Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Thief in the Night

"One Year Bible" New Testament Passage (for Thurs., Oct. 11, 2012)
1 Thessalonians 4:1-5:3

 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.  I Thessalonians 5:1-2 (NKJV)

What is your attitude toward the end of the age?  There are those who are completely fixated on interpretation of the "signs of the times."  I, too, believe that we should be very aware of our place in God's prophetic time clock, but there is often other things going on in the hearts of many who become wrapped up in end-time prophecy.

Too often, we become so enamored with current events in terms of prophecy that we forget what we are really supposed to be doing in the first place -- reaching the world for Jesus.  Prophetic teaching (not all of it, but some) can degenerate into cynicism or fear concerning the plight of the world, and hopeful anticipation of our departure from this world.

When this happens, we cease to be salt and light.  Rather, we are escape artists.  Jesus did not save us to take us out of this world.  He saved us to send us into this world with the Gospel.  Therefore, a paraphrase of Paul's words might be: "But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, we really don't need to be talking about this so much."  He says that he does not need to write about it in the sense of what might be called a "rapture mentality" -- "Oh, Lord, please get me out of here before the Anti-Christ takes over!"  Instead we should be thinking how Jesus is going forth conquering and to conquer!  Jesus is Lord!

So where does teaching need to take place concerning the end of times?  Paul has just done it in the preceding paragraph (I Thess. 4:13-18).  He talks about the secure future of all who are in Christ.  He refuses to get into calendars and dates.  He just says that we can have firm, confident hope concerning not only our own lives but also those who have gone on before us.

We can live today without fear or anxiety about "the signs of the times."  There will be a day when Jesus comes again, but it will come "as a thief in the night."  In the meantime, we are to shine our light for all the world to see the greatness of our God!

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