2 Thessalonians 2:2
not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter —asserting that the day of the Lord has already come.
2 Thessalonians 2:3
Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.
2 Thessalonians 2:4
He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
What is happening amongst us today is not happening for the first time. Stories around pandemics and the end of time have abounded for hundreds of years whenever a pandemic occurs. Worry about technology steering people against their will has been there since technology came and has been advancing. When computers came into being, eschatological messages kicked in. When the worldwide web came into being again eschatological messages kicked in.
As we turned from the nineties to two thousand all sorts of stories on the end actually being here kicked in. During the various major wars and even about nuclear weapons, stories of the end abounded. Whenever USA Presidents change and when a new Pope comes in or makes a statement, predictions, and stories kick in instantly with suspicious certainty. Paul was addressing a similar thing in the Thessalonians church in our text today!
Paul tells the Thessalonians church to resist any attempt to be alarmed by any teaching concerning the end of time. Paul tells them to refuse to be easily unsettled just because someone gave unsubstantiated teachings or sermons about how the end is about to unfold. Paul tells the church to reject any teaching or sermon that ends with that kind of reaction. Paul tells them that the source does not matter even when it seems credible. Whether it is a prophecy, reject it, a word of mouth, reject it and letter, reject it too!
Such teachings aim to create panic by asserting that the end is already here. First, the end of the world should be good news and not a panic-causing event. If it causes panic, it is a wrong message, a wrong presentation, and not worth anyone’s time. Paul tells the church not to be deceived by anxiety-causing presentations because the end will not come as suggested by the anxiety evangelists.
Paul tells the church that regardless of what happens or what is taught as present truth, straight testimony, and what have you, the end will not come until the rebellion occurs. For there to be a rebellion, there must be something to rebel about. What is there to rebel about as we move to the end of time?
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 24 that the end will not come until the gospel is preached to the whole world as a testimony. Paul tells us the end will not come until there is a rebellion. When the gospel is preached, the listeners either accept or rebel against the gospel. The rebellion depends on the preaching of the gospel. People will rebel against the gospel of the kingdom. After the gospel is preached and some accept and others rebel, the end will come. Until then, no war, no technology, no geopolitical activities, or whatever else is taught as revealed secrets of world powers, will cause the world to end.
Technology will keep advancing and it will not end the world. Global political and religious leaders will keep meeting, agreeing, and disagreeing, but the end will not come. Diseases will come and whether manufactured or otherwise the end will not come. Vaccines have come, are coming, and will keep coming, but the end will not come. Until when the gospel is preached and the rebels become apparent, then the end will come. Anything else in-between is anxiety-causing, good-for-nothing messages that won’t be true very soon as technology changes and as events in the world change.
Our greatest concern now should be to accept the gospel and not be counted among rebels. After that, we should participate in spreading that gospel of salvation and a coming Saviour. We are not to preach about technology, science, politics of the world, and what world wealthy people are doing and planning in secret. That information may cause anxiety but does not save. Anxiety-causing messages are what Paul rejected in the Thessalonians church in our text today.
Once the gospel is clearly preached to the whole world, the leaders of the rebellion against God will be exposed. The political and religious leaders opposed to God will be exposed. Exposed not by us but by God and the plain gospel preached. Religious organizations and their highly respected global leader will be exposed as being opposed to God and actually usurping God’s place on earth. That will happen as a rebellion against what is preached. What is preached is the gospel of the kingdom. Anything else is the anxiety-causing and ever-changing message that attempts to suit itself to the latest events. Paul inspired by God tells the church to refuse any attempt to be anxious or made anxious.
Are you attracted to anxiety-causing messages? Are you one of those who spread anything you think is the latest news on secret things happening and thus spreading anxiety? Do you feel spiritually mature and superior because you focus on world events yet others are just focused on the Bible? Do you gain some satisfaction when your listeners and readers have a raised anxiety after your presentation? Does it now occur to you that Apostle Paul warned the church about people like you? Isn’t it time to focus on helping spread the gospel and call as many people as possible to obey God so that they are not caught up in the rebellion?
We have been made anxious about the origin of covid-19. We have been made anxious about the covid-19 vaccine. We have been made anxious about the 5G internet. But we have not been made anxious about tribalism and racism. We have not been made anxious about cohabiting, fornication and adultery. We have not been made anxious about subscription to witchcraft. We are living in sin, we don’t spread the gospel, we question the church and ever fight, but we don’t see it as sin. We focus on spreading anxiety. We still have the attitude of better than thou even in Bible understanding matters. Clearly, we are not ready for the end of time. We have been blinded by anxiety-causing messages that have no relationship to what God expects from us today and now.
Dear God, forgive me for spreading anxiety and ignoring the pertinent issues of what I need to improve and change. Help me to accept the gospel and to also spread the gospel and not the ever-changing world events. Save me from the anxiety messages masquerading as prophecy or present truth or straight testimony. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
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