue and must be respected by Christians (Romans 13:1 ff).

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. “

(Colossians 1:13)

According to the Holy Spirit, through Paul, the kingdom is no longer at hand but exists today. Citizens of that divine kingdom have been transferred by God’s power from denizens of Satan’s world to residents of the Kingdom of God. We have found the city with foundations (Hebrews 11:10; 13-16). Now, through steadfastness and with all glory to God, we are moving toward that beautiful habitation!

“…strangers and exiles on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:13)

Our time on this earth is brief. James says it is “like a vapor that vanishes” (James 4:14). We are just visitors, travelers who have no permanence here but look to return home. Because we are just visiting, we do not become encumbered with this world’s affairs. And, this is important, we have no interest moving here. We want and expect to go home one day. As the song says, “this world is not my home.” When we understand the kingdom of Christ and our place in it we will focus all of our efforts on revealing its glory to this world. We do what we can here and now to improve the world in which we live because we are the Lord’s salt (Matthew 5:13). But our goal is the kingdom of God.

Blood Moons, Catastrophe & False Prophets: Here We Go Again

blood moonIt’s happening again. A small but vocal group is sounding warnings about a coming blood moon on September 28, 2015. A blood moon, or total lunar eclipse is not uncommon but what makes this event notable is  that it occurs while the earth and moon are at their closest positions.

A supermoon occurs when a full moon coincides with the moon’s perigree — the point in the lunar orbit when it’s closest to the Earth — making it appear larger and brighter than normal. The supermoon at the end of this month is expected to be the closest one of 2015, a year that will see six supermoons in all.

A lunar eclipse, meanwhile, happens when the moon passes into alignment with the Earth and sun and briefly falls into Earth’s shadow. explains that during a total lunar eclipse, the moon often turns a reddish color when it’s hit by sunlight bent by the Earth’s atmosphere, resulting in a phenomenon called a “blood moon.”

-Courtesy, CBSNEWS

This natural phenomenon is being hailed as an end times sign by many who believe the date of Jesus’ return can be known. John Hagee, a well-known TV preacher is popularizing the idea that the September 28th blood moon will mark a significant event likely related to Israel. The Salt Lake Tribune newspaper is reporting that Mormon author Julie Rowe is fueling a spike in preparations by Mormons for a catastrophic event. Many connect her beliefs with the coming blood moon.

Though Rowe rarely gives specific dates for predicted events, she did describe in a Fox News Radio interview “cities of light,” including scores of white tents where people will live in the mountains and sometimes be fed heavenly “manna.” She she saw a “bomb from Libya landing in Israel, but Iran will take credit.”

The leadership of the Mormon church has distanced themselves from her teachings.

History and False Prophets

Jesus himself warned of false prophets who trumpet the end of time and his return.

But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.  For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark,  and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left.  Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left.  Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.  But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.  Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

-Matthew 25:36-44

But it seems that the date-setters will never be content with a message of constant preparation.  In 1832, William Miller began publishing articles on the return of Jesus. Although he set no single, specific date he did narrow the time down to a return between March 21, 1843, and March 21, 1844. Later, a follower of Miller declared that Jesus would return on October 22, 1834. That message went viral and people began leaving their jobs and waiting on the Lord’s return. When the 22nd came and went people went home and tried to regain some sense of normalcy. What remained of Miller’s follows eventually became the seeds of the Seventh Day Adventist church.

 [bctt tweet=”…the date-setters will never be content with a message of constant preparation.”]

More recently, Harold Camping, a preacher from California predicted September 6, 1994, as the day of the end. Later he predicted that Jesus return would begin on May 21, 2011, and that the following months would be marked by increasing devastation and death. Camping said the complete end would come on October 21, 2011, and that the entire universe would be destroyed. I’m writing on September 15, 2015…enough said about that.

The Problem with False Prophets

Some may be tempted to roll their eyes and think of these people as kooks. But I argue that they are causing extreme harm. They obviously place their own selves in danger as they speak falsely but attribute the teachings to God. But these stargazers also make Christianity appear to be little more than astrology or the reading of tea leaves. They harm the message of salvation by reducing it to a message from a traveling snake oil salesman.

[bctt tweet=”…stargazers also make Christianity appear to be little more than astrology or the reading of tea leaves.”]

