Great Falling Away

The New Testament warns of the coming “apostasy” and links it to deceivers and the coming “man of lawlessness.”   To the church in Thessalonica, Paul explained that the “ day of the Lord ” will  NOT  commence until the “ apostasy ” occurs and the “ man of lawlessness ” is revealed, two events that are inextricably linked. In his statement, he was reiterating warnings found elsewhere in the New Testament about this future apostasy that originated with Jesus himself - [ Storm Coming - Photo by Kyle Head on Unsplash ].

Proclaiming Another Jesus

Jesus remains the “slain Lamb,” and he fulfills the messianic role of the Lion of Judah who redeems his people through his sacrificial death .  When certain “ super-apostles ” began to undermine his teachings, Paul reminded the church that the “ serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness ,” and warned against anyone who came “ proclaiming another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or a different spirit, or a different gospel .” - [ Lamb - Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash ].

Responding to Persecutors

When Christians react in kind to hostility, whether from government, society, or individuals, Satan wins .  The reality of persecution raises serious questions. How should we react to our persecutors, especially when we are targeted by governing authorities? Should disciples respond with indignation, civil disobedience, and public protests, or should they follow his example, as well as that of the early church?  [ Photo by Manuel Rheinschmidt on Unsplash ].

Appointed to Tribulation

Disciples escape God’s “wrath” but endure “tribulation” to which they have been “appointed” – 1 Thessalonians 3:1-4 .  The terms “ tribulation ” and “ wrath ” are NOT synonymous. “ Tribulation ” is what disciples endure for the sake of the gospel, but “ wrath ” is the horrific fate that awaits the wicked at the “ end of the age ” which unrepentant sinners and apostates will undergo on account of their iniquities and betrayals - [ Photo by L.Filipe C.Sousa on Unsplash ].

Tribulation and Endurance

Exiled on Patmos, John declared himself a “fellow-participant” in the tribulation and the endurance “in Jesus” – Revelation 1:9 .  The Apostle John found himself exiled on the “ isle of Patmos ” for the “ word of God and the testimony of Jesus ,” and there, he received visions concerning “ things that must soon come to pass ” that he recorded and sent to seven beleaguered congregations in the province of Asia. Like them, he was experiencing “ tribulation ” for the kingdom - [ Photo by Danka & Peter on Unsplash ].

True Spirituality

The spiritually-minded man understands that Christ Crucified is God’s true power and wisdom - 1 Corinthians 2:14 .  Overused today, the English term ‘spiritual’ has become virtually meaningless. To some, it is synonymous with religion. To be religious is to be spiritual. To others, it refers to things that are not of this physical universe - things and entities that are otherworldly, immaterial, invisible, ephemeral, and timeless - [ Photo by  Allef Vinicius  on Unsplash ].