Questions on the Second Coming

Sunday Evening Message

One More Coming of Christ

I am not pretrib. I believe that there is one more coming of Christ not two, and that at that coming he will not take the church back to heaven but will gather the church to reign on the earth.

  • Note the flow of thought in 2 Thessalonians 1:6–7—vengeance and rest are given to the unbelievers and saints respectively at the same time, namely, "in the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with angels in flaming fire." This is not the secret rapture and leaves no room for it. Paul conceives of one more coming of Christ—namely, in glory to reign.
  • The word apantesin in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 means in Matthew 25:6 and Acts 28:15 a meeting followed by a return to where the meeters came from. We will rise for a meeting of him in the air and return with him to his kingdom. (See Wesley's "Lo He Comes with Clouds Descending," verse 1, "God appears on earth to reign!")
  • In 1 Thessalonians 5:1ff. the day of the Lord breaks in on the world unawares and results in judgment. But doesn't take the sons of light off-guard.
  • More next Sunday morning from 2 Thessalonians 2.

Let us hold fast that he is coming and that all the world will be his someday and we will reign with him forever and ever.

Questions for Lesson on 2 Thessalonians 1:11–12

  1. Toward what is Paul praying in v. 11a?

    Toward the Thessalonian participation in the glorification of Christ in v. 10.

  2. What is the point of praying that believers (v. 4) will be a part of the glory of Christ at his coming?

    Because God has ordained that prayer be a means of sustaining the saints' perseverance in faith and love, so that they will be able to be a part of final salvation.

  3. This assumes that perseverance is necessary in order to be saved at the second coming, is that right? Does the NT teach that?

    Yes. 1 Corinthians 15:1–3; Colossians 1:23; Mark 13:13; Hebrews 12:14; 3:14; Romans 8:17; Philippians 3:10–11.

  4. Can we confirm that right here in this text?

    Yes.

    • Verse 5 already said that the suffering of the believers was to fit them or make them worthy of the kingdom of God. (Compare Galatians 5:21 where Paul shows that we do not get into the kingdom if we are living according to the flesh. So in 1 Corinthians 6:10f.; and Romans 8:13–14.)

    • Now in verse 11 Paul prays for this same worthiness to be produced, and verse 12 shows that the aim of the prayer is that the Thessalonians would be a part of the glorification of the last day.
  5. Does "consider worthy" mean what you are saying it means, namely, "make worthy"?

    Consider worthy of the call means consider worthy of doing what must be done to give the Thessalonians a part in the call to the kingdom of God (see 1 Thessalonians 2:12; Ephesians 4:1).

    It does not mean merely count worthy one who is not, as though Paul were praying for God to justify (declare righteous or worthy) them. Why not?

    • Mainly because the next phrases show that Paul is praying for God to do some real changing in the Thessalonians: fulfill resolves and do works of faith, and these are the means of being able to glorify the Lord at his coming.
    • Also because the suffering of verse 5 is a means of making worthy the sufferers.
  6. So how are Paul's prayers going to help the Thessalonians get to glory?

    God will answer and do what needs to be done to fit the Thessalonians for meeting Christ.

  7. Is Paul praying for the very thing that he says God is already doing in v. 5?

    Yes!

  8. What specifically does Paul want God to do to prepare them for glory?

    Fulfill intentions of goodness and works of faith.

  9. What is the difference between these?

    Same acts viewed from different angles: from one angle they are viewed according to their nature and fruit: goodness; from another angle they are viewed according to their source or motive: faith.

  10. How does God fulfill these works?

    Goodness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and so in general we can say that the power of the Spirit is the key (Romans 8:13).

    But they come from faith and so we must say that God sustains and strengthens faith which works through love (Galatians 5:6).
  11. "By his power" implies what?

    We are not easy to make good.
  12. "According to grace" implies what?

    Even when there is a real fitness in us for glory (imperfect as it is), we are utterly dependent on grace, for grace is the power to make us what we are (1 Corinthians 15:10)
  13. The sum of the matter?

    Faith and love are the sum and essence of the Christian life (v. 3). They flourish in affliction when they are supported by prayer ("always!"—v. 11). And as the Lord fulfills our desires for goodness and works of faith, that is, our love, we are made worthy, that is, fit for the kingdom of God, which means fit to glorify him and marvel at him when he come to establish his reign on the earth.
  14. Implications?

    Pray for each other with the seriousness that accords with what is really at stake—that we be fitted for the kingdom and not prove to have believed in vain.

    Strive to grow in faith and increase in love.

    Endure suffering with the will to be purified by it and be drawn closer to God.

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