A Signal That Jesus’ Return Is Near
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering unto Him.
– 2 Thessalonians 2:1 –
When Paul wrote his second letter to the church of Thessalonica, he was exceedingly excited at the thought of Jesus’ soon return. In fact, he was so thrilled about the prospect of Jesus’ coming again that he devoted the entire second chapter of Second Thessalonians to the events that would occur in the last days. As Paul wrote this famous chapter about the events of the last days, he began by declaring, “Now we beseech you brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him.”
Notice that Paul uses the word “beseech” in this verse. Normally the word “beseech” would be the Greek word parakaleo, but in this verse, Paul uses the word erotao rather than the word parakaleo. The word erotao means to ask or to make a strong request. This word calls upon the listener to cautiously listen to what is being said and to respond in a fitting manner to what has been heard. Because Paul is speaking of the coming of the Lord and uses the word erotao to appeal to his listeners, he clearly means for them to take his words seriously and to let these words make a strong impact in their lives.
When we think about the coming of the Lord, it should make a strong impact in our lives. It should affect the way we live, the way we think, the way we carry on in our relationship, and the way we invest our money in the Kingdom of God. It is simply a fact that Jesus is coming for His Church, and we should constantly live in the light of His coming. When we live with the awareness that Jesus is coming again, it changes our conduct and behavior. By using the word erotao (beseech), Paul is communicating to his readers that they have a responsibility to respond to his message about Jesus’ soon return. They are to live in a godly, upright, and holy manner as they wait for “the coming of our Lord.”
Then he begins to speak to them about “the coming of our Lord.” The word “coming” is from the Greek word parousia. This word always places special emphasis on the Presence of the Lord – especially the Presence of God that can be tangibly felt among His people. Here it is used to describe the strong Presence of God that will be felt when Jesus returns to gather His people to Himself. The word implies that the Church will feel a phenomenal divine Presence when it is time for Jesus to gather His people to Himself at the end of the age.
This means that as we come closer to the return of Jesus, the parousia – the strong Presence of the Lord – will be strongly sensed among believers, in fact, the ever-growing, strong Presence of the Lord in the midst of the Church will be one of the signals that Jesus’ return is close at hand. As His Presence gets stronger and stronger, we will know it is time for Him to return to “gather” us to Himself.
In Second Thessalonians 2:1, Paul uses the word episunagoge (“gathering together”) to describe that future moment when the Lord will quickly gather or collect His people together to Himself at the end of the age. At that divine moment, all of God’s people will be quickly gathered together and collected in a common assembly to meet the Lord in the air. What a meeting that will be!
Considering the Greek words that Paul used in Second Thessalonians 2:1, this verse could be interpreted the following way:
“Brothers, I make this urgent, heartfelt request to you today, earnestly and sincerely pleading with you from the bottom of my heart to hear what I’m telling you and to do exactly as I say. The appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ is very near. In fact, it is so close that we can almost feel His Presence as if He were already here among us. The moment we have all longed for and waited for is almost upon us! I’m talking about that moment when Jesus will finally gather us together to Himself.”
The apostle Peter warned us that at the end of the age, many scoffers would mock at the promise of Jesus’ return, asserting that if Jesus was going to come, surely He would have already come. Peter wrote, “Knowing this first, that there will come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming?…” (2 Peter 3:3-4)
Regardless of what doubt-filled believers or antagonistic unbelievers say as they mock us, the truth is that Jesus is coming again soon! Second Thessalonians 2:1 gives us one of the signs that will occur to let us know His arrival is upon us: We will suddenly be aware of the supernatural Presence of Jesus in the Church like never before. The closer we come to the time of His return, the more strongly this phenomenal Presence of God will be felt in our midst. In fact, it will seem as if His coming is already upon us! That strong Presence of God will signal to us that it is just about time for Jesus to quickly gather us and collect us to Himself!
So in the days to come, close your ears to the mockers who make fun of you for believing in Jesus’ soon return. Then open your heart to the Holy Spirit, and allow Him to make you sensitive to His voice inside your spirit. As you are faithful to do this, you will recognize that moment when the Presence of God becomes much stronger in the Church, and you’ll know that moment for what it is – one of the greatest indicators that Jesus’ return is upon us!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord, help me to be sensitive to Your Presence so I can be aware of that moment when Your coming is near to us. Help me close my ears to those mockers who say You will never come. By Your grace, I will hold on tightly to Your promise that You will come one day to collect Your people to Yourself. Help me live a life that is holy – one that pleases You and for which I will not be ashamed when You suddenly appear to gather the Church to Yourself.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY:
I confess that I am living a holy life that pleases God, a life for which I am not ashamed. I say no to sin; I crucify my flesh; and I do my very best to yield to and walk in the Spirit. I am sensitive to the Presence of God. And when the moment draws near for Jesus to come and collect His people to Himself, I will sense the growing strength of His Presence in the Church and will recognize it as a signal that God’s people will soon be leaving planet Earth! I believe in Jesus’ coming; I expect it in my lifetime; and I am doing all I can to preach the Gospel to the lost so they won’t be left out when Jesus gathers the Church to Himself.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
PASTOR TROYS COMMENTS:
This Sunday I will be teaching about those who missed Jesus’ first coming (Christmas) we will compare those who missed His first coming to those who are likely to miss His second coming.
I do believe we are living in the last days, there has been a burden or passion in me lately to make sure those around me are ready for Jesus’ return. HE IS COMING AGAIN! I don’t want the people around me to miss His return, to not be ready.
Paul was passionate in communicating to the Church that Jesus is coming back. PLEASE let’s make sure we are ready for His return, let’s make sure WE do not miss His coming as many did when He came that first Christmas morning.
This devotional comes from Rick Renner’s Sparkling gems from the Greek vol. 1