I’m sure you have heard of The Three R’s of education: Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. And in real estate, the key is, Location, Location, Location. But have you heard of the ABC’s of prophesy in the Bible or the three R’s: Wrath, Return, and Reign.
The Bible sets forth a sequence of events: The Wrath of God, The Return of Christ, followed by The Reign of Christ. These three events are sequential. One major point we tend to overlook is that God is long suffering. II Peter 3 prepares the Church for the time between His departure and His Return. We, currently as believers and non believers live in this time of God’s Long Suffering. Theologians call this the Time of Grace. God is giving mankind something that we don’t deserve – time to repent and accept the sacrificial Death and Resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, as payment for our sins.
Not only has He given us time to confess our belief in His Son, Rom 10:9, but He has also given us, The Church, something to hold on to while we wait for His Return. So
as my family and I celebrate this season of Thanksgiving, we will remember that this is a Good Time to Give Thanks to God for what we are holding on to while we wait.
God has given us the Words of I and II Thessalonians to hold on to while we wait. Let’s take a look.
The Hope of The Church
In the NT, we have nine (9) Church Epistles. All nine have a common theme – which is Christ. That theme is broken down into three things or sub-themes:
1.Romans & Galatians – His Cross
2.Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I & II Corinthians – His Body (Church)
3.I & II Thessalonians – His Coming
The coming of Christ – 1:10, 2:19, 3:13, 4:17, 5:23 (Everyone of the five chapters reference the Coming of Christ)
| Thessalonians 1:9-10 – Where are we in relation to the wrath to come? (Delivered) – We have been delivered from the wrath of God and therefore, we wait for His Return.
| Thessalonians 2:19 – Emphasizes the hope of the Church is His Return. Our hope and focus in life should be on His Return because at that time, we shall be in His
| Thessalonians 3:13 – We are established without blame at His Return. No sin that we have committed and any acts that we have committed that were not in accordance with His Will will not be held against us. We will be held blameless.
| Thessalonians 4:17 – We shall always be with the Lord. We will spend eternity with Him. But notice the King James Version says, Then 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. Notice the words, we which are alive. But what about those who are not alive at His coming. That indicates there is more to the story. Paul explains that in I Thessalonians 4:13.
| Thessalonians 5:23 – Without blame. Paul prayed that our whole spirit and soul and body be presented blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We shall be determined blameless.
In his teaching, Pastor McAlly points out that Paul wrote to the church of the Thessalonians to answer a specific question. What happened to believers who died before the
Return of Christ?
We probably have the same questions the Thessalonians had. When are you returning? You have not returned and many of our loved ones and others who were all
believers have died. What has happened to them?
The Apostle Paul answers those questions in I Thessalonians 4:13-18: 13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye
sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him 15 For
this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep 16 For the Lord
himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then 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. 18 Wherefore comfort one another
with these words.
How many times have you heard those verses read at a Going Home Service? I am thankful that the Words God gave the Apostle Paul to bring hope to the Thessalonians
still gives hope to all believers today. Paul is saying, if you are a believer, there is hope to get you through this hurt. This is not how the story ends.
Paul gives insight and instructions about the Lord’s Coming and our future. Pastor Morgan usually sums it up by saying, our loved one has transitioned from the land of the
dying to the land of the living. We as well, will one day make that transition.
God does not want us, His children/believers, to be ignorant when it comes to our relationship with Him (dead or alive). The Creator has reached out to the created. I
understand now why the Psalmist said, Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. Psalms 100:4 KJV.
Regardless of the drama that is going on in the world and/or our lives, our relationship with God is secure. Can you think of a better reason and/or season to be thankful?
This is a Good Time To Be Thankful!!
Written by Henry L. Hopson, Jr.