The consistent message of Scripture is clear: Be prepared. Following on the heels of his warning concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, Jesus offered the parable of the Ten Virgins. Beginning in Matthew 26:1, the single, powerful message is one of preparation. We are to be a holy people who wait on the Lord. The upshot of the false teaching, whether intended or not, is to live as you will and just watch the calendar. When the right day approaches, clean up your life and welcome Jesus.

I certainly acknowledge the trouble and uncertainty in our world today, but it need not mark the end of time. Until the Lord comes we will serve him and stand against every evil attack. When he does come, we will be ready.


Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.

Second Coming / Rapture Primer

With all the interest in end times events, modern prophetic fulfillment, blood moons and eschatology, we offer a collection of articles on various subjects relating to the Lord’s return. These are just some of the two dozen plus articles we have prepared on the subject. Us the search box to find more.

Prepare – Are we ready for Jesus’ return?

Jesus Is Coming, Are You Ready for the Alarm? – Don’t ignore what you know is coming!

Expired – The importance of being ready.

The Rapture – What is this doctrine?

The Rapture Package – Understanding how it all links together.

Apocalyptic Literature – Caution is required when interpreting this genre of biblical literature.

Harold Camping and the Rapture Bust – A date-setter who was wrong again!

Second Chance Salvation; A Danger of Dispensationalism – Believing the whole rapture, 1,000 year reign discussion has a pretty serious spiritual impact.

May God bless your studies and aide you as you prepare for the Lord’s return!

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.


1 Thessalonians at FHU

main-adm1 and 2 Thessalonians are the featured books being studied this week at Freed-Hardeman University during the annual Bible Lectureship. Some years ago the lectureship committee decided to work their way through the entire Bible, taking one or two books at a time, until the entire Bible had been systematically studied faces have come and gone from the committee but the goal continues. The theme this year is the “The Patience of Hope: First and Last Things in Thessalonians.”

First Thessalonians was one of the very first New Testament books written. Some think it may have been the first. It is a joyful book in many respects and begins with warm greetings and remembrances from Paul. The apostle preached the Gospel in Thessalonica during his second missionary journey.

Accompanied by Timothy, Silas and probably Luke, Paul preached over three Sabbath days reasoning that Jesus was the Christ (Acts 17:1-4). Opposition from some Jews caused a riot and the brethren in Thessalonica sent the team away (Acts 17:5-10). Paul came next to Berea where he found “more noble” Jews willing to hear and obey the truth of the Scriptures. It is a curiosity that there is no extant copy of any letter to the Bereans but two exist for the Thessalonians. Paul may have felt a greater need to encourage the brethren in Thessalonica because of the hostilities they were likely experiencing.

In any case, Paul begins by telling the brethren that he is “constantly” mentioning them in prayer. He remembers their “work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope” and his thankful to God for their faithfulness. He tells them that their faithfulness is spoken of throughout the world. (1 Thessalonians 1:3-10).

As one might expect, Paul deeply desired to see the brethren again. Travel was difficult and the Holy Spirit had other plans for Paul. But the apostle was still able to send Timothy from Athens to check on the church. He was pleased with the report Timothy brought.

It seems that the key doctrinal issue regarded the return of the Lord. Paul sought to correct misunderstandings and erroneous teachings. Some held that those who died would miss the return of the Lord. Of course such was not the case and Paul it plain that all would take part in the Lord’s return (1 Thessalonians 4:13 ff.

It is from this passage that we are given a wonderful encouragement used at so many funerals:

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. “

The idea of having hope where none exists for others is one of the grand attributes of walking in the light of God’s word.

Paul next affirms the truth concerning the actual coming of Jesus. False teaching had been planted and the apostle uses this opportunity to make plain what the Holy Spirit had revealed. Contrary to common end times teaching today, Paul asserts the sudden coming of Christ.  While Christians would not know the precise day or hour of the Lord’s return (c.f. Matthew 24:36), they could live expectantly and prepared. Such is the same for brethren today who ought to look forward to the Lord’s return and their glorification with him.

Paul concludes his letter with a series of brief encouragements to peace and righteousness. His love and confidence in these brethren is well founded and he looks forward to hearing more about their labors.

I wonder what would be the nature of a letter sent by an inspired apostle, to your congregation. Let us strive to be more Thessalonian in our lives!

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.