MP3: The Tribulation Road Thru 2 Thessalonians 2
Hosts: Nathan Jones & Vic Batista
Welcome to The Truth Will Set You Free podcast teaching series titled “The Tribulation Road!” Nathan Jones and Vic Batista have been your guides since the very first installment, going verse by verse through the Bible’s prophetic book of 2 Thessalonians. We will finish up chapter two with Paul’s exhortation to “stand fast.”
Nathan Jones: The Apostle Paul, in writing this second letter to the church in Thessalonica, finishes up chapter 2 with his call in verse 13-17 to the brethren to stand fast:
“But we are bound to give thanks to God always for your brethren, loved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification, by the Spirit to believe in the truth to which He called you by our gospel for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.”
Vic Batista: There’s a lot of encouragement there!
Nathan Jones: Once again, remember that the members of the new church in Thessalonica had been scared by a false report into thinking they had entered the Tribulation. Even today, we find people scared by reading 2 Thessalonians 2, who come away from it believing they are going to have to live through at least the first half of the Tribulation and suffer and die horribly at the hands of the Antichrist. Paul clears that up, pointing back to his teaching about the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4, and how believers in Christ are never destined to endure the wrath of God during the Tribulation.
There will, unfortunately, be unregenerate people who will be left behind after the Rapture and who will have to face the Antichrist, but that’s not the Church. We learned earlier in chapter 2 that the Holy Spirit through the Church acts as a restrainer on society’s evils. Once we are taken off this world at the Rapture, that restraining influence will also be removed, and the Tribulation will soon begin. So, the Church will not be on this earth when the Tribulation begins.
We also learned from Daniel that the Antichrist will eventually create a desolation that causes an abomination in the Jewish Temple and will declare himself to be God. But, beforehand, the Antichrist will create a peace treaty with Israel which starts the seven-year Tribulation countdown. Paul told the Thessalonians that a great falling away from the faith and the revealing of the Antichrist would proceed the onset of the Tribulation, and since neither of those had happened, they were not living in the Tribulation. In other words, “Just relax!”
Now affirmed in their knowledge that they were not and would never have to ever live in the Tribulation, Paul encouraged these frightened believers with the fact that they had been chosen for salvation, and once saved, Christ was at work in sanctifying them. The Holy Spirit was at work purifying their souls so that one day they’d obtain glory at the resurrection through the Lord Jesus Christ. Christians are never meant to endure God’s wrath, but to live by God’s grace, looking forward to our future glory.Nathan Jones: Christians are never meant to endure God's wrath, but to live by God's grace, looking forward to our future glory. Click To Tweet
Paul also exhorted believers to hold on to the religious traditions given them. In other words, they were to hold onto the Gospel that Jesus provided by the shedding of His own blood on the cross and the Apostle’s teachings in person or by letter. Instead of being swayed by false reports, they were called to stand strong on the Gospel given them. They never need not fear everlasting damnation from accidentally following the Antichrist, but to embrace the everlasting consolation of hope in Christ. Christians are to, as verse 17 commands, to “comfort your hearts” with this hope.
Paul provided these new believers with a great word of encouragement. It’s an encouragement that we should share with other believers in these dark days.
Vic Batista: I love what Paul is saying in verse 15 when he calls us to “stand fast.” I’m reminded that as Christians we are called to put on the whole armor of God. We’re also called to find consolation and comfort in what Paul earlier taught in 1 Thessalonians 4:18 concerning the knowledge of the Rapture of the Church: “Therefore comfort one another with these words.” The teaching of the Rapture is meant to be a word of comfort. Therefore, Christians are called not to fear or worry. We are not to be concerned about the Tribulation, because the Bible tells us that the Lord is going to rescue believers in Christ before God’s wrath is let loose upon this earth.
Nathan Jones: Exactly! What comfort would there be if God meant for us to have to fight and suffer and die in the Tribulation and experience a horrible, mutilating death? Are we to take comfort in that? No, not at all!
Again and again, the Bible provides verses meant to provide us with the encouragement that the Church will never have to endure the Tribulation. Look at 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, and 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and 5:9, and Romans 5:9, and Ephesians 5:6, and Colossians 3:4, and especially Revelation 3:10. All these verses promise that the Bride of Christ will never have to endure the Tribulation. What comfort! Church Age believers are never meant to suffer under the wrath of God, or even Satan’s and mankind’s wrath, during that horrific time period still yet to come.
Paul’s entire message here in chapter 2 is basically, “Chill out! You don’t have to worry that you will be living in the Tribulation. Christ has promised you the Rapture of the Church.”
Vic Batista: What about Christians living in this dark world right now? We also need comfort. We’re not quite sensing peace today, for whatever reason. We’re all greatly concerned about terrorist attacks, shootings, fires, hurricanes, and whatnot. We have yet to embrace the peace we sought when we first came to Christ.
Well, take Paul’s words to heart. As bad as these days are, they are not nearly the worst of them. Know that God will never allow Christians to live into the Tribulation. Knowing that truth, be at peace.Vic Batista: Know that #God will never allow #Christians to live into the #Tribulation. Knowing that truth, be at peace. #Rapture Click To Tweet
Nathan Jones: And, for those who have yet to seek Christ, you may be feeling a tug in your heart. That means God’s Spirit is calling you to Him. He is calling you to accept His Son, Jesus Christ, as your Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, and in doing so, the punishment of your rebellion against God no longer fell on you, instead, it will fall on Him, that is when you finally accept Jesus as your Savior.
How amazing to think, as we have been learning about in 2 Thessalonians 2, that God has been looking forward to you becoming one of His children since the very beginning of time. He has chosen you for salvation, but He also requires that you respond to His invitation by faith.
If you are ready to surrender your life to Jesus Christ and accept His free gift of salvation, then pray in your heart something like: “Dear, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and be my Lord and Savior.” And, Jesus promises you just that. He will forgive you of your sins. You will be free from the guilt. And, you too can share in that great hope and comfort that you will be with Jesus forever in Heaven.
Vic Batista: Trust the Lord, repent of your sins, and God will grant you eternal life. Why does He do all of that? Because He loves you!
Nathan Jones: Once you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, then get into the Word of God by reading the Bible daily. Understand the whole of Bible prophecy, and don’t just take little bits and pieces out. Do so and God’s loving plan for you will be made even clearer.
Vic Batista: Be a good student of biblical prophecy so that you will not be deceived by all the deception that is now in this world and more that is to come. Keep your eyes on Jesus. He is coming back very, very soon!
In the ninth part of our travels along the Tribulation Road and our verse-by-verse study of 2 Thessalonians, we will move on to chapter 3.