“Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.“
Happy New Year to you all. I pray that all had a wonderful time with family, friends and church family. My wife and I, as well as my in-laws, all ended up with COVID; we spent the entire time from Boxing Day on in isolation. By the grace of our Lord, we are all well. Still having a few side effects like fatigue and, especially with me, asthma. But we are all back to work and looking forward to our first church service with our church in person. We here in Ontario have been on a lockdown because of COVID, and we were isolated.
The growth of evil is happening right before our eyes. Those of us that have spent any time studying the Old Testament prophecies can see the formation of things prophesied to come right before our eyes. The pace at which they are happening is astounding. If you had told me that Australia would be the proving ground for a lot of the rules and procedures that the Man of Sin would bring in, I would have laughed. But daily, as we see the news and read the papers, we can see the edges of personal freedom being forced in further and further. If you had told me that American companies would be at the forefront of censorship, I would have laughed. I mean, free speech is the very foundation of the USA.
There is no area where evil is growing faster than in sexuality. Many of you may be aware that the Canadian government is in the process of making conversion therapy illegal in Canada. A story from CTV News here in Ontario points out that as of January 2022, it is illegal to subject anyone of any age to so-called conversion therapy. This law was passed by a unanimous vote here in our Parliament. This is a reminder to us here in Canada that we do not actually have a Conservative voice when it comes to right and wrong. We have progressively left-leaning parties but no real conservative voice on the federal level.
As we have watched over the last 10-15 years, the growth of sexual perversion is rampant. There are more and more underage sexual acts happening, and there is a push to make pedophilia legal. I fear that the Epstein case and the revelations from the Maxwell case will serve as a catalyst for making this type of sexual attraction legal faster, as it appears some of our leaders are deep into this kind of thing.
Just a year ago, our churches helped one of our missionaries to attend the Super Bowl in Tampa. We learned, sadly, that the Super Bowl is one of the largest sex trafficking events in the world each year. In just seven days on the ground, they visited as many brothels as they could, offering women a way out if they wanted out, and they helped to rescue 2 children from trafficking if I recall accurately.
There was a time when sexual evil was done behind closed doors. Homosexual men hid their sexuality and did their deeds behind closed doors or in faraway places. But today, one can scarcely watch a commercial that is not pushing homosexual families, men and women kissing intimately in Prime-Time TV shows and in just about every advert you can see. They have added homosexual characters to every show, even the kids shows, and there are openly gay, lesbian or any of the alphabet letters they use teaching in the public schools. We live in troubling times.
- Don’t Get Too Down, verses 1-2
In this particular case, the people in the church at Thessalonica saw the evil around them, and they thought they had missed the return of Jesus, in particular the Rapture. They were down and having a hard time, and Paul wrote to reassure them that they had not been forgotten. It must have been reassuring to hear from Paul. Obviously, if Paul was still here, then they have not missed out.
In our time, we face the opposite. Peter tells us that in the last days men will be scoffers, meaning they will deny and question the coming of the Lord Jesus (2 Peter 3: 3-4). They will look at the world around us and deny Jesus’ return. I saw an interview with a prominent scientist the other day, and he argued that we did not need God, as science explained all the things that we once needed God to explain. Sadly, this questioning has come into the Lord’s churches. Many churches do not teach about the end times anymore. This is not an important topic in their repertoire of sermons. Many of the Lord’s people avoid The Revelation like the plague, they have never read any of the Books of Daniel, and most have not read Isaiah or Jeremiah.
Paul tells us as he told the folks in Thessalonica that we should not get discouraged at all. Jesus will come when He is ready, and none of us will be forgotten. Notice that Paul makes a distinction between the coming of the Lord and our gathering to Him. These are two separate events. The first event (see 1 Thessalonians 4: 16-18) is ‘for His church.’ The second event is coming ‘with His church.’ Paul tells us and the folks in Thessalonica not to be ‘shaken in mind,’ not to be suddenly jolted.
One commentator refers to a ship being agitated in a storm at sea. They were shaken because they thought that Jesus had already come, and many today are shaken because they fear that Jesus is not coming. They feared that they were in the Day of Christ; how bad could things have been in the first century? Man, what would they think if they lived in our day? If they thought evil was prevalent then, they would be scared and digging doomsday bunkers if they lived in our day!
- Here’s What to Look For, verses 3-4
Paul gives the people in Thessalonica some evidence to look for, and we would be wise to listen as well. The Day of Christ will not come unless there is a falling away. This is the first thing we will see. The word used here in Greek can mean a rebellion or a departure. Paul, it would seem, had both in mind. We will see a great rebellion against God, against truth, and against His churches. We see that rebellion growing at a rapid pace today. There is open defiance of God among our political leaders, and it seems that they only vote to do things that God expressly hates. They promote people who defy God’s righteousness, and they engage in evil acts and call them good. In agreement with this rebellion, we can also plan for a departure. We do not know how long the time of rebellion on the earth will last, but this rebellion along with the departure are events that must happen before the Day of Christ comes into full effect.
This rebellion that we see in the world is sadly also creeping into the churches; we see a rebellion against the absolute truths of God’s word. I saw a video the other day with a priest explaining why Jesus was not the only way as we are told in John 14:6. There is a large church in Mississauga, not far from where I live now. About 4,000 people attend this church, and some have left our church to go there because of the programs. Yet the Pastor does not believe in the blood atonement. He cannot fathom that God would require this type of violence to redeem us. This man does not understand how repulsive sin is to God.
We have many churches that preach salvation without repentance, they do not mention sin and that we are evil to the core, they do not talk about the depravity of man, and there is very little exegetical preaching. Thus, the attendees are described by Paul as only getting the ‘milk of the Word.’ They are not able to handle the meat.
We can both be sad and rejoice at the same time in these last days. We can rejoice as we see the rebellion of the masses around us; we can see their rebellion as a sign that the Day of Christ is fast approaching, and we can see even the rebellion in and among the Christian communities that further reinforce that the Day of Christ is soon approaching. I fear that things are going to get worse as the rebellious people in our governments gain more and more power and enact more and more evil laws.
Conservative churches that take the Bible literally and believe that God’s Word is as important and relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago are going to be in the crosshairs of the evil regimes around us. We who trust the Truth of Jesus will be the enemies of those that live by and promote lies.
The sad part is that even in local, conservative churches we have people who still have an improper view of Jesus. They do not see Him as offensive or combative, they do not see Him as confrontational, and they mistake His meekness for weakness. Jesus was very, very confrontational. He took on the Pharisees and Scribes to their faces and called them snakes, graves and hypocrites. He took on the religious leaders and called out how they twisted the scriptures and promoted man’s rules over God’s laws. If we are going to be effective in these the last days, we will need to be just as combative and confrontational but all based on the truth of the scriptures.
Then after the rebellion and the departure, the Man of Sin will be revealed. This man will, in the course of the Tribulation, call the world to worship him as god. In fact, he will present himself in Jerusalem in the Temple as god, thus defiling the Temple. This tells us that another event in the Day of Christ will be the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.
We are 2,000 years closer to the Day of Christ than the people in Thessalonica. We, like they, are living in expectation if we trust the Bible. We are living, expecting the trumpet to sound and that we will be caught up in the air. While we are waiting, we should be working and encouraging many to call on Jesus for salvation. Don’t lose hope, don’t lose sight; Jesus is coming. These evil people we see around us will not get away with their rebellion; Jesus is coming to hold them accountable. But recall, judgment begins at God’s house first. We will be asked to give an account of our lives once we got saved (Romans 14:12). Are you and I ready for that Day?
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